So this past weekend one of the things that blew me away – and honestly like the older I get, the less in touch with baseball that I am because I just don’t get this. So Justin Verlander is amazing! Nobody disputes that’s. He pitches for Detroit, he’s amazing – has had a couple of no-hitters in his career. So this weekend against the Angels, he has a no-hitter on Sunday night going into the 8th inning with no outs, so he’s 6 outs shy of another no-hitter. The Angels are battling for a playoff spot – they’re in a dog fight with Texas and Texas got better over the weekend, so the Angels can’t give away any games, we are going down the stretch for the pennant. So it’s a 3-0 game for the Tigers and Eric Aybar comes up for the Angles to lead off the 8th inning and he bunts it and gets on base. Verlander was furious with him “hey, I had a no-hitter, I had a no-hitter…you don’t bunt in the 8th when a guy’s got a no-hitter!!” are you out of your mind???
This wasn’t an 11-0 game with the Angels 26 games out of 1st place. The Angels – in a close game, with 6 outs to go, fighting for their playoff lives and by the way, Eric Aybar scored proving he was right, the game ends 3-2 and after the game, Justin Verlander had this to say “…there’s arguments both ways, but obviously from a pitching stand point that’s kind of – you know, we like to call it “bushly” but you know, there’s arguments on both sides of it, it’s a 3 run game so you could’ve gotten on base and you never know what could then happen, so these things work themselves out” There is no arguments to both sides!! 3-0 game with 6 outs to go…baseball please, stop worrying about records and no-hitters and start competing until the last play of the game.
Should I tell my future son “son, compete until the end. Unless you’re in the 8th inning with 6 outs to go and it looks like the guy has a no-hitter going on, then pretty much mail it in…just swing for the fence and no bunting.” That’s the difference between football and baseball. If Belicheck or Mike Tomlin or Andy Reid or Jeff Fischer trail 21-0 with 30 seconds left, they would kick a field goal just to stick it to you, because men compete until the end. We don’t give you an out, we don’t give you squat!
Belicheck, the best coach in any professional sport, would kick a field goal to prove your not shutting my men out! We will dictate the terms…you will not! The Jets lost 45-3 and Rex Ryan made sure that they didn’t get shutout. Thankfully though, Jim Leyland, Tiger’s manager and a reasonable man, backed common sense saying “They’re part of a pennant race just like we are and I don’t have any problem with that play whatsoever. He’s trying to get on base and as it turned out, it was a big play for them because that was one of the hits that got it going for them. So no, I don’t have any problem with that whatsoever! That’s baseball …you’re suppose to play the game right, they played the game right and I have no problem with that whatsoever.”
By the way, the guy bunts his way on and now Verlander has to work from the stretch – maybe loses some velocity on the ball, is not quite as effective, maybe you can rattle him. Like you gotta be kidding me! Pennant race, close game, 6 outs, Angels fighting for their lives against the superior Texas Rangers. A team who’s front office won’t make a move to help them – even though the middle relief and the back end of the staff is weak along with the bullpen…and you want their players to lie down so Verlander can get his record??? Who the hell cares about records!! Compete until the end. What kind of message is that to my future son? “Compete until the game looks pretty much out of reach…then just do whatever the other guy wants” that’s so stupid!