Peculiar leadoff position related to the concept of a “baseline”

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    Saw something for the first time yesterday, and didn’t really know what to think. High school game using standard NFHS rules.


    Runner on 3rd and the batter draws a walk. When he takes his leadoff, he heads to short right field about 15 feet off of the 1B foul line. He then steals second by running in a straight path to 2B upon the delivery of the next pitch.

    My initial thoughts:

    • What and the actual heck? I understand that the idea behind establishing a baseline doesn’t exist until an attempt is made on the runner, but this is just an abuse of a lack of a better rule, in my opinion.
    • I get the idea behind instructing a player to do this in the given situation…the runner leading off in right field is an easy target, but in order to get him out you are asking your players to work further away from home plate, thus allowing the runner on 3B to score more easily.


    How would you defend this, given the circumstances? What is your take on this “strategy”? Again, I understand that it might be allowed within the rules of the game, but why employ such a gimmicky tactic? It comes across as childish and “I’m smarter than you!”. I’d love to hear what others think.

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      Based on the lack of feedback I’m beginning to assume that no one else has seen this happen? Any input would be greatly appreciated.
      I’ve heard this strategy, but never seen it implemented. I’m not sure I would consider it abuse of a rule, but you do bring up a good point that there must be some limit to where he can go. There could be an argument for calling him out for making a travesty of the game?

      As for defending it, I would step off, throw it to my second baseman standing in the actual ”baseline” and have him work backwards towards the runner with ball ready and positioned to throw to home at any point. Once 2nd baseman heads towards him, he can’t back up any further and at some point will be “trapped” into heading to a base.

      As for what I think of it, I try not to judge other coaches for how they coach their team unless I have an ethical issue with what he is doing. Doing gimmicky or different stuff may be his way to break up the monotony of practice or long season. I run trick plays in football not just trying to get a cheap TD, but to keep up morale.

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