It has nothing to do with what happened in the game. There wasn’t anything spectacular on the field, and Bobby V. didn’t do anything to reinforce my opinion of him (which I’ll hold off from sharing here).
Oddly enough, it was announcer (and former player) Jerry Remy plug of the NESN smartphone app, as well as one specific article written inside the app.
I immediately fired up my phone, went to the app and read the article: Ryan Sweeney Credits Adrian Gonzalez’s Guidance, Friendship to Impressive Start At the Plate.
It’s a short article, but chock full of great info.
Here’s a few words of wisdom… followed by a comment or two by yours truly:
What Adrian Gonzalez has taught Sweeney? – “He [taught me about] going up there with a game plan. He studies pitchers like crazy. I’m the kind of a guy that I don’t want to know a whole lot about the pitcher, I just want to know what kind of pitches he throws and what he kind of tries to do to me.” Even though Sweeney doesn’t want to know everything that Gonzalez studies about every pitcher he faces, he absolutely wants to know – at the very least – what the pitch has, and how that pitcher plans on using his stuff to get Sweeney out. This my friends is the first step to an effective game plan.
How ‘crazy’ is Gonzalez with his collection of pitcher info? – “…he has a book that he goes through that he knows what guys are going to throw on certain counts and he’s looking for it,” Sweeney said. “If they don’t throw it, he’s not going to swing at it.” – Talk to any great hitter from any era (outside of Wade Boggs who claims to have one of those memories that can recall specific pitches during “insignificant” ABs) and they will tell you they kept a book, studies scouting reports, or used video to dissect every pitcher they faced.
Well what about mechanical advice? I mean, there has to be a secret there, right? – (Gonzalez said) “It’s pretty basic and I think it’s something that anybody knows, but it’s always good when it’s reinforced.” – Balance, timing, and dropping the hammer with the hands. That’s the big secret, but we need to be reminded from time-to-time, because the use of too many drills, and our ego can easily get in the way.
Ryan Sweeney doesn’t have the gorgeous swing that Adrian Gonzalez has. He might not have the same ability. But! By picking Gonzalez’s brain, learning the importance of pregame preparation, game plans, and maintaining a focus on basic mechanics (except while he’s actually in the batter’s box!), he has been able to take his game to another level as a hitter.
With just a little effort, you can do the same thing!
Watch pitchers like a hawk.
Talk to other hitters. (Pitchers too… if you’re slick enough!)
Write everything down.
Don’t ever go into an AB unprepared. (You can still grab at least a few tidbits of information before you step into the box against someone you’ve never faced before!)
There’s a few more key words, phrases and points to pick up on. See if you can pick them out in the article.