Several weeks ago, Ottawa Senators centre Ridly Greig capped off his team’s win against the Toronto Maple Leafs with an extravagant slapshot into the Leafs’ empty net as the clock wound down. The Leafs’ defencemen Morgan Rielly then decided to show his displeasure in a completely reasonable way — by trying to take Greig’s head off with a crosscheck to the neck. A debate then ensued: did Greig break the unwritten rules of hockey with his slapshot? Was Rielly really in the right to take exception in the way he did?

All sports have unwritten rules. Most are sensible — in soccer, you kick the ball out of play when someone goes down injured. In hockey, you expect to have to answer the bell when you lay a dirty hit. In basketball, you don’t shoot as the clock is winding down on the last possession in a blowout game.

However, one sport is a stickler for unwritten rules — baseball. America’s favourite pastime has so many unwritten rules, most of which are quite ridiculous. So, as we build up toward the start of another MLB season and spring training kicks off, I want to take a look at some ridiculous unwritten rules in baseball and rate precisely how ridiculous they are.

  1. Don’t bunt to break up a no-hitter.

Admittedly, this one is a little nuanced and my opinion on it is a bit of a hot take. It’s my personal opinion that pitchers looking to achieve a no-hitter should account for all types of swings from batters, including bunts — a baseball technique where the batter doesn’t swing and instead lightly taps the ball. Although the general idea makes sense — where bunts go is less in the pitcher’s control — there are pitches that the pitcher could throw that make it generally harder for batters to bunt. Besides, if the game is still close, why shouldn’t batters try every trick in the book?

Ridiculousness Rating: 6/10. Sincerely, I do understand why we have this rule, but it’s a personal peeve of mine.

  1. Never swing at a 3–0 pitch when your team is comfortably ahead.

Pitchers are sensitive souls. So much so that there’s a subset of unwritten rules specifically dedicated to protecting their feelings. This is one of them — a rule that specifically tells batters: “Hey, maybe don’t try to play baseball.” It’s the equivalent of asking a boxer to pull their punches when they’ve got their opponents on the ropes. 

Famously, San Diego Padres outfielder Fernando Tatis Jr. had to publicly apologize after swinging on a 3–0 pitch — meaning he was one pitch away from earning a walk to first base — while up seven runs in the eighth inning against the LA Dodgers. Given that it’s possible to give up nine runs in a single inning sorry, Boston fans — it makes sense that Tatis and other players should try to consolidate their lead.

Ridiculousness Rating: 8/10. It depends on how many runs the fielding team is down by, but by and large, if you don’t want to get taken deep, don’t throw meatballs.

  1. Don’t take time to admire home runs.

This one kind of builds off the last one. Some pitchers get really, really mad if a batter just takes a second to flip their bat or watch their homer fly into the stands — looking at you, Madison Bumgarner! 

This one has gotten so ridiculous that MLB had to get involved with a whole marketing campaign to prevent this. 

There’s a reason the league wants this unwritten rule gone: if we take a look at any other sport, fun celebrations — or ‘cellys’ — are a great way to market the sport. From Tyreek Hill and the Miami Dolphins’ rollercoaster celly, Cristiano Ronaldo’s iconic ‘siu’ celly, to Detroit Red Wing defencemen Jake Walman’s griddy celebrations, cellies are a great way to market sports as fun to young fans and to allow players to showcase their fun personalities. Yet, it’s good to see that players are becoming more tolerant toward fun celebrations as more sensitive older fans are phased out of the league.

Ridiculousness Rating: 10/10. Let the kids play!

Those are some unwritten rules that I think are unreasonable. Of course, tons of these unwritten rules do make sense as they protect and police the sportsmanship of the game and enforce respect toward the opponent — but here are my two cents on the matter!