September 2, 2017

Post: "If Only The Yankees Didn't Have A History Of Hating The Bunt"

With CC Sabathia's bizarre views on athletic competition fresh in his mind, Mike Vaccaro of the Post thinks back to 2004 and writes: "If Only The Yankees Didn't Have A History Of Hating The Bunt":
The Red Sox, you will recall, were mired in an 86-year losing streak with the Yankees not so long ago. It seemed certain that streak would extend to 87 after the Yankees took a 3-0 lead in the 2004 ALCS. Then the Sox won a couple of dramatic extra-inning games to extend the series to a sixth game, Oct. 19, 2004.

Also known as the Bloody Sock Game.

Also known as the day Curt Schilling allowed Red Sox doctors to perform meatball surgery on his ankle, which allowed him to pitch that night against the Yankees even as blood oozed from the sutures. ...

There is one lingering question from that night, though, and it's a big one:


How big a question is that? Do this: Go to Google. Type in: "Why didn't the Yankees ...". You don't even need to get to "bunt" before Google helpfully finishes the thought for you: "... bunt against Schilling?" Think about that. The Yankees have been in business since 1901, they've been in New York since 1903, they've been the Yankees since 1913, there are thousands of ways you can go with a sentence that starts "Why didn't the Yankees ..." ...

Maybe it wouldn't have mattered. Maybe destiny already had taken hold, and the Sox already were fated to win that game, and Game 7, too. ...

What if the Great Collapse never happens? ...

Are [the Red Sox] the equal-strength, eye-level rivals they've become with the Yankees, or are they in the middle of a 99th straight year without a title?

What if the Yankees had tried, that one night, to be "kind of weak?"
Vaccaro is right:

In the aftermath of Game 6, Yankees manager Joe Torre tried to explain why the Yankees, in a must-win game, facing a pitcher (obviously injured, to some degree) who had blood soaking through his right sock, did not attempt even one bunt:
Bunting is an individual choice. And we were not necessarily of the mind to believe that there was a lot wrong with him. We don't want to take away from ourselves. I hate to think, A-Rod, here, drop one down so you don't hit one out of the ballpark. I'd rather take my chances with him swinging the bat.
Well, that worked out well, didn't it, Joe? I forget. How many bombs did A-Rod hit "out of the ballpark" that night (or in Game 7)? The best contact he had with a baseball that night was when he slapped Bronson Arroyo's glove.

1 comment:

Jere said...

Torre also said "I don't know how injured he really was," so maybe that was part of his reasoning. I'm not sure if that interview is online or even quoted anywhere, but I heard it live. I just Googled and I did see a 2014 OTM article that mentions it but doesn't have a source for it.

Also, don't people know catchers/third basemen are allowed to field bunts?

Side note: an 86-year losing streak against the Yankees? What does that even mean? Did we not "beat" them in 1988? Finish 17 games ahead of them in '46? Etc. Just a lame way to say it, no offense to CC.