Long Stretch At First Base

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This technique also minimizes the amount of time required to make the putout. The second-most-difficult play for a first baseman is the " tag play ". Whenever an infielder's throw is so far off the mark that the first baseman must abandon his base to catch it, the first baseman is left with only two options. To put the runner out, he must either lunge back to the base before the runner reaches it, or he must tag the runner before the runner reaches the base.

A tag involves touching the runner with the ball or with the gloved hand holding the ball before the runner reaches the base. At first base, the typical tag play occurs when the infielder's throw is high and to the left of the first baseman, causing him to jump and stretch his long mitt to catch the ball before it sails into the dugout or the grandstand.

The tag is made, after the catch, by swiping the mitt downward, toward the in-coming runner's head or shoulder, often in one fluid motion that is integrated with the act of catching the ball. Performed properly, the tag play can be spectacular to see. First basemen are typically not the most talented defensive players on a major-league team. Someone who has the agility, throwing arm, and raw speed to play another fielding position usually plays somewhere other than first base. Great-hitting catchers may play some games at first base so that they can hit in some games without having to absorb the rigor of catching every game.

According to Bill James, aside from pitchers and catchers, the most difficult defensive position to play is shortstop, followed by second base, center field, third base, left or right field depending upon the ballpark , and finally first base as the easiest position.

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At or near the ends of their careers, good hitters are often moved to first base as their speed and throwing arms deteriorate, or their teams become concerned with the likelihood of injury. Only rarely does a player begin his major-league career at first base and go elsewhere, as with Jackie Robinson , a natural second baseman who was played at first base in his rookie season so that he would avoid the risk of malicious slides at second base. Hank Greenberg , a natural first baseman for the Detroit Tigers , moved to left field in his 11th major league season after his team acquired Rudy York , another slugging first baseman who was ill-suited to play anywhere else.

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(ebook) Long Stretch At First Base

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First Base Footwork Drills - Fundamentals of Playing First Base (Part 1)

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In other projects Wikimedia Commons. Understanding where your feet need to be and how to use them properly allows you to maximize the distance you can cover while maintaining contact with the bag. Proper footwork not only helps you as a first baseman but it makes your other infielders better as well.

This is important. The first thing on any ball that is not hit to you is to get to the bag as quickly as possible. Once you get your feet to the bag, turn your head and square up to where the ball is coming from. Make sure both heels are planted on the base. This will help you know where the entire base is without looking at it. Once the ball is released very important take your right foot to the ball if you are left handed or left foot to the ball if you are right handed. Note: Do not do this too early. Committing too early makes it difficult to adjust if the throw is less than perfect. Done correctly, taking your foot to the ball gives you the maximum amount of range while keeping your other foot on the bag.

The foot that is touching the bag right for right hander, and left for left hander should be on the inside part of the bag. Picture a line going right down the middle of the base and half is yours and half is the runners. The runner should hit the middle to outside part of the bag. If the throw is going to your left or right, feel the bag with the foot that will maintain contact and move that foot as far to the corner as possible. Stretch towards the ball keeping your toe on the bag. Sometimes every inch counts when trying to stay on the bag.

Learn to move up and down the bag to get as much reach as possible. Keep your left foot on the 1st base this is the same for both lefties and righties and square up to the play. You will not be able to make a long stretch for the ball. There can be a tight throwing window and you want to give the thrower a large target hence squaring up. If you stretch towards the ball you will get your feet tangled up in the runner and run a very big risk of not being able to stay on the bag on a throw that is not perfect.

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If the throw takes you into the runner you can adjust and try to at least knock it down. Doug Bernier , founder of Pro Baseball Insider. He has Major League time at every infield position, and has played every position on the field professionally except for catcher.

Where is he now? After 16 years of playing professionally, he is now a professional scout with the Colorado Rockies.