I am a quasi baseball traditionalist. I don’t like the DH and interleague play for practical reasons. It’s not that I’m against change…I just think the changes in those rules are foolish and don’t advance the sport. On the other hand, I have no problem with home plate celebrations after walkoff home runs or with the wild card setup.
I DO have a problem with the traditionalist, unwritten rule philosophy that you don’t bunt to break up a no-hitter. How stupid is that, on multiple levels?
Yesterday in Oakland, Evan Longoria of the Rays tried to bunt for a hit leading off the FIFTH inning, with his club down 4-0 to Dallas Braden and the Athletics. Braden eventually went on to complete a perfect game,
but Longoria’s effort was frowned upon by baseball traditionalists.
At what point should a player quit trying to win the game? In theory…if you abide by the unwritten rules…a player should never lead off a game by trying to reach via a bunt. Several years ago, Curt Schilling and Bob Brenly got mad when the Diamondbacks righthander had a no-hitter in the eighth, and a Padres player tried to bunt and bring the tying run to the plate.
Where do we draw the line? Should players not swing to try and get a hit when their club is being no-hit? Should they just keep the bat on their shoulder so their opponent can get into the history books?
In yesterday’s games alone, there were nine innings in which a team scored at least four runs, and nine more in which a team scored three. The Cardinals had a four run inning and a five run inning themselves. 12 of yesterday’s 15 major league games had at least one three run inning.
If Evan Longoria gets on, and Braden starts pitching out of the stretch, anything could have happened. Would the pitcher have been unnerved? How often have we seen a pitcher lose a no-hitter, then lose a shutout and eventually lose the game? The accomplished and capable Carlos Pena and B.J. Upton were coming up next, and easily could have made it a 4-3 game.
If one of baseball’s unwritten rules is that you should try to lose so that someone else can succeed, then that rule is stupid. Longoria did the right thing. In fact, I’d be disappointed if my team DIDN’T try to break up the no-hitter and win the game.