Tuesday, November 11, 2014

But.....why bunting?

Personal collections. We all have them. Whether it's a team, a player or a specific grouping, personal collections move beyond set building into a territory that has no boundaries when it comes to team loyalties. It's those collections that can make the Owl say something nice about a Giants card or Cubs lamenting P-Town Tom collecting a Cardinals bobblehead.

Around the blog, I have seen unique collections like double plays, plays at the plate, night cards, memorial cards, miscut cards and more. Cards showing players singing an autograph. Cards showcasing specific stadiums in the background. Collections of diving players, sliding players and angry players. I have four active genre collections: double plays, throwbacks, broken bats and bunting. I have seen three of my collections run by other people. Hell - I stole DPs from GCRL. But I can't name another blogger that collects cardboard showing a player bunting.

So why do I collect them?

To me, and maybe it's said too much - bunting it truly a lost art. Besides the pathetic attempt at a sacrifice, and those are iffy at best, you just don't see the bunt used as a way to get on base. Speedsters like Hamilton, Reyes or Crisp aren't using the bunt to get on base as often as then should. Hell - most players can't even put down a decent dead ball. That's sad. It's a great way to shake up the defense, and get in the mind of the pitcher.

Even playing small ball and trying to move the runner along is become an act of frustration. Too much is put into the long ball and not enough energy is put into manufacturing runs. I like the bunt because when I was a kid, I used it a bunch. I could hit to all fields, but I didn't hit with power. But I could bunt well, so a successful bunt drew in the corners, and gave me more room to hit for singles and doubles.

Recently, John from Johnny's Trading Spot dropped 40 bunting cards on me. Lots to add to my binder. However, in the frozen moment of the card, you can see how poorly players are trained to bunt. I had some great coaches who knew the power of a ball hit 25 feet and dying in the grass. There are specific rules when bunting.

1) Keep the bat level and parallel to the ground. You never want to drop the head of the bat below your wrists. You're just begging to pop the ball up. Take a look at DeLeon on the left. See the ball? You can tell the thing is not heading for the ground, but up in the air.

2) Let the ball hit the bat. If you move the barrel of the bat forward, you are going to transfer too much power to the ball and knock it right into the glove of a fielder. Plus, back to rule #1: Anderson popped up by dropping the barrel head (see the ball in his armpit), and the ball is hitting the upper edge of Duncan's bat. That ball is heading up.

3) Gentle grip on the bat. Ideally, you are not gripping the bat with the hand you have slide halfway down the barrel. Mainly because you want to deaden the ball (unless you are trying to push it past an inrushing 3B), but also so if you miss the ball, you don't smash the crap out of your fingers.

4) Square up to the pitcher. Unless you are drag bunting, which Brett may be doing on the right, you want to turn and face the pitcher. It allows you to cover the whole plate and gives you the opportunity to move the bat up and down, leaving it parallel to the ground. You want to avoid reaching for the ball, like Lewis is. That's a sure way to pop it up as well. Also, when you square up, bend at the knees to keep your body firmly planted to allow yourself to guide the ball where you want.

PERFECTION!!! That Nied photo should be shown to every girl and boy playing youth baseball. Correctly turned. Level bat. Soft grip with fingers behind the barrel. And he is waiting for the ball to come to him. Gutierrez almost has the turn, but otherwise, great posture.

Er... John also tossed in a card of Manon. I'm not sure why. I can't really come up with a joke about Manon and bunting. Heck - I can't even thing of something remotely dirty in regard to Manon and baseball.

I'll distract them. They won't even remember your lack of comedy.

Thanks again for all the cards, John.



  1. Thanks for the shout out.

    Real quick comment... take it or leave it: Why is Ms. Upton wearing a supportive device in a Zero Gravity chamber? When there's zero gravity you would think certain parts of the body wouldn't need extra support. Just sayin'.

  2. I had thoughts, damn it! Real thoughts! And then you showed a floating Kate. No more thoughts.

  3. I collected 'Guys on the phone' back when you'd see football players yakking on hand-sets with coaches in the press box level. I had some baseball players doing it as well.

  4. Great post! Love the breakdown! Bunting is one of my many recent mini collections.