Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
If you’ve ever seen Ryan Howard swing and miss at a breaking pitch that looked like it was going to hit him in the back foot, then the idea of him adopting a “free-swinging” mentality should give you violent, frequent fits.
But you see, Ryan’s at time complete ineptitude at the plate has been the product of thinking too much.
If you’re the barrel-chested, tree trunk-armed slugger in the lineup, and you’re up there with your team down a run and guys have bothered to get on base, then I’ll bet the freakish pressures of performing pile up. Maybe to the point that you wind up flailing around up there at times and more often than not, those runners wind up tossing their helmets to the base coaches.
So, using that line of thought, flawed or not, Ryan is taking a far more relaxed approach with him to the plate.
"“I’m just going out here, man, swinging. I’m not thinking about it, just continue to try to progress, each day with spring training, like I said before, not trying to overanalyze anything.”–Ryan Howard"
2013 will be less tweaking and more “Get me to the plate, boys,” which can only be good news, if we let it. Like, if we don’t think about it or consider things for even a second. If we just let this news stand still on its own, and don’t touch it or put it in context, it can only be good.
Ryan says he’s talked “swing path” with Mike Schmidt, whose presence in camp seems to have turned everything he’s touched into gold. It’s helped Ryan, who has amassed a .533/.556/.933 line over 17 plate appearances, setting everyone on the verge of letting themselves believe he is back in a big way. It’s not healthy to make assumptions based on people’s feelings, or even spring training performances, and I think if we all take a breath, we can back up and look at Ryan’s success through a realistic filter.
"“Best way to not get in a two-strike count is to not miss the first one.”–Ryan Howard"
You heard him, folks. Ryan Howard will not take a strike all season.