The Possibility of Blowing a Bunt Foul

I know this is going way back, but it deals with an extremely peculiar play and seems to violate the laws of physics, so I’d like some confirmation that I didn’t just imagine it.

Lenny Randle was an infielder who played in the 1970s and early 1980s. He’s best known for punching out his manager, Frank Lucchesi while with the Texas Rangers. This earned Lenny an immediate trade to the Mets. Definitely an action type of guy.

While finishing his career with the Seattle Mariners, Mr. Randle was involved in a totally weird play. He was in the field as a third baseman, when the opposing batter laid down a near perfect bunt. No way was he going to be thrown out. Having mellowed a bit from his earlier days, Lenny Randle did not punch the ball. What he did was to get down on his hands and knees and try to blow the ball foul. The ball did indeed go foul just before hitting the third base bag. The umpire immediately awarded the batter first base. I don’t know what section of the rulebook covers this but I guess sometimes a good umpire just has to improvise. As I recall, there was a lot of laughter over the play but no one on Seattle even attempted to argue with the umpire.

This is all wonderful but it makes absolutely no sense. I put a softball on the edge of a table and tried to blow it off. Couldn’t budge the thing. I know a softball is a lot heavier than a hardball but has anyone out there been able to blow a baseball foul? This could lead to some innovative fielding plays (“Ground ball up the middle. Jeter dives-no he blows the ball over to Robinson Cano. Over to first-double play”) but after 20+ years, I still need convincing.
Seriously, if any of you has ever been able to blow a baseball foul or for that matter, blow a baseball anywhere please let me know. Being in denial for this length of time is supposed to be really bad news.

Addendum: One of the problems in today’s society is too many people talking and writing about things they know absolutely nothing about. Take me, for example. I claim to be a former scientist and it takes me over a decade to test out just how difficult it is to blow a baseball around. In July 2008, I finally got the opportunity. It’s real easy. So easy that even a chain smoker can do it. I stand corrected; the umpire was right. I’d delete this article if the site would allow it. Hey, even traditional media allows retractions.

Kevin Eaton

Hello! I’m Kevin – an openly biased Baltimore Orioles fan; a youth baseball parent; an obsessive-compulsive scorekeeper; a travelling ballpark tourist and a taste tester of defiantly unhealthy ballpark culinary offerings. In this space I share my love for the game of baseball and in doing so, connect with other really great people who love the game as much as I do.

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