Tomorrow night, the famous Daniel Tosh is bringing his “Tosh Tour on Ice” act to Missoula for two shows. I first want to say good for Missoula in attracting such a respected and A-list type performer to come to our small city. We need to bring more people of his caliber to Zoo Town. Secondly, I must admit that I personally have no interest in seeing him perform.
Now this is nothing personal against Daniel Tosh. I absolutely love Tosh.0. It is a hilarious, creative show that is sure to brighten my day whenever I am in a bad mood. I think the guy is a genius and is to be commended for his saviness in picking up on the interest people have in weird web videos and taking it to the bank in a huge way.
You see, the thing is, live comedy shows just don’t do it for me. As someone who is willing to throw inflated amounts of money for premium concert and sporting event tickets, I am very, very stingy when it comes to comedy shows. To me, live comedy lacks the adrenaline and spontaneity of a sporting event or concert.
I think you can liken a comedy show to a concert in many ways but while it works for a concert format, it does not work for a comedy format. When a comedian comes out, he/she is going to do exactly what a band does and open with something big, something that is going to grab the audience’s attention. Many bands will open with a hit song, something everyone knows. In the same way, comedians will open with one of their trademark jokes/routines. I want to stop right now and say that I find no joy in listening to an old joke, no matter how popular it is. When I listen to a hit song by one of my favorite artists I am flooded with adrenaline and a bunch of good memories that I associate with the song. When I hear a comedian say one of his old jokes there is absolutely no suspense at all, I know what is coming. A joke is funny because of that split second when the punch line registers in your mind and your body responds with laughter. This physiological process is not there with old jokes. The middle of a show is also similar, yet different, for concerts and comedy shows. And actually, comedy shows have the advantage on this one. During the middle of the show, bands will usually start playing their new stuff, you know, the stuff off of their new album. Much of this stuff you have never heard before and you could kind of care less for. However, your excitement is still there because you know more hits are coming. Likewise, during the middle of a comedian’s show, he/she is going to get into some new material as well. This is actually a good thing because the opportunity to genuinely laugh at something unexpected is there. At the end of a concert, the act is going to blow you away with their best stuff, the songs that their careers were made on. At a comedy act, the comedian will once again resort to their old material…yawn.
I have seen Gabriel Iglesias, Ron White, and David Letterman perform so I do know a little bit about comedy shows and their structure. Besides the lack of suspense, I just really can’t get up for them. Even if you get a good buzz going, it is not going to enhance the show as much as it is at a sporting event or concert. You are just so restricted in your seat. There are not opportunities to jump around and go crazy. Yes, you can clap your hands and laugh until you are blue in the face but it is just not the experience I crave when I see an event live. I gave credit to comedy shows for entertaining me during the middle of the act. But really, that is not going to convince me to go to a show. While the content is there, the excitement is not. I do realize that this is totally a “me thing” but I just can’t get amped for comedy.
So unless I got free tickets or a hot date who happens to love comedy, I am not interested in seeing Daniel Tosh in person. Perhaps when 10pm rolls around tomorrow an episode of Tosh.0 will be on Comedy Central. As a nod to Mr. Tosh for coming to Missoula I will watch it, but I am not getting close to the University Theater. Don’t Blink.

