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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. Mudderone - May 10, 2010 at 1:32 PM

    He would bet on it!

  2. Fecteau - May 10, 2010 at 1:33 PM

    That’s right, Pete! Preach on!

  3. ronpal - May 10, 2010 at 1:46 PM

    a pitcher is a critical part of that type of defensive effort, but he must also rely on the defensive prowess of his teammates, so that type of no-hitter, or perfect game, is a team effort. —- i think a truly “perfect game”, for a pitcher, would be one in which he struck out all 27 batters.

  4. john - May 10, 2010 at 1:46 PM

    Using the “sportsmanship” and “unwrittenrule” mentality – why even play. Just have opening day, then give out the trophies. You know, making it easy on a pitcher near a perfect game is the same lay-down attitude that pro football teams use to “rest” their players at the end of the season. At $1,250 bucks a pop for box seats in Yankee stadium, the Yanks BETTER be playing to win until the last catch.

  5. ronpal - May 10, 2010 at 1:52 PM

    i think too often we give credit or discredit to a particular player, especially the pitcher, but the reality is that his efforts are also related to the efforts of his teammates. for instance, yesterday, the rockies pitcher gave up only one run, but he gets the loss because his teammates could not score. —- so… on his record, it’ll show that loss, but that number does not tell the story of how it happened, and that he actually had a very excellent pitching performance that day.

  6. DBCooper - May 10, 2010 at 1:56 PM

    Pete Rose was & still is a low-life POS.
    WTFC what he would do. 7-5 odds that he’d bunt.

  7. Jeff - May 10, 2010 at 2:16 PM

    Of course I’m not saying players should stop running out ground balls (straw man?). I *am* saying, however, that, yes, bunting to break up a no-hitter in the 9th inning, when the game is out of reach, is completely uncalled for. The difference is that a dribbler is just bad luck, whereas a bunt with nobody on base is an intentional (and unconventional) tactic. If it’s a close game, it’s fine. If you’re far behind, the only reason to do it is to stick it to the other guy, and that’s poor sportsmanship.

  8. wlv - May 10, 2010 at 2:19 PM

    It’s not a legitimate perfect game unless the pitcher has overcome every obstacle. The opposing team doesn’t owe that pitcher anything except to do everything possible under the rules to get on base and score runs.

  9. Caljay - May 10, 2010 at 2:22 PM

    Hermitfool has it right. Braden has not commented on the attempt. He could not afford to risk spoiling the PG with a stetement high and inside during the game. So we go to the next unwritten rule. Next time Longoria faces A’s pitching he should see something very fast coming at him about eye level or so.He knows it. I hope he does not get hit. Regardless of the outcome, everything will be then back to normal. All debts paid. Unless of course the Ray’s pithcers invoke the next unwritten rule. I hope I can catch the next TB-Oak game on TV somewhere.

  10. Ken Covert - May 10, 2010 at 2:24 PM

    It’s just good Baseball …beleive it or not the team (fielders) behind the pitcher has something to do with the perfect game also.

  11. El Hefe - May 10, 2010 at 2:25 PM

    I would say if A-rod tries to break it up with a bunt, ya just drill him but, anyone else it should be fair game.

  12. Mark - May 10, 2010 at 2:28 PM

    You know, one of the things that makes baseball special is that truly “it ain’t over til it’s over” unlike all those other sports where late in the game you can stop real playing and just run out the clock. Ninth inning, two outs, two strikes, down by 5 and you can *still* come back and win.
    I don’t see that preserving some player’s no hitter at any point in the game should be a consideration for someone at bat. If you don’t play to win–BY THE RULES, not to win at any cost–then why play at all? A bunt is a legal play, so a player is remiss to not take advantage of it if he thinks it is the smart move at a given time. I know that I wouldn’t value a no hitter if it was unearned and I would hope the big guys wouldn’t either. (Or is that too much to ask of some of our pro athletes?)

