The Ole Ball Game

~ Base Running, Stealing Second Base: A Few Seconds Of Pure Excitement! ~

Base running, stealing second base is one of baseballs' truly exciting moments.

You have just reached first base safely. No longer are you the batter, you are now the base runner. Along with all the possible situations which can occur when the ball is hit, you also have the added possibility that your coach will give you the sign to steal second base.

What will that mean for you?

Getting Your Lead

You have the sign. Take the same lead you have been taking, in the same way.

It doesn't happen a lot; but some base runners, stealing second base, tip off they are going by changes in the way they approach their lead, such as increased speed getting into their lead or increasing the length of the lead they take.

Those changes alert the defense and provide them with an advantage.

Attempt to keep the element of surprise on your side. It may be the half step difference between out and safe at second.

Remain aggressive even though the pitcher may attempt to pick you off many times.

If you have determined the comfort zone for your lead in practice, stay with what you know and go right back to the same lead.

If you occupy the pitchers' attention, the possibility is there for him to make a mistake to your hitter, resulting for an advantage for your team.

What Determines When I Go?

If you have had an opportunity to watch the pitchers' tendencies with a runner on first, you may have seen something he does that will provide you with an advantage.

Some of these tendencies are subtle, others obvious. People are creatures of habit, pitchers are no exception.

Base Running Tips From the Dugout

base running tips ~ from the dugout

Stealing Second Base ~ A Few Tips To Look For:

  • How many times does he look at the base runner? Is that number always the same, or does he mix it up?

  • Does he turn his shoulder towards first so he can see the runner better? If so, moving his shoulder back will be his first move to throw a pitch, and you can go on the movement.

  • Many lefties get into the pattern of looking directly at the runner to freeze him, if they are throwing to the plate; but looking at the plate when they are throwing home.

  • Base running, stealing second, look for any early movement, before they lift their front foot. It may seem insignificant; but every little bit increases your chances of being safe at second.

You Never Know What You Might Learn

Some of these tendencies border on the bizzare, as the left handed high school pitcher mentioned on a previous page, who would raise his eyebrows as he started to throw to first; but didn't move them when going to the plate.

Taking time in the dugout to study what pitchers do will provide you an opportunity to gain an advantage, and possible stolen base at a time when your team needs it most.

With a right handed pitcher that you have no tendencies on, watch his heels. I was always taught to lock on his front foot, when it moved he was going to the plate.

That served me well throughout my career; but can get you picked off with the trend in "balk" moves by right handers.

They break their left knee, which lifts their left heel, while stepping back and pivoting with their right foot. When perfected, it is truly hard to detect.

On the amateur level, where at best you have two umpires, we have seldom seen a balk called on this move.

If you focus on their right heel, it comes up, they are throwing to first. It does cost you a half step delay; but is safer.

No matter which method you are using, when you take your lead, make sure your hands are free, not resting on your knees. If they are on your knees, you must pick them up first before running, which will cost you a step.

When you go, cross over with your left foot toward second base, while throwing your left hand across your body.

This will help get you turned toward second quicker. Work at staying low during this start, as standing up, then running, will only slow you down.

Base running, stealing second, once in motion go at full speed towards second base.

Base Running, Stealing Second Base: A Few Seconds Of Pure Excitement!

stealing second

When you see the steal sign flashed to you, your heart starts to beat faster, the adrenelin starts to flow, your focus zones in.

As you step out into your lead, all these feelings intensify as you lock in on that one movement the pitcher is about to make, a movement that will send you speeding towards second base, sliding in safely a half step ahead of the catchers' throw.

You did your homework and are now in scoring position at second base.

Those few seconds of pure excitement were just that because of the number of people that suddenly became involved as the pitcher started to deliver the ball, and you started to steal second base.

Defense In Motion

  • As you started to steal second base, the first baseman and his dugout screamed that you were running.

  • Those screams alerted the second baseman and the shortstop that one must cover the bag, one must backup the throw, and starts them in motion.

  • In sequence, the center fielder breaks in towards second base, also to back up the throw. The left fielder and right fielder both start towards second base.

  • The third baseman has moved to cover third base, in case the ball gets away at second.

  • The catcher has been adjusting to catch the pitch and release his throw to second as quickly as possible.

  • The pitcher releases the pitch, then moves towards third base, in the event of an over throw and subsequent need to back up third.

  • The spectators move to the edge of their seats, alerted by the defensive teams' yells. If they are your fans, they are anxious to see if you are safe. If they are fans of the defensive team, they are hoping to see you called out as you attempt to steal second base. No matter which side they are cheering for, their hearts are racing like yours.

  • As all this is occuring, the base umpire is moving his body into position to best see the play he or she is about to call. The home plate umpire is calling the pitch and checking to see that there is no batter interference with the catcher. Their hearts? Just like yours!

What Just Happened There?

A few seconds of pure excitement, all generated by your initial base running movement to steal second base. That move put every player on the defensive team into motion.

If they are to get you out, it requires a good pitch by the pitcher, clean catch and quick, strong and accurate release by the catcher, a clean catch and tag by the player covering second base as you slide in.

All that just because you started to steal second base. That is a part of the mystique of baseball that makes it so special.

Additional Topics On This Fun, Yet Overlooked Part Of The Game

Base Running

What gravy is to Thanksgiving, the running game is to baseball.

Home To First

A full out sprint towards first base; REMEMBER, HUSTLE NEVER HAS A BAD DAY.

First To Second

Look immediately to the person giving the signs.

First To Third

The runner needs to think "Coach ~ Base ~ Coach", for his reads.

Second To Third

The base runners first and foremost responsibility is to keep track of the baseball.

Third To Home

For the base runner, this is the exception in leadoffs, as you lead off in foul territory.

Stealing Third

It is often easier to steal third base, than second.

Delayed Steal

Here you are using the element of surprise, a great equalizer.

Special Plays

Plays designed to amp up your running game, catching your opponent off guard while creating pressure on the defense.

25 Ways To Score

These 25 ways to score from third base are one reason teams work so hard at getting a runner to third base.

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