Dante Bichette has experience coaching pro hitters, kind of. - Elsa (Getty Images)
Dante Bichette is an iconic hero in Rockies lore, guaranteed to bring a smile to the face of any Rockies fan. He also knows Coors Field very well, hitting a walk-off home run in the first ever MLB game at Coors Field in 1995. He went on to nearly win the MVP that season in helping slug Colorado to its first postseason; despite losing to the Braves, Bichette hit 10-for-17 in the series with more extra base hits than strike outs.
Now, Bichette has returned to Coors Field to don the purple pinstripes as the Rockies hitting instructor, a move that has excited fans in spite of themselves. The Rockies are already marketing their hitting coach, designing a bobblehead of Bichette to distribute next year. It may be a 20th anniversary promotion including other heroes of Rockies past, but if not, it illuminates a potential motivation to bring Bichette into the fold - an easy way to get fans excited.
Dante's image was the furthest thing from student, with his unkempt hair, jaunty smile, and bulging biceps. Yet Dante is a man with a plan and concrete ideas on how to improve, writes Troy Renck. Here are some philosophical quotes from Dante that are applicable to improving Colorado's home/road offense issue:
The secret of getting things done is to act!
He listens well who takes notes.
A mighty flame followeth a tiny spark.
Okay, I lied. Sort of. Those are from Dante Alighieri of Dante's Inferno fame. But our Dante has similar ideas, if not expressed so succinctly.
"We are going to get after it. It's not what you do one day, but what you do every day." - Dante Bichette
By "get after it," he wants to turn the lineup into an intimidating, slugging monster. It would be nice if the Rockies had such a lineup, but Bichette will only have the personnel that Dan O'Dowd and Bill Geivett gives him. That approach may derail the swing path of a few guys whose game is not built on power - Dexter Fowler, Jordan Pacheco, etc.
I do fear for trying to mold players into hitters they are not built to be. The most common mistake teachers make is to use the methods that worked for them and force it on every student, regardless of what works best for them.
One can certainly question whether his ideas are naive, or withhold praise until he proves capable of implementing them. But from his curveball hitting machine on the road, to studying Ted Williams, to coaching his son into a solid Yankees prospect, to being intimately familiar with the inverse Coors efffect, Bichette has much more on his hitting coach resume than just a franchise icon.
Aside from re-engineering the lineup into the image of himself, the biggest canon expressed by Bichette has been about the home park. Bichette has repeatedly stressed his desire to turn Coors Field back into a unique advantage for the Rockies, the kind of intimidating beast it once was.
"I want pitchers to be looking at the schedule worried about when they have to come here. I want us to play with an edge and an attitude."
Or, as Dante Alighieri penned:
All hope abandon, ye who enter here!
Better late than never NL graphs - There are two graphs I want to highlight here. The first illustrates just how different Coors Field played in 2012 than the other 15 NL parks. The third and final graph shows that pitching was only part of the problem. Defense was beyond atrocious and needs arguably as much addressing in 2013.
Are Sacrifice Bunts Less Offensive Now That Scoring Has Dipped? | Chad Moriyama An interesting premise. Perhaps not surprisingly, Moriyama finds that the answer is "yes," but that the sac bunt is still a horrible play most of the time.
Zack Greinke is great, but these deals rarely work out. | SportsonEarth.com : Joe Posnanski Article JoPo isn't in Happy Valley anymore, so the former Kansas City Star wrote about Zack Greinke, reminding us that it isn't 2009 anymore. Rockies fans are well aware of this fact, but Posnanski uses it to both identify the Dodgers' talent acquisition methodology and analyze the large contracts for pitchers.
40th anniversary: birth of the DH and the save as an official stat - Chris Jaffe reminds that yesterday was 40 years that baseball added two loathed apparatuses to the game.
And lastly, take your pick for strangest NL West news of the day...
...The Dodgers sign Korean pitcher Hyun Jin Ryu, and within 24 hours, put him in a Dodgers uniform so he can do Gangnam Style. The official Dodgers' twitter account claims it is standard procedure for physicals.