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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. webcataloger - May 10, 2010 at 3:42 PM

    In the fifth inning there is no likelihood of a no-no. A bunt for a hit is a tool that should not be taken away from the batter. For me, the ‘unwritten’ rule only applies in the 9th when a bunt hit would seem bush league.

  2. Rick - May 10, 2010 at 3:44 PM

    Bunting in the 9th might be considered unsporting, but bunting in the 5th? I think he only attempted it to see if he could draw in the 3rd baseman a bit.
    Did the A’s stop using the shift against Pena to make it more sporting?

  3. Mike - May 10, 2010 at 3:44 PM

    Let’s hope the fact that nobody is making a big deal about Longoria’s bunt attempt is progress in the war on idiocy of “unwritten rules”. Probably the only one that makes any sense is not stealing bases when you’re up a ton of runs late, and that’s more about sportsmanship than anything, which should always be present. But between pitchers drilling batters for HR’s that THEY served up and this, let’s hope the idiocy of the “unwritten rule” is going away. Of course, the irony of Braden complaining about the unwritten rule of jogging over the mound completes the hilarity here. Seems like the pitchers all have fragile egos.

  4. Soop - May 10, 2010 at 3:46 PM

    If this unwritten rule were correct, it would allow the infielders to play farther back (because they don’t have to guard against a bunt). The farther back they play, the better chance they have of stopping a base hit that might have gone through had they been playing in their normal positions. Why should the pitcher get that benefit?

  5. BigBBFan - May 10, 2010 at 3:48 PM

    Bet on whether or not the bunt would go foul.

  6. Spotts1701 - May 10, 2010 at 3:50 PM

    Yes, but how many bunts are *successful* in putting a man on base rather than resulting in an out or a foul ball (which then gives a pitcher the advantage because they know the hitter is looking to bunt or can’t show bunt again)?
    If you’re a manager in a game where you’re down by 7 runs in the 9th, are you going to actually tell your hitter to bunt instead of swinging away?

  7. redrunner55 - May 10, 2010 at 3:53 PM

    Puhleeze. Unwritten rules–“Oh, please don’t try your hardest so I can throw a no-no against your team”?! Give me a break; players are supposed to play to win. Maddon sat BJ Upton down one time for not running his hardest to first even though he was going to be thrown out. Thanks everyone for showing common sense!

  8. the ozman - May 10, 2010 at 3:55 PM

    Char’s comment opens up another can of worms. If you’ve hit in 56 consecutive games, the pitcher shouldn’t and won’t be out there throwing you batting practice during the game, but should a team intentionally walk a player just to keep him from getting a hit? Baseball in particular is a statistics obsessed game,and in my opinion a little bit too much. In my humble opinion, the player and the manager should make any decisions based upon winning the game and not on whether a perfect game or some important stat is up for grabs. Play the game, the stats will follow.

  9. Rick - May 10, 2010 at 3:59 PM

    The Rays do things a bit differently. Madden likes to use the bunt to make the defense move and force them to make a play. Pena has bunted against the shift lots of times, and Zobrist had bunted twice safely in the previous 2 games. In the 5th inning, pitching against the team with highest run total in the majors, are you really thinking no-no?

  10. Greg - May 10, 2010 at 4:01 PM

    Dallas Braden. Out of 18 others who has done this feat he by far is the biggest whiner. And acts like he’s some 17 year old from the hood. Excuse me, the “902”. Grow up. I usually always cheer for someone when they are on the verge of a no-hitter. Not this guy. I wish the bunt would have worked so we could hear him cry for another month.

  11. Other Guy - May 10, 2010 at 4:05 PM

    Doesn’t make a difference–first batter of the evening or the pinch hitter put in for the pitcher in the 9th–your job is to put the ball in play and try to get to 1st base.
    EVERY pitcher has a no-no going until that first base runner. If the 1st batter hits a liner to left–he just spoiled the chance for a perfect game.
    Does it only count if you wind up like Happy Gilmore and put it out into the freeway past the parking lot?

  12. WhatDaveRalphAndECPSays - May 10, 2010 at 4:05 PM

    I support what Dave, Ralph and ecp says.
    And Fast Eddy and Daryl and John.

  13. Wayne - May 10, 2010 at 4:08 PM

    Just yesterday while watching the Twins-Orioles game, radio commentator Dan Gladden was commenting on how he felt that the Orioles batters were simply going through the motions late in the game and down 6-0. He felt that they were showing some lack of character because they weren’t still competing hard and trying to put quality at-bats together. Maybe Dan didn’t understand that some would feel that the Orioles were simply adhereing to another ‘unwritten rule’ of slacking off when you’re down big in order to get the game over with.

