Pete Rose pops up every couple of months to say this, and far be it from me to ignore it when he says it again:
“I think anybody that knows me knows that I’m very sorry. I understand the mistakes I made. There’s some people that will never give you a second opportunity. That’s fine. I can understand they feel that way.”
That comes in an interview with the Associated Press. You’ll be surprised to learn that these comments come just in time for a documentary about Rose’s life and times, premiering on Friday.
I’m not sure why people keep asking him about this stuff. While Rose lied his head off for years, I don’t think there’s much else he can do now to show that he’s sorry. Nor should we expect him to. Nor should we feel obligated to do anything for him even if he has shown contrition. He’s just, I don’t know, any other ex-player now. I’m surprised he still gets the attention he does.
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.