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Bunting In A Perfect Game? Meh

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Dallas Braden's perfect game / APHere's why it's so difficult to follow all these unwritten rules: they're not written down. If somebody compiled them all and made a list which was ratified by a 2/3 majority of persons on a blue-ribbon panel, then there'd be less discussion.

Instead, here's another story about the unwritten rules, this time involving the act of bunting during a perfect game. Again, this involves Dallas Braden.

This past week Braden was vocal about Alex Rodriguez slicing through the pitcher's mound and stomping on the rubber (his rubber!) while returning to home plate after a foul ball. But on Sunday, Braden went from "some complaining pitcher" to "some pitcher who threw a perfect game and complained about something last week but I forget what." In all fairness, he hasn't spoken out regarding Tampa Bay's bunt attempt in the fifth inning by cleanup hitter Evan Longoria, but the attempted bunter did defend his bad self by pointing out that not even Braden seemed all that worked up about it. 

Longoria's bunt was almost perfect. He'd have beat it out for sure, but it rolled foul. It's all moot — he eventually struck out — but the A's crowd vocally objected to the Rays' third baseman after his little scheme of sabotage.

Um … why?

First of all, it wasn't that late in the game. There were zero outs in the fifth inning. They were only down four. That's not insurmountable; in fact, hours earlier, their Bay Area neighbors lost a 4-0 lead after five innings. Kevin Kaduk of Yahoo! Sports alleges that, hey, Longoria's their home-run hitter, so what the heck's he doing trying to bingle his way to first?

Well, he's done it once before with success. He's no Ichiro when it comes to infield hits, but he seems to have just as good a chance at fooling adequate third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff than he does at knocking one out of the park in the agoraphobic Oakland Coliseum. A total of 15 runs were scored in the three-game series, and neither team hit a homer.

And, in fact … doesn't this unwritten rule violate another unwritten rule, which is not to acknowledge no-hitters until after five innings are completed? Re-examine that many of the A's fans were booing. Was there something they've noticed about the ebb and flow of Rays at bats that they'd like to share with the rest of the class?

Seriously. Someone write all these unwritten rules down. This is dizzying.

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  • http://viclana.blogspot.com/ Victor Lana

    Matt, I’m glad that Braden threw this perfect game. When all the stuff about A-Rod hit the fan, the New York sports writers were calling Braden either a “no talent” or “mediocre pitcher at best.”
    How dare such a pitcher question King A-Rod?

    Can’t wait until the A’s meet the Yanks next time. Should be fun.

  • http://www.futonreport.net/ Matthew T. Sussman

    Well, yeah. Great on him. Now is he gonna become Catfish Hunter or Len Barker? We don’t know — and Braden still had no room to criticize A-Rod over an “unwritten rule” that nobody really knew about.

    Braden is 18-23. A-Rod is 3-for-5 against him and has one of his 586 career homers against him. The best pitchers are best remembered for what they did, not what they said.

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    Here’s a written rule. The owner pays you to win games. If that calls for a bunt, so be it.

    If a pitcher is going for a strike-out record, is there an unwritten rule where hitters have to take pitches?

  • Tony

    I was a pitcher and I’ve never heard a rule about not running over the pitchers mound. It could have happened 50 times in the years I played ball and I would have never noticed it.

    Braden is still a mediocre pitcher at best. I believe his five strikeout were the least ever in a perfect game. He got lucky, so good for him. Doesn’t change the fact that he’s an ass hole.

  • Brad

    Tony, you must be a Yankoff’s fan.