Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Dekes, Psyches, and Intimidation in ToI

Deke is a term that originated in hockey, but rapidly became assimilated into baseball. A deke is a fake, a feint, a move designed to put the opponent out of position. If you bite on a deke, you will look like a fool. I remember watching outrageous dekes in baseball, especially Carl Yastrzemski pulling fantastic dekes on sure doubles off the wall at Fenway, holding the hitter to a single, and the runners to only one base by pretending to be in position to catch the fly ball as it went over his head. It would bounce off the wall instead, and Yaz would turn around and be in perfect position to catch the carom and fire it in. Deke is a skill in Tools of Ignorance.

Psyche is the ability to get inside another's head, convincing him he will fail before he even starts. The best psyche job I ever saw was the one Arnold put on Lou Ferrigno in Pumping Iron. Arnold had Lou compensating for things he didn't do, hesitant and insecure when he tried anything, and over-thinking everything. Arnold blew him away. Psyche is a skill in Tools of Ignorance.

Intimidation is an amazing tool. It's the ability to convince the other guy that you will do anything - ANYTHING - to win. There have been many intimidating pitchers in baseball, but the best I saw was Bob Gibson of the Cardinals. He had absolute pinpoint control of his explosive fastball, and he would glare at the batters like they were cockroches, like he would like nothing better than to rip their heads off, then he'd unleash a fastball an inch off their chins. The batters would jerk away, pick themselves up, and go back into the batter's box at least two inches further back. Gibson would then pour strike after strike on the outside two inches of the plate, and the batters would flail. He was amazing. intimidation is a skill in Tools of Ignorance.

The only defense against these things is experience. There is an Edge everyone gets as they play the game called Been There. The longer you play, the higher your rank in Been There. You've seen enough dekes to not be so easily fooled. You've been psyched enough so you know when someone is trying it on you. You've been intimidated by the best, and you know when some clown is trying to do it to you. This time, you don't fall for it.


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