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10 years later, Bob Brenly still bitter about Ben Davis’ bunt

May 27, 2011, 5:30 PM EDT

Bob Brenly Diamondbacks AP

Whether our entry yesterday had anything to do with it or not, Cubs PBP man Len Kasper decided to bring up the Curt Schilling game with former Diamondbacks manager and current Cubs color guy Bob Brenly today on WGN.

And Brenly still isn’t happy about the play, saying that Davis did in fact break unwritten rules by bunting to ruin Schilling’s chance at a perfect game on May 26, 2001.  Kasper pointed out that the bunt single brought the tying run to the plate, and Brenly didn’t much seem to care, saying it was never right to break up a no-hitter with a bunt.

In giving his reasons for being upset, Brenly repeatedly called Davis a backup catcher and said Davis had never bunted for a hit in his career.  He said second baseman Jay Bell was playing extra deep at second base because Davis never bunted and that was why Davis was able to come up with a hit on what was a “terrible” bunt.

The data on whether Davis ever had a bunt hit previously isn’t available, but Brenly wasn’t being entirely fair.  Davis was something of an established regular at that time.  He went on to play in 138 games in 2001, hitting 11 homers and driving in 57 runs.  The Padres actually had him batting fifth that day against the Diamondbacks.  And while he certainly wasn’t an accomplished bunter, he did have three sacrifices in 2000.

Brenly also made the comment that his statements at the time slamming Davis may have been overly heated because the Schilling game was the first in a doubleheader and, as a result, he had to talk to the press immediately after the game and didn’t have time to cool down.

Of course, we do have some data there.  The Diamondbacks played no doubleheader that day.  It was a pretty typical Saturday night game — the third game in a four-game series.  Arizona played just one doubleheader that year, that coming three months later.

  1. Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - May 27, 2011 at 5:34 PM

    Brenly is a perfect fit to cover the Cubs. They both suck balls in an unequivocal fashion.

  2. skerney - May 27, 2011 at 5:38 PM

    26 years later, I’m still bitter about Bob Brenly hitting .220 in 1985.

  3. drmonkeyarmy - May 27, 2011 at 5:43 PM

    I’m kind of torn on this one. One one hand it brought the tying run to the plate and I think “unwritten rules” are kind of bunk. On the other hand, breaking up a no hitter with a bunt is kind of lame.

    • Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - May 27, 2011 at 5:47 PM

      Yeah, but you forgot Schilling is a big douche and even he didn’t get all that bothered by it.

      • JBerardi - May 28, 2011 at 10:43 AM

        I’m sure Schilling knows that he would have done the exact same thing in Davis’ place. Schilling isn’t the brightest bulb around, but I’m pretty sure he understands the concept of doing whatever it takes to win a game.

    • halladaysbicepts - May 27, 2011 at 5:51 PM

      I think all Bob is saying is that it bs that late in the game to break up a perfect game/no hitter with a bunt. You should earn your way on with a legit hit, swinging away.

      Liken it somewhat to a hitting streak. Say a player has a 40 game hitting streak, is 0 for 3, and the team decides to walk him on his fourth at bat, refusing to pitch to him to give him the opportunity to try and extend the streak. You can’t do it. Unwritten rule.

      I gotta agree with Brenly on this one.

      • nixonotis - May 27, 2011 at 6:21 PM

        You play to win the game!

      • Utley's Hair - May 27, 2011 at 6:27 PM

        Otis Edwards is right.

        If the batter needs to “earn (his) way on with a legit hit, swinging away,” then why shouldn’t a pitcher need to earn his way to a no hitter against any and all attempts by the opposing team? A batter has a responsibility to get on base. A pitcher has a responsibility to try to get the batter out. No freebies for anybody.

      • halladaysbicepts - May 27, 2011 at 6:29 PM


        Yeah, figures you would disagree again with me. Seems you like to do that, regardless of what I say and on any subject. If I said the sky was blue, you would probably say pink, or some bs like that.

        Playing the game the right way and putting down a cheap bunt against a guy with a perfect game on the line in the 8th inning would probably screw up some sabermetric stat for you.

