So Erick Aybar bunted. What’s the problem? Apparently Justin Verlander, arguably the best pitcher in baseball this season, thought it was “Bush League.” Come on Justin, do you expect the other team to simply watch you get a no-hitter? Aybar was doing what any player should be doing, trying to win the game. Aybar was completely in the right to lay down a bunt regardless if it’s the first inning or the 8th.
I understand there maybe some fans and baseball players out there who don’t agree with the bunt. However, what were the Angels’ fans expecting? “Oh look, Verlander is working on a no-hitter. Let’s hope our team gets through the final 6 outs so he can get it and we can all go home. Nevermind the good money I spent to see my team try to win.”
One of the classier guys in baseball, Tigers manager Jim Leyland, had no problem with the play. He even called it “beautiful.” Wasn’t he supposed to be upset because it was his pitcher that lost the no-no? My concern here isn’t so much what Verlander said, as is the appearance that players of his caliber expect other teams to give in. The expectation that an opposing team won’t try a bunt, or a double-steal, or some form of small-ball to move a runner over and get a run. Fans don’t watch games to see their team throw in the towel when the opposing pitcher is in the zone. You play to win the game (thank you Herm Edwards.)
There was nothing cheap, unfair, inappropriate, or “Bush League” about Aybar’s bunt. It was baseball. The Angels are in a race for the AL West. Thank you Anaheim for playing baseball. Thank you for giving the fans something to watch. Would it be nice to see a no-hitter, of course. But it is better to see two teams trying to win. That is the point of a team sport. That is why no-hitters and perfect games or so rare and special. It’s not supposed to be easy. Sorry Verlander, maybe next time.
Agree? Disagree? Let me know what you think!