Taking An Arrest Too Far

This morning my boss sent me this video. Please watch it, it is the basis for this whole post.
Okay, for those of you still did not watch it, here is the gist of it: The Lee County Sheriff’s Office in Opelika, Alabama, lured people who had warrants out for their arrest for failing to pay child support to a meeting place where they thought they were getting free Alabama-Auburn football tickets. They received what seemed like an official letter explaining that they had won some type of ticket promotion giveaway. In order to claim their tickets, they had to show up in person with photo I.D. After they entered the meeting place they were showered with attention and fanfare before walking into another room where they were arrested.
If you went to the link and took some time to read the guy’s write up who was sharing the video (Matt Hinton), he kind of lumped this operation in with the operations that are run on “COPS” and “To Catch a Predator”. Let me dispel any association between what happened in Alabama and the two other programs. COPS and TCAP work with sting operations, not ruses. A sting operation is when law enforcement busts people in the middle of committing a crime. A ruse is  just a trick that is played on people to bring them to justice. I really don’t even see any similarities between COPS and TCAP. COPS is very raw and the actual police officers are the  stars of the show. It is very well done and one of my favorite programs of all time. A blog on COPS will be coming. TCAP is much less about law enforcement and much more about what funny one liner Chris Hanson can think up when the next pervert walks through the door.
Let’s get back to the Alabama ruse though. I do support the general idea of luring these type of people to a meeting place with the premise that they will be receiving tickets to probably the biggest event in the state of Alabama. It is a very crafty way to apprehend some of these slimy people who otherwise would roam free. I imagine the Lee Sherriff’s Office saves a lot of time having these people come to them as opposed to their officers seeking them out. In the video it said they arrested nearly a dozen people in one day…not bad.
What I do not support are the lengths that the police went to in order to make the arrests. Upon entering the meeting place these people were already filled with excitement. Once they walk in the room they are greeted with a hero’s welcome. A couple local news crews shove microphones in their faces. About two dozen other people (law enforcement officers dressed in Auburn/Alabama clothing…maybe a little overkill) clap their hands and yell their congratulations at the suspect while taking pictures with their phones. Balloons line the pathway they walk down. Loud pump up music fills the room. At this point, I would speculate that this experience might be one of the best that some of these people have ever had in their lives. They are then ushered into a room where still ripe with joy they are told that not only are they under arrest, but there are no tickets (you will have to ask them which outcome was worse).
I feel that the jolt of one emotion to a total opposite emotion these people experienced was unnecessary and not in line with how the American justice system should treat offenders, especially nonviolent offenders. I get the fact that it was important to have local news crews there to show citizens what can happen if they don’t pay child support but the local news crews should not have been in on the act. What should have happened with this whole ruse was that immediately upon entering the meeting place and showing their I.D., the people should have been arrested. At that time the news crews could reveal themselves. The whole drawn out process of being made to feel like a superstar was uncalled for, misleading, and a waste of time. It was also humiliating and especially cruel to the people who were being arrested.
I put law enforcement on the same level as teachers. Two professions who I have the utmost respect for and who I feel should be paid way more. However, just like in any profession, mistakes are sometimes made. Stay classy, Lee County Sheriff’s Department. Don’t Blink.

Memories LOST

About two hours ago I was reading a magazine when a jolt of fear shot through my body and I yelled aloud “OH SHIT!!” I sprinted out of the chair I was sitting in and dashed into our laundry room where I had just put a load into the washer. I stopped the machine and swung open the door. I threw all of my clothes out of the washer until I got to my khaki shorts. I grabbed the soaking wet shorts and unbuttoned one of the pockets and took out my flip camera hoping for some type of a miracle.
So much for a miracle.
One of my most favorite possessions, my Ultra HD Flip Camera, was destroyed. Water had gotten inside the screen and rendered every feature unusable. My slick, lightweight piece of technology was now worthless.
I don’t care that it was a $200 camera. I don’t care that I might have to go a couple days without a flip camera. I don’t care that I lost an awesome video I shot this weekend of a gorgeous girl juggling fire. What I care about are all of the memories that I have lost.
I got my flip camera in December as a Christmas present. That camera had video from my Orlando, Pittsburgh, Phoenix, Las Vegas, and Seattle trips. It also had video from my sister’s wedding, various concerts, and a bunch of work stuff. It had video from this past epic weekend when my brother came and visited me here in Missoula. All of that is gone now.


                        At least pictures still exist of the good time Glen and I had in Missoula.

