Lou Gehrig League Senior American League Playbook Tom Van Wert 568-0888
Senior American League Playbook Baseball is a simple game… Baseball is a hard game. It is simple – Catch the ball, Throw the ball, Hit the ball. It is hard – knowing what to do in each situation and when to do it. • This playbook is designed to outline the various plays used at this level. You must learn these plays for all fielding positions for two reasons: • You will be playing different positions throughout the year and you will need to understand what to do on each play from each position. • Almost all plays in baseball involve many players. Therefore, you must know where your teammates will be and what their role is so you can make the play with them. • Q. Why are these plays important? • A. In over half of the games there are enough runs allowed by a team due to errors and making the wrong play to lose the game. If we can cut down on these we will be a better team. • An error occurs when you miss a ball. This will happen to everyone (even the pros), but as long as you are hustling and doing your best, it is OK. Many of these cannot be avoided, such as bad hops, sun in the eyes, etc. • A misplay is when you field the ball and make the wrong play. These can be avoided. By learning and practicing these plays we will learn to play as a TEAM and be better players.
Senior American League New Rules • We will be playing on a full sized field. A few important changes include: • Distance between bases is 90 ft. instead of 60 ft. • The throw from home to second base and third base to first is 127 ft. instead of 85 ft. • The pitching distance is 60 ft. instead of 48 ft. • New rules and strategies include: • Leading off a base is allowed. • Stealing is allowed. • Pick off moves by the pitcher and catcher will be frequent. • Batter can run on a 3rd strike that is swung on and missed if the catcher drops it or is a passed ball. • Balks will be called on pitchers which advance runners to the next base. • Bunts and steals will be called more often. • There will be more signs from the coaches. • Hit and run plays may be used. This is a steal where the batter MUST try to hit the ball to protect the runner, even if it is not a strike. The idea is to advance the runner, and it gets the defense moving so the chances of getting a hit are increased. • Double relay throws with cut-offs to home are required for balls hit deep in the outfield.
Senior American League Infield • General Infield Play: • You should be in the Ready Position before every pitch. • ALWAYS back-up throws. When a throw is being made, there should be a line of players (1 or 2) behind the player receiving the throw. If you think you are not involved in the play, look for a back-up opportunity. Get involved, don’t watch. • Do not interfere with the runners. You can only go into the base path if you have to to field the ball. • Talk it up! Let’s hear some chatter for the pitcher, call out where the play is, or shout out the number of outs. Don’t be afraid to say the obvious, it might not be obvious to someone else. • Be prepared. KNOW what you should do with the ball BEFORE it is hit to you. Be thinking, “what will I do if it is hit to me”. This is being in the game mentally. Think about the plays the batting team might do, like bunt or steal, and get ready for them. Know where you need to go to make the play work. Think Ahead! • Do NOT throw the ball if there is no chance to make the play. It is just one more opportunity to to make a wild throw, or have a missed catch. If someone yells “EAT IT”, just hold on to it and let the play end. Run the ball in to the center of the infield or throw it to the pitcher. Be Smart! • COMMUNICATE. On a play that is not obvious where to throw it, shout to the person who is fielding it and tell them where to throw the ball. For many plays the fielder may have his back to the play and needs help knowing where to throw it. If you are fielding, listen for a teammate and throw it where they tell you.
Senior American League Infield • Playing 1st Base • First Rule – Catch or blockALL balls thrown to first. • Second Rule -It is more important to come off the bag and catch the ball than it is to try to stay on the bag, and miss the ball. If you miss it, the runners may get to the next base, but if you knock it down they won’t. It is better to keep the runner on 1st than it is to let him get to 2nd or 3rd where he is in scoring position. • Playing the bunt – if the bunt is not in your area of responsibility, stay at 1st to get the throw, If it is in your area, field the ball and throw the runner out. • Backing up - If a throw is coming in to 2nd base from left field, the 1st baseman is the main back up. Get in a line with the left fielder and 2nd baseman and be ready. • Cut off throws - The 1st baseman is the second cutoff man for throws in from the outfield when there is a play at the plate. The outfielder will throw it to the SS or 2nd baseman who is cutting off the throw from the deep outfield. They will in turn throw it to the 1st baseman who should be playing on the infield grass and lined up between the outfield cutoff man and home plate. There are then three options; relay the throw home, if there is no play at home, try to get a runner going to 2nd or 3rd, or hold the ball. Listen for the catcher who should yell what to do.
