March 25, 2010
So i was watching a spring training game yesterday with John Kruk and Bobby Valentine as the colormen and it was really frustrating to hear them talk. Iâ€™ve just recently learned a lot about hitting with swing mechanics, etc over the past year and they were just spouting off on the stupidest stuff.
For one, they were making fun of typical hitting sayings like â€œkeep your hands inside the ball.â€ While it may be impossible to do this throughout the swing, if I were to break down a swing of someone who had a swing path of outside the ball compared to someone with a swing path of inside the ball youâ€™d be amazed at the differnce. The fact that they were laughing at this really had me confused as I wasnâ€™t sure if they were just making fun of the saying or really believed that this didnâ€™t apply to hitting.
They also ridiculed the fact that people say swing down on the ball. While this one has a little more gray area the fact of the matter is you need a downward angle in your shoulders to drive the ball. Again if I broke down swings of guys with their shoulders going up and guys with a downward plane, once again the difference is quite noticeable. Not only that by creating an uphill plane leads to top spin which isnâ€™t good.
So yeah, thereâ€™s my anti-ESPN rant. On a side note, listening to this made me think of one of the coolest moments watching a baseball game. A couple years ago I was watching a Sox game with my mom who was basically forced to like baseball. For about 15 years she was at a field 5 or 6 days a week taking either me or my brother to a game. Then afterwords while my brother, myself, and my dad were watching the Sox game she basically had very little choice to do anything else. So over the years she has become much more knowledgeable about the games and actually enjoys following a team over the course of the seasons.
Anyways, while I was watching the Sox game with my mom I believe it was fairly early in the game and with a runner on first and second and no outs the other team sacrificed. Now for those that arenâ€™t familiar with baseball stats bunting is generally a -EV play. Basically you not only have a better chance of scoring by letting the hitter swing, you have a better chance of having a big inning as well since youâ€™re not giving up an out. The rule of thumb is in baseball you have 27 outs, and theyâ€™re too valuable to give one away to the opponent. So after the bunt, my mom delivers this line
â€œI hate bunting.â€ I was excited to here this as Iâ€™ve never discussed bunting with my mom and her picking that up on her own was pretty great. I then asked why and she responded with;
â€œIt doesnâ€™t do anything and it wastes an out.â€ While this isnâ€™t 100% true as it does advance the runner(s)I thought that was very cool and yet while my mom figured this out on her own there are still baseball traditionalists (and ESPN analysts) who LOVE bunting. Thereâ€™s certainly some time when itâ€™s the right play but youâ€™re generally better off letting the hitter swing.
â€œNo great man ever complains of want of opportunity.â€
Ralph Waldo Emerson