This is the craziest thing I hear at the ballpark. I understand the idea of fighting off a tough pitch to stay alive in an at bat. Of course, you want a hitter to fight like crazy to stay alive.
In 25 years of coaching at the college level I don’t believe I have ever seen a hitter who was so skilled that they could foul off a pitch on command while taking their full swing. I have seen some kids choke way up and “Punch and Judy” some balls. I’ve also seen kids take full swings and foul off multiple pitches.
But that isn’t what we are talking about here. We are talking about taking a full swing and hitting a fraction of the ball on purpose to foul of a pitch.
Again, I hear it said on the TV broadcasts, so I know it is really dug in. But it just doesn’t stand up to logic.
What you’re telling me is that a kid is so talented that she can hit about a quarter of the ball, on purpose, to foul it off on a full swing. If she’s that good, why isn’t she hitting the ball on the button every time. A kid this talented shouldn’t need to foul balls off because she has an amazing ability to make controlled contact on demand.
What’s really happening in these situations that lead to these “instant classic” at bats? The hitter is really trying to get a hit, on every swing. The pitcher is trying to get the hitter out, on every pitch. The combination of these skills leads to a sort of a stalemate. The pitcher isn’t quite good enough to get the hitter and the hitter continues to take her full swing, just probably more aggressively, because she doesn’t want to get called out on strikes.
What ensues is a battle of wills where the hitter and pitcher butt heads until one of them misses.
Entertaining? Absolutely! A skill, I don’t think so.
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