Monthly Archives: September 2013

If not Perfection, then what?

If a baseball player wants to be the best batter that he can possibly be, what can he realistically expect from his absolute, best efforts? The best possible batting average is 1.000. Is it realistic for anyone to think he can sustain a 1.000 batting average over the course of a season, or a career? “Only in one’s dreams,” might be an appropriate reaction to such an improbable quest! Or, maybe a player had participated in a single game (perhaps the last game of a season) and by some good fortune was able to go 1 for 1, 2 for 2, or 3 for 3, etc., and then by some other less fortuitous circumstance had his baseball career terminated inexplicably. But that set of circumstances would not qualify even the most illustrious of natural prospects to embody the emblem of “Perfection.”

Since hitting a baseball effectively is indeed the most difficult task in all sporting activities, it is most unlikely (more like “impossible”) that any human being would be so proficient as to make flawless contact with his bat to the ball every time he took a swing. If it is possible for an extraordinarily proficient basketball “free-throw” shooter to shoot a thousand “free-throws” in a row, why is it not possible for a batter to go through a whole season (500 or 600 at-bats) without making an “Out”?

It is even unlikely (with the “law of averages” governing human events) that any batter could play an entire season without getting a hit; but it is at least 3 ½ times easier to accomplish that ignominious feat than to go without an out. If a batter deliberately tried to miss the ball, he could easily attain a 1.000-proficiency rating. Why? Because there would be less margin for error to be eliminated in accomplishing that feat!

A baseball has a 9-inch circumference. A batter would have no difficulty deliberately swinging his bat into an area that would surely avoid striking any 2.86 inch diameter of the pitched ball. His margin for error would be miniscule, taking into consideration all the places he could swing the bat to avoid the ball (in or out of the strike zone). The batter would have only one factor to consider — swing as far away from the ball as possible. He would need no pre-eminent sense of flawless technique or principle to accomplish his goal of “not hitting the ball.” He could establish no recommended stability of stance or acute visual capacity. (However, he might take some minor precaution for preventing his body from being struck by an errant pitch.)

Ted Williams said it best for all of us who have ever played the game of Baseball, as well as participated in other forms of athletics, “hitting a baseball is the single-most difficult thing to do in all of sports.” No other individual sport-skill encompasses the variety of challenging variables that a batter has to “put in order” to be a proficient “hitter.” Physical strength, flexibility, quickness, and timing, as well as the mental attributes of courage, confidence, determination, fortitude, are characteristically ascribed to even the least skilled professional who “stands-in” against a 95 mph fastball, or 85+ slider. When you add in all the off-speed multiples, you wonder why the Defense Department doesn’t make “Batting 999” a pre-requisite for the highest combat-training courses.

In all walks of Life, from a professional baseball player to a rock musician, a respectable accomplishment cannot be ultimately gained until after the process of trial and error has been satisfactorily consummated by means of a finished high-quality product. Until that has happened, one can assume that, in all of these life-challenges, the margins of error that seem so naturally retardant to proper development have not been reduced sufficiently to produce a genuinely finished product.

The principle of Batting is the scientific application of body-mechanics, based on the understanding of factors that influence the effect of the ball that comes from the throw of the pitcher. The batter, in the batter’s box, is standing a little more than 60 feet from the pitcher, on a plane almost 1 foot below the level of the “pitching-rubber.”

An intelligent person must realize that any ball thrown from a height range of 5 to 7 feet would have to follow a descending line or arc, in order to enter the batter’s strike zone. Therefore, any batter whose notion of proper hitting technique includes the idea that a downward swinging bat can effectively strike a downward moving ball with the least margin of error does not understand the statistical improbability of such folly. Such is the trademark of the .250 or under hitter.

