A reporter at Texas Rangers spring training on Sunday morning tried to tell Ron Washington that too much bunting might be going on during Major League Baseball games, particularly with the team Washington manages.
Columnist Gil Lebreton of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram said Washington wasn't angered by the implications made or inferences taken, but they did set him off on a diatribe:
“I think if they try to do that, they’re going to be telling me how to [bleep] manage,” Washington said. “That’s the way I answer that [bleep] question. They can take the analytics on that and shove it up their [bleep][bleep].”
Washington has heard all the moans and complaints about his bunting.
“Mike Scioscia dropped 56 sacrifice bunts on his club, the most in the league, and he’s a genius,” Washington continued. “But Ron Washington dropped 53 and he’s bunting too much? You can take that analytics and shove it.
“I do it when I feel it’s necessary, not when the analytics feel it’s necessary, not when you guys feel it’s necessary, and not when somebody else feels it’s necessary. It’s when Ron Washington feels it’s necessary. Bottom line.”
You will respect his author-uh-TYE! And that's all Washington is doing: Reminding people that he's in charge, no matter what kind of chatter goes on in the press box or anywhere else. (It's too bad there's no video or audio, apparently, available. Sounds like a fun moment in Wash-dom.)
As for the numbers, since he took over in 2007, Washington's teams have led the AL in sacrifice bunts twice and finished second to the Astros in 2013. On three occasions, Scioscia's Angels have out-sacrificed the Rangers, including 2012 when they led the league. Overall, the Rangers have dropped down 307 sac bunts under Wash and, in the same time under Scioscia, the Angels have bunted 283 times. So it's close-ish. And Washington's other point: That Scioscia gets lauded for his tactics while Wash gets excoriated for doing similar things, well, perhaps there's something to that.
The surge in popularity of sabermetrics in recent seasons has helped to give the impression that those who don't like bunts just came out of the woodwork yesterday. Patently untrue. Many managers throughout baseball history have disliked excessive use of the bunt, particularly in American League ball since the advent of the designated hitter. Earl Weaver isn't the only one, but he might be the most famous among the crowd that hates to give up the most precious thing a team has in a game: outs. Weaver wasn't using newfangled bleeping analytics. For him, it was common bleeping sense.
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