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Rules are rules, was the most repeated — and the most idiotic — refrain of the sports weekend.

There are two disparate but equally valid responses to this insipidly thoughtless cliché: 1. Duh. Thanks for clearing that up, genius; and 2. No they're not.

After being subjected to the inanity of the selective application of both the written Rules of Golf (take heed of their pretentious capitalization) and the much-ballyhooed unwritten rules of baseball, the Page 2 staff can say it is sufficiently sick of dumb rules to the point it is ready to endorse sports anarchy.

Ever come across a granny who can't see over the steering wheel and thus is doing 30 under the speed limit in the fast lane on the freeway (all with her blinker on)? The collective Masters field was going slower than that, but a 14-year-old amateur gets singled out with a penalty for slow play?

"Hey, rules are rules," we were told.

A friggin' television viewer calls up the Green Jacket Brigade to tattle on Tiger, the rules committee reviews mid-round, exonerates, then reviews again, and a day later imposes a two-stroke penalty for a bad drop and an incorrect scorecard?

"Rules are rules."

And the Padres' Carlos Quentin cites two prior hit-by-pitches — from four and five years ago, respectively — as a sufficient history of bad blood with pitcher Zack Greinke to justify charging the mound and sidelining the star hurler for a few months?

Apparently unwritten rules are rules, too.

We read Thoreau's Walden in high school, and while it was mostly excruciatingly tedious, it did have one pertinent passage: "Simplify, simplify, simplify."

After all, rules may, indeed, be rules, but that doesn't make them any less dumb.

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