Baseball is a complicated game in many ways. Yet, as complicated as it is… it can be just as simple. It is very important for the offensive player to simplify as much of the game as possible. Especially in his thinking. Yogi Berra’s famous quote that “You can’t hit and think at the same time” should be the mantra of the good hitter. Keep it Simple.
From an offensive standpoint, the name of the game is to score runs. Without a run, your team cannot win… period. If we are going to stay with the “keep it simple” concept the role of the hitter is constantly changing as the game progresses. He may come up to bat with nobody on. His job in this instance is – Get On Base!
It doesn’t matter how many outs there are. Get on base! The wonderful thing about baseball is there is no clock. No time element. Only outs. So, first things first…. Get on Base! Simplify your purpose. Reduce your thinking. There are numerous drills and articles within the BABH website that will help refine your hitting skills and give you the best opportunity to be successful at getting on base. Use those skills to find a way to get on base so that the next batter can fulfill his role – Get ’em Over.
Think of the team as a machine. Every little moving part has a role in the function of the machine. The first function is get on base! Then the next part takes over – Move the runner over!
Again, keep it simple. Your approach when you come to the plate with a runner on base is first and foremost to move him up. At the very least you’d like to move him up to the next base. Ideally, more than one base. By understanding your goal, your mind has less to think about and you will have a greater focus and purpose at the plate. For instance, a runner on first and nobody out. What’s your job? Get ’em over!
In this scenario you’d like to hit behind the runner to give him the best chance to get to the next base. As a good hitter your job is simplified. You look for a pitch that allows you the best opportunity to accomplish that. You don’t just walk up to the plate and flail at any pitch. Be selective so that you can accomplish your “function in the run scoring machine”. Know which pitch to look for, look for it and it will be that much easier to accomplish your function. When you succeed in your function, the scoring machine builds momentum and the next cog in the wheel gets to do it’s job. .
If you are the lucky part of the scoring machine you come to the plate with a runner, or runners, in scoring position. Keep it simple and do your job so the machine can continue to roll along. As an example, lets say you come to bat and there are runners at 2nd and 3rd and one out. What is the machine’s mission? Score runs. What is your function in the machine? Other parts of the machine have done theirs. They Got On. They were moved over. Now we have to get ’em in!
With a runner at 3rd and less than two outs, you should accomplish this task at a minimum of 75% efficiency level. Otherwise, you are a broken or damaged part of the machine and may have to be replaced. Keep it simple. What’s the easiest way to accomplish this? Ask yourself before you step up to the plate. “What pitch do I need to get my job done?” Then look for it up until you have two strikes on you. If you get it and miss it.. then, you are a part of the machine that needs some oil, some tweaking or maybe even replacing. In other words.. you are faulty.
If you never get the pitch you are looking for you will simply have to make an adjustment and somehow find a way to get the runner in!
Keeping it simple allows you the freedom of not having to think too much about the battle between you and the pitcher and muddling up your thoughts. Remember what Yogi said?
Focus on keeping the scoring machine running smoothly. Keep it simple. . . Get ’em On. Get ’em Over and … Get ’em IN!