2012 Miami Marlins – Capturing Lightning in a BottleBy
You hear it all the time while watching baseball games. It’s one of those widely used baseball cliche that fans, writers, and commentators have latched onto. Some player hits a long homerun and a good 7/10 times I guarantee you’ll hear it referred to as a “bomb”.
I would describe a bomb as a loud, devastating, violent, ‘game’-changing event… So, I won’t argue that the comparison is without its merit.
But, it got me wondering; if homeruns are equated to bombs, what then is a stolen base?
Then it came to me. How about a lightning strike? Fast, exciting, there and gone in an instant with little to no warning, and often beautiful in its dangerousness. Yeah… I like that.
“What are you talking about, Mike?”
Oh, hello again my imagined reader. Allow me to explain.
As of the moment I write this article (about 11:00pm on 05/29) the Miami Marlins lead the entire MLB with 60 stolen bases, 15 more than any other team. This puts them on pace for 194 stolen bases this season, 24 more than the leader last season (San Diego – 170) and the most any team has accumulated since Tampa Bay also had 194 in 2009.
Which would also tie them for the highest total since 1996 when Colorado had 201 SB’s and Kansas City had 195, respectively.
In a league that’s modern era has seemingly moved away from the stolen base in favour of the more ‘fan friendly’ long-ball, it’s exciting to watch a team stealing bases at such an enthusiastic pace.
As a fan of Kenny Lofton, Rickey Henderson, Otis Nixon, Roberto Alomar, and Juan Pierre this kind of baseball is exciting to me. Homeruns are cool, sure, but stolen bases are an art form that, for a time, looked to be losing relevance in the modern game.
The injury to Emilio Bonifacio would, you would expect, ‘slow down’ the Marlins, but in the 11-games since Bonifacio went down with his thumb injury the Marlins have actually increased their SB/G output.
With Bonifacio in the lineup the Marlins were averaging 1.1 SB/G (43SB/39GM), with him out they have surprisingly increased this number to 1.54 SB/G (17SB/11GM).
What does this all mean, you might ask? Ultimately, nothing. Teams that lead the league in Stolen Bases don’t always do much, if anything, during the season (2011 Padres, as example). It’s just exciting baseball, and I like exciting baseball.
But, still I think the more interesting question is “when was the last time the Marlins led baseball in Stolen Bases?”
The Answer: 2003. I think it’s safe to say Marlin fans remember that year.