Monday, March 31, 2008

Top Ten most awkward Chicago baseball batting stances

Over the past 25 years there have been some Cubs or White Sox hitters who have stepped up to the plate looking more uncomfortable than, well they should. Below is a list of 10 swingers who may or may not have had success with how they stood in the box. I am probably missing a few so feel free to post comments.

10. Gary Gietti

Words cannot describe what was wrong with this swing, but it was just kind of goofy. Gietti, the stereotypical early '90s baseball player was a boss’ pick, but a good one.

9. Jim Thome

Thome's got the stance of a slugger, but this wide-legged, open stance is difficult to replicate when standing in your local batting cage. He stands so open it should come as no surprise that other managers put a shift to the right so much that the second baseman sits in the 7th row down the first base line. I do love the traditional pants-grab he does.

8. Alfonso Soriano

"The Fonz" has a unique approach at the plate because of the enormous step he takes into the ball. He does not go for the traditional "A-Frame" look that instructors teach and has that front foot stepping as the pitch is coming. I also do not know of anybody other than Pablo Ozuna who look like they have a bigger bat in their hands.

7. Albert Belle

Belle's stance was not truly the odd part in the whole hitting situation though he did have his feet relatively close together. Albert would start with the bat to his shoulder, and as the pitch was coming, he would bring it back and go forward again. While it worked for him, I am pretty sure it is not the way Tom Emanski showed him.

6. Carl Everett

Carl did things sort of similar to Belle, except it didn't look like he was ever ready until the pitch was released. He had a poor-man's impression of Gary Sheffield with his bat constantly in motion too. I bet in little league pitchers got confused and actually stopped their motion when they saw Everett's look of disinterest to the game.

5. Aaron Rowand

Good ole' Aaron's stance just made me laugh. He honestly looked like there was an invisible chair behind him. And what is more funny is that it took him a few seconds to crouch to that position, making him look like an old man.

4. Moises Alou

Just try to stand like that for two seconds; it's impossible. While it is probably easier to urinate on your hands that way, I would honestly like to know how he came up with buckling your knees that way. He steps in like Darryl Kyle already threw his curve.

3. Nomar Garciaparra

They had to make a rule because of this guy. Because he took so long to get into the box after doing his batting glove, batting glove, wristband, batting glove ritual, they gave a time limitation to hitters. Oh and he was not even in the box yet. Once he was in there he was trying to get a part on "Dancing with the Stars" the way he did a tap dance routine. Needless to say, I thought it was so sweet.

2. Luis Gonzalez

While it may not have been that bad when he was in Chicago, nobody had a more open stance that Luis. His back foot would be on the inside of the batters' box, and the front foot would be on the outside, with the majority of his body facing the pitcher. What was surprising was that he actually got to balls on the outside part of the plate and was able to hit the ball to the opposite field.

1. Julio Franco

The man who created odd batting stances. He still holds the bat over his head like he's calling his shot to right center field; then in one helicopter-esque motion, he nearly decapitates the Cather with every pitch. This alone shows his brute strength, as he nears 85, because he has yet to change this long ordeal many baseball players like to call a swing.