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The Theory of Theft: An Inspection Game Model of the Stolen Base Play in Baseball

By Theodore L. Turocy


This paper applies the theory of equilibrium in mixed strategies in an inspection game model to describe the strategic interaction in the stolen base play in baseball. A parsimonious simultaneous-move game model offers predictions about how the observable conduct of the teams on offense and defense responds as the characteristics of the players involved change. The theory organizes observations from play-by-play data from Major League Baseball, where highly-motivated, experienced professionals interact in an environment where private information is not significant.mixed strategy, Markov equilibrium, baseball

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