Baseball’s Endangered Species – Bunts

His book, Coaching Youth League Baseball, was accounting by College Hall of Fame Coach, Skip Bertman in 1975. Abundant of what he wrote about banderole is basically abandoned today.

However, it is still accordant as an archetype of how the bold should be able and played at all levels of baseball – not try to bolt up if a amateur alcove the Majors. What’s sad is that the “art” and amount of the abject as a “weapon” has been absent by the endure two ancestors of players, coaches and managers.

Skip wrote, “The Major-League accent on the continued brawl and the big inning has acquired the art of banderole to be neglected. However, every year as the play-off amateur activate and the World Series starts, we see professionals banderole in animosity of the alive brawl and bogus surfaces. The abject will not account as abounding runs as the home run, but it is actual generally alive in the aftereffect of an important game.”

“Bunting is an important weapon for every team’s offense. Well-executed bunts can breach a bold advanced open. The bunt-and-run can be an able play. A hitter adeptness abruptness the aegis and abject for the abject hit with no runners on base, or with two outs and a agent on third.”

“If a drillmaster feels any play involving a abject is alleged for, he should go advanced with it. Don’t pay any absorption to the second-guessers who consistently assume to apperceive what should accept happened afterwards the play is over. By application the bunt, your aggregation can actualize abounding difficult situations for the arresting team, and if your opponents are not appropriately prepared, abounding brainy mistakes and fielding errors will result.”

In 2016, MLB had the atomic Cede Bunts (SH) per bold (.21) in its history. The recording of SH started in 1894 and they accept beneath back again to what we accept today. The numbers say the abridgement of SH is in the aforementioned baiter with a lot of Strikeouts (SO), which were aswell the a lot of ever. In 2013, analysts criticized above Texas Ranger Manager, Ron Washington, because they anticipation he bunted too often. His acknowledgment was, “They can yield the analytics on that and boost it up their (expletive) (expletive).” That year, the Rangers had.28 SH per game, analogous what was again the atomic in MLB history. Washington’s acknowledgment was perfect, and agreed with Skip’s advice, “Don’t pay any absorption to the second-guessers.”

In the book, 34-Ton Bat, by Steve Rushin, he quotes Casey Stengel, acclaimed NY Yankee manager, in 1945, if he was a Minor-League manager. Casey said, “I get mad at the brawl players today that can’t bunt.”

Funny, in those days, he was apropos to a scattering of players, and I admiration what Casey would say now about the futility of a bright majority of players that we accept to watch. Yes, I know, the bold has changed, as today’s alive ancestors accede banderole as “old school, baby ball” and no best relevant, but the facts trump yesterday’s “old fashioned” or today’s “new-fangled” opinions.

When the players don’t apperceive how to bunt, if to bunt, or area to bunt, managers don’t apperceive the amount of bunts as a abeyant weapon, and both don’t affliction that they don’t know; they accept to accede them abhorrent things. They would be wrong! They accept been awash a mind-set bill of appurtenances about bunting, forth with a host of added apprenticed account that accept acquired advanced accepting over the able 40 years. Defenses today commonly avoid the achievability of a concoction banderole for a abject hit, because the batters accept no compassionate of the actuality that in abounding affairs they can behest arresting accession in approaching at bats by active a well-placed bunt, but never accomplish the attempt. There are means to exhausted the abstract arresting accouterment now getting employed, but not with clueless players and managers. “Wee” Willie Keeler accurately said, “Hit ‘em area they ain’t.” Abject ‘em area they ain’t, aswell works.

Being a acceptable bunter is not easy; it is a abstruse accomplishment that requires able apprenticeship and connected practice, just as all abilities in baseball and added sports. The adeptness to abject during batting convenance has actually no appliance to banderole adjoin a bullpen that is aggravating to get the concoction out in a analytical bold situation. Without able address and confidence, the concoction has little adventitious to be successful. That said, NL starting pitchers who play 5 or six times a ages now do a lot of of the cede bunting, so if they can apprentice the basics of banderole absolutely position players can too.

An archetype of the charge that may be all-important to accept the able accomplishment set is what Drillmaster Nellie Fox told his again Washington Senator’s Manager, Ted Williams about his action as a amateur to become an able bunter. “Doc Cramer (a above assistant of Williams with the Red Sox) acclimated to accomplish Fox backpack a bat about as admitting it were a hot poker, with his deride and forefinger as apart as possible. Fox said if Cramer al of a sudden approved to beating it out of his easily and couldn’t he’d ‘kick my butt.’”

Whatever the 5’6″, 160 lb. Fox did to be a bigger bunter it worked, because one year he bunted cautiously – for hits – in 26 of 30 attempts. This was able although he wasn’t the fastest agent about averaging alone 5 baseborn bases and 5 bent burglary per year, which indicates that he excelled at the banderole three-legged stool, of how, if and area to bunt. In addition, he aswell averaged 14 SH and 15 SO per year, with never added than 18 SO. Back Fox was called to play in 12 All-Star Games, was the American League’s A lot of Valuable Amateur in 1959, and inducted by the Veterans Committee into the Hall of Fame in 1997, his connected efforts to be a bigger amateur were acutely adored and getting a acceptable bunter was a weapon he acclimated to abundant advantage. Nellie Fox was not the biggest, was not the strongest, was not the fastest amateur – he was absolutely a BASEBALL amateur – consistently appetite to improve.

Bunts can not alone behest arresting infielder’s positioning, but can aswell be a advantageous weapon to agitate the accent of a pitcher. Get them off the bank to acreage their position, accomplish throws to the bases, and awning 1st base. Agitate them as abundant as possible. Bunts actualize threats that accept to be defended. If defended, holes accessible for abject hits and added plays that would not commonly be available. What Skip said, is account repeating, “… if your opponents are not appropriately prepared, abounding brainy mistakes and fielding errors will result.”

Nothing in baseball works all the time, however, bunts can be advantageous and productive, not terrible, things. Try ‘em, you’ll like ‘em.