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Dallas Braden almost had to school someone else on the unwritten rules

May 10, 2010, 9:34 AM EDT

Dallas Braden headshot.jpgThe only downside to Dallas Braden’s perfect game yesterday is that we narrowly missed out on a chance to have him once again bring the 209 noise about respect and the unwritten rules and all of that jive.

The scene: fifth inning, nobody out, Evan Longoria at the plate. He attempts to reach on a drag bunt. Bunt goes foul, life goes on, Longoria ends up going down on strikes.

Braden kept his cool about it, but I can’t help but think that he was seething inside about someone trying to break up his no-no with a bunt.  Not doing that sort of thing is one of the unwritten rules, you know.

Just ask Bob Brenly.  He was the Diamondbacks manager back in 2001 when Curt Schilling had a perfect game going against the Padres in the eighth inning. Padres catcher Ben Davis laid down — or rather, popped up — one of the uglier bunts you’ll ever see, but the ball managed to elude second baseman Jay Bell just long enough for Davis to reach.  The Diamondbacks freaked out, with Brenly calling the move “chicken” after the game and saying “Ben
Davis is young and has a lot to learn. That was just uncalled for.”

That set off a nice little controversy about whether it’s kosher to break up a no-hitter with a bunt.  My memory has it that Brenly’s position was a minority one and that at the time most people were of the view that an opposing team can and should do everything in its power to win the game. That game was 2-0 at the time and the Padres and Diamondbacks were tied for first place, so I was totally cool with the bunt attempt.

I haven’t seen anyone complaining about Longoria’s attempt yesterday, but it was 4-0 at the time, which I suppose makes it a tad less defensible. Of course, it was also earlier in the game, so that makes it a tad more defensible.

My guess is that even hardcore unwritten rules guys would have a tough time criticizing Longoria’s bunt attempt. But the day is still young and, to my knowledge, no one has thrust a microphone into Bob Brenly’s face about it yet.

140 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. Professor Dave - May 10, 2010 at 9:47 AM

    In the 5th inning, a “no-no” is so not even a dream. How many times a week do guys throw 5 hitless innings, then give up a couple of runs in the 6th? 8th inning is different, but I’m firmly in the camp in which players get to try to get on base and win.

  2. Ralph Kramden - May 10, 2010 at 10:15 AM

    What Dave said.

  3. Steve K - May 10, 2010 at 10:21 AM

    Bunts are a legitimate part of the game. How ‘perfect’ is a perfect game if the hitters start to ease up (or at the very least limit their options) on the pitcher?

  4. ecp - May 10, 2010 at 10:24 AM

    I was going to jump in and say…but Dave and Ralph beat me to it.

  5. Dahan - May 10, 2010 at 10:29 AM

    Agree with the above. You play to win. Fifth inning? No question. Ninth… you might have an argument if the lead is more than two.

  6. Fast Eddy - May 10, 2010 at 10:30 AM

    Why not break up the No no with a bunt? In the old days, batting titles were won on bunts. I.E. Napoleon Lajoie (spelling?)did it and beat out Ty Cobb.

  7. Darryl - May 10, 2010 at 10:34 AM

    First of all: how can there be an “unwritten” rule that makes it somehow acceptable to NOT TRY AND WIN THE FREAKIN’ GAME???? Even at the time, I thought Bob Brenly’s comments will idiotic, and I lost a lot of respect for him. I don’t care if it’s 2-0 in the 5th, or 8-0 in the eighth, you do whatever you can do to get on base, score runs, and win the game. That’s the whole idea, folks.

  8. John - May 10, 2010 at 10:35 AM

    You play to win.

  9. kanock - May 10, 2010 at 10:37 AM

    I don’t care what he did , he’s still a hillbilly . Can you imagine the tantrum he would have put on if someone did break it up with a bunt, no matter which inning it was ?

  10. Mike Mac - May 10, 2010 at 10:38 AM

    It depends is the team throwing a no hitter the Yankees? If so yes it is totally legit.

  11. Beth - May 10, 2010 at 10:42 AM

    Couldn’t agree with you more. The point of the game is to win.

