It’s player question time. This one is from reader Carol, who wanted to know why Bryce Harper’s batting ritual is what it is. From Harper himself:
“I think once I got into college, I had that little routine of what I do in the box. I get in, dig in, scrape the dirt. Then I touch out, touch in, then touch out again. Then I hit the front of my foot, like my big toe, pretty much. The I go up [with the bat], look at the pitcher and come back. It actually was a little bit longer in college, but I shortened it up. I don’t know how it started. There’s no real reason for it; it’s just something I’ve always done, something I’m comfortable with.”
Yesterday, Kilgore’s story on Harper and Jayson Werth addressed what happens after Harper finishes his pre-batting ritual.
Once at the plate, one piece of Harper’s routine became more noticeable: He literally bites the part of his jersey covering his right shoulder. The mouthful of uniform forces him to keep his front shoulder square to the pitcher longer, which preserves more power in his swing and lets him reach pitches on the outer half of the plate.
“I’ve been doing that my whole life,” Harper said. “If I fly open, that’s when I struggle. If I keep in, that’s when I do well. I just try to keep that front side in and keep the knob to the baseball and drive through it.”
Now you know.
As always, keep sending us those questions.