April 2010

Donnie Baseball

Need some baseball advice? Complete baseball advice from a complete player?

 

How about a former MVP and nine-time Rawlings Gold Glove Award winner?

 

Luckily, the man for that advice is in our own backyard — Dodger hitting coach Don Mattingly.

 

The six-time All-Star gave a group of kids some of that all-world advice at Camelback Ranch — Glendale in March.

 

Read closely, he knows his stuff.

 

Want to hit with power? It’s not a decision, it’s a result.

 

“I like taking the approach that I’m almost chopping a tree down. I’m going to pick my hands up and swing down into that tree,” said Mattingly. “Now I’m level into the strike zone. When you hit the ball, it ends up creating backspin and the ball carries.”

 

How about getting to a ground ball?

 

“You don’t necessarily have to be fast to cover a lot of ground. It’s that first step again,” he said. “I want to be on the move. It’s momentum. I want to be in an athletic position and an explosive position and it can happen any pitch.”

 

And if you want to get noticed as a baseball player? It starts with the basics.

 

“If they’re solid fundamentally, you can build on those things and we can help this guy become a better player.”

 

Solid advice.

Javier At the Bat

Ever wonder what it’s like to be a batboy for the Los Angeles Dodgers?

 

Here’s a glimpse, provided by Dodger batboy Javier Herrera.

Laundry, getting razzed by some of the players, setting up the bullpen before the game, setting up the dugout, getting razzed, interacting with the players, warming up the players, setting up the gum, preparing the on-deck circle, getting razzed, grabbing bats and foul balls and finally getting some much-deserved props.

 

“Best bat boy in the game right here,” Dodger catcher A.J. Ellis said. “This is the guy I go to if I need anything.”

 

The 23-year-old Herrera has been a batboy for four years.

 

“When I first started, I was shocked. I was star-struck, amazed,” said Herrera. “I couldn’t believe I was with these Major League players.”