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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mojicianPlus, the starter conversion for Wilhelmson is experimental. Bartender is a temperamental pitcher and he is flourishing in his current roll.7 min 45 sec ago
mojicianYeah. I guess I've taken the Drayer point of view, that the difference between Erasmo/Wilhelmson and Lackey isn't going to make the team very much better. Erasmo/Wilhelmson 2014: 117.2 IP, 3.37 ERA. Lackey 2014, 137.1 IP, 3.60 ERA. Now, I know we aren't giving up Wilhelmson, but if we had another trustworthy starter, he would get a lot less innings. He already has 57.2 for the year, which is as much as you normally get out of a reliever for the whole year. His rubber arm is an asset, and the Erasmo five and dive coupled with the Wilhelmson mop up job has been doing very well so far.10 min 41 sec ago
benihanaWhile I have a fair amount of sports-hate for John Lackey, he's realistically probably a better bet than Young, Walker, and Elias down the stretch... hmmm...still, nope.12 min 32 sec ago
benihanaI rank our starters down the stretch as 1) Felix 2) Iwakuma 3) Paxton 4) Young 5) Walker 6) Elias (innings limit soon) 7) Ramirez 8) Wilhelmson... so can you trade Erasmo, sure! Should you trade him for Lackey? I wouldn't. Don't see Lackey as being better than our top 5. If we move Walker for a bat? Then, yeah, maybe... hmm.... nope, still can't stand John Lackey, don't want him in an M's uniform.21 min 27 sec ago
SABR Mattwe have another #6 starter though ,moj...Wilhelmson.27 min 30 sec ago
mojicianI consider the Number 6 starter, Erasmo, to be part of the big league club. If you get rid of your number 6 starter, then you won't have a good number 6 starter when you need him, which is early and often.43 min 56 sec ago
GLSNo on Erasmo and Franklin for Lackey. I'd rather save my bullets.55 min 57 sec ago
SABR Mattanother option to consider...would you give up Erasmo Ramirez and Nick Franklin for John Lackey?1 hour 39 min ago
SABR MattI'd give up Franklin plus another big guy who was not close to MLB ready (Sanchez/Pike level) plus a reliever for Lester...I would NOT give up Franklin and Peterson...heck I wouldn't give up Peterson.1 hour 40 min ago
SpectatorMy question: would you give up Franklin + another top guy for two months of Lester?1 hour 45 min ago
Spectatorrick: Walker + for Tulo for sure. Or Stanton. Otherwise I don't think so (among guys plausibly in the market).1 hour 48 min ago
mojicianWill Myers? He's just coming back from a broken wrist.1 hour 49 min ago
SABR MattKiermaier is not talented enough to keep up his current hot streak, I don't think...some players land with a splash until the league adjusts. That said...I would probably part with Walker for Kemp if they threw in a lot of salary, and I would definitely part with Walker for a guy like Jennings and obviously for Stanton (who I don't think is available at all)..beyond that...Troy Tulowitzki? If he weren't hurt, I mean? Maybe the Cubs would be willing to part with Baez and something else pretty to get Walker? eh...don't think I'd do that...it gets very...very tricky.1 hour 54 min ago
rick82A question I posed to Matt last night, but I would be interested in hearing from any or all: are there any bats out there, within reason and with a possibility of being available, that you would trade Walker for. I think we all would trade him for Stanton, and be ready to sweeten that offer. But are there any reasonable one for one offers you think would seriously be entertained by the other club that you would do? Me? I might seriously consider Walker for Jennings. And while we're at it, where on earth did Kiermaier come from???2 hours 32 min ago
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rick82I hope Hart figures it out and plays some right field here and there. I like to pretend it's Jay Buhner out there.4 hours 39 min ago
rick82Wow, Morales is struggling. This is bad. I don't remember so many K's in a single game, against inferior opponents, no less.4 hours 42 min ago
MtGrizzlyDrayer: • LHP James Paxton is with the team and will throw a bullpen session Wednesday. While a Saturday starter has yet to be named, it most likely will be Paxton if the bullpen session goes well.6 hours 36 min ago
IcebreakerXStill need to catch up, but if the Kemp-as-backup rumors are still around, I wonder if Plan A is actually Tulo?7 hours 49 min ago