BaD Radio visits with Tom Grieve

by Dan M | Posted on Friday, July 25th, 2014

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Bob: We were trying to sort out what Colby Lewis was mad about over the weekend in Toronto. What are your thoughts on Colby and who is the man at fault?
Tom: I didn’t have a real problem with [Colby] Rasmus bunting in that situation. I understand what Colby [Lewis] is saying. To me, I’ve always felt just because it’s a 2-0 game and you put the shift on, why should that player hit into the shift and make an out? If you don’t want the guy to bunt, then play the guy at 3rd base in and keep the guy from bunting. To me, you shouldn’t penalize the team that’s ahead by taking away an opportunity for him to get a hit. So, I understand what Colby Lewis is saying, but if he never said anything about that, I could’ve watched that game and never thought about that. It wouldn’t have entered my mind that anything was wrong. Teams want to play the shift… I’m looking at it from a hitter’s perspective. Why shouldn’t you have the right to do that? If you want the hitter to swing away and never bunt, then play your position players straight up. Don’t put the shift on. You put the shift on because you want the advantage defensively. Well, why should that guy give up his opportunity to help himself and the team because they’re ahead in the game? You know, I’ve never understood that mentality. So, from my perspective, I didn’t have any problem with Rasmus bunting to be honest with you.

Dan: It makes so little sense. I was wondering if you’ve ever heard of this kind of thing. Certainly, we’ve heard of don’t bunt in a no-hitter…
Tom: I don’t have a problem with that. About 10 years ago, Ben Davis was a catcher in San Diego and someone was pitching a no-hitter against them and it was late in the game, maybe the 8th or 9th inning and it was a 1-run game or a 2-run game and he laid down a bunt and the pitcher went berserk because he bunted for a base hit. Well, just because the guy has a no-hitter, you’re supposed to give up the right to get on base, to try and start a rally in a 1-run ballgame? That doesn’t make any sense to me. The no-hitter: that’s his problem. That’s hit team’s problem. I’m looking at it from my perspective. I don’t care if you have a no-hitter. I hope you don’t pitch a no-hitter, but if I can get on base with nobody out, I have a chance to score and tie the game and maybe eventually win the game. So, tough luck that you’ve got a no-hitter going! I’m going to do what I can to help myself and my team. So, I’ve always looked at it slightly against what is baseball protocol, what are the “unwritten rules.” Some of them, to me, just don’t make any sense.

Dan: Having even been out there and subject to some unwritten rules, what would you consider to be the dumbest ones if there’s anything that stands out?
Tom: The dumbest thing for me is when someone hits a home run and they knock the next guy down. That poor guy didn’t do anything! I really can’t come up with one. You know, there are times where I think you use common sense. I don’t know that there’s any set rule where you can’t steal a base if you’re ahead by so many runs. You can’t bunt when up so many runs in such and such an inning. I couldn’t come up with a rule like that. I think you use your common sense. If you’re the manager, you know when to draw back your running game. If you’re the 3rd base coach, you know when to send a guy from 2nd base to score a run, taking into account the guy who hit it deserves an RBI and the guy that’s running deserves to score a run, but at the same time, trying not to rub it in. I think you just use common sense. That’s the way I would look at it.

Dan: You don’t want to rub it in and stuff, but you always hear about guys saying, “Oh, he just wants to pad his stats.” Well, what if a pitcher strikes you out and they’re up 8-0? That’s padding his stats as well.
Tom: Basically, what baseball is all about is for every single player that participates in the game to pad his stats.
Dan: Right!
Tom: That’s what you do! That’s what you try to do! If I’m up, I try to pad my stats. I want to get a hit, I want to score a run, I want to drive in runs. If I’m a pitcher, I want to shut you out, strike you out, and make you look bad and pad my stats. If I can run, I want to steal as many bases as I can to pad my stats. Now, you do it and you incorporate it within the team concept and you use common sense on when you don’t steal and maybe if you’re ahead 15-0, you don’t swing at a 3-0 pitch. There are certain things you don’t do, but I just think that if you’ve positioned yourself to be behind in a game 9-2, that’s your problem! That’s not the problem of the team that went ahead 9-2; they’re just playing well. If you’re playing bad, too bad if they steal! Too bad if they bunt! If you don’t want them to do it, don’t get behind by that much! Don’t stink so bad! That’s always the way I’ve looked at it. I’ve never been on a team and taken it personally when the other team tried to score more or tried to hit better or tried to run. I just looked at it as they’re good, they’re aggressive, they have the right to do it, and hopefully the next time we play, we’ll be in the same position to do the same thing to them. But the idea that “Okay, I’m going to plate the ball, I’m going to throw it at someone’s neck because they ran and the score was 5-0,” that to me doesn’t make any sense. They talk about the pitchers who have the courage to knock a hitter down… That doesn’t take any courage! To stand 60 feet away and throw a ball as hard as you can at someone, that’s simple! Anyone can do that! The courage is the hitter who knows it’s coming and he’s standing up there and he has to get out of the way of it. That’s the guy who’s got the courage. The most gutless acts are the pitchers that throw at the hitters! That’s simple to do. Anybody can do that, especially now in the American League where [the pitcher] doesn’t have to hit. It’s one thing when Don Drysdale used to knock Willie Mays down once every game just for the heck of it because that’s the way they played. Well, that’s fine because Don Drysdale had to bat 3 or 4 times in that game and he has to stay up there and take his pot shots and under those circumstances, I don’t understand it and say it’s right, but if he wants to throw somebody, he has to go stand at the plate and take his medicine.

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