Say it ain’t so Max
Practice bunting with MaxBP!
When news broke throughout the baseball world yesterday that Washington Nationals ace Max Scherzer sustained an injury, Nationals fans had every reason to be concerned. After all, it’s been a tough 2019 baseball season in the Nation’s Capital. However, it’s not Scherzer’s elbow that’s ailing... nor his shoulder... it’s his nose. Max Scherzer broke his nose while practicing bunting before Tuesday night’s game against the Phillies.
Mr. Max Scherzer, the 6-time All-Star and 3-time Cy Young Award Winner. He of two no hitters (both in 2015, his first season with the Nationals), two immaculate innings (9 pitches, 9 strikes, 3 strikeouts) and one big league bomb (a three-run shot in Miami back in 2017). Yeah that Max Scherzer, broke his nose while laying down a couple of bunts in batting practice. Something the 34-year old Chesterfield, MO native has done thousands of times throughout his baseball career, including his youth at Parkway Central High School, collegiate career at the University of Missouri and Major League stops in Arizona, Detroit and Washington.
As most baseball fans have come to realize, injury often strikes at the most unassuming moments. The good news for Scherzer is that he will not miss any playing time, in fact he is scheduled to start tonight against the Phillies. The bad news (aside from the crooked beak) is that this injury was 100% avoidable! If only Scherzer would have been practicing bunting on the MaxBP Pro Machine!
Think about it, the average big league batting practice pitch comes in at 55 to 60 miles an hour from about 40 feet, whereas the MaxBP Pro Machine has the capability to simulate a much faster speed. Considering the average big league fastball in 2019 is approximately 93 miles per hour, practicing the craft of bunting during batting practice is not the most effective (or in this case safest) approach.
Some might say there is no replacement for practicing with real baseballs. Yet, the MaxBP operates with golf sized whiffle balls and a Skinny Barrel Training Bat (see MaxBP Shop - BetterBat), so the athlete develops their hand eye coordination and the proper mechanics to optimize every training session. It’s really no contest - MaxBP provides the best training. Plus, here’s a little bonus! If someone is practicing bunting a 90-mile an hour fastball and they take one off the thumb, finger, eye or nose - you won’t have to make a trip to the Emergency Room! Instead, an athlete can take a moment to make an adjustment in his mechanics, and continue to work.
For ball players looking to practice bunting breaking pitches, sometimes a more challenging pitch to lay down, the MaxBP Pro Machine has multiple off-speed options (curve, cutter, slider). This function include both right and left-handed spin trajectories, along with a “jelly bean ball” option (see MaxBP Shop), which allows a batter to get a better read on the spin of the breaking ball). This type of bunting drill is a great simulation for a late game scenario, when the pitcher is trying to make it difficult for the batter to sacrifice bunt and advance the potential go-ahead or winning run.
For athletes looking to develop the “eye” and discipline of a Ted Williams, MaxBP offers a number of next level vision training tools. These tools include Slow the Game Down (STGD) products which have been aiding athletes from George Brett in the early 1970’s to the San Francisco Giants during their recent dynasty (2010, ‘12, ‘14 World Series Champions). These products allow the player to slow the game down, focus on the task at hand and get the absolute most out of their opportunity - even if that means laying down a sacrifice bunt.
Every baseball enthusiast loves a home run off the foul pole or a bases clearing double in the gap. But there is still room in baseball, our National Pastime, for a sacrifice bunt. And don’t get me started on the suicide squeeze - any fan of the 1989 San Francisco Giants knows the power of the squeeze - it led to a lot of juice.
It wasn’t all Will Clark, Kevin Mitchell and Matt Williams during that magical run (which was halted by the Loma Prieta Earthquake and a 4-0 sweep by the Oakland Athletics), some of the most exciting times of that season occurred when manager Roger Craig utilized the speed and bat handling of Brett Butler, Robby Thompson and Co. to manufacture runs.
It’s been nearly 30 years since the 1989 Bay Bridge Series, and a lot has happened in the game of baseball since then. The career home run record has been broken, the single season home run record has been shattered (six times - three times by Sosa, twice by McGwire and once by Bonds), there was the ‘94 Strike, re-alignment, interleague play, Bud Selig, the Steroid Era, the Yankees Dynasty, the Red Sox breaking the Curse of the Bambino (four times), the Giants winning three titles in five years. A lot has happened in three decades of Major League Baseball, but there is still a place in the game for a good bunt.
How many times have you seen a team fail to lay down a sacrifice bunt and squander a scoring opportunity? Or worse yet, bunt a ball too sharply and bunt into a double play, absolutely killing a rally! On the flipside, you hear commentators talk about a pitcher getting a bunt down on the first pitch, and the momentum that creates. Although the box score may not always indicate it, the little things - hitting the cutoff man, breaking up a double-play, laying down a sacrifice bunt - often dictate the winner of a ballgame.
MaxBP encourages professionals and amateurs alike, to fine tune their bunting skills. Practicing with MaxBP prepares an athlete for success in the most crucial bunting situations and protects them from potential injury in the process.