Why do some teams struggle so badly with runners in scoring position? One big factor is confidence. Of course, confidence comes with success, so it is one of those never-ending quandaries. How can you be successful if you have no confidence? Here is where the hitting instructor comes in if it is a major league team. There are a handful of those out there that always seem to have the right approach. St. Louis Cardinals come to mind, and it seems to carry on year after year. I think the right approach is contact hitting, but most big league reporters will tell you this is hard to sell. Baseball managers do not pay the big bucks for singles, so batters swing for the fences. When they do this, they tend to take long swings which usually lead to holes in the batter’s swing and more times then not they make poor contact or none at all. Cincinnati has fought this a lot so far this season. Jay Bruce is a prime example. He has a looped swing, so if a pitcher has good control he throws the ball away from his bat’s arc, and thus, little contact. If you miss that spot, however, Bruce can hit it as far as anybody. If a manager has earned a lot of respect through repeated winning, he will be able to convince his players they can help the team win this way and wait for the home runs in other situations. Tony La Russa had this at St. Louis, and few players dared to go against him. If they did, they usually were shipped to another team. Shortening up on the swing usually results in better contact, also. The size of the ballpark plays a role as well. When the fences are close, most guys think they can reach it–so again the big swing.
A nonprofit agency run by prominent civil-rights lawyer Connie Rice should receive a $465,000 city contract to develop a comprehensive anti-gang strategy, a council panel said Friday. The contract – which requires approval from the full council – could provide the foundation for a new city agency headed by a “gang czar” and devoted to keeping young people away from violence. “They call us the gang capital of the country,” said Councilman Tony Cardenas, chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee on Gang Violence & Youth Development. “What we are the capital of is not taking advantage of the resources and opportunities that have been lying before us. “We haven’t really harnessed them and put a comprehensive road map together.” “You can’t arrest your way out of this and you can’t incarcerate your way out of this,” she said. “We’re trying to give you the other lenses to see this issue.” The Advancement Project’s proposal says the group will work with academic, law enforcement and youth policy experts to craft a “public health model of violence prevention” similar to plans in Alameda County and Philadelphia. Partners in the project will include anti-gang figure Bill Martinez, public health expert Billie Weiss, Homeboy Industries director the Rev. Gregory Boyle and former sheriff’s Sgt. Wesley McBride. Dan Laidman, (213) 978-0390 firstname.lastname@example.org 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESanta Anita opens winter meet Saturday with loaded card City analysts picked the Advancement Project, a nonprofit policy and legal advocacy group, to put together such a road map. Some experts contend that the $26 million the city spends each year on gang prevention and intervention goes to some overlapping programs without adequate performance measures. Former Councilman Martin Ludlow had proposed a new city department to handle all non-law enforcement aspects of gang prevention, but the plan languished when he left to head the County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO. Cardenas brought the plan back last year. He said Friday that he still thinks an anti-gang chief is a good idea, but is waiting to see recommendations of the contractor study. Rice, co-director of the Advancement Project, told the panel that this week’s gang-related jail riots show how the “region could end up engulfed in this violence” if officials do not act.