What, you've never seen a copy of the Unwritten Rules of Baseball, authored circa 1927 by Connie Mack, John McGraw, Calvin Coolidge and the Illuminati?
Oh, trust me, it exists. It must be real. After all, just check out what happened Wednesday night in the grand old game.
Yasiel Puig homered on ESPN.— ESPN (@espn) June 22, 2017
Some Mets didn't appreciate his actions afterward: https://t.co/56u2TIg0Wy
Let's just say he stood there at home plate. And watched. And admired. And enjoyed the majestic flight of a well-struck hide of leather. I can't be sure, but I think he took time to order a Dodger Dog with extra mustard. By the time he finally rounded the bases, it was 32.1 seconds later, the second-longest home run trot of 2017. (Long live David Ortiz.)
And fans didn't like it (except Dodgers fans). Oh, no, they did not. Mets first baseman Wilmer Flores didn't like it, saying something to Puig, who responded with two words that indicated, as ESPN announcer Eduardo Perez said, "his English is getting better." Catcher Travis d'Arnaud didn't like it. After the inning, Mets players Yoenis Cespedes and Jose Reyes stopped Puig on his way out to right field and had a calm discussion with him, probably about the unwritten code he had just violated. Remember: Don't look like you're too happy about doing something good.
Now that Puig's gone easy with the batflips they complain about watching the baseball.— Howard Cole (@Howard_Cole) June 22, 2017
I'd suggest that merely watching a baseball fly over a fence is a big improvement from the violent style of play when McGraw starred with the 1890s Baltimore Orioles. That team was known for its dirty style of play -- spiking and tripping runners, slapping the ball from fielders and a never-ending onslaught of verbal abuse. We've come a long way. Just don't show up the pitcher who served you a meatball.
Meanwhile, in Seattle, Detroit Tigers starter Justin Verlander was working on a perfect game with one out in the sixth inning and a 4-0 lead. Jarrod Dyson broke it up with a perfect bunt past Verlander and too far for Miguel Cabrera to make a play.
It's against the unwritten rules to win a baseball game if the other pitcher pitched 5/9 of a good game.— Lookout Landing (@LookoutLanding) June 22, 2017
Our friends on Twitter didn't like that one either. Especially Tigers fans. Of course, Dyson's entire game is speed, which means bunting is part of his regular arsenal. I'm not sure why Cabrera was playing so deep against him. Maybe he thought Dyson wouldn't dare bunt with a perfect game going. Of course, Dyson's job is to try to help the Seattle Mariners win.
"For sure want to go for the win but just basing it off ... unwritten rules in baseball to respect when someone is throwing that well," one fan tweeted.
Guess what happened next: The Mariners rallied for three runs in the inning. That's why you bunt for the hit. Verlander -- who was unlikely to go the distance anyway since his pitch count was already at 82 when Dyson singled -- immediately fell apart, throwing 28 pitches to the next five batters, unable to even finish the inning. The Mariners would then score four runs off the Tigers' bullpen in the seventh and win the game.
Respect the game? Sure. And the ultimate respect is trying to win. That's what Dyson did.
(As an aside: Pitch clock! As Verlander started to labor, he was taking impossibly long between pitches. Robinson Cano had to step out four times against him because he was taking so long.)
Play of the day
Awesome range and acrobatic throw by Milwaukee Brewers shortstop Orlando Arcia for the final out of a 4-3 victory over the Pirates with the tying run on second. Has to be on the short list for defensive play of the year given the game situation.
Would you rather end a game with a walk-off homer or this bit of magic? pic.twitter.com/4w0vTuD9m9— MLB (@MLB) June 22, 2017
Grand slam of the year
It was an epic confrontation between Perez and Robby Scott. Matt Barnes walked two batters leading off the inning and then Scott walked Eric Hosmer to load the bases. He threw Perez nine straight fastballs, Perez fouled off three on 3-2 before finally connecting. That wasn't even the best part of the home run, however: You see, Perez used Miguel Cabrera's bat.
What's the deal? Kansas City Star writer Rustin Dodd has the whole story here, but the short version is backup catcher Drew Butera had picked up a bat Cabrera left at home plate on May 31, loved the feel of it, and asked Cabrera if he had an extra one to use for batting practice. Cabrera sent over a couple and one of those found its way to Perez's locker on Wednesday. Dodd writes: "As soon as he came in the clubhouse, he just put it in my locker," Perez said of Butera. "Just like: 'Use it today.'"
In truth, Butera said, Perez had loved the feel, too. It was his size, and he could use it in games. Inscribed on the barrel was the name of Cabrera, his countryman and former teammate on Team Venezuela.
"I've always said," Butera said, "some guys just have magic sticks."
Perez was the first Royals player with a come-from-behind grand slam that late in a game since Frank White in 1986. It was also the first game the Red Sox lost this season when leading entering the eighth. The Royals are a game from .500, where they haven't been since they were 7-7.
Inside-the-park home run of the day
They say the triple is the most exciting play in baseball. Sometimes "they" are wrong, because here's Joey Gallo looking much faster than a guy who mashes 480-foot home runs should look:
Yes, it's our third Miguel Cabrera reference tonight:
Obscure factoid that is true that you can't believe hadn't happened before
Tommy Pham had two home runs and two outfield assists, the first Cardinals outfielder to do that in the modern era (since 1900), according to Elias Sports Bureau research. Nope, not even Bake McBride did it. The last player on any team to do it was Jose Guillen of the Royals in 2008. Big win for the Cardinals as well, rallying from a 5-0 deficit to beat the Phillies in extra innings.
Giants lose -- again
So, we had this Jeff Samardzija note from Andrew Baggarly: "Jeff Samardzija has 77 Ks and 3 BBs over his last 10 starts, and it took Pence's homer to keep him from becoming MLB's first 10-game loser."
I still think Samardzija's season is one of the strangest in recent years. Great, but not great. Hunter Pence's homer in the ninth tied the score, but the Braves won 5-3 on Matt Kemp's walk-off homer in the 11th.
By the way, that's three walk-off losses for the Giants in a week. That's one reason they have the second-worst record in the majors.
Freddie Freeman update
Mentioned in this space yesterday that the Braves were thinking of playing Freeman at third base when he comes off the DL (sometime after the All-Star break). I suggested it was a smokescreen to create trade value for Matt Adams. Mark Bowman's follow-up story reports that Freeman actually initiated the idea, which at least makes it more plausible since he would be buying into it. I still have doubts that it's a good idea, but as we know about baseball: You never know.