There is no sport of the major four that quite has the “old man yelling at the clouds” feel like the MLB. The “purists” of baseball are often louder than most, and the unwritten rules of the game have become laughable. In the most recent case of this, we need to look no further than the White Sox – Twins series that took place in Minnesota.

With the White Sox leading 15-4 in the 9th inning on Monday at Target Field, the Twins opted to put in Willians Astudillo to pitch, a position player. This isn’t abnormal in the MLB, if a team is down 10 or more runs late, save the bullpen arms (what’s left of them) and throw in a position player to pitch.

Yermin Mercedes stepped into the box for Chicago in the top of the 9th against Astudillo. With a 3-0 count staring him in the eyes, Astudillo lobbed in a 47mph pitch that Mercedes deposited over the center field wall. The choice to swing rubbed some the wrong way, including the Twins broadcasters.

Now Roy Smalley, the Twins color commentator notes that if it were a 3-1 count and not 3-0 it would’ve been fine. What? Why on earth does that matter? Keep in mind Mercedes wasn’t even expected to make the roster this year and due to injuries on the club he was elevated to said active roster and has taken full advantage of the opportunity.

But back to the point. Why is it okay in the MLB, in this scenario, for Mercedes to tee on up if the count was 3-1 but not 3-0? Because the unwritten rules of baseball are a joke.

If you’re down that bad and you opt to put a position player in to pitch, you live with the consequences. There’s nobody to blame but yourselves.

Now where this took a wild turn is when Tony La Russa, Mercedes’ manager, took Minnesota’s side.

“It’s sportsmanship, respect for the game, respect for your opponent. … Now he’s got a clue…He made a mistake. There will be a consequence he has to endure here within our family.” – Tony La Russa.

Way to go to bat for your guys, skipper.

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It’s worth noting La Russa is 76 years old so you can guess what category he falls into as it pertains to investing into these comical unwritten rules in the MLB.

Of course, when Mercedes muscled up and went yard, that means the Twins get to throw at him the next time they face off. Sounds idiotic, right? Well those are part of the unwritten rules, just look at chapter 458.

So, the Twins did throw at Mercedes, in the game on Tuesday night, Tyler Duffey (Minnesota’s pitcher) was tossed. And again, La Russa displayed mind numbing commentary saying he didn’t have a problem with Minnesota doing that. Because those be the unwritten rules!

Mercedes’ teammates, most notably Tim Anderson, have come to the defense of the young MLB star.

At least someone has logic within all of this. To try and keep track of all these unwritten rules, here’s a good drop from’s Anthony Castrovince.

Amongst the unwritten rules that could not sound more out of touch with how people want to experience sports:

  • Don’t swing on the first pitch after a pitcher has given up back-to-back home runs
  • Don’t bunt during a no-hitter
  • Don’t strut after home runs when leading by a wide margin or trailing by a wide margin

If the MLB wants to truly expand its reach and become more widely popular, there are plenty of avenues to explore. One of them is wiping clean all the ridiculous blackout restrictions they have on games, limiting who can watch what. Another, rid free of the old crusty mentality with the unwritten rules.