Yermin Mercedes is hitting .346 with six home runs in his breakout rookie season, numbers that should win him praise from manager and everyone else rooting for the Chicago White Sox to make a run deep into October.
And, no, he’s never read the unwritten rules of baseball. He can’t, because, well, they’re unwritten.
Tony La Russa seems to know them anyway, which isn’t surprising. And La Russa seems intent on teaching them to his young slugger, who made what might otherwise be chalked up to a rookie mistake by hitting a 47 mph pitch thrown by a position player over the fence in Minnesota the other night.
Or maybe it wasn’t a mistake after all. Unwritten rules, it seems, can be a bit baffling, even to those who think they know them.
That includes a septuagenarian manager who seems determined to prove every day that he is as out of touch with today’s game as his many critics claim.
“I was upset because that’s not the time to swing 3-and-0,’’ La Russa said. “The Twins knew I was upset. With that kind of lead, it’s about sportsmanship, respect for your opponent and respect for the game. There’s going to be a consequence that he’s going to have to endure within our family. It won’t happen again. He’s not going to do that again.”
Maybe not, if only because Mercedes is a 28-year-old in his first year in the big leagues and pretty much has to do what his manager says. Imagine, if you will, Yankees manager Aaron Boone saying something similar to Aaron Judge if he dared swing away on a slow fat one down the middle at just the wrong time.
But if La Russa is looking to find someone to blame, there are plenty of other candidates available.
Major League Baseball, to begin with, for allowing the farce that is position players pitching in late innings. As much as fans increasingly…
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