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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. Len - May 10, 2010 at 11:34 AM

    If it’s a 1 to 5 run lead then bunting or anything is fair game if there up by 10 runs then I’d say no.

  2. jose mama - May 10, 2010 at 11:38 AM

    Good comments today and I agree too – you play to win the game. If that takes a bunt to get on then so be it.

  3. Jeff - May 10, 2010 at 11:47 AM

    All this “you play to win the game” parroting is ridiculous. Some gamesmanship is fine, but there’s a limit. There are things in life that are more important than Ws, and I don’t care to play against anyone who feels differently. Not that this particular issue falls into that category necessarily, but using “you play to win the game” as blanket justification is ridiculous.
    Anyway, as far as I’m concerned:
    Bunting during a perfect game – early to middle, close game: fine; late (8th or 9th inning), especially if the game is out of reach: completely bush-league; everything else: gray area.

  4. AJ Gallo - May 10, 2010 at 11:48 AM

    I guess with the nearly unanimous position here that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with bunting in that situation, then there’s really no need for me to pile on and say how much I also totally agree with all of this.
    Oh wait………

  5. Fecteau - May 10, 2010 at 11:50 AM

    I think the vast majority posting here are in agreeance that this is not a big deal, you play to win, not to give opposing teams or their pitchers stats…
    I’m surprised, however, that I haven’t yet seen anyone write about the point I have below… (of course I didn’t read EVERY posting) But last I checked a bunt isn’t a sure thing. A lot of players only bunt to sacrafice themselves to get better positioning on the bases (getting into better scoring position) so there shouldn’t be any complaints. If it were a play that someone has much greater odds to reach base, like 75-80% of the time better than swinging away then I would understand; however it certainly isn’t anything like that as more people would bunt to open an inning. In fact, with #’s like that you might as well bunt all game… But just don’t do it against Bob Brenly’s team…

  6. Utley's hair - May 10, 2010 at 11:58 AM

    If you can see marks from the stitching of the ball on his ribs, is it still an unwritten rule?

  7. Herm Edwards - May 10, 2010 at 12:02 PM

    You play to win the game!

  8. minnesconsin_ad - May 10, 2010 at 12:02 PM

    no, in baseball, there’s nothing more important than getting the W, even early in the season. ask any Twin how important a single W can be. (two years in row went to game 163)
    all is fair. if you want a perfect game, pitch a perfect game, start to finish, period. bunting is part of the game and if you can’t keep someone off the bases, you don’t deserve to join the elite ranks of the perfectos.

  9. Shely - May 10, 2010 at 12:05 PM

    Hold on a minute everyone. This game has changed a little since my day. I never did play professionally, however just because we have been too politically correct, doesn’t mean the game of MAJOR LEAGUE baseball has to. In the old days, it would have been OK for anyone to bunt at any given time to break up a no hitter or just to get on base. No one wanted to be No hit. So, after an attempt such as this, (reasonable) the pitcher used to have the option of putting one in the next guys ear (if he didn’t duck). That seemed to even everything out. Of course this is outlawed today, and a reason for early ejection. However, with all of these tools players used to have to get ahead or get even, the game has lost something. It sometimes is good (less injuries) however sometime not so good.

  10. Dustin - May 10, 2010 at 12:17 PM

    Of course you bunt. This is same reason you blitz a QB. If you let Peyton Manning stand in the pocket all day without sending a blitz, he’ll tear you apart.
    If you force all 9 players to play defense, why is that considered “unsportsmanlike conduct”? I’m sorry, but this whole whine about “Well it’s cool in the 5th, not cool in the 9th” crap is like saying to a 16 year old driver-to-be “Well you made it almost the whole way without wrecking, I’ll just pass you now before you have to parallel park”.
    I’m sorry but Herm Edwards is right – you play to win the game. No team likes being on the other side of history. My 2 favorite teams are the following: The one Christian Laettner beat in 1992 with that jumper, and the Super Bowl that ended on the last play being 1 yard short. Don’t talk to me about trying to give someone a game because they performed 95% of the way. I’d rather be known as “the guy that broke up ____________’s perfect game” than be the 18th team in history to give one up.

  11. lanny - May 10, 2010 at 12:18 PM

    You sound like another brilliant sux fan . You people (sux fans) are total morons . If your not a sux fan your still a moron . I’m just sayin .

  12. Fecteau - May 10, 2010 at 12:21 PM

    I hate playing devils advocate, however… What if it was the 8th or ninth and it’s 1-0? I think that’s what people were going at in response to Evan Longoria’s late inning bunt attempt. Although I agree its a cheap move in general, my mentality when I WASN’T getting paid but doing it for fun was play to win. If someone had a shutout, or a no hitter I wouldn’t be like, oh no, I better not bunt! If it brings the run in to tie the game, like some squeeze play or a walk with no outs, a stolen base and two sac flies, the no hitter is still preserved and the game is now tied…
    I don’t care about etiquette, I care about winning. And these aren’t players playing for fun, they get PAID TO WIN!!!! And if swinging the bat normally isn’t working, let’s try something else… Its not like it has much better odds anyhow, (as mentioned in a prior comment)
    I compare it to going to the Black Jack tables. If you do something that’s not what a seasoned ‘Black Jack know it all’ person would do they all get pissy because they MAY lose a face card that would help them win if they’re playing after you. The reality is they may lose the 5 that they WOULD HAVE gotten instead if the person didn’t draw an extra card, but then get an Ace for BlackJack! We are pessimists by nature and I understand the argument but come on! this is baseball not charity!
    Why is not making an attempt to prevent something that is not only a loss but an embarassment unspoken rules? Why is it only acceptable to bunt in some games? I understand its a cheap way to TRY to get a base hit, but there’s still no guarantee that you’ll reach. Then you’re the moron that wasted an out and made it easier for the guy if you didn’t reach safely… The Rays have been ‘perfect gamed’ twice in consecutive years… If I were on the Rays last night I would have done my best to prevent that insult… At that point its not even about a win or a loss, its about the embarassment of not even being able to get a single person ON BASE!!!
    A decent comparison is Brett Favre letting Strahan get the sack record… It was cheesy, and although I am all for comradery and respect, but what they did was DIS respectful to the person who was the rightful owner of the record. There’s nothing wrong with Tieing a record, Michael!!!! But if you WANT it, EARN it!

