Monday, July 19, 2010

I Like Ike's 'Takeback'

The pitcher is poised.

The hitter takes his last half-swing in the box and awaits the offering.

The pitcher winds up.

The hitter's hands go back, then spring forward in a swing.

That's his hitch, right?

As children we were constantly instructed not to have a hitch, much the same way we were told to avoid inserting our size 8 Nike "spikes" into the "bucket."

Yet every swing naturally has some sort of hitch, and a "violent" hitch from Gary Sheffield--was Sheff's swing ever described as anything but violent?--didn't stop Sheff from amassing 509 home runs.

Of course, Hitch is also a 2005 comedy with Will Smith teaching King of Queens star Kevin James how to be a stud. You don't want that kind of hitch either.

So maybe there should be a less negative moniker for that backswing. Speaking of kings of queens, yesterday, Mets announcer Keith Hernandez repeatedly referred to Mets rookie slugger Ike Davis's "takeback"--that he'd start with his hands low, raise them high just before the pitch, then bring them back down to Earth again as his swing commenced.

His takeback. I'd never heard that before. You might say I was taken aback by it.

Hernandez, a very good hitter in his day, said the reason for Ike's recent slump was that he was bringing his hands too high in the takeback, leaving what Keith said was "a lot of margin for error" in his swing.

Davis, son of former relief pitcher Ron Davis, slammed a pair of dingers out in San Fran Saturday night, and added two doubles yesterday--including the game-winner in the 10th, high off right center's brick wall at AT&T Park.

Maybe Hernandez should "take back" what he said about Ike.


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