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The Two Ricks: Javy Baez and baseball’s unwritten rules

Cubs infielder Javy Baez has been the source of controversy recently. | Jim Young/AP Photo

When Javy Baez tossed his bat in the air following a pop-up against the Pirates, he broke one of baseball’s unwritten rules. The sin stirred up controversy between the two teams, and don’t be surprised if some animosity still brews under the surface next time they play.

But in baseball, it’s far from the first time that a violation of the manners of the game has led to problems. Unwritten rules are part of what make the sport unique. And in order to better understand why that is, Sun-Times columnists Rick Morrissey and Rick Telander focused this week’s episode of “The Two Ricks: Unfiltered” on those special rules and why flouting them can be so controversial.

“I think you have a clash here, and without actually saying it, when people say respect the game, they’re saying, “Hey, you’re not playing the game like the generations before us,” Morrissey said.

From baseball’s origins as a predominantly white sport steeped in tradition to its evolution with a more diverse player pool, there’s been a tug and pull in the impact of the game’s unwritten rules.

And in a sport where retaliation can be elusive — “I don’t have any other way of getting back at you” — the unwritten rules provide the playing ground upon which players figure out how to police each other.

But where did all these rules come from? Why are they such a big deal? And which one should go away?

Telander and Morrissey discuss all of that and more in Episode 8 of “The Two Ricks: Unfiltered,” brought to you by Sun-Times Media Productions.

Sun-Times sports columnists Rick Morrissey and Rick Telander are co-hosts of a new podcast called “The Two Ricks: Unfiltered.” Don’t miss their candid, no-holds-barred takes on everything from professional teams tanking to overzealous sports parents and more. Download and subscribe for free on Apple Podcasts and Google Play, or via RSS feed.