Since “hitting a baseball is the single-most difficult thing to do in all of Sports,” as proclaimed by Mister Ted Williams, a most credible artisan of professional bats-man-ship, (and a fact fully attested to by countless other athletes, whose superiority in their own realms of athletic endeavor validate this otherwise presumptuous claim), it stands to reason that optimal batting proficiency should be afforded to no less than a dedicated student of the “art”. Art is the visible nature of things, the outward expression whose essence is comprehended by thought, not sense.

.  The “Art” of hitting a baseball should be more than a physical exercise, by a well-conditioned athlete, to demonstrate quick reflexes in a random response to the various stimuli presented by a pitcher and a speeding round projectile. Rather, it is a calculated artistic display of functional expediency, by a dedicated aspirant to highest achievement, which incorporates the physical, mental, and spiritual components of human endeavor into a masterful exhibition of batting excellence.

The conscious coordinated effort of mind and body to provide maximum power and efficiency to propel the 5 ounce, 9 inch “spheroid” in a straight line in the general direction from which it was delivered (within a hitting range of 90 degrees) could verify a scientific component to masterful batting. Science is the invisible structure underlying the nature of things, whose harmony is determined by the precision of its Principle.

Batting proficiency could be defined further in the context of describing the ideal hitter —“he is one whose bat most consistently contacts the ball in a manner that facilitates a straight and ascending “line-drive” (To hit the ball in any other manner would be to miss-hit it, and therefore denigrate any artistic and scientific confluence).

There is adequate evidence to indicate that many or most good artists (of which athletes are included) have a “natural” propensity toward the artisanship in which they are engaged. But their optimal level of proficiency is most often derived from the degree to which they accumulate enhanced understanding by means of scientific examination of all aspects of their chosen profession. (Both Leonardo Da Vinci and Michaelangelo established their masterful artisanship by such practice.) Therefore, hitting a baseball most effectively would have to be construed as both an Art and a Science.

In professional Baseball, to be the best hitter you can be, you must apply science to your natural artistry or you will never achieve mastery over the elements that have superimposed a phenomenal limitation upon the highest expectations of all erstwhile protagonists in our nation’s unique Life-enthralling pastime. Physical attributions alone are typically found wanting when those are matched against the mental components of the experienced technicians of overpowering or magical mounds-man-ship.

Those outstanding physical athletes who do make it to the “Show,” but languish in obscure mediocrity, are typically the very prospects who could become stellar bats-men if they would engage a scientific examination conducive to complementing their artistic predisposition. And they who are performing at the prevailing “high” standard of Major-League batting proficiency could be setting new and higher criteria, if a more pronounced attentiveness to scientific inquiry were investigated for their optimal development.

The following is a list of components to consider for optimal batting efficiency, as well as their corresponding, obvious faults to be eliminated or at least diminished:

  1. Pitcher’s mound is about a foot above the level of home plate—swinging down at a ball moving downward is counter-productive (to say the least)
  2. Make Pitcher work harder: create a small strike-zone—standing tall is to the batter’s disadvantage
  3. A power base always starts with a low center of gravity, from which a stride is unnecessary—high stance, and stride reduce power and vision
  4. Stationary head secures optimal viewing—stride moves head, eyes
    1. Rotary motion of hips and shoulders by proper functioning of legs supplies power and secures vision—pushing from back foot and leg creates problems
    2. Hips and shoulders power the bat to ball—not the arms and hands

There is enough practical evidence to preclude any possibility that someone could actually attain the status of Perfection in batting. However, is it not reasonable to assume that current standards for excellence, in the department of batting, could be significantly advanced, were it not for the arrogant or narrow-minded presumption that nothing more can be done by scientifically reducing or eliminating all margins for technical error?

The Best You can be – Perfect!

                      

Can any ball player be the best batter, or pitcher, without striving for perfection? It is very unlikely that one’s natural ability alone will entitle him to the position of a prominent Major League player. To attain the status of a “Big-Leaguer,” a naturally phenomenal athlete must refine what might be considered his undisciplined “artistic” talents, and nurture them under the auspices of an established tutelary principle. However, Professional Baseball hasn’t yet established such a principle by which aspiring young athletes (batters and pitchers) can easily transform their crude, individually designated operational mechanisms into the precisely fine-tuned generic machinery for which their consistent productivity would certainly be validated and universally appreciated. What is currently in practice is a trial and error forum that culminates in either pronounced enhancement or deterioration, according to the sensitive responsiveness of the applicant for development. “Many are called, but few are chosen!”

