Reporter: “Why don’t you tell us what’s going through your mind about these last two games?”
Player: “I went deep into the count after swinging and missing two times on the same pitch. I’m thinking, How do you swing and miss? This is what I’m thinking about, not about the rest of the count. At zero and two, I watch the next three pitches miss the zone. I don’t worry about two strikes, I know I can hit any ball. I let bad pitches go by these days. It’s the close pitches that get me. I’ll usually swing at all close pitches when I’ve got one or two strikes. Can’t let them go. Even if they are balls. That’s the problem, I’m losing walks on close pitches. And then comes along a low inside pitch, unhittable, I can’t swing at it, I don’t even try, I move out of its way. It’s all about programming your instincts: I’m programmed to avoid low inside pitches, and that’s why in my previous at bat I let one go for a called third strike. Now, it was probably a ball. But it was close enough for me to swing with two strikes. But there’s nothing in me that gets me to swing at a low inside pitch. It’s probably the same with most outside pitches. They just don’t interest me, and so I’m not likely to swing at them with two strikes. But I was talking about going deep into the count. I start with two good swings on the same kind of pitch: a low fast or changeup that seems to drop. I’m above the pitch, almost skimmed off its top. I’m not overswinging, but it’s definitely a power swing not a contact swing. But why would I let up on a pitch down the middle? I only now shake my head: How could I miss such an easy pitch? But no worries. I smile. I shake my head. I’m thinking, there’s something wrong here, I’m lost. This can’t be happening, not to Line-Drive Charley. I’ll scratch my head later. I need to make contact. I’ve got two strikes, no balls. Then comes three balls in a row. I feel no urgency to swing. The last, the eighth pitch, comes at me – I’m still destabilized by the two missed swings, or maybe I was destabilized before the two missed swings, that could explain the misses, hitting is a mood thing, maybe I don’t really like this idea of being a designated hitter, I’ve got to get out on the field, I don’t watch ball I play it – but the destabilized feeling’s got me swinging ahead of the ball, and though I make contact, I get on top of it and hit a routine grounder to the shortstop. So there goes the star shortstop, the one who has made 4 double plays in as many games, and who has snagged line drives, and has made numerous outs with no errors, but who has told the coach he should try others at the position because I’ll be moving on to the other team soon and he should be testing out other guys; here’s the star shortstop who is watching his team play in the field, and he holds a bat because a designated hitter should at least act the part of the team’s professional hitter. But there’s something lacking, it’s not right to sit while the team is fielding. And here I thought that fielding was a distraction to hitting when in fact it’s all about the energy of the whole game. Hitting is all instinct, there’s not time to think; and so fielding, hitting – being constantly engaged – this is what I need to do in order to perform at my best. It’s probably why I am currently unable to lay down a good bunt, there’s no energy to the bunt, except the sprint. In fact, maybe if I were to focus on the sprint it might encourage me to improve my bunting, the joy of beating it out – instead of looking at it as one less chance to swing he bat, and instead of doing what I did in my previous at bat where I bunted two fouls, one to the first base line, a slice, and the next over the catcher’s head, also a slice. And then came that dreaded called strike three. Oddly, both at bats made the third out of the inning. I note to myself that therefore the statistic of who makes the most third outs is obviously irrelevant given that I was coming into this game batting over .800 for the 4 games we already played… The next game I went back to playing shortstop and again I turned a double play, made several good stops, played with no errors, and I also hit a double down the third base line and dropped a bunt single that stopped between catcher, pitcher and first baseman. Just to note the rest down: the double was after one failed bunt, on a zero and one count; and the successful bunt came after another fouled bunt – this coach loves his bunt, and he has unshakeable faith h-in his bunters. I’m still bunting bad pitches…”
Reporter: “To summarize:
Zero and three, two fouled bunts and a called third strike on a low inside fast or changeup, a questionable strike.
Full count, grounder to short, started with two swings, missing a low dropping fast or changeup, and then three reasonably bad pitches, and then a hit to shortstop on a good pitch.
Zero and one, a double along third base line, pulled an outside pitch – still getting out in front, still destabilized.
Zero and one, bunt single after a fould bunt on a bad pitch.
Both pitchers were throwing hard, but no curves, softball.»