Ground Plate Techniques

In any Little League baseball game, the starting pitcher usually starts with a ground rule. That is, the first two or three hitters must start at home base with an “up” motion before they throw from the ground plate team. As a result, if the pitcher does not “throw” the ball to the first base (ignoring whether he “throws” it back) a runner is put on second and will be able to catch the ball. While the offense has been challenged with the “ground” tactic, the defensive team has used this tactic too and in a famous World Series game played by the Yankees against the Red Sox in 1980, the running clock ran out when there was a foul call against the runner from second base. The controversy began when the umpire assigned to that game claimed that the runner from second base had thrown the ball to first base.

The Most Common Explanation Is To Protect Pitchers and Relievers From Injury

Today, there are a number of different explanations for why the “ground” rule is in play, but the most common explanation is to protect pitchers and relievers from injury. For instance, the closer is often in the line of fire because runners often attempt to steal from them when they are in the open position. Thus, the closer needs to be prepared to throw from the ground if a run comes up. The pitcher, on the other hand, has to be prepared to throw from the dirt, especially when a groundout is inevitable.

There are some coaches, managers, and players who believe that a run can be scored when a runner is put on second base with a groundout because the defensive team did not execute proper field preparation. Additionally, some coaches feel that the run could have been scored even with a groundout if the defensive players had performed their proper protocol, which includes lining up to the ball as instructed and warming up properly before the play. The bottom line is that every coach, manager, and the player have to come up with his own strategy for protecting the runner from injury and/or allowing the defense to score more runs. Although there are many differing opinions, one thing is for certain: Every baseball team, from the minor league to the majors, should always practice proper ground baseball pitching and defense.



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