Ryan’s got enough things on his mind right now, what with being traded for Albert Pujols and all. But the kindly giant has been more than willing to address the microphones in his face and shift around in the batter’s box for our amusement. It’s almost like the Pujols thing is made up drivel being sent on its second cycle through the headlines for the extra site traffic.
I imagine players having different reactions to changing their hitting stances. A lot just do it themselves, without being asked. Others may take offense to the suggestion, putting a lot more stock in their own judgement. Even Mike Schmidt admitted in his book that he once told a coach he’d rather be sent back down to Triple-A than make an adjustment.
Ryan’s swing is something of a commodity. It’s not that he’s incompetent in other parts of the game, its just that he’s a slugger–swinging is pretty much what he’s hired for. Here’s a video in which he claims he was already hitting baseball 430 feet before he was even a teenager.
Now, he’ll be doing it differently.
If you’ve ever seen an infield and outfield when Ryan Howard is batting, it’s very clear they are focusing solely on certain parts of it. Charlie Manuel has decided that these days are over, and Ryan’s power hitting will now be amply shared on all fields, thanks to a minute correction to his stance.
I’ll let Charlie handle the science, but the long and short of it is that Ryan is now standing closer to the plate, where he will be able to hit a home run or strike out in any direction he pleases.