Cross pollination 'tween golf and baseball

Re: Cross pollination 'tween golf and baseball

Postby lagpressure » Fri Oct 08, 2010 8:18 am

Lag, is your thinking and overall theory dependent upon the pretty flat lie angle? Does one require the other? It would make sense to why I can't fully relate to the thinking since we've already established that me and super flat lies don't really compute...


I don't see flat lie angles as something you have to do. Obviously there have been some great player who played the game off more upright gear. Nicklaus did. Moe did because of his unique approach. Hale Irwin comes to mind.

But as far as flat lie angles... I see this as stacking the odds or loading the dice in your favor from a purely geometric standpoint.

The main theory is that the flatter you swing, the more the results of OTT become nullified.

What does OTT do? For better players it often means a hard pull shot long and left. Which for right handed golfers is usually the worst place to miss a green. Trevino talked about this in his book, and the reason he felt he could beat Nicklaus. He believed Jack's wedges and short irons were too upright, and Jack would often leave himself left to right downhill putts.

It's instinctive to want to come a little OTT especially with the short irons to hit the ball crisply, not fat. For most golf swings, this is going to shut down the face or take loft off, and pull the ball.

Try this.. how far left can you pull a shot offline with an upright 8 iron? I can easily come OTT and hit it more than 45 degrees left of my original intented flight path in an extreme display of butchery. Now tee up a driver and hit a shot off your knees. Assuming you can make contact, there is no way you are going the be capable of starting a ball that far left.

The other advantages of flat lie angles are that they naturally put the club more behind us. This tends to engage our body in a more natural way than if the arms go up over our head... and oddly enough requires less dropping into the slot than an upright swing.. because to some degree, you are already there. The flatter plane also promotes clubface rotation in a more natural way, and tends to stablize lowpoint also due to the more sweeping motion of a flatter swing. I don't find myself taking the big deep divots I used to and contact is much more ball related than ground related.

There are other concepts too, such as lowering your center of gravity to stabilize the golf swing and how flatter planes encourage better ground pressure loading... better access to the 4:30 line and so on. I don't think it's a mystery that Hogan, Nelson, Trevino, Knudson, DeVicenzo and so many others played off flat platforms. During my playing days, three of the Order of Merit winners on the Canadian Tour (Guy Boros, Jim Benepe, Bob Panasak) all swung very flat planes. I played with Bob Shearer in Austalia who was a great flusher, and Peter Senior of course, very flat action.

I can also speak from my own personal experience going from an upright swinger to a flat hitter how much easier golf is now with the ball striking.

Keeping this on topic.. do baseball hitters prefer a pitch coming across their sternum or down low at the knees and why? I'm not much of a baseball expert, but I think the high pitch is a dangerous one to throw at a power hitter?
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Re: Cross pollination 'tween golf and baseball

Postby hawg1 » Fri Oct 08, 2010 4:33 pm

Lag asked:
Keeping this on topic.. do baseball hitters prefer a pitch coming across their sternum or down low at the knees and why? I'm not much of a baseball expert, but I think the high pitch is a dangerous one to throw at a power hitter?


You are spot on. When a pitcher misses high, the result is almost always bad.

While there are / were very good low ball hitters (Joe Carter jumps to mind) The vast majority of power hitters (or any hitter for that matter) prefer a pitch up around the letters.

It's interesting to note that when a a batter connects on a high pitch (above the strike zone) the expression is "he tomahawked that one" and when he gets ahold of a low one (below the strike zone) we say "he golfed that one."

Note to non baseball fans: the strike zone is that ephemeral rectangle roughly bounded by a batters knees, armpits, and the vertical lines on each side of home plate. Think of a box about the size of a bigish microwave oven.

It totally fits with your idea of a flat swing plane, the sternum level pitch requires the least amount of adjustment from the ready position, the batter can see the pitch better, and high pitches tend not to have side spin on them (hence the reason they are high. Missing upstairs is a mortal sin at anything much past little league).

If any of you find your self channel surfing in the next couple of weeks, and stumble upon the World Series, watch for a dymanic between the batter and the pitcher.

There is an expression known as climbing the ladder, where a pitcher throws fastballs (relying on pure speed, not spin. No Quigleys here) successively higher in the zone: belt high, mid-rib high, then just under the armpits high. It's a total macho thing, he is putting his best stuff right in the face of the batter, walking right into his strenght, on purpose.

