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What’s Your 2 Strike Approach to Hitting?

This article was originally published by Garrett Gordon on the BaseballRebellion Premium section (membership required). BaseballRebellion is a big supporter of the CNCMSBL and if you’re looking to get better, you should be talking with them.

“Widen Your Stance!” “Move Up!” “Move Back!” “Choke Up!” “Stay Late!”

Do you hear these coaching cues during games? More than likely when your son or daughter has two strikes these are the things yelled to them. Yes, they are common. But are they correct?

CHANGING YOUR STANCE WITH TWO STRIKES GOOD OR BAD?

Often times when a hitter gets two strikes they go into pure defensive mode.  Changing their stance, choking up on the bat, just trying to get the bat to the ball.  We all have to ask ourselves is this really going to give hitters the best chance to hit the ball with two strikes.

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Ash vs Maple vs Birch Wood Baseball Bats

Back in 1965, your choice for baseball bats was fairly straight-forward. Did you prefer the Louisville Slugger like Mickey Mantle used or the Adirondack like Willie Mays. Both were made from select ash.

At the turn of the 21st century, Barry Bonds home run exploits put the spotlight on the bat he was using, and it was made out of maple.

Birch, which is more flexible like ash and dense like maple, is starting to be picked up by a growing number of big leaguers. It recently passed ash as the number two type of bat in the MLB.

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Baseball Hall of Fame in Fayetteville

Starting on Friday, March 22, and running through May 11, Picturing America’s Pastime will feature 51 framed photographs representing the Baseball Hall of Fame’s collection of approximately a quarter million images at the Fayetteville Art Council located at 301 Hay Street [map]. As an extension of the Museum’s exhibit in Cooperstown, the touring version of Picturing America’s Pastime captures the essence of an exhibit designed to show the historic link between the two American passions – baseball and photography.

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Should Your Team Be Shifting More?

Baseball teams have been shifting defensively forever. Most of us think of the modern idea of a defensive infield shift started with Lou Boudreau and what became known as the “William’s Shift” in 1946.

This photo diagram shows the positions of the Cleveland infield and outfield in the so-called “Cleveland Shift” defense against Ted Williams of the Boston Red Sox during the game in Boston. This photo was made after Williams had found a chink in the defense and slapped one to the left for a single.

The first time Williams came up against this shift, he hit the ball right to Boudreau himself, standing directly between first and second base.

From that moment on, teams shifted on Williams for the rest of his career. The shift was so common that Williams once estimated it lopped about 15 points off of his lifetime batting average, and he wasn’t far off: his career splits before and after that season showed a difference of 16 points.

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Andrew Benitendi's beautiful leaping 2018 world series catch

Baseball Gloves

Your baseball glove is an extension of your baseball-self, you want to love it.

Carlos Correa makes a diving stop to rob Jean Segura, he needed to use every muscle in his body. He raced to the ball, dove, lifted his body up and tossed the ball from his glove to Marwin Gonzalez to turn a double play. 

The gloves we use today have evolved from no gloves at all in the 19th century. Some of the best defensive stars of their generation (or all-time) have become legends while using what we would now consider unusable.

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