Astros skipper Porter emphasizes respect in game

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- There's little doubt Astros manager Bo Porter brings plenty of intensity to the dugout, and the skipper's feistiness was on display late last year when he got into a shouting match with Cubs bench coach Jamie Quirk -- an argument that ensued over baseball's unwritten rules.

Quirk reportedly became angry when the Nationals' Jayson Werth swung at a 3-0 pitch while the bases were loaded in the fifth inning and Washington leading, 7-2. Quirk began yelling at Porter, who was coaching third base right in front of the Nationals' dugout, apparently upset the Nationals were still trying score.

Porter talked at length Sunday about the code of baseball's unwritten rules and what's fair game and what isn't.

"How can you expect us to stop playing when you're allowed to continue to play?" Porter said. "Why shouldn't he swing at 3-0? It's your pitcher's fault the count is 3-0. … A prime example is we were up on the Braves, 9-0, about a week later and we lost the game."

Porter said there's a fine line between proper sportsmanship and playing the game hard -- he said he would have a problem with someone trying to spike second baseman Jose Altuve, for example -- but the game should always be played with respect.

"There are certain times in the game where respect for the game is pretty much self-explanatory," Porter said. "There's a fine line you can draw. Let's just say you're down by four in the ninth inning and they're not holding a guy on, that's my way of telling you I don't care about that run."

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.