Wednesday, July 4, 2012
When it comes to baseball, the home run hitter or the pitcher with a triple digit fastball is usually the face of the team. Every now and then, though, a guy is so good at his specialty that he steals that attention...literally.
That's the GreenJackets' Shawn Payne. He's 29-for-29 stealing bases this year, and now he's letting us into his head.
"It's like any other aspect of the game, base running is," Payne said. "You gotta be watching the game. You can't get caught shooting the breeze with the players in the dugout."
You won't Payne shooting the breeze too often at GreenJackets games. In fact, he's usually the one making the breeze on his path from first to second.
Payne is the best base stealer in the South Atlantic League, and he certainly has the speed for it.
"Spring Training I actually ran the fastest 20 (meter) time in the (Giants) organization, so that's pretty cool."
It takes a lot more than speed to steal at the pro level, though, and Payne has plenty of tricks up his sleeve. Against left handed pitchers...
"I'll extend my lead and kind of bait them in. He'll pick up (his leg), and I'll kind of lean back (toward first base). Depending on the count, I'll kind of bait him in and just go on the first move."
How about guys with a slow pitching motion?
"If they get the ball to the catcher, you're going to get thrown out. You just gotta run on the pitcher, depending on how slow or fast he is to the plate and what pitch he's going to throw."
And sometimes the poor pitcher doesn't even have anything to do with it.
"I kind of check out how lazy they are getting back to the bag and if the catcher's checking me out or not, just trying to get a feel for how far I can get a lead."
One of his most important tricks isn't a trick at all. He's just paying attention.
"I'll watch the base stealers we've got. (Jesus) Galindo and (Kelby) Tomlinson like to run a lot too. Pretty much how they go at them, they're going to go at me."
And as many times as they've gone at him, no one's caught Shawn Payne yet.
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