A rundown in baseball is a situation which arises when a base runner is caught between two bases. The base runner has the option to continue to the next base, or turn back on themselves. This could lead to a situation wherein the base runner is caught running backwards and forwards until they are either tagged out or eventually arrive at a safe base.
Why Do Rundowns Happen?
A rundown can occur following a variety of scenarios, and can even be used as a tactical move in some situations.
- Rundowns often occur when there is a player who is getting picked off. A pickoff in baseball is when the pitcher throws the ball straight to the baseman which the runner is heading to, and the ball is quicker. One way to combat being put out in the scenario is for the runner to head back to a previous base, thus beginning a rundown.
- If a team has a player on both third and first base, they may consider using a rundown in a tactical way. The player on first base could, in this scenario, begin a rundown in order to distract the defense as the player on third continues onto the home plate.
- A rundown can also occur when a player has been overzealous and attempted to run to another base, without realising the risk they’re putting themselves in.