Scroll down for the part where “The Genius” has “Joey Bats” meeting “Tex’s Face”. (now if I could only find an Al Plastino splash page)
What happened with Mark Teixeira this year?
After all the talk this winter of changing his swing, trying to beat the shift more often, he’s gone back to his old style.
The only thing I can say is there was kind of a media frenzy. “He needs to hit singles. He needs to hit the ball the other way.” And a lot of people got caught up in it. And he’s part of who got caught up in it because maybe it was right. And it could have been. But you know what? After watching him and watching his swing, it wasn’t going to work.
Why wasn’t it going to work?
It’s not who he is. And I said it in the offseason. I asked, is he a better hitter if he hits .300 with 18 home runs and drives in 95 runs? And I got blank stares. It was like, “Well, he’s going to hit .300.” But he would not put balls in the seats, because he’s a pull hitter and that’s where he drives the ball. You look at almost all of his home runs throughout his career and they’re to the pull side. But he got caught up in it.
Do you have any idea why it became a big deal to him? Was it simply frustration with hitting balls into the shift and his career-low .248 batting average last season?
The same thing happened to Jose Bautista, and I asked him, “What are you doing?” And he said, “They’re playing shifts on me and I’m trying to go the other way.” And it just about ruined him. He put himself in a severe hole. I feel like certain people are better off staying to the pull side. There may be a few hits to the opposite field, but Mark wasn’t able to do it, and Jose Bautista wasn’t able to do it. And it takes away from what they do best. It takes away their power.
Did you try to talk Teixeira out of it?
He wanted to do it and I was behind him. There’s plenty of data out there to suggest it was worth a try, but it wasn’t in his DNA. Ultimately, at the end of the day, it wasn’t what was best for Mark Teixeira and his swing-type.