There is enough practical evidence to preclude the possibility that anyone could actually attain the status of Perfection, either on the mound or at-bat. However, is it not reasonable that the current standards for excellence, in the departments of pitching and batting, could be significantly advanced, were it not for the arrogant or narrow-minded presumption that nothing more can be done by scientifically reducing all margins for technical error?

Although the most proficient pitchers and batters are they who strive to be the best that they can be, and espouse the most rigorous of physical regimens in order to sustain a productive readiness, if the principle to which they commit their efforts is not founded on an exact science, then the results of those efforts will be highly imperfect at best, and ultimately discouraging to earnest seekers for optimal accomplishment. If the practice of an imperfect principle is what diminishes the quality of their work as a batter or pitcher, would it not be conducive to their betterment to explore and find the principle that promotes the most consistent success?  Excellence can be achieved as a goal only if excellence is the starting point from which to proceed.

Aristotle pointed out, in his Nicomachean Ethics, that, in order to begin a study of anything that would lead to the highest understanding and demonstration of its universal verity, one must “behold” an example of a closest facsimile to the ideal estate, study its admirable characteristics, and extrapolate from its obvious functional proficiency a common entity by which a generic standard could be discerned, duplicated, and possibly expanded upon. Then Excellence in any field of human endeavor is achievable to anyone willing to devote a “heart and soul” effort toward mastering the definable concomitants to successful enterprise.

But what if a concrete example of definable perfection can not be found and emulated? If one searches unsuccessfully for a tangible reference point from which to exploit a specific enterprise, all is not lost if he rests his constructive hope in the ever-inexhaustible realm of mind (consciousness).

Surely, if one had the aptitude, he could glean some resolve from the intent of a famous quote, whose paraphrase would read as such: “Some people see the imperfect things of the world, and wonder why? But I envision the perfect things not present in the world, and wonder why not?”  When Michelangelo was asked how he could create such beautiful sculpture from a block of stone, he replied, “The sculpture’s beauty was always there. I merely chiseled away the debris from off its form”. He must have known the form of the image before it was made evident by his handiwork. 

An astutely perceptive mind could visualize those attributes closely aligned to the proper mechanics of the flawless expression of the perfect swing of the bat, and throw of the pitched ball. Mark the perfection in thought, and behold its expression in action: for the end result is beautiful efficiency. And the “Hope” of success is inspired from the confidence which issues forth from one’s understanding of the principle that expedites the most precisely scientific demonstration of function. Confidence, an intangible element, is acquired through an absolute faith in the principle from which a batter or pitcher bases his ability to produce the stroke or throw that can be applied consistently in any given situation, in the “box” or on the mound. Is there anything close to the “Perfect Principle” for achieving maximum success in batting and pitching?

Perfection on a human level is most improbable, as an axiom from a “Quantum” analysis has suitably implied, “at the fundamental levels of matter, causation is a matter of statistical probabilities, not certainties.” But when the margins for error are attenuated, the probability of success is proportionately increased. Taking Aristotle’s proposal into consideration, an astute batting and pitching analyst should certainly acknowledge the primary, near-perfect facilitators of excellence to be Barry Bonds (as well as Ted Williams) and Nolan Ryan (as well as Curt Schilling).

What is it that Barry Bonds does consistently right, that most, if not all, other batters do only sporadically? The answer is 5 separate things. They are the following:

1. He establishes a strong low center of gravity within his stance.

2. He limits the movement of his head and eyes as he strides.

3. He waits patiently for the ball to get to him, while he quietly “gathers his body and lowers his hands to begin an unobtrusive rhythm of his arms.

