In an Open that featured a 14-year-old qualifier from China (Andy Zhang) and a 17-year-old La Jolla (Calif.) Country Day School grad (Alberto Sanchez), who reached the supposedly unreachable 670-yard 16th hole in two, Beau Hossler was the ringleader of the Kids who Stole the Open. Hossler, also a 17-year-old Californian, from Orange County’s Santa Margarita Catholic High, became the first prep golfer since Mason Rudolph, in 1951, to qualify for consecutive Opens. Even better, Beau rolled in a 12-footer for birdie last Friday on the 1st hole, his 11th of the round, to pull ahead of Tiger (oh, yeah!) and into the solo lead. “I was pretty excited about it,” Beau admitted, “but then again, I had another 40 holes to play.” Even the name—Beau Hossler—sounds like a golfer’s. He looks like one too, with a Mack-truck frame reminiscent of a young Jack Nicklaus, the upright swing of Colin Montgomerie, the cool demeanor of Fred Couples, the putting stroke of a fearless teenager and the braces of, well, Marcia from the first season of The Brady Bunch. Not to worry, Beau. this, too, shall pass. If Beau has a pulse behind those baby-faced cheeks, you can’t tell by looking. Beau’s reign atop the world ended shortly after it began when he double-bogeyed the 4th hole. On the 5th tee he screamed one right, into a bunker by the 4th fairway. his path to the green was blocked by an array of trees. Caddie and godfather Bill Schullenberg wanted the safe play, a chip-out. Beau opted for a six-iron shot that skirted the limbs and left him a wedge to the green. He made bogey, but what a gutsy shot. “I asked how close he was when he cleared those trees, and he said, ‘about three inches,’ and then he smiled,” Schullenberg said. “I said, ‘You’re going to give me a coronary.’ ” Beau plans to play college golf at Texas, where he could be a teammate of Jordan Spieth, 18, who just finished his freshman year for the NCAA champion Longhorns. When Hossler stumbled to a 76 on Sunday, Spieth, who shot 139 on the weekend, wound up as low amateur, but he never held the lead and never had a bona fide shot at winning the U.S. Open. Hossler did. So is Beau the next big thing? Is Spieth better? who knows, but the burst of precocious talent is fun to watch. after Hossler’s superb even-par 70 on Saturday a hillside packed with fans rose and gave a thunderous ovation to a smiling 17-year-old. Here’s looking at you, kids.
The best way to increase your average happens before you even step in the batters box. I am not talking about your swing either. it would be way to difficult to teach somebody to swing over the internet, so this article is assuming that your coach has taught you the fundamentals of a good swing.
What I am talking about are things you can do before the game. Watch the opposing pitcher warm up. How many pitches does he throw? How hard is his fastball, curve ball, etc? is he around the plate, up or down? is his curve ball a 12 to 6 or more like a slider? these are the things that will help you prepare for your upcoming at bat.
The game has started, watch how the pitcher holds his glove, moves his fingers, changes his arm speed. Does he dig in his glove every time he throws a curve? Look for the slight differences between his motion and demeanor depending on the pitch he is about to throw.
Be aware of the other players in the field also, especially the catcher. Do infielders move over a step or two on off speed pitches? Does the catcher change his stance when a curve ball is coming? Do not turn your head and look where the catcher is. You can though sneak a quick peek through your peripheral vision to see if he is set up inside or outside. if the catcher is giving away the off speed pitch, come up with verbal code words with your on deck batter. first name, last name, number, something not to obvious.
Pick out the tendencies of the pitcher. Pitchers and catchers have patterns. Notice what his go to pitch is when he needs a strike, when he is going for a strikeout, when he is ahead in the count. Does he like to throw inside, outside, high, low, all these things you can pick up before you even step into the batters box.
The bottom line is, if you want to be a better hitter pay attention to details that may give you an advantage. There will be plenty of time to catch up with your buddies or play grab ass with your buddies after the game.
It’s your turn to bat, you know how hard he throws, the shape of his curve, when he likes to throw the curve, and what he likes to throw on the first pitch to a new batter. the exception to this situation is if you are the lead off hitter. if you are lead off, you have a job to do. get the pitcher to throw as many pitches as you can. Hopefully you can get him to throw them all. but at least the fastball and curve. this method should not only help you, but your teammates as well, if they pay attention.
Another key is not to think too much, but know the situation. is there a runner on first, no outs. Look for something to hit to the right side to advance your teammate into scoring position. I can’t go over every situation, but I think you get the picture. Do what works best for your coach and team philosophy.
So how do you increase your average? I believe you look for the situation that gives you the best chance for success. You have studied the pitcher, but do you know yourself?