There was another thread about being in the zone. When a pitcher can "climb the ladder", (Lefty Carleton was the master, the absolute master) he is totally, totally "in the zone."

Cheers,
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Re: Cross pollination 'tween golf and baseball

Postby lagpressure » Fri Oct 08, 2010 5:04 pm

I do see this as a quality analogy, or comparison. I can clearly visualize that hitting a low pitch in baseball would have a much greater chance of putting side spin on the ball, than a pitch up high. This is probably why golf is so difficult. The steeper plane inherent in golf because the ball is on the ground is really a recipe for side spin disaster.

Now in baseball, you have a 90 degree target between the two baselines if you are swinging for the fences. Golf on the other hand might be 10 degrees or less depending upon the width and shape of a fairway or green. By this comparison, it really shouldn't be the power game baseball would seem to be.

By flattening our plane, we would decrease side spin, but golfers have the advantage of controlling ball placement in the swing arc more than swinging at a moving target would intrinsically offer.

Assuming you can stabilize ball position in golf, a flatter plane will also give the advantage of minimizing the push and pull vectors which has been my main argument.

Then shallowing out the divots takes the advantages into the third dimension.
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Re: Cross pollination 'tween golf and baseball

Postby hawg1 » Sat Oct 09, 2010 12:20 am

Bom,

Watched my two fave teams crash and burn yesterday (Reds and Giants), but we paid extra attention to the hand positions of every batter that came up.

Even enlisted my trusty bar keep for backup; explained to him the prop, which he bought into hook, line, and sinker.

And while swingin' a baseball bat in a bar is truly, truly a bad idea (we made do with a squeegee) we came to the exact same conclusion: The movement known as laying off is not a baseball move at all. Yes, the forarms do cross, and thus pronate / supinate. but only well after contact. Again, it's the intent thing.

Every RH batter had the back of his left hand facing at first base, every LH batter had his RH facing at third base.

Oh, and at the risk of overstating the obvious; Lag had mentioned the variance in valid inclusion angles. Sooooo true. In baseball, the premium is placed on "pulling" the ball, that is, a RH batter hitting it over short, a LH hitting it over the second baseman's head. In golf, these would be scary bad shots, the equivalent of huge pull, with a snap hook at the end. Two fairways over kinda stuff.

Anyway, sorry if I've been beatin' a dead horse here. But this was a bugbear for years, and it seems we mighta got a handle on it.

Now onto the next phase, workin' on that sublime little puttin' tip from Captain Chaos. Dude, if that pays off, you earned yerself a fine chowdown of sea rats, fo sho.

Cheers,
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Re: Cross pollination 'tween golf and baseball

Postby hawg1 » Sat Oct 09, 2010 10:35 pm

Of Bats, Clubs, and Rats

One of the ABS central tenants is that heavier golf clubs produce better (ie more consistant and more controllable) swings. And some of the forum members have mentioned / discussed old time baseball bats, and how they differ from the modern kit.

Given that it's CDN Thanksgiving this weekend, we can look into this topic and harvest much that will help us shoot better scores in golf.

Most readers here will recognize the name Babe Ruth. The Sultan of Swing used a bat that was pretty much twice the size of anything used in baseball today. Seriously.

Let me cite a few links, the first being a wiki article, included mostly for the dapper pix of The Babe in golf attire ('bout half way down the page).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Babe_Ruth

Another good link is this, http://paws.kettering.edu/~drussell/bats-new/batw8.html


Here a propellerhead crunches the numbers, and comes to a rather common conclusion in ABS land: heavy gear is more suited to those seeking accuracy, light gear better suited to those after max. energy transfer.


And finally, one of my all-time favorite books, Robert K. Adair's The Physics of Baseball.

This link http://www.harpercollins.com/browseinside/index.aspx?isbn13=9780060084363 has a really good sampling of the content, but perhaps more importantly gives us the definative difference between the golf and baseball swings; the chart on page 80 puts it into the "that's all she wrote" category.


Oh, almost forgot the Rat. Yes, our famous Rattus Iocus, ya SHOULDA kept that bat, if only to show young pups what REAL RATS used to have to dodge.

