I realize that Nats Park is private property and that the Nats can kick anyone out of it they want to. But this still feels wrong:
On Saturday, 17 union organizers with IAM District 4 attended the game, wearing t-shirts that encouraged Nationals Park’s 341 guest service workers to vote “Yes” in an upcoming union election. They claim security kicked them out for wearing the shirts. Two days later on Labor Day itself, another 4 union organizers wearing similar t-shirts were also kicked out.
We’ll take your money for our stadium — and we’ll push hard to make you have to pay for the Metro to run late to benefit us — but don’t you dare come in here and advocate for anything we don’t like!
Like I said: I know it’s legal. But I do think we have a fundamentally screwed up idea of what is public and what is private these days. And it seems to me that if you want a private club, you should at least pay to build it.
And from last year — equally applicable this year — our reminder that Major League Baseball doesn’t much care for labor to begin with.
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.