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My son called to say he left the game due to boredom.
One of the largest rewrites to the rules in history came in 1950. The stolen base was specifically to be credited "to a runner whenever he advances one base unaided by a base hit, a putout, a forceout, a fielder's choice, a passed ball, a wild pitch, or a balk."There were noted exceptions, such as denying a stolen base to an otherwise successful steal as a part of a double or triple steal, if one other runner was thrown out in the process. A stolen base would be awarded to runners who successfully stole second base as a part of a double steal with a man on third, if the other runner failed to steal home, but instead was able to return safely to third base.Runners who are tagged out oversliding the base after an otherwise successful steal would not be credited with a stolen base.Indifference was also credited as an exception. [Emphasis added]
After official scorers consider the score and the inning, if the pitcher made pickoff attempts and if the first baseman was positioned behind the runner, they determine if the dash was a steal or defensive indifference.
“It’s an old rule and a very good rule,” said Bill Shannon, who has been a scorer for 31 seasons. “I’m loath to give away statistical achievements.”
But what about the runner who has successfully scooted the 90 feet? Some players contend they should be credited with a stolen base. If the team’s defensive strategy was to give away the base, should the runner be rewarded for taking what was available?
“I feel like you should get something for doing it,” said Nate McLouth, a center fielder for the Atlanta Braves. “It’s the only way to advance that doesn’t show up in the stat column.”
Actually, there are statistics for defensive indifference, although they are not mainstream numbers. In a season in which Albert Pujols is approaching 50 homers, Ichiro Suzuki has collected more than 200 hits again and Joe Mauer is batting over .370, only a fan club for official scoring would have a clue how many times defensive indifference has been called this season. The Elias Sports Bureau said there had been 274 calls before Tuesday’s games.
Defensive indifference is a sleepy but established rule that has been in Major League Baseball for 89 years. Bob Waterman, a senior baseball staffer at Elias, said the addendum, “No stolen base shall be credited to a runner who is allowed to advance without an effort being made to stop him,” was placed in the 1920 rule book. The rule is typically enforced in the ninth inning of a lopsided game when the defense yawns as a runner grabs a meaningless base. [...]
Steve Hirdt, the executive vice president of Elias, noticed references to defensive indifference while researching play-by-play accounts of games from the 1920s. In an article about the imminent rule change in The Chicago Tribune on Jan. 30, 1920, there is a headline that reads, “Cut Out the Joke Steals.” Hirdt called it a good rule because it protects “the spirit of what a stolen base is.” [...]
Shannon estimated that he calls defensive indifference about a dozen times a year.
“Cut Out the Joke Steals.” Hirdt called it a good rule because it protects “the spirit of what a stolen base is.” [...]
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