Cheers,
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Re: Cross pollination 'tween golf and baseball

Postby lagpressure » Sun Oct 10, 2010 9:14 am

usga.jpg
usga.jpg (51.96 KiB) Viewed 3882 times


Had the USGA had the foresight to specify a similar equipment rule, the game wouldn't be in the mess it is in now.

While the argument for baseball might be safety of players keeping the bats wood, the argument for golf should be
the relevance of preserving the "playing integrity" of the world's finest historic golf courses.
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Re: Cross pollination 'tween golf and baseball

Postby BomGolf222 » Sun Oct 10, 2010 10:34 am

Lots of interesting discussions. You miss a few days around here and you can get behind the curve. Thanks for the feedback on that, Lag, I definitely agree with the flat lie increasing your odds- that rotating 'no lie angle' iron image was a big eye opener for me when I first heard you talk about it.
For me, it's a weird mix of psychology and reality when I'm out on the course trying to hit shots, or maybe shoot a decent score. I guess it comes down to understanding our own minds and games and maximizing what we've got when we need to. When you're working on specifics of technique, or trying to incorporate changes into your swing, feeling good needs to be the last thing on your list of priorities- in fact, it probably shouldn't even be on your list- one of the benefits to working on your swing without the ball, less negative feedback from funky ball flights. But feeling good on the course is important for me, and my performance tends to benefit from a sense of comfort. I took out my Mizunos(MP32s) last week with my frying pan and a modern, green seeking, self correcting, no spinning, missile they call a golf ball these days, and it was kind of funny. I've been using heavy, flat, shiny gripped, no sweet spot, antiques they used to call golf clubs, for a while now, that I just never feel 'great' over(though I always feel great with a Persimmon in my hands), primarily because I just don't like looking down at a flat lie. BUT. The things I've been working on, and the things these clubs force me to do in order to make them work, have had a considerable impact- pardon the pun... nothing new to ABS world there, obviously. I'm starting to see it almost as going to the gym, and I don't think I'll ever use 'playing' clubs for practicing or working on stuff again, and maybe at some point they'll meet in the middle and be the same thing. I can see that as possible.
I have standard lies on my Mizunos, down from 2 up, AND I took a half inch of length off them about 2 years ago, yet they now 'look' upright, and they didn't at all the last time I used them which was about a year ago. Having that comfort of the upright look, a feeling that lets me feel free to leave my change of direction really late into the down swing, is a lot fun! It gives me that sense of comfort I mentioned, and makes all the things I want to do in my swing, A LOT easier and more appealing. For me, knowing that a slightly more upright lie will tend to make the ball go left, gives me the comfort to leave the face open longer, or leave my change of direction much later with the knowledge that it wont go right. I think my mind works a bit opposite to the ABS mind in that way, which is why I can sort of see the comfort of Hogan fighting the left side of the course. I tend to play with a lot of freedom if I've got a bit of a strong draw going, it gives me that Hogan wall, but it puts it down the right side of the fairway and lets me know that I can go as hard at it as I like with my body rotation, and it wont go right. I think it ends up being a different door into the same building, but it's the door I have a key to.
The 'open' face thing that hit me lately has been very helpful- or should I say that I've dragged myself screaming and kicking to accept :roll: This is a new key to a different door into the same building, which is kind of exciting. The mistake I was making, which this tackles, is that I was loading the shaft laterally just a bit too early. It's very difficult to hold that load for a long time, which is part of the difference between the baseball swing and the golf swing, I think, and has a lot to do with the sweet spot location, as well as ball location(on the ground). The stretch feeling that I like, is basically that change of direction, and the later that happens, the cooler it is.
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Re: Cross pollination 'tween golf and baseball

