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What is a TOOTBLAN?

The purpose of this page is to track, highlight and discuss base running blunders - commonly known as TOOTLBANs, which are basically any non-force outs made on the base paths.

TOOTBLANs include extra base outs, outs on would-be sacrifice flies, pickoffs, double offs, fielder’s choice outs with an open base, batter’s interference, runner’s fielder choice, runner interference, caught stealing on a walk (also known as a Cedeno), hit by batted ball and sundry other things that can happen during a baseball game. Stolen bases are counted separately.

The founder of this site invented the TOOTBLAN in 2008 in an attempt to examine the impact that poor base running has on on-base percentage and the relative value of a player’s offense.

Jimmy Greenfield, in his book 100 Things Cubs Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die, laid it out nicely to open No. 89:

One of the best reasons to start a Cubs blog can be summed up in a single word: TOOTBLAN.

Well, that’s not exactly a word - it’s an acronym that stands for Thrown Out On The Basepaths Like A Nincompoop, and it was invented in a May 7, 2008, post published by Tony Jewell on his Cubs blog, Wrigleyville23.

TOOTBLAN is actually one portion of a larger statistical term he dubbed “The Ryan Theriot Adjusted On-Base Percentage,” which he created to help determine how much Theriot’s value as a leadoff man was being eroded by being a nincompoop on the basepaths.

Here’s how the first post began:

"To cement our legacy, Wrigleyville23 is introducing a new stat to the baseball world - The Ryan Theriot Adjusted On-Base Percentage. It is calculated as such: RTAOBP = (Hits+Walks+HBP-CS-Thrown Out On The Basepaths Like A Nincompoop)/Plate Appearances (AB+BB+HBP+SF)."

Here’s how he later defined TOOTBLAN on his blog:

"In short, it is any out a runner makes on the basepaths while attempting to take an extra base - whether advancing from second to third on a ground out (with no runner on first); attempting to stretch a single into a double, a double into a triple, and so on; or getting thrown out while advancing on a flyball. It also applies to base runners who are picked off or who are doubled out on a line drive." …

Google “TOOTBLAN” and you’ll see it appear on countless blogs, particularly ones about teams for which Theriot has played and whose fans’ patience he has tested. You’ll also see the power one creative blogger can have on highly engaged communities.

That about sums it up. There is continued debate as to what is and is not a TOOTBLAN. We sought to clarify the issue here.

This site has several features you may find useful for your TOOTBLAN tracking needs, including:

  • Searchable, sortable databases (2014 and 2013) that allow you to sort by player, team, opponent, inning, base, game situation, pitcher, win/loss and more - while also seeing individual and team TOOTBLAN leaders. Here’s a how-to that helps you get the most out of the database.
  • The TOOTBLAN Hall of Fame, which is what it sounds like. The kids will like the videos.

You can follow us on Twitter at @TOOTBLANTime and Facebook here.

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