Zen master of hitting

I played last Sunday and had a bases loaded at bat in like the 6th inning. Guy pitching was real good 12 years ago in the regular league, was a borderline 90 mph lefthander. Now in the 35+ league, he wasn’t anywhere near that. Mighta been 80mph. Which is crisp enough certainly, not ‘slow’.

I’d popped out and struck out looking in the two previous at bats. They were competitive at bats, but they seemed ‘strained’… which is often the feeling actually. So this third time, runners on, I just step into the box and get all zen, hold bat nice and loose and ya know, my feet and legs aren’t all coiled with tension.

So ball comes down from the mound, I’m totally chill and zoned out. Inside pitch, middle half, belt high. I nearly hit a home run except it didn’t have any loft. But I pulled it like a pull hitter. Left fielder fell down turning around, it went over his head so quick.

Couple things:

· I can’t hit and drive the inside pitch consciously. For me to try is to try to time the swing with a stride. My hands are never in the right spot to put the inside pitch into the field assertively when I “try and stride”. I hit the inside pitch when I’m ZENing. / ZONEing though. Magically, my hands are out in front where they need to be.

· So, the “no stride” swing was my cage swing this winter, and I’ve brought it into a game here successfully… That’s an achievement.

· In the old days it was astonishing to me to have zoned out and gotten base hits off guys I had no business hitting. Probably did it 3, 4 times, got hits off guys who threw about 90 (and struck out a bunch of other times). With advanced age and practice now I can almost get trance-y on command and hit a line drive.

· Hitting this way, it’s very much like Luke Skywalker having a light saber battler with that floating training drone.

· I’m thinking of skydivers or BASE jumpers claiming a natural high, doing what they do. I feel something like that when I drift into the zone and get a base hit. Not terribly adrenaline charged, but I gotta think a similar feeling.

· The mind is an amazing thing

· The local community of Sabermetric geeks is somewhat outraged the Twins are trying to acclimate Byron Buxton to the old Paul Molitor ‘no stride’ swing. I think the geeks are wrong.

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