“We were taught from day one to respect the game, respect the competition, respect the opponent… You don’t swing 3-0 when you’re up by that big a lead.” — White Sox manager Tony La Russa, expressing disappointment in star rookie Yermin Mercedes for hitting a home run when his team was winning, 5/18/21

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Rule 1

If a team is down by a lot of runs, they should stop trying to win. And the other team should stop trying to score. And the fans should fall into a deep, awful sleep. That’s how the game is supposed to be enjoyed: not at all.

Rule 2

If your team has a big lead near the end of the game, you should just stand motionless in the batter’s box and let the pitcher play catch with the catcher. That’s baseball. It’s what we all tune in for.

Rule 3

If you hit a home run, don’t you dare look at it. Look straight ahead while you jog around the bases at a not-too-fast and not-too-slow pace. Suppress all joy. You should be ashamed of being good at the sport you’re playing. Fans hate home runs.

Rule 4

In fact, if you hit a home run, you should apologize to every player on the field as you grovel around the bases. And then look straight into a camera and say you’re sorry to everyone watching at home.

Rule 5

Don’t celebrate anything, actually. Don’t show any emotion. There should be zero emotion in a baseball stadium. The players should be stoic, and the fans should be eerily quiet and still. Anyone who walks in late should think an episode of The Twilight Zone is being filmed.

Rule 6

If a pitcher is throwing a no-hitter, you’re not allowed to bunt. You should just stand in the batter’s box and let the pitcher throw the ball. To put it simply, you should help the pitcher finish throwing a no-hitter. That’s what makes a no-hitter impressive — the pitcher couldn’t have done it without you.

Rule 7

No smiling.

Rule 8

Don’t do anything new. Does that make sense? If you figure out a novel way to score or win or whatever, you’re just making everyone who used to play and never thought to do that feel bad.

Rule 9

Pretty much anything that looks or seems fun is off-limits. This is a game — games aren’t supposed to be fun. Ask any child or human person.

Rule 10

If a player breaks any one of these rules, someone else should throw a hard baseball 90 miles per hour at their head. This is completely reasonable and totally normal.