Friday, December 15th, 2017

Sell your tags

June 7, 2012 by  
Filed under Infield

I attended a local summer college league game recently (Quakertown – ACBL).  In the short time I was there, there were two close plays at second base on steal attempts.  On both

Don't just tag him, sell it too!

occasions the runner was called out.  Granted, I was about 200 feet away but from where I saw it, both calls looked like they could have gone either way.  They were that close. As I said, both were called out and I have a hunch as to why.

The second baseman covering on both plays did a tremendous job in two extremely important areas of tagging.  First, he did a lightening fast V tag after catching the throw (see THIS VIDEO CLIP for a visual of what I mean) and second, he sold the tag.

When a fielder at a bag “sells” a tag, his actions and body language give every indication that the runner was out.  I guarantee that umpires will claim that “selling” tags has no impact on their safe or out calls but I beg to differ.  I think it absolutely does because I did it religiously as a shortstop and personally saw the results.

To get specific, “selling” a tag involves actions or body language like the following:

  • Quick tags and come up to show the umpire the ball in your glove.
  • Quick tag and then flip the ball to the other middle infielder next to the bag as if you are starting to throw around the horn after an out.
  • (When other runners are on base) Quick tag and immediately turn/get away from the bag to check on another runner who may be off his bag or trying to advance.
  • Quick tag and immediately take a step or two towards your dugout if that play is the possible third out.

There are more but the key is to convince everyone that the runner must have been out otherwise you would not be acting that way.  It doesn’t always work but you may be surprised how many times it does.

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