4. When the ball gets to his hitting zone, 4 things happen simultaneously:

     a. The front foot plants quickly and firmly – front leg straightens.

     b. Front shoulder shrugs upward, while back shoulder and elbow drive downward (hands, while staying behind back shoulder, present a flat bat as the body is turning to address the pitched ball).

      c. Back bent-knee drives forward and down, as hips turn rapidly.

      d. The shoulders follow the hips in rapid succession with arms extending through the contact of the ball.

5. From contact, through the straightening of arms, through the follow through, the shoulders are continuously flowing, until they (shoulders) have changed position (back to front and vice-versa).

Consistency in batting effectiveness (efficiency in striking a baseball) has never been more highly demonstrated than by Barry Bonds, in the 2001season, as well as in 2002 – 2004. Throughout his Major League career, accolades were heaped upon him for what seemed like a remarkable consistency for slugging the ball better than anyone else, at least in the 1990s and the first part of the new millenium.

The only area of his batting regimen, from which there is a conceivable margin of error, appears, to this observer, in what he did in the on-deck circle. It is there that he seemed to prep his back shoulder and arm to perform in a manner that did not come into play during his swing in a live situation. This malpractice of swinging his leaded bat downward while accentuating the roll of the back shoulder and wrists was probably the reason why he incurred any negligible slump for which he had no explanation. The “muscle-memory” he had unwittingly developed prevented him from avoiding the turn-over hands and wrists that created top-spin bouncing balls and looping line drives, or swinging over the ball, any time he was out in front of the pitch. This condition didn’t manifest itself often, but when did, he could be assured that it stemmed from his antics in the on-deck circle. If he reduced or eliminated this margin of error, what would it have meant to his already marvelously productive batting technique?

Nolan Ryan is at the top of list of outstanding pitchers in Baseball history because of the ultimate use of proper “mechanics” that not only fostered the most economically sound use of his body to control and propel the baseball with maximum intent, but also secured an unusually long career. The critical factor in his masterful mounds-man-ship was the simple fact that he never straightened his pitching-arm as he began and continued the action through the course of his delivery. It wasn’t until after the forward momentum of the turning backside of the body catapulted the shoulder, bent-arm, and ball toward the plate that the arm began to straighten. At that point, the arm straightened and extended forward with the follow-through. The leverage that the bent arm provided diminished the weight imposed on the shoulder and elbow, thus fortifying their strength to implement function with speed, control and optimal force. The lighter the weight, the faster the shoulder would rotate, and the faster and more accurately controlled would be the ball as it leaves the hand of the pitcher whose total body mechanics are intact.

The only fallible aspect of Nolan Ryan’s delivery was his high front-leg kick as he began his delivery. It was wasted motion and compromised his status when a runner was on base. Runners could steal more easily because of the wasted and time-consuming movement. The move was wasteful because the foot had to come down to a low position before the forward body-drive began (which was really initiated by the back bent-knee, driving forward).

Many pitchers think that the momentum in coming-down contributes to the power drive. Actually it does nothing except waste energy that could be conserved for more practical use. It is hard to believe that Nolan could have been even more effective than he was.

Wouldn’t it be nice if every Big League organization had at its disposal an insightful view of the potential of most (if not all) of its players, and the critical discernment to evaluate and rectify the flaws that would detract from perfect performance?  Once it is established that the secret to success (even in sports) is not predicated on the predisposed, abundant abilities of the so-called “natural-ballplayer,” but in learned and assimilated techniques derived from principle, administrative scrutiny would no longer have to cater to the egotistical whims of selfish non-compliant players. The organizational “Farm Systems” could then legitimately become the fountains from which the Major League teams gather their prominent performers, instead of through trades and exorbitant free-agent bidding and spending.