What pitches do you hit the best? Do you like the ball inside, outside, up a little, down in the zone? Do you hit fastballs better than curve balls? I hope 95% of you said yes with the other 5% lying. Well that is the pitch you are waiting for until you have a strike. Let’s say you hit the outside fastball the best. the pitcher throws a curve ball, don’t swing. if it is a ball you are still looking for the outside fastball on the next pitch. the pitcher throws a fastball inside, don’t swing. Cut the plate into thirds and make the ball be in your favorite third before you swing.
Something to avoid is what I call players pride. Players pride is when a batter wants to show the pitcher he can hit the pitchers best pitch. for what reason you ask, stupid pride. yes a hitter will make contact with the ball, but is it solid contact, usually not. Along the same lines are the hitters that are so afraid to strike out they swing at anything they can reach with their bat. if you are a coach, nip both of these problems in the bud as soon as you can.
Let’s say that the second pitch the pitcher threw, the fastball inside, was a strike. the count is now 1-1. Expand the zone you are going to swing at to 2/3 to 3/4 of the plate, the outside part since that was where we hit the best according to our scenario. Now you can add the hanging curve to swing at. it must be in the zone and you must be in a position to put a good swing on it, otherwise let it go. Never guess curve ball, always be ready for the fastball and adjust to the off speed stuff. use this mentality whenever you have 1 strike and 2 balls or less. this is also the perfect time to go back to studying his tendencies. what does he usually throw with a 0-1, 1-1, or 2-1 count. Did I mention to always be ready for the fastball.
With a 3-1 count, a hitters dream count because of the percentages of knowing a fastball is coming, you are in the drivers seat. Go back to the 0 strike approach, maybe increasing the zone to half because of the probability of getting a fastball. Do NOT over swing. Do NOT be late. put a good aggressive swing on the pitch, one that is in your ability. When you over swing you get long, slow, and probably jammed on the best pitch in baseball.
Just because it is 3-1 don’t assume it is automatic you are getting a fastball. Go back to knowing the situation. what point of the game are you in, the score, runners on base, a base open, and how is the hitter behind you hitting today. the pitcher may want to avoid pitching to you and take his chances with the next batter. the opposite holds true, are there base runners on? Does the pitcher have to throw a strike? what are the tendencies?
With two strikes, your job is to put the ball in play. Do not swing at anything and everything. Stay calm, you hopefully have prepared yourself in practice. all those swings off the tee, all the batting practice swings, you know where the head of your bat is. Have confidence in your abilities. You can put the bat on the ball.
Always be ready for the fastball, I don’t know how many times I have said that already, but if you only go away with one thing, you guessed it, always be ready for the fastball. what are the tendencies with 0-2. Does he waste a pitch to see if you will chase? Does he set you up with up and in before he goes low and away? You should already know these things and expect them.
With 2 strikes we go to a defensive mode. We expand the plate 2-3 inches on each side as well as up and down. Cut your swing down to a more controllable swing. Whatever it takes to foul off pitches or put the ball in play. it is a good idea to practice this zone in batting practice for about 8-10 pitches. the idea is to protect the plate. Anything close to the plate, you need to swing. Do not leave it up to the umpire, he gets paid by the out not the hour.
That is a good point to bring up when we talk about umpires. You need to know the umpire’s zone that day. Does he love to ring people up? Does he reward the pitcher for making good pitches just off the plate but not in the strike zone? is he consistent? if any of these answers give you doubt, swing at anything close.
Don’t give in. be what they call a tough out. Somebody that battles and wears a pitcher down. take pride in not striking out. Anything can happen when the ball is in play. At the very least make the pitcher throw as many pitches as you can.
In the event the pitcher does get the better of you and strikes you out. Tip your hat and say you got me this time. I may not have won the battle but I am going to win the war. I know how you pitch, I’ve seen you before, you got me once it won’t happen again. Keep your confidence. Don’t let 1 at bat change your philosophy or your approach to hitting.
In closing I would just like to stress the importance of self evaluation. know your strengths and weaknesses. Look for opportunities to use your strengths. know the situation you are in at all times. Have a keen sense for details. Anything that may give you an edge. Prepare yourself in practice. Challenge yourself, don’t just go through the motions and think you are going to get better. the harder you work the more confidence you acquire. the more confidence you acquire, the better player you will become. the saying goes baseball is 90% mental.
Have faith in your philosophy. And last but not least be ready for the fastball
THE new Jersey Constitution empowers the governor, “with the advice and consent of the Senate,” to nominate qualified attorneys to the Supreme Court of new Jersey.
