Monthly Archives: May 2014

The Designated-Hitter is the Only Way to Go!

Many compelling arguments have arrayed the sports pages throughout the years both for and against the continuation of the 1973 baseball rule that allows a “designated” player to officially bat for the pitcher every time it became his turn to be the hitter. It is hard to imagine why the subject of the “Designated-Hitter” is so controversial, especially to any logical, rational-thinking, baseball-loving person.  The Pitcher is the hardest worker on the field! Let him focus on his primary job by letting him rest when his turn to bat comes up.In a not so recent game with the Arizona Diamondbacks hosting Los Angeles Dodgers, all the commentators were ruefully speaking about how Dan Haran’s scoring run from First Base to Home affected his pitching dramatically for the rest of the game.

Although Major League baseball has made some big changes that have obviously improved its image from a too conservative, slowly played, slow to respond to clientele-based needs, and slow to evolve with changing times attitude, it could stand to improve itself in other areas. It’s hard to dispute the success of the theatrical nuances that seem to have brought a different type or quality of clientele into the ballpark, (new, expensive stadiums, luxury boxes for the financial elite, extravagant dining facilities, diverse vending operations, and an exterior, cosmetic elegance). However, more attention, by Baseball Organizers, should be concentrated on the rules that regulate play, specifically the “Designated Hitter” (as well the “Bean-Ball”-3/19/15 & 4/21/15). Many people balked at the more recent ideas to change the format for the pennant races, and inter-league play. But those changes have boosted gate receipts and proved more exciting for fans throughout the country than possibly could have been imagined by most of the “dinosaurs” of the “old-school” of Baseball thinkers. Now, of course, everyone’s on that bandwagon.

The National League needs to get rid of its “die-hard” advocates, who insist that the American League’s innovative genius to inspire the introduction of the designated hitter is but a sham on the game’s integrity. The D.H. was the first solid attempt by Baseball to get rid of any superficial or perfunctory aspects of a game whose otherwise proud and purposeful intent was being undermined. The National League “Dinosaurs” continue to insist that the D.H. removes a distinct strategy that is integral to the Sport’s identity. All it does is remove a “little-skilled” or “no-skilled” hitter for a competent one, thus allowing for more competency where it is appreciated by all observers of the game. A pitcher (now-a-days) can’t even bunt properly, and stands a good chance of smashing a finger, or two. Why run the risk? Ask Kevin Brown if he would rather have had someone batting for him when he smashed his fingers and couldn’t pitch for a good while. Or A. J. Burnett whose right eye might have given solid testimonyBurnetthitinface, and any of the others who have pulled hamstrings while running bases, when they could have been resting comfortably while mentally preparing to pitch the next inning? It doesn’t take an Einstein to figure out the logical, and rationally sound alternative to a pitcher batting. And two of the more recent incident s with Giants’ Ryan Vogelsong breaking his hand while swinging at a pitched ball, and most recently  a “relief” pitcher (Santiago Casillas Casillas2) pulling a hamstring legging an infield out, thoroughly exacerbates an intelligent person’s perspective on what is meaningful in Baseball. Is it going to take a serious injury to Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke, or Stephen Strasberg, or their likes (Adam Wainwright for another)to finally come to the ultimate conclusion? I know that Kershaw, Strasberg, Greinke, Wainwright, and a few others think they have “batting prowess,” but their pitching is much more highly needed, without the risk of unnecessary injury.injured Pitcher (Wang) 1(C.- Ming Wang wishes he didn’t have to run the bases.)

Although the “DH” does force the pitcher on the mound to work a little harder, when he obviously would have accepted a respite from the challenge of the previous formidable eight batters, things even out since the pitcher can rest as the DH bats for him. The late innings’ penchant to remove a pitcher for a pinch-hitter is an offensive ploy whose importance is of minimum significance compared to the maximum benefits of the D.H. The “old guard” calls it strategy. It’s like the “Stall” that intelligent people of Basketball got rid of long ago. The extension of a “Great” hitter’s career as a D.H. is another reason for admiring the American League initiative. Babe Ruth hit three home runs in his final game, before he was virtually forced into retirement. photo posted on post-gazette.comJust think of what it would have done for the fan-base as well as the extension of personal, individual worth to such Hall- of- Famers like Ruth, Jimmy Fox, Ted Williams, Yogi Berra, and many others, to be able to continue their careers even while subjected to a somewhat limited fielding capacity, but still highly productive offensively. The whole process only improves the quality of team performance, and adds continually to the appreciative adulation of fans. Everyone benefits by innovation, even the stagnant thinker, once he accepts the inevitable aspects of positive change.

Coming Soon: Specificity of Movement, Preceded by Specific and Consistent Thought – Key to Successful Endeavor!

The “Tommy – John” Syndrome – What’s the Answer?

“A new name for an ailment affects people like a Parisian name for a novel garment. Every one hastens to get it.” These words were written in the late 19th century by Mary Baker Eddy, a highly astute meta-physician who keenly observed the prevalent trend of the medical profession, along with the unwitting press, to exacerbate legitimate attempts to “heal” by “…giving names to dis-ease and printing long descriptions which mirror images of disease distinctly in thought.” “…A minutely described disease costs many a man his earthly days of comfort.” “Many a hopeless case of disease is induced by a single post mortem examination, – not from infection nor from contact with material virus, but from the fear of the disease and from the image brought before the mind; it is a mental state, which is afterwards outlined on the body. We should master fear, instead of cultivating it. It was the ignorance of our forefathers, in the departments of knowledge now broadcast in the earth, that made them hardier than our trained physiologists…” Bob Feller1tommy-john2Tommy John 1New York Yankees In the “beginning” an older pitcher (the real Tommy John) whose 12 year career was quietly dissolving into mediocrity due to recurring elbow injuries decided to take on the role of “guinea-pig” in an experimental surgery by not-yet-eminent Orthopedic physician-surgeon, Dr. Frank Jobe. After his surgery, Tommy John pitched even more successfully for another 14 years. The “Ulnar-Collateral-Ligament” operation was henceforth named “Tommy John” surgery, after its Prototype. Since that initial 1974 operation, thousands of similar procedures have been performed on professional athletes (mostly baseball pitchers) as well as amateurs, and many a baseball career has lengthened. So, that is GOOD, from a therapeutic standpoint! But what can be done as a Primary preventive measure, since even “Tommy-John” is not 100% successful?

