Posted at 2:19 PM on October 18, 2005
by Bob Collins
Everyone around here is talking today about Albert Pujols and last night's game ending (OK, they're not, they're actually talking about Norwegian plays and the dangers of not cleaning your barbecue grill, but work with me here!).
Nobody's talking about last night's first inning and it's too bad because it helps explain why I went to bed early.
Is someone actually expecting us to be bedazzled by a baseball game where a manager calls for a sacrifice bunt with nobody out and a man aboard in the first inning?
Chris Burke got the lucky call in last night's game. Most of us had no sooner got a chance to sit down when we were treated to the magnificent splendor of a guy with a .309 OBP laying down a bunt.
First, what's a guy with an OBP of .309 doing batting second in the first place?
And if you're a Major League manager, are there things you would do before you give the other team a free out? Biggio was the runner on first; he's not the fastest guy anymore, but he still stole 11 bases and was caught once (although Pettite has always had a great pickoff move).
But this was an act of desperation, which is not unusual unless it's the second batter to come up in the first inning. And then it's, well, desperate. You're trying to stay out of a double play. Period.
Dan Agonistes (and I have no idea who he is), has an interesting blog item about the value of bunting. It's based partly on an interview with Bill James. James defends the practice of bunting. And so do I. But the second batter of the game? You're kidding me.
The Astros, by the way, did not score in the inning. And by the end of that inning, I switched sides. I hope the Cardinals win the series and Houston spends the winter bemoaning its bunting ways.
Serves 'em right.