Fast Base Running

In baseball, what’s the fastest way around the bases?

If you hit a long ball and know you can reach at least second base, then rather run in a straight line towards first base, you should veer towards the dugout in a circular fashion. The optimal baserunning path is one that is studied by Williams College math professor Frank Morgan. He claims that by cutting off the corners, an average runner can reach the home plate 4 seconds earlier!


baseball base running

In the above picture, home plate is the bottom dot and going counterclockwise we have 1st, 2nd and 3rd base. If you watch baseball, you’ll see that most of the time the players run in a straight line towards first, even if they hit a long ball.

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5 Comments.

  1. except if you leave the basepath, you’re out.

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  2. It seems to me that at least Major Leaguers do follow this pattern and cut the corners. The third base line doesn’t get much use.

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  3. Well this is great to know, since every time I get up to bat I hit an inside-the-park home run.
    Speed is not the only factor in base running. If I bloop one to short left I’m certainly not going to take a curved path to first–I’m going to try and get there as fast as I can. Maybe this works for turning a double into a triple but other than that it’s kinda useless.

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  4. From home to first you HAVE to stay in the baseline or you’re out.

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  5. This diagram and idea only apply to running multiple bases of course! Have any of you actually played baseball/softball? A runner can run outside the base path within reason without being called out. This diagram fits perfectly with base running fundamentals.

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