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Monday, March 16, 2009

SF Gate: Mays offers Rowand tips

Bangerz clear nose guards and gallons of red juice?

When Aaron Rowand took a seat at Mays’ table in the Giants’ clubhouse last week, something important was happening. For all the talk of Rowand’s prolonged hitting slump during his first season with the Giants, his fielding troubles might have been more crucial.

Rowand did not always get great jumps on balls and overthrew cutoff men far more than a seven-year major-leaguer should. Mays had some answers. He told Rowand to close the gap between his fingers when he grips the ball and throw more on a downward slope, as a pitcher does. Mays also said Rowand needs to crouch more as the pitch is thrown, allowing for a more catlike step toward long flyballs.

Rowand is a great talker. In this conversation, he was a great listener.

“There’s no doubt he is the greatest center fielder of all time,” Rowand said. “To have a chance to sit down and talk to him, first it’s getting over the intimidation factor. He’s an imposing figure. He’s one of the greatest of all time of anybody who’s ever laced up a pair of cleats.

“Talking to him about playing center field, talking to him about playing balls off the wall, grips, stuff like that, you’re not going to find a better source of information on this planet than the man who did it the best.”

Repoz Posted: March 16, 2009 at 12:35 PM | 13 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: giants

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   1. Craig Calcaterra Posted: March 16, 2009 at 01:40 PM (#3104452)
I've always been suspicious of immortals like Mays giving tips like this. It's kind of like Superman telling someone "you just have to sort of will yourself up and you'll be jumping tall buildings in a single bound in no time." Not saying Mays doesn't have anything to offer Rowand, but I can't help but think that there are about 15 levels of knowledge, skill, and work Rowand would have to advance through before really being able to make use of what he's being told.
   2. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: March 16, 2009 at 01:50 PM (#3104457)
I can't help but think that there are about 15 levels of knowledge, skill, and work Rowand would have to advance through before really being able to make use of what he's being told.



Try not. Do, or do not!
   3. xanthan Posted: March 16, 2009 at 01:58 PM (#3104470)
Mays: Stop sucking!
Rowand: /crashes into wall
   4. More Dewey is Always Good Posted: March 16, 2009 at 02:34 PM (#3104503)
Has Rowand had trouble defensively since joining the Giants? I admit I haven't really followed his NL career, but he was an outstanding defensive outfielder when he first came up.
   5. xanthan Posted: March 16, 2009 at 02:50 PM (#3104541)
@Dewey

Rowand looked really bad in the field last season and by most metrics -- UZR, plus/minus -- he was really bad. He was anywhere from a half-win to a full-win below average on defense. Not only did his range look really poor, his throwing arm was atrocious. He earned the nickname 'Errant Throwin' from Giants fans because he could not hit a cut-off or throw the ball true to save his life.

A rib injury gets blamed for his problems but part of me wonders if the wear-and-tear of playing baseball has caught up with him.
   6. More Dewey is Always Good Posted: March 16, 2009 at 02:56 PM (#3104548)
Thanks. I didn't know he had fallen so far.

He's always been an injury-prone player, but when he was young, he was effective when able to play. It's a shame - he was one of my favorite players to watch.
   7. Gromit Posted: March 16, 2009 at 05:12 PM (#3104736)
I agree with #1. It's like batting stances. Each player has to find out what works best for him.
   8. Sean Forman Posted: March 16, 2009 at 07:04 PM (#3104885)
Ah, and I remember the gnashing of teeth in Philly when he left.
   9. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: March 16, 2009 at 07:08 PM (#3104894)
True, each player has to find out what's best for him.
That said, the examples in the excerpt (didn't read the FA) seem like pretty solid, specific advice for dealing with specific problems:
Not getting a good jump? Try crouching more as the pitch is thrown.
Overthrowing the cutoff man? Try gripping the ball differently, and not throwing so high.
These tips might not be perfectly appropriate to Rowand's situation, but they're not Yogi Berra saying "Just watch me hit and do what I do," either.
   10. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: March 16, 2009 at 07:18 PM (#3104906)
Ah, and I remember the gnashing of teeth in Philly when he left.
As much as for how missed he'd be in the clubhouse with his leadership. For anyone who doubts clubhouse chemistry leaders, look at what happened to the Phils last year!
   11. More Dewey is Always Good Posted: March 16, 2009 at 07:22 PM (#3104908)
For anyone who doubts clubhouse chemistry leaders, look at what happened to the Phils last year!

Rowand sent over some of his chemistry to Philadelphia last year. He figured it would be wasted in San Francisco, anyway.
   12. zenbitz Posted: March 17, 2009 at 02:21 AM (#3105219)
"don't take any wooden nickels"

(and crash them into your face)
   13. Random Transaction Generator Posted: March 17, 2009 at 02:55 AM (#3105257)
I agree with #1.

It's why I'm still surprised that Wayne Gretzky is still a coach.
I would have figured he would have quit after about a month.

Gretzky: "Now when you don't have the puck, memorize where every single player on the ice is, where they are going, and what position they play. Now factor in all the previous instances during this game. When you get the puck, process all of this information instantly and make an amazing pass or perfectly timed shot."
Phoenix players: "Whu?"
Gretzky: "Oh, to hell with this."

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