Sunday, April 17, 2005
The Zen of Rolen
I guess the big "wheww" from yesterday is the patient eyes of Scott Rolen. Rolen is a contemplative hitter who sees his pitches. But there's more to it than just the old baseball cliche. There's a Zen aspect to Rolen's plate approach. Just seeing the pitches doesn't describe it. He gets outside of his body and experiences the pitch, gauging it from the sides and rear too. In the box with bat pointed skyward, the slight movement in that big stick acts like a mantra, a motion moving down through his bones and radiating into the muscles, giving the body a gentle, pleasant hum and instilling a focus that could exclude the noise of bombs, or the erratic hum of a stadium filled with thousands of chattering fans. With that, he is able to slow the ball down as it comes to the plate, slowing it and tracking its movement until the bat comes around and sends the ball through the air to a destination beyond the infield dirt. That's a how a hitter hits. There's nothing scientific about it, purely art and maybe a dash of inner peace. The Cards have another Zen hitter in Pujols, and he too has recently rediscovered that focus, evidenced by his hitting streak and back to back games with home runs.