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The Baseball Codes: Beanballs, Sign Stealing, and Bench-Clearing Brawls: The Unwritten Rules of America's Pastime
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The Baseball Codes: Beanballs, Sign Stealing, and Bench-Clearing Brawls: The Unwritten Rules of America's Pastime

3.75  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,071 Ratings  ·  222 Reviews
Everyone knows that baseball is a game of intricate regulations, but it turns out to be even more complicated than we realize. What truly governs the Major League game is a set of unwritten rules, some of which are openly discussed (don’t steal a base with a big lead late in the game), and some of which only a minority of players are even aware of (don’t cross between the ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published March 22nd 2011 by Anchor (first published 2010)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Steve Bennett
Jan 24, 2012 Steve Bennett rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a quick, fun read. I have never understood the unwritten codes of baseball and I guess I still don't. But they exist nonetheless. The book at length discusses my least favorite unwritten code--that when a team has a lead that the other team thinks is "too much" the winning team should stop trying. As a recent player on an adult softball team that regulary lost games by scores like 35-4 and 28-3, I can kind of empathize. But I still don't really support the unwritten rule. The book discus ...more
jeremy
Apr 11, 2010 jeremy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: baseball
baseball, perhaps more than any other sport, can appear deceptively simple to the outsider or casual fan. it is, however, a richly nuanced game governed for more than a century as much by the written rulebook as by a constantly evolving tacit philosophy referred to as "the code." the code concerns itself with nearly every aspect of the game and can be considered baseball's moral compass, in place to engender loyalty not only to one's teammates, but also to the game itself.

the baseball codes, wri
...more
Jay
Aug 05, 2012 Jay rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: baseball
Fun stories, but there's a lot of them, and they start to run together after a while. I most liked the practical jokes section for the anecdotes and the sign stealing section for the shear institutionalized cheating it described. Makes you wonder about what home field advantage really means. This is told as the code of the players, from back in history, but it made me wonder whether the baseball owners also were behind some of these "codes". For instance, not piling on runs when ahead provided f ...more
Rich
May 20, 2010 Rich rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An entertaining and often insightful glance into baseball's sometimes ambiguous moral universe. While some of the codes--never talking to a pitcher during a no-hitter, what happens in the clubhouse STAYS in the clubhouse--are still firmly in place and rarely disputed, others, like when stealing becomes a matter of rubbing it in or when it's appropriate to give a hitter a "bowtie" with an inside fastball are constantly up for debate. Players from those in the HOF to the many dusted off from the s ...more
Nathan
One of the things I love about baseball is the subculture that has grown up within and around it. That subculture is the raw material of this book. Both the well-known "codes" as well as the more obscure traditions are covered, from not mentioning a no-hitter in progress, to the finer points of clubhouse etiquette. Supplemented with generous amounts of player interviews, this book feels like a day-in-the-life tour of a major leaguer as much as anything. There is a slightly distracting tendency t ...more
michelle
there may not be crying in baseball but there sure are a lot of Feelings.
Ed
Jul 27, 2011 Ed rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: baseball fans
Recommended to Ed by: new book in library
Top-story baseball book, ranking up there with Ball Four. Jason Turbow looks at the cheating, pranks, rookie hazing, kangaroo courts, and the whole shebang. He uses lots of MLB players and relates their anecdotes. What I got from the book was baseball is played a certain right way, and "THE CODE" is what makes it the great game it is. I recognized many of the names like my all-time favorite pitcher, Dick Bosman, and the casual fan might not enjoy the detailed narrative as much as I did. Lots of ...more
David
Oct 02, 2015 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
America’s pastime has an extensive set of written rules, some of which I’ve only managed to figure out after watching for over thirty years (infield fly rule? Obstruction? Anyone?) And then there are a series of unwritten rules that govern the behavior of the players and are policed internally, known as the Baseball Code. The elite athletes who play this game may or may not respect this Code, but it exists, and many who ignore it do so at their own peril.

There are unwritten rules about when to t
...more
Anthony Smith
The book I chose to read was The Baseball Codes written by Jason Turbow with Michael Duca. The book consists of many short stories of baseball incidents and what to do and what not to do during certain situations. Turbow gives advice in his book from many baseball players on their opinion on the incident and if it relates to the baseball “code”.
One reason why The Baseball Codes can come in handy is because of the lessons the book raises. If you do anything against the baseball code it could easi
...more
John-Michael Pahlavan
Tedious, but decent. Anyone who finishes Turnbow's 'Unwritten Rules' manifesto will come away with a deeper understanding and appreciation for America's pastime.
Karlene
Mar 26, 2014 Karlene rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This is the probably the best non-fiction baseball book I have ever read. As a twenty-something year old playing baseball, I was familiar with a few of these Baseball Codes like never saying the words "no-hitter" or rookie hazing rituals, but there were a lot of surprises in there!

