With the way the Chicago Cubs first season under Mike Quade is going, one has to wonder how many more times we’ll get to joke about the Unwritten Rules when the Brewers play their I-94 rivals. For the uninitiated, recall back on April 9th, when Quade complained after Carlos Gomez stole second and third and then scored on a sacrifice fly to give the Brewers a 6-0 lead. According to Quade, Milwaukee violated one of the game’s unwritten rules by stealing with such a late lead.
This is clearly ridiculous. The Brewers are no strangers to six-run comebacks this season, and there’s no reason to stop running just because you have a late lead. The Brewers are also no stranger to managers who go insane over unwritten rules. Remember Davey Lopes? Chris Jaffe at The Hardball Times reminds us today that 10 years ago, on this date, Lopes lost his lid over Rickey Henderson (then of the Padres) stealing second base against the Brewers with a late lead:
It was the top of seventh inning of a Padres-Brewers game in Milwaukee. With the Padres comfortably ahead 11-5, future Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson came to the plate and singled in a run, giving San Diego a seven-run margin.
Then the fun began. You have Henderson on first base and no one on second. What do you think might happen here? Hey, it doesn’t matter that he’s 42 years old. He stole 31 bases the year before and would swipe another 25 this year.
Henderson did what Henderson did: He read the pitcher and made a nice jump when he thought he could beat the throw. As it happens, there was no throw. Henderson made it into second uncontested on a play ruled defensive indifference.
Well, Milwaukee catcher Raul Casanova may have been indifferent, but his manager Davey Lopes was anything but. Lopes charged out to the field to harangue Henderson for daring to steal with a seven-run lead late in the game. Lopes thought it was bush league and threatened to drill Henderson next time he came to the plate.
Turns out Lopes never got the chance. The Padres pulled Henderson from the game right after that, and that was the last Padres-Brewers game of the year. The next year, Henderson was with the Red Sox and Lopes lost his job after a 3-12 start to 2002.
Interesting — are the unwritten rules the go-to of the bad manager of the bad team? Is a similar fate to that of Lopes in store for Mike Quade? I, for one, would not be surprised should Quade be gone in a similar fashion in 2012.