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Is it okay to bunt to break up a no-hitter?

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And other results from this week’s SB Nation FanPulse survey.

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Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Welcome to SB Nation FanPulse, a survey of fans across MLB. Each week, we send 30 polls to plugged in fans from each team. Cubs fans, sign up HERE to join FanPulse.


There are a lot of “unwritten rules” in baseball.

One of them, say some, is that you don’t bunt to break up a no-hitter or perfect game.

A large majority of respondents in this week’s SB Nation FanPulse poll do not agree with that “unwritten rule”:

Here’s one I disagree with strongly. I voted “no,” but the answer isn’t really “no.” The answer is: “It depends.”

If a pitcher has a no-hitter going and the game is scoreless, or perhaps 1-0, then absolutely yes, a hitter who thinks he should bunt his way on ought to try it. Why not? You’re being no-hit, but you also have the chance with a baserunner or two to win the game. One of the first times this happened was May 26, 2011, when Curt Schilling, then with the Diamondbacks, had a perfect game with five outs to go, and Ben Davis of the Padres bunted to break it up. Then D-backs manager Bob Brenly had some choice words:

Brenly, a former big league catcher, still contended that Davis’ bunt was “chicken.”

But he said it falls into one of the many gray areas in those “unwritten rules” that players and managers love to quote.

”Like I said, that’s the way I was raised in the game,” said Brenly, who came out of the broadcast booth to take his first managerial job. “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.”

Brenly is what they call “old school.” So is Padres manager Bruce Bochy, who also was a big league catcher.

”I played against Boch; I mean, I don’t want to say what he would have done, but if Dave Dravecky had a perfect game going in the eighth inning and the opposing catcher tried to bunt for a base hit and was successful, Boch might have chased him down the first base line,” Brenly said.

”It’s all very subjective. It depends which side of the fence you’re on.”

Of course, that was 18 years ago. There are still old-school guys who say you should never do this. I’d say that if a pitcher’s working on a no-hitter or perfect game and the score is 6-0, or 9-0, or 12-0, then no, you don’t bunt, because one baserunner isn’t going to make the difference in the game. 6-0, to me, is about the place where you’re more or less conceding the game. MLB has, in fact, sort of made this a “written” rule by stating that next year, position players will only be allowed to pitch in extra innings or if the score differential is six runs or more.

It happened again a couple of years ago when Jarrod Dyson, then with the Mariners, bunted to break up a perfect game bid by Justin Verlander . This one was okay, I thought: It was only the sixth inning, the Mariners were down 4-0, and they wound up winning the game 7-5.

It’s an interesting topic, no doubt.

Regarding the Cubs portion of the FanPulse survey, that sweep last weekend at the hands of the Nationals put survey respondents in a foul mood:

That’s an 18 percent confidence level, the lowest of the season. I imagine it might be a bit higher after the two wins over the Mets. Joe Maddon’s approval rating is still decent at 68 percent, down from 77 percent last week.

You can still sign up to have your voice heard! Click the link at the top of this post to sign up for FanPulse.