Senior American League Infield • Playing 2nd Base • You should cover as much of the field as possible between 2nd base and the 1st baseman. This will allow the 1st baseman to cover 1st. • If the 1st baseman has to move away from the base to field a bunt or grounder, you MUST sprint to cover first. Also, you MUST yell “COVERING” so the 1st baseman knows you will be there for the throw. Remember, he will be busy fielding the ball and may not see you going to the base. • Cutoff throws from the outfield - If the ball is hit to the right field side of center field, you are the cutoff man. The deeper the ball is hit into the outfield, the farther out you should go to get the throw. Line yourself up between where the outfielder is fielding the ball, and second base. Hold your arms up and yell so the outfielder can turn and find you for a quick throw. Be ready to catch the ball, and turn and throw where the play is (listen for other players telling you where to throw it). If the play is at home look for the 1st baseman as the next cutoff man who should be lined up with where you are and the plate. • Hits to the opposite outfield - you must cover 2nd base. Yell to the cutoff man (the SS) where to turn and throw the ball. • Covering steals - generally if the batter is right handed, you will take the throw from the catcher. If the batter is left handed, you should backup the SS who will take the throw. Remember, you MUST sprint into position.
Senior American League Infield • Playing Shortstop • You should cover as much of the field as possible between 2nd base and the 3rd baseman. • If the 2nd baseman has to cover first, you must cover 2nd. If the 3rd baseman has to move away from the base to field a bunt or grounder, you MUST sprint to cover 3rd (if you are not covering 2nd). • Cutoff throws from the outfield - If the ball is hit to the leftfield side of center field, you are the cutoff man. The deeper the ball is hit into the outfield, the farther out you should go to get the throw. Line yourself up between where the outfielder is fielding the ball, and second base (or 3rd base depending on where the runners are heading). Hold your arms up and yell so the outfielder can turn and find you for a quick throw. Be ready to catch the ball, and turn and throw where the play is (listen for other players telling you where to throw it). If the play is at home look for the 1st baseman as the next cutoff man who should be lined up with where you are and the plate. • Hits to the opposite outfield - you must cover 2nd base. Yell to the cutoff man (the 2nd baseman) where to turn and throw the ball. • Covering steals - generally if the batter is left handed, you will take the throw from the catcher. If the batter is right handed, you should backup the 2nd baseman who will take the throw. Remember, you MUST sprint into position.
Senior American League Infield • Playing 3rd Base • Since the 3rd baseman does not play as deep as the SS, you should field all grounders hit to your side of the field. If you can field a ball by running in front of the SS (don’t cut him off though) then it is your ball first. • Playing the bunt – you are one of the primary fielders on a bunt. As soon as you see the batter square, you should charge toward home, Do not wait to see where the ball goes or you may not have time to make the play. If it is in your area, field the ball and throw the runner out. If the ball comes to you quickly look to see if the play can be made at 2nd base, if not throw to 1st and GET THE OUT. • Backing up - If a throw is coming in to 2nd base from right field, the 3rd baseman is the main back up. Get in a line with the right fielder and SS and be ready. • Cut off throws - Back up throws if possible, but the first priority is to cover the base. If the ball is being relayed in from the outfield it must have been a hit and therefore the runners could be coming to 3rd. • Steals - if the runner is coming from 2nd, you MUST cover 3rd for the throw. Wait as long as you can to see if the batter hits it to you, then sprint to the bag to take the throw from the catcher.
