The Ole Ball Game

Bunting: Fake Bunt And Steal

Bunting, fake bunt and steal, a great wrinkle to enhance the running game, providing your base runner with a little protection on his attempt.

This play can be run with a runner on first, or second, or both first and second. It is also possible to use it to swipe home.

The base runner(s)gets his jump to steal the base. As the pitcher starts to deliver the ball, the batter squares to lay one down. This move alone creates defensive motion, which can become an offensive advantage. The batter is taking the pitch, and in so doing, draws the bat back from the strike zone at eye level, which essentially creates some vision issues for the catcher, as well as forces him to stay back.

The idea is to provide the base runner with as much of an advantage as possible.

In the photos at right, all the components to successfully utilize this skill, can be seen.

Fake Bunt and Steal of Home ~ Monte Irvin, NY Giants vs. Yankees 1951 World Series
  1. The batter has taken a position as far back in the batter's box as possible, for the sole purpose of keeping the catcher back.

  2. The runner is running as he would in a suicide squeeze.

  3. The pitcher, seeing the runner break from third and the batter square to lay one down, throws the pitch high and inside, which was the common way to defend the squeeze at that time.

  4. The batter ducks down, out of the way of the ball; but maintaining his position in the box, which he has a right to. This causes the catcher to go around him, to get to the plate.

  5. The end result is the runner slides in safely, as called by the home plate umpire, who is in perfect position to make that call.

The base runner was Monte Irvin, of the NY Giants. Playing in the first World Series game of his career, this action came in the top of the first inning, of game one, which was held in Yankee Stadium. Pretty bold move!

Baseball Tips ~ From the Dugout

fake bunt and steal ~ tips from the dugout

There are times, with a runner at second base, that looking to lay the ball down will draw the third baseman in, creating a uncontested route to third base.

I have seen it happen as far up as the Junior Varsity level in High School. Should it occur, it is a bonus. The true value in this play is to provide the base runner with an advantage by keeping the catcher back.

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