  12. fernando - May 10, 2010 at 10:42 AM

    Let’s hope that reporters stop asking A-Rod and Braden about that silly argument. Reporters are clearly doing their part to keep this going. Rodriguez was asked several times about this yesterday and he congratulated Braden.
    Rodriguez clearly wants to move on, let’s hope Braden(and Grandma)feel the same way. For if Braden hits Rodriguez, I have to think he is in for a big fine and suspension since he has clearly theatened retaliation.

  13. Beth - May 10, 2010 at 10:44 AM

    Exactly.

  14. Rick - May 10, 2010 at 10:50 AM

    If it were 10-0 in the ninth and somebody tried to bunt just to break up a no-no, I’d say that was bad sportsmanship. But in just about any other situation I say “bunt away.”

  15. Lonnie - May 10, 2010 at 10:55 AM

    I think it’s okay as long as Alex Rodriguez doesn’t do it.

  16. John - May 10, 2010 at 11:00 AM

    Baseball is played 9 vs 9., not 1 vs 9. Not bunt? How about hitters just take three strikes and give the no-no to the pitcher? A bunt is a hit if you get on base. A batter bunts and the 9 defencders have to make a play.

  17. hermitfool - May 10, 2010 at 11:01 AM

    Everything is cool as long as the next time Longoria faces the As he gets an unwritten fastball in the ribs.

  18. Terry - May 10, 2010 at 11:02 AM

    If bunts are so easy to get on base with, why do batters even swing. They should all just bunt and be given first base for trying.

  19. KR - May 10, 2010 at 11:10 AM

    I don’t think anyone’s going to complain about bunting in the 5th.
    You’re probably going to get called out if you’re bunting in the 9th though.
    (Also as Mike Mac said, if it’s against the Yankees, it’s ok no matter what.)

  20. Professor Chaos - May 10, 2010 at 11:10 AM

    WWPRD?
    (What Would Pete Rose Do?)

  21. Herm Edwards - May 10, 2010 at 11:11 AM

    You play to win the game!

  22. IndieVote - May 10, 2010 at 11:15 AM

    What a load of crap. I played baseball for twenty years (not in the majors)and if you’re facing a pitcher who’s in a groove and mowing you down, you do anything you can to screw with his rhythm, even if it’s making him get his ass off the mound to make a play. You DO NOT let him stay out there and stay in rhythm. You bunt, you lean into an inside pitch, you do anything you can to get on base and rattle the guy. It’s called baseball, and that’s how it’s played.
    I remember when Curt Schilling had a no hitter going and someone bunted to get on base, and Bob Brenly (who definitely knows better) and Schilling (pitcher, not a baseball player) whined about it. Tough toenails.
    You do whatever it takes to get on base and disrupt a pitcher when he’s rolling. Period, end of conversation.

  23. Curt - May 10, 2010 at 11:20 AM

    I wish there was more bunting. I wish batters that get a huge shift put on them (usually lefties) would put more bunts down to make the defense move back around to open up their holes.

  24. Cygnus_X-1 - May 10, 2010 at 11:23 AM

    This is one of those issues where a pitcher and his nanny-Manager get pissy because a bunt takes the pitcher out of his groove and routine. I don’t see this issue as any different than pitching around Barry Bonds or Albert Pujols or any other slugger. If I’m an opposing manager, I don’t want it going down on my watch that my team got a perfecto thrown against it. So, no matter the score and circumstances, I’m going to try and break that thing up.

  25. Brian Feldman - May 10, 2010 at 11:31 AM

    This is not about an unwritten rule. If a pitcher is that dominant then an opposing team needs to do anything possible to scrape, claw, and scronge its way to picking up some runs. A perfect game, let alone a no-hitter, needs to be earned, not given. That’s why they are so rare. Don’t think of it in terms of a player trying to break up a perfect game. Think of it in terms of a player trying to out runs on the board! It was the correct move. There is nothing cheap about it, unless that was the player’s intent, as opposed to trying to get his team back in the game, which is what should definitely happen!

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