If you were privy to the “Round-Table” discussion sponsored by the MLB network, and hosted by Bob Costas, along with Jim Kaat, Tom Verducci, Drs. Andrews and Alchek, and Tom House, your attention was brought to a number of physiological points of perspective that clearly established the many facets of the dilemma now facing the Baseball Community, from the Major Leagues down through Sand-lots. Why has this dis-ease now become so prevalent amongst our young and most promising pitching prospects? And, can anything be done to eliminate or at least diminish accounts of this trend from continuing at such an awkward and “terrifying” pace?fernandez-jose1Jarod Parker1matt-moore-ucl-injury 1rondon1Pirate Pitcher1 The first line of defense against this seemingly insidious attack on the integrity of the Game of Baseball itself, as well as the integrity of the individual(s) directly afflicted by, or potentially vulnerable to, the otherwise debilitating nature of this career-ending physical impairment is to be “not afraid.”

When intelligent, well-intending, spokes-people imply that the game must somehow be restricted in various ways in order to protect “enthusiastic-youth” from their ignorance of predatory aspects of their “favorite game,” “FEAR” is at least temporarily holding preponderance over the better judgment to be afforded. Lowering the mound, or pitching on “flat-ground,” playing other sports, taking a few months off, all or any for the purpose diminishing the prospect of shoulder and elbow injury seems analogous to “burning down the barn to get rid of rats”! There is however reason to applaud the idea that anyone (youngster or adult) attempting to become a “Pitcher” should focus on the proper technique for throwing a ball accurately with as much velocity as the natural, smooth, mechanical motion of the entire body-arm continuum would allow. (Any attempt to accelerate body growth and development with premature muscular enhancement only endangers the physical infra-structure of ligaments and tendons, as seen in careless and illegal steroid use.)

The following exegesis comes from Chapter Two of my Book, The Principle of Baseball – And All There is to Know about Hitting.

Throwing a Baseball

Nothing happens in a baseball game until after the first pitch is thrown. Throwing a baseball then seems to be a very important part of the game. In fact, Pitchers (and Power-Hitters) are considered to be the most prominent characters in the game. The ability to throw the ball hard and far evokes a mythical aggrandizement from which legends are made. What is it that enables one individual to throw harder and farther than another? Are some people blessed with natural ability to throw better than others? It’s hard to say when and how an individual developed certain physical characteristics associated with strength, or whether he acquired some unusual pre-natal condition that facilitated an accentuated leverage point to produce a greater aptitude for throwing! But two things are certain: it has been observed countless times, that the seemingly “gifted” athlete cannot reach his/her full potential unless the proper body-mechanics are employed; and the “not-so-gifted” sometimes attains a higher level of success with intellectual astuteness and the utilization of proper body-mechanics. It is common to evaluate a player’s throwing ability by saying, “. . . he/she has a strong or weak arm.” It is incorrect, though, to assume that the power of the throw is determined by the strength of the arm. The main power source for throwing is the “Body.” The arm provides only a fraction of the power. From the coordinated precision of the movement from the feet to legs, to hips, to torso, to shoulders, to arm(s), elbow, wrist, hand, and fingers is the ultimate power registered in the “perfect throw.” Japan v Australia - WBC 2013 FriendlyTanaka 4NolanRyan 13Tanaka 2Tanaka 24Obviously, the player with the stronger body and arm, who applies the mechanics perfectly, will be more effective than the weaker player. Also, not generally observed is the fact that, in throwing a baseball effectively, a principle law of physics always comes into play, namely, “. . . every action has an opposite and equal reaction.” If a player is right-handed, to be totally effective, he must use the left side of his body with the same intensity as he does the right, while performing the throw. This will enhance the power, as well as help secure balance with the proper follow-through. This application is analogous to that which a Karate Master invokes to maximize the power of a “strike” or “punch.” The force exerted backward(in “turnstile” fashion), by the front side of the body, not only accentuates the forward movement of the backside, but magnifies it, adding considerable power to the throw. (The same principle is expressed in swinging the bat.) The stronger the body the greater the possibility for a strong throw, as long as the application of the proper mechanics for movement of shoulder(s) and arm come into play. Unfortunately, the stronger the body, the greater is the opportunity for injury to the shoulder and arm if the application of proper mechanics is not enforced. darren driefort 1If the power generated by the body is complete, the torque action of the twisting hips and torso could be too great for a shoulder and arm ill prepared to deliver the final dimension of the throw. If the shoulder is not locked into a position of stability, to launch the (bent) arm and that (5-ounce) ball forward at the precise time, the strain of having transported the spherical object from the point of origin to destination could have a deleterious effect on the accompanying extremities. The weight of a 5-ounce object doesn’t seem like it should have any major affect on the throwing apparatus of a strong, well-conditioned athlete. But if you think about the strain one feels in his shoulders, while merely extending the arms outwardly, away from the body, and sustaining that position for a period of time, you could see how any additional weight would accentuate the strain. Even more stress would be added, if you realize the extra force exerted on “those joints,” by the weight of the moving arm and ball.d.dreifort 7d.dreifort 8tommy-john2 “The farther away the ball moves from the body, as the arm is preparing to throw it, the heavier the weight will be to the strain of the shoulder (and elbow).” As the ball is being prepared for its launch from the thrower’s hand it should remain as close as possible to the “Body-Proper,” while the arm is “whipping” itself to the forward thrusting position. (Nolan Ryan and M. Tanaka are the best exponents of this “principle.”)

