In lieu of actual baseball, I’ll be posting snippets that were cut from The Baseball Codes as a way of amusing myself and, hopefully, you. Today’s theme: what and what not to do when your team holds a big lead late in the game.
Ron Brand: “I remember an incident in 1965, we were ahead of Chicago about 6-0 in about the seventh inning. I was up with two outs and the pitcher on deck. Santo was way back, so I dropped down a bunt, and it rolled foul. Ron approached the plate just screaming at me, calling me bush, saying that I was trying to show him up. All I was trying to do was keep the pitcher from leading off the next inning in case he got into trouble on the mound.
“Bob Buhl was the Cubs pitcher, with Santo yelling at me, he came up to me and said, ‘You’d better hang loose.’ He threw at me three friggin’ times, and walked me. I said, ‘Thanks.’ Whether I bunted on them or they walked me, I got the pitcher to hit.
“I told Santo, if you don’t want me to bunt, play close. I’m not a 40-homer guy like you. If you play back, I’ll bunt.’ I think that’s fair. … Santo even agreed with me after I talked with him. I said, ‘You know, you guys have all these good players and you’re behind us in the standings. What does that tell you?’ Maybe their attitude was a little to lackadaisical.
“He came up to me afterwards and said, ‘You know, you’re dead right, we don’t play hard enough.’ I told him, ‘I didn’t want to show you up, I just wanted to get the pitcher out of the on-deck circle, that’s all.’ ”