I envision Frank Robinson and Ned Yost sitting in a bar after the game last night. "Boy oh boy, Frank, you sure did manage a shitty game last night," says Ned, his eyes aglow with admiration and four one dollar cans of Pabst.
"Thanks, kid. What was your favorite part?"
"The bottom of the first was the Citizen Kane of shitty managing, Frank. The failed bunt, the blown hit and run - we spotted you a leadoff double and not only did you not score, you didn't even come close!"
"Heh heh. Nice to meet a connoisseur. I've been in this game a long time, son. Maybe after 15 years you'll figure it out, too."
"Hey now, I'm pretty bad myself. Tell you what, old man. Let's make a wager: if I out-mismanage you, I show everyone an incredibly embarrassing picture of you with a moustache that would make Nick Johnson gag. If you out-mismanage me, I'll give you an autographed 1985 Ned Yost Topps baseball card. It'd run you $24.95 on Ebay, and it will increase in value."
"Sure you want to do this, cowboy? I'll start Jeffrey Hammonds."
"I'll start Jeff Cirillo."
"Well played. I'll see you tomorrow. You gonna finish that Pabst?"
That scenario is pretty much the only excuse for today's game. Both men lived up to their promises to start the most washed-up men on their benches. Frank's weapon of choice was the sacrifice bunt. Brian Schneider led off the 5th with a double. Cristian Guzman, the #8 hitter, came up and attempted to bunt. Remember that the pitcher was due up next, but Frank was determined to win the bet. Even after Guzman had two strikes on him, he persisted and struck out on a two-strike foul bunt. Less egregious was Hammonds' bunt. The radio guys were saying that Hammonds is on the team to be a "professional hitter." Whom do you think of when the term "professional hitter" is used? I think of Edgar Martinez, who sacrificed a grand total of 10 times in his career, and not once after 1995. Yet Frank had his professional hitter sac bunt in the 6th. Hammonds doesn't bring much to the table these days; if he's not a good enough hitter to swing away with two men on base, what's the point of having him around at all?
Ned Yost was as enamored of the intentional base on balls as Frank was of the sacrifice bunt. In the 5th with Brian Schneider on second base, Yost had Brad Wilkerson intentionally walked. Since there were two outs (thanks, Cristian!), Frank couldn't call on Jamey Carroll to bunt. I'm sure it annoyed Frank to no end until Jamey drove in Schneider with a single. Yost hadn't learned his lesson: in the very next inning with men on second and third, he gave the old IBB to Cristian Fucking Guzman. A run wound up scoring on a passed ball, and the walk didn't cost the Brewers anything, but still. Anyone Frank can pull of the bench is likely to be a better hitter than Guzman, and with two outs they didn't need to keep the double play in order.
So who won the bet? It's close, but Frank won the game, and I think we all want to see that picture of him, so congratulations Ned Yost.
Update: The world is upside-down. While I'm bitching about managerial trifles, Needham is composing a love letter to ¡Livan!.