Perfection is Not Only a Goal, But a Starting Point

Everyone would like to be perfect! Some individuals believe they are perfect! Others believe they can never be perfect. Yet others believe that perfection will come only in another (subsequent) life. But some occasionally become inspired to strive for the closest possible semblance of perfection — even though they instinctively assume that they will never attain its manifestation in their own human lifetime. Not everyone would like to go through the process of “becoming” perfect. What is it that would instigate the thought that perfection is indeed a possibility? What is it that would deprive anyone from contemplating the possibility of perfection? Was Jesus serious when he said, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in Heaven is perfect” (Matt. 5: 48)?

Human pragmatists are convinced that mortal existence is the reality of life. Mortal existence consists of a chronology of BIRTH, GROWTH, and DEATH. Therefore, such a perspective of life would approach the concept of perfection on the relative basis of materialistic determination. Perfect beauty would then be at the discretion of the physical senses of the individual beholder. Any entity would intimate a life of its own, with varying degrees of personal competence and status. A self-made-man would be an imaginary product of substance-less arrogance! How can a perfect man emanate from a state of helplessness?

“There is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding,” is a Bible verse from Job, 32: 8. If we can believe in a power greater than our own, and this power to be God, from whom we derive a semblance of His omnipotence, then we can begin to understand how it is possible for man to be perfect. But this perfection is not derived at from man’s sheer dependency on God. The man who, more than all other men, demonstrated his (and our) innate perfection, once made this statement: “I can of mine own self do nothing… I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father…”- (John 5:30)

Jesus reached a point, in what we call human existence, where his perfection was established in full view of imperfect humanity. Mortal eyes witnessed his extraordinary human capacity and accomplishments, but were unable to fully understand the means by which he was able to master those tendencies that seem to hold a mastery over the ordinary man. He seemed immune from the vices everyone else only willfully denied themselves with reluctance and self-justification. And his obvious virtue was more pronounced than even the most pious could comprehend, even to the point of ignorant denunciation. But most indignant to the moral and civic conceit of the age was his blatant disregard for contemporary laws of religion and physics, healing indiscriminately both the “spiritually depraved” and “genetically impaired.” It was too unnatural for someone to be “So Perfect.” Without peer equality, nor the prospect of emulation, how could human nature resist the temptation to envy, hate, covet, and destroy such a societal aberration?

What the ignorant masses didn’t realize about Jesus’ unassuming lofty status was that his perfection was actually the means to recognizing their own perfection. His teachings and demonstrations of Truth were simply illustrated for their benefit, through his astonishing healings and thought-provoking parables. When he was informing Nicodemus about “heavenly” entitlement (John 3: 13), he said, “And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.” He can not reach the kingdom of heaven unless he was first in the kingdom of heaven! When man attains the kingdom of heaven it will be after he realizes that he always was in the heavenly kingdom!

Those mortal inhabitants of earth who are personally enveloped within the “Adam Dream” are incarcerated by a consciousness of limited, finite capacity. That sounds a little like “Hell.” Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science, refers to heaven and hell as not really physical localities, but rather states of consciousness. In her textbook, Science and Health, with Key to the Scriptures, she explains, “Heaven is not a locality, but a divine state of Mind in which all the manifestations of Mind are harmonious and immortal, because sin is not there and man is found having no righteousness of his own, but in possession of the ‘mind of the Lord,’ as the Scripture says.” She defines hell as mortal belief. And on page 266 of Science and Health, she says, “The evil beliefs which originate in mortals are hell.”

Can a mortal, material man ever be perfect? No more than could a severed branch of a fruit tree exemplify its perfection in yielding an abundance of fruit! As the severed branch, by its separation from the source of its substance, will remain imperfect and ever-diminishing in its finite capacity, so will be any man whose mortal consciousness denies him of his infinite potential. Jesus’ illustrations of the “Vine and Branches” and “the Prodigal Son” define man’s true heritage and its eternal status of perfection.

