This post is dedicated to those under-appreciated, underrated base coaches out there. Can you think of another sport where players look to coaches for guidance in the heat of a play? Imagine Doc Rivers standing in the paint and telling KG to take it to the hoop. Imagine Bill Belichek standing behind Tom Brady and whispering in his ear, "Check out Randy cutting across the middle." It doesn't happen. In baseball, it does. And ironically, basecoaches all to often take their jobs for granted. Here are 5 ways that basecoaches can do a better job:
1. Stay on your toes. Your attention and intensity should be equal to or greater than that of the baserunners.
2. Be a broken record. You can't be too annoying when coaching the bases. Remind baserunners of the number of outs and other situational cues. Use a combination of verbal reminders and hand signals.
3. Know the signs. It sounds stupid but often times the signs are coming from the bench and the basecoaches will tune them out.
4. Be a student. Study tendencies of the defense. You could pick up on a weak arm, lack of concentration, or other observations that can influence your decisions.
Ok....these tips are too vague for you? Here's some candy:
5. Remind your baserunners of things like these:
-Let the line drive go through.
-Break up two.
-Pitcher is coming with a breaking ball, anticipate a ball in the dirt.
-Don't forget...there's a runner in front of you.
-1st baseman is playing behind the bag
-Infielders are playing back
-Same rhythm (i.e. the pitcher is not changing up his timing)
The following situation took place in the Belmont/Dracut State tournament game:
Runners on 1st and 3rd. 1 out. The steal sign is given to the runner on 1st base. The runner on 3rd base mistakenly takes off for home, thinking the steal sign was intended for him. The pitcher steps off the mound, throws to the catcher, and the runner is thrown out at the plate.
Question: If the batter had thrown his bat at the ball and made contact, what would the call have been? It's clearly interference on the batter, given that it was not a pitch. Is the batter called out and the runner sent back to third? If this is the case, it would have been the best move for the batter if he believed the runner would be out at the plate. 1st and 3rd with 2 outs beats having a runner on 1st with 2 outs.