Friday, October 25, 2013

Once again Base Stealing Plays a Huge part in a World Series Game

From Coach Mike Roberts: The St. Louis Cardinals ran very little during the regular season with only 45 steals even though they have a few players who run well. Detroit was the only team with fewer steals and the Tigers never win in the play-offs because they can only score via the home run. They have very little team speed. In the 2nd game of the world series at Fenway Park, with the Cardinals down 2-1, they executed a very timely double steal of 2nd and 3rd with one out. This brought the infield in and changed the dynamics of the inning and eventually changed the score of the game. Even if teams have an overall baseball philosophy where base running is not front and center each game, they should still use base stealing as a weapon that catches teams off guard as the Cardinals did  to the Red Sox. Hozma and Jay stole 3rd and 2nd respectively with a left-handed hitter at the plate. This makes it tougher to execute. Most defensive teams feel a team won't run very often with a left-Handed Hitter in the box since gives the catcher a clear throwing lane to 3rd Base. Cards manager Mike Matheny, a former Cotuit Kettleers player, is an excellent manager and he managed aggressively and timely in the 7th inning of game two. As the current head coach of the Cotuit Kettleers in the Cape Cod College Summer League, our team loves to work on stealing bases and usually leads the leagues in steals most seasons. Matheny showed me we need to work harder to learn to steal 3rd with a Left-Handed Hitter in the box. This kind of managing by Matheny should encourage all baseball coaches to make sure their team is always prepared to run. Stealing bases successfully will bring your team a few extra wins each season. I hope base stealing enthusiasts will buy my current book from Point-5 productions titled "You Can't Steal 2nd Base and Keep Your Foot on First" and also look for my 2nd Base Stealing book on Amazon now that will be delivered in Dec. 2013 titled "Baserunning."

Friday, October 11, 2013

Red Sox Use Speed to Win Final Play-off Game vs. Rays

I love to watch aggressive Base Running and timely Base Stealing by any baseball team. As I was leaving professional baseball and entering college coaching in the mid-1970's and beginning to institute a running game at the Univ. Of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, the KC Royals (late '7O's) and St. Louis Cardinals, under Whitey Herzog in '80's, had baseball players who were incredibly exciting to watch scamper around the bases and play havoc between the bases. In KC and St. Louis this was called "Whiteyball." Whitey usually had 2-3 hitters at the top of the line-up who were base stealing threats. As I watched the Boston Red Sox going from last place in the AL East in '12 to first in '13 and now deep into the play-offs, the "FarrellBall" running game has been such an important piece of this transformation back to a dominant team. Jacoby Ellsbury (52 steals), Shane Victorino (21 steals), and Dustin Pedroia (17 steals) are a dynamic combination at the top of the Red Sox order. Jacoby can fly, Victorino is incredibly aggressive, and Pedroia believes he can run. Timely base stealing was the catalyst to Victory in the Final Game of play-off series vs. Rays this week. In the 7th inning, after Jacoby Ellsbury singled, he stole 2nd base (with a runner on 3rd) and the pitch was in the dirt. While the runner on 3rd scored Jacoby advanced all the way to 3rd Base then scored on an infield single by Shane Victorino. No Moneyball there just FarrellBall and another win along the road to a possible World Series title for the RedSox. History is a great teacher and Red Sox fans should remember the most important play in the 2004 world series run was the stolen base by Dave Roberts in the 9th inning vs. Mariano Rivera & the NY Yankees.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Red Sox Stealing Bases & Hustle Game in 2013 Play-offs

Even though the Red Sox play Wall Ball often with the Green Monster in Fenway Park and Big Papi can still hit Home Runs to a deep right field area, the catalyst to their offense is the running and hustle game. Home Runs are certainly a positive but they do take days off. Stealing Bases and Hustle NEVER take a day off! The running game relies on the feet of Jacoby Ellsbury along with Victorino and Pedroia, However, with the hustle game ALL players can participate and gives the Red Sox additional tools that are ALWAYS available each game. Power comes and goes. But, the running and hustle game can go into action whenever a hitter makes contact or runners reach a base. In the play-offs, Ellsbury has a stolen base vs. Rays and taken 3rd on the overthrow. This exploded the inning in the 1st game after the error by Will Myers; Gomes hustled his way to a run from second base on an infield ground ball; Napoli hustled his way to a double off the wall; and ALL this running and hustle has the Rays on their heels and down 2-0 in the series. As a teacher and coach who strongly believes in teaching base stealing and encouraging hustle at all times, the Red Sox are proving this philosophy pays off even at the highest level. Heck with MoneyBall. I salute Manager John Farrell, his staff, and especially the athletes who love to run and hustle.