The caller was confused and wanted my help.

“I keep hearing people talking about some baseball player breaking an unwritten rule,” she said. “What was the rule, and how did he know he broke the rule if it wasn’t written down somewhere?”

I’m pretty sure my answer only added to her confusion.

“Well, ma’am, depending on who you choose to listen to, Major League Baseball player Yermin Mercedes of the Chicago White Sox should:

1. Continue to try and get a hit each time he steps to the plate.

Or. …

2. Have fastballs tossed at his noggin by opposing pitchers for at least the next month because he hit a home run on a 3-0 pitch when his team had a big lead in a game.”

“I thought baseball players were supposed to try and hit the ball all the time,” the caller said.

“Well, that’s where it gets a little fuzzy,” I said. “The Minnesota Twins, not wanting to waste another actual pitcher in a game they were probably going to lose, sent a non-pitcher — a position player — to the mound. To some ‘old school’ players, coaches and fans, swinging at a 3-0 pitch when your team is enjoying a big lead is sort of like kicking a wounded animal. The fact the person delivering the pitch wasn’t even a real pitcher made it worse, because, well, it’s an unwritten rule.”

“Did the player know the rule?”

“Probably, but things have changed over the years in baseball. Some players think it’s OK to hit a home run, stand and admire it for several seconds and then take five minutes to round the bases while they try out a few new dance moves and call their agent to see about working up a new contract. Other players call that ‘showing up the pitcher,’ which usually leads to one of the aforementioned fastballs to the noggin the next time the player comes to the plate.”

“I just don’t know how they expect players to follow the rules if they don’t write them down somewhere,” the caller said. “Imagine what it would be like in the real world if we were just expected to follow rules that weren’t actually posted.”

After the caller disconnected, I realized she had a point, so I came up with a few unwritten rules that should become the law of the land. Feel free to write them down.

Don’t take the last deviled egg at a church picnic until you’ve given at least one other person the chance to claim it.

Don’t order anything other than drinks at the Sonic drive-thru.

Don’t be nice at a four-way stop. Go when it’s your turn to go. If you want to be nice when you’re driving, quit texting, putting on makeup or shaving and stay the heck out of the left lane unless you’re passing another vehicle.

Don’t congratulate someone on their surefire winning entry at the school or office “Ugly Sweater” contest unless you’re 100% certain their school or office is holding an ugly sweater contest.

Don’t call a newspaper to ask a question about something that published in the newspaper that day, and then get mad when someone suggests you purchase a subscription to the newspaper so you won’t miss out on the news you obviously need to know.

Don’t blame the teacher when your little angel fails the class he slept through on the rare days he actually decided to attend the class.

Don’t get mad if you’re constantly surrounded by clowns when you’re the one that keeps showing up at the circus.

And finally, don’t believe me when I tell you I’ll give you a chance to get the last deviled egg at the church picnic.

Some rules were made to be broken.

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— Jack Stallard is sports editor of the Longview News-Journal. Email:; follow on Twitter @lnjsport