There were a lot of Baseball Codes that I've encountered playing the game that I've never really thought twice about, like when is it appropriate in a game to bunt, or when a team should stop stacking up runs against a
...more
Roger Smitter
Aug 07, 2015 Roger Smitter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Baseball is probably the sport that allows for quantitative analysis of every event. As Kevin Coster's character in Bull Durham, "it's base. We count everything."

The Basball Codes goes in the opposite direction, analyzing the quantitative elements of the game. This includes the rules about behavior on the field and how these informal rules are enforced. When does a picture brush back a hitter? When do teams start a fight? When I and how are players allowed to celebrate on the field.

Each chapte
...more
Michael
Jan 18, 2016 Michael rated it really liked it
It's 'The Code', that is why many may scratch their heads and wonder what is up with a particular game of baseball. Yes, baseball has its written rules we all are familiar with; three strikes for an out, three outs for an inning, etc., but most are unfamiliar with the unwritten rules, rules covering sign stealing, bench clearing brawls, sliding, beaning, records, no-hitters or perfect games, cheating, stealing, every aspect of the game, both on and off the field. After reading this book any spec ...more
Jeff
Mar 16, 2014 Jeff rated it it was amazing
This will be listed as one of the best baseball books I have ever read. Jason Turbow and Michael Duca have certainly done their research and homework. And the list of people that they interviewed for this book spans at least two solid pages in the back of the book.

Any true baseball fan knows that there are dozens, if not hundreds of these "unwritten rules" in the game of baseball. Some are not actually covered in this book, such as not running on the pitcher's mound while running across the fie
...more
zumiee
Feb 25, 2013 zumiee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Baseball's so-called "unwritten rules" are examined here, with a subtle mixture of seriousness and humor. There are lots of great baseball stories in this book, and baseball fans everywhere will find much to enjoy here.
Jacob Uhl
Oct 08, 2014 Jacob Uhl rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of my favorite reads because it covers the topics of baseball and what most people don't know that happens behind the scenes. This book is about all of the secret codes that people don't know about that cause the sign stealing, bean balls, and bench clearing brawls. whenever you see someone get pegged with a baseball then a brawl ensues? There are unwritten rules that major league players have that cause these things to happen. These rules are never talked about outside of the locker ...more
Mr. Stoner
Aug 03, 2014 Mr. Stoner rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This rekindled the flame of playing days, at the college level. The irony was that many of these "rules" I learned in HS or college. But as the game changes and these rules seem to change as well, the one overriding theme for baseball is play the game with respect. That is why the game is still loved. The rookies are taught to respect the game, the other team, the other players, the past, & the future. We all want respect in all we do. The "Codes" present a way of continually respecting the ...more
Christina Sampson
Jul 31, 2015 Christina Sampson rated it liked it
This book is exceptionally well-researched and certainly mines an interesting facet of baseball. The authors do a great job getting ballplayers to reveal inner workings and social mores of the game few fans probably ever learn about. The research alone warrants three stars.

However, although the author is clearly a phenomenal sports writer, I felt less like I was reading a book than the world's longest magazine article. An incredibly well-written magazine article, and I love a good Sunday mornin
...more
Corey Thibodeaux
There's a lot to baseball, apparently. I will never look at it the same way again after reading this because, my goodness, everything has a motive. Ever heard of a kangaroo court? Did you know a grudge from a single mistake can last for months, even years? After the way the Royals started this MLB season, I see why they're picking fights every game so clearly. RESPECT.

I'm not a baseball player, but I'm a rational human being. I don't think I'm off base (no pun intended) calling baseball players
...more
Linda
The snow swirled and the wind howled as I finished up this inside look at how the Boys of Summer play their game then and now. "The Baseball Code..." is written by two reporters who cover the Bay Area teams. That means they spend most of the year inside these circles, however they also talk to players from plenty of other teams past and present.

