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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

The story behind Los Angeles Dodgers utility man Chris Taylor’s unbelievable season

Adding to the mystery, I’d been told that spectral forces outside the big league ecosystem are responsible for transforming Taylor, 27, from a 4A—too good for Triple-A, not good enough for the majors—player with the Mariners into a revelation. It’s a little dicey; big league coaches are proprietary and for the most part conventional. There’s an ongoing jiu-jitsu between them and the growing number of individual gurus whose teachings often begin on the margins and stray from there.

My search for explanation led to Rancho Cucamonga, about 40 miles east of Los Angeles, and Craig Wallenbrock, a 71-year-old hitting consultant who quit the baseball team at San Diego State in the late ‘60s to become “a hippie, pot-smoking surfer living on Mission Beach.” His background has created a mentality that accepts differences and despises labels, and he has to be the only hitting coach in recorded history—well, in baseball, anyway—who teaches based on the precepts of a 374-year-old text. He has a booming voice, a bottomless well of self-confidence and a bum ankle that feels better today after yesterday’s cortisone shot.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 18, 2017 at 02:20 PM | 13 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: chris taylor, dodgers

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   1. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: October 18, 2017 at 02:58 PM (#5557115)
This article is highly disappointing. Introduces supposed hitting guru, launch angle is mentioned, Eastern philosophy.... Then it just ends without telling us how Taylor improved.
   2. Nasty Nate Posted: October 18, 2017 at 03:21 PM (#5557124)
When I checked the box score during Game 1 of the NLCS, I had not yet heard the Seager news, and I really thought that the sports app on my phone was having a glitch where it gave me some weird lineup from a spring training game. I knew Taylor was basically a starter, but I thought Barnes was a backup, and I had no idea who Culberson was or why Kike Hernandez was batting cleanup. I actually did not believe what I was seeing at first.

It's still weird that a 100-win high-payroll behemoth decided all of a sudden to bat Hernandez cleanup in the most important (thus far) game of the year.
   3. PreservedFish Posted: October 18, 2017 at 03:28 PM (#5557128)
#1 also my response. It's like he forgot to write the second half.
   4. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: October 18, 2017 at 03:41 PM (#5557138)
There’s an ongoing jiu-jitsu between them and the growing number of individual gurus whose teachings often begin on the margins and stray from there.

jajaja, what you know jiu-jitsu?
   5. Walt Davis Posted: October 18, 2017 at 03:50 PM (#5557148)
Rancho Cucamonga -- comedy history.
   6. Jeff Frances the Mute Posted: October 18, 2017 at 04:00 PM (#5557166)
It's still weird that a 100-win high-payroll behemoth decided all of a sudden to bat Hernandez cleanup in the most important (thus far) game of the year.

It isn't weird because Quintana is a lefty.
   7. Nasty Nate Posted: October 18, 2017 at 04:09 PM (#5557176)
Still weird.

(I'm not saying it was stupid.)
   8. Omineca Greg Posted: October 18, 2017 at 05:21 PM (#5557264)
The Book of Five Rings is a guide to winning conflicts (sword fighting specifically, but there's enough general information to be useful in any confrontation).

It's in the public domain as it was written in the mid 17th century, link to the entire book here.

I'd never thought of using it for sports, but that just shows the limits of my imagination, now that I give it consideration it's obvious. It's very Zen, but none of this, "a man truly wins a battle when he controls his self" malarkey; it's about wasting dudes.

Here, I'll excerpt...

To Hold Down a Pillow

"To Hold Down a Pillow" means not allowing the enemy's head to rise.

In contests of strategy it is bad to be led about by the enemy. You must always be able to lead the enemy about. Obviously the enemy will also be thinking of doing this, but he cannot forestall you if you do not allow him to come out. In strategy, you must stop the enemy as he attempts to cut; you must push down his thrust, and throw off his hold when he tries to grapple. This is the meaning of "to hold down a pillow". When you have grasped this principle, whatever the enemy tries to bring about in the fight you will see in advance and suppress it. The spirit is to check his attack at the syllable "at...", when he jumps check his jump at the syllable "ju...", and check his cut at "cu...".

