Among the obscurities of baseball—the knuckle ball pitcher, the unassisted triple play, the suicide squeeze, and perfect games—lies one that is just baffling: stealing home.
Just how does a team let it happen?
Here are three keys to the rarest of thefts:
1. A Left Handed Pitcher Must Be on the Mound
This is the first key: A lefty can't see third without looking over.
There's still no excuse for letting a runner on third get a lead big enough to think about swiping home. I don't care if you have to turn around—don't allow anybody to get that far off the base, and if someone tries, pick him off!
2. A Sleepy Catcher Must Be behind the Plate
An alert catcher who is aware of the whole field eyes the would-be thief at third and decides, "No way, he ain't going anywhere" regardless of a tremendous lead.
Again, when you're a catcher and you see movement down the line, do something about it.
Stand up and get a high outside pitch to tag the runner. Be ready to turn when you see the runner in motion.
3. The Third Baseman Must Be Awfully Quiet—Not To Mention the Rest of the Infield and the Bench
Do something to let the pitcher and catcher know the runner is going.
You do it when he steals second. The third baseman should notice when a guy is breaking for home; so should the bench and the first baseman.
Help out your battery to get the runner out.
Hell, the outfield should be paying attention too.
There is no excuse for any team to allow a straight steal of home plate.
It's inexcusable—the ball is headed there anyway.
My beloved New York Yankees let it happen Sunday. It was complete and utter ignorance on the part of the team to let Jacoby Ellsbury fly into home unnoticed.