Stealing Home? MIA
I miss stealing home! Where did that go? I argue, is there anything more exciting in all of sports?
I'm not sure what got me started thinking about stealing home this week. It was either Jackie Robinson day this past Friday, or maybe the anticipation of waiting for a Monte Irvin autograph in the mail. Both were masters at the art. Also heard Dan Gladden on the radio broadcasting the Twins and thought back to when he used to do the same.
Seriously, what are the factors that made this occurrence a thing of the past? It cant possibly that it became part of the norm and lost the element of surprise? We never see it any longer, so the element of surprise should be healthier than ever. Or how about the suicide squeeze?
I remember a year or so ago Ellsbury of the Red Sox stole home. It was against the Yank$, so that mad it even sweeter! (See the video at bottom) The interesting thing about Ellsbury's steal I thought was that it took place with a left handed batter at the plate. It just seems like you would be able to get a better jump on suprizing the catcher if his line of sight was impaired by a right-handed batter that would be initially in the box blocking the third base line.
This brings up another question, what are the best circumstances under which to steal home? Like I already said, I would assume it would help if there was a right-handed batter in the box. Also the manager needs to have one of his fastest players on the 3-bag. Is it better to try on a southpaw? Would it help if you had the pitcher and catcher pre-occupied with another baserunner at first? Does the pitch count matter? How about the number of outs in the inning?
Below is an excerpt from a newspaper article from a Phoenix, AZ newspaper:
For all the reasons baseball players rarely steal home anymore — pitchers working more often out of the stretch, hitters more capable of driving in runs, managers aiming for big innings — the fear of looking like an idiot ranks near the top of the list.
Baseball has become a game of cold-blooded calculation, with statistics for every occasion, and the notion that a human being could outrun a ball traveling 90 miles an hour is difficult to believe. It defies the logic that rules the sport.
But that did not stop Jackie Robinson, Rod Carew and Pete Reiser from trying, and often transcending common sense. Those three former stars, more than any others, turned stealing home into the most exciting play in baseball. Now it is a relic, gone the way of flannel uniforms and scheduled doubleheaders.
"I miss it," Carew said in a telephone interview. "Since they went to the long ball, guys forgot about that part of the game. They don't know what they're missing. To win a game by stealing home, you can't describe it. You can't describe the feeling."
Can we (fans) start some kind of a petition to bring it back? Stealing home logically seems like a decision that would be at the managerial level. So this is a plea to Managers… Please send them!