AP Photo/Brennan Linsley

Goose Gossage to hand out his unwritten rules at a St. Paul Saints game

27 Comments

Hall of Fame reliever Goose Gossage apparently grew tired seeing his name absent from the headlines, so the outspoken right-hander will be handing out his version of baseball’s unwritten rules before the July 6 game between the St. Paul Saints and the Joplin Blasters, two independent league teams.

Gossage made headlines before the season, calling Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautistaa f–king disgrace to the game.” He also said he doesn’t want “a bunch of Cam Newtons running around” and that Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper has “no respect for the game.” And that’s just this year.

In the past, Gossage has ripped Mariano Rivera and expressed a desire for vengeance against performance-enhancing drug users who have made it into the Hall of Fame.

So what’s in Gossage’s rulebook? According to the Saints’ description of the promotion:

Coming in at more than 200 pages and 4.1” wide and 6.3” high the 2016 Official Baseball Rulebook explains everything from the layout of the field, to equipment that can be used to how a game should be scored.  The 2016 Official Baseball Unwritten Rulebook will be similar in size with fewer pages and, by the end of the night; it will be packed with information that addresses baseball situations that have been hotly debated for decades.  Wondering about the superstition of discussing a no-hitter?  It can be in the book.  What about stealing a base when you’re up 10 runs?  It can be in the book.  What about bunting on a pitcher throwing a no-hitter?  All you have to do is flip open the book, grab a pencil and the answer can appear right before your eyes.

Gossage will be at the ballpark, CHS Field, to sign the book for fans as well as, the Saints say, “give his two cents about Jose Bautista, Bryce Harper, and sabermetrics.” Gossage will throw out the ceremonial first pitch and will later join the TV broadcast.

Matt Carpenter hit a standup bunt double

Getty Images
3 Comments

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.