I've heard a lot about "unwritten rules", lately. After watching Stevie
Williams go all gangsta on Tiger Woods during an interview after
which the player he was carrying a bag for actually won the tournament
and not himself, a friend of mine said Williams broke the caddy
code of: show up, keep up, and shut up.
Ten days ago, Justin Verlander of the Detroit Tigers was
working on a no-hitter in the eighth inning when Erick Aybar of
the Angels tried to bunt his way on and break up the no-no.
Verlander was charged with an error on the play, but he also charged
Aybar with smashing the unwritten rule that you don't bunt to try to
torch a no-hitter. Verlander also shouted something about
splitting Aybar's ribs with a 100-mph heater the next time
he got to the plate.
What's up with all these "unwritten rules" and does anybody
ever do anything about them when they are broken? Is it really
any different than our society today? There are "unwritten rules"
that say you shouldn't lie about your co-worker, throw them under
the bus, and try to ruin them, but it happens all the time in the work
force, doesn't it? Some people feel that if they don't actually break
company rules but shatter the "unwritten" ones, then they'll take
their chances of being called a dirtbag, just as long as they come
out on top or get that promotion or extension of the contract. The
unwritten rules say it's "dog eat dog world", right?
To a lot of people in the sports world, what Stevie Williams
and Erick Aybar did was "bush league" or classless. Williams,
who never sank a white-knuckle, knee-knocking putt for 1.5
million dollars, sure took a lot of joy out of ripping Tiger Woods,
a guy who made him rich and famous, all for carrying a 50 pound
bag and saying, "you da man" over and over again.
But hey, that's what our society rewards these days. Talk smack
about someone and you'll be the lead on SportsCenter or get
plastered on the front and back page of "The New York Post."
To heck with the unwritten rules, Williams believed that if he
wasn't violating the statutes of the PGA Tour, then he should
get a slice of the spotlight. A caddy getting interviewed after
his boss won a tournament? Hilarious.
Aybar could care less about the "unwritten rule" of bunting to
break up a no-hitter. If he could fool everyone and get his base
hit to raise his batting average, then screw etiquette and Verlander.
If he didn't face a fine or suspension, then throw caution to the
wind, even if your teammates hated you for it by putting them
in jeopardy of getting drilled in the head for retaliation.
Breaking the "unwritten rules" is just a microcosm of what our
society has become. Get what you can get, to hell with the
unwritten rules and acting with some class and dignity. Life
has become one big money and attention grab. If I get mine,
then the heck with everyone else. Bernie Madoff believed that
for years. He thought nothing of destroying the lives of others,
until he got caught and had to pay the price. Until others have
to pay the price, we'll keep seeing this type of behavior from
athletes over and over again.