As alluded to earlier today, A.J. Ellis was a guest on MLB Network’s generally insufferable “Intentional Talk,” and as expected, he was fantastic. When Michael Young wasn’t running out to tape up Ellis’ nipples — yes, that’s a thing I just typed — Ellis was showing off his broadcasting skills, and, at just past three minutes in, dropped this wonderful bit regarding Juan Uribe‘s failed bunt:
“You never bunt in baseball anymore, that’s what all the sabermetric people tell me. Stop bunting! No more bunting! Only pitchers bunt. Listen to me, Don Mattingly, no more bunting.”
About eight minutes later, after Ellis talks about Zack Greinke‘s fantasy football team, Skip Schumaker‘s wife, and Clayton Kershaw‘s beard, Mattingly comes walking down the dugout (wearing some sort of “anti bug splat” shirt) and whispers to Ellis, with a huge smile on his face, that he’d heard the anti-bunting comments and that Tim Federowicz will be starting Game 1 of the NLCS instead. You know I’m generally a “talent over chemistry” kind of guy, but I do believe that both are important, and the more you see of things like this and Hanley Ramirez making jokes and Nick Punto tearing off jerseys, well, it sure seems like this is a pretty good collection of guys.
But of course, the takeaway here is Ellis’ not-so-subtle please-stop-bunting viewpoint. I’ve joked in the past that I wonder if guys like Ellis just internally roll their eyes when they get the call in big spots — looking at you, Game #161 — before following directions and doing it anyway, and now I’m more sure than ever.
Like I said before, he’s a good catcher, but he’s going to be an outstanding broadcaster — if that’s what he wants.