Joe is the founder of Project COBB, under which he serves as Stats and Research Manager for the GB National Team and chairs the British Baseball Hall of Fame. Joe's writing has been published in book form by Fineleaf.
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Tags: Keeping score
Hope this one hasn’t been done before, or isn’t too obvious…
There’s a runner on first who teases a potential steal of second, before returning to saefty at first base. The pitcher then turns and throws to the first baseman, but the throw is wild and the baseman misses it completely. The runner then trots to second. Is that just a plain-old stolen base?
In a way I think you could argue that the runner deserves credit for a stolen base as he/she clearly earned it with the preparatory work. However, with this type of thing the rulebook is concerned with the most immediate trigger for any action – in this case, the wild throw. So the advancement from first to second would go down in the book as occurring on an errant throw by the pitcher (even though it did result after some good base-running). For those of you using the International Baseball Federation system, this would be an extra-base error (i.e. one marked with a lower-case “e”) as there was no real chance to put out the base-runner.
What’s also interesting with this is what would happen if the first baseman managed to retrieve the ball in time to put out the runner before he/she got to second… While, instinctively, one might think to put down a caught stealing, this would not be fair on the runner since he/she – as we established above – would not have actually been eligible for a stolen base if there had not been a put-out. SO it would just go down as a “3-4″ or “3-6″. Note the lack of an assist for the pitcher, whose only involvement in the play was a mis-throw.
Thanks for the question.
I was taught to score it dependent on which direction the runner is moving. If he’s going towards 2B, it’s a steal, regardless of the throw.
It he’s going back towards 1B, then it’s an error and no SB attempt.
If he’s standing still, then it’s your discretion, as you have to choose whether it was a pick-off attempt, or an attempt to throw out a runner trying to steal.
Thanks guys – that’s really helpful and interesting. As a real newcomer to scoring I’m sure I’ll be back!
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