The Ole Ball Game

If i have a steal sign on, is it ok to have the hitter take the pitch in order to execute the steal?

by Jeff
(INdy)

Photo Bill Stanton:  Checkswing.com

Photo Bill Stanton: Checkswing.com

Jeff asked: If I have a steal sign on, is it ok to have the hitter take the pitch in order to execute the steal?


Rick answered: Jeff, thank you for your question.

There is nothing wrong with giving your hitter the take sign, when you have a steal going.

Depending on how important the stolen base is, and the count on the batter, there are some options which may provide a little protection for the runner.

If there are no strikes on the batter, you can have him purposely swing and miss. They are giving up a strike; but the swing keeps the catcher back a little longer, gives your runner a little help.

You can also put on a fake bunt and take, where the hitter sets up to bunt, as the pitch comes in he draws the bat back to take the pitch. The hitters action holds the catcher back a little, again providing some assistance for the runner.

With a straight take, the catcher has no other concerns than catching and releasing his throw. He should have an easier time with no distractions.

All are viable ways to go, or you can just let it play out. As players get older, they do a better job of reading the jump their runner has, so they don't swing when it looks like the runner has a good jump. That all takes time and experience in the game.

Yours in baseball,

Rick

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Sep 18, 2013
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Let the guy steal..
by: Farm City

When a runner is given the steal sign the batter is never to make an attempt to hit the ball. To help the runner (in other words..protect him) the batter can either swing and miss..keeping the catcher back or fake a bunt..keeping the catcher back or just take the pitch. The object of the play is to let the runner steal the base in order for him to get in better scoring position. Keep in mind....with the runner stealing...he is thinking just that...which means...he will have his head down and he most likely will be sliding as hard as he can to obtain the base. Should the manager or coach decide to call a hit and run...the runner will delay slightly to make sure the hitter makes contact then...depending on how and where the ball is hit...this will determine if the runner will need to slide or round the base and go to the next. Should the manager/coach decide to call a run and hit...the runner takes off as if it's a steal without the intent to slide and is prepared to round the base if the ball is hit cleanly into fair territory. A run and hit is a tricky call to make. The runner takes off as if to steal and draws either the shortstop or the secondbaseman out of position.. making a big hole for the hitter to hit through. This is good for the hitting team if the ball is hit through the hole. The problem is... that if the ball is popped up... the runner most likely will be doubled up easily.... and sometimes even on short flyouts.....creating an easy double play.
So....when the steal sign is given....the manager will most likely give the sign when he feels a slower pitch, such as a curveball is going to be thrown by the opposing pitcher. Therefore.. giving even more time for the runner to steal the base. The whole object of the play is to let the runner steal the base at the cost of a strike being called on the hitter. Nothing is for free!

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