The Minnesota Twins and Cleveland Indians just concluded a three game series at Target Field.

Some big issues were being made over the smallest of plays—the bunt.

It started in the first game of the series when Cleveland left fielder, Trevor Crowe, was at the plate. With two outs and nobody on base he had the audacity to bunt for hit.

Television color commentator Bert Blyleven and dugout reporter Roy Smalley both questioned Crowe’s tactic. 

According to these two former major-league players, since there were two outs, Crowe should have been looking to put himself into scoring position. They went so far to say the only way to justify the bunt was if he intended to immediately steal second.

Their argument was lost on me.

In the bottom of the fourth inning, with two outs and runners on second and third, Denard Span attempted to reach base by bunting.

This move, although not criticized by Blyleven or Smalley, infuriated me!

Span’s failed attempt ended the inning, stranding two runners in scoring position.

Even if he was successful, the absolute best he would have done was to drive in one run.

Why wasn’t he swinging away attempting to score two runs with a hit to the outfield?

At the time the Twins were losing 2-1, why wasn’t anyone on the broadcast team critical of Span’s ploy?

Fast forward to the second game of the series: 

It’s the bottom of the sixth inning, the Indians are leading 3-1 with runners on first and second and one out, and Joe Mauer at the plate—the Twins’ best hitter.

I’m expecting Mauer to flair one down the left field line into the corner for a double, in true Mauer fashion.

In atypical fashion, he bunts at the first offering, attempting to put the ball down the third base line, and Cleveland catcher Carlos Santana throws Mauer out at first—two outs.

I guess it was better than grounding into a double play—a stat that Mauer leads for the Twins.

The bunt is a ploy best used to sacrifice one’s position at the plate in order to improve the team’s chances of scoring, usually by moving runners into scoring position with less than two outs.

None of these examples fit that description. Yet, Crowe was successful at reaching base safely—which should be the goal of every hitter, and he was criticized!  

When is it okay to bunt?

Many feel it’s unsportsmanlike if a player attempts to break up a no-hitter by bunting late in the game. Isn’t that what every player should be doing—trying to break up a no-hitter? Why is it any less admirable to do this by bunting?

There’s also the situation when a team is leading by a significant margin that bunting is deemed to be disrespectful. 


If he swings away and hits a home run isn’t this piling on?

Again, these arguments are lost on me.

Perhaps to avoid all controversy, a rule should be written down, that bunting is only allowed by pitchers when batting in National League ball parks.

Or when you are among the league leaders in grounding into double plays and this is the best way to avoid increasing your total.    

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