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2014 Chicago-North Gameday HQ

There are interpretations of when to steal, under what circumstances—if any—it is right to throw at a rival batter or if it’s appropriate to bunt when a no-no is in progress. But there has been no change in the old-fashioned neglect teams show when opponents get close to their dugouts. Silence rules. After that, a little humanity creeps in. It wasn’t so long ago that even if a rival tumbled down a few steps or flipped over a wall that rivals would allow him to hit the deck and scrape himself up off the concrete. Things have a changed a little. “It’s an unwritten rule that you don’t say anything,” Rodriguez says. “But you definitely get ready to catch him. You don’t want him to kill himself.” Iron Men Kaat finds himself in a tough situation these days. As a former player, he can remember a time when pitchers rarely missed a start, and pulls, strains and mild tears weren’t enough to keep a position player out of the game. You’re talking about a guy who started at least 41 games in a season three times and 35 or more six other years. He wasn’t one to ask for days off. As an announcer, Kaat understands that the same rules can’t apply to today’s players. He still gets a little upset when he sees a small injury drive someone from a game. He also knows such behavior isn’t always driven by a lack of toughness. “I kind of cringe when I see some of the reasons guys come out of the game,” Kaat admits. “Years ago, if you were in a pennant race, you needed to have a broken bone to come out. “But older players have to understand that with the money at stake, a guy in his walk year may have an agent telling him not to play unless he’s 100 percent.” And no one needs a code to decipher that message. If a hitter leans into a pitcher’s side of the plate too often, he can expect a brush-back pitch or worse, a plunking. As Brian McCann showed last year, a hitter, in this case, Carlos Gomez, should not hot-dog it after a home run. JARED WICKERHAM/GETTY IMAGES SPORT SCOTT CUNNINGHAM/GETTY IMAGES SPORT


2014 Chicago-North Gameday HQ
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