10 years later, Bob Brenly still bitter about Ben Davis’ bunt

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Whether our entry yesterday had anything to do with it or not, Cubs PBP man Len Kasper decided to bring up the Curt Schilling game with former Diamondbacks manager and current Cubs color guy Bob Brenly today on WGN.

And Brenly still isn’t happy about the play, saying that Davis did in fact break unwritten rules by bunting to ruin Schilling’s chance at a perfect game on May 26, 2001.  Kasper pointed out that the bunt single brought the tying run to the plate, and Brenly didn’t much seem to care, saying it was never right to break up a no-hitter with a bunt.

In giving his reasons for being upset, Brenly repeatedly called Davis a backup catcher and said Davis had never bunted for a hit in his career.  He said second baseman Jay Bell was playing extra deep at second base because Davis never bunted and that was why Davis was able to come up with a hit on what was a “terrible” bunt.

The data on whether Davis ever had a bunt hit previously isn’t available, but Brenly wasn’t being entirely fair.  Davis was something of an established regular at that time.  He went on to play in 138 games in 2001, hitting 11 homers and driving in 57 runs.  The Padres actually had him batting fifth that day against the Diamondbacks.  And while he certainly wasn’t an accomplished bunter, he did have three sacrifices in 2000.

Brenly also made the comment that his statements at the time slamming Davis may have been overly heated because the Schilling game was the first in a doubleheader and, as a result, he had to talk to the press immediately after the game and didn’t have time to cool down.

Of course, we do have some data there.  The Diamondbacks played no doubleheader that day.  It was a pretty typical Saturday night game — the third game in a four-game series.  Arizona played just one doubleheader that year, that coming three months later.

Report: MLB could fine the Angels $2 million for failure to report Tyler Skaggs’ drug use

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T.J. Quinn of ESPN is reporting that Major League Baseball could fine the Los Angeles Angels up to $2 million “if Major League Baseball determines that team employees were told of Tyler Skaggs’ opioid use prior to his July 1 death and didn’t inform the commissioner’s office.”

The fine would be pursuant to the terms of the Joint Drug Agreement which affirmatively requires any team employee who isn’t a player to inform the Commissioner’s Office of “any evidence or reason to believe that a Player … has used, possessed or distributed any substance prohibited” by MLB.

As was reported last weekend, Eric Kay, the Angels Director of Communications, told DEA agents that he and at least one other high-ranking Angels official knew of Skaggs’ opioid use. The Angels have denied any knowledge of Skaggs’ use, and the other then-Angels employee Kay named, current Hall of Fame President Tim Mead deny that he know as well, but Kay’s admission that he knew — he in fact claims he purchased drugs for and did drugs with Skaggs — would, if true, constitute team knowledge. Major League Baseball would, of course, want to make its own determination of whether or not Kay was being truthful when he told DEA agents what his lawyer says he told them.

Which raises the question of why, apart from a strong desire to get in criminal jeopardy for lying to DEA agents, Kay would admit through his lawyer that he lied to DEA agents. Still, the process is the process, so giving MLB a little time here is probably not harming anyone.

As for a $2 million fine? Well, it cuts a number of ways. On the one hand, that’s a lot of money. On the other hand, (a) a man is dead; and (b) $2 million is what the Angels’ DH or center fielder makes in about 11 minutes so how much would such a fine really sting?

On the third hand, my God, what else can be done here? No matter what happened in the case of Skaggs’ death, this is not a situation anyone in either the Commissioner’s Office nor the MLBPA truly contemplated when the JDA was drafted. We live in a world of horrors at times, and by their very nature, horrors involve that which it is not expected and for which there can be no adequate, pre-negotiated remedy. It’s a bad story all around, no matter what happens.

Still, it would be notable for Major League Baseball to fine any team under the “teams must report players they suspect used banned substances” rule. Because, based on what I have heard, knowledge of players who use banned substances — which includes marijuana, cocaine, opioids and other non-PED illegal drugs — and which have not been reported to MLB is both commonplace and considerable.

But that’s a topic for another day. Perhaps tomorrow.