I have yet to arrive at an answer as to what the rules are about breaking the rules in sports, but I did come across a few books that appear to address the question. I haven't read them, so I'm just posting a link to where you can find them on Amazon and a brief description of the book (from the Amazon website). This first one looks like a lot of fun:
Baseball blogger Zumsteg (ussmariner.com) argues that cheating-within reason-is not only not a bad thing, it actually makes baseball a more nuanced game. Using a wealth of anecdotal evidence and some statistical analysis, he argues that baseball has evolved hand-in-hand with the aid of its scoundrels, scamps, and shifty characters-and that doctoring the ball or stealing signs necessitates teams, umpires and even fans adopt more complex strategy. Zumsteg draws the line at gambling, game fixing and steroid use, showing little sympathy for the Black Sox and even less for Pete Rose. While baseball aficionados will be familiar with many of Zumsteg's stories, his wit will keep most casual fans entertained. Whether he's describing what might happen in a car crash with Pete Rose ("I admitted that I hit your car ... Can't we stop this witch-hunt and get on with our lives?") or laying blame for the steroid era on everyone from the commissioner to the fans, Zumsteg dispenses with the sanctimoniousness of most current sports writing. Although his prose style and humor are sometimes better suited to the Web (a few lengthy asides come across as amateurish), Zumsteg still creates a funny, honest look at the history of baseball's black arts. Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
From beanballs to basebrawls, the most important rules governing the game of baseball have never been officially written down—until now. They have no sanction from the Commissioner, appear nowhere in any official publication, and are generally not posted on any clubhouse wall. They represent a set of time-honored customs, rituals, and good manners that show a respect for the game, one's teammates, and one's opponents. Sometimes they contradict the official rulebook. The fans generally only hear about them when one is bent or broken, and it becomes news for a few days. Now, for the first time ever, Paul Dickson has put these unwritten rules down on paper, covering every situation, whether on the field or in the clubhouse, press box, or stands. Along with entertaining baseball axioms, quotations, and rules of thumb, this essential volume contains the collected wisdom of dozens of players, managers, and reporters on the secret rules of baseball.
Nearly as long as baseball has existed in its current form, so too have unofficial rules that professional players have strictly adhered to. Yet as Turnbow demonstrates in this highly entertaining read, every rule of the code has certain variations. Most casual baseball fans are keenly aware of many topics that Turnbow broaches, and some are universally agreed upon—hitters admiring home runs is severely frowned on, as is arguing with one's manager in public view and being caught stealing signs. But other rules are less cut-and-dried. On the subject of retaliating for a teammate being hit by a pitch: some believe the pitcher should be plunked in his next at-bat, while others say it should be a player with corresponding talent to the hit batter. Turnbow has an example for nearly every conceivable situation, and with quotes from dozens of former major league players, managers, and broadcasters, the reader can better understand the actions that can set off even the most even-tempered ball player. It's a comprehensive, sometimes hilarious guide to perhaps a misunderstood aspect of our national pastime, and will come in handy should one ever be involved in a beanball war. (Mar.) Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
The Code is an indispensable guide to the inner workings of baseball's internal system of justice and sportsmanship, all described by the men who've enforced it. You'll never watch a game the same way again