"You Be the Coach"

The Situation - "Should I Stay or Should I Go"

New York Yankees versus Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park

The Yankees lead 1-0 with two outs in the bottom of the first inning. Darren Lewis is on second base and Nomar Garciaparra is the hitter. Troy O'Leary is on deck. Yankees starter Roger Clemens delivers a 2-1 pitch to Nomar who hits a ground ball to the left of second baseman Chuck Knoblauch.  The ball bounds toward the hole between Knoblauch and first baseman Tino Martinez. Chuck dives for the ground ball at the edge of the grass and makes a throw to Tino at first base.

The Question

Third base coaches - get your thinking caps on! What do you tell Darren Lewis before the first pitch to Nomar?  Secondly, after the ball is hit, what do you tell Darren then?  Be sure to give me your supporting reasons for your answers.

Here's WK's answer:

"You tell Darren the normal information before the first pitch is made to Nomar:

  1. Check the outfielders (where they are playing).
  2. Check the infielders (the shortstop and second baseman).
  3. Remind him of the number of outs.
  4. Remind him that Clemens has a spin move for a pickoff play at second base.

After Nomar hits the ball, Darren will come to third automatically since the ball went to the right side of the infield. As third base coach, I then wave him home. Why?

  1. If Knoblauch makes a bad throw, the great speed of Lewis, who is already running on the hit ball, should allow him to score easily.
  2. If Knoblauch makes a good throw, but Nomar beats the throw for a hit, Darren will still score before the Tino Martinez figures out what is happening.
  3. If Knoblauch throws Nomar out, the inning is over anyway and the Red Sox take the field to start the second inning."

Here are some good answers from various coaches on the internet.

"With two outs, you need to let the runner know that he will be moving on contact. Once the ball has been hit, you should be waving the runner home because the runner should be attempting to score on a booted ball, bad throw, or error on the first baseman."

Ron Rakowski

"I'd give Lewis the signal to go on any ground ball hit behind him. He is fast enough to make it to third on any ball hit to the right side. Martinez seldom gets a chance to make a throw to third (like most first basemen) and is an average fielder at best. Even if Garciaparra is safe, the odds are definitely in Lewis' favor. With two outs, there is no advantage to be had by being shy. Knoblauch has a good glove and despite his throwing problems last year, is unlikely to make an error. The odds are that Garciaparra isn't going to be safe at first and that Knobby will certainly try to make the play at first. The only question in my mind is whether to give Lewis the wave to go home if Garciaparra is safe at first. There is a potential for a lot of confusion on this kind of play and even the chance for Martinez to hesitate or simply forget the lead runner if Garciaparra beats the play. Lewis is fast enough to potentially force a very close play at the plate and it is by no means certain that it will require an error for him to score."

Rick Donnelly

"I would send Darren home. Chuck would have a tough play because he would be holding the runner at second with the right-handed Nomar at the plate. He would have to go left to get to the ball. Tino would have a tough play to make at home to get Darren and this could cause a error. I would tell Darren on a ground ball to right side to try to score. If Nomar is safe and ends up on second due to an error at home while Darren scores, you have the left-handed hitting Troy up with the score tied. Why not make those Yankee dogs make a play? What the heck - its only the first inning."

Larry R Fravel

"I would first tell the runner that with two out, he is moving on the crack of the bat. With the ball being hit between first and second base and Chuck knocking it down, there is a good chance that Nomar will be safe. We do not want the runner from second to get nailed at home. With Troy on deck being a left handed batter, Nomar will create a hole between first and second for Troy to put the ball between. I would would tell the runner to carefully watch me as he rounds the bag at third because the odds are that I would be holding him at third for Troy to drive the run home."

Rick MacLellan

"I would first tell Lewis that there are two outs and that he is SCORING ON (any) CONTACT to get his mindset to get a good jump and be prepared to round third to score. After the ball is hit and I see that Knoblauch has stopped it before Lewis has rounded the bag, I would hold Lewis up, let him know where the ball is and, tell him to watch the throw. I would give O'Leary a chance to drive in the run. Besides, if I am a Yankee coach, I would like to think that we were good enough not to give up the run on an infield single! If Lewis has already rounded third before Chuck can get up to get off a throw, then I would keep him going. I would just have to see how far Knoblauch had to go to get to the ball. This is all assuming that Nomar beats the throw to first, otherwise there are three outs."


"Darren, there's two outs, go hard on anything hit...........then watch for my signal. If it's not through, you're gonna round third and hold right here! We have two runners on for Troy!"

Brian Parker

Thanks for answering my situation. Be sure to include your name and where you are from with each response.

That's it for "Should I Stay or Should I Go".

Good luck until next time!

All my best,


Updated June 17, 2000