Monday, May 16, 2011

The Kickball Ramblings: Learn to Love the Bunt

At the beginning of every kickball season, as new teams and new players are added to the league, a familiar complaint can often be heard: Why do some teams bunt so much?
The actual complaint is usually much whinier, more along the lines of, “This team just bunts all the time. That’s so stupid.”
Well, to all of you who may have been among the complainers, this week’s lesson is for you.
Mike’s Guide to NAKID Culture: Part Two - Learn to Love the Bunt
The bunt is a well established part of adult kickball. It is a generally effective way for a kicker to get on base, and for the most part, the teams that bunt effectively are the teams that win.
But many people are not convinced that it should be a part of the game. Over the years, I’ve heard quite a few people rant about bunting and why it should be outlawed. I will share some of the more common arguments against bunting and explain why they are invalid:
1. It’s not how kickball is meant to be played. I suppose this technically correct, since kickball is probably meant to be played by grade schoolers during recess. Considering that NAKID is a bunch of adults (theoretically, at least) playing a children's game, should anyone really be judging on how the game is meant to be played?
2. It’s lame to just bunt your way onto base. Which is lamer: getting on base, running around, and scoring a run; or kicking the ball in the air, having it caught, and going back to the sideline? Also, please don’t complain about bunting not being manly enough. If you were really concerned about manliness in sports, you’d probably be playing football or doing mixed martial arts.
3. It’s too easy to bunt. Yes, it’s relatively easy to bunt the ball. Bunting the ball successfully is considerably more difficult. And remember, even the best bunting team needs to mix in a big kick every once in awhile too, or else they’re not going to score many runs.
I’m guessing that if you thought bunting was lame before, you’re probably not going to change your mind. But bunting isn’t going to be removed from the game, so you’ve got two options: continue to whine as your opponents bunt, or actually try to do something about it.
If you put strong defenders at pitcher, catcher, and shortstop,  it becomes much harder for a team to bunt successfully. I’ve seen games where a good catcher has essentially nullified the bunting game. Or maybe you could try bunting yourself. Who knows? You might even find that you like it.
Trivia Question:
Last week’s answer: There have been six indoor NAKID seasons. Andy D. was the only person to correctly answer this, and he will receive a $0.20 prize.
This week’s question: Which soda contains more sodium in a 12 oz can? Diet Coke or Diet Pepsi?
And finally, this week’s Link that may (or may not) be an embarrassing picture of Dan Boger:

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