Chapter15 of John’s Gospel elaborates on the essence of the Christ, and how it establishes an eternal connection for man to the substance of infinite Spirit—God. In the gospel of Luke, Chapter 11, Jesus’ message illustrates two aspects of man’s eternal perfection. In the parable of “Prodigal Son,” the younger of two sons separates himself from the cloistered environment of wealth and security. While he wanders aimlessly through the darkened corridors of materiality, he squanders “his substance with riotous living.” Before diminishing himself completely, he regains a consciousness of perfect being (with his father and family), and works his way back to where he originated (in perfection).

After the initial celebratory commencement, the older brother harbors some resentment about the reconciliation. But the father reminds him, “Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine.” He implied that the faithful “home-body” didn’t miss out on anything substantial by abiding in perpetual state of harmony. So, why harbor resentment toward the brother whose separation from “the vine” only caused himself anguish.

Earth was not the original home of the itinerant younger son, nor is it for us! Perfection (harmony—heaven) was and is his/her home and heritage. We have to repent (rethink) our lust (desire) to be an independent (free) entity. We have to recall our perfect state of being before we can return and experience it. These illustrations could shed new light on another of Jesus’ more perplexing statements: “The last shall be first, and the first, last,” – (Matt 20:16). The last is to the first, as the first is to the last. “That which is like unto itself is drawn.” – Law of Attraction, Abraham-Hicks

Inertia – Power from the Back of the Bus

force

Most elementary Science teachers will begin their instruction on the study of inertia with the application of its principle along with a frame of reference relative to the Newtonian laws of motion. Simply stated, inertia is the tendency of a body at rest, or in motion, to remain in that state unless disturbed by an external force. The common imagery used by teachers is that of a bus colliding head-on with an immovable object. If the bus is travelling at a speed of 100 MPH, and the object hit is truly immoveable, then the entire contents (unless securely fastened) at the back of the bus will explode forward at the speed of 100 MPH. Newton’s third law of motion helps to enhance the imagery by understanding that, “every action has an opposite and equal reaction.”

