Difference between hit and run and run and hit
Mike asked: Difference between hit and run and run and hit.
Rick answered: Mike, thank you for your question.
For some time, there has been a discussion around baseball concerning the naming of this particular play, or situation.
The basic play, hit and run, has been around since the games inception. It involves a runner, or runners, on first base or second base, or both first and second, or first and third.
Essentially, the runner(s) are going on the pitch. The hitter has the responsibility to swing at the pitch, regardless of where it is located, even if unhittable.
The hitter does so to protect the runner. When the ball is not hit, the play turns into a straight steal for the runner(s).
With runners on first and third, only the runner on first is going on the pitch, the runner on third reads the action in front of him/her, and reacts accordingly.
If the ball is not hit, and the catcher decides to throw through to second, in an attempt to throw out the runner, the runner on third can have the option to turn the play into a double steal.
The terminology discussion centers around the fact that the runner actually runs before the hitter has an opportunity to hit the ball, thus it should be called run and hit.
No matter the order it is referred to, the situation is the same. Runner(s) are running on the pitch, if the ball is not put in play, the runner is on a straight steal.
I know some coaches who have their runners hold until they are sure the ball is being delivered to the plate. When you do that, the chance to pick up the base with a steal is almost zero.
The batter must swing, attempting to at least hit the ball somewhere on the ground. Balls hit into the air will require the runner to hold up and return to the base he came from, if the ball is caught.
If the ball is popped up into the infield, more times than not it becomes a double play.
We teach our runners to treat it as a steal, with the added responsibility to take a quick look back to the plate to see what the hitter has done.
Without a doubt, the hit and run, or run and hit is one of the more exciting plays in baseball. It allows the offense to put a lot of pressure on the defense as soon as the runner(s) break from their base.
Once the offense creates that pressure, their chances for success increase. Defensive pressure generally results in some type of mistake, be it physical or mental. Offensive poetry in motion.
We also love the bunt and run, for all the same reasons.
Yours in baseball,