Nolan Ryan 2Masahiro+Tanaka 16C.Schilling 12Randy J 15 It has been accurately stated that the best of throwers has an arm delivery of the ball that resembles the action of a fast moving whip. To acquire the “correct” type of “whip-action” arm movement, the thrower must proceed with the following arm sequence, after the ball is taken out of the glove (presuming the arm is in a bent position as the hand and ball come out of the glove). The back and middle of the shoulder (posterior and lateral parts of deltoid muscle, specifically) Deltoid_muscle_animation4brings the hand and ball from the glove, prominently displaying the bent elbow, with the hand and ball apparently hanging below momentarily, just above the back hip. Nolan Ryan 2Masahiro-Tanaka 3(Incidentally, the thrower’s position at this point looks similar to that of a person holding a bucket of water by the handle, and has just lifted it upward along the side of his body.) As the thrower moves sideways toward the “target,” a low center of gravity presents his body as in a low sitting position. As the front foot plants (toes pointed to-ward the target), the hips and torso begin to turn with the help of the bent front leg that is in the process of straightening.Tanaka 15Nolan Ryan 8 The backside (hip and torso) gains momentum from the back leg, with its pulling bent knee and pivoting foot. The throwing shoulder quickly rotates outwardly, to force its bent arm to bring the hand and ball upward, slightly above the shoulder. At this point, the muscles of the outwardly-rotated shoulder contract quickly (without hesitation), along with those of the entire upper body.nolan-ryan 5 As the shoulder thrust is completing its full range of rolling-forward-motion(anterior deltoid), the arm quickly extends TANAKA 31200px-Nolan_Ryan_17Billy_wagner 9forwardly as forearm is in full pronation (not sidewaysNew York Yankees), as the wrist snaps the fingers through the center of the ball (fingers straight, perpendicular to the ground) at the point of release. The coordinated action of the entire body (right and left sides) provides the power for the correct arm movements to occur rapidly (and safely), and thus sustain a whip-like action(where elbow never snaps closed – Billy W. 19) to move through the “throw” like a wave of tremendous force. END                 

It is not to say that anyone following the correct throwing procedure, as described above, will be assured of never having to incur “Tommy – John” surgery, for there are many factors involved, any of which could subject a player to vulnerability. Lack of muscle-conditioning, over-conditioning, inappropriate training techniques, misunderstanding of how to enhance power, strength, endurance, and application of skills of “specificity” regarding the game of baseball all come into play when evaluating the safest way to procure a long and illustrious career, as a pitcher or any fielding position. You can’t have “flabby” muscles and expect them to be able to contract quickly and with power to facilitate movement for optimal proficiency on the professional baseball field. But excessive weight-training for baseball seems equally inappropriate to facilitate the actions needed on a baseball field. Why would a pitcher need to “Bench-press” in excess of 100 lbs., or “curl” more than 10 or 15 lbs when the ball he is expected to have mastery over weighs but 5 ounces? (The standard for extreme “Pitcher-Workouts” used to be Nolan Ryan, and I never saw a video of him working with more than 6-8 lb. “dumbbells”.)

When Kevin Brown Getty Images ArchiveK.Brown4took the San Diego Padres to the World Series, he was a well-conditioned athlete-pitcher whose arm and body were so fluid that he exuded a particularly anatomical freedom as his live, moving fast-ball flowed almost effortlessly from his flawless delivery. After “Free-agency,” the next time I saw him he had a chiseled look of statuesque proportions with which he never again threw with his former magnificence. K.brown1KevinBrownSports6

When Mohammed Ali worked out, he simply simulated the movements of his Trade, but with the intention of developing his muscles to move more quickly and powerfully with repetitious actions that naturally increased muscular strength to increase speed and stamina. Cassius Clay 1Cassius Clay training in a pool at the Sir John Hotel in Miami, 1961Cassius Clay training in a pool at the Sir John Hotel in Miami, 1961C. Clay7

All Satchel Paige did to stay in shape and to maintain his physical condition to perfect his “Craft” was “Throw,” Satchel Paige throwing 1Satchel Paige throwing2 and didn’t let any wrong thinking affect his “positive attitude” about himself and his functionality.49-Satchel-Paige5Satchel Paige1RuQuotation-Satchel-Paige-running3Quotation-Satchel-Paige2 “Funny what a few No-hitters do for a Body.”

The best conditioning methods for any baseball player is simply to simulate the movements that he would perform during the course of a game. But after the initial “warm-up” period, simulate those movements rigorously, at full speed, and perfectly, with thoughtful intention. Jogging laps does not promote proficiency for your “craft” – practice sprinting (even pitchers – for explosive intent). Players who pull hamstring muscles do so because their muscles have lost their sense of former proficiency. They forgot how to contract for the given task, then strain to accommodate the immediate need.

Advocates and critics of the training “tool” known as “Long-Toss” have reason to speculate on the propriety of the activity. If the intent of the “thrower” (pitcher or “…fielder”) is merely to test or enhance the strength of his “arm” by lofting the ball 400 feet, 11th IAAF World Athletics Championships: Day Seventhen critics are justified because there is no purposeful intent in such action, especially if it is repeated continuously. IF a pitcher (and even an Out-fielder) repeats such body and arm action countless times before a game (or even days before he is actually pitching) how does he expect to re-train his body and arm to function optimally when “it counts” under crucial game conditions.

