Thursday, July 22, 2010

Jerry Manuel's 'Bag' of Tricks

It is young Ike Davis's second appearance in the hallowed cyber-pages of Batter Chatter this week, though this one is not based on merit whatsover. Ike has been a miserable 1 for 13 with 6 Ks in Phoenix, and skipper Jerry Manuel suspects it's because Davis, a native of Scottsdale, is trying to impress his friends and family in the crowd at the D-backs' Chase Field.

SNY guy Gary Cohen related last night how Manuel said the young slugger was out of sorts this week. "Ike is trying a little too hard to impress," said Manuel, according to Cohen. "He's swinging at the rosin bag."
'Swinging at the rosin bag' sounded like a classic Jerry Manuel ad lib; if you haven't watched Manuel's post-game interviews, they're delightful. He's a fun mix of hepcat jazzbo and funky English professor, with a knack for quirky language.

The phrase suggests that Davis perhaps ingested some of that peyote our American deserts are famous for, which threw his hitting intuition slightly out of whack.
In fact, swinging at the rosin bag is an established expression, piped up Cohen's boothmate, Ron Darling. "It's an old baseball term," said Darling. "It doesn't matter what the pitcher is throwing up there--he's swinging."

Indeed, this past spring, Cubs farm director Oneri Fleita said this about prospect Starlin Castro:

"He was never really a guy who went up there swinging at the rosin bag,'' Fleita said. "He had plate discipline."

Back in 2005, when the Angels were back in Anaheim, then-DH Jeff DaVanon told the L.A. Times he was no longer making like a boxer and hitting the bag.

"I started walking more last year because I stopped swinging at the rosin bag," DaVanon said.

The Mets lost in 14 last night. Davis struck out thrice, but took heart in sending a rosin bag to the edge of the warning track in right-center, where it was caught by Justin Upton.


1 comment:

MetFan said...

Ike D could probably hit the pitching rubber to the warning track too.