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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Hints For Baseball Team Players

By Ruth Cracknell

Baseball team players need to recognise the importance of the second baseman on a team. Protecting the bag against the first-to-second base steal is an important job for the second baseman.

When covering the base on steals, the second baseman straddles the base, facing the catcher. His toes are even with the corner that points into center field. Many beginners form the bad habit of standing to the home plate side of 2nd to receive the catcher's throw. Even if the throw is good, he will not have much of a chance of getting the tag on the runner from this position.

Young second basemen are also inclined to move into the diamond toward the throw if it seems to be low enough to hit the dirt. This again is a mistake. He should hold his position behind the base. If the ball bounces with any force, he will have a chance to tag the runner. Like any other fielder, however, the second baseman should forget the base and go after the ball if (a) it's obvious that the runner has the throw beaten, or (b) the throw is wild.

The technique for making the tag is the same for the second baseman as for any other infielder and the same general principles apply. The infielder must never try to hold the runner back with the ball. He ought to make the tag firmly, to be sure, but the tagging hand should ride with the runner's body. Secondly, the infielder should place his feet in such a way as to leave one side or one corner of the base open. By doing so, he encourages the runner to slide to the open spot.

That way, the infielder, as one of the most crucial of baseball team players, can have his head turned away from the runner as he watches the ball and still know, in advance, where to make the tag. His objective is to catch the ball and, with a quick sweep of the arm and hand, lay the ball on the open side of the base, forcing the runner to tag himself out.

The infielder must never try to make a high tag on a sliding runner. The thing to keep in mind is this: to be safe, the runner must touch the base. The base is on the ground-not in the air above it. An infielder, to make this point even clearer, may make a nice tag on a runner's chest, but it does him no good if the runner's feet (the part of the body to arrive first) have already gone by and made contact with the base.

When making the tag, by the way, the infielder will be able to control the ball better if the back of the glove hand faces the oncoming runner. With the palm of the glove hand facing the runner, the runner's feet are apt to strike above the wrist, snap the hand up and cause the ball to pop out.

The second baseman must be one of the most agile and fit players on the team. He must be aware of play at all times, and be able to react with lightening speed. Make sure the second baseman realizes the valuable place he holds among baseball team players.

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Hello Baseball Friend,
I welcome any comments or suggestions. If you have a question or a topic that you would like to read about, please leave a comment and I will try to address that topic as soon as I can. Good luck in the coming season!
Have a great day, Nick