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The Baseball Codes: Beanballs, Sign Stealing, and Bench-Clearing Brawls: The Unwritten Rules of America's Pastimeby Michael Duca
Baseball, perhaps more than any other sport, can appear deceptively simple to the outsider or casual fan. It is, however, a richly nuanced game governed for more than a century as much by the written rulebook as by a constantly evolving tacit philosophy referred to as "the code." The code concerns itself with nearly every aspect of the game and can be considered baseball's moral compass, in place to engender loyalty not only to one's teammates, but also to the game itself. The Baseball Codes, written by Jason Turbow (with Michael Duca), is an anecdotal glimpse into the game's unwritten rules. Intimidation, retaliation, cheating, and general etiquette are all covered at length, and even the most devout fan will learn something new. The many unbelievable stories employed to illustrate a particular tenet of the code make this book a must-read for any sports lover who has ever spent the long winter pining for the month of April to come again. In an age of sports media often dominated by tales of performance-enhancing drugs, multi-million dollar contracts, off-the-field improprieties, and superstar diva personalities, it's refreshing to read about the game beyond all of the sensationalized headlines. While The Baseball Codes is at times too repetitious, it's hard not to get caught up in the authors' obvious enthusiasm. The book, at its core, is a collection of unforgettable moments that help to define the often misunderstood principles underlying the greatest game ever played.
Synopses & Reviews
Everyone knows that baseball is a game of intricate regulations, but it turns out to be even more complicated than we realize. What truly governs the Major League game is a set of unwritten rules, some of which are openly discussed (don’t steal a base with a big lead late in the game), and some of which only a minority of players are even aware of (don’t cross between the catcher and the pitcher on the way to the batter’s box). In The Baseball Codes, old-timers and all-time greats share their insights into the game’s most hallowed—and least known—traditions. For the learned and the casual baseball fan alike, the result is illuminating and thoroughly entertaining.
At the heart of this book are incredible and often hilarious stories involving national heroes (like Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays) and notorious headhunters (like Bob Gibson and Don Drysdale) in a century-long series of confrontations over respect, honor, and the soul of the game. With The Baseball Codes, we see for the first time the game as it’s actually played, through the eyes of the players on the field.
With rollicking stories from the past and new perspectives on baseball’s informal rulebook, The Baseball Codes is a must for every fan.
"Nearly as long as baseball has existed in its current form, so too have unofficial rules that professional players have strictly adhered to. Yet as Turnbow demonstrates in this highly entertaining read, every rule of the code has certain variations. Most casual baseball fans are keenly aware of many topics that Turnbow broaches, and some are universally agreed upon — hitters admiring home runs is severely frowned on, as is arguing with one's manager in public view and being caught stealing signs. But other rules are less cut-and-dried. On the subject of retaliating for a teammate being hit by a pitch: some believe the pitcher should be plunked in his next at-bat, while others say it should be a player with corresponding talent to the hit batter. Turnbow has an example for nearly every conceivable situation, and with quotes from dozens of former major league players, managers, and broadcasters, the reader can better understand the actions that can set off even the most even-tempered ball player. It's a comprehensive, sometimes hilarious guide to perhaps a misunderstood aspect of our national pastime, and will come in handy should one ever be involved in a beanball war. (Mar.) " Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Hilarious, surprising, and vastly entertaining, The Baseball Codes uncovers the hidden rules of baseball.
Everyone knows that baseball is a game of complicated rules, but it turns out to be even more complex than we realize. In The Baseball Codes, Jason Turbow and Michael Duca take us behind the scenes of the great American pastime. Players talk about the game as they never have before, breaking the code of secrecy that surrounds so much of baseball, both on the field and in the clubhouse.
We learn why pitchers sometimes do retaliate when one of their teammates is hit by a pitch and other times let it go. We hear about the subtle forms of payback that occur when a player violates the rules out of ignorance instead of disrespect. We find out why cheating is acceptable (but getting caught at cheating is not), and how off-field tensions can get worked out on the diamond.
These tacit rules are illuminated with oftenincredible stories about everyone from national heroes Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays to notorious headhunters Bob Gibson and Don Drysdale to true eccentrics like Rickey Henderson and Dock Ellis (who once pitched a no-hitter while on LSD).
The Baseball Codes is an absolute must for every fan of the game.
About the Author
Jason Turbow has written for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, SportsIllustrated.com, and Slam magazine. He is a regular contributor to Giants Magazine and Athletics, and for three years served as content director for “Giants Today,” a full-page supplement in the San Francisco Chronicle that was published in conjunction with every Giants home game. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife and two children.
Michael Duca was the first chairman of the board of Bill James’s Project Scoresheet, was a contributor to and editor of The Great American Baseball Stats Book, and has written for SportsTicker, “Giants Today” in the San Francisco Chronicle, and the Associated Press. He covers the San Jose Sharks for Examiner.com and works for the Office of the Commissioner as an official scorer and for MLB.com. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.
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