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.
“When Alexander saw the breadth of his domain, he wept for there were no more worlds to conquer.”
Or: “When Theo Epstein won World Series championships with the two most championship-starved franchises in baseball history, he got bored, and decided to run for the Senate or something.”
That latter bit is the premise of a Politico piece speculating that the Cubs president could go into politics one day. The story features an interview with former Obama chief strategist David Axlerod, who thinks Theo has what it takes. Mostly what he has is fame, popularity, good looks and money. No idea what his positions on issue are, but that other stuff goes a long way in politics these days.
Bonus: given what we just elected last fall, a guy who once had a little temper tantrum and dressed up in a gorilla suit is just as viable a candidate as anyone.
When you promote a player from the minors, the first and foremost consideration is whether or not he can help your ball club. But, assuming that’s taken care of, teams should really, really make it a priority to call up dudes with cool sounding names because it makes life more interesting for the rest of us.
The Pirates are doing that. The other night Dovydas Neverauskas made his big league debut. In addition to being the first Lithuanian born-and-raised player in major league history, it’s a solid, solid name. Now the Pirates are making another promotion: Gift Ngoepe.
Yep, Gift Ngoepe. He’s an infielder from South Africa, making the leap to the bigs due to David Freese‘s hamstring injury. Ngoepe, 27, was batting just .241/.308/.379 through 66 plate appearances this season with Triple-A Indianapolis, his ninth in the minors, so he’s not exactly a prospect. But man, that’s a killer name.
It’s also worth mentioning that Gift and Neverauskas were arrested together in a bar fight last August in Toledo, so there is already a good basis for some bonding here.
Good luck, Gift. Gift Ngoepe. Mr. Ngoepe. G-Ngo. Man, I could do this all day.