I am kicking myself so hard right now. Out of all the videos I took on my flip camera, I uploaded maybe 10% of them onto my computer (in the case that I wanted to share one on Facebook). If I was not so lazy there was no reason why I could not have uploaded ALL of them onto my computer. Tough lesson to learn.
I said a couple paragraphs ago that I might wait a few days until I purchase a new one…well I just made a decision while writing this…I am buying a new one tomorrow. After work tomorrow I am off to Best Buy to purchase my second flip camera. I know it won’t bring back any of the videos that are now gone forever but I need my little piece of technology. I have said a couple times in my posts that I am not a big “material” person but I do need my digital camera and my flip camera at all times.
I am known to be kind of clumsy with my gadgets. I have gone through five phones in three years and I had my digital camera broken in a bar. But nothing hurts as much as my flip camera meeting its demise. I never use the pocket in my shorts that I used to put my flip camera in today. It was just that my regular pockets were already full with my digital camera, phone, and wallet so I had to use my more obscure, buttoned pocket for the flip camera. I was at a BBQ tonight and I needed to have my flip camera with me. If only I decided to go to the Osprey game instead of the BBQ this never would have happened (BBQ was fun though!).
I need to be smarter and more accountable with my possessions. No more losing/breaking phones, cameras, and flip cameras. Starting right now, I am going to stop throwing money down the drain and stop erasing memories. Time to take some pride!! Don’t Blink.

Welcome to the Gun Show

One of the cool things about working inside a venue that houses a 7,000 seat arena is that you are constantly around exciting events and acts that come through. Besides Griz Basketball, Lady Griz Basketball, and Griz Volleyball, many other fun events take place in the Adams Center  where I work. Concerts, campaign rallies, the circus,  roller derby, the state science fair, cirque de solei, the Globetrotters,  and traveling Broadway plays are just some of the neat things I get to be in the middle of when  they roll into Missoula. Unfortunately, not all of the events that come through are as cool as the ones I just listed. In fact, one client that the Adams Center hosts annually makes me hide in my office the whole day.
Before I talk about this event I want to quickly and in plain language describe a common misconception that is prevalent among many people when it comes to Grizzly Athletics and the Adams Center.  We (Grizzly Athletics) do not own the Adams Center. In fact, the Adams Center is its own entity ran by its own staff. We shell out a lot of money each year to rent out the office space and facilities inside the venue. Bottom line, we are tenants.  Many people in the community believe that Grizzly Athletics has some type of association/agreement with each act/event that comes into the Adams Center. We don’t. Obviously, this makes it so we have zero control over who utilizes the venue when Grizzly Athletics events are not going on. As I said above, many of the different events are awesome…but not all.
Today was the start of the annual Missoula Gun and Antique Show. Hosted inside the Adams Center, it is a weekend long event that runs through Sunday night. Thank God I have no work to do over the weekend.
This gun/antique show takes over the whole Adams Center venue. Wooden tables pushed closely together take up all the space on the arena floor, the concourse, and the main lobby. When I left work Thursday night all I saw were bare wooden tables positioned all throughout the Adams Center. The pleasant smell of wood even filled the lobby. When I returned to work this morning I was greeted with chaos.  By 10:30am, the whole place was full of predominately bearded old men in overalls and straw hats stalking around the tables that were now covered with random colored cloths and loads of guns and “antiques”.  An old, musty smell overpowered the whole place and faint dust filled the air. I immediately became depressed.

                                           The arena floor during the gun show

If you were thinking that they might be showcasing slick and lightweight  military type assault rifles or Russian silencers, think again. The guns at this show are, how should I put this, much more underwhelming. If you are one of those people who likes to spend a day at some random park dressed up in confederate soldier garb while doing Civil War battle reenactments, get to the Adams Center sometime this weekend.  Many of the guns featured are ancient, beat up, bush league pieces of equipment that would not even be able to kill a squirrel. I honestly believe I would be better off buying a cap gun at the local Dollar Tree. After what looks like spending decades in the closets of hillbillies, I have no idea what interest anyone would have in looking at any of these guns, let alone buying one of them. I do have to say that not all of the guns at the show are frauds. It looked like a few of the tables had some fine hunting rifles. They actually looked usable. The fact of the matter is that I do not know much about guns so I can’t really say too much about the quality of some of the equipment profiled at the show but I can definitely differentiate between something that is nice and something that is not.

                                     Some old school guns and knives.

