It would appear, based on some quotes I read this morning, that CC Sabathia is upset that Eduardo Nunez bunted on him in the first inning of last nights game. Sabathia said that the Red Sox were “scared” and accused them of “trying to take the weak road.”
I digested what he had to say and re-checked the box score. Sure enough, the Yankees won the game last night, despite the Nunez bunt. Sabathia has also won three other starts against the Red Sox this year, so why was he complaining? Isn’t it the job of teams and their players to exploit the weaknesses, whether real or perceived, of the other team and their players to win the game?
Sabathia certainly seemed to be doing that last night. After all, he only gave up one hit and one earned run over six innings. I didn’t see him asking himself if he should throw a meatball because the batter couldn’t hit the low and away pitch. Isn’t that taking advantage of a hitter’s weakness? Isn’t trying to take the extra base because an outfielder has a weak arm the same thing? Fielding his position, because of his knees, age and overall size, is Sabathia’s weakness. Teams would be foolish not to try to take advantage of this by bunting on him.
I’m curious, is not bunting on a pitcher with leg issues another one of those infamous “unwritten rules” that players talk about? What other pro, or even amateur sports, have unwritten rules like that? Football certainly does not. The minute a new cornerback comes in to take the place of an injured CB, everyone in the stadium knows exactly where the next pass is going. If a point guard is suddenly guarding a power forward because of a switch, we all know who’s getting the next pass.
Or is this a Sabathia-only unwritten rule? And yes, I know the Yankees didn’t try to bunt on Curt Schilling and his bloody sock in 2004, even though they should have. And speaking of socks, Sabathia needs to stick one in his mouth the next time he feels like complaining because someone dared to try to reach first on a bunt on him. Maybe he should get in better shape. Doing that would probably help alleviate some of his knee issues, and he would be able to get off the mound quicker so that he could actually field his position.
Hall of Fame player Jim Rice said it best, “What is he talking about? Bunting is part of the game,” Rice said in the NESN studio. “You try to get on the base any way you can. If you tell him to leave some of that chicken, that donut and that burger weight — maybe his leg will be OK that he can field that baseball. That’s just stupid.”
Featured image courtesy of en.wikipedia.org