A pitcher can exceed his normal 55 to 60 feet throwing distance when “training” as long as his “release-point” and body-alignment are at least close to that with which he delivers the ball to the plate. A good technique when either the pitcher or fielder “needs” a longer distance to accommodate his “psyche” is to accept the “one-bounce” principle instead of throwing the complete distance in the air. Repeated throwing with a high arc produces a body and arm action that induces a last second power-thrust of the elbow joint because the shoulder usually has reached its maximum range of motion – thus possibly presenting a vulnerability factor to the “Ulnar-Collateral-Ligament,” whose stability of the elbow is always jeopardized when “Pronation” and extension of the arm occur in such abrupt fashion. When pronation occurs after the arm has extended, then the elbow falls into “double-jeopardy” because the fore-arm and wrist are acting more independently than if the shoulder and triceps were actively assisting the power-flow. Tennis players are particularly vulnerable because the striking point is high in order to accommodate an acute descending plane of the ball.


pronation-tennis-serve1tennis-serve2Atlanta Tennis Championships - Day 5tennis-serve5 (Incidentally, Roger Federer’s follow-through is unquestionable.)


Can anyone notice the peculiar habits that are a common characteristic   of those who are most susceptible to incur shoulder or “Tommy-John” surgery? tennis-serve2Pirate Pitcher1rondon1Jarod Parker1New York Yankeestommy-john2matt-moore-ucl-injury 1darren driefort 1


The “Specificity of Motion-Movement” Principle is probably the best policy to practice if any pitcher or fielder would want to train his body and arm properly and condition them to sustain the physical and mental well-being during a Baseball career.

Coming Soon: The D.H. is the Only Way to Go!

Who was the Greatest Hitter?

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According to contemporary Baseball thinking, the “good hitter” is a batter who waits patiently for a pitcher to make a mistake (put the ball where he doesn’t want to—where he knows the batter is most capable of hitting it), and capitalizes on it, and effectively hits the ball with authority at least 2.72 times out of 10 at-bats. To me, there are many ways to be a “good” hitter, but only one way to be a “Great” hitter. The good hitter will wait and hopefully hit the pitcher’s mistake. The great hitter will be able to hit the pitcher’s best pitch.

Since the current standard for being a good hitter is so low, then it might be well to presume that the standard for “perfection” is not or cannot be what a dictionary definition of perfection might imply. In Baseball, there is not an example of Ultimate Perfection. But under guidelines for what is defined as Penultimate, we can estimate the ultimate potential of those who might be the closest to perfection.


Astute analytical research on the topic of “The most productive means for becoming a most proficient Bats-man,” would have to begin with a visionary outline of what might be considered the various degrees of observable competence and perhaps the underlying characteristics (if any) of the ultimate form of excellence. Then, perhaps an elaboration of those varying degrees (with examples and illustrations) could describe the characteristics of each, and establish a platform for any prospective high achiever to undertake advancement toward that Ultimate goal.

Such a research paper might proceed as follows: (From my essay, “Four Dimensions of Bats-man-ship”)

Mastery of Bats-man-ship

l. Four Degrees (Dimensions) of Competence:

Fourth Degree – Ultimate Dimension

Third  Degree – Penultimate Dimension

Second Degree – Scientific Dimension

First Degree – “Phenomenality” Dimension

For our purposes, I will elaborate on the 3rd and 4th degrees (since I’ve spoken enough on the 2nd and 1st degrees.

ll. Definition and Examples of 4th and 3rd Dimensions of Bats-man-ship:

A. Ultimate Dimension – A Spiritual dimension is the fundamental basis from which to build any endearing structure that will ultimately glorify the source rather than the effect of meritorious and magnificent display. The bats-man of the ultimate degree would be capable of hitting the ball squarely every time he swung his bat. Perfect application of a perfect principle probably sounds impossible, improbable, or at least over-imaginable. But, “Seek first the kingdom of Good and Its righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.”(Matt. 6:33) No mortal has yet demonstrated the competency that would exemplify ultimate bats-man-ship because mortal thought is incapable of comprehending and extending the probable components necessary to manifest the ultimate bats-man.

B. Penultimate Dimension – Highest Human demonstration of the scientifically artistic display of bats-man-ship does not quite reach the level of perfection for which all batters (consciously and unconsciously) strive in vain. The last man to hit .400 was almost considered a god for what was considered a batting average as close as one can get to perfection, with an efficiency rating that barely exceeded 40%. By attaining a “hit” in only 4 of 10 at-bats, Ted Williams was unsuccessful more often than he was successful, but still considered (by most) the greatest hitter in Baseball history.

His attempts at combining scientific understanding to his prominent physical endowment and artistry were seminal to a new wave of expanding thought, but were in no way conclusive to those who were to behold the first rays of his enlightened approach to hitting a baseball. And because his scientific inquiry did not have the benefit of modern technological scrutiny (video, slow-motion replay), as well as not taking into account every single aspect of the “batting-pitching” condition, he and others gleaned little from his merely intuitive but speculative hypotheses.

Technical flaws (although understandable now) prevented his progressive steps to the “gate” and possible entry into the realm of the “Ultimate” dimension.  “Among them that are born of woman, none was greater than (Ted Williams) John the Baptist: not withstanding he that is least in the “Vortex” of heaven is greater than he.” (Matt. 11:11)

lll. Description: Ultimate Dimension – In the realm of mortal consciousness this dimension is non-existent. It only exists in the hopes and dreams of those whose childlike rebuke of the cold conventionality of human imperfection would stand in defiance to the claims of those stagnant horizons of self-imposed “status quo.” As the image and likeness of something greater than a vainglorious adulation of individual self-aggrandizement, he that would be capable of climbing to the supreme heights of ultimate bats-man-ship is one who is least fraught with a sense of personal prowess. Anyone aspiring to such a self-sacrificing commitment to nothing less than a Divine Principle has the only hope of attaining the grandest height of proficiency, for himself and those who would follow his example.

