The Trenton Thunder outfielder who busted up a combined no-hitter on Tuesday night with a slick push bunt up the first baseline triggered a benches-clearing fracas as a result. It turns out he’s also triggered a bunch of weird assholes, as he has gone on to receive death threats from dickhead fans, according to an NJ.com report. Death threats! Over breaking up a combined no-hitter, in a minor-league baseball game.
That player, 27-year-old Matt Lipka, dropped a one-out bunt on the first pitch of his ninth-inning at-bat against Hartford closer Ben Bowden, the fourth pitcher of the night for the Yard Goats. Baseball’s unwritten rules would categorize this as unsportsmanlike, but, as per usual, those rules are wrong, for reasons that any of us should feel stupid for either needing explained or for explaining. The Thunder were down 3–0, and if they were to have any chance of coming back to tie or win the game, they would need baserunners. Lipka, by getting on base, turned the lineup over and got his team’s best hitters to the plate with one out and a runner on base, which is not just an acceptable excuse for laying down a bunt, but also good baseball and the reason to play the game. For making a smart and clean and legal play, in a game his team still had a fleeting chance at winning, Lipka was booed by the crowd and bitched at by his opponents. This happened because baseball is dumb.
This is another prompt to wonder why a no-hitter produced under the pressure of unwritten rules that dramatically favor the pitching team should be considered a respectable accomplishment. How much easier is it for a pitcher to produce a 1-2-3 inning when you start removing available options from the hitting side? A team that celebrates a no-hitter produced in part because the opposing side decided it was dishonorable to attempt to get on base looks like a bunch of suckers, to me. It’s rude how you made it difficult for us to do a thing that is only remarkable because it is presumed to have been difficult. A cursory Twitter search for Matt Lipka mentions will find a depressing number of people who think that bunting for a base hit is bush league, while prescribing retaliatory violence as a legitimate form of justice, all of which would be funny if it weren’t completely insane.
But even if you disagree with all that, surely reasonable people can agree that threatening a minor league baseball player for bunting to break up a combined no-hitter is some real shithead behavior. Don’t do it! According to NJ.com’s source, the Yankees, Trenton’s parent club, have been alerted to the threats and “are investigating.”