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December 06, 2001

Every game counts
By Rob Dibble

I hope there's a very good reason Bob Brenly accused Ben Davis of anything other than a very heads-up play by a young player. To say that just because Curt Schilling was throwing a perfect game meant Davis was supposed to back off during a 2-0 game is ridiculous.

I don't care if Ben Davis stuck his leg out and got hit – you always want to bring the tying run up.
Now let me start by saying I like Bob Brenly, both as a person and a manager. I respect him a lot. So let's not take this as a slam, which people love to do when we analysts do our jobs. But he, of all people, should know better. I understand you want the best at all times for your players, but since I learned the game of baseball and how you're supposed to play it, you do everything at your disposal to get on base in that situation.

I don't care if Ben Davis -- who is 6-foot-4 and 225 pounds with one stolen base -- stuck his leg out and got hit, you always want to bring the tying run up with a chance to hit a home run or start a rally. Somebody's perfect game, or a no-hitter, is just a small part of the big picture. The San Diego Padres are trying to win every game.

Throwing a perfect game depends on many things going right: favorable calls, great fielding, lucky bounces and your own team scratching out some runs. But shouldn't fielding a bloop bunt by a catcher count in that equation as well? If the situation was reversed, wouldn't Bob tell his hitters late in the ballgame: "Get on base any way you can! Hit, walk, error, bloop single, broken bat single." Or bloop bunt, for that matter.

I'm sure Bob was just caught up in the moment. But let's not rip Ben Davis, or any other Padre for that matter, for just doing their jobs. Of all the people who should understand, shouldn't a former catcher applaud such a play in the first place? Let's try to keep the big picture in perspective. The Padres are on the field to win ball games, not play patsy for a perfect game.

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Bob Brenly discusses the "Ben Davis incident" with ESPN's Dan Patrick and Rob Dibble.
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Curt Schilling was taken off-guard by Ben Davis' bunt attempt in the 8th inning.
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Ben Davis wanted to reach base by all means necessary.
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Arizona manager Bob Brenly strongly disagrees with Ben Davis' strategy to end Curt Schilling's perfect game.
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ESPN's Peter Gammons, Rob Dibble and Dan Patrick discuss the unwritten rules of baseball.
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