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This quote from Chipper is true. It is slightly sad though that baseball is all about power now.

I love the home run as much as the next guy. But I also love the double steal or the suicide squeeze.

“We can bunt guys over. But we’re built on power. That’s American baseball.” ~Chipper Jones

Small ball is an informal term for an offensive strategy in which the batting team emphasizes placing runners on base and then advancing them into scoring position for a run in a deliberate, methodical way.

This strategy places a high value on individual runs and attempts to score them without requiring extra base hits, or sometimes without base hits at all, instead using bases on balls, stolen bases, sacrifice bunt or sacrifice fly balls, the hit-and-run play, and aggressive baserunning with such plays as the contact play.

A commonly used term for a run produced playing small ball is a “manufactured run”. This style of play is more often found in National League game situations than in the American League due in large part to the absence of the designated hitter in the National League.

A team may incorporate a small-ball strategy for a variety of reasons, including:

  • The team is confident that their pitching staff will allow very few runs, thus one or two runs may win the game.
  • The opposing pitching staff allows few hits, especially extra-base hits, and small ball may be the best way to score runs at all.
  • The team lacks consistent hitters and must find a way to score runs with few base hits.
  • The team has several members who are very quick and are likely to steal bases, or go from first base to third base on a single.
  • The team is in the late innings of a close game and a single run will tie the game, break a tie, or extend a narrow lead.

Most commonly, managers will switch to small-ball tactics while a game is in progress, doing so upon the convergence of a variety of factors including having appropriate hitters coming up next in the batting order and, often, having fast runners already on base.

A team could also start the game with the intention of playing small ball but then change from this strategy at some point during a game, depending on circumstances, such as when the opposing pitcher is struggling or has left the game or when the team is ahead or behind by several runs.

Long live SMALL BALL.