  13. jock59801 - May 10, 2010 at 12:27 PM

    What a strange notion. What is so special about a perfect game if the other team gives it to you? Should they not try to hit home runs either. A perfect game is rare precisely BECAUSE the other team is trying to stop you.

  14. Fecteau - May 10, 2010 at 12:28 PM

    Just a heads up… Not all Yankee haters are Red Sox fans. Just as not all Red Sox haters are Yankee fans. Your comment about morons shows how moronic you are. Anything better to comment about, say, the actual article, rather than try to pick out Red Sox fans and trash them? Its a bit neanderthal… I think many on this post would agree…

  15. Hayez - May 10, 2010 at 12:37 PM

    That would depend on if he bet on the no-hitter!

  16. R.T. - May 10, 2010 at 12:52 PM

    He is not a hillbilly, he may be from the worng side of the tracks, but Dallas Braden isnt a hillbilly. He comes from a sh*thole of a town, Stockton CA., but no hillbillies.

  17. Gadfly22 - May 10, 2010 at 12:54 PM

    Definitely kosher. You play to win, and even if the bunt looks like a bad way to get needed runs, it could still shake up and annoy the pitcher and maybe generate some mistakes that benefit you. If — as a manager — you didn’t do every single thing permitted by the rules to win every game, then you will have a tough time explaining to the team why they’ve missed the playoffs because they were short one win.
    You don’t need to channel the spirit of Ty Cobb to come up with the right answer on this one.

  18. H R Coursen - May 10, 2010 at 12:55 PM

    Old timers like me will recall that one did not bunt against Lou Brissie, the gutty left-hander from N.C. Reason? He had been wounded in the Battle of the Bulge and wore a brace on his leg.
    As far as beanballs — ask Ray Chapman (or Carl Mays who beaned him), or Mickey Cochran, whose career was ended by a beanball from Bump Handley. Or Hank Lieber, Ducky Medwick, or Tony Conigiliaro, whose careers were pretty well wiped out by beanballs.

  19. Wobatus - May 10, 2010 at 1:02 PM

    If you are playing to win, Evan Longoria bunting is pretty dumb. He didn’t get on, did he? I’d rather he swing away.

  20. Matt from Texas - May 10, 2010 at 1:11 PM

    So no-one is allowed to bunt until their side has at least one hit? Ridiculous. Now if the game were a complete rout and it was bottom of the 9th? Maybe so. But suppose it were the bottom of the 9th, the opposing pitcher had a no-hitter going, and you were only down by 1 run? Absolutely a bunt is fair game. You’ve gotta get someone on base to try and tie the game.

  21. Utley's hair - May 10, 2010 at 1:15 PM

    To paraphrase a majority of the comments on this post, a perfect game isn’t a perfect game without it being a game. A game isn’t a game unless each team is doing what it can to win–within reason. A bunt is perfectly legitimate part of the game, and if the other team just rolls over and hands the pitcher any outs, it mars the “perfect” part, since the hurler didn’t earn it completely. That includes two outs in the bottom of the ninth. After all, my Phightins did manage to score nine (or at least eight) runs with two outs off the “untouchable” Johan Santana and the Mutts last week.

  22. Pete - May 10, 2010 at 1:18 PM

    Unwritten rules……are not rules!

  23. ronpal - May 10, 2010 at 1:26 PM

    i remember when i was younger, the MN Twins had a player who was very good at bunting — it was one of his favorite ways to reach base. —- in the 5th inning, it’s a bit premature to assume anything, but regardless, you play to win, and that means getting on base in any manner possible.

  24. Moses Green - May 10, 2010 at 1:26 PM

    Sometimes a person’s name tells you just who they are. Bob Brenly. Sounds a lot like Bill Brasky. There you have it, all you need to know to understand Bob Brenly.
    By the way, Bill Brasky will eat a homeless person if you dare him.

  25. IndieVote - May 10, 2010 at 1:26 PM

    So Jeff, using your logic here, does that mean if it’s the ninth inning of a so-far perfect game and you hit an infield dribbler that you think is going to be a close play at first that you should quit running hard so as not to force them to make a play? You should quit trying to get on base because you might take away a perfect game in the ninth inning?
    And as I said in my earlier post, sometimes you bunt (and don’t forget, it was only the fifth inning of a close game)just to make the picture run around a little and make a play. Sometimes when a pitcher is cruising along like that and in a zone, just making him do something different will disrupt his rhythm and get him thinking differently and then maybe he misses a spot,and then maybe the next guy hits a gapper somewhere………
    I’m just saying it’s a good strategic move. Perfect game, no-hitter, whatever. Make him do something besides rock and fire.

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