        If you don’t understand unwritten rules, you are a lost cause.

      • oikosjeremy - May 27, 2011 at 6:31 PM

        Intentionally walking a guy solely for the purpose of breaking up a hitting streak would be lame–if and only if the intentional walk was a bad tactic that reduced the issuing team’s chances of winning the game. For instance, intentionally walking in a run in a tie game in the 9th inning solely for purposes of breaking up a hitting streak would be really lame–but only because it’s a terrible way to try to win the game. But intentionally walking a guy in order to, say, set up a double play and get at a much worse hitter? Sorry, but if that ends your hitting streak, tough. If you’re not good enough to keep a hitting streak going when the opposition is doing whatever it takes to win the game, too bad. And if you’re not good enough to pitch a no-hitter when guys are prepared to bunt in order to take advantage of the second baseman playing deep, too bad.

        I mean, if intentionally walking a guy to stop a hitting streak is lame, what about pitching around him? The ol’ ‘unintentional intentional walk’? Are you seriously saying that pitchers should man up and just throw fastballs down the middle to guys on hitting streaks?

        And how is bunting for a base hit not ‘legit’ or not ‘earning your way on’? It’s a difficult skill–a lot of guys can’t do it consistently, or at all.

        And as I asked on a previous post, when does your ‘no intentionally walking guys to stop a hitting streak’ rule kick in? After all, a guy who hit safely yesterday, but not the day before, has a 1-game hitting streak. Does it break the unwritten rules to intentionally walk him?

        If you really think Curt Schilling had an injustice done to him, why don’t you start keeping track of ‘games which might’ve been no hitters except for lame bunts’? While you’re at it, you can also start tracking ‘hitting streaks that might’ve continued except for lame intentional walks’. And see if you can get anyone else to care.

      • nixonotis - May 27, 2011 at 6:36 PM

        I disagree with you, not for any personal reason, but because you’re often wrong. As for being “lost” if I don’t understand unwritten rules, I haven’t the slightest clue what you’re talking about.

      • nixonotis - May 27, 2011 at 6:37 PM

        And it’s Mr. Nixonotis to you.

      • halladaysbicepts - May 27, 2011 at 6:46 PM

        I’d love to continue this discussion, but I must take leave to watch the Phillies pound some Mutts tail now.

        Hopefully, the Mutts don’t decide to put some cheap bunt down if Oswalt is no hitting them after 7 innings.

      • phukyouk - May 27, 2011 at 7:18 PM

        Halladay, i say this with the utmost respect but you may be the dumbest SOB that ever lived. your comments are beyond stupid. Honestly do you even think before you speak?

      • paperlions - May 27, 2011 at 8:05 PM

        See, I don’t think he is that dumb. I think he is some combination of stubborn, proud, and mentally lazy. I realize that’s not exactly complimentary either, but I don’t think he’s stupid.

      • aceshigh11 - May 27, 2011 at 9:00 PM

        A bunt isn’t a legit hit?? C’mon…read what you’re saying!

      • skerney - May 28, 2011 at 8:00 AM

        Only six men in history have a hit streak of 40 games or more. Pick a better example.

      • jejozi - Jan 9, 2012 at 7:46 PM

        It’s a team game. You play to win every game. If a guys attempt at a no-hitter gets in the way of winning a game, so be it. Pete Rose ruined Ray Fosse’s career in an exhibition game and nobody says boo. You play to win within the WRITTEN rules.

  4. jamie54 - May 27, 2011 at 5:47 PM

    Right, it was a Saturday night game, what is he talking about? And yes, Davis was the next bonus baby savior to be so he was not a backup. If Brenly had the same opportunity as a manager I’m sure he’d direct someone on his team to do the same thing. You’re trying to win a freaking game for crying out loud. What a bag.

