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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Does Mark Teixeira think he's better than Mickey Mantle and Ted Williams? Bunt the damn ball into the ocean!

Bunt.  There are no fielders there!  Just bunt and get on base!

Monday, September 15, 2014, 7:10pm, Tropicana Field
Attendance: 16,058, Time of Game: 3:28
Rays 1, Yankees 0

What a boring game, especially for fans of the losing team.  Derek Jeter didn't play.  Maybe Jeter and/or Yankee manager Joe Girardi read my previous post:

Should Derek Jeter bench himself?  Monday, September 15, 2014

Nah.

With two out and the bases loaded in the bottom of the 9th Ben Zobrist singled and drove in the only run.  At least he spared everyone dreaded extra innings.

Mark Teixeira in Baltimore August 28, 2011
by Keith Allison via Wikimedia Commons
Earlier in the game Yankee announcers discussed at some length the stubbornness of Yankee first baseman Mark Teixeira who last night was batting cleanup.  Teixeira has given no indication this season that he would hit the ball away from fielders who overload on the right side when the switch hitter is batting lefty against a righty.  The word bunt is not in Teixeira's vocabulary.  Even Yankee catcher Brian McCann bunted against the shift for a single this season ... once.

Leading off the top of the 9th Teixeira drew a walk.  During that plate appearance the Yankee announcers again addressed the idea of Teixeira forgoing the possibility of hitting a home run and simply take what was being offered: first base.  There was a lot of the usual blah, blah, blah.  I've written extensively about this throughout the season.  In a nutshell my view is that any major league non-pitcher and probably any top professional tennis player can hold the bat still and bunt a pitch into fair territory.  Bunting against the extreme shift should produce a batting average of at least .500. Mickey Mantle bunted .527 for his regular season career against regular fielding alignments; in the World Series Mantle was 7 for 8 (.875).  Ted Williams against unknown fielding alignments bunted 11 for 12 (.917); Williams was 1 for 1 bunting in his only World Series.

Mantle and Williams were much better hitters overall and better home run hitters than Mark Teixeira.  Mantle and Williams had better home run rates in eras when there were far fewer home runs per at bat.

At Bats / Home runs (lower is better), OPS+:
Williams 14.8  190
Mantle 15.1  172
Teixeira 16.9  129

So what's the deal with Teixeira and Girardi?  If Teixeira won't make the decision on his own, why won't Girardi make it for him?  I've written multiple posts on this, too, including:

Shift fear up the chain of command: why are general managers afraid to order their managers to order their batters to bunt against the shift?  Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The field manager minimally decides:
1. who plays
2. the fielding position of the player
3. the batting order position of the player.

So what the heck?  What are we all missing here?  Managers employ the shift against opposing batters but then sit there like dopes and let their own batters bang away hitting into the teeth of the shift deployed against them.  Is there something obvious that I'm missing, because it's driving me nuts.  Who can watch this?

Numb to the dumb? The shift, that is.  Saturday, August 30, 2014

Not quite.  I'm less outraged but still really annoyed when I see Brian McCann and Mark Teixeira ignore recent situations where the Yankees needed base runners and they eschewed (a Howard Cossell word) a gift bunt single into the ocean of open area near third base and instead continue to try to hit a home run over the shift.  Argh! ...

So, where's the leadership?  None from Girardi.  Apparently, he is too afraid to simply order his batters to bunt against the shift.  None from captain Derek Jeter.  Nothing up the chain of command.

What about the fans?  Where are the boos?  I do not approve of fans booing their own players ... except for unsportsmanlike behavior and dumb actions repeated many times.
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When will batters who insist on hitting into the teeth of the shift suffer financially?  Wednesday, July 9, 2014

At some point dumb batters will start being paid less because they refuse to adapt.  But how long will that take...

So when?  There's no sign of it...

All I hear are dumb comments ...:

1. Well, the batter could try hitting the other way.
2. Some batters cannot bunt.
3. Bunting requires more skill than you think.

Responses to dumb comments:

1. Bunting is much easier than changing a pull hitter into a spray hitter.
2. If a player can swing and hit the ball, the player can much more easily NOT swing, hold the bat still and hit the ball.
3. Yes, bunting against a regular alignment of fielders requires skill but not dumping the ball into the ocean of empty territory available due to the extreme shift.
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