  13. Donald McGee - May 10, 2010 at 2:29 PM

    What a bunch of characters responding. The game of unwritten Rules…If they are so important…MAKE THEM THE RULES. As for Yankee bashers…where would your team be without the millions of dollars given so your team can have a chance, that is if the other owners spend the money on players and not themselves. You all know verywell if you team is losing…breakup the no hitter. Baseball is a stupid game anyway. REMEMBER THE UNWRITTEN RULES IS …FORGET ABOUT THE UNWRITTEN RULE.

  14. Ken Covert - May 10, 2010 at 2:30 PM

    101% right John!!!…Unless he struck out 27 men ..he needed fielders behind him …

  15. Utley's hair - May 10, 2010 at 2:37 PM

    Great…here come the baseball hating Yanker fans.

  16. Dave80 - May 10, 2010 at 2:37 PM

    It’s not my role as the opposing team to just roll over & play dead at any point in a baseball game, just so the pitcher can get a complete game. If it was the bottom of the ninth, with two outs, I would bunt if I thought I could put a runner on base. Don’t really care if it ruins a perfect game or not. I’m there to play nine innings not lay down just so someone can get a perfect game.

  17. mike puckett - May 10, 2010 at 2:38 PM

    i feel if it is the 8th inning on and your team is down 4 or more runs, then you shouldnt be bunting. thats just an as*hole move. but thats just how i feel, and thats my opinion

  18. cifey - May 10, 2010 at 2:41 PM

    For a lot of guys bunts are a legitimate part of their hitting game.
    When the opposing guy is mowing people down and you don’t feel good about the at bat, try something different.
    To take that away from the hitter arsenal lessons the value of a no-hitter, or even a win.

  19. Garyoke - May 10, 2010 at 2:42 PM

    This is the problem with todays athletes … they take their money (cake) and they whine all the way to the bank. They want their cake and be able to eat it to … DURING the game no less.

  20. Ralph Earle - May 10, 2010 at 2:43 PM

    What do you all think about trying to get hit by a pitch to break up a perfect game?

  21. Roy E. Perry - May 10, 2010 at 2:43 PM

    I got a nice chuckle out of “John’s” comment: “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 [sic] have to make a play.” Yeah, right! Those three guys in the outfield had better be alert for sneaky bunts! After all, the center field might throw the runner out at first base. As for bunts being legitimate in a potential no-hit game, I agree with the majority. “Unwritten rules” are not official. A batter should always try to get on base and help win the game; this includes bunting.

  22. Seamus - May 10, 2010 at 2:48 PM

    Last time I checked it is the batters job to get on base and the job of the nine opponents to get him out. If EL felt that was his best shot at getting on base at the time, he was doing his job. The primary goal is to get the guy pitching from the stretch for a change. Sometimes that changes everything.

  23. BIGBRUCE11047 - May 10, 2010 at 2:50 PM

    I guess I agree with most of the commenters. Trying to get some-body on base so the guy behind him can knock him in. It really doesn’t matter what inning it is. That first hit can give the offense a spark and suddenly the game is tied or you’re in front. Being no-hit by a pitcher is kind of embarrassing to many professional athletes. Congrats to Dallas Braden on his “GEM!!” He did it in front of his grandmother who raised him after his mother died of breast cancer when he was little.

  24. Ran in Michigan - May 10, 2010 at 2:59 PM

    OK – I’ve played ball all my life – a perfect game is only perfect if the other team is up there to make something happen and not giving it away. Too many of these ‘sports writers’ never played enough ball to really know what they are talking about.
    I’m a pitcher. No batter ever eased off to make me look good…and vice versa.

  25. Spotts1701 - May 10, 2010 at 2:59 PM

    When the game is a blowout, the team that’s behind shouldn’t be bunting because it’s a low-percentage play.
    4-0 in the 5th? Do whatever you can to put runs on the board.
    12-0 in the 9th? Yeah, bunting is legal but not a strategic move.
    I’ve no problem with “seeing-eye singles” or Texas League doubles breaking up a no-hitter or perfect game, even if it is late in the game and a laugher. Bloop hits are a part of the game.

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