MLB, Quicken Loans announce second season of exciting prizes
By Mark Newman
It's not like we time-warped a century back into the dead-ball prime of Ty Cobb's career, when pitchers had long windups and the Georgia Peach set a record for most steals of home in a season with eight. But there were eight steals of home in Major League Baseball last season, even including a rare straight steal of home by Elvis Andrus of the Rangers.
And let's face it, Cobb's eight steals did not result in eight fans winning huge prize packages, including their mortgages paid for a month -- or one of those eight fans winning two tickets to the World Series and having a mortgage paid for an entire year.
That is exactly what happened in 2015, and Major League Baseball and Quicken Loans have announced that the Quicken Loans Steal-A-Home Sweepstakes is back for a second season to help celebrate one of the more thrilling facets of the game.
Enter the sweepstakes at MLB.com/QuickenLoans and you will have a chance to win a prize pack, including a monthly mortgage payment, two tickets to an MLB game of your choice, two official MLB jerseys and a $150 Fathead gift card each time a MLB player steals home throughout the 2016 regular season.
At the conclusion of the regular season, one randomly selected grand prize winner will have his or her mortgage paid for an entire year and receive two tickets to Game 1 of the 112th World Series. The 2015 grand prize winner received prime seats to a memorable World Series Game 1 to see the Royals beat the Mets in 14 innings at Kauffman Stadium.
"When a player takes off from third base to steal home, it's one of the most unexpected and exciting moments in all of sports," said Quicken Loans vice president of marketing and sponsorships Art Steiber. "The Steal-A-Home Sweepstakes adds another element of suspense for fans, including a chance to win World Series tickets and have their mortgage payments covered for a year."
The 2015 season marked the second year in a row that there were eight steals of home, with A.J. Pollock of the D-backs getting it started about a quarter into the season.
Out of those eight, none could quite compare to what happened on Sept. 1 at San Diego, where Andrus, the Rangers' shortstop, performed a straight steal while Padres right-handed reliever Kevin Quackenbush was in the stretch with his head down for what seemed like an eternity.
It was shades of Cobb, who stole home a record 33 times overall (including once in the World Series) -- eight of those in 1912. It was shades of Jackie Robinson, who famously stole home in for the Brooklyn Dodgers in Game 1 of the 1955 World Series, under the tag of Yankees catcher Yogi Berra, who would insist for years thereafter that "he was out, out, out."
In the case of Andrus, there also was a beautiful element of technology available that Cobb would have appreciated: Statcast™. According to that, Andrus' time to home was 3.19 seconds. He achieved that with a lead distance of 16.99 feet and a secondary lead distance of 15.687 feet with a top acceleration of 5.814 meters per square second. Quackenbush was caught off guard, and his throw home was released in 0.98 seconds, coming in at 78.691 mph.
Andrus has stolen home four times in his career, the most in Rangers history. Andrus' three previous steals of home came as part of a double steal.
"Believe me, I've tried to do that before, but I didn't have the right situation," Andrus said. "Up three runs, two strikes -- all those factors were big for me to attempt it. I tried not to think about it too much. If you think about it too much, you get in trouble.
"That was fun. That was the first time I've actually stolen home plate that way. It was fun. I was checking him, and he didn't even look at me for five seconds, so I just took a chance."
Each person can enter the Quicken Loans Steal-A-Home Sweepstakes only once, and participants who signed up in 2015 must reregister to be eligible for prizes in 2016. Entrants must be 18 years of age and a U.S. citizen to be eligible for the sweepstakes.
Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. Read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com community blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.