To “believe assuredly” is to have absolute faith in a proven principle. On the human level it’s hard to find an “Absolute” for which to have an absolute-faith. The True consciousness, in all of us, can discern the correct path to take, the right doctrine to espouse, and the most plausibly scientific way to hit a baseball. Could anyone besides a “Jesus” bat 1.000?

lV. Description: Penultimate Dimension – That chrysalis state from which an earnest achiever would merge into the ultimate of highest batting proficiency is obviously the closest step to perfection. If batting perfection is impossible on the human level, then would it not behoove any semblance of mankind to strive for a suitable facsimile thereof, to a level as close as possible to that ideal, instead of stagnating at the miry depth of conformity to the sub-.400 range of hitting a baseball.

If all reading this paper were in agreement with a collective goal of developing the highest possible batting proficiency at this level, then where must we begin to explore this nebulous realm of Penultimate dimension?

Taking the advice of Aristotle and the inspired Scribe of Psalms, is it possible to extrapolate, from the collective archival achievements of Baseball’s most formidable hitters, a hint of productive principle from which to glean a promising standard for enhanced batting efficiency?

Thoughtful consideration of a good many aspects of the entire batting regimen must be understood and applied conscientiously, in order for maximum proficiency to be demonstrated. The question has been, and might always persist. What is the proper regimen for establishing a technique that will procure the consistent, maximum effect while hitting a baseball? Many have theorized about the prospect, but only a handful have established credibility through their practical applications. But, of these, the closest to extracting a complete and understandable facsimile of truth has been Mr. Ted Williams, who happened to be the last Major League player to bat .400 over the course of an entire season.

Although Mr. Williams was nearly perfect in his understanding and application of the principles governing the absolute definition of batting prominence, he was not altogether unflawed in his actual approach to its impeccable demonstration. The closest exponent of the perfect batting technique was Barry Bonds. He, in obvious ways, superseded the brilliance that Ted Williams embodied. (The only thing difficult to decipher was whether or not he was conscious of his pre-eminent status as a pure extrapolation of principle. Or was he subject to faltering, due to his misrepresentation of the “Power-Principle” with an unsuitable penchant for the illusory enhancement of chemically induced stimulation?)

If Albert Einstein were a sports enthusiast, he’d probably not agree specifically with the Ted Williams statement that “hitting a baseball is the single-most difficult thing to do in all of sports.” He’d probably say that, “hitting a baseball for a home-run is the single-most difficult thing to do in all of sports.” To hit a home run, a batter has to be almost perfect in his application of the “the laws of physics” with regard to the mechanics of swinging a baseball bat with precision and power. To be a consistent home-run hitter the batter must also have an understanding of all the elements that are included in the dynamics of hitting a home run. (“Principle is absolute. It admits of no error, but rests upon understanding.” – Mary B. Eddy)

The “Home-Run Principle” is a formula that will explain the mechanics of hitting a home-run, not with complicated mathematical equations, but rather in terms of the simplicity that Einstein discovered in his “Relativity” theories as well as his Photo-Electric Effect which gave birth to the rationale for “Quantum Physics.” Theoretically, it is possible to hit a home run every time a batter swings his bat at a baseball. However, as Einstein and others have found, through Quantum Mechanics, when trying to establish the essence of matter, “at the fundamental levels, causation is a matter of statistical probabilities, not certainties.” Therefore, with all the elements and combinations of variables with which a batter has to deal, from within and from without himself, the “uncertainty principle” gives compelling testimony that mastering the “Rubik’s cube” of hitting a home run every time is highly improbable. However, the knowledge itself, of such feasibility, enhances the statistical probability of success.

Barry Bonds was capable of hitting in excess of 100 home runs and batting .400 or more, because he was closer to flawless technique than anyone who had ever played the game. His strength was incontestable, his athletic ability was indisputable, his timing was impeccable, and his stance, approach to the ball, and fluid mechanics were incomparable. In the few areas in which Ted Williams was lacking, Mr. Bonds was prolific. His only slight deficiency seemed to be in the realm of the mental accountability, which manifests itself physically at certain, momentary slumps.

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

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

2. He limited the movement of his head and eyes in his stride.

3. He waited patiently for the ball to get to him.

4. When the ball did get to his hitting zone, 4 things happened simultaneously:

a. The front foot planted quickly and firmly as front leg straightened.

b. Front shoulder shrugged upward, while back elbow drove downward.

c. Back bent knee drove forward and down, as hips turned rapidly.

d. The shoulders followed 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 were continuously flowing, until they (shoulders) had changed position (back to front and vice-versa).

Consistency in Batting effectiveness (Home Run proficiency) has never been more highly demonstrated than by Barry Bonds, in the 2001season, when he set what seems an insurmountable record, for any one but Barry Bonds himself. And, in 2002, he won his first (of what should have been many) “Batting Crown.” His extra power has catapulted him to a higher level than had been previously thought possible. When he wasn’t quite so strong, his drives were careening off the walls instead of sailing over the fences. Can he, or anyone else, get any stronger? And /or, is there anyone else smart enough to figure out how to duplicate his technique? “Truth is revealed! It needs only to be practiced.” – M. B. E.


Here are some fundamental questions to ponder when embarking on a true evaluation of proper hitting technique:

1. What is the relationship of the direction and flight-angle of the ball thrown by the pitcher with respect to the opposite direction of the angle of the swinging bat and the force it exerts?

Unless a pitcher bends over, and down below a critical horizontal plane, and tosses the ball on a deliberately upward trajectory, every thrown pitch (100% of the time) is travelling in a descending line (or arc). It has been proven that even a Nolan Ryan fastball moves in a downward trajectory. Gravity and the fact that the pitcher is standing at least 10 inches above the plane of the batter and Home Plate are the two primary reasons.

2. Is it logical to develop, and/or teach-learn, the body – mechanics that facilitate a swinging bat to move downward to strike at a downward-moving ball? This would seem, at the least, counter-productive for effective “Bats-man-ship.” “Back-spin,” will be more effectively produced by a bat whose solid and direct contact is at a point just below the center of the ball.

