Remember Luis Matos? He played all or parts of seven big league seasons, mostly with Baltimore, though he made his final bow in a Nationals’ uniform in 2006.
Matos was a good fielding - albeit light hitting - center fielder. He hit as many as 13 home runs in a season (2003) when he also batted .303, providing false hope for Baltimore fans. They finally gave up on waiting for him to do it again and released him in July 2006. He signed with Washington, stayed for about a month, and was cut loose again.
I was reminded of Matos last night when Roger Bernadina came to the plate in the eighth inning, hoping to get a bunt down against Mets’ lefty Pedro Feliciano.
It was, perhaps, the worst looking at-bat of the season. By the time he’d struck out, he’d stabbed at the baseball a couple of times without success, looking more like he was afraid he’d hurt the ball if he actually touched it.
In all fairness, Feliciano is one tough lefty, but this at-bat really looked awful.
I’m reminded of Matos because in 2005 with the Orioles, in what was likely his worst display of bat handling, he broke a finger trying to bunt the ball with his hand wrapped completely around the bat barrel.
I know that fundamentals of the game sometimes take a backseat to raw talent, but has bunting become such a lost art? Or do players these days see it as somehow being beneath them as athletes?
We’re fortunate that Bernadina didn’t injure himself, but it would be interesting to know what he heard when he got back to the bench.