Have A Hot Dog With Me, Don Wakamatsu
Kirby Arnold talks with Don Wakamatsu. It’s worth reading, but one sentence sticks out:
But even long at-bats aren’t necessarily good at-bats. Both Jose Lopez and Adrian Beltre had at-bats when they fouled off several pitches.
â€œThere would be an 11-pitch at-bat and a lot of guys would say, â€˜Hey, great at-bat. Way to battle,’â€ Wakamatsu said. â€œBut we’d go back and look at it on video and not one of the pitches they swung at was a strike.â€
YES! YES! A THOUSAND TIMES YES!
You’ve heard me rant about this before. It is not a good at-bat when you foul off 10 pitches that were out of the strike zone. That is a stupid at-bat that demonstrates a profound lack of understanding of the value of a walk. Jose Lopez probably had four or five of these at-bats last year. Every single time, the announcers would praise him for hanging in there, battling, refusing to give in, blah blah blah. And every single time, he could have been standing on first base, but instead, he insisted on swinging at crap that wasn’t even close.
A good at-bat does not teach the opposing pitcher that he never has to throw you a strike. If its ten inches outside, don’t swing*. I don’t care if you think you can hit it. I don’t care if you can hit it. Don’t swing at pitches over your head. Don’t swing at pitches that bounce in the dirt. Don’t swing at a 3-0 change-up on the inside corner at the knees.
That Wak gets this is awesome. I love our manager.
* Ichiro has earned the right to do whatever he wants. He’s the exception.