I feel the biggest sham of the show is not the guns part of it but the “antiques” part of it. The only antiques at this show are some of the guns they are trying to sell. Other than that, I have never seen so much unworthy yard sale junk in my life. Water soaked, brown stained mystery novels from the 1980’s are not antiques. Playing cards that are missing half the deck are not antiques. A bedside digital alarm clock is not an antique. Ratty old t-shirts are not antiques. Painted rocks from someone’s backyard are not antiques. Stuffed animals and modern Barbie dolls are not antiques.  Much of the stuff at the show I would not even touch because of fear of picking up something. It makes Goodwill look like a Nordstrom.

                                       Look at some of those great…ummm…antiques??

I feel like I have been criticizing groups of people way too much in my posts lately so I am not going to talk in length about the crowd that the gun show attracts. All I am going to say is that it provides the people who live out in the middle of the woods a yearly excuse to come to Missoula.

                                       2011 Missoula Gun Show

 I have absolutely nothing against guns but it does unnerve me a little bit when I see little kids at the gun show.  I personally do not feel four year olds need to be in a place that is stocked with guns and knives while older men with crazy eyes pick up these guns and point them every which way.  If you find yourself with your toddler kid for the day, take him/her to the park or the pool….not the gun show.

For those of us who work in the athletic department, the Friday of the gun show is a burden. Getting to our offices from the front entrance is a complete cluster. Throughout the day, gun show participants will block our offices and block the stairs. People who we do business with do not know what the hell is going on when they approach the building and see the madness unfolding in front of them. One of the gun show ticket takers tried to get me to pay admission when I came back after the lunch hour. It is no wonder why so many people took the day off today.
Again, I want to reiterate how most of the events the Adams Center books are wonderful. I feel very fortunate to work in a place where I am constantly surrounded by so much talent and first class acts. It is a very small price to suffer through the Missoula Gun and Antique Show in exchange for all of the good we experience here. I will be sure to blog about the latter in future blog posts. Have a great weekend everyone. Don’t Blink.

Kevin Durant at Rucker Park

Kevin Durant at Rucker Park long version
Kevin Durant at Rucker Park short version

I think the word crazy best describes the scene at Rucker Park on Monday night when Kevin Durant decided to show up for a pick up game and went off for sixty-six points. I watched various clips of the game on Youtube multiple times and each time the video concluded I had a smile on my face. The whole situation was outrageous and over the top but it was great stuff.  By this time, the footage of the game has been broken down, discussed, commentated on, praised, satirized, etc. by pretty much every sports outlet in the nation so to say I have anything that new to add to the discussion might not be accurate. But I do want to throw out a few thoughts.

