In a very interesting article for the Washington Post, Adam Kilgore talks about Washington Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche. He discusses LaRoche’s unorthodox batting stance and how he developed the stance at a very young age after taking batting practice with his father, big league pitcher and pitching coach, Dave LaRoche.
“When LaRoche was 11, Dave LaRoche took his son to the batting cage behind their home just outside Houston. LaRoche batted with a standard, crouched stance, and Dave believed his son needed to relax. He told him to stand with his body nearly square to the mound, both eyes on the pitcher, to relax his hands and lean the bat on his shoulder. He wanted him to know what it felt like to hit with a calm, relaxed swing.
After several buckets of ball, Dave LaRoche told his son he could go back to his old stance. “No,” he said. “I like this.”
He has not changed since despite at least one attempt. LaRoche began one season in the minors in an awful slump, and his hitting coach saw a culprit in his unique approach. “I’ll tell you what – give me two weeks,” LaRoche told the coach. “If I’m still not hitting, do whatever you want.”
This is really good insight into the mind and story of a new face in Washington Nationals camp. LaRoche has always been described as very respectful and a good teammate.
Nationals reliever Sean Burnett, a former teammate of LaRoche’s in Pittsburgh said that LaRoche, “is probably the most likeably guy in baseball.”
I’ve always noticed LaRoche’s open stance and thought it to be awkward, but after reading the article, it makes me believe even more in the old adage, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”