3. Does not every “Speed-Gun” register the fastest speed of a pitch at the point closest to pitcher’s release of the ball? Hitting a baseball most effectively is determined by fractions of inches. Lunging forward, to hit a ball 2 or 3 feet in front of home plate, places the batter closer to the ball’s faster speed.

4. Does not the better hitter benefit significantly by keeping his head stationary as the body rotates through the swing?

Lunging out at the ball in front of the plate has a tendency to distort the batter’s perception of the ball because the lunge creates excessive movement of the head, which houses the visual mechanism.

5. Does the strength of the swing come from the stride, forward lunge of the body, and extension of the arms? Or does it come from the rapid and controlled rotary transfer of weight that occurs after the front foot plants and the front knee begins straightening to help force the front hip backwards to allow the back hip to move quickly forward, with a turning bent back leg?Mark McGwire 6BarryBonds_bat flat

No one besides Mark McGwire (in 1998) positioned himself more majestically at the plate than Barry Bonds in 2001, 2002, 2003, and 2004seasons. Except for an extra 25-30 pounds of muscle weight, he looked as he always had, confident and supremely equipped to handle any type of ball the pitcher could throw.

As the pitch was delivered, his front foot strode forward, ever so slightly so as to maintain maximum visual acuity. His body gradually leaned over and down so he could maximized his perspective on a ball that he intuitively knew was traveling in a descending line or arc. With his front shoulder down and in, and his back elbow up, he waited until the last possible instant, while his hands rhythmically lowered his bat slightly below his waist and backward, then pushed down, hard, on his front foot, from which began the strong and rapid straightening of the front leg.

This action initiated the quick and powerful turning of the front hip, backwards, which automatically started the back hip forward with the assistance of the back bent-knee. At the same time that the lower body was administering its function, the right shoulder was instigating the preliminary movement to initiate the swinging of the bat.Barry Bonds 1

After the front foot-plant(at an angle of 120 degrees to the pitcher), the front shoulder, at its precise cue, “shrugs” upward, securing the shoulder girdle while maintaining a head and eyes that are completely still, focusing on the ball. The “shrug” creates the opportunity for the back shoulder to follow its natural downward thrust to initiate the action of the back elbow to drive forward. At this point, the hands have locked the wrists into place, from their previous swaggering momentum, and the entire body continues on its course, with the arms and bat trailing in a slightly upward direction to meet the ball at an angle of close to 180 degrees. The consistency of his bat meeting the ball at close to 180 degrees accounts for the fact that most of his Home Runs were carried on a trajectory of a high “line-drive.” The “Scientific-Art” of hitting a baseball certainly could be defined 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.)

No one in history had a more scientifically correct style for hitting a baseball than Barry Bonds. IF he had not unlawfully attempted to usurp the most glorious of crowns artificially, his higher understanding and application of the “Perfect Principle” would have attained it naturally.

Barry Bonds 3th bonds - contact 2Barry Bonds 8

The scientifically minded “artist-of-the-bat” should understand and adhere strictly to the rules of his mental-physical application, and rest his performance on this sure foundation. He should hold his thought perpetually to the idea that his natural talent and indisputable scientific certainty can and will evoke from Principle the rule for mastering the most difficult task in all of sports.

Coming Soon: Throw Properly – Avoid “Tommy John”!

To Think, or not to Think?

O noble Shakespeare,shakespeare-5shakespeare-8Shakespeare 6

Thine own thinking is thus incomplete! “Truth is Affirmative…”—M.B.E.

Thinking, aroused by perceptive thought, catalyzes a

Good or bad impulse of an enlightened or darkened sense

To stimulate, from either shallow or faithful depths,

Belief that nurtures without or with substance the

Seedling that will of itself be approved as either Good or bad

In its own fruitless or fruitful countenance.

Coming soon: Part 4 of “A Thinking Man’s Game.”Barry&Tedshakespeare 10 W.S.

Thinking Is; or Is it Not?

Einstein 2


THINKING the conscious application of

Unceasing Prayer, initiated by the curious Observation of a thing Whose origin and Unaccountable presence elicits the Wisdom That Omniscient Understanding disperses

To the ears and eyes of those who seek to Know?

“Ye shall Know the Truth and the Truth shall make you free.”—Jesus

Thinking cannot change the strong current emanating from Good.

Good thoughts conceive in Mind, and the Idea germinating in that

Original conception manifests itself to be perceived.

Upon perception, Thinking cognizes things, and resolves them into

Thoughts, either as objects of sense or Ideas of Soul.

As objects of sense, presumably they can be perceived as either

Good or bad; but as Ideas of Soul, they are Known only for their

Good Essence.Baseball - Jesus


Coming: To Think, or Not to Think?

Thinking Is!


“There is nothing good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”—Shakespeare


THINKING an interacting network of random thoughts,

The accumulation and utilization of which

Are combined in uninspired pattern and sequence

To form concepts whose ideas make manifest temporal

Entities about which to initiate beliefs by which

Moderate to absolute Faith create mental and

Physical expressions that are eventually cognized

By the senses, and ultimately interpreted, then

Repented upon for the purpose of higher and

Greater reflection of Spiritual reality — Truth?

Coming: “…or is It not?”

PART 3: A Tribute to a Legendary Master of the Art of Bats-man-ship

   Belated Farewell to a Real Legend of “Game”


Ted Williams passed -away on July 5th, 2002, but the memory of this “Legend” will not die!

To be a great hitter in Major League baseball, it doesn’t hurt to have the visual acuity of one in 200,000 people. It is purported that Ted Williams had that kind visual advantage over his colleagues. Legend would have it that Ted saw the ball coming before it left the umpire’s pouch.