Let’s talk about the magical. There is just something very appealing and mystical about an NBA superstar showing up at night to an outdoor court surrounded by trees and buildings in the inner city to play some hoop. Throw in an energized standing room only crowd that is amped up to the max and right away you know it is going to be a special experience.
Let’s talk about the performance. Kevin Durant scored 66 points. Granted there was only one other NBA caliber player besides Durant on the court(John Wall III), but it was still impressive. I must admit that I do not know how long the game was, but I know it probably wasn’t a 48 minute NBA length game. It is not like Durant just scored either. He was playing great defense, making steals, and pulling down rebounds. He did not just show up at Rucker Park to cherry pick and throw down sick dunks, he was there to play an all-around game and I think that is pretty cool.
Let’s talk about the implications. It would seem that no good could come out of a situation like Rucker Park if you are an NBA superstar. I mean, you are supposed to dominate against a bunch of street ballers, right? But where would that leave you if you did not perform well? The guy was playing on a very unique court he had never played on and he was playing a whole different brand of basketball against guys who are absolutely hungry to prove that they can hang with a member of basketball’s elite. Remember a couple years ago when Lebron James was supposedly swatted in a pick up game at one of his camps by a college kid? That was talked about for a long time. Luckily, they were able to keep the tape from coming out. With all of the cameras at Rucker Park, if KD was embarrassed just on one play, it would have went maybe even more viral than the video of him dominating. And of course there is the injury question. I personally think he put himself at an unnecessary risk playing in that game. Regardless of if there is going to be an NBA season or not protect yourself and protect your career.
Let’s talk about the ridiculous. That game was nothing short of a circus type atmosphere. I wonder what Kevin Durant was thinking when he was standing in the lay up line for pregame warm ups and he has little kids walking up to him asking for his autograph? He had to of been shifting his eyes around looking for some type of security presence to take care of the issue. How about the overflow of fans? Forget about balls going out of bounds, you had fans standing right up to the out of bounds line all around the court. In many cases, fans were actually standing on the court. Any ball that would be destined to go out of bounds in any other venue in the country would have simply just hit off of fans at Rucker Park and went right back into play. The reaction of the fans, both by voice and by outward affection toward Durant, was pretty crazy as well. I don’t know how many times Durant did something cool and then in unison the whole crowd would let out a big “OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!” Of course the fact that the fans were allowed to mob Durant over and over again while the game was still going on was outrageous. I can see the case for mobbing a player after he makes a game winning shot or after he has just turned in a record-breaking, amazing performance…ONCE THE GAME IS OVER. To do it three different times in the span of about one minute is stupid. Where was the security in the yellow shirts for all of  those instances? If I was the other team, I would have gone “Stanford Band” style and just played on while the fans stormed the court. Pass the ball in and go score while there is chaos  going on and the best defender on the court is surrounded by crazy people.
Let’s still talk about the ridiculous. I just needed another paragraph to talk about this one. That on-court announcer was a joke and a half. I wonder how much he gets paid? If he gets any type of a check I say that is highway robbery. Any person can stand on the court and act like an idiot while repeating the same thing over and over and over again. How many times did he say “I am…I am….I am….I am”? We get the idea when you tell us how many points Durant has, you do not need to keep reiterating it, we know the total is not going to change until he makes another bucket, i.e., “He has sixty. He has sixty. He has sixty.” We get it. Also, there are enough non-players already getting in the faces of the athletes when they turn in a great play, we don’t need the on-court announcer doing it too. After Durant did that sick dunk where he fell down afterwards the announcer got right up into his grill and started hopping around. Take it easy dude. I thought his outfit was the most crazy part of his whole schtick/routine though. Who died and gave him a big championship belt to wear? Do you really need to wear sunglasses? You know it is night, right? What about the towel you are carrying around? Are you just carrying it around to carry it around or do you really sweat that much just from repeating short phrases over and over? Might want to go see a doctor
Okay, I kind of made fun of the video towards the end of this post but I do recognize that it was pretty cool and that a lot of people were drawn to it. There is a real market out there for alternative types of basketball. With the NBA destined to have its season canceled and with the decline of the quality of college basketball, maybe even more people will get their basketball fixes through unconventional means. Perhaps more people will start to crave this street ball, maybe there will be a resurgence of the And One tour, there might be a Slam Ball comeback. As a person who has paid money to watch And One when they came to Spokane a few years back and as someone who has seen the Globetrotters play in person no less than four times, I know I would gravitate towards it. Just please leave the on-court announcers behind. Don’t Blink.