  14. Pete - May 10, 2010 at 4:09 PM

    Perfect is perfect. I don’t care if it’s the top of the 9th and your down by a dozen runs. 27 up and 27 down, including the bunters. To suggest that a batter NOT try to be the spoiler seems silly to me.

  15. 1stInning - May 10, 2010 at 4:09 PM

    So two outs in the first and someone bunts. There goes his no-no.

  16. funyun - May 10, 2010 at 4:10 PM

    Good Lord. My head just about exploded when I read this article. I’ve now read the one-sided feedback and have calmed down. My 12 year old daughter knows the value of a good bunt if it puts you on base. If a pitcher is in a groove or is blowing strikes past your batters then you try a bunt…anything to put a runner on base. You do the same thing if the corners are lazy and playing too far back. Tell the whiners in MLB (I’m assuming the pitchers and mgrs) to grow up.

  17. YerOut - May 10, 2010 at 4:11 PM

    Whar is next? Oh, that pitcher is trying to set a strikeout record so I had better swing and miss? Oh, that team is going for the record of most homeruns so I should serve up nothing but gophers? A base runner is a base runner. It does not matter if the ball went 3 feet or 300. You can’t win without base runners. Last I heard those players were getting paid millions to win, not make someone else look good on the field.

  18. Michael - May 10, 2010 at 4:14 PM

    Perfectly fine to break up a no-no with a bunt. It’s also perfectly fine if the pitcher takes his head off in the next at bat.

  19. KR - May 10, 2010 at 4:16 PM

    If you “play to win the game”, why did Kevin Russo pinch-hit for A-Rod last night? Did Girardi think that Russo batting instead of A-Rod gave them the best chance to win? Somehow I doubt it.
    Sorry, but in real life, you can’t win every game, and managers and players realize this.

  20. Ron Mexico - May 10, 2010 at 4:16 PM

    wah, millionares whining about someone making a legitimate play. seriously? you are grown men right?

  21. gruntersdad - May 10, 2010 at 4:22 PM

    Are you kidding me, in the fifth. The pitcher uses his best stuuf to keep you off base, you use your best stuff to get on base. Go cry me a river with this nonsense. Unwritten rules are for GIRLS.

  22. Route36West - May 10, 2010 at 4:24 PM

    It was in the 5th inning that doesnt count as breaking the rule. The list would be a mile long if you kept track of all the calls who had thrown no-nos through 4 1/3.
    Yea doing it in the 8th inning is cheap but in the 5th doesnt qualify. Braden and no one else should be thinking about throwing a no no when its only the 5th anyway its to early. The game wasnt even half over yet for the Rays hitters when it happened.
    That unwritten rule doesnt apply until the 7th inning 6th at the very earliest.

  23. wah wah - May 10, 2010 at 4:36 PM

    Bunting is part of the game. It gets things rolling. Derek Jeter is VERY famous for this to break the lull of a hit less game.
    This whole subject is totally stupid, this is BASEBALL not online gaming where teens bicker back and forth on who cheated by using things the game offers them to kill another player.

  24. Rulebook - May 10, 2010 at 4:38 PM

    Unwritten rules, why isn’t Tiger using this line?
    Bunting is part of the game and I don’t care if you are losing 13-0 in the ninth, if swinging away wasn’t’ getting you on base then might as well try something else.
    The pitcher is trying to get every batter out and the hitters are trying to get on base. Somehow this concept changes when there is a no-no being thrown? Granted, if they are bunting for a hit it better be a hitter that would normally try and bunt for a hit. If it was Big Pappy then there might be a bit of a gripe if he were actually able to get his big ass down the line quick enough.
    I say it’s better to have a perfect game knowing the other team threw everything at them than to say they eased up. There has been 19 perfect games in the history of MLB, how many games have been played during this time?
    It is an amazing feet and if you failed and whine about it you are a fool and a loser. I didn’t get my perfect game because that guy bunted, how stupid does that sound? The eight guys surrounding the pitcher and the entire coaching staff are there to make sure the game is defensed in every situation because just as the hitter doesn’t know what pitch is thrown the defense doesn’t know what the hitter is going to do.
    How many lead off hitters in the Majors, back in the day, used to bunt for base hits? It was a common practice. Play your corners to deep and it is going to happen. Is it the hitters fault for taking advantage of a defensive setup?
    Now I really hope it happens, 17-0 score with two outs and two strikes in the bottom of the ninth. Nobody would see it coming and if it busted up a no no, the only person the pitcher should be pissed at is his own infield. The batter would become famous but it would probably feel Tiger famous.

  25. Rayo - May 10, 2010 at 5:03 PM

    at least you spelled “moron” correctly

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