Let's watch manager Buck Showalter intentionally walk Barry Bonds with the bases loaded
On the night of May 28, 1998, Arizona manager Buck Showalter -- emblazoned in that lovely Diamondbacks' purple and teal -- had a decision to make: The D-backs led 8-6 with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, but the Giants had the bases loaded and Barry Bonds at the plate.
Should he go right after the seven-time All-Star and three-time MVP and hope for the best? Bonds had entered the night hitting .305/.440/.605 with 13 homers in 52 games.
Would he try to get Bonds, a player with historically great plate discipline, to swing at something outside of the zone?
No, Buck was having none of that. He ordered right-hander Gregg Olson to intentionally walk the Giants outfielder, forcing in a run but living to try his luck against Brent Mayne. At first perplexed,
Bonds eventually obliged:
Showalter's unconventional approach worked. In fact, it's so unconventional that it has only been attempted twice since 1955, when intentional walks were first recorded (the other instance was in a 2008 matchup between the Rays and Rangers, when Grant Balfour walked Josh Hamilton).
Mayne lined out to right fielder Brent Brede, ending the game in an 8-7 Arizona victory. Brede summed up the feelings of most Arizona fans that night:
Said Showalter after the game: "'You try to give your club the best opportunity to win a game; it might not have been good, but it was better than the option we had.''