Golf Game the Secret Cure to MLB Slugger’s Swing?
Posted on April 25 2018
Playing Another Sport as part of your training process
It is not unusual for athletes of one sport to play another as part of their training process. Every summer we see football players playing in pick-up basketball games. High school football coaches encourage players to run track in the spring. While rugby is great for football players, coaches may not be as willing to embrace their players taking part in it because of the injury risk.
But it isn’t as common for athletes to use another game to help them break out of a slump. However, it appears that may be exactly what New York Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes is looking to do.
Over the course of the last six seasons he has hit an average of 25 home runs (154). He had just 17 last season but had 31 and 35 the previous two. His career batting average is .272 but he hasn’t hit lower than .280 for the last three seasons.
But this season, he’s struggling. With 20 games played through Monday, April 23, he is hitting just .195 with four home runs. In his mind, what he needs to do in order to get on track is simple—play more golf.
"One of the things that I did before, years ago, when I was in a slump, was playing golf and trying to get out of my slump," Cespedes told reporters after a recent game (ESPN). "I said this season I wouldn't go to play golf. So, one of the things that I'm doing now, that I didn't do before, is watching the videos. That's something different I'm doing right now. But unfortunately, it's not going too well so far."
So Why Did Cespedes Quit?
Cespedes took some heat back in 2016 for playing golf while on the disabled list. There is no evidence that playing golf caused him any further harm. But playing another game while not playing the one you get paid millions to play doesn’t look good (hence, telling the team he wouldn’t play).
But Cespedes is considering taking the game up again during the season in order to help him get out of his slump. If it works for him, and he thinks it does, why not let him play?
"... Now I'm opening my shoulder wide open. When I was playing golf, I had to keep my hands inside. It helped me a lot."
But does playing golf help with a batting swing? Oakland Athletics shortstop Marcus Semien doesn’t think so (via GolfDigest):
“Some guys think (playing golf) affects their baseball swing. I don’t think so. It’s just a hobby.’’
Oakland pitcher Kendall Graveman seems to think the two sports can affect each other, but in an adverse way (GolfDigest):
“We’re getting ready for inter-league play, so I have to go hit. Hopefully my hitting won’t mess up my golf swing.’’
So— is Cespedes just trying to come up with an excuse to play golf or could doing so actually help his swing?
The Mets are paying Cespedes $29 million this season—and he’s hitting a whopping .195 this season. If he thinks it could help him swing the bat even a little better, they should have someone caddy for him.
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