  5. spudchukar - May 27, 2011 at 5:49 PM

    I was listening to Brenly, discuss this, and while I wholeheartedly disagree with his opinion, it is fair to point out that he was pretty light hearted about the affair, noting that he had written the pages the “unwritten rule book” was open to.(During the telecast, the Cubs repeatedly showed a picture of the book, open about 1/2 way, with no visible lettering on the pages) He did go on to say he still disagreed with the bunt decision, and went on to say, that was the way he was taught, and that after the game he would have pulled Davis aside and without anger given him his opinion. Horribly wrong that it is.

  6. jwbiii - May 27, 2011 at 5:56 PM

    Kasper has said that he frequents B-Ref and other internet sites. It was in B-Refs “This Day in Baseball History” column. So maybe here, probably there, or maybe both.

  7. deep64blue - May 27, 2011 at 6:15 PM

    Brenly is an idiot – the whole point of sports is that the other team is trying to stop you. If the other team isn’t trying their best then it devalues the achievement.

  8. xpensivewinos - May 27, 2011 at 6:42 PM

    To be succinct and to leave absolutely zero margin for interpretation: “F” Bob Brenly.

    Are we clear?

    • nixonotis - May 27, 2011 at 6:48 PM


  9. royalsfaninfargo - May 27, 2011 at 6:57 PM

    There is a reason the Brenly has never been given another shot as a manager. Tom Hanks said “there is no crying in baseball,” he should have included whining like a little b***h as well!

  10. pisano - May 27, 2011 at 7:17 PM

    Brenly is a jerk-off, did he think the Padres came into that game to let the other jerk- off Schilling get a no hitter? Brenly must be the village idiot. The object of the game is to WIN Brenly, not for the opposition to help you win and let your pitcher get a no hitter. What a f###ing idiot. No wonder he’s not managing anymore.

  11. micker716 - May 27, 2011 at 7:27 PM

    Davis bunted because Jay Bell was playing too deep. If Brenly thought “Davis never bunted” and decided to position Bell that deep, doesn’t the fault lie with Brenly’s crappy game managment?

    • kaitplace - May 28, 2011 at 1:04 PM

      EXACTLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! If it was anybody’s fault it was the coach for not being prepared for a possible bunt..

      the job of the hitter is to try to win…anything else is just lame ..pretty amazing to compare brenly’s whining to Armando Gallaraga, who actually did get screwed out of perfect game…

  12. adenzeno - May 27, 2011 at 8:03 PM

    I am olde, and I know all about the “unwritten” rules, and I never heard of the “No Bunting”rule. It seems to be a modern post 70s thing and I call BS on it-Get off the mound and field the ball. If a bunt gets you on, then you should bunt. The crying was lame when it happened, and is worse today. A team should do everything possible to win a game. If the other guy gets his No No or whatever, then good.

  13. Kevin S. - May 27, 2011 at 8:08 PM

    Maybe if Bob Brenly had worried more about doing his job as a hitter and less about the unwritten rules he would have actually been a decent player.

  14. xmatt0926x - May 27, 2011 at 8:36 PM

    This is all just silly and shame on Brenly for being so childishly stubborn all these years later. Davis got the tying run to the plate! It’s the opposing teams job to win, not preserve Schillings perfect game! Brenly says Davis had not tried to bunt before?? Even better reason to use the tactic to get the tying run to the plate! Why is this so hard to understand? Also, how many times over the years have we seen a pitcher give up his first hit in a no-no bid and all of a sudden give up several because of the let down from losing the no hitter? again, this was a 2-0 game, not 6-0. Grow up Brenly!

  15. schmedley69 - May 27, 2011 at 10:11 PM

    Brenly came off as a real jerk after that “chicken-sh!t” rant, and it looks like he hasn’t changed much after 10 years. Ben Davis was trying to get his team back in the game. Screw the perfect game. The goal is to help YOUR team win, not to lay down so that the big, fat jerk pitching for the other team can get a perfect game. I guess Brenly liked it when Brett Favre laid down so Michael Strahan could break the sack record? Most real sports fans hated that play.

  16. memphisyinzer - May 28, 2011 at 12:38 AM

    I think what he is referring to is something that is missing in today’s baseball environment. Tradition!
    Traditionally, had someone bunted to get on in, say 1968, batting against, let’s say the Cardinals, and broken up the no-no / perfect game, with a bunt, he wouldn’t have wanted to take a chance to even come to the plate in game 2 if, let’s say, Bob Gibson were pitching. Gibson would have planted a fast ball right in his left ear. And the funny thing is, the batter and everyone else in the stadium would have expected that exact thing to happen.

    Unfortunately, today’s game is void of tradition and I think it’s really sad. I’ll bet you anything that most of the guys playing today don’t even know half of the guys who played in the 60, 50s, 40s etc. But, they do know about million dollar contracts; pristine playing fields; being pampered, etc.

    Y’all can jump on Brenly all you want, but I think that’s where he was coming from.

    • JBerardi - May 28, 2011 at 10:37 AM

      Yeah it’s really sad that guys are trying to win ballgames instead of assaulting each other with deadly weapons (which a Gibson fastball to the head clearly is) over meaningless nonsense (aka “tradition”).

    • paperlions - May 28, 2011 at 11:01 AM

      This is just all kinds of wrong. Gibson threw inside a lot, but rarely actually threw at hitters and never threw such pitches head high. He hit only 102 batters in his entire career; tied for 76th all-time while being 46th in innings pitched. Gibson is even quoted as saying that he did hit a few guys in the head, but not on purpose. Gibson is a straight forward man, I doubt he’d lie about whether or not such things were intentional.

      • JBerardi - May 28, 2011 at 12:25 PM

        I really can’t stress enough how reprehensible specifically throwing at someone’s head is. I understand that there’s a need to pitch high and tight and that guys are going to miss when they do that sometimes; that’s part of the game and the players understand and accept those risks. But getting hit in the head is serious business, and if any pitcher is actually trying in inflict that on opposing players, that’s just malicious, criminal, borderline sociopathic behavior in my view, and the fact the certain baseball fans glorify it is just beyond me comprehension. Think about what you’re suggesting in the name of winning what is an ultimately meaningless game, folks.

    • jejozi - Jan 9, 2012 at 8:03 PM

      So DiMagio’s streak is tainted because in the ninth inning of a game with Joe due up fourth, the guy up third dropped a bunt to stay out of a DP?

      Or Gehrig’s streak is tainted because there were games where he took one at bat then sat or just pinch hit late in a game?

      No, the game is played to be won, not pad any players stats.

  17. JBerardi - May 28, 2011 at 10:35 AM

    My attitude towards the so-called “unwritten rules” (in baseball as well as in life) is that if this shit really mattered, it would have been written down.

    • jejozi - Jan 9, 2012 at 8:09 PM

      There’re some I agree with. You don’t steal a base or go for an extra base in a blow out late in the game. If it’s a hit in the gap to the wall, that’s a double, but a hit to the gap that’s cut off and you have to dig for second, sliding under the tag; no.

  18. genericcommenter - May 28, 2011 at 3:28 PM

    You “earn” your no-hitter with fielding, also. Unless Schilling struck out 26 guys and was in 100% complete individual control over his no-hitter destiny by blowing the ball by every hitter, and some dude decided to bunt since it was impossible to make swinging contact, all this complaining about the bunt is pretty lame. The guy got a hit. It’s not his job to play to the preferences of the defense.

  19. nocryinginbaseball07 - May 28, 2011 at 3:59 PM

    Doesn’t it water down the importance of a” “perfect game” if you start giving handicaps? The fact that it has to be perfect is the reason there are so few of them. And that’s what makes them so exciting.

    • thegoche - May 28, 2011 at 6:51 PM

      No, we should apply limits so they happen more often. If one is special, just think how special TEN would be!

      Ex. Armando Galaragas should have gotten a perfect game, and I don’t blame Jim Joyce, I blame Jason Donald. If he had any class he would have jogged to first. Only a wuss would try to break up a perfect game by running hard on a ball in the infield.

  20. raw101 - May 28, 2011 at 6:56 PM

    Sorry you play to win the game

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