Fundamentals sometimes overlooked in majors

Are the fundamentals of the game ignored by players at the big-league level? Sometimes, but not always.

Originally Published: August 26, 2005
By Steve Phillips | ESPN Insider
The team that wins isn't necessarily the best team; it is the team that plays the best.

There is a reason the most talented team doesn't always win: To play the best, teams must execute the fundamentals of the game. The little things are sometimes more important than the big things. Teams that get outs when they should, or keep opposing baserunners from advancing an extra base, tend to win games. Teams that score just enough runs to win games tend to be able to get runners on, get them over and get them in, making productive outs.

The fundamentals of the game of baseball are pretty universal. Each manager may have his own specific nuances as to how he wants them executed, but for the most part, they are pretty similar. The fundamentals include bunt defenses, cutoffs and relays, pitching and fielding pickoff plays, situational hitting, sacrifice bunts, sacrifice flies, the hit-and-run, advancing runners from second base with no outs, first-and-third defense, baserunning, etc.