Senior American League Infield • Playing Pitcher • Playing the bunt – You are the main fielder and should get to any bunt you can. First priority is to get an out. If you can, you should try to get the lead runner. But, the most important thing is to get the out, anywhere. 1st base will usually be the easiest, but take a quick look at the other runners. • Always be alert and keep one eye on the runner. Remember, this year they can steal. If they lead too far off the base make a throw to the bag. Even if the throw is slow (to be safe), it will keep the runner honest and cut down his lead. • Covering first - on any ball hit toward the 1st base side, you should sprint toward 1st base in case you have to cover 1st. Once you see that the 1st baseman, or 2nd baseman will get there, you should stop so you do not get in the way. • Backing up throws from the outfield - the pitcher is the main back up man. If the runner may go to 3rd sprint over behind 3rd. If the play is at 2nd stay near the mound to back up the throw coming from the outfielder to 2nd. If the play will be at home, sprint behind the catcher to back him up. • Past balls - with a runner at third, you must sprint to cover home. You must get there before the runner and be ready for the throw from the catcher, turn and make the tag. • With runners on base you must pitch from the stretch. Look at the runner at least once, Be careful not to balk.
Senior American League Infield • Playing Catcher • You are the only player facing the entire field of play. You must help call out where to throw the ball when other players have their backs turned. • Playing the bunt – Jump up, throw off the mask, and sprint out to field short bunts. First priority is to get an out. If you can, you should try to get the lead runner. • Backing up - Unless there is a runner who may come home, you should back up when a throw is coming in from the outfield. • If no one is on base and the batter hits a grounder you should sprint down the 1st base line to back up the 1st baseman. You won’t beat the batter, but if it is an overthrow you will be able to get to the ball before the 1st baseman. • Throws back to the pitcher MUST be accurate and not be lobbed. Especially if there are runners on base. A bad throw or a slow throw can allow the runner to steal. • Be alert when there are runners on base. Make a fake throw occasionally to the base they are on to keep them nervous. If they steal and you do not have a chance of throwing them out, HOLD the ball. Do not make a wild throw and give them an extra base or two.
Senior American League Fielding the Bunt • General Infield Play: • The batting team bunts the ball for the purpose of advancing the runner to the next base. This will put that runner into scoring position. Usually they are willing to give up, or sacrifice, an out to do so. This is why a bunt is called a sacrifice. • The first priority on a bunt is TO GET THE OUT. We should not let them get both the runner advanced, AND be safe at first. • If there is a play at third or second, then try to make it, but usually the easiest play will be at first base. • 1st Baseman - if the bunt is not in your area of fielding, stay at first to get the throw, If it is in your area, field the ball and throw the runner out. • 2nd Baseman - if the 1st baseman has to field the ball, you MUST cover first and shout “COVERING” so the 1st baseman knows you are there. If he doesn’t have to field the ball, cover 2nd base. • 3rd Baseman - you and the pitcher are the two main fielders. CHARGE the ball and throw the runner out. If the 1st baseman is fielding the bunt, drop back and cover 3rd, especially if there was a runner on 1st or 2nd. • Pitcher - you are the main fielder. Throw out the lead runner if possible. If there is a runner on 1st or 2nd and the 3rd baseman fielded the bunt, cover 3rd. • Catcher - If the bunt is short, you are the fielder. Try to get the lead runner. If another fielder is fielding the ball, call out to them where to throw it, or to hold it. Remember, you are the only fielder facing the entire field of play. • Outfielders - Back up the bases. Since you don’t know where the throw will be made each outfielder MUST sprint into position.
X X X X X X X X X Fielding the Bunt Outfielders back up throws to the base 3rd Base 1st Base Pitcher Catcher Colored areas indicate area of fielding responsibility
Senior American League Outfield • General Outfield Play: • Centerfielder always has first right for the ball. Centerfielder should get everything they can get to. • When fielding a ground ball be sure to go down on one knee to block the ball. Remember, there is no one behind you so you cannot let the ball go by. • Always back up the fielder next to you. You must sprint to get there in time to back him up. • Balls hit to the deep outfield: • Cutoff throw MUST be to the SS, or 2nd baseman. They will come out on the outfield grass to make the throw shorter. They will also line them selves up with the base that the runners will be going to. Cutoff man should quickly relay the ball to the base ahead of the runner. Do NOT hold the ball. • Balls hit to the shallow outfield: • Charge the ball, hold the runners to only one base. • The throw should go the base ahead of the runner. If there is no play throw the ball in to second base. Do NOT hold the ball. If there is no play you can also run the ball in to the infield.
