Not the only one who went nuts last night watching the manager placing his players in a situation that wasn't best to win a ball game............
Mattingly and Wedge put on their teflon shields, pointed to the fact that managers have been doing this for hundreds of years, and laid the blame for these losses at the feet of their players. The problem is that they repeatedly took steps that made it less likely that their team would actually win the game, and had they just sat on their hands and done nothing, they would have had a better chance of congratulating their boys on a victorious come-from-behind win. Instead, they sat there and just waxed on about a lack of execution.
The only thing that needs to be executed is the sacrifice bunt from the playbook of Major League managers. It is not always the wrong move, but it is used far too often and in too many situations where swinging away is more likely to produce a positive result. At the front office level, every organization in the game is getting smarter. In some cities, the on-field personnel are utilizing facts and logic to better inform their tactical decisions. But, by and large, most Major League managers are still like Mattingly and Wedge, and they’re going to bunt regardless of whether or not it actually helps their team’s chances of winning.
We don’t live in 1953 anymore. We have access to more and better information than ever before. Teams are spending large amounts of resources to make better decisions to get improvements on the margins that may end up winning them one or two games over the course of the season. And yet, at the end of the day, most of these teams are still entrusting their in-game strategy to people who simply don’t understand the basic probabilities of the sport.
Maybe it’s going to take five more years. Maybe even 10 or 15. But at some point in our lifetime, teams are going to start hiring managers who understand that giving away an out should be a rare occurrence.
Bunting for a base hit, putting on a well-timed squeeze, beating an overshifted defense, having a pitcher move a runner into scoring position… there’s room for bunting in baseball. The frequency of sacrificing bunting that is prevalent now, though, is simply incorrect strategy, and the sooner it is removed from the sport, the better off Major League teams will be.