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The Code: Baseball's Unwritten Rules and Its Ignore-at-Your-Own-Risk Code of Conduct Hardcover – March 1, 2008


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The Code: Baseball's Unwritten Rules and Its Ignore-at-Your-Own-Risk Code of Conduct + The Baseball Codes: Beanballs, Sign Stealing, and Bench-Clearing Brawls: The Unwritten Rules of America's Pastime + The Unwritten Rules of Baseball: The Etiquette, Conventional Wisdom, and Axiomatic Codes of Our National Pastime
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Triumph Books (March 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1600780105
  • ISBN-13: 978-1600780103
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #780,265 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"If my manager tells me to take out the second baseman on a hard slide and I don't do it, then I should get punished accordingly. I had at least better try to do it and make it look good, or I am going to be in the doghouse.... It's not personal, it's just business. That is just the way it goes down sometimes. Hey, that's the code." --Torii Hunter, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim center fielder

"I remember once during a lopsided game with the Cubs, Doug Dascenzo laid down a suicide squeeze on me in like the eighth inning.... So while he was running to first base, I drilled him right in the back. It had to hurt. As far as I was concerned, they were trying to embarrass me and my teammates, so I did what I thought was necessary to retaliate and send a message." --Baseball analyst and former "Nasty Boy" Rob Dibble

"Steroids are definitely a violation of the code. Players are looking for any way to enhance their performance, though, which ultimately enhances their paychecks. There are people out there who are willing to break the law if they think that they can get away with it, and some of them are compensated handsomely for cheating, which is really sad in my opinion." --Hall of Famer Dave Winfield

From the Inside Flap

No sport is more steeped in tradition than our national pastime. For generations, fans have pored over game stories, anecdotes, biographies, and statistics, leaving no stone unturned in their pursuit to know everything there is to know about the game of baseball. One dimension of the game, however, has forever remained hidden from the public eye, known only to those within the sport itself. Until now...

Ross Bernstein, author of The Code: The Unwritten Rules of Fighting and Retaliation in the NHL, has pulled back the curtain on baseball's tacit rules regarding retaliation, sportsmanship, and intimidation. The result of dozens of interviews with some of the biggest names in the game, The Code is a systematic description of every major "unwritten rule" in the game today--from brushback pitches, bunting during a no-hitter, and running up the score, to home-run celebrations, stealing signs, and the use of performance-enhancing drugs.

Along the way, you'll read about some of the most memorable violations of the code in baseball history, including the home-plate collision between Pete Rose and Ray Fosse, as well as recent incidents such as Alex Rodriguez "distracting" the Toronto Blue Jays infield and White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen ordering his rookie pitcher to hit a batter, then demoting the player when he failed to do so.

For the first time, get the complete, no-holds-barred truth about the unwritten rules of baseball directly from the players, managers, and umpires who live their professional lives by the code.


More About the Author

Ross Bernstein is the best-selling author of more than 40 sports books and has appeared on thousands of local and national television and radio programs over his career, including CNN, NPR and ESPN, as well as on the covers of the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and USA Today. As a sought after motivational keynote speaker, Ross speaks to corporations and groups around the country about the inspirational legacy of his late friend and mentor, Herb Brooks, the coach of the fabled gold medal winning 1980 "Miracle on Ice" hockey team. Ross, who had actually been working with Brooks on writing a series of motivational/self-help books at the time of his tragic passing in 2003, honors the legacy of his friend and mentor through a program based on the topics of Passions and Legacies entitled: "When it Comes to Team-Building, Leadership & Motivation, Do you Believe in Miracles?" Putting many of the life-lessons and ideologies he learned from the fiery coach into a practical business application, Ross' interactive, entertaining and thought-provoking presentation aims to inspire others to follow their dreams and maybe, just maybe, even create their own miracles. Ross and his wife have one daughter and currently reside in the Twin Cities, MN.

Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By R. C Sheehy on July 20, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I must admit to approaching this book with some apprehension. I thought it would revolve around justifications for bean balls and steroids. Instead it is a thoughtful and very interesting insight into how baseball players view the game and how it should properly be played. The book really does cover it all. It provides a subject by subject overview of what the code more or less is. Granted, we can not treat this like a text book as the code is well not very codified.

The examples given by former ballplayers are intriguing as are all of the historical examples going back to the start of the game. As you might imagine former players do not believe current players have proper respect for the code, but I see that as more generational then anything else. In fact I believe that is something the players themselves note in the book. I also liked the section on cheating and what is OK (stealing signs by observation) and what is not (steroids and using equipment to steal signs). The views of relationships with fans is also very interesting to see.

All in all this is a must read for serious minded baseball fans who would like to broaden their knowledge of the game. My only hope is that the author follows this book up with one about football, basketball and hockey!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Dave on August 29, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Recommended by a friend, the first fifty pages of The Code were kind of disappointing. Then it caught fire! Great book from there on. Played and watched baseball for fifty years and found some stuff I didn't know!!!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By SPS on August 16, 2010
Format: Hardcover
There are some great behind-the-scenes yarns in here that the average baseball fan would never know about. There are some 'codes' that are worth exploring ... reaction to a bunt late during a no-hitter, for example. But he spends the first 50 or 60 pages letting us know, from 20 or 30 people, that beanballs and brushback pitches are all about 'respecting the game.' After about 100 different quotes essentially repeating that thought, I was ready to throw the book at the wall. Some of the later stories are more enlightening and less repetitive. Also, the writer is a big Twins fan, and more than half those quoted are Twins/ex-Twins,etc. It gives the impression of a fan who is just giddy at the chance to talk to his heroes. Like I said, decent material, but I think it belabors its point early and misses the mark overall.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jacob R. Hoogterp on May 9, 2012
Format: Hardcover
If you're 8-15 years old or know next to nothing about baseball, then this may be the book for you. If you appreciate good writing and/or are already familiar with baseball, then I'd suggest looking elsewhere. This book feels like it was written by a college undergrad in a composition class. The same things are repeated over and over again and the same phrases pop up every 2-3 pages or so. If you really want a good book on this subject, I would suggest checking out "The Baseball Codes" by Michael Duca. It was a much better read.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By git r done! on March 21, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Thought the concept of the book was interesting and decided to purchase on amazon after perusing it in a bookstore. Wish I had paid closer attention in the store as alot of the same players tend to get interviewed chapter after chapter. Also, I found the interview inserts in the middle of every chapter bothersome. Would have liked more current players interviewed. Overall, a tired read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By JOHN GODFREY on November 22, 2011
Format: Hardcover
But they all seemed to have long memories. Disrespect & slights or imagined slights can be remembered for years if necessary. Retaliation is certain & expected. Not retaliating can be seen as breaking the code. In 55 years of fandome, I have been aware of the code for many years in a superficial way. Ron Bernsteins book goes deep into the nuances & brings this inside game to life with humor & some understanding. The main thrust of this dense book of 31 chapters is the art of hitting purposefully the batter & believe me it is an art. The what, where, why & how is infinitely more complex than might at first be imagined. Ignore the code at your own risk if you are a major leaguer. The best part of the book, maybe 50%, is the stories told by players regarding the code. Mr. Bernstein is from Minneapolis so most of the stories are from Twins & former Twins. But that includes greats like Killebrew, Molitor, Kaat & other HOFer's so that's a minor quibble. They talking around the code without actually talking about the code through amusing stories. Whatever you think about the code, hard-core baseball fans will love this stuff. Especially during the long cold winter coming.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By J. Hoepken on July 26, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is a somewhat easy read, and somewhat enlightening when it came to beanballs and drilling batters in retaliation for violating the code. However, there are better baseball books out there on the other topics. For example, on cheating and steroids, check out "The Cheater's Guide to Baseball".

And to the previous reviewer - yes, the author had previously written a book on the hockey code, which is referenced several times in the book.
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