Friday, March 8, 2013

Baseball Ad: Dick's Sporting Goods

As I was watching my favorite college basketball team on television last night, the above advertisement for Dick's Sporting Goods aired.  I thought it showed the subtle nuances of the game that a casual fan may not pick up on quite well.
When you watch a game on tv, you are only shown what is broadcasted and what is told by the announcing crew, but there is more going on during the game.  Between each pitch, the manager and coaching staff are playing a chess match against each other in terms of which play to execute and also thinking of strategies for upcoming batters and innings.  Players are also adjusting their field position accordingly to a batter's strengths and weaknesses and will move not only for batter to batter, but also for pitch to pitch.  For example, if the fielder knows that an offspeed pitch will be thrown, he would move a couple steps to adjust for the batter to pull the ball.
As this is going on, the hitter and baserunner(s) are watching and could get an idea of what the pitcher is going to throw.  Can he drive the ball to knock in a run or two or hit behind the runner in order to advance him a base. Is his teammate on the basepath going to steal or trying to get a big lead? Is he trying to distract the pitcher? Is trying get that extra base on a hit? Will the hitter need to take a pitch to allow him to steal? Did he get bad jump? Does he need to swing to protect the baserunner?   And the runner is looking at the position of the fielders and see if he can get the extra base on a base hit. Thinking of stealing on the pitcher and catcher and if he does, will that take the bat of the hand of the hitter.  The runner is also working his lead of his base and trying to study the pitcher's move to home and base.
So, when you are watching a game, don't assume the players are standing in one spot and waiting for the ball to be hit. Each player is taking a mental inventory of all the things above between each pitch and batter. There is a lot of action in the inaction on the field because of the constant adjusting and communicating between teammates and the coaching staff. 

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