RR is our abbreviation for Ron Roenicke, but it is also commonly used to mean Runnin' Ron due to his habit of using stolen bases, hit-and-runs, and bunting, bunting, bunting. There are times when we have a man on first with less that two outs and we're just hoping to tap into some of that extra base power that most of our lineup has, and then we see someone square up to bunt instead, and.... ugh.
So many bad things can happen when you call for a bunt. You can pop the ball up. You can hit into a double play. You can fail to get a bunt down and just end up in the same situation with two strikes. But the main problem is this: When you do it correctly, you lose an out. You are giving a free out to the other team. It's crazy! Unless the situation absolutely calls for it, like it's a one-run game and the pitcher is up, or Matt Garza is pitching for the other team, it's a terrible strategy. Complicating matters is that a lot of young players simply aren't taught to bunt correctly and have to learn how to do it at the major league level. Stolen bases are the same way: Unless you are successful at least 75% of the time, you are stealing outs, bases, and wins from the team by trying to steal.
Well, we think RR runs a lot, but his teams are nowhere near as prolific base stealers as some previous Brewers teams. One team in particular, the 1992 Milwaukee Brewers, are the Runningest Team Ever. Their skipper was rookie manager Philip Mason "Scrap Iron" Garner. He showed up in the spring of '92 and said "where's all the big guys?" and figured that if the team was going to win it had to take advantage of the best tool it had: Speed.
"We let them run, but we try to take advantage of certain situations," said Garner. "If the other guys don't pay attention to us, we'll run. You have to get into the flow of it. By not having to tell them all the time when to run, it becomes a frame of mind. You have to improvise."
"Sure, we're going to run ourselves out of a game every now and then. But if you stop us today, we're going to come right back tomorrow. If it's part of your game, you live by it and die by it."
In 1992 the California Angels had speedsters Luis Polonia and Chad Curtis. The Chicago White Sox had notorious thieves Tim Raines, Steve Sax, and Lance Johnson. Both of those teams stole 160 bases. The '92 Brewers left them in the dust, stealing 256 bases.
That isn't the record, because back in the day the stolen base was a major weapon. Catchers didn't have the same strong, accurate arms, pitchers weren't throwing as hard, and the on-base game was a lively one, less station-to-station, much more fluid. It isn't even the modern record because the 1976 Oakland A's had a bunch of fast guys like Bill North and Bert Campaneris (and surprise - Phil Garner).
But the '92 Brewer team did set a record. Because stolen bases were so revered, everyone had to participate. That team set a major league record for the most players on a team to have double-digit stolen base totals. Anyone with at least 10 PA for the Brewers that season had at least 1 stolen base.