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IMGCA Article - The Mental Game of Baseball


The Warm Up

Aron Wallad

Did you ever notice what some of these ballplayers do before they get in to bat against live pitching? Some of these warm-ups can be interesting.

Like Derek Jeter's ritual. He gets in to the batters box and then raises his right hand back toward the home plate umpire requesting some extra time to get set to hit. He does this most times he bats. This is Derek's way of getting ready to bat.

Take Hideki Matsui. He steps into the batter's box takes a couple of swings and then gazes somewhere between the left field foul pole and the third base dugout for about a second. Gradually moving his head to face the pitcher is his next movement. Sometimes he twitches his right shoulder. Now he is ready to hit.

I remember Chuck Knoblach's way. He would get into the batter's box and go through a routine that was always exactly the same. He undid and redid his batting gloves. He would always take the same number of practice swings. He always put his hand on his batting helmet to adjust it. He always put one foot into the batter's box wait about a second and then put the other foot in. He was habitual in his actions.

I also remember Tito Fuentes and Jimmy Piersall always putting a cross in the dirt before they entered the batting box... I guess they thought God would look kindly on them. But what would God do if the pitcher also drew a cross in the dirt before each pitch. That is a question for another day.

Hank Aaron had a unique style to the way he approached batting. Walking to the plate to hit with his batting helmet in his hand, he seemed to study the whole field. When he was about to enter the batter's box he would slowly put the helmet on as he surveyed the ballpark. He would take a couple of swings and then be poised to hit.

Other players have their own stuff. Like crossing themselves, or knocking the dirt off their cleats or pointing the bat, like Rocky Colavito used to do. These quirks can be very entertaining.

As you watch today's players pre bat look for some interesting characteristics to their warm ups. They can be interesting and sometimes very funny. Some players may vary their warm up. Many do not. They do the same thing every time. See for yourself.

Aron Wallad has been a baseball lover for over 45 years. You will love his honesty and his passion. You will be touched by the heartwarming stories. The unusual statistics will amaze you and the quotes will make you laugh.

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