10 HardBall Magazine
PEARLS OF WISDOM
Ichiro notwithstanding, it takes the average
major league left-hander 4.2 seconds to get to
fi rst base after contact—4.3 seconds for a righty.
So says former major leaguer Rob Picciolo
(Peach-uh-low), the roving infi eld instructor for
the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
Trivia aside, there is a practical benefi t to
knowing the average home-to-fi rst commute
time for a batter in your league, says Picciolo:
infi elders who properly calibrate their internal
stopwatches stand a much better chance of not
totally screwing up the play.
Everyone from seasoned professionals with
amazing athleticism to soft-in-the-middle-
amateurs who were “pretty good in high school”
can be overmatched and outwitted by the demons
of panic. The result is quite often a fumble, an
overthrow, or both, according to Picciolo.
Normally, Picciolo shares these pearls of
coaching wisdom with professional minor league
players whose physical gifts are sometimes
more developed than their mental approach to
On this warm January day at the San Diego
Padres training facility in Peoria, Arizona,
however, Picciolo lectured to a less physically
gifted but no less motivated group of 17 adult
amateur baseball players from across the country
who were seated on the infi eld grass.
PRO BALL BASEBALL CLINIC
These 17 players were among 44 amateurs,
including three women, ages 17 to 72, who were
attending the sixth annual Pro Ball Baseball
Clinic held January 13-16 at the San Diego
The camp, founded by Los Angeles resident
and MSBL player John Rubinow, was designed
as a four-day spring training session for adult
amateurs. Participants are drilled on hitting,
infi elding, pitching, outfi elding, and catching
under the helpful watch of some of the best
coaches in baseball.
After four days, players would have taken
anywhere from 600 to over 1,200 swings, fi elded
their position dozens of times in drills—and
they would have the blisters and sore hammie