If I write this story and no one cares, should it count? (Don’t answer that please!)
I think of this after seeing an interesting story by the New York Times’ Jack Curry on the only time a stolen base doesn’t count as a stolen base: When the defense doesn’t care.
You may have already known this, but the “defensive indifference” rule has been around for 89 years. The people over at Elias actually keep track of them.
Usually this only comes into play late in a ballgame when the leading team doesn’t bother to stop a runner from stealing a base, preferring to keep its defense in place and focus on getting the final outs of the game.
So when a runner swipes a base under these conditions, “defensive indifference” is called, and the runner is not credited for a steal. I guess it’s sort of like when people leave their junk on the sidewalk with an attached sign reading “free.” If you take the junk, the previous owner can’t turn around and call the cops on you.
While some players might think that is hardly fair – after all, football and basketball players are free to pad their stats late in blowout games – the general consensus among those interviewed by Curry (including Carlos Beltran) don’t seem to mind.
“If the first baseman plays 50 feet behind me, there’s no way that’s a steal,” Beltran said. “As a base runner, I wouldn’t want that.”
And don’t worry baserunners, if you fall down and are tagged out, you won’t be charged with a caught stealing.
Hirdt noted that Rule 10.07(h) states that a runner cannot be nabbed with a caught stealing if he would not have been credited with a steal if he had been safe.
Fair is fair – after all – if they don’t care.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the Cardinals and catcher Yadier Molina are making “major progress” on a contract extension. Molina told the team he won’t discuss an extension during the season, hence the rapid progress.
Molina is entering the last guaranteed year of a five-year, $75 million contract signed in March 2012. He and the Cardinals hold a mutual option worth $15 million with a $2 million buyout for the 2018 season. The new extension would presumably cover at least the 2018-19 seasons and likely ’20 as well.
Molina is 34 years old but is still among the most productive catchers in baseball. Last season, he hit .307/.360/.427 with 38 doubles, 58 RBI, and 56 runs scored in 581 plate appearances. Though he has lost a step or two with age, Molina is still well-regarded for his defense. The Cardinals also value his ability to handle the pitching staff.
Red Sox catcher Sandy Leon achieved a rare feat during Monday afternoon’s Grapefruit League exhibition against the Orioles: he homered twice in one inning. One of those homers happened to be a grand slam.
Leon led off the top of the fifth inning with a solo home run off of Logan Verrett. Verrett continued to get knocked around, giving up three singles and a walk before being relieved by Brian Moran. Moran gave up a walk to load the bases, then a single to knock in a run and keep the bases loaded. Leon stepped back to the plate and swatted a grand slam to left field, making it an eight-run fifth for the Red Sox. The Sox would tack on one more before the inning was mercifully ended.
How often do players homer twice in one inning during the regular season? Not that often. Since 2010, the feat has been accomplished four times in the American League and twice in the National League. The Orioles’ Mark Trumbo was the only one to do it last year.
As for Leon, he’s on track to open the season as the starting catcher in Boston, Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald reported last week.