Get Over It Verlander. You Play to Win The Game!

Justin Verlander

Image via Wikipedia

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!

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2 thoughts on “Get Over It Verlander. You Play to Win The Game!

  1. Dear Vince,

    No team gives up when they are being no-hit. No major league team EXPECTS them to give up. But when the bunt is the only excuse you can come up with as “playing baseball”, your argument has fallen on deaf ears. No manager says, “Hey, we’ve been perfect gamed for the last 7 innings, let’s pack it in”. More over, the bunt is the equivalent of a nut shot in a fight. Yes, it counts but holy shit is it cheap. Perfect game and No hitters get broken up the way men break them up: You line one to center, up the middle, or down the baseline. You just don’t bunt. It’s certainly one of those unwritten rules. I get you’re in a pennant race, trying to win in your division. But the time to even remotely think about bunting was in the 5th, when it was still a game. In the 8th, a game like that is what’s referred to in the business as “A Gem”. Not something you break up with a nut shot. But here’s the funny part about all this: The circumstances were batshit crazy. The Guillen stare down, the buzzing of avila, all dramatic moments in a good game. Still, if you think this was a “fair” and “appropriate” way to break up a No-No, think again. I understand WHY he bunted, he had every reason too. But he could have been the bigger man and swung the bat, instead of being cheap. Baseball has a honor code and it was breached a little. I’m not saying it won’t ever be breached again, but we have to be able to notice when it’s been broken. Otherwise, it’s just another mindless sport, just men throwing leather at wood and not caring about the battle, the pride, the ecstasy that is Baseball.

    Maybe it wasn’t Bush League….but it sure as shit wasn’t Major League.

    • Jay,
      Whoa. I appreciate your opinion, I really do. But come on. If a bunt is the way, then bunt. There is nothing un-manly (is that spelled correctly?) or dishonorable about Aybar bunting in the 8th. I don’t see a difference between a batter laying down a bunt in the 5th or the 8th or the 9th for that matter. What if this was reversed and Leyland called for the bunt agaisnt Weaver? Guillen and Avila, that’s just ego getting in the way of the game. You have to play to win and you do what is needed. I don’t think a bunt is cheap by any means. Its a legitimate way of getting on base. You got Aybar who is batting .283 with 7 HRs and 43 RBIs going against Verlander, I’m bunting. Heck, I’m bringing grandma up if she can lay one down. I agree with Leyland, it was beautiful.

      Thanks for commenting, come back soon.

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