My Willie Nelson Concert Experience

Last night I had the opportunity to watch the legendary Willie Nelson live in concert.  On a beautiful  Missoula summer evening in a baseball stadium filled with fans packing the stands and the field, the atmosphere could not have been better. I want to preface this post by saying this is not a review of the concert. Because I am not a real fan of Willie Nelson’s music to begin with and because I feel you have to remember the whole concert to give a decent review, I am not acting as a critic in this post. Rather, I am going to tell you about my experience…and boy was it an experience.
I went to the concert with my good friend, Nick. The concert was held at Ogren Park, the baseball stadium that is home to the Missoula Osprey, the minor league baseball team I love so much. They do not have a lot of parking available so the concert organizers implemented a shuttle system for the event. They had a few different locations throughout downtown Missoula. Nick and I went to the location on Ryman Street. After about ten minutes of waiting a yellow school bus  pulled up to the curb and the door swung open and right away our noses were assaulted with marijuana smoke. Ahhh yes, such a glamorous shuttle service. We got on the packed bus that was full of people who looked exactly like the petitioners I blogged about a month ago and we were on our way. Although it was only a 5 minute ride I was so thankful to get off as I was starting to get sick from the combination of the sizzling hot bus and the awful smell of body odor and weed mixed together.  
We got into the stadium, got our drinks, and then went and sat down in the first row of the stands on the third base side. Willie’s opening act was Lyle Lovett and His Big Band. Now Lyle Lovett is another artist who I do not particularly care for. Probably the thing that stood out to me the most from his set was that Lyle and his band all wore suits on stage when it was about ninety degrees out. If you ask me, I thought it was ridiculous but whatever. As you can tell, he did not impress me too much. When you go to a concert where you are not very interested in the act, especially the opening act, you usually do two things. First, you drink. And I mean you drink quite a bit because you should do whatever you can to make the music sound kind of good. Second, you people watch. Let me tell you, the quality of people watching was at an all time high last night. I swear Wal-Mart had a shuttle service as well because some of the talent that was brought to that ballpark last night was out of this world. Actually, this is not even being fair to Wal-Mart. Some of the people who showed up to the concert last night looked like they had just crawled out of a swamp. It was very, very interesting. Nick and I played the “your team” game the whole Lyle Lovett set.
After Lyle finally got off the stage Nick and I went on the field and we lined the fence that cut off the general public because on the other side was the path that the acts took to the stage. As we were standing there, some old guy dressed funny was walking down the path looking up at the sky (a lightning storm had started to surround the stadium). Because he looked so confused and concerned I yelled out at him “WELCOME TO MISSOULA.” He looked over at us right away and slowly walked over to us. I didn’t know exactly what he was going to do, I did not know if he took my welcome greeting the wrong way, perhaps sensing some sarcasm in it. He finally approached us and extended his hand and said, “Howdy, you guys ready for a concert?” It was Willie Nelson’s bass player!! He talked to us for about twenty minutes as we waited for Willie to come out. Of course he was looking up at the sky because he wanted to make sure they were not going to get rained on and that the lightning was not too close. He answered everything we asked and I was rattling off questions like no other. I asked him what Willie was doing at that very point of time, asked him about groupies, asked him how it was traveling on the bus, asked him if he had any crazy stories on the road (he did), asked him what he thought of Missoula, etc. I actually felt a little bad for him because they got into Missoula on Monday night (concert was Tuesday) and he said after they checked into the Holiday Inn (classy) he said they went bar hopping in downtown Missoula and each bar they went to “had a 15 to 1 guy to girl ratio”….he was not impressed. But he did say Missoula was a beautiful town.
Suddenly Willie Nelson’s tour bus came onto the field from behind the outfield wall and cruised up to a few feet of the stage. So much for him walking right by me. He exited the bus and then slowly walked up onto the stage. He then started to perform right away. Now it seems like everyone who went to the concert last night said that Willie sounded great and put on an awesome show. To be honest, I thought he sounded okay and  thought that his ninety minute performance was pretty average. But I said I was not going to be a critic in this post, sorry. It really didn’t matter though because I was having a great time. Even though I am not a huge Willie Nelson fan and even though I had no real desire to swim through a predominately hostile hippie crowd, I decided to anyways. Aiding in my motivation to do so was of course the numerous Shock Tops I had consumed and a really sweet/cute girl who I had met in the crowd. This girl asked if I wanted to try to go up to the front of the stage …yes please! I turned into the biggest bush leaguer in the joint. I was plowing through bodies and doing Reggie Bush type moves while tagging my new friend behind me. I got flipped off, I got cussed at, one guy even spat at me (I let him know what I thought about that). Someone working concert security even told me to move back when we were about ten feet away from the stage. I told him I was part of the Willie Nelson Fan Club….he didn’t care. We took a few steps back but then continued our assault up to the stage. You know what?? We made it!
Willie Nelson looks very old. Drug use, life on the road, and his crazy lifestyle made him look every bit of his seventy-eight years up close. I give it to him though, performing when you are seventy-eight is amazing. Willie sang “Beer For My Horses” without obviously Toby Keith. I thought it was a bad idea and once you heard it you would have too. He sang “On the Road Again” which was cool. And he of course sang a whole bunch of other songs that I had never heard and really have no interest of hearing again. Let me say real fast that I am a HUGE country music fan. But I am into contemporary country. Country music purists scoff at me and call me soft but I am just not into the Willie Nelsons, Lyle Lovetts, Johnny Cashs, etc. (don’t know if I should Cashes or Cashs). Maybe I should give them more of a chance.
Willie Nelson did not banter with the crowd too much. In my opinion, he was much more concerned about playing his set and getting back on the road. That was fine with me.

