Thursday, September 3, 2009

Ellsbury Breaking the Record

Coaching in the Cape Cod Baseball League for the Cotuit Kettleers all summer provides me great Red Sox Fan insight and a pulse on what the team is going through at the current moment. With the Sox maintaining a slight lead in the Wild Card Race things seem to be heating up.
A Cotuit Kettleers Camper sent me a txt the other day informing me that Jacoby Ellsbury had broken the stolen base record for the Boston Red Sox. Historically, the Sox have not been traditionally know for their base stealing prowess but the current ownership and management have an good understanding of the value that base stealing can add to the game, so I was not surprised. I also have the privilege of watching Jacoby train at Athletes Performance in Phoenix, Arizona during the off-season where I am the Director of Baseball Development.
While each base stealer’s approach is unique, I thought the recent graphic in the Boston Globe on Ellsbury’s Record Speed, certainly outlined the excitement that stealing a base can add to the game. Because the outcome of a baseball game can be changed by a pivotal play in a game, base stealing always provides one more tool in a team’s arsenal. While a great baseball stealer has to have certain natural ability and instincts, those can be developed and fine tuned over time. Without the work and practice, the full potential of a natural athlete like Jacoby will not reach maximum potential.
As you may have noticed, base stealing in a passion of mine. I try and make sure that I teach base stealing extensively in every team I build. I began teaching it when I was a college coach, used it when I played and encouraged it with my son Brian Roberts who is the leading base stealer for the Baltimore Orioles. I was lucky enough to co write a book with Brian on base stealing titled, “You Can’t Steal Second Base and Keep Your Foot on First”.
I continue to urge all young baseball players to work on their base stealing in practice and in games. As I hear the wonderful news of Jacoby Ellsbury’s accomplishment, I congratulate him and also wish him good luck on many more stolen bases this season!