The history of mankind is defined by conflict. All conflict is, in its distilled form, RBI Baseball.
Long before it became recognized on the fuzzy television screens of the late 1980s, RBI Baseball burned within the heart of every man and woman. It is the struggle to progress, to succeed, to vanquish. When Homer described the bronze armor of the Trojan heroes clattering in the dust, he was (without his knowledge) echoing the shrill whistle of the umpire calling the out, following the death rattle of the lazy fly ball. When Pushkin stood back-to-back with death on the frozen, miserable tundra, he too felt it. We all feel it.
How blessed are we, then, to have the actual RBI Baseball with which to express our will, rather than straining to conceive it through unbidden words and the swirling cloud of troubled dreams.
Of course, the power to wage total war upon the pride and identity of another soul is not to be taken lightly. As Clauswitz opined on the deadliness of the bayonet and Walzer with napalm, our generation has struggled to establish jus in bello – the law of war – the principles by which our struggle remains humane and honorable even in these desperate times.
The realists, of course, scoff at such niceties. When victory is at stake, they claim, any restraint is a show of weakness. But to descend down this path of logic is the way to madness: a world of mustard gas and atomic weaponry and slapping at the glove of the fielder during tag plays. No matter what our aims, no matter how desirable our goals, our restraint is what separates us from the beasts. So, too, should it be with RBI Baseball. Especially with RBI Baseball.
Though the world and various national governments have remained silent on this issue, the People have crafted their own set of rules regarding the honorable play of RBI Baseball. However, regional customs still exist; if you have any questions, the best practice would be to consult your local chamber of commerce.
RBI Baseball Code of Conduct
Article I: The NES Itself
1. No player may commit any action that would cause the Nintendo to reset or turn off. Doing so results in immediate forfeiture.
2. If the Nintendo resets, and no player can be proven to have forced the reset, the game is considered to be final if five (5) full innings have been completed or if the home team is ahead in the bottom of the fifth.
3. All glitches (fouls that seem fair, fair balls that seem foul, home runs that seem to pass through the wall) are treated as normal play. If it is the will of RBI Baseball, all players must abide.
Article II: Rosters
1. You may not select an All-Star team unless the other player has previously agreed to select the other All-Star team.
2. You may not pinch hit for Spike Owen. You want to be the Red Sox? You have to pay to be the Red Sox.
Article III: Fielding and Baserunning
1. Though not within the game’s code, the Infield Fly Rule is in effect. Unlike real baseball, note that RBI Baseball draws a helpful line to demarcate the edge of the infield.
2. If a pitcher hits a fly ball past said infield stripe, the reulting dishonor for the opposing team forces them to treat it as a home run. No fielding may take place in such an event.
3. If you attempt to steal a base, you must commit to that steal. You may not turn back halfway while the throw dribbles down to second base.
4. If you have runners on first and third, you may not double steal, since the thrown ball is so slow that you cannot prevent the runner taking second without the runner from third scoring. That is, as Chruchill once wrote in his war journals, “bullshit”.
Article IV: Pitching and Hitting
(This is the aspect of RBI Baseball that sees the most variance from one location to another. Depending on your hometown, there may be rules that pitchers cannot throw curves, or that they can throw curves, or that they can, but if they throw a ball the next pitch must be straight down the middle, or if you throw a ball to a pitcher the next batter automatically starts the count 2-0, or that drop balls are illegal, because the only way to tell if a pitch is a drop ball is by audio clues and that would require listening to the RBI Baseball music to which no person, regardless of his or her previous crimes, should be subjected. Again, be sure to broach these subjects, or have your seconds discuss them, prior to the beginning of the ballgame.)
Article V: Miscellaneous
1. No player may distract or inhibit another player from playing by means outside of the game. Doing so tarnishes RBI Baseball and may lead to a permanent loss of RBI privileges.
2. Just as in real life, if a player is defeated by the Houston Astros, they must retire to an evening of quiet contemplation over their shame and weakness.