On Sunday afternoon against the Rockies, Harrison Bader scored from second base. That is nothing too unusual - in fact, it happens quite frequently. What made this play interesting is that Harrison Bader scored from second base on a ball hit like this:
That ball traveled around ninety feet, though did get some good airtime on the bounce. How does this happen? Well it requires a few key conditions to be met.
#1. The runner on second needs to be speedy
First and foremost, there needs to be speed on the basepaths for this to work. The rest of the exercise is moot if Yadier Molina or Matt Carpenter is on second base instead of Harrison Bader. According to Statcast, Bader reached home 5.99 seconds after taking off from second. If he was just less than a second slower, he is most likely out. That is what it takes.
#2. The runner on second needs to decide quickly
After being fast on the field, fast in the brain is the next most important requirement. To get this done, time is of the essence. If the runner has any hesitation, he will not be able to make it before the infielders wise up and throw him out. Bader decided he was going for it as soon as the ball was hit. In fact, he was probably thinking about it before it was hit. Just look at where he was immediately after contact was made:
#3. The situation must be just right
The Cardinals had already put up three runs in the first inning and had two outs with the pitcher up. Bader was committed to running hard on anything. With two outs, he ran the risk of running into an out and ending the inning with the top of the order coming up. However, with two outs, this might be the Cardinals best opportunity to score a runner from third. Had their been no outs or one out, this all changes, but with two outs, the gamble is far less costly.
#4. The hit has to be the perfect hit
There are generally two types of infield hits that can allow a runner to score from second. There is the slow roller up the first base line and then there is the high chopper. This one was obviously of the high chopper variety. There is at least three seconds of hangtime and around four seconds between the ball being hit and an infielder touching it. Remember, it took Bader just under six seconds to reach home.
#5. The runner has to have the proper fuel
These athletes’ bodies are machines and thus need the right fuel to function at the highest level and replenish the body after pushing it to its limits. Thank goodness for this adorable young Cardinals fan and his generosity.
The next menu item at Busch Stadium needs to be Bader Tots.
Harrison Bader is a smart baserunner that is fast and hustles to make things happen on the basepaths. It has been really fun to watch!
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