Even for veteran players of RBI, their ability to handle rundowns is an often neglected part of their game. When you have a runner caught between two infielders, there are quite a few essential techniques used to get that runner out. This article is mostly focused on getting runners out while on defense, though by thinking of these strategies in the opposite context you can use them to your advantage as a base runner.
Basic Rundown Tips
- Master the fast throw - seems basic but new users will tend to throw the rainbow too often.
- Keep moving to the base - Some folks (especially newbies) tend to stay at the base, especially after a rainbow throw. You have to keep your infielders moving towards the opposite base to close their spacing. An infielder retreats at a much slower pace than they run, so every run towards the base will get you closer.
- Vary the time at which you throw the ball to the other base - Too many people throw immediately after getting the ball or when the runner is at the same spot on the basepath. Longtime opponents pick up on this and can adjust accordingly. Once your opponent knows your throwing and baserunning pattern, the advantage is theirs.
Advanced Rundown Tips
- The old "tap the B Button technique" - hit the opposite button so the runner thinks you are going to throw, which causes them to run back at the fielder with the ball.
- Bring in a third fielder - Whenever possible, use the direction pad to bring in another infielder. Since you don't need to move the infielders when running to the opposite base, you should have plenty of chances to bring another fielder in the mix. Once a third infielder in the middle of the basepath, the battle is won.
No matter how good you or your technique is, the baserunner sometimes sneaks back to a base in a rundown. A high level player should have, at minimum, the follow rundown accuracy.
- For elite runners (Coleman, Raines, Lopes etc) - 75% or higher
- For medium runners (124-134 Speed) - 90% of higher
- For slow runners (118-122 Speed) - 95% or higher
The slower runners are easier to nab for one obvious and one not-so-obvious reason. The obvious reason is that their speed on the basepath puts them at a disadvantage. The infielders are much faster and closing the gap gives the defender much more room for error. The second reason is sliding speed; the slow runners have a very slow slide, which is typically the place where you are throwing out a baserunner. The slower the slide, the easier it is to nab them.