Who's on your bucket list? Let's discuss

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ANAHEIM, Calif. – The All-Star game is a great opportunity to see baseball royalty in action, as most of the game’s best players will all be together in one spot.

But who are the true greats, the so called bucket-list players who every fan should see play at least once? For help in these matters, we went to the players themselves  and asked for their opinions. This is what they said.

Here is an excerpt from Indians reliever Chris Perez, speaking of Albert Pujols …

“I was fortunate enough to play with him my first year in the big leagues, and I got to see his work ethic and what kind of person he is. I don’t think there’s anybody better in the game than him, honestly. Thirty years from now, I think it’d be pretty special to say I played with Albert Pujols and watch him strap it up for a season.”

Check out the story to see who else the players love.

And join us in a Twitter chat Monday morning at 11 a.m. ET to share your own thoughts. Make sure you include the #mlbbucket tag when you send your Tweet.

Are you on Twitter? You can follow Bob here, and get all your HBT updates here.

Matt Carpenter hit a standup bunt double

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The wave of defensive shifts we’ve seen over the past few years has led to a lot of armchair hitting coaches demanding that players bunt to beat it. This is easier said than done, however.

The shift happens because certain hitters tend to pull the ball. Certain hitters tend to pull the ball because pulling the ball is what happens when one gets a strong, quick swing on a pitch one identifies early and which one endeavors to send as far away from home plate as possible. Which is to say that pulling is a skill that is good to have and which is strongly selected for among hitters.

In light of that, “why not just bunt to beat the shift” takes are kind of lazy. Bunting is hard! And it is not a thing guys who get shifted a lot are good at. Most of the time asking a player to do a thing he is not well-equipped to do is a bad idea. Indeed, a hitter voluntarily going away from his strength is something the defense would much prefer.

Most of the time anyway.

Last night Matt Carpenter made those armchair hitting coaches happy by laying down a bunt to beat the shift. And he laid it down so well that he ended up with a standup double:

One batter later Carpenter scored on a Starlin Castro error.

The shift giveth and the shift taketh away.