Bunting During a No-hit Bid

I really am excited to listen tomorrow to all of my favorite sports talk radio programs discuss Justin Verlander’s no-hit bid from earlier today. I am pretty sure I know which way each of the hosts I listen to will go which is funny because I still do not know exactly which way I lean in this whole situation.
CONTEXT: The Anaheim Angels played the Detroit Tigers today at Comerica Park. Justin Verlander, Detroit’s ace, took a no-hitter into the eighth inning. Anaheim Angels shortstop Erick Aybar led off the top of the inning with a bunt. Verlander fielded the play and made a throwing error. Despite the fact that it was not a hit (Verlander would relinquish his no-hit attempt later in the inning), Aybar’s bunt was very questionable at that stage in the game.
Whenever my brother and I would play our head-to-head “Ken Griffey Jr. Presents Major League Baseball” for Nintendo 64 back in the day, we had the understanding that once the fifth inning came around, if one of us had a no-hitter going, the other would not bunt. It was our nod to the unwritten rule baseball has about no-hitters which is well known amongst anyone who has grown up with the game. The rule is so prevalent and important to the game that my brother and I knew about it when we were very young and did not just honor it from the time we played little league on up but also in our video games! Okay, so the rule is well defined, but does  that mean that ball players, especially major league ball players, should follow it?
Obvious answer that people who dismiss the unwritten rule of not bunting in a no-hit situation late in the game is this: Milestone feats and records be damned, you got to do whatever you got to do to win the game. Getting on base is paramount to winning the game and who is to say that just because some guy happens to be holding you hitless it means that one of your options for getting on base (bunting) is suddenly taken away?  It is important to note that both the Angels and Tigers are in very tight divisional races right now. These races could be decided by a single game once the season is over. It is ludicrous to think that a team who has a legitimate shot at making the postseason has to concede one of their best weapons just because of a potential personal accomplishment of the OPPOSING team.
But we also have to remember that baseball is a special sport. Baseball is much different from football and basketball. There is no clock, rulings are much more subjective, and scoring is low. It is also a sport that is very much grounded in tradition. Players and teams are expected to conduct themselves in a certain way. You observe certain quirky rules and salute the greats who played before you. People who never really got involved with baseball or played it do not really understand the “Baseball Gospel” so to speak and I think many of those people are the ones who are shaking their heads the most tonight wondering what the big deal was about some guy trying to lay down a bunt to get on base. The point of the matter when it comes to this unwritten rule is this: After a pitcher has gone so many innings pitching a gem without allowing a hit, it is a cheap/bush league/desperate way to get on base. You had your chance to bunt in the earlier innings but now that you realize that this guy is about to accomplish something very special at the expense of your team, do not resort to a maneuver that breaks up the pitcher’s chance at glory that relies a lot on luck. Earn your hits!
Throughout the day I kept thinking about what would have happened if Verlander had a perfect game going in the eighth? Would Aybar still have bunted? What if Verlander had not pitched a no-hitter earlier this year or what if he had never pitched a no-hitter in his whole career? Would Aybar still have bunted? Obviously, if you subscribe solely to the philosophy of “get on base at any cost” these questions probably mean very little to you. But for someone like me who is on the fence, it got me thinking quite a bit.
I think the answer to this whole dilemma is one for the people of baseball to figure out. I know for a fact that tomorrow a bunch of blowhard talk radio people (the ones who I do not bother listening to) who really have no connection to the game of baseball are going to fill whole segments yelling about how stupid this unwritten rule is. If you are reading this blog and you do not have a strong connection to baseball, please do not listen to these radio/TV people. They have no real knowledge or context of the game and do not care one bit about broadening their horizons, they just want to jump on something and make a big deal out of it. Instead, watch the debates on Baseball Tonight, read Tom Verducci, catch Peter Gammons on the MLB Network,  watch for the opinions of baseball hall of famers to come out. Take in their opinions and then form your own. I will do the same. Don’t Blink.