Springtime daydreams

Usually it’s mid-February before this particular bit of ants-in-my-mental-pants begins: the hint of grass I catch scenting the wind when I’m bringing the dogs indoors; the memory of the particular perfume dirt and sweat and freshly washed uniforms concoct, the way the dirt of the infield lingers so that later, your lips taste like beating the throw; and the déjà vu of the exact bit of butterflies when you’re waiting in the on-deck circle, tapping the bat against your cleats and going over and over again in your mind what you want to happen when you hit your pitch.

One of my goals this offseason (besides leaving the outfield behind and showing up all the other [male] third basemen in the league) was to accomplish something I haven’t done since high school: hit a triple. Another: to knock a pitch off the fence, with the hope of stretching it into an inside-the-park homerun.

Kirk Gibson was a huge proponent of the power of positive visualization (and he probably still is, and he’ll need it, taking over the Diamondbacks), and to that end, I’ve been lulling myself to sleep thinking through the steps of my swing: setup, load, buffer/hands, slot/hips, bat head through the zone, big tall finish.

My coach and I have talked about my approach at the plate this spring, which will differ substantially from my usual “swing at the first pitch” approach. Being that I’ve been the number four hitter for the majority of games in the past year, my first at-bat has got to count—I’ve got to be able to burn the outfielders with a pure power display to push them back against the fence and open the field for line drives, etc.

I can’t imagine a better beginning to the season than a hit like this.

Imagine how much more impressive it’ll be when it’s a 5-foot, 2-and-a-quarter-inch lightweight in a skirt rocking a pitch like that.

It’s atop my daydreaming list. Here’s hoping Gibby’s “see it, believe it, achieve it” makes it happen. Well, that and all the grueling hard work.

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