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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. give me a break - May 10, 2010 at 2:59 PM

    Get off the unwritten rules — don’t bunt ?? if you can get on base you get on base. The game is played to win not make help make someone feel good. I am glad he made his no hitter. but nothing should be given ( you need to earn it )

  2. southsidemike - May 10, 2010 at 3:00 PM

    I play by the rules in print, I play to win, and I don’t stop playing till the last out in the ninth!

  3. Jeffy - May 10, 2010 at 3:01 PM

    There are should be no unwritten rules with regard to winning. Even in the 9th inning with 2 out. If you think you can bunt your way on, you bunt. If the game is out of hand, it’s a different story. But in the 5th inning, down by 4 runs, nothing is out of hand. I would have loved to have seen that happen.

  4. Char in Miami - May 10, 2010 at 3:02 PM

    let us look at this from another perspective.
    suppose you (as a batter) have 55 hits in consecutive days – you just need one more hit to tie dimaggio’s record. is the pitcher going to empathize with you and give you a pitch right down the middle so you can get 56? or if you have 56 – is the pitcher going to do everything he can to let you get number 57 and set a new record?
    i’m guessing the answer is A BIG FAT RESOUNDING NO!!! so go ahead and bunt for all you’re worth.

  5. ImWhiteWolf - May 10, 2010 at 3:02 PM

    The batter does not “owe” the opposing pitcher the opportunity for a perfect game/no hitter/shutout. He wes it to his team to try and get on ANY way possible. What if Longoria had gotten on. The dynamics of the game change. Mabe the next hitter hits a home run.

  6. artca - May 10, 2010 at 3:02 PM

    Braden is a crybaby- a bunt is a part of playing Baseball-
    suck it up Braden

  7. JT63 - May 10, 2010 at 3:07 PM

    Regarding the Curt Schilling reference…I don’t care if there are two outs in the ninth, bunt! Do ANYthing to wreck that doofus’ no-no. Whoever Ben Davis is/was…good for him.

  8. Erik C - May 10, 2010 at 3:08 PM


  9. KMQ7 - May 10, 2010 at 3:08 PM

    What most people dont even know is that another rookie went 5+ without giving up a hit yesterday. Mike Leake of the Reds had a no-hitter thru 5 innings as well.

  10. Steve - May 10, 2010 at 3:10 PM

    If I was on the opposing team I would try everthing to break up a perfect game/no hitter.
    Ralph – Trying to get hit by a pitch anytime is bush league.

  11. southsidemike - May 10, 2010 at 3:10 PM

    “Bloop hits are a part of the game”
    So are bunts!

  12. Curious George - May 10, 2010 at 3:18 PM

    Not directly related to comments above, but a question comes to mind in discussion of a perfect game.
    Question: what is the theoretical minimum number of pitches thrown by a team in a complete, 9-inning game?
    Answer (unless contradicted here): 25. It would need to be a visiting team in a 1-0 loss. The sequence: bottom of first through eighth innings, visiting team pitcher(s) retire first three batters faced each inning with just one pitch each (each home team batter in turn connects with first pitch and grounds or flies out). 3 pitches, 3 outs for 8 bottom-of-the-half innings = 24 total pitches. No hits, no walks, no runs, no errors. If it’s been the same pitcher all along, he’s got a perfect game going.
    However, the visiting team scores no runs either, so it’s 0-0 going into the bottom of the ninth. First pitch to first batter in the bottom of the ninth: walk-off home run. Home team wins, ruining the visiting team’s perfect game due to one big hit (or a major fielding error on the visiting team’s part!). Total visiting team pitches: 25. Won’t ever happen, but theoretically could.
    Is there another scenario out there that could come up with the same or fewer pitches in a complete 9-inning game?

  13. MikeMac's Daddy - May 10, 2010 at 3:19 PM

    i left your mom when u were 2 years old.. and i know why.. tell ur mama to keep you off the computer ..young one

  14. Sam - May 10, 2010 at 3:21 PM

    You are exactly right. Both teams should try and win the game down to the last out, thats it. Its only a perfect game if every batter tries to reach base. I know id do anything i could to spoil a pitchers night when i played ball…. but, id be swinging.

  15. Utley's hair - May 10, 2010 at 3:23 PM

    You have to make an effort to avoid being hit by a pitch, ergo, trying to get hit by a pitch is not permissible in the actual rules of the game, not the so-called “unwritten” ones.

    And artca, as far as I am aware, Braden has not actually said anything about Eva’s bunt attempt, so your unqualified bash is misplaced. Until he says anything, this post was a hypothetical.

  16. Scott - May 10, 2010 at 3:26 PM

    What about other ‘unwritten rule’ moments? How about the young pitcher
    facing Pete Rose in the 9th inning when Rose was trying to extend his
    consecutive games hit streak? In that case, the game was essentially out of reach. The pitcher refused to throw anything like a strike, knowing that Rose had to swing at anything remotely close in an effort to get a base hit, not a walk. As I recall, Rose struck out on a pitch WAAYY outside that would have been ball four. Was that Kosher?

  17. Erik C - May 10, 2010 at 3:28 PM

    While it may be exciting to see a pitcher accomplish this…we might as well change the title “perfect game” to “boring game”. Bunt away baby.

  18. Sterno - May 10, 2010 at 3:28 PM

    For me it depends on how many times did Longoria bunt for a base hit in previous at bats. Has he ever attempted this before, if yes, no issue if no, it is kind of weak.

  19. NJJimInHI - May 10, 2010 at 3:28 PM

    You play to win. Every pitch, every swing. Opposing pitcher has a no=no going, you try ANYTHING to break his rhythm. A bunt single and who knows… you get him rattled, or pissed, and the next thing you know your team rallies for a couple of runs and he’s out of the game. You play to win. Brenly’s comments just show what a jerk he is.

  20. NoHit - May 10, 2010 at 3:35 PM

    All of the above.

  21. Luvheat - May 10, 2010 at 3:36 PM

    I agree with the concept of any player trying to reach base anyway they can. How many times has there been a 9th inning rally to not only kill a no hitter, but win the game? If there’s an unwritten rule about bunting to try to reach base it’s only in the minds of pitchers

  22. Luvheat - May 10, 2010 at 3:37 PM

    I agree with the concept of any player trying to reach base anyway they can. How many times has there been a 9th inning rally to not only kill a no hitter, but win the game? If there’s an unwritten rule about bunting to try to reach base it’s only in the minds of pitchers

  23. jimmy mountain - May 10, 2010 at 3:38 PM

    If there is any unwritten rule in baseball, the most important unwritten rule is that everyone who goes up to the plate does whatever he can/has to do to get on base.
    @Jeff – as for bunting being “unconventional,” There is nothing unconventional about bunting. Are you kidding? We’re not talking about the first forward pass in the history of football or the first breaking ball ever thrown in the majors. Its bunting…something you see at least once a game. I would say UNCONVENTIONAL would be taking an at-bat with the bat upside down (i.e., holding the barrel in your hands and swinging the handle at the ball). Now THAT, would be “unconventional.” No part of your argument resembles logic.

  24. Dave80 - May 10, 2010 at 3:38 PM

    So Mike, going with your logic, if I’m down say 4-0, I should just roll over. Suppose my guy bunts & gets on; next guy up hits a home run; and well geeze, now it’s 4-2 & maybe I come back & win because I played all 9 innings & used all 27 or so batters to get hits & score runs. It’ a nine inning game & you play to win, not just roll over so someone can get a perfect game!

  25. tiohermano - May 10, 2010 at 3:41 PM

    He’d give you three to one that he would beat it out.

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