In Baseball There are No Absolutes

     I have a belief, or maybe it's just an opinion, that there is no right or wrong in baseball as far as playing the game is concerned. The main object of the game is to hit the ball, catch the ball, throw the ball, pitch the ball, and run to specific bases at the right time. Oops, did I say right? Yes but I said right time, not the right way. There is a big difference!

 

      The game of baseball is played with a certain rhythm and flow. Timing in baseball is very important. For example, hitting is timing, and pitching is trying to upset that timing. When a batter hits a ball hard, he may have timed the pitch right, but it's a matter of opinion if he took the right swing, or if he started with the right batting stance. If a base runner steals a base, his timing was probable right, but it's a matter of opinion if he got the right fundamental start.

 

      When a pitcher throws the perfect two strike slider down and away to a hitter and strikes him out, the results where good, but how he did it may be a matter of opinion. I like to believe in the theory of there is no right or wrong, just consequences. I was talking with some of my hitters in the batting cages the other day and I told them, I don't care if they go to the plate, stand on their head, and put a frying pan between their toes, if they can hit line drives that way, then keep doing it.

 

      That's a bit of an exaggeration, but they understood the point I was trying to make. There is one thing every hitter has in common. They all have to get to a certain hitting point at the right time. How they get there has to feel good to them. They have to take control of their own hitting style and approach to the ball. That is one thing that all major league hitters have in common. They have all learned to be their own best batting coach. They have coaches they lean on for advice, but when they get in a game and fans are yelling, and the pressure is on, they know how to depend on their own thought process to compete in that moment.

   
      There are thousands and thousands of coaches and every coach should believe in what they teach. But I think they should also understand that each player is different and should be allowed to be accountable for some of their own decisions. Some coaches feel that their way is the only way, the right way. I've been in the game a long time and my biggest successes have been when I was able to help the player understand that he is his own best coach. That helps him become a better player in all aspects of the game, because he has established his own style, and deals with his own frustration when he makes a decision that doesn't work out.

 

     If I were managing a game and the other team had bases loaded with one out, the game was tied late in the game, and I brought all my outfielders way in to play very shallow, some people would look at me like I was crazy. Now if the batter hit the ball over my outfielders head and all three runners scored, I would certainly look like I had no previous knowledge of the game. But if the batter hit a sharp line drive up the middle and my center fielder caught it and threw to second base and doubled off the runner, I might look like a genius, even though it was considered a crazy gamble. The point I'm trying to make is that for me the real beauty of the game is that there are no absolutes in baseball.

 

Leon Lee

Talking Baseball with Leon Lee
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