- Batting practice is the glue that holds baseball together. During batting practice (or BP, or BeePs, or Swingin’ it, or Hitting on the Field), everything happens.
- Lasting anywhere between 45 minutes to an hour, players get a dense exercise at their craft.
After a team stretch and throwing program, group 1 goes for the bat rack. Hitters grab a bat (or 2 bats if they’re hitting off a pitching coach) and batting gloves, and head for the pine tar rag and rosin bag. (occasionally after a round, players will work on base-running) (managers discretion)
During that time pitchers finish throwing flat grounds, touch n feels, or bullpens. Followed by conditioning. Then it’s off for the other 50% of a pitcher’s job… shagging. (gathering batted balls around the outfield)
With group 1 hitting, group 2 and 3 wait their turns by finding their positions. Infielders take fungos from coaches or other players. Third-base will throw across to first, while second and shortstop work on two up the middle. Outfielders go live and track balls, working on reads and getting acquainted with the turf and background. (well-oiled machine)
Hitting Rounds: situational round, opposite-field round, up-the-middle, pull-round, base-hit round, and of course the home-run round.
5 o’clock hitters are alive and well. 5 o’clock hitters are players that absolutely MASH BP. With line-drives in the gaps and massive home-runs, these players get the job done…at 5:00pm. However, during the 7 o’clock game, these signs of power seem to diminish. (has anyone coined the term 7 o’clock hitter?)
Standing. There is a lot of standing during BP. To beat the heat during “the dog days”, smarter players position themselves in the shadow of the large stadium lights. (tradecraft) (however, some pitchers relive their old amateur position player days by power shagging)
Used pitcher excuses to miss shagging during batting practice: Towel drills, timely conditioning, covering first-base for infielders, being a fungo hitter, diarrhea, rotator cuff exercises…again, “searching” for sunscreen, traffic school, grass allergy, “can’t find my glove”, continued diarrhea.
“Who’s got the bucket!” In the Minor Leagues, the starting pitcher from the night before is in charge of the bucket. Whether the pitcher went 7 strong, or went 1.4 innings giving up 7 runs…ya got bucket. (“Wear It”) Bucket Duties include: picking up hundreds of baseballs, dodging hundreds of baseballs, and carrying hundreds of baseballs.
When group 3 is finished, there is a strong surge of hustling baseball players in an almost “unofficial” race to the clubhouse. After some hydration and a quick ham and cheese sandy, it’s time to strap-it-on and GYMR! (Get Your Mind Right)
“Batting practice tomorrow, be there!”
“I have been. Every day.”
*11 of 16*