New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia has a bone to pick with Eduardo Nunez and the Boston Red Sox following Thursday night’s match up.
Sabathia is recently off the disabled list and has been nursing a knee injury, which has weakened his fielding abilities. During the first inning of Thursday’s game, Nunez dropped a bunt allowing him to advance to first when Sabathia’s throw pulled first baseman Greg Bird out of position.
Sabathia spat curses at Nunez and the Sox dugout after the play, and then called the team “weak” immediately following the game.
“It’s kind of weak to me,” Sabathia said. “It shows what they’ve got over there. … I’m an old man. They should go out there and try to kick my butt.”
It doesn’t matter what Sabathia thinks, the Sox were smart to bunt against him. They weren’t playing “weak,” they were playing for the win.
The situation brings up the conversation of the “unwritten rules” of baseball. Sabathia is under the impression that Nunez broke one of these unwritten rules by using the pitcher’s weakness to his advantage.
The issue about unwritten rules is exactly that: they’re unwritten. They don’t technically have to be followed. Often times, these unwritten rules involve common courtesy and sportsmanship. There are plenty of time-honored rules that are consistently respected, however, the one in question is not one of them. Therefore, Sabathia’s complaints have little ground to stand on.
Let’s look at it this way. If a pitcher knew that the opposing batter had difficulty hitting balls on the inside, would people be upset at that pitcher for throwing a ball on the inside? Absolutely not. There’s no unwritten rule for exploiting your opponent’s weaknesses. While this example isn’t a physical injury, when you break it down, that’s what is happening with Sabathia. He can’t field well. So, the Sox forced him to field the ball.
Regardless of injuries and limitations, players at this level are expected to execute under any and all outstanding circumstances. The Sox were right to expose Sabathia for not being able to do this. If he is healthy enough to be out on the field in the first place, he should be healthy enough to field his position.