To be able to learn baseball and be adept at it, you must be prepared to adapt all the sport’s techniques. This is in line with achieving the twin goals of the game – hitting the most number of runs, and minimizing or eliminating the outs.
One of these is the art of bunting. Essentially, it is still part in the art of hitting. However, techniques used in the field are somehow different.
Primarily, bunting is used for advancing a runner or getting the batter on base. However, most youngsters who are introduced to this concept think more on getting on base more than anything else.
This frame of mind, however, totally reverses the intent of the sacrifice.
To sacrifice, the batter will squarely face the pitcher. For our demonstration, imagine that the hitter is right-handed.
As the pitcher goes on the rubber, the batter takes his normal position. Just as the pitcher begins his throwing stance, the batter then turns left, steps back, and moves out with the left foot, moving the right foot up to the spot vacated by the left.
In two quick steps, the feet will be parallel with the toes actually pointing at the pitcher. The right foot should be even with the plate and already inside the batter’s box.
For the moment, forget that you are going to use a baseball bat at all. Imagine instead you are going to catch the pitched ball.
Straighten right up a bit if you think the ball is high. If it looks low, squat slightly. Get your arms extended towards the pitcher with your hands.
This is to enable you to follow the flight of the ball. Use the same principle when using a bat and hitting into the baseball field.
If you are right-handed, make a fist with the right hand with the little finger pointing the ground. Extend the index finger and raise the thumb, then crook the index finger like you would pull a gun’s trigger.
Place the bat between thumb and forefinger at a point some two to four inches above the label and squeeze. The V made by the thumb and forefinger is the cushion for the shock of the ball’s impact.
Loosely wrap your left hand on the bat under the knob, palm down, extending the arm forward. Hold the bat level with the ground and “catch” the ball with the bigger end, which should be extended into the strike zone.
Directing the ball
To place the ball toward the first base, keep the right hand rigid while pushing the left hand forward.
Bunting it to third base, keep the right ball like you had a glove on. Do not poke at it. (Do the opposite movements when you are a left-hander.)
Bunting the strike
If in the act of moving into a bunting position and the pitch looks like a ball, immediately yank the heavy end of the bat back. This helps convince an uncertain umpire it is a strike, helps the runner, and avoids a foul tip.
Always expect a sign for a sacrifice bunt when a runner is on first, first and second, with none out, and with probably a close score. To learn baseball, it is imperative to learn how to master the art of bunting.