"My" team, the Nashville Hounds (mine since my charity is part-owner now and also because I'm playing for them for the time being), has gotten off to a 1 and 6 start. We're not (including me) pitching well. We're not hitting well. We're not catching the ball well. It rained on Wednesday, which let us lose in 6 innings instead of the usual nine. That gave us more time to reflect on how to get better in all facets of the game of baseball.
My job here is to build up arm strength after last season's injury so that I can - to my surprise - be a relief pitcher with the big club in New York. In this role, which I've never done before, I need to be able to pitch two days in a row and at least 4 times a week. I've already pitched on the back-to-back timeframe, only I've pitched poorly overall. It's either my body that's still learning or my head.
For my teammates, the great majority are learning how to play the game. How to recognize a pitch as it pours out of a pitcher's hand. How to position one's self with runners on base. How to shorten a swing and protect the plate with two strikes. How to properly fight if a guy on the other team deserves to have his head pounded in.
That's right. Guys in the minor leagues also need to learn how to properly involve themselves in a baseball fight. I've put together a tutorial that I'll share with you that should properly show etiquette, style and strategy when fighting in baseball.
You've seen baseball fights before. Here's a boring one from a college game:
Not much happened here. This is, actually, the proper way for a baseball brawl to work. There's an inciting incident causing two opposing players "jaw" at each other, then both benches need to "empty" so that the two players don't end up alone in a steel cage death match.
The key to a baseball brawl is to not get hurt. Another important lesson is this: Don't make a fool of yourself, like this guy:
No, the one who should be embarrassed is not the pursuer. It's the one being pursued. Always remember: Both Benches Will Empty. Reinforcements are always - ALWAYS - on the way in a baseball brawl. There's no need to run away.
But what could the pitcher have done here? There's always the drop kick. Scroll up to 2:25 in the following example to see exactly how it's done:
For the kids reading this, until you get out of Little League, the proper way to battle on the field is on one leg:
As the aggressor in a fight, you can take a few lessons from the following video. Note the foresight on the batter as he takes care of the pitcher's first line of defense before going after the pitcher.
Unfortunately, his one error in judgement here was, for a brief moment, he was surrounded without the reinforcements, most probably because his teammates were so thrown off guard by the nontraditional attack on the catcher.
I hope this lesson brings joy into your homes and properly explained how to brawl on a baseball diamond. We return home tomorrow to play Iowa, not the entire state, just the Chicago AAA affiliate. We're hoping for a peaceful game.