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: Part 2 of what and what not to do when your team holds a big lead late in the game.
Phil Garner: “I came up with the Oakland A’s, a great team. I was just a rookie, and we had a four- or five-run lead, a pretty good lead, in the sixth or seventh inning, and I bunted for a base hit.
“Sal Bando comes down the bench to me and says, ‘You better be ready, you’re going to get drilled next time.’
“I said, ‘What are you talking about?’
“He said, ‘You shouldn’t bunt with a lead like that.’
“I said, ‘Aren’t we still trying to win the ballgame?’
“He said, ‘Yeah, we are. But there’s the code. You don’t do that.’
“So I said, ‘What’s the difference between me trying to bunt for a hit and swinging?’
“He said, ‘Don’t argue. That’s just what it is.’
“Well, I got drilled. I got nailed. And you know what? The next time in the same situation, I’ll bunt the fucker again. If they want to hit me, hit me, but I’m going to play to win the ballgame. I did it as a player and I do it as a manager. I’m not trying to play to embarrass people, but I like winning ballgames.”