They’ve often told us how useless a hitting coach becomes to veteran players.
“Hey, maybe do this,” they’ll suggest, and the veteran hitters all scoff and wave them off and then go out there and whiff on three straight breaking balls, then sit down on the bench to think about how hot their wives are.
It’s not quite so venomous a dynamic, and it’s not like hitting coaches are wise hitting Zen masters, just waiting for the willingness of players to unlock the mysteries of the universe, but giving advice to a guy whose had hitting ingrained in his every day thinking for years and years can be met with a bit resistance.
But David Ortiz isn’t Ryan Howard’s
real dad hitting coach. He’s friend from out of town, and he’s got some advice for his co-slugger.
“I told him, ‘Go up there like you did when you were a kid – just see the ball and hit it. And what did he do? He got two hits.”
–David Ortiz, via Philly.com
Wow. Masterful. Eloquent. Ryan Howard is fixed, everybody.
Shattering his yearly hit record of “two,” Howard benefited so mightily from Ortiz’s basic, ambiguous advice, he put not one, but two balls in play that were not instant outs.
So, Dom’s NL Player of the Week, and now Ryan is back to his old self, thanks to an intense critique from a man who told him to “see the ball.”
Hey, maybe it really did help. Every profession has its intangible intricacies that are only relate-able to those who’ve experienced them. Maybe that’s not what he really said. Maybe what Oritz really told him was an in-depth description of that “factory” they send sluggers to after they’ve stopped slugging.
The point is, thanks for fixing Ryan Howard, David Ortiz. I assume he’s been brought on as the full time Howard-whisperer and will travel with the team.