12/1/10 – Hitting the Batting Cages

I couldn’t have picked a better day to start getting my swing in order. It’s the first day of December and it’s 60 degrees with a touch of “The Day After Tomorrow”. I was very eager to make my first visit to The Baseball Center on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. The lobby was filled with TV’s tuned to the MLB Network, boxes upon boxes of baseball cards for sale… I didn’t even need to go any further. I was good right here, thanks. I made my way to the basement where all the cages were situated. It’s a really nice setup, definitely not your run-of-the-mill quarter-for-20-balls type of cages. You get your own cage, unlimited amount of balls and you can turn the machine on and off as you please. With the winter months upon us, there’s obviously not a big run on the place, so they currently have this fantastic special: Monday to Friday, noon to one, $20. Sold.

I was the only person down there so I didn’t run the risk of embarrassing myself in the 70 MPH cage. From what I was told from my friend who attended the Mets fantasy camp a couple years ago, the top speed I could be looking at is 60 -65 MPH. I figured that was probably about right, but I could be completely wrong. Anyway, after I got my quick tutorial on how to work the machine from an employee, I got myself in order. Now, the one thing I really hate about batting cages is my inability to consistently judge when the ball will be jettisoned out of the machine, especially if the path of the ball from the bucket, to the arm and to the chute is completely out of sight. With this machine, I was only able to see the arm, then a good three seconds would pass before the ball came rocketing out. For the entire hour, I could not get a complete handle on the timing. So I was either late, or started my step too early, which meant I got a lot of bunting practice in.

My Jedi mind powers were useless. Probably because I was in the basement and had poor reception.

But, I’m proud to say I did pretty well… much better than I expected. The last couple times I stepped into a batting cage it was a complete disaster. I don’t know, maybe it’s the endless amount of time I spend playing baseball games on my iPhone that has improved my reflexes and timing… that would be sad.

That’s a decent amount of balls IN FRONT of the plate, right?… Right?
Would you believe I hit these so hard, they rolled back from the wall at the far end of the cage?

After a straight hour of swinging a bat, my arms hurt to high hell, but I couldn’t think of a better way to get a little exercise in. You can keep your gym. I’ll take the batting cage.

My powerful hitting ripped this sign apart… me hitting the side of the cage after a massive whiff.

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