The important thing in strategy is to suppress the enemy's useful actions but allow his useless actions. However, doing this alone is defensive. First, you must act according to the Way, suppressing the enemy's techniques, foiling his plans and thence command him directly. When you can do this you will be a master of strategy. You must train well and research "holding down a pillow"


To attain the Way of strategy as a warrior you must study fully other martial arts and not deviate even a little from the Way of the warrior. With your spirit settled on your duty, you must practice day by day, and hour by hour. Polish the twofold spirit of Shin [heart] and I [will], and sharpen the twofold gaze of ken [perception] and kan [intuition]. When your spirit is not in the least confused, when the clouds of bewilderment are cleared away, there is the true void.

Until you realize the true Way, whether in Buddhism or in worldly laws, you may think that your own way is the one correct and in order. However, if we look at things objectively, in the light of the Straight Way of the Heart or in accordance with the Great Square of the World, we see various doctrines departing from the true Way. What you believe in often proves to be contrary to the true way, distorted as it is by tendencies to favor your own thoughts and views. Know this well, and try to act with forthrightness as the foundation and keep the true Heart as the Way. Enact strategy broadly, correctly and openly.

And one more...

Rhythm in strategy

There is rhythm in everything, however, the rhythm in strategy, in particular, cannot be mastered without a great deal of hard practice.

Among the rhythms readily noticeable in our lives are the exquisite rhythms in dancing and accomplished pipe or string playing. Timing and rhythm are also involved in the military arts, shooting bows and guns, and riding horses. In all skills and abilities there is timing.

There is also rhythm in the Void.

There is a rhythm in the whole life of the warrior, in his thriving and declining, in his harmony and discord. Similarly, there is a rhythm in the Way of the merchant, of becoming rich and of losing one's fortune, in the rise and fall of capital. All things entail rising and falling rhythm. You must be able to discern this. In strategy there are various considerations. From the outset you must attune to your opponent, then you must learn to disconcert him. It is crucial to know the applicable rhythm and the inapplicable rhythm, and from among the large and small rhythms and the fast and slow rhythms find the relevant rhythm. You must see the rhythm of distance, and the rhythm of reversal. This is the main thing in strategy. It is especially important to understand the rhythms of reversal; otherwise your strategy will be unreliable.

In combat, you must learn the rhythm of each opponent, and use the rhythms that your opponents don't expect. You win by creating formless rhythms out of the rhythm of the Void.

All the five books are chiefly concerned with rhythm. You must train sufficiently to appreciate this.

If you practice diligently day and night in the strategy outlined above, your spirit will naturally broaden. Thus you will come to comprehend large scale strategy and the strategy of one on one combat. This is recorded for the first time in these five volumes of Earth, Water, Fire, Wind, and Void.

Interesting book.

   9. PreservedFish Posted: October 18, 2017 at 05:30 PM (#5557287)
Earth, Water, Fire, Wind, and Void.

That's kind of fascinating, recognizing Void as an element.
   10. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 18, 2017 at 05:38 PM (#5557301)
I think Void left the band in '73.
   11. Heart of Matt Harvey Posted: October 18, 2017 at 06:00 PM (#5557325)
That's kind of fascinating, recognizing Void as an element.

Space is an element in many Eastern systems. Though I prefer Milla Jovovich.
   12. PepTech, the Legendary Posted: October 18, 2017 at 06:04 PM (#5557329)
Speaking as a Mariner fan... (sob)
   13. Omineca Greg Posted: October 18, 2017 at 06:16 PM (#5557336)
"Void" in this context is a translation of 空 in Japanese, or Śūnyatā is what English speaking Buddhists would generally say. "Void" is an OK translation, but the idea is a very specific concept to Buddhists. I would struggle to describe it, but here is a quote from the Dalai Lama where he discusses the idea, using the word "emptiness"...

One of the most important philosophical insights in Buddhism comes from what is known as the theory of emptiness. At its heart is the deep recognition that there is a fundamental disparity between the way we perceive the world, including our own experience in it, and the way things actually are. In our day-to-day experience, we tend to relate to the world and to ourselves as if these entities possessed self-enclosed, definable, discrete and enduring reality. For instance, if we examine our own conception of selfhood, we will find that we tend to believe in the presence of an essential core to our being, which characterises our individuality and identity as a discrete ego, independent of the physical and mental elements that constitute our existence. The philosophy of emptiness reveals that this is not only a fundamental error but also the basis for attachment, clinging and the development of our numerous prejudices. According to the theory of emptiness, any belief in an objective reality grounded in the assumption of intrinsic, independent existence is simply untenable. All things and events, whether ‘material’, mental or even abstract concepts like time, are devoid of objective, independent existence.

Dalai Lama

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