But if he had the greatest eyesight in the world, and didn’t put much thought behind the action of his swing, he would have been a “decent hitter” at best. Unlike Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, and scores of other legendary ballplayers, Ted Williams didn’t just take his natural talent into the batter’s box and proceed to bash away at every “good-enough” pitch his bat could reach. He let his thought about the science of hitting a baseball precede his footsteps into that rarefied cubicle of variable distinction.

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 quickly “put in order” to be a proficient “hitter.”

It takes physical strength, flexibility, quickness, and timing as well as the mental attributes of courage, confidence, determination, and fortitude for even the least skilled professional to “stand-in” against a 95mph fastball, or 85+ slider. When you add in all the off-speed multiples, you wonder why the Defense Department doesn’t make “Batting 444″ a pre-requisite for the highest combat-training courses. (No wonder Ted was successful in the military)

The “best hitter” is not merely one who makes solid contact with the ball. But rather, he is a batter whose body mechanics facilitate the action of the swinging bat to contact the ball at an angle that provides for a straight (non-hooking or slicing) and ascending “line-drive.” The “Art” of hitting a baseball certainly could be defined 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.”

Ted Williams was probably the epitome of the “Ideal-Hitter.” I don’t think that he was ever in a “slump” because he always knew what he had to do, or was supposed to, and what his body was actually doing, to hit the ball properly (or improperly). He approached “hitting” from a scientific standpoint. Therefore, it wasn’t so much how he felt at the plate. It was how well he was following his understood principle that determined the outcome of his stroke, in most of his batting situations.

To watch Ted at the plate one would become aware of the fact that the act of hitting a baseball efficiently is both an “Art” and a “Science.” Those who demonstrate a high degree of talent in any of the various art forms could easily be described as “artists.” 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. (Leonardo da Vinci comes to mind.)Therefore, hitting a baseball most effectively would have to be construed as both an Art and a Science. And that is why it would be easy to remember this “Master of the Bat” for his scientific artistry in hitting a baseball.T. Williams - Science 3si_ted-williams-science-2Ted Williams' chart

When a pitched ball approached the area of home plate that coincided with the coordinates determining the flight pattern of Ted’s bat, the poetic beauty of rhythm and timing of his majestic swing reflected an incomparable synergy that resounded with an impact of a solid communication. TedWilliamsShortSwing2Bat united with ball for a brief moment to echo a glorified exuberance that resonated throughout the ballpark to sustain an illustrious piece of bats-man-ship. From the beginning of “gathering” body momentum, to the point where hickory and leather ignited a hint of scorching scent, the culmination of which transpired to a distinctively magnificent follow-through, the subjugated projectile took flight most often on a trajectory close to 180degrees (and climbing). (To hit the ball in any other manner would be to miss-hit it, and therefore denigrate any true artistic and scientific confluence).

Farewell Ted! But you’ll be long remembered by all appreciative aficionados of artistic display as well as those aspiring artists who might consider upgrading to your scientific level of thinking, to possibly attain a semblance of your immortal status.

Part 4: Who has become, and who can be, beneficiary to Ted’s Scientific – Artistry?

Part 2: The Time for Thinkers has come – For Those Who would be Outstanding Hitters!

bo-jackson1Michael jordan 1cover2

Every good or great athlete who steps onto a baseball field might very well feel an air of superiority over lesser skilled athletes while demonstrating his running, throwing, and fielding skills, as well his powerful swing when taking batting practice, especially on the amateur level. When a “Big-fish” comes out of the “small-pond” into the large arena of professional baseball, he might still swagger a bit while impressing the standers-by with his ostensible prowess. But in that environment it doesn’t take long before even the “big-fish” are “swallowed-up” by the “leviathans” of “Mounds-man-ship” – The Professional Pitcher.

Two specific attitudes characterize the athletes who stand out amongst their peers and garner for themselves respect and admiration from all who behold their particular dispositions. One is that of extreme arrogance that gives evidence of overwhelming confidence that he has an inherent right to perform at the highest level, and he is able to prove his worth, at least for a while. johnThe other is that of a humble spirit, whose quiet confidence simply lets his actions speak for him, while appreciating and nurturing every opportunity to perform what he innately sees as his duty to do, and does it with exactness, and step by step progresses along constructive lines.Joe Morgan 2 (Joe Morgan – 5 feet 6 inches tall – 145 lbs)

The first is a “physical – phenom” who is acknowledged for his artistic, natural propensity as an athlete to make solid contact of bat to ball without his advocating any strict adherence to disciplined principle. Most notable examples are those “Blue-Chip” prospects who are Big, Strong, and Fast (e.g. – Josh Hamilton, Yasiel Puig, Bryce Harper, and “yours truly”), who garner for themselves “big bonus bucks” when they sign their initial contracts, and carry the fresh hopes of those organizations that intend to weave this new and endearing material into a more durable fabric for team-building.

The second is a “smart-hitter” and a cunning adversary for any “pitcher,” with instincts and astute deductive processes that can successfully promote an effective hitting prowess. This type of batter combines his natural physical talents with at least a cursory understanding that certain indefinable mental qualities are essential to offset the sometimes-crippling dependency on physicality alone. He tries to incorporate a mental component into his prominent physical dimension because his instincts reveal some underlying mechanism to higher achievement. The individual ballplayers with whom I personally have had contact who epitomize this brand of hitter are Joe Morgan, Rusty Staub, Jim Wynn, Tom Paciorek, to name a few. Joe Morgan1Rusty Staub4EPSON MFP imageTomPaciorek3But without a thorough investigation into the depths of mechanical understanding, the closest these trial and error tactics will get them to their highest proficiency is the range encircling the .300 mark. Not bad, but far from superlative achievement!

