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Советы профессионалов. Шорт-стоп.
Nomar Garciaparra's Shortstop Tips   Советы Номара Гарциапары о том, как играть на шорт-стопе

Nomar Garciaparra
Boston Red Sox
We asked Boston Red Sox Shortstop Nomar Garciaparra to give you some tips on becoming a better shortstop.

With runners not on base, how do you field your position?

Nomar Garciaparra: It depends on who's hitting. If you have a right-hander up and he has a tendency to pull the ball, and you check out the way your pitcher is throwing, then you might cheat over a little bit into the hole -- maybe try to cover the hole between short and third a little bit more. For the most part, it's kind of hard to say what straight up is. When a lefty is up you have a tendency to shade more toward second base also determining on who the hitter is and who's pitching. You're a little bit back, I play maybe one or two steps from the grass on the dirt. Every (field) is cut different, it varies, but that's basically the general area in which I'm standing.

How do you field your position on double play ground balls to either side of the infield?

Garciaparra: When the ground ball is hit to me, I've got to stay down and make sure I catch the ball first, that's the key. Then I'm going to pivot myself to throw a good, firm throw to my second baseman. The analogy I use to throw the ball is -- it's kind of like a dart, so it's an overhand (throw), it's not a full windup it's not a full throw -- it's a dart so (the second baseman) can control it and handle themselves to turn a double play. When it's hit to the opposite side (of the field), from the second baseman to me, I've got to position myself with my shoulders square to the guy who's going to be throwing me the ball so I can move either way. I keep my hands close when it comes to me, I catch it and I rotate my body so I can point my left shoulder toward first base so I can make a nice, accurate throw.

Who decides which player will take the ball at second base when the catcher throws down to throw out a runner?

Garciaparra: It depends on who the batter is -- if it's a right-handed batter the tendency is that the second baseman is going to take the throw rather than the shortstop taking the throw if the guy does steal. Because there is a chance that the batter may swing and hit the ball. You always assume the guy may pull the ball, that's taken into consideration. If you really don't know the guy (how he hits), you're going to assume that he's going to pull the ball, so you don't want to leave that hole wide open if he does happen to swing and there's a guy stealing -- so the second baseman will cover the base. If it's a left-hander the shortstop will cover the base when a guy is stealing. Those are basically the rules of thumb.

Who decides which player will catch the ball when it's popped up near second base?

Garciaparra: The first the thing about a pop-up is to make the play. No matter who's going to make the play, just make it. Whoever can see the ball better, or whoever is coming through. But the guy who is in charge of the infield is the shortstop. If he calls for the ball, everybody lets him take it. If it doesn't call for it, or if somebody else calls it, whoever calls it and feels they're under it, (the shortstop is) more than welcome to let the other guy take it -- it's a matter of who may be under it. But, if there's two guys calling it, the shortstop should take precedence and they usually let him take it over -- he's the guy in charge.

When a runner is rounding third and heading home, where do you position yourself on the field when the ball is hit to centerfield and to leftfield?

Garciaparra: When the ball is hit to leftfield, I will position myself at third base. The third baseman is going to be the relay guy from the outfield to home and the (runner) is going to score. I have to be standing by third base just in case the guy stops on his way home, or if he's in a rundown -- somebody has to be covering that base. The shortstop should be there covering third base because the third baseman is off his base for the relay throw from the outfield. When (the ball) is hit to centerfield, I'll be covering second base because the first baseman usually comes in to be the relay home. The second baseman will go over to cover first base to make sure the guy who hit the ball doesn't advance to second if it's a single. I have to stand on second base waiting there, so it doesn't give the runner the opportunity to advance to second. So everything is basically covered.

How can a shortstop improve their throw from shortstop over to first base?

Garciaparra: It's just a matter of playing catch. As you start playing catch, you start going for the distance. It doesn't hurt to just play catch from shortstop to the first baseman, from the actual position, so you can feel the distance -- what it's going to feel like, how far you've got need to throw (the ball), how much muscle you need to put into it, and what it takes. That's just a real simple way (to improve), and it gets you going. Once you actually field the ball, it's a matter of getting your feet into the proper position, pointing your left shoulder to your target and making a nice, firm overhand throw to your target.

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