There are two things I can’t quite understand about the Cubs bunting tournament.
1) The media’s fascination with tweeting out round by round results. Two years ago, most of these guys (and Carrie) acted like Twitter was way too complicated for them to ever deign to learn, and now we can’t get them to stop. Actually, I can’t tell if Gordon Wittenmyer is just being passive aggressive with his routinely awful tweets or if it’s just because he’s the worst writer in the world. I have a hunch that it’s both.
B) Cubs fans who are angry that the Cubs are doing it because “THEY ARE TEACHING THE PLAYERS TO MAKE OUTS!” Look, the Cubs don’t need help in learning how to make outs. They’ve been champions of the world at it for a century. If there are two things they are good at it’s making outs and missing cut off men. Malcolm Gladwell ought to write a book about what kind of expertise 1,000,000,000 hours of practice gets you. Screw that 10,000 hours shit. That’s for chumps and Marlins.
The bunt contest seemed like a cool idea. It’s a competitive way to get guys to put extra time in on a very boring aspect of the game. Make a tournament out of it, put some money on the line and suddenly Carlos Marmol has figured out where the batting cage is. Not that it’s likely your closer is ever going to need to bunt, but that’s always a good excuse to not practice something.
THIS BUILDING IS NEVER GOING TO CATCH FIRE, WHY SHOULD I BOTHER TO FIGURE OUT WHERE THE FIRE ESCAPE IS? — says everybody who’s ever died in a fire that started when somebody’s cat knocked over a hotplate onto that pile of oily rags that mom told you to dispose of, but you didn’t listen, and now not only is your sister also dead but most of your Bangles Box Set is ruined, and since you took the time to redo the will that you wrote on the back of a White Castle bag and hid under your mattress with the 1001 Hairstyles for Women magazine that you used to “exercise” to at night, all that time was wasted!
That seemed oddly specific for a random anecdote, didn’t it? Let’s move on.
The bunt contest has just gone on too long. It all started with 63 players and one Sveum. They had two weeks of spring training before the games started, maybe they could have knocked out the tournament in that time? Instead they’ve turned it into a mini-series longer and more pointless than Shogun. So nobody cares any more. Nobody really ever cared, except for the riotous celebration that erupted on the streets of everywhere when Ryan Dempster was beaten.
But that doesn’t mean the Cubs shouldn’t be learning how to bunt. There’s a difference between knowing how to do something and doing it all the time. It’s nice to know that when you really need to do something, you can successfully make it happen.
Getting better at bunting doesn’t mean the Cubs are going to go all bunt crazy and suddenly turn into Leyland-era Jay Bell, and just hand outs like candy.
What it hopefully means is that when the rare occasion presents itself where a bunt is the optimal strategy, that the hard work pays off and they can actually do it.
Novel idea, I know.