There are few summer traditions more sacred than the intermittent and inversely proportional slugging of beers and softballs.
And while they aren’t as stringent as they are in the Majors, beer league softball comes with its own written — and unwritten — rules of conduct.
Commit them to memory.
Thou shalt not have other distractions during the game
Just because professional baseball players can’t stay off their cellphones during games doesn’t give you an excuse to do the same thing. Your phone belongs in the dugout or on the bench — not in your pocket when you’re out in the field. If you really must check it, do so between innings.
Thou shalt not take thy eye off the ball
If the game has to be stopped because you were too busy making lewd gestures at the first baseman to see the fly ball headed directly for your face, no one is gonna be happy. Keep your head on a swivel.
Observe the gameday and regard it as holy
If you’re going to take the time to get a team together and sign up for a league, it’s pretty simple: show up. No one over the age of eight wants to play with a ghost runner, and playing a man or two down in the field means more work for everyone else, not more fun.
Honor thy obligation to buy a round
However your squad handles the important business of getting soused before, during or after games, make sure you are a team player.
Thou shalt not lay hands on the umpire
People — even those who make the bizarre life choice to be volunteer umpires — make mistakes. If a call gets blown, get over it. There’s still gonna be a cold one waiting for you after the game. If Armando Galarraga can forgive Jim Joyce for costing him a perfect game, you can get over the bad call at third in the Pete’s Discount Tires Thursday Night League.
Thou shalt not steal bases
No one’s saying not to run out your groundouts and hustle down the line, but stealing bases in softball, while generally allowed, is a fairly obnoxious gym-class-hero move. Not to mention sliding into second sounds like a pretty good way to do in your ACL.
Thou shalt not bear false witness against an opponent
If someone was safe, say they were safe. If they were out, say they were out. If you really couldn’t tell, then, surprise, that’s what you say. Same thing if there’s no ump and you're in the position of calling balls and strikes. Lying in beer league softball is bush league. Don’t do it.
Thou shalt not covet thy teammate's position
Similar to how everyone always want to be quarterback, everyone wants to pitch or play shortstop. If it’s your week to catch or play left field, just be cool and wait for next week. Unless your league is super competitive, switching positions from one game to another shouldn’t be an issue.
Thou shalt not cry
Sorry champ, there’s no crying in beer league softball either.
Thou shalt arrange a DD
Don’t let a DUI put you on the DL.
This is part of an ongoing series called 37 Things a Man's Gotta Do This Summer, our annual compendium of everything worth seeing, doing, eating, drinking and generally making time for in your neck of the woods between now and September.