The Key to Hitting

"May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer." --Psalm 19:14

Read: Psalm 19

In a New York Times article, Ichiro Suzuki -- Hall of Fame-bound outfielder for the New York Yankees -- said that the key to hitting is having respect for the bat. Mind you, this was coming from arguably the best hitter in the majors since 2001. But for Ichiro, having respect for the bat wasn't always the case.

Back in 1999, while still playing in Japan, Ichiro returned to the dugout so mad about striking out that he demolished his beautiful, black Mizuno bat -- completely destroyed it for all the world to see. But as it turns out, Ichiro was so embarrassed about how he treated the lumber, he wrote a letter to the bat's maker and apologized. And to this day, no other player in Major League Baseball cares for his bats like Ichiro -- it's a reputation he's known for. Rather than merely dumping his bat into the bin like everyone else, Ichiro carefully places his best bats inside a shockproof, moisture-free black case that he keeps by his side at all times.

Now, whether or not you love baseball, the story obviously has special meaning, especially when we consider that Ichiro says that the key to his success on the field is caring for his bat. Not his batting stance, not his swing, not his hand-eye coordination, but the bat itself -- the instrument that's used to put the ball in play. And whether he succeeds or fails at the plate, his bat gets placed back in its place of care. When he mistreated the bat years ago, he apologized to its maker; actually reached out to him. Why? Because Ichiro learned the craftsman made each of his bats by hand, and he figured something so carefully made deserved better attention when placed in his own.

--Jimmy Peña

Question: Uniquely handcrafted by the ultimate Artisan, perhaps our bodies deserve the same Ichiro-like reverence?

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