Smoak, Bledsoe, and Slo-Mo Training

Dalai Lama 'An Open Heart' Dept.

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Malcontent sez,

 

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Hey Doc, what are your thoughts on Smoak's new training method(written up at Baker's blog)? The technique sounds like it makes sense, wouldn't it be fun to see a Saunders-like resurgence, with the new shorter fences.
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Matty sez,
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Baker's piece yesterday on Smoak's new training regimen (including "slow practice" and aiki-like first principles of mental readiness and simplification, as well as the revelation that Smoak should be a "pitch stalk" hitter) made me think of you...sounded like a Dr.'s Rx to me. :)

So...what say you?

Geoff Baker sez,

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A closer look

Just kidding.  But those who "get" Baker will note the air of comparative respect at the Bakery as it pertains to Bledsoe's work.  Baker is usually quite skeptical when it comes to this type of story, but withholds the skepticism on this one.  As so often, Baker's judgment turns out to be right.

Not to make a value judgment or anything, Bledsoe's work is (a) wonderful, (b) undoubtedly Smoak's last chance to fix himself, on a physical level, and (c) an approach that will undoubtedly work, on a physical level.

Will explain precisely why we say so.

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=== Therein Lies a Story, Dept. ===

Bledsoe's work is, consciously or subconsciously, an attempt to adapt Eastern thought in a Western context.  For those who just joined us, of whom there are thankfully many lately, Asian cultural thought is an area of great interest for Dr. D.  Especially as it pertains to budo generally and sports movements specifically.  Sports mechanics are a sub-topic within the topic of budo.  Slinging a stone has a lot in common with throwing a baseball; archery has a lot in common with throwing a football.

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I first studied aikido at Tsubaki Grand Shrine of America.  (Entrance pictured above.)  At the time, this dojo was the only legitimate Shinto shrine on the continent.  Barrish Sensei is the doshu (head) of his own (worldwide) ryu, as well as a Shinto priest.  

For those amigos there IS no separation between physical movement and mental attitude.  At a time when I didn't think anybody else could "wow" me, this guy's aikido definitely did so, 3-on-1, 4-on-1, whatever.  And the aikido flowed from his personality, his way of life.

When he teaches aikido, it's axiomatic to him to teach it first in slooowwwwww motion, agonizingly slow motion, sometimes while standing in frigid glacier water.  There's a reason ........

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The past week or so, I've been tearing apart one of the Dalai Lama's books, word-by-word, virtually rephrasing the whole thing in an attempt to "grok" it.  Have done this several times before, to this same book.  Am pretty serious about trying to benefit from those ideas within Buddhism which are accurate.

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Have read Ichiro's book, and The Tao of Jeet Kune Do (hasn't everybody?), and as you might guess, have grok'ked them from a spiritual point of view more than from a physical point of view.  

When Ichiro gazes into the facade of the upper deck just before a pitch, that is the point of preparation that interests me, even more than the ..... drumroll .... SLOW MOTION golf swings that he takes when he's on deck.

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Point is, I think I got an idea about what it is that Bledsoe and Smoak are trying to do, and what the plusses and minuses of this approach are, and especially the LIMITS (or not) of what such benefits might be.  

Matt asked what I meant when I called it a "softball" question.  Well, it's a little bit like asking Al Gore "do you have any thoughts on biodiesel by any chance?" ...

Glad you asked  :: locals roll eyes as Gore starts winding up ::

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Bat571I agree, Matt - getting Souza at this point, even though he's blocked in Washington will require either an overpay, or taking an unwanted contract back. But I'd still do Ackley and Medina for Souza and Leon in a heartbeat, even if it's an apparent overpay. Steamer has Souza at a .777 OPS, while they have Seager and Cruz at .767 and Morrison at .757 and Melky at .770. Cano is projected at .821. Yes, Souza would slot in nice between Seager and Morrison!25 min 8 sec ago
Bat571Rick --I believe Austin Jackson is African-American as well. That gives the Mariners 3/40, which is 7.5% - about in line with all the other clubs. I agree there should be more, but the facilities, equipment and opportunities for high-level play have to be there also in their teen years - and in the "cold-weather" states that's a problem for all races and groups. The YMCAs and heated/AC'd basketball courts are much more inviting year-round.1 hour 54 sec ago
SABR Mattagreed GLS...I just think Souza is unlikely. He will cost a LOT more than VIciedo would.1 hour 43 min ago
GLSThe thing about Viciedo is that he'll likely never be more than what he is. As a platoon player, he has some value if used correctly, but Souza has the upside to be a legitimate plus player.1 hour 51 min ago
GLSTwo outfielders: 1) Melky and 2) Souza. I'd be pretty happy with that going into the season.1 hour 54 min ago
John PierceDo we need more than Melky or somebody like him? Miller is the wild card that could fill in that 4th OF spot. Re-sign Chavez to go along with Bloomquist and you have a real versatile bench that could adequately fill in all the positions. Or not. ;))1 hour 59 min ago
SABR Matttrade them Medina for Viciedo and sign Cabrera...we're locked and loaded.3 hours 1 min ago
SABR MattZduriencik reportedly wants to add two outfielders. If he'd like to get us both Viciedo and Cabrera, I could live with that.3 hours 1 min ago
SABR MattIn the 20s through the 50s, the game of choice for young black men in the cities was baseball. In the 60s and 70s it became basketball and football and has never looked back. Meanwhile, the kids (especially the poor) in the Caribbean and certain parts of Central and South America are now playing either baseball or soccer. Societal forces being what they are...the game will continue to get increasingly Hispanic as white baseball players begin to be distracted by soccer and lacrosse.6 hours 32 min ago
SABR Mattat the present time, the game is 7.8% black, 2.2% asian, almost 40% Hispanic6 hours 36 min ago
rick82James Jones and Taijuan Walker are currently the only African Americans on our 40 man roster (happy to be checked on this). The demographics of this game have really shifted.6 hours 51 min ago
SABR MattI think Melky wants to feel wanted.7 hours 20 min ago
okdanI think Melky wants to come here and play with Cano and Cruz. But he's holding out for that 4th year, because he'd feel embarrassed perhaps if he was only worth 3, when his two buddies got much more. He is 4 years younger than Cruz, after all.8 hours 24 min ago
GLSI would just give Melky the 4th year. I'm not sure why it's an issue for a player that's been a pretty solid hitter for his career and can actually play an outfield corner. Granted, he's not winning a gold glove out there, but he can play the position.16 hours 59 min ago
SABR Mattmerks - yes18 hours 58 min ago
merksSo is it a coincidence that the M's are loading up on Dominican players as there DR Academy gets rolling or are they trying to create some kind of recruiting, symbiotic thing?19 hours 31 min ago
SABR MattI'm bored, Z. Sign Cabrera, please.20 hours 32 min ago
Bat571Last year is a QO or a $4M buyout; then he chooses which way he wants it. then at Cruz's level, which the Ms have said they're looking at, it's $46M guaranteed, and $56M+ if he deserves and takes the QO. Put a signing bonus on it to sweeten and let's go!1 day 16 min ago
SABR MattCabrera had said he wanted to stay east if he could...but all the east coast teams are ignoring him...so now he's choosing between KC, Seattle and maybe Texas.1 day 21 min ago