The mentality of most professional batters, because of the overpowering “arms” of most professional pitchers, is one with two limited approaches to maintaining a relatively successful attack on the respectable .300 average. “See every pitched ball and swing at strikes,” and “look for a particular pitch, and make sure you hit it” are two simplistic notions that rely primarily on one’s quick physical responses to the given stimuli. And the success of either is determined by the quickness of the batter’s reflexes and the inability of the pitcher to put the ball where he wants it. The highest degree of consistent productivity is never attainable with either of these approaches because their sporadic and sometimes remarkable success is achieved while the batter’s senses seem to be acutely within “the zone” of feeling good, a state of being that is ephemeral at best. On any given day any such hitter could look like a potential “hall of famer.” But, by the end of a regular season, his numbers add up to a compelling mediocrity (e.g. – Josh Hamilton, Bryce Harper, and countless others).josh_hamiltonY. Puig 2Bryce harper2

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 batting proficiency is afforded to no less than a dedicated student of the “art”.michael-jordan 3 But to infer that some individuals perform the skill so naturally that it automatically preempts others from developing the talent to an equivalent level is to misconstrue and misappropriate the leveling effect that the game of baseball has for aspiring participants with varying degrees of athletic competence.

Hitting a baseball is the most difficult thing to do in all of sports! But the irony is that you don’t have to be the best athlete to become an outstanding hitter! Neither speed afoot, a powerful throwing arm, nor a well-sculpted physique is a required characteristic of a proficient bats-man! Yogi Berra 2yogi berra3Yogi Berra 1The so-called natural-athlete, with prodigious power, lightening feet, and a cannon arm, has all the tools that “scouts” look for in the complete ball-player. But not all super-talented “bonus-babies” fulfill the potential of their natural prospectus, and become “Big-League Hitters.”

The “Art” of hitting a baseball is 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.

Coming Soon: A Tribute to a Legendary Master of the Art of Bats-man-ship?

A Thinking Man’s Game – Part 1 of 4, or 5


The “Old-School” Baseball philosophy into which I was officially indoctrinated in the Fall of 1962 was primarily one of Action, and pre-oriented to the acclamation of Physical prowess, with little or no accommodation for the “independent – thinker” who might, if left to the initiative of his imagination, reconstruct a new paradigm that would confuse and contaminate the current and traditional standard of Baseball excellence. I fit in perfectly since I was not really much a student of the game as I was and wanted to be a phenomenal exhibit to the physical grandeur of all the glory that Baseball could be at that time.

Function was secondary to Form, for without the true understanding of what it took to be a “Big-League” player, I was more concerned about what I could do to look like a “Big-Leaguer.” I wanted to look like Mickey Mantle; run like Mickey Mantle; have the power of Mickey Mantle. I basically accomplished those “superficial” goals with arduous and meticulous devotion, but at the cost of neglecting the more substantive aspects for which the game of baseball possibly could have had a more enduring effect.coverpaciorek running

Physically I could do more, and did more, than anyone with whom I was put in competition. I was 6 feet 2 inches tall, and weighed 210 lbs of “rock-solid-muscle”with a 19 and 1/2 inch neck. When everyone else would jog their laps around the field, I would sprint, wearing leg weights around my ankles and harnessed around my chest and back. paciorek w busbyAny spare time, while not on the practice field, I’d be doing strength-building exercises with pulleys and “machinery” other than “weights” (my dad didn’t believe in “weights”- it could make me muscle-bound).

Most “baseball” people couldn’t help but be impressed with the things I would do, on and off the field. On the field, at times I would demonstrate prodigious power batting. On defense, I could run and play Center-field as good as or better than “Mickey Mantle.” I did and wanted to do things that I never saw players do before. I “backed-up” everyone. If any ball got passed a charging left-fielder, I was always there to prevent the runner from advancing. When I was playing left-field I had occasions to tag runners out at third–base.

After a third out, I would sprint to the dugout in an attempt to beat the third or first baseman. When I got a walk, I sprinted to first base. I was actually “Charlie-Hustle” before Pete Rose was. Off the field I consumed vast amounts of food that I felt I needed to sustain my physical prowess as well as continue the “myths” that were surrounding  legendary feats of incomparability. I was photographed once holding 5 bats in one hand, and 5 sandwiches in the other. And legend had it that I was banned from the “all-you-can-eat” Miners’ Shack in the Superstition Mountains of Apache Junction, Arizona.

My “thinking” prowess, although ensconced in the higher levels of “superficiality” would have been all that the “old-school” mentality would want to highlight and develop for the future. So it was no doubt with great disappointment that after experiencing the greatest moment in my baseball career (and arguably in Baseball history), at the age of 18 I was soon to become just another footnote to the remarkable saga of Sports figures who have experienced both the glory and gloom of athletic competition.

But, as a tribute to what is called the “human spirit,” the phoenix can rise from the ashes and attain an even higher glimpse a noble achievement. As Shakespeare’s Hamlet deliberated the moment, he pronounced, “There is nothing Good, or Bad, but thinking makes it so!”

My exposure to the “Thinking Man’s Game” began even while I was still enamored with the seemingly simplistic batting perspective of, “see ball, attack ball, hit ball,” and rely solely on my quick reflexes and strength and speed to overcome the pitched ball. I soon found out that, on the professional level, the speed of the “fast-ball” and the curve of the “Curve-ball” and the other subtle varieties of pitches were not the same as I was used to in the “small-pond.” Although I always showed enormous “potential” as a hitter, I was inconsistent (to say the least).cover2

So, when I took the occasional opportunity to conscientiously observe players like Rusty Staub, Joe Morgan, JIm Wynn, and others, players who were less concerned about merely “looking the part” but rather “being and doing the Part,” I discerned that there was a higher and more discriminating pattern of thinking that preceded their intentions at the “plate.” They possessed a more sincere and genuine “IDEA” about what was transpiring before them. Perhaps I too would have acquired such a “mental-approach,” but that really never started to be realized until my playing days were over. “If I knew then, what I know now…”

Part 2 will focus on the evolution of patterns of thought that revolutionized my approach to more competently understanding the Game of Baseball. “THE TIME FOR THINKERS HAS COME!”