Postby BomGolf222 » Sun Oct 10, 2010 10:54 am

Hawg1,
You don't need to worry about beating a dead horse with me- I've made plenty of ham burgers moo in my time.... if there's something to say about something then it's something to say.
One of the things that I'm wondering about, and it may or may not be the case, is about different schools of thought within baseball. You've played it at a high level obviously, and know your stuff, but I wonder is it like golf in how ten different teachers might see the golf swing in ten different ways. I kind of like the idea of Hogan building his career on a misinterpretation, I'm a chaos fan like that, but the feeling we get from him is that he was fairly thorough in his analysis and preparation. He apparently learned a lot from Sam Byrd, and I imagine they had a lot of in depth conversations about the ins and outs of baseball. I wonder is the rotating bat idea a sort of old school truth that somehow got lost in modern baseball teaching much in the same way that golf teaching has 'evolved'. It would fit into that flatter, more level bat journey that the old hitters used. That piece you posted mentioned a bit about a flat roll of the hands around the body- I wonder is this linked to it. If it's rolling around, then at some point, maybe they were 'un-rolled'? Talk about a dead horse :)
I'm going to add a clip of Sam Byrd. His waggle is what intrigues me- well, his legs do too actually, but specific to this discussion, his waggle is not the waggle of someone protecting the face, or keeping it closed. Obviously he's a golfer here, but still.....

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Re: Cross pollination 'tween golf and baseball

Postby hawg1 » Sun Oct 10, 2010 4:51 pm

Bomgolf asked:
One of the things that I'm wondering about, and it may or may not be the case, is about different schools of thought within baseball. ... is it like golf in how ten different teachers might see the golf swing in ten different ways.


Only superficially. The only real difference of opinion is one of swing plane. Others have said it differently, but Don Zimmer (the last of The Boys of Summer still in the game) said it best: "swing down if you want your average to go up".

The idea is that you have to contact the ball under it's midline if you want your hit to have an advantageous flight path. Some say that a low to high stroke will do that best (note, we are talking really subtle stuff here), the idea of a line drive swing, but angled upward a bit. Others, who follow Zim's view (he didn't invent it, but his words are the memory trigger for me) argue that a downward angle induces more spin on the ball, and thus you get further carry from increased Ken Venturi effect.

The rest is pretty much esoteric, just variance in human personality, much like the difference between six and half a dozen.

A hittin' coach will always induce you into holding your hands higher. He will work on your footwork, no matter how good you are. He will seek a way to make you get the bathead out in front of the plate sooner (truly, hundredths of a second matter here, no one ever stops striving to shaving off another skosh). He will work on your vision, and he will work on your fear (even if you / he don't admit to it).

The rest, well, that's just variance in human personality, and the difference between six and half a dozen.

That, and the fact that in NO OTHER field of human endevour is superstition so prevalent. Driftin' too far from the norm gets into a "messin' with my lucky sock" kinda thing, and very, very few are willin' to do it.

One thing that has changed a great deal, though, is the thinkin' bout bats.

The biggest reason we see so many shattered bats is the move, over the past 20 years or so, to a thin handled design. As Adair succinctly notes in The Physics of Baseball "the ideal baseball bat is a golf club". And as the wood issue begins to press harder, we just might see what amounts to a 6 x 2.5 inch white ash cylinder mounted on a 33 inch XXX-stiff True Temper shaft as the solution.

But until then, we will see more and more sawed off bats. It's not a testament as much to the pitcher's skill as much as it is a condemnation of the material's toughness. You catch a 85 mph or better fastball four inches closer to your hands than expected, and almost any bat made today will crack / splinter. But that same pitch, hit flush on the sweet spot, could just as easily be a hit that makes the crowd roar.

And further to a batter rotating his wrists into the ball thing. One of my regular golf partners was a pretty fair baseball hitter in his day. We got to talkin' this afternoon, spent a bit o' time chattin' up the hittin' stroke, when I brought up the dicsussion from this forum.

He laughed out loud.

He knew nothing of ABS, or the disscussions we've had here, yet he used phrases that coulda been crib notes.

After explaining what he felt in the golf swing (granted, he has a rather steep swing plane), what he felt in the baseball swing, and how the two differed, he suggested that making a "shaft laid off" move in baseball would be [exact phrasing altered to fit decorum] a less than stellar idea. There would be absolutely no upside in creating a rolling moment in the bat, and even thinkin' bout it was [edited] awkward.

Now, if only I could match his touch round the green... .

Cheers,
Cam.
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Re: Cross pollination 'tween golf and baseball

Postby BomGolf222 » Wed Oct 13, 2010 7:21 am

Cheers, Hawg, interesting stuff. Thanks for the input. Sounds like I wont be able to turn in my trench coat and magnifying glass in my search for Hogan's bat reference. On we go....
As an aside, as a Red Sox fan, I couldn't help but get a bit of a chuckle out of Don Zimmer recommending 'downward swinging' :) Looks like he took that advice to everything he did... sorry, couldn't resist...
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