Baseball has changed, and Tuesday April 12 make be looked back on as a tipping point.
The Giants broke what are considered two of the game’s unwritten rules in the 13-2 beat down of the Padres.
First it was stealing a base in the second inning up nine runs, a decision that led to words being exchanged between first base coach Antoan Richardson and Padres coach Mike Shildt. Richardson was ultimately ejected. Then Mauricio Dubon bunted for a base hit with the Giants up 11-2 in the sixth inning. That led to some yelling from Padres manager Bob Melvin towards the Giants dugout.
After the game, Gabe Kapler made it clear that the Giants don’t care too much about the unwritten rules, and they are going to keep playing no matter what.
“I fully support both of those decisions,” Giants manager Gabe Kapler said of Dubón’s bunt and Duggar’s steal. “Our goal is not exclusively to win one game in a series. It’s to try to win the entire series. Sometimes, that means trying to get a little deeper into the opposition’s ‘pen. I understand that many teams don’t love that strategy.”
“It’s not to be disrespectful in any way,” Kapler said. “It’s because we feel very cool and strategic. It’s the best way to win a series. When I say cool, I mean calm. We’re not emotional about it. We’re not trying to hurt anybody. We just want to score as many runs as possible, force the other pitcher to throw as many pitches as possible. If other clubs decide that they want to do the same thing to us, we’re not going to have any issue with it.”
Kapler and the Giants have drawn a line in the sand with the unwritten rules. It’s clear they believe they are antiquated and are willing to face the consequences of what comes with that.
And there may be consequences. Former Giant Will Clark laid it out succinctly when he joined Murph & Mac on Wednesday morning.
“As long as people like me are in the game, somebody is gonna get hit,” Clark said with a chuckle.
“That is definitely a new world. Bob Melvin and Matt Williams were teammates of mine. We were taught a different way to deal with something like that. I’m just telling you that that right there in baseball terms back when we were playing was a big, huge no-no.
“In that clip you just played he said if a team decides to do it against us we completely understand. So, I mean if that’s his thinking, then fine. But at the same time later on down the road, he’s going to have it happen to him, and he better accept it.”
Clark then broke down how the unwritten rules worked in his day.
“It was kind of like a gentleman’s agreement, where we’re up big and we’re not going to beat a guy down to death. It was 11-2 at the time? Not only that it’s the prime of the game, the sixth inning so you’ve only got three innings left. That was the thinking in the older era. Not only would you not bunt in a situation like that, you wouldn’t steal in a situation like that. As a matter of fact, me being a first baseman, if we were up or we were down, we would actually play behind the runner, and just say ‘hey, just chill out over here.
“Back in the day if somebody did ignore that rule, they got drilled. We even talked about it. I understand where Gabe’s coming from in supporting his player, and he flat out came out and said, ‘this is what we’re trying to do and if it happens to us we completely understand.’
“He has set the rules out there. Now, he’s gonna have to live with it moving forward.”
Listen to the full interview below. You can listen to every KNBR interview on our podcast page at knbr.com/podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts.
Catch Murph & Mac weekdays from 6 – 10 a.m. on KNBR 104.5 / 680 and streaming live on KNBR.com.