Shining a spotlight on the minor mental mistakes and successes that often go overlooked.
There was an axiom tossed about when I was in college, one that I and my other bench-warming teammates were only too happy to co-opt, which held that the dumber you were, the better you played. In other words, the less intelligent a player was, and the less he had going on in his mind (colloquially, the less "in his own head" he was), the more focused he'd be on playing to the best of his abilities. Some rebutted that we spent too much free time during games coming up with theories about why we weren't playing, but you get the idea.
The big leaguers we see on TV have found a way to circumvent this problem, if it even exists. Nevertheless, there remains a mental aspect of the game that often goes ignored, both by sabermetricians (because it's nearly impossible to measure) and by the players themselves (because these mistakes are usually too small to affect their club's opinion of them). I don't mean visualization or Pedro Cerrano's Jobu doll or Turk Wendell's animal tooth necklace—I'm talking about the nuts-and-bolts logic of baseball that, when ignored, costs teams outs and runs, which eventually cost them games.
David Freese, Colby Rasmus, and Mark McGwire discuss their approaches to hitting.
David Freese and Colby Rasmus will play key roles for the Cardinals this year, as will their hitting coach, Mark McGwire. Both players will be counted on to provide offensive punch, while Big Mac will be entrusted to help the young sluggers surpass their 2010 production. Rasmus is coming off a season where he hit .276/.361/.498 with 23 home runs. Freese hit .296/.361/.404 with four home runs before having his rookie campaign derailed by an ankle injury after just 80 games.
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A good chunk of what passes as mainstream baseball analysis is actually a mish-mosh of half-true folk wisdom, overly-romantic ideas stolen from Hollywood, and (most grating to my ears) really bad amateur psychology. How's that for a thesis statement?
Last night's victors face a tall order in their Bronx confrontation.
The Yankees have been pretty sure they'd be playing in the postseason since not long after the All-Star break. The Twins didn't have much chance of doing so until about two weeks ago, and only found out for sure about 18 hours before the first pitch of the Division Series. That's just one reason of many why this AL Division Series matchup is one of the most lopsided in the 15-year history of the three-tiered playoffs.
A conversation with one of the game's great masters on the art and practice of hitting.
When it comes to teaching hitting, few do it as well as Rudy Jaramillo. Currently in his 15th season with the Rangers-the longest tenure of all big-league hitting coaches-the 58-year-old native of Beeville, Texas is arguably the best in the business. Called "a Hall of Fame hitting coach" by Alex Rodriguez, and "the best there is" by Michael Young, Jaramillo is a member of both the Texas Baseball Hall of Fame and the Hispanic Heritage Baseball Museum Hall of Fame. Jaramillo recently sat down to talk about his favorite subject: the art and science of hitting a baseball
The Tampa Bay starter on command vs. control, succeeding without a dominant pitch, and his first experiences in the big leagues.
[Editor's Note: David originally interviewed tonight's Game Four starter for the Rays on May 25, 2008. We reproduce that interview today to remind everyone about Sonnanstine's thoughtfulness as a hurler.]
The A's pitching coach talks about the importance of off-speed pitches, imparting wisdom to younger pitchers, and making sure you know your opposition.
Curt Young knows pitching, and with 19 years in the organization, he knows the Oakland Athletics. Originally taken in the 1981 draft, the left-hander spent 10 of his 11 seasons as a big league pitcher with the A's, twice winning 13 games, and contributing to a World Series championship in 1989. Young joined the coaching ranks in 2000 and has served as the A's pitching coach since December 2003. David talked to Young about managing pitch counts, the importance of throwing a strike on 1-1, and why Lenny DiNardo can succeed with an 82 MPH fastball.