Hello Baseball world!
I dont know about the weather across the rest of the world, but the sun has finally shown itself in the northeast, and everybody seems to be outside trying to catch up on lost time. The doctors have allowed me to resume training and I took full advantage; going the very next day to YU to have a day of practice with my old coach, Norman Ringel, and fellow IBL'er Benji Englehart. Because I have been out of training for a little over a month, and Benji is one pretty jacked individual, he had to slow it down a bit for me, but we still had a lot of fun.
A lot of people don’t realize how easy it is to practice the fundamentals of baseball without a diamond, and without a team, and sometimes even without anyone else. But personally, I always like to practice with someone; it helps push yourself to do more, to try harder, and gives you another set of eyes that is so important to correct mistakes, and point out spots for improvement. Benji and I took turns throwing ground balls right at each others feet, a really simple drill, to force the fielder to look down when they are fielding the ball, and 'see the ball into the glove.' We practiced throwing motions, and after all these were done, we worked on reaction timing by having coach stand behind the L screen and throw us right from about 15 feet. The goal is to just work on getting the barrel of the bat out in front of the ball, and keeping your weight back on curves and off-speed pitches. Not easy stuff when you haven’t worked in a month!
Finally we put the screen all the way back in the cage and threw each other the first live pitching we'd seen in a bit. It was great. Now I want to diverge from the topic for a minute and talk about bats. Ever since I got that crazy, dream-come-true call that I was going to be a part of this league, I began working with wooden bats. From the little leagues up through high-school and even the NCAA, everyone uses metal/aluminum/graphite etc., but all big leagues use wood. If you have ever connected with a metal bat, you notice the soft ping, and effortless flight of the ball off the metal.
But wood, man, it makes this amazing crack, the kind that makes Robert Redford say to Glenn Close "God, I love baseball" (*The Natural*, though I don’t think I have to explain the quote). After feeling, and hearing the wood crack, there is no, and I mean no way going back to the ping. It was almost painful to the ear when we were practicing, so off I go tomorrow to buy some more wooden bats (the downside to wood being, sometimes those 'cracks' are actually cracks).
So little by little all the guys are getting ready, but this week is the big day, and I hope you all can tune in soon after to the internet, and see where we all end up! All the tryouts have ended, the players have signed, and the most exciting moment so far this season, the draft is coming and can be seen via the IBL web site on April 29! I am actually going to be there in person when they call out the names, so as soon as I know which city, I'll let everybody know who to root for (my team) and who to root against (the Yankees). So everybody, get your foam fingers out, and get ready to start cheering: "GO ra'ananatel-avivnetanyatikvabeitmodiin!!!" and of course, the sox. For now the red, who knows, maybe by weeks end, the blue...