Monday, April 18, 2011

A Fundamental Lesson in Base Running

The very first day of Clark’s Little League practice this year, the coach put away the gloves and bats and worked exclusively on base running. He painstakingly explained the difference between rounding the base toward second and safely overrunning the base by turning to the right. This was a tough lesson for kids who were more eager to hit than run.

Although it tested his patience, the coach stayed at it until the kids started to pick it up. That’s because the fundamentals are important to learn in baseball … even for a Major Leaguer, as I discovered earlier this week at Cincinnati’s Great American Ballpark.

In the bottom of the ninth inning of a one-run game against the Pirates, the Reds’ Jay Bruce beat out an infield single. Bruce initially overran the bag safely, turning to the right, as Little Leaguers are taught to do. However, the ball was overthrown, and Bruce moved ever so slightly into fair territory to ponder taking an extra base. The second baseman chased down the overthrown ball and tagged Bruce out. It was a key out in a game the Reds went on to lose.

Although this was an unusual play, there was no need to explain what had just happened to my 8-year-old son. He had seen it many times before … from the first day of practice, in fact. As it turns out, fundamentals are as fundamental for Major Leaguers as Little Leaguers.

No comments: