(BaseballStL) -- It all really began as a way to, as Mike Matheny put it, "waken up" the starters. The Cardinals were not a good bunting team last year. And, really, that's being nice. They were borderline atrocious.
So, Matheny had a bunting competition. Pitchers. Position players. Everyone was invited to participate. After several preliminary rounds, it was down to two.
And today, Pete Kozma (representing the position players) and Michael Blazek (representing the pitchers) took part in the championship. The entire team congregated on one of the practice fields to watch - once and for all - who the bunting champion turned out to be.
Now, Kozma ended up winning. Is that a big deal? Is that something that's going to change the fortunes of this franchise?
But what Matheny's doing is making bunting a fun game to get everyone to care about it more. If there's a gigantic competition with the whole team watching, clearly they won't want to embarrass themselves. They'll subconsciously, or even consciously, work a little bit harder to become better at something that wasn't very good in 2012.
In the end, will Jason Motte and these relievers need to bunt? No. Will Matt Holliday and Carlos Beltran? No.
But the starters will. And Mike Matheny was trying to use this competition to make them more motivated.
It could end up being the difference between scoring an extra insurance run in the seventh inning and not. It could end up being the difference between winning a game or not. And if the Reds and Cardinals decide the NL Central by just a game or two this year, it could end up being the difference between winning the division or not.