The Unwritten Canon, Revealed

"Ichiro [Suzuki] used to steal third base with two outs when he was up by five runs, even when he didn't need another bag," Jones says. "And he wouldn't get drilled, except by Texas."

"I'm scarred. I was with the Devil Rays," Gomes says. "We got behind 7-0 pretty quick all the time. At arbitration time, you'd say, 'I'd have had 20 more bags if we weren't in last place.' To me, if you are holding me on, I have the right to run."

At least one pitcher agrees.

"I don't care if the score is 24-0 -- if you want to steal a base, go ahead," McCarthy says. "Same in football. If it's 75-0, I say throw a bomb. I don't care. Look, we all make a hell of a lot of money to get outs and to get hits. To suddenly stop trying to do those things because you are way ahead, to just stop playing after seven innings and coast to the finish line, I don't understand that logic. There are miracle comebacks in baseball. And if Billy Hamilton's team is up 25-0, he should say, 'I'm going to steal that base.' He might set the record with that one.

"I'm a big believer that it should be a nine-inning streak to the finish, every night. You bust your ass and do your best, the whole game."

On May 26, 2001, the Padres' Ben Davis, a slow-running catcher, dropped a bunt single in the eighth inning against Arizona that ruined Curt Schilling's bid for a perfect game. The score was 2-0 at the time, but that bunt single set off a firestorm.

Bob Brenly, the Diamondbacks' manager at the time, called the Davis bunt "a chickens--- play."

"I remember that. It was awesome! I was 15 years old," Jones says. "But you can't do that."

When -- if ever -- is it acceptable to bunt during a no-hitter?

Most agree that it's OK to do so early in the game. And most agree that if the game is close late, it's acceptable for a fast guy, a bona fide bunter, to lay one down in an effort to get on base.

On July 31, 2011, the Angels' speedy Erick Aybar bunted on Justin Verlander in the eighth inning of a no-hitter with the score 3-0. Verlander fielded the bunt and threw it wildly to first. The play was scored an error, but Verlander yelled at Aybar from the dugout for bunting so late in the game.

Verlander eventually lost the no-hitter, but a great debate raged in the wake of the game about Aybar's at-bat.

What about bunting in the eighth inning of a no-hitter when the score is 8-0?

"That is treason," Hunter says.

"The unwritten rule is this: If you are just trying to break up a no-hitter, you shouldn't bunt, especially if you are someone that never bunts," Baker says. "If you are bunting to try to win the game, you should bunt. The circumstances are a big thing. If you bunt for a hit in a no-hitter when the score is 9-0, that's weak. I think 100 percent of the players would agree with that. That is not just going to get you knocked down; that is going to get you hit."

Gomes says, "If someone else did that, I would judge his character. I wouldn't fight him. I wouldn't hit him. I would look at his character. And character is really important in this game."

Wilson says, "My second year in the league, someone bunted on me when we were down 8-1. I looked at him, like 'Really?' There wasn't a no-hitter going, and that guy lost his dignity."

Bunt in a no-hitter?

"That would never cross my mind," Reynolds says. "Never."

Dunn says, "It's selfish. I would never do that even if I was a bunter. He should be hit for that."

Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...