You have to play this game [baseball] right. You have to think right. You’re not trying to pull the ball all the time. You’re not thinking, Hey, we’re going to kill them tomorrow–because that may not happen. You’re not looking to do something all on your own. You’ve got to take it one game at a time, one hitter at a time. You’ve got to go on doing the things you’ve talked about beforehand. You can’t get three outs at a time or five runs at a time. You’ve got to concentrate on each play, each hitter, each pitch. All this makes the game much slower and much clearer. It breaks it down to its smallest part. If you take the game like that–one pitch, one hitter, one inning at a time, and then one game at a time–the next thing you know, you look up and you’ve won.
Catcher Rick Dempsey quoted in George Will, Men at Work, p. 4.
The fact that the NFL continues to battle the problem of poor manners serves to highlight the innate gentlemanliness that characterizes football’s main rival as “THE American sport”: baseball. In baseball there is both a respect for other players and for the game itself that is missing in football and indeed in any other major sport. Baseball singularly entails an unwritten code, which consists of three elements: (1) Do not show anyone up; (2) Do not cause serious physical injury to another player; (3) Try your best (4) Do not cheat. A general adherence to this code means that baseball requires less legalistic regulation than football and other sports.
Stephen Klugewicz, “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemanliness” at The Imaginative Conservative. For an example of the code at work see what happens to a batter who “flips” his bat on hitting a home run. Watch.