Baseball Magazine

The Mentality of a Thief

By Meachrm @BaseballBTYard
When a normal person walks into your home for the first time, they will walk around and compliment you on your decorations, your new flat screen TV, your stereo system, and your brand new iMac computer.  When a person who is really a thief walks into a house, they will say the same thing but in their mind they are asking themselves the following:
  • Where are the alarms in this house?
  • Do they have a dog?
  • Which window would get me the easiest access?
  • The mentality of a thief

    Lou Brock

  • Which things in this house have the most value?

They think this way because they have the mentality of a thief.  Thank goodness normal people don't think this way.
However, if you want to be a great base stealer, you must also learn to think this way.  A base stealer has the audacity and the arrogance to know that they will be stealing a base.  They just have to figure out how.  Their questions would take the form of:
  • Am I going to steal on the catcher or the pitcher?
  • What is the pitcher's best time to home plate?
  • What pattern has the pitcher fallen into with runners on?
  • How does this lefty tip off when he's coming to first?
  • How does he tip off when he's going to the plate?
  • How big of a lead off first do I need to take to see the catcher's signs?

The mentality of a thief

Ricky Henderson

The common factor in both lines of questions is that none of them show any hesitation or lack of confidence in whether it can be done.  The house thief knows it can be done.  He just has to figure out the pieces to the puzzle.  The same thing goes with the base stealer.  It's not a question of whether he'll make it.  That's a given in a base stealer's mind.  It's just becomes a matter of how and when.

The mentality of a thief

Same eyes. No fear.

This is why the two greatest base stealers in baseball history - Ricky Henderson and Lou Brock - could ascend to that pinnacle without being baseball's fastest runners ever.  Surely there have been many runners that have been faster.  Henderson and Brock obviously had enough speed to be good base stealers.  What made them great was speed combined with the mentality of a thief

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