The Game within the Game

I know I’ve talked about this before, but in baseball the same issues come up over and over. There are certain things for every player that are like skin rashes that keep coming back. You think you’ve dealt with it and there it is again.

My skin rash is about trying to be something I’m not. You can get a little crazy when you’re not going well. You go up there trying to drive in five runs in one at-bat. On the recent road trip, I was watching the opposing team’s lead-off batter. I can’t remember now who it was. I thought, “That’s the type of player I am. Putting the ball on the ground, getting on base, walking, bunting, stealing bases.’’

I had a sit-down with myself, and I’ve been playing better ever since. My numbers are creeping up. On Sunday when Angel took a day off, I went 3 for 4 in his spot. And most importantly, we won. I really needed a game like that. Not just for me, but I want Angel to feel he can take a day off and not think he’s leaving a big hole in the lineup.

I love the game within the game of stealing bases. When I’m in the dugout, I watch the pitcher to pick up on patterns or tells. I watch the way he throws off-speed pitches because that’s what you’re looking for. When you’re on base, you’re trying to think along with the pitcher and catcher. On what pitch-counts would he be throwing off-speed? Which batters?

When I get caught stealing, like I did on Sunday, I always look at why. Usually it’s pretty obvious. On that one, I just got a bad jump. You’re supposed to take off as soon as the pitcher lifts his foot to throw. I started when he was already up. Just that split second of hesitation can make all the difference. And the catcher’s throw was perfect. That didn’t help.

I remember when I first started in pro baseball, I didn’t know the tricks that first basemen try to play on you. They’ll talk to you and try to distract you. They’ll say, “Time out! Time out!’’ even though there’s no time out. Or they’ll ask you about dinner the night before or where you’re from. You just think they’re being friendly. In Single A, I was on first base and the first baseman is talking and talking and suddenly the pitcher throws over and gets me. I was pretty embarrassed. I told my manager, “That will never happen again.’’

Now when I get on base, I ask the first baseman how he’s doing — I like to be polite. Then I ignore him.

 

 

 

 

30 Comments

Great catch tonight, Gregor!

“I like to be polite. Then I ignore him.” Love it!

YOU ARE ON FIRE, GREGOR!!!! You are so much fun to watch!!!!

Great game today :)

Interesting point about breaking when the foot goes up. Can you spot the difference between a move to first and a pitch or are you toast if he guesses right?

thank you so much for the post! i love hearing what it’s really like down there on the field. keep playing like the star you are!
<3

Yay, Gregor! You’re one of my favorite players. You always hustle, either with the bat or glove, stealing bases, flying on infield hits, catching fly balls that were probably not meant to be caught. Thanks for helping to make the games fun and exciting, your talent is great to watch!

QUE GRANDE ERES HERMANOOO!!! TE ESTAREMOS ESPERANDO EN LA UCV CON LA SAMBA ARDIENDO PARA TU BIENVENIDA!!! Siempre seras el Tiburon a seguir!! Te queremos y te necesitamos!!

Gregor!

First so glad to see you hitting the ball like I knew you could! Yeah!! Second I’ve always wondered what is being said when I see players at first base talking! Thanks! you guys are playing so well. I knew you had it in you! It was just waiting to come out! Now just remember as you said . Be yourselves. Play your own game and just try to win series while trying your best and the rest will take care of itself. Love you guys!

Thanks for the insight on first base chit-chat! I’ve often wondered what’s being said! It’s nice to have seen you play so often lately.

Nice first game on the road! Apparently being yourself works really well. I had always wondered what the base runners and fielders chatted about out there; it’s fun to hear first-hand stories. Say hello to “El Iman” for me.

Gregor: I love how you stay prepared every day. Your hard work is paying off and those line drives are starting to fall. I know everyone on the roster contributes to a first-place team, but it’s gotta feel even better when you’re doing what you (and we) know you’re capable of and your batting average is heading up to where it should be. That steal in Thursday’s game was also big, although I’m the kind of guy that’s thinking: “Noooooo!!! Don’t run on Yadi!!!” (That’s why Bochy’s the manager and I’m not.) More important than even winning and losing is that you demonstrate you are a person of strong character, which will benefit you even when your playing days are over. Not that I think you’re close to being finished….you gotta help us win another World Series or two. (…but no pressure – ha!) Wishing you continued success on the field, with your family and in your future.

Love watching you play, Gregor! – especially when you are stealing a base! Love the blog! :-)

Gregor – I just love watching you play! Thanks for all these great inside looks into your life as a baseball player. I love to cheer for the White Shark! El Tiburon Blanco! Do what you do best, the Giants fans love it!

I always wonder what the first basemen talk about to the opposing player. Seems like your ignoring them after hello is like trying to ignore a pushy car salesman… I’m really glad you’re a GIANT. It’s so much fun to watch your ABs and steals!

White Shark doesn’t need a big CHOMP to be deadly.  White Shark has speed, stealth and smarts.  ¡Viva El Tiburón Blanco Suerte Siete! ¡Vamos Gigantes!!

I love reading your posts! You’re a great ball player, Gregor! Go out there and do what you do best…getting clutch hits, stealing bases and playing awesome defense! You are so exciting to watch! I was soo happy to see you’re in the lineup tonight! Can’t wait til game time!

Love hearing the insight into the game…..and your mind! You ARE getting better and better….and you will continue!!!

Thanks for sharing your insights into your game. Keep on being the best Gregor around!

I think you have the right idea. You have to be the person you are and not someone else. You know your own strengths and weaknesses and you play up those strengths and work on improving the weaknesses that you can. That’s life! Love the inside info on those tricky first baseman. Does belt do that? I don’t remember seeing him talk to runners but of course now I’m going to be watching all those sneaky first basemen!

Thanks for continuing to post — you are fun to watch in any game, and always bring a spark. Your desire to win comes through to the fans. Keep bringing in that excitement of small ball.

I always wanted to know what players talk about with the other team! Didn’t know it was a part of the strategy!

Great insight, Gregor! I always love to hear what you guys are thinking while the game is going on. There’s so much strategy going on that we don’t know about. Love this game. So happy that things have been going better for you and that you’ve figured it out. Wishing you continued success. And keep ignoring those first basemen!

Interesting, thoughtful, and well-articulated. I may have experienced skin rash phenomenon in game of life too but didn’t think to call it that. Good metaphor. Thank you for making time to do this blog and for being the player that you are on the team of my heart.

I loved seeing you play in that game! Keep up the good work!

Thanks for sharing your inside perspective. My family and I were at the Twins game this past Sunday. You played a great game!

Diane

I love hearing about these little things going on during the game! Keep on stealing!!!!

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I love watching you play. It’s so exciting. Keep up the good work and hope to see you playing soon.

I love reading your comments about the game, Gregor. Gary Carter was famous for yakking with the batters during a game. He was trying to distract them, of course, and sometimes it worked. Any edge you can get will help.

Hope to see you in another game soon!

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