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The Baseball Codes: Beanballs, Sign…
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The Baseball Codes: Beanballs, Sign Stealing, and Bench-Clearing Brawls:…

by Jason Turbow

Other authors: Michael Duca (Author)

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If you're a baseball fan (and even if you aren't), you probably wonder what goes on behind the scenes. In this funny, absorbing book, Jason Turbow tells you all about what goes on behind the scenes in our national pastime, particularly as to the baseball code, the unwritten "rules" of the game. The code has changed over time and no one is supposed to talk about it to other players, but, in general, the code boils down to respecting one's colleagues.

Ballplayers who dig in too much in the batters box, who admire the home runs they've just hit, or who violate any of the myriad parts of "the code" will soon understand the error of their ways as the other team, or perhaps their own teammates, will do something to let them know where they've gone wrong.

Turbow provides a lot of stories from the distant and the recent past to illustrate his points. This was a baseball book I simply could not put down.

Cheating, sign stealing, doctoring the baseball with a foreign substance, and other such things are also covered, as is the "kangaroo court" whereby teams enforce their standards on their teammates. If a player does something stupid, his wallet will be a bit lighter, once the kangaroo court is through with him.

I'm a long-time fan and an old school sort of person so this book really resonates with me. I absolutely loved and learned a whole lot about the game I love so much. Highly, highly recommended!! One of the best baseball books I've read in a long time and I read at least a dozen of them each year, if not more. Loved it!!. ( )
2 vote lindapanzo | Feb 14, 2014 |
This one really drew me in right from the start! Of course, the first story is one of my favorites - the fight between Nolan Ryan and Robin Ventura! From that point on, this book is a baseball fan's delight! Lots of insight, behind the scenes drama, and some fun stuff too! If you love baseball, like I do, than pick this up right now, during the season, and give it a rip! ( )
  Stahl-Ricco | Aug 3, 2013 |
Started off interesting and got kind of boring. It just seemed to go on and on about beanballs. It also seemed to focus on players with questionable character too. I guess those are going to be the most controversial rule-pushing players though.

I was thrilled to learn that the White Sox would use their iconic scoreboard to secretly signal pitches to the batter. I've been to sooo many White Sox games in my life and never knew that. Little nuggets like that made the book worth reading. I just might be looking forward to baseball season this year for once in a VERY long time. ( )
  __Lindsey__ | Apr 17, 2013 |
The Baseball Codes: Beanballs, Sign Stealing, and Bench-Clearing Brawls: The Unwritten Rules of America’s Pastime alternately entertained, educated and enraged me. I love that authors Jason Turbow and Michael Duca were not afraid to name names. They told some great stories about some of the great rivalries in baseball — not just between teams, but between players. They explain the rules — the unwritten codes that players learn in the dugout and in the clubhouse. Some of these rules are black and white — everybody joins a fight. Some of the rules are so vague that even the players can’t agree on the specifics. But everybody knows there are rules…and there are consequences for breaking them.

“I can break it down into three simple things,” said Bob Brenly, who followed a nine-year big-league career by managing the Arizona Diamondbacks to a world championship in 2001. “Respect your teammates, respect your opponents, and respect the game.”

That sounds simple, doesn’t it? Most players learn by screwing up: they do something stupid — like showboat a little on a home run — and one of their guys gets hit with a pitch. Later, in the clubhouse, they get a little schooling from the other guys and the traditions are passed on. There are even clubhouse police (Chapter 23) and kangaroo courts to help rule on minor infractions. But for the most part, younger players learn by watching the older players, taking their cues from the veterans about how to behave on the field, in the clubhouse, and in front of the media.

I was amused by the rules that even the players can’t decide on — running up the score, for example. It only seems sporting that if you are massacring the other team, you stop playing quite so aggressively in the later innings, to avoid embarrassing them. But how much of a lead is enough and how early is late in the game? What constitutes aggressive play – bunting? Stealing a base? How much celebration is too much?

There are some fabulous stories in this book. The story about how Satchel Paige came to call teammate Buck O’Neill “Nancy” is a classic. There was also the story about Tommy Lasorda’s grudge against Buster Maynard. In 1949, playing in the Single-A South Atlantic League, Lasorda threw a series of inside pitches that knocked Maynard on his behind — and Maynard had no idea why! He got his explanation after the game: 7 years earlier, when Lasorda had been just 15 years old and a huge Giants fan, he’d asked Maynard for an autograph and been ignored by his hero. It took him a few years, but Lasorda got his revenge.

Revenge is one aspect of the book that troubled me. I understood the rules about protecting your players (you hit one of my guys, I’ll hit one of yours), I understood the rules about hard slides and hard tags and when they are appropriate, but I have an issue with sending a fastball straight for a guy’s head, just because you’re mad that he bunted on you or frustrated because you gave up a home run. That ball is potentially lethal in a pitcher’s hands and they ought to know it (shortstop Ray Chapman of the Cleveland Naps was killed by pitch, thrown by Yankees pitcher Carl Mays). There are many stories in the book about players who suffered career-ending or career-altering injuries as a result of these pitches. Satchel Paige taught Nolan Ryan about “one of the best pitches” in baseball: the bow-tie pitch. You throw it right across their Adam’s apple — right where they wear their bow tie. I found myself angry and horrified listening, which is not what I expected at all when I started this book.

I enjoyed The Baseball Codes, even when it made me angry. It’s a terrific story about the behind-the-scenes stuff that goes on around the diamond. I loved getting a closer look. As for those ambiguous rules, there are a few I’m highly in favor of. For example, I completely agree that running up the score on an opposing team is downright rude and teams should never, ever do that. Of course, I was watching the day the Cleveland Indians came back from a 12-4 deficit to beat the Seattle Mariners 15-14 in 11 innings…and I’m a die-hard Indians fan. ( )
  LisaLynne | Jan 1, 2012 |
This is easily one of the best baseball books I've read in recent years. Completely original with in depth discussions of all the unwritten rules of baseball we've heard about for years. If you've followed baseball for anytime at all this will be a trip down memory lane. So many incidents that I had forgottten about over the years (and many I never knew about) are explained with the story behind the story. Remember Jeffrey Leonard's flap down home run trot? Here you'll find the back story about what led to it. There are dozens of fascinating stories like this throughout and if you even just 'like' baseball you'll love this book. ( )
2 vote zimbawilson | Sep 7, 2011 |
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Jason Turbowprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Duca, MichaelAuthorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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With apologies to Joe Carter, the most memorable moment of the 1993 baseball season didn't even happen while a ball was in play.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0375424695, Hardcover)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:31:56 -0400)

Everyone knows that baseball is a game of complicated rules, but it turns out to be even more complex than we realize. 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 often incredible stories about everyone from national heroes true eccentrics.--From publisher description.… (more)

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