The Ole Ball Game

Is the first baseman always responsible to inform defense of a steal to 2b?

by Chuck
(Asheville, NC)

Photo Bill Stanton:

Photo Bill Stanton:

Chuck asked: 1b is holding runner on.

Runner takes secondary. 1b moves off base into position, is focused on batter and ball now.

Runner steals, 1b did not see runner going, and no one announced "going"

Should 2b or SS have better view and be the one to announce?

What if delayed steal?

Rick answered: Chuck, thank you for your question.

The first baseman generally has this responsibility on the field. His positioning is such that he is located at 1b, even with 1b or behind first base. Easy enough to make the call.

As you look at the pics above, the first one has the 1b coming off the bag, where he was holding the runner on. Had the runner been stealing, he would already be in motion at this point, the 1b can easily see it happen.

If it should happen to be a delayed steal, he is still right in the vacinity and should see it. The shortstop and second baseman should also, but one of the reasons an offense would use a delayed steal is because they have noticed the shortstop and second baseman are not focused on the runner, thus the offense is able to pick up an advantage running a delay.

There are times at which the first baseman is in front of the runner, as in the second pic. Defense is looking for a possible bunt, runners on first and second.

The defense is looking for the out at 3b, thus moving the 3b and 1b on the grass, charging hard.

From this position, it is hard for the first baseman to see the movement of the base runner behind him.

The best players to inform the defense of a base runner stealing are the players in the third pic, the players in the dugout. They are always in a position to see when a runner is stealing.

They don't come by it naturally. It takes some training, based on how much of a positive effect this can have for their catcher and can become another one of those "little things" in the game of baseball that make such a big difference.

Once they understand their responsibility and why it is helpful, it increases their game focus, which sometimes wanders if they are not currently in the game. That increased game focus can pay off later in the game should they get the opportunity to play.

Everyone, from the dugout to the field should be sounding the alert that a runner is going, if they see it. The success or failure should not fall on one position, nor should anyone feel it to be someone else's responsibility.

Teamwork and sharing come to the forefront when everyone stays "in the game".

Yours in baseball,


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