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.

KPIs Work With Buy-In, Not Sign-Off

Buy-in is choice. Sign-off is obligation. Best has endless added energy, that sustains itself longer, than does obligation. For buy-in to KPIs and achievement measurement, humans accept to be complex because they accept to, and not because they’re answerable to.

In his book, Open Space Technology, about active self-organising and awful collaborative alternatives to meetings, columnist Harrison Owen describes the law of two feet:

“If, during the advance of the gathering, any being finds him or herself in a bearings area they are neither acquirements nor contributing, they accept to use their two anxiety and go to some added advantageous place.”

The law of two anxiety is active in creating the abyss of buy-in that after-effects in humans alive calm to bound break harder problems or actualize allusive changes.

It’s about choice.

Just anticipate about all the times you had to participate in because you were answerable to, or were told to by anyone with added rank or ability than you. And adverse that with a time if you actual abundant capital to participate, because it meant something to you.

When we choose, we buy in.

My PuMP Partner, Mark Hocknell, describes how affairs in to KPIs and achievement altitude is agnate to poker. If you buy in to a poker bold (literally), alone you can accomplish the accommodation to pay over the cash, or what’s alleged the “buy in”, to accompany the game.

Without buy-in, KPIs do added accident than good.

In my achievement altitude alignment we don’t force humans to be complex in choosing, creating and application KPIs and measures. We invite them. And if they’re not absorbed or not ready, again that’s fine.

When humans are affected to be complex – especially with something as advancing and catchy as achievement measurement, which is harder abundant to do able-bodied in any case – they will do added accident than good:

  • Trivial and simple KPIs will be measured, and that agency their cost-benefit arrangement will be negative
  • Good-news KPIs will be reported, and that agency business achievement problems never get the spotlight and never get fixed
  • Humans get defensive, and this accent biologically shuts down creativity

KPI buy-in alone comes through choice.

Whoever is absorbed and accessible will be the appropriate humans to yield the organisation’s achievement ability to the next level. Their buy-in will ammunition the collaboration, adroitness and charge to choose, actualize and use KPIs that accomplish a able difference.

Mark has apparent this appear abounding times. In a contempo workshop, anyone asked him if the Measure Gallery abstraction we use absolutely works; if the appropriate humans absolutely do about-face up. (The Measure Gallery is how we socialise a set of anew developed KPIs, a part of all the stakeholders.)

Mark artlessly replied, “Always.” And he told the adventure of how the admiral of one Australian account initially said they couldn’t accomplish it to their organisation’s cardinal Measure Gallery. But they angry up anyway. It was because they were arrive and not obliged, and they fabricated the best to come. And their addition to the KPI plan was brilliant.

Faster is slower.

If we try and force anybody to get complex in barometer performance, afore they accept any buy-in, we will be block afterwards poor KPIs and a breakable achievement ability for the years to follow. It’s in fact faster to delay until humans are accessible to buy in. So plan on the buy-in first.

Buy-in is choice. Sign-off is obligation. For KPI buy-in, humans accept to participate through choice, not obligation or force.


Reflect on the means that you’ve apparent humans participate in any assignment to do with KPIs or achievement measurement. What correlations do you apprehension amid their akin of buy-in and the advantage of the KPIs created?