Thursday, December 10, 2009

Rudy Jaramillo (2010 Cubs' hitting coach) and Ernie Harwell

Sporting News magazine, the 11/23/2009 edition had several good articles. About Quarterbacks and how they approach certain situations. The best broadcasters and analysts going in sports today. And the gurus of the coaching world.

One of these coaches, a hitting coach who gets rave reviews wherever he goes is Rudy Jaramillo.
Here are some tidbits about the hitting coach guru...

Best advice I ever got: "Be patient." That says a lot in everything you do. (He aint kidding. In my approach at the plate I too need to be more patient. Not so eager to swing. Let the ball reach my kill zone.)

Best book about hitting: The Science of Hitting by Ted Williams.

If I could get the people I work with to remember one thing, it would be: Believe in yourself.
(This too hits home. In my most important at-bat, in summer league ball, I made the last out of the championship game. I didn't think I could do, so I didn't do it. I have vowed to never again let that happen and so far, so good.)

Best hitter I ever saw: Barry Bonds. He did the most damage of anyone.

The one training aide I can't do without: A one-hand short bat. Best tool I've ever used. It trains you to get in the power slot. It helps you learn how to unfold with your top hand or bottom hand, the proper approach. Also, it helps you get in an athletic position. The big key when you're using both hands, you have to let the ball get deep.

Favorite training technique: Get in an athletic position. You've got to have balance to be able to strike the ball.

Words to succeed by: Don't be scared. Be fearless.

Things I believe in:

Attitude. You've got to believe in yourself. You've got to compete. I think you have that competitiveness naturally, but some have it more than others. (in the words of George Carlin, on his 7 Dirty Words album...'You have to want it!')

Aptitude: What makes a good hitter is someone who can repeat his swing and make adjustments.
You've got to have a lot of discipline. The more mentally strong you are, the shorter those slumps are.

Ernie Harwell

Things about the game of baseball I love...
- The game's simplicity. The team with the most runs wins.
- the game's complexity. Signs, the double-switch, the squeeze play and the hit and run.
- Bob Gibson's determined intimidation.
- Willie Mays' basket catch. And his losing his cap while rounding the bases.
- the grace in a Ted Williams home run swing.
- the dedicated hustle of Pete Rose.
- the national anthem by Jose Feliciano (1968 World Series).
- the class of Al Kaline.
- a no-hitter by Nolan Ryan.
- Mark Fidrych's charisma.
- box scores and coffee/breakfast with the morning newspaper.
- the smell of a new baseball.
- the green symmetry of the diamond. (When I'm on the bus, and the bus passes all the lonely downtrodden people and you are just about gasping for breath, hoping something happens to change the way you are feeling and then you come upon a ball field. It just makes all that you saw so much more acceptable. Seeing the freshly dragged infield, even if your mind is playing tricks, makes everything a whole lot better.)

- the thrill of an 8-year-old seeing his first game.
- baseball's generation-to-generation appeal.
- animated chat around the batting cage.
- the give-and-take repartee in the clubhouse.
- the passion of hometown fans.

Ernie's personal favorites...

*Interviewing Ty Cobb, Connie Mack and Babe Ruth.
*Broadcasting the debuts of Willie Mays and Brooks Robinson and other superstars.
* Broadcasting at Ebbets Field and the Polo Grounds
*Listening to Hank Aaron, Stan Musial and Ted Williams discuss hitting techniques at veterans committee dinners in Tampa.
*The hope and optimism of spring training.
* Working the NBC telecast when Bob Thomson hit his "Shot Heard 'Round the World."
*And Ernie's true claim to fame: When I left the Brooklyn Dodgers, after the 1949 season to go to the Giants, Vin Scully took my place.

(thanks to the Sporting News for their well-thought out articles)

Kevin Marquez

Monday, December 7, 2009

Worst Attendances in Major League Baseball

When I first saw these games and the number of people that attended the game I was shocked.
That so few people saw the need to go a game. It just doesn't seem possible that so few would attend a game. It must have been like "The game is starting and there's nobody in the stands."

April 9, 1997: Toronto Blue Jays @ Chicago White Sox 746 fans
September 8, 1975: Houston Astros @ Atlanta Braves 737 fans
September 21, 1970: Kansas City Royals @ Chicago White Sox 672 fans
September 12, 2007: Washington Nationals @ Florida Marlins 375 fans.

On the Oakland Athletics' worst attendance night it at least reaches a couple thousand. That seems bad until you see the aforementioned numbers. And those chilly nights at Candlestick never drew so poorly which goes to show how loyal Giants' fans are to the black and orange.

(thanks to ESPN mag for the listing)

Kevin Marquez