Playing First Base
Taking the Field
- FIRST BASE - ALWAYS RUN TO YOUR POSITION AT THE BEGINNING OF EVERY 1/2 INNING (WITH A BALL IN YOUR GLOVE).
- Play back to the grass about 12 - 15 feet in from the line.
Anticipating the Play
- When the pitcher is set on mound get in the "READY" position with knees slightly bent, your glove in front (with the pocket of the glove facing the batter) and your throwing hand beside your glove (pinkies almost touching). Focus eyes on batter.
- When the pitcher begins his/her delivery get in the "SET" position with knees bent even more and your butt down low. Your glove should be down touching the ground out in front of you (with the pocket of the glove facing the batter) and your throwing hand positioned up over the glove pocket at a 45' angle. Focus eyes on batter. Expect the ball to come to you.
- Be aware of the situation; are there any base runners? Where are they? How many outs are there? If there is a runner at 1B you must go back to the base after every pitch just in case the catcher throws down to 1B or if the pitcher makes a pick-off attempt. You run behind the runner and put your right foot on the home plate side of the bag and your left foot in foul territory after every pitch - if there is no pick-off attempt run back to position!
- All infield balls not hit to you - run to 1B, put both heels on inside of base, face infielder with ball & make a target with your glove. Stretch out glove to meet throw and step towards the ball keeping one heel on base (do not stretch too early or you may stretch the wrong way - STRETCH TO THE BALL). Do not put your foot on top of the base or interfere with the base runner in any way. Scoop up throws in the dirt by facing the pocket of your glove at the ball and reach out to meet the ball. If necessary, move off the bag to block an errant throw.
- On balls hit towards you - field ball and, with no base runners, run and tag 1B or, if it's too far away, throw to pitcher covering 1B (in some cases the second baseman will be covering 1B). If there is a runner at 1B and you have time to get him/her at 2B, step in or out so that you don't hit the runner with the throw, and throw to 2B then run to 1B in case there is a throw back to you for the double play (if pitcher or second baseman is on 1B COMMUNICATE AS TO WHO TAKES THE BASE). If there are runners at 1B and 2B you may elect to throw to 3B for the force out but this is difficult and should only be done if the game is on the line. With the bases loaded and the game on the line play up on the infield grass and throw home.
- Stay back on bunts - run to 1B (let the catcher, pitcher or third baseman field the ball) and receive the throw as explained above. If the bunt is up the 1B line and the catcher is fielding the ball set up "inside" (most often) or "outside" the 1B foul line and yell "inside" (most often) or "outside" to the catcher.
- You are responsible for popups in an area about 10 feet behind you, 10 feet to your right, all the way to the screen on your left and the entire area in front of you at least 1/2 way to the plate. The right fielder and the second baseman have the right-of-way to popups hit behind you - if you hear them call you off get out of the way. You have the right-of-way to popups hit just in front of you - you should call off the pitcher if you've got it. The proper way to call for the ball is "ME ME ME ME ME&!" If you are called off you should yell "YOU YOU YOU YOU YOU".
- On balls hit deep out into the outfield you become the cut-off man in the infield. When you see the ball hit deep past the outfielders, the second baseman or the SS will run out into the outfield to become the "relay man". Position yourself just inside the infield grass directly between the relay man and home plate. Face the relay man with your hands up. The catcher will tell you to move right or left. If the throw comes to you the catcher will tell you to "cut" or "leave it". If he/she yells "cut" you should catch it and quickly look to see if there is any opportunity to throw out a base runner at 2B or 3B. If he/she yells "leave it" then let the ball go through to the catcher.
- In a "rundown" when you've got a base runner hung up between 1B and 2B you raise the ball up high so that everyone can see it clearly and run towards the base runner. Either tag the runner or, if the runner breaks towards 1B or 2B, chase the runner a little past 1/2 way to that base and make a good low straight throw then quickly go to 1B. The pitcher will be on 1B and will do what you just did. As soon as he/she leaves 1B you take over again.
- After an out at 1B WITH NO OTHER BASE RUNNERS ON you should celebrate by going "'round the horn".
Leaving the Field
- ALWAYS RUN BACK TO THE DUGOUT AT THE END OF EVERY 1/2 INNING. (Someone from the dugout should toss you a ball just as you are approaching the dugout. Keep the ball in your glove on the bench so that you will have it when you run back out at the end of the 1/2 inning. If no one tosses you a ball make sure you get one yourself and keep it in your glove.)
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