A play in baseball
in which the batter
tries to score a runner from third with a sacrifice bunt
. The runner on third breaks for home plate
at top speed as soon as the pitcher
starts his windup. The object is to reach the plate a few moments after the batter bunts the ball, allowing no time for the fielders to make a play. The suicide squeeze is one of the riskiest and hardest-to-execute plays in baseball, because it requires both perfect timing and absolute surprise, and thus is one of the rarest and most exciting plays in the game.
The suicide squeeze is a do or die play for both the batter and the runner. The batter absolutely must make contact with the ball or the runner will be tagged out by the catcher. The runner must break at exactly the right moment. If he breaks too soon, the pitcher will be tipped off and throw the ball up and in or up and away where it can't be bunted, and the runner will be tagged out. If the runner breaks too late, he will not reach the plate in time.
Surprise is crucial when attempting the suicide squeeze, because it can be easily countered with bad pitches or a pitchout. But the squeeze can only be used in certain situations, making it hard to surprise other teams who expect the squeeze in those situations. Because the squeeze is a sacrifice, there must be only one or no outs or the opponent will simply throw the runner out at first. The squeeze would never be attempted when a team is behind or when they have a good hitter at the plate, because in these situations teams are always loathe to give up outs.
Thus, the suicide squeeze is only attempted when there are less than two outs with a bad hitter at the plate and a fast runner at third in low scoring games against good pitchers when the team at bat is tied or ahead by a run and when the manager thinks the other team is not expecting it.
Suffice to say, witnessing a successful suicide squeeze is a rare treat.