Despite all the coverage of Sam Fuld’s big night Tuesday night (check out the bottom of this post for some incredibly cool notes on Fuld’s Tuesday performance from Rays PR Guru Rick Vaughn), I think one critical Fuld question has gone unasked. In his final at bat, Fuld seems to have come to the junction of two of baseball’s unwritten rules. (In case I have never mentioned this before, I LOVE arguing about baseball’s unwritten rules because no one is right so the argument goes on forever. I am a lawyer, why wouldn’t I love something like that).
The rules in question:
- Thou shalt not game the system to earn a statistical accomplishment;
- Thou shalt not take extra bases in a blowout win.
The first rule goes back to at least Ted Williams. If you want to win the batting title, you better play on the last day of the season (I am looking at you Bill Mueller). So, when Fuld slashed that stand-up double down the leftfield line, he certainly would have violated this principle had he stopped at first to preserve just the second Cycle in Rays history.
BUT, the Rays were already up 14-4 and had scored 2 runs in the 9th when Fuld came to the plate. Victory was assured, even against a team with Boston’s vaunted lineup. So, by taking second base on his double, a move that ultimately set up another Rays run, Fuld probably violated Rule 2.
See, isn’t this fun? Stay at first, violate Rule 1 by hitting for the cycle without hitting a true single. Go to second, violate Rule 2 by taking unnecessary extra bases. It can go on-and-on.
Then, just to make it interesting, we’ll throw in this newly adopted unwritten (but well Tweeted) rule: #LegendofSamFuld is an unwritten rule, anything contrary to #LegendofSamFuld breaks the unwritten rules.
The Legend Grows.
Here are the Vaughner’s Notes:
- Fuld’s 4 extra base hits and 11 total bases are records for a Fenway Park debut (by a visiting player);
- He is the first New Hampshire born player to hit a Home Run at Fenway Park since Boston’s Phil Plantier homered against the Yankees on October 3, 1992 and just the 4th New Hampshire born player to ever homer there;
- Fuld’s 4 extra base hits tie the Rays’ franchise record (last Tomas Perez — Ed. TOMAS PEREZ! — July 29, 2006 vs. NYY);
- Since 2000, only 2 other players have had 4 extra-base hits in a game they started with 11 or fewer career extra base hits: Adam LaRoche, May 15, 2004 (entered the game with 7 career XBH hits and picked up 4 2B) and Miguel Cabrera, July 1, 2003 (entered the game with XBH and picked up 2 HR and 2 2B).
- Fuld gave the Mrs. her first baseball-related “I told you so” because she convinced me not to submit “When Sam Fuld is your most exciting player, you are probably 1-8″ as my weekly summary to ESPN.com. (OK, that isn’t RV’s note but it seemed relevant).