When is a controversy not a controversy? How about Wednesday night when Gerald Laird tried to break up a no-hitter by laying down a bunt in the sixth inning? Laird's bunt went foul, Beckett finally gave up a hit in the seventh and then he plunked Laird in the eighth. Ian Browne and Jason Beck on the "controversy:"
- The most memorable recent controversy along these lines occurred on May 27, 2001 when Curt Schilling -- then of the Arizona Diamondbacks -- had his perfect game snapped by Ben Davis with one out in the eighth on a bunt single. The score was 2-0.
At the time, Schilling said he was "stunned." The most vocal opinion came from then-Diamondbacks manager Bob Brenly.
"Like I said, that's the way I was raised in the game," said Brenly. "That doesn't mean that I'm right and they're wrong, that's just the way I was taught how to play the game."
However, Red Sox manager Terry Francona had no issue with Laird's attempt Wednesday in what would end up a 10-5 win for Boston.
"You know what, I'm not big on unwritten rules anyway," Francona said. "I think their job is to try to beat us and our job is to try to beat them. I think that somewhere along the way, the book and the unwritten rule has gotten rewritten by people that don't know how to write. What was the score, 4-0? They're trying to win. I just think -- just play the game."
Francona also thought it was a big leap of faith to think Beckett intentionally hit Laird.
"I did pick up the paper today and see where somebody wrote he hit him the next time up. Well, he hit him with a 2-2, two-seamer," said Francona, who is a huge fan of Tigers manager Jim Leyland. "I don't know. I think you need to go a little deeper than that. I don't think anybody said anything. I hope not. [The Tigers] play the game right. They're always going to play the game right. That's a given. And if they don't, [Leyland will] tell them."
I love Bob Brenly (as a broadcaster), but eight years ago -- it was actually May 26, not 27 -- I ripped him pretty good for his comments about Ben Davis' bunt single. The score was 2-0; Schilling's Diamondbacks and Davis' Padres were tied for first place. Davis wasn't supposed to do anything he could do, to win? Preposterous. As I wrote at the time.
But my intent today isn't to revisit Brenly's ill-considered comments from so long ago. My intent is to highlight Terry Francona's well-considered comments. Seems like every time the guy opens his mouth, I've got yet another reason to love him, too. Not as a manager, necessarily. Just as, you know, a guy.