In seeking to create an independent judiciary not subject to political whims, the drafters of the Constitution and people of new Jersey presumed that the Senate would conduct itself with dignity and statesmanship while professionally exploring a nominee’s qualifications, intellect, demeanor and judicial philosophy.
And, for the first 65 years of our modern Constitution, that presumption bore true, as the Senate has carefully scrutinized the qualifications of all judicial nominees. All of that changed back in February when, for the first time in the history of the Senate, Phillip Kwon’s confidential questionnaire was released to the press. It concluded last Thursday with the spectacle that was Kwon’s nomination hearing to be an associate justice to the state Supreme Court.
Let me begin with the sole question posed to the Judiciary Committee as part of its privilege to advise and consent on a judicial nomination: is Kwon qualified to serve on the Supreme Court? there is only one answer, as there was absolutely no dispute among the members of the Judiciary Committee that he is qualified to serve on the Supreme Court of new Jersey.
Throughout his career, Kwon served as a judicial law clerk to a federal judge, worked as an associate at an internationally renowned law firm, served for more than a decade at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, where he was responsible for countless high-profile criminal convictions, and, most recently, was the first assistant in the Office of the Attorney General.
Judged by any standard, Kwon was a candidate of outstanding qualifications. and no senator on the Judiciary Committee said otherwise.
Moreover, Kwon satisfied Senate President Stephen Sweeney’s call for diverse nominees to the Supreme Court. Kwon would have been the first immigrant in modern history and the first Asian-American ever to sit on the Supreme Court. Indeed, Kwon would have been one of a mere handful of Asian-American justices to sit on any state high court across the nation.
But his qualifications were of no moment at Thursday’s hearing. Neither were his intellect, demeanor or judicial philosophy. Rather, the Judiciary Committee devolved into a character assassination of an unquestionably qualified, Asian-American immigrant who received unanimous support from the governor’s Judicial Advisory Panel, and accolades from lawyers throughout the state.
Rather than discuss Kwon’s qualifications, the committee addressed irrelevant issues, like when he applied for his driver’s license. Rather than assess his intellect, the committee surmised about his mother’s business affairs. Rather than gauge his demeanor, the committee judged his living arrangements with his disabled father. Rather than probe his judicial philosophy, the committee explored the political affiliation of a tenured member of the Supreme Court who, prior to and since her appointment, has always been considered an independent.
Comedy Central’s The Daily show has had a serious impact on television, comedy and society in general ever since Jon Stewart took over as host in 1999. since then, the show has become one of the most popular shows on satellite TV, but more than that, it’s also become one of the most influential shows of all time. Many people have been surprised and impressed with the level of power that Jon Stewart has risen to, but part of his appeal is certainly that he has never grown to have such a self-centered demeanor as so many other hosts of television shows do. Stewart effortlessly mocks characters like bill O’Reilly, Shepard Smith and Glenn Beck, all while providing viewer with valuable insight into today’s most important political events and societal trends.
The Daily show has been so successful, that it has inspired a spin-off show, The Colbert Report, which is hosted by Stephen Colbert, a former Daily show correspondent. Stewart and Colbert have a healthy rivalry, which they milk for all its worth on TV. Their satellite TV audiences love to see these two brilliant comedians spar against one another, but both men don’t want to simply entertain audiences, they also want to educate them. Both Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert have published a number of comical but informative books about politics and history. In 2006, Stewart released America: A Citizen’s Guide to Democracy Inaction, a year later in 2007 Colbert released I Am America (And So Can You), and in late 2010 Stewart released Earth: A Visitor’s Guide to the Human Race. These books have sold millions of copies in large part because both Stewart’s and Colbert’s fans who tune into their satellite TV programs are so enamored with them. These two hosts’ popularity is so great, that they even held a joint mock political rally in Washington D.C. called The Rally to Restore Sanity/and or Fear, which brought around a quarter of a million people together to talk about politics.
In addition to encouraging young people to be politically active, the influence of Jon Stewart’s show has enabled numerous comedians to build successful careers by starting out on The Daily show. as you browse your satellite TV channels, you’ll run across several TV programs and movies that all feature central characters played by Daily show alumni. On NBC’s hit show The Office, the lead character, Michael, is played by none other than Steve Carell, who is a former Daily show correspondent that worked with the show for five years. Similarly, Ed Helms, who was a correspondent on the show for four years, until he also graduated and became a regular cast member on The Office. These are just two of the big names that began their career on Jon Stewart’s amazing show, and many more correspondents have gone onto other TV projects and movies as well. In order to really understand just how important The Daily show has been on society, you can watch several funny movies and shows on satellite TV that include great performances from the show’s alumni.