by Sy cohen
(New York , New York )
To It and Through It
Sy asked: Man on second and third with one out in the first inning.
Slow roller hit to the shortstop. Should the runners advance immediately or wait for the throw?
Rick answered: Sy, thank you for your question!
There are some variables which help determine
what you have them do.
1. Position of the shortstop, is he up, half way or back?
2. Speed of the runner at third.
If the shortstop is playing back, I would send my runner, and force him to make a decision on what can be a difficult play.
Ty Cobb believed that it is 5 times more difficult to execute a defensive play, than it is an offensive play once the ball has been hit.
I believe whole heartedly in making the defense play the game.
If my runner is fast, I would push the envelope and force the SS to make a play if he was half way.
It's early, set the tone for the game that you are willing to run. That thought in their heads can often lead to rushing a play and creating an error.
Whether you can go on the throw is determined by the strength of the throw to first base. It requires a good read by the runner; but here again the SS has to field it cleanly, make a good strong throw, and the first baseman has to make a catch and throw. A lot can happen in that sequence.
Of the two scenarios, I would rather have my runners going based on the SS positioning at the time, read the ball off the bat and go hard to the plate.
The runner on second has to be sure the runner at third has committed before he can go, and time it all out so that he doesn't end up where the SS can tag him out.
This link will provide you with some additional information on running off of third base.
Base running is becoming somewhat of a lost art. Spending time teaching it to your players will provide your team and the individuals within it some very valuable tools.
You don't have to be fast to be a good base runner.
Yours in baseball,
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