The hidden baseball trick got Juan Uribe, of the Dodgers, out recently. Usually this is successful when one player is simply looking away and not following the ball. In this case, the ball was thrown behind Uribe standing on third base. At that point, the third base coach should have given him a heads up– “watch out, the ball is behind you OR hey third baseman has the ball.” That’s what coaches are on the field for — to be an extra set of eyes on the field.
In little league, this trick tends to happen more often at first or second base. Usually initiated by the position player keeping the ball and faking a throw to the pitcher, while the baserunner is casually looking away. Again, a good base coach will point out what’s going on and let the player know who has the ball.
I’ve always told players to follow the ball everywhere, it’s always live, unless the umpire awards or calls timeout. You can’t teach this to the younger kids enough. It’s embarrassing for this to happen to a major leaguer — but not unexpected. Players are constantly adjusting their uniform, and can look away for a second. That’s all it takes to lose the little white ball.
Personally, I never liked resorting to tricks for outs, because you put everyone on heightened notice for the rest of the game – including your OWN team. In my book, if you have to resort to tricks for outs… you’ve got bigger problems.