The Code for those who don't follow baseball (and why don't you, it's the best sport to my mind plus the weather tends to be better all season long) are
...more
Mick
Aug 20, 2011 Mick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having what some may consider an unnatural affinity for the Atlanta Braves (hey, growing up in Iowa in the 70's & 80's with the beginning of cable TV, we had two choices: the Cubs or the Braves. I think I made the correct choice...), I was thoroughly pleased to see them represented prominently in this fascinating take on Major League Baseball. In fact, they were involved in what many to believe the fiercest brawl in baseball history (against the SD Padres) back in the early 80's, which gets ...more
Hilary
Jun 24, 2010 Hilary rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library-copy
I wouldn't say this one features any great writing, but it's still an entertaining read, full of funny, interesting baseball anecdotes. The 'codes' covered here range from sign stealing shenanigans to the etiquette of bunting for a base hit late in a game where your team is getting no-hit. I loved one story about the scorekeeper at Wrigley overhearing a Cubbie (not knowing who he was) joking about his weight; the scorekeeper proceeded to enact his revenge for the rest of the season, by scoring m ...more
Scott
Nov 21, 2012 Scott rated it liked it
This was a light, enjoyable but also enlightening look at the unwritten rules that pervade Major League Baseball. I have watched baseball for most of my life, but even I am sometimes confused about why some of the rules exist and why they're adhered to so closely by so many players. In that sense, this book was pretty eye-opening, and I now feel that I have a much stronger understanding of the Code. It's essential to understand the history of the game and how these unwritten rules evolved, which ...more
Les
(Reader response drivel--not much of an actual review)

A well-written explanation of the codes and unwritten rules of major league baseball and their evolution over the history of the game. Bottom line: respect your fellow players, the coaches, the umpires, and the game itself. Show disrespect to anyone of these and you will receive retaliation. I consider myself a peaceful person, but somehow became happily blood thirsty and enjoyed these tales of revenge. Because it is a game, maybe?

I had to hu
...more
Ashley
Feb 14, 2012 Ashley rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sports
I am a big baseball fan and I had really high hopes for this book when I first picked it up. I thought to myself, “Any book about my favorite sport has to be fantastic!” but I was wrong. Initially I found it rather disappointing and I found it very hard to get in to because it is very basic and doesn’t really get in to the “meat and potatoes” of baseball.

I found myself thinking, “I already know this!” and I kept wanting something more from the book; I wanted to learn something I didn’t already k
...more
Kristen
Oct 15, 2011 Kristen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
The book on the "unwritten" rules of baseball is a fun, easy read. It is split into four sections and I found some sections I really liked and some I just skimmed.

The first section is on the field and covers things like when to slide, when to steal, running into the catcher, etc. I found most of this I had already known just from listening to announcers who were formerly players (here in AZ Bob Brenley and Mark Grace, both interviewed for this book, have been broadcasters who give a good view in
...more
Matt
May 22, 2010 Matt rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fun, quick summer read about major league baseball culture.

Turbow interviewed a whole lot of former and current big leaguers to put together this very solid overview of everything from the etiquette of hitting a batter to the hazing of rookies to the acceptance of cheating. Frequently we read about a pitcher getting caught with a foreign substance on his glove or a hitter getting criticized for trying to break up a no-hitter by bunting. This book is probably the most complete reference to date
...more
Jeremy
May 22, 2011 Jeremy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, sports
The First Rule of the Code is don't talk about the Code. The Second Rule of the Code is don't talk about the Code...at least that seems to be the case as the author tries to patchwork together disparate anecdotes and "drinkin' stories" of the idiosyncrasies of America's pasttime. The major takeaway from the book is that baseball has changed-- it's not the same game it was a generation ago, as evidenced by the focus on stories from the past of adherence to a shifting, vague, and often contradicto ...more
Tommy
Mar 18, 2011 Tommy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I learned a lot about the unspoken rules of Major League Baseball from this book. You might think of "The Code" as hallowed etiquette understood amongst most players in The Show. It's about knowing when not to show up the other team, knowing how to appropriately intimidate another player, when to throw at a batter, what you can and cannot say to a manager or veteran player. It's understanding how and when to cheat, and honoring superstitions. It's knowing how much you can intentionally hurt a co ...more
Hilary
Jan 21, 2011 Hilary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Turbow and Dura take readers behind the scenes of the Great American Pastime and explain the unwritten rules of baseball through dozens of anecdotes from the earliest days of baseball through contemporary games. While some of the tenets -- “never talk to a pitcher during a no-hitter” and “what happens in the clubhouse stays in the clubhouse” -- are familiar to baseball fans, others will be new to most readers.

Entertaining, insightful, and engaging, this well-researched and comprehensive survey r
...more
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