The principles governing the aforementioned laws have their applications in various aspects of our National Pastime. A casual observer would be hard pressed to notice the specific application of Physics in correlation to the areas of fielding and running, although we all know they are there. But with regard to batting and throwing, everyone has at least an inkling of an understanding that proper mechanical application of the subtle laws of physics has afforded certain individuals uncommon advantage over their less astute peers.
Raw strength is usually a great advantage one has over a player with noticeably less power. When both are equally adept in mechanical technique, then the stronger will always have the upper-hand. But if the less strong player has better mechanics, he is usually the more proficient batsman, even with regard to hitting for distance. Look at Joe Morgan, Ted Williams and Stan Musial compared to larger, more muscular players.
There are many facets to consider when establishing the proper mechanics for batting and throwing, but this essay will consider only how the “inertial principle” is applied, relative to the size and strength of individuals throwing and hitting a baseball. The forward movements of the bus and the body are not identical, but their accommodation to the Physics principle is similar enough to be of practical import. To be remembered is the additional fact that if the object struck by the bus is not totally immoveable, the degree to which the impact is defused will determine the actual speed of the objects thrown forward inside the bus ( if not securely fastened).
Newton’s equation, F=ma, is described as, the Force unleashed is equal to the mass (size, weight, and strength) times the speed of acceleration of the moving object. Therefore a bus and a motor-cycle hitting an immoveable object will not have the same force of impact. However, a rider on a motor-cycle and a rider on top of a bus, each travelling at a speed of 100 MPH, and each having a baseball in hand, toss the balls forward at 5 MPH. Both balls would travel at a speed 105 MPH.
So, how does a human-body generate the amount of force that is equal to the body’s mass times acceleration (F=ma) to throw and hit a baseball with maximum power?
In Baseball it is not uncommon to see a “little-guy” throw and hit a baseball as hard as does the “big-guy.” Although the “big-guy” might have more size and weight, he might not generate the same speed of acceleration as the “little-guy.” But in cases where the “big-guy” generates the same, or greater speed, the Force becomes uncontestable, and incomparable (Bo Jackson and Mark McQwire).
Although the speed of a thrown ball is important at all positions on the field, we will place maximum attention on the pitcher. Except for situations when a runner is on base, the pitcher can take his time and build increasing momentum before coming to the point where his front foot will plant firmly into the ground to form “the immoveable” foundation, from which the entire back-side of his body will be catapulted forward with tremendous force. The extent to which that foot secures the ground while the strength and speed with which the quadriceps muscle of its upper thigh contracts to straighten the entire leg and brace the hip-joint around which the back-side rotates to a frontal position before catapulting forward, determines the initial surge of force from the lower body.NolanRyan 13nolan-ryan 5Tanaka 22Billy_wagner 9Billy W.13
The instant before the front leg is completely straightened, the upper body is arched back and squared to the target while the throwing shoulder and arm are prepared to launch the ball. At that point, the front foot and leg exert their final burst of power, sending the backward arched torso into an explosive forward tumbling action which in turn catapults the outwardly rotated shoulder and corresponding bent arm to deliver the pitched ball with maximum force. If the entire throwing apparatus is precise, and throwing “mechanics” are applied correctly, but the front foot plant is not presented as “immoveable,” but gives way, then the amount of Force to be generated is compromised and cannot attain “maximum” utility.
With regard to Hitting with power, the same principle is involved, the front-foot plant. But the big difference is in the manner in which the second surge of power is administered. During the first stage, the front foot secures the ground (foot pointed 120 degrees to the pitcher-to reduce ankle or knee sprain), with knee slightly bent. The back bent-leg and the front leg work synergistically at this point to induce a rapid turnstile hip-action that concludes with the front leg straightening forcefully as the back bent-knee provides the forward momentum of its backside by the contractual pulling of the groin and “butt” muscles.BarryBonds_bat flatBarry Bonds 42001-10-05-bonds homerun-follow throughC.Davis 6Chris Davis 2
While the front leg is in the process of straightening, the second phase of power has begun with the twisting-torque action of the “Oblique” core-group of muscles as well the entire lower torso. As the shoulders and upper torso are concluding the swing and the bat is ready to contact the ball, the front leg has completely straightened, providing that “immoveable” barrier from which the entire back-side has provided maximum force with which the bat can make contact with the ball.    
 The front foot secures the ground with such force from the straightening front leg that the front hip is being forced open as the back hip is driven forward with equipollence by the aid of a forward driving back bent-knee. If performed properly, the vertical axis of spine and upper body remains constant while the hips are rotating along a consistent horizontal plane. The angle formed, by a diagonal front leg and an upper body and head, as the swing is commencing and concluding is usually 180 degrees or slightly less.
The “turnstile” action of the batter’s swing allows the vertical axis of the body to remain intact, which facilitates the least amount of head movement. The less head movement, the better the batter can detect the nuances of the speeding ball!
Mark McGwire 6Mark McGwire 5
A 450-foot drive, off a well-attuned swing from Mark McGwire, or any good power-hitter, gives reason to applaud a magnificent stroke. But, how is it that they sometimes hit a prodigious “shot” of 500 feet or more? When you really live up to that favorite expression of batters, “I got it all,” your bat made contact with the ball while the body was turning through the swing with the vertical axis intact!  The centripetal force provided by the stable position of the vertical axis produces the powerful centrifugal force, which magnifies the power elicited by the turning hips and shoulders. All of this is predicated on the “front-foot plant” that provides the “immoveable wall” from which all the power is transferred from the “back of the Bus.”
Anecdotal Note:
1.      The Best, and most consistent, means for applying the “front foot plant” is for the batter to refrain from taking a stride. Simply, but forcefully, apply quick and powerful pressure to the front foot and leg to initiate the swing – Least margin for error.
2.      Those batters who incorrectly assume that they need a stride, or high knee kick to initiate their swings will unwittingly compromise the proficiency of their foot plants when good pitchers easily offset their timing with off-speed pitches – greater  margin for  error.