X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X Cut Off Throws from Deep Outfield Cutoff throws to the SS/2nd Baseman Balls hit deep - Backup 1st baseman moves to be 2nd cutoff man for plays to the plate 1st baseman has 3 options on this play: 1. Let throw go directly to home. 2. Catch relay throw and throw to home. 3. Cut-off relay throw and go to 2nd or 3rd to try for advancing runner. The catcher must make the call quickly.
X X X X X X X X X X X X Cut Off Throws from Shallow Outfield throw to base ahead of runner Balls hit shallow - 1st baseman moves to be 2nd cutoff man for plays to the plate Backup 1st baseman has 3 options on this play: 1. Let throw go directly to home. 2. Catch relay throw and throw to home. 3. Cut-off relay throw and go to 2nd or 3rd to try for advancing runner. The catcher must make the call quickly.
Senior American League Base Running • General Base Running: • Always HUSTLE! • On a ground ball or a hit in the infield ALWAYS run through 1st base and curve away to the outside of the foul line. After you cross the base be sure to look back to see if there was a wild throw, you may be able to make it to second. Listen to the base coach. • Lead Off - As the pitcher goes into his stretch, take a 2 or 3 step lead off the base. Make sure you can get back if there is a throw, but if you can draw a throw, they may make a wild throw and you may then get to move up a base. • Watch the base coaches - do not turn your head around to look at the fielders. The coach will signal you to keep going or to stop. Do what they say. • Important - when running the bases or stealing, if you hesitate before advancing to the next base, you probably should not go (unless it is a force). You must break immediately for the next base in those situations where running is optional. • Watch the 3rd base coach for signs. The signs are not just for the batter. You must know if the batter is going to bunt, or if you should steal. Trust the coaches, they won’t ask you to steal unless they think you can make it. • You have a right to the base path, but you cannot interfere with a fielder if they have to be in the base path to field the ball. • If the ball hits you while you are running, you are automatically out. If you run out of the base path you are also out. • When running to 1st base or leading off 3rd you should be on the foul side of the line • You should not slide headfirst, always feet first. If there is a play at home, you MUST slide to avoid an injury collision. After sliding in to a base, pop up and be ready to advance if the throw gets away.
Senior American League Batting • General Batting: • Always step out of the batters box between pitches and look at the 3rd base coach for the sign. Many times the play will change during the at bat.If you are unsure of the sign, call time and walk to the coach and ask. • DO NOT look for the sign while in the batters box awaiting the pitch, or when you are leading off the base. Once the pitcher has the ball, concentrate on the pitcher. • On a past ball with a runner on 3rd, get out of the batters box in case the runner steals home. • Be ready to go when you are on deck. Always know where the batting order is and when you will be up to bat. • NEVER argue an umpire’s call. You will get pitches you think are balls called strikes, but remember, there will also be some that may have been strikes that are called balls. Also, it will happen to the other team as well. The umpires are not professionals and they do the best they can. • When you have 2 strikes on you, “protect the plate”. This means that if the pitch is close, you cannot take the chance the umpire will call it a ball. If it is close - SWING. • Practice “ZONE” hitting - That is when you are ahead on the count (3-0, 3-1, or 2-0) look for a pitch in a particular spot or zone and be ready to hit it. If the pitch is anywhere else, even if it is still a strike, let it go.
Senior American League Signs • Every sport requires communication between coaches and players. But we cannot shout out the plays and strategy so we use signs to communicate. • An indicator is a sign that indicates that the next sign is for real. Until you see the indicator, all of the other things the coach does has no meaning. • While watching for the sign stand out of the batter’s box or be on the base. • Watch for a sign on every pitch as the play may change during the at bat. • You should signal that you received the sign so everyone knows the play is on. Typical plays that will be called with Signs: BUNT STEAL TAKE PITCH SWING AWAY REMOVE SIGN PICK OFF RECEIVED SIGN HIT AND RUN FAKE BUNT