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Saturday, November 19, 2005
wal con pow and how to play
what does it mean to take a pitch? it's a simple question, but it opens the door to the value of the wal con pow system, in a discussion of how to play baseball.
to take a pitch is to not swing. what is the pitcher trying to do? the pitcher is trying to get you out. what is the batter trying to do? the batter, therefore, is trying to not get out. many people, including most major-league baseball hitters, do not understand this.
rocco baldelli is a free-swinger. he once said "no one says go out there and get a walk." but that's exactly what you should do. that's how to play the game.
the way to play the game is to try to get a walk. so you take pitches that are likely to be balls. even if a pitch may be a strike, it's better to take it if it's close. this is true for two reasons: 1. it may be a ball. 2. if you hit it, you'll probably ground out.
ok so you take a lot of pitches. but then the pitcher's gonna throw 'em down the middle. what do you do? you gotta punish him for doing that. you gotta hit it hard. if you make weak contact, no one's gonna be afraid to pitch to you. they're gonna throw strikes. they're gonna get you out. if you hit it hard, they will be afraid. they'll throw at the corners. and they'll miss.
it all comes from taking pitches. many players, more than half probably, will try to hit the borderline pitches. those pitches are hard to hit. if you swing hard, you'll miss. so you have to swing less hard. but that means when the pitch is down the middle, you won't be able to crush it. so pitchers won't be afraid of you. it's a cascade of problems, all stemming from swinging at borderline pitches.
you gotta take pitches. the goal is to get on base. the game is to get the pitcher to walk you.
conversely, the pitcher's goal is to throw strikes. don't give in to fear. fear is the mind-killer. fear creates walks. walking is losing.
when a batter makes contact he only gets on base 30 percent of the time. that is the major league average. when a batter walks he gets on base 100 percent of the time. walking is losing. you gotta throw strikes.
most pitchers don't throw enough strikes and most batters swing too much. despite the fact that most batters swing too much, most pitchers still don't throw enough strikes.
there is an analogy between baseball and poker that i'll talk about in a future article.
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