So I'm reading the online editions of all of the local papers on Saturday, just like most days, and I come across this article by Steve Popper in the Bergen Record. The article is entitled, "See how the Mets can run", and the gist is that Willie Randolph will be giving everyone the green light to be aggressive on the basepaths: steal bases, take the extra base, etc. Sounds reasonable, right?
It's logical that when you're aggressive on the bases a lot of good things can happen. Any time you can make the defense throw the ball around more there is a greater likelihood that they will make a mistake. Willie starts out making sense:
Willie makes some good points here. Jason Phillips is slow. Really slow. It's also true that you don't have to be fast to be a smart baserunner. Paul O'Neill wasn't a fast runner but he stole 22 bases in 25 attemps at age 38. Cliff Floyd was completely broken down last year and he was still 11-for-15 in stolen bases.
"You create pressure, all of the sudden balls get thrown around the infield. You can play for your one-run inning, but you start running bases like wild men and all of [a] sudden what was a one-run inning turns into a three- or four run inning."
Okay, you've still got me, Willie. The Mets led the league in stolen base success rate last year, and they could certainly do it again. Reyes, Matsui, and Beltran will steal 100 bases between them. Cameron should be good for another 20, with Floyd between 15-20 and Wright in that range, too. Here's where Willie loses me, though:
Pete Rose? He's the example you're going to use? For the record, Pete Rose has 198 career stolen bases. For someone who allegedly didn't have much speed, that's a pretty good number of swipes. So what's my point? Oh yea. In addition to those 198 steals, Pete Rose was thrown out trying to steal 149 times. 149 times!! Holy crap. He was 198/347 or, in other words, he was successful 57% of the time.
Let me make sure I have this straight. You are going to instill in your new team the benefits of aggressive baserunning, and focal point of your argument is the least-successful base-stealer in the history of the game? I like the attitude, Willie, but you're going to have to come up with better analogies if you want me to take you seriously.