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He couldn't believe it was happening
|He couldn't believe it was happening
When Kershaw arrived 10 years ago, the Dodgers didn't have a Roy Halladay or Chris Carpenter type to school him on the finer points of pitching and life in the majors. Brad Penny was on his way to posting a 6.27 ERA and was upset that the team hadn't signed him to an extension. Derek Lowe was still logging 200 innings a season, but he was in his free-agent walk year and on his way out of Los Angeles. So Kershaw quickly figured things out on his own.
"He had kind of a youthful swagger about him that a lot of us fell in love with," Sweeney said. "It was almost like he couldn't believe it was happening. He had the ability to have fun all the way leading up to the day he was pitching, and then he was locked in. You don't usually see that from kids. Plus, Rick Honeycutt was perfect for him. They had a real good relationship that I felt was essential for him. When you don't have veteran guys, you need a confidant, and I think Rick was that. Which was really cool."
When Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti acquired Greg Maddux in 2008 -- the second time he traded for Maddux in three seasons -- he envisioned a bit of the Jedi master rubbing off on the prodigy. Maddux was 42 years old and in the final weeks of his brilliant career, but he could still be a positive influence on a budding staff ace.
"Half of bringing Greg in was I knew he would be a positive influence on everybody -- including the hitters," Colletti said. "I knew how Greg thought and processed information. He was at the end of his career, but the wisdom was still razor-sharp. Greg might be the smartest pitcher I've ever been around on a daily basis. To me, he borders on genius. I would always want somebody like that around somebody like Clayton."
"The day he came in, no one announced it," Sweeney said. "No one said, 'Hey, Sandy is coming into camp.' But I walked out of the clubhouse, and the bullpen is tucked in there in the corner and they're sitting there having a http://www.winnipegjetsofficialonline.com/Adidas-Tucker-Poolman-Jersey conversation. If it wasn't the first time Clayton met him, it was pretty close. And I'm like, 'That's what you want.'
"I remember seeing them in the bullpen and thinking, 'Oh, my gosh.' That was like me talking to a Tony Gwynn, who would have that type of impact you need as a young guy. It was pretty special. At the beginning of his career, everybody was like, 'He has the ability to be http://www.bruinsofficialauthenticshop.com/Hats Koufax,' and you're like, 'Come on. Stop. Look at the numbers.' Having http://www.columbusbluejacketsoffic....com/Adidas-Brandon-Dubinsky-Jersey him try to meet that challenge, that was tough. Womens Yasmany Tomas Jersey But he's getting pretty damn close."
The relationship deepened over time. In the spring of 2010, Kershaw and Koufax appeared together at an event for Torre's Safe at Home Foundation in Los Angeles. They shared a ride back to Arizona on a private plane and spent an hour talking pitching and other assorted topics. Kershaw later observed how much the conversation meant to him and how much knowledge he filed away from it.
"It reminds me Womens Pekka Rinne Jersey of Barry Bonds and Willie Mays, which I saw in San Francisco,'' Colletti said. "It's a younger player understanding the walk and the history of somebody who came before them and was obviously stellar in the same career -- in the same city, too. And there's a respect back, from Willie to Barry and from Sandy to Clayton, because they recognize and understand the craft. It's like a student and a teacher. There's a reciprocal gift both ways."
Kershaw's windup is inimitable and distinct. He raises his arms unusually high and drops his landing leg almost to the ground before beginning his momentum toward the plate. The slight pause in his delivery and arm angle create deception and throw off the hitter's timing. The motion isn't exactly the same as it was upon arrival, but the basic tenets are in place.
"You have to be a tremendous athlete to have the unique mechanics he has and the ability to repeat them," said former Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis. "Those are the building blocks of his command and his ability to execute. He works tirelessly on the repeatability of his mechanics. When he was able to find that slider and implement it right away, it just worked Mario Hezonja Youth jersey with his natural arm slot. He had a tremendous [grasp] for what the pitch was supposed to feel like in his hand and how it was supposed to be executed."
Former Dodgers star Orel Hershiser, now a team broadcaster, compares Kershaw to Jim Furyk, Hubert Green and other successful golfers whose swings would never appear in an instructional book. But at the key points in the process -- at the height of the backswing, on point of contact and at the top of the follow-through -- everything is in sync. cheap jerseys from china wholesale nfl jerseys wholesale nfl jerseys cheap jerseys wholesale nfl jerseys wholesale nfl jerseys from china