The Mystery of Hitting
It seems crazy that professional baseball players can go so deep into slumps. You’ve been playing all your life. You know how to hit. Then suddenly you can’t. It’s not like the game has changed. It’s the same game. But somehow you’re not the same.
How does that happen?
I’ve been asked that question more than a few times during this bad stretch. I’ve asked myself that question a lot. I think it’s like handwriting. You know how to make your letters, right? You’ve been writing your whole life. But then sometimes maybe your hand gets tired or your brain is not sending all the right messages to your fingers, and you start writing different. The letters aren’t as neat and straight.
So you have to clear your mind and get your focus and sharpness back. I’m in that process. It’s been hard mentally. It’s been on my mind so much — when I go to bed, when I get up in the morning.I come to the park every day and just try to figure out why it’s different from two months ago when I was hitting well and playing looser.
I feel much better since our team meeting the other day. I won’t go into the details of the meeting because that kind of stuff needs to stay private among the players and coaches. But I feel calmer and more relaxed. It was a reminder of how much support you have from your teammates and all the coaches.
That support is so important when you’re having a rough time. A month or so ago, Hunter was struggling. He was hitting the ball right at people and striking out and not finding the hole. I saw him fighting himself. I went to him one day and said, “You just need to let it go. Have fun. Start a new season.’’
A couple of days ago, he came to me and said, “Man, I really appreciate what you did for me and I’m going to try to do the same thing for you.’’ So we had a good talk and I can’t tell you how great it is to have guys like that to pick you up when you need it.
I’m not going to make huge changes to my mechanics at the plate to try to get back on track. The way I swing the bat, that’s me. That’s who I am. I know I can hit. But I knew I had to do something. So I got a lighter bat. I think my shoulders were getting tired a little bit, so my swing hasn’t been as compact as it could be. A lighter bat would help me have more control.
Yesterday the lighter bat arrived – it’s 31 ounces compared to the 31 ½- and 32-ounce bats I’ve been using. I used it for the first time and hit the ball really well twice. (One line drive was caught, the other went into left field for a single.)
Tomorrow is my son’s third birthday, so I’m looking forward to that. We’re bringing a birthday cake to the family room so he can celebrate with the other kids. Then we’ll go to a park after the game to celebrate some more. I can’t believe how quickly he’s growing up.
Here’s a photo of him pitching to me in the dugout. Notice the leg kick!
Thanks for coming out the games. Giants fans are amazing. You support us no matter what. Believe me, we are working so hard to get our hitting back on track to support the great pitching we’ve been getting. We know we’re a much better team than we’ve been showing, and we’re going to keep battling to the last game of the season.