While riding on the bike path that runs next to the Ballona Creek, I witnessed a Cardinal Sin. Okay, I’m not sure this sin made Christianity’s Top 7 list but, as a former ball player, I felt it was distinctly the work of the devil.
At one point, the bike path runs precisely between the creek on one side and the Culver City High School baseball field on the left. I couldn’t help but look on nostalgically. There’s a certain symphony of movement on a baseball field if you know what you’re looking for. The conductor in this case is the pitcher. His windup holds the cadence of every other player on the field. The hitter will begin his stride and the defensive players will all begin their approach in anticipation of a ball put in play at the same time right on cue.
We all know baseball is boring.
As someone who devoted the first quarter of my life to the sport, I can acknowledge it’s boring. To be more specific, it’s mostly boring until it’s not.
As a player, the moment you acknowledge the simple fact that the smallest interval of focus you can chunk down and ultimately play baseball is by the individual pitch, everything changes. Why focus on winning a championship when you can focus on winning the game? Why focus on winning a game when you can focus on winning the inning?
Why focus on winning an inning when you can focus on winning the pitch?
Since there is no interval smaller than the individual pitches doled out by our conductor (the pitcher), then every player on both offense and defense must maximize his chances for success by arriving at each individual pitch with the greatest chance for a positive outcome. For the players on defense, it’s simple: have a plan, live in the moment, and initiate the footwork that would allow you to best react to a ball put in play. The footwork is a simple approach that looks like a left, right, left step on the forefront of the feet to anticipate movement.
Players repeat this mundane process every single pitch. No exceptions.
Back on my bicycle, I noticed the symphony of movement on the field like I’d seen it hundreds of thousands of times before (because I have). As the pitcher kicked his leg in his windup, everyone on the field stepped left foot, right, then left with their gloves open as if ready to move… except the right fielder who stood flat footed.
The kicker, however, is in true baseball fashion, nothing happened. Remember? Baseball is boring. The pitch was another non-event. The right fielder’s Cardinal Sin went unpunished.
The lesson, however, is simple. I don’t know what the future holds for the right fielder, but he doesn’t have one in baseball. I stand by the intensity of that statement. If this game is so hard that you can fail when you’re ready, then obviously..
No one can afford to miss a pitch.
Ultimately, baseball (like many other things in life) is too difficult to take pitches off. Ironically, most folks who don’t advance in sport (or life) often don’t realize the positive results they leave on the table by not doing the smallest controllable elements of life well.. every.. single.. time.
Keep in mind that I only observed one pitch. For better or worse, there will be more than a hundred defensive (mostly boring) pitches to show up for in the day for this young man. Let’s hope he won all those other opportunities.
I doubt he did.
DEUCE ATHLETICS GPP
Build to a 5RM Deadlift vs Pins..
Half Kneeling DB Overhead Press (ea)
Min 1: :30 Max Double Unders
Min 2: :30 Max Air Squats
Min 3: :30 Max Push Ups
DEUCE GARAGE GPP
Make 4 attempts for max distance:
Triple Broad Jump
Build to a 2RM hang power clean..
Then, EMOM Until Failure:
4 Hang Power Cleans (135/95)
2, 4, 6, 8.. Over-the-Bar Burpees