When I stepped into the box, I felt the at-bat belonged to me. Everybody else was there for my convenience. The pitcher was there to throw me a ball to hit. The catcher was there to throw it back to him if he didn’t give me what I wanted the first time. And the umpire was lucky that he was close enough to watch. Gibson was the same way. That’s why people thought he was mean. And that’s the attitude you’ve got to have. When I hit, I felt I was in control of the home-plate area, and it was important that I felt that way. If I let the pitcher control it, it would give him an advantage.
There are at least three kinds of advantages that the pitcher and batter contest. There’s the physical advantage, the strategic advantage, and also the psychological advantage. I didn’ t want two out of three. I wanted them all.
The pitcher has the ball, and nothing happens until he lets go of it. So, as the batter, I felt I had to fight for any bit of control I could get. I expected the umpire, the catcher, and the pitcher to wait on me. I wanted to get ready on my time. I’d call time or pause or do something that wasn’t too annoying but at least would get the pitcher off his pace. If I could disrupt his rhythm a little bit, just for a second or two, the advantage swung to me.
But I didn’t want to create an ire, some kind of anger to make him bear down harder. I didn’t want a guy to step back and grit his teeth. Being a jerk about it just doesn’t work. There’s a fine line between annoying somebody just a little bit and angering him to the point where you may get drilled in the back.
Him backing out of there all the time, that is annoying, because I liked to pitch in a hurry. But I never let it annoy me to the point that it distracted me. You don’ t knock guys down for that kind of stuff. They give you plenty of other reasons to knock them down.
Against the great pitchers, in particular, I’ d try to break that rhythm. They’re going to try to pitch a fast game, under two hours if possible—although that hardly ever happens anymore. They want to get a flow going, throw strikes, get ahead, keep you off balance and on the defensive. They want you to get in the batter’s box, because they’re ready to pitch.
If a pitcher stays in his groove, he’s going to be comfortable. He’s going to be on his game plan. So you have to get him out of that comfort zone any way you can. If I could do a little something to break that rhythm—make him say to the umpire, “Come on, get him in there, let’s go, let’s go!”—I might get a ball one. You want him thinking about something other than where he’s putting this first pitch.
如果一个投手摆好架势，他会很舒服。他会执行他的比赛计划。所以你必须尽可能让他离开舒适区。如果我能做一些打破节奏的事情 —— 让他和裁判说，“快让他进击球箱，快，快！” —— 我可能能赢得一个坏球。你要让他想一些他投第一个球的计划以外的事情。
So you might step out, adjust your helmet, tie your shoe or something; but you want to be careful. You don’ t want to get hit.
I got a chuckle out of the comment that a pitcher wants to keep the game under two hours. After I’d get through warming up in the bullpen and was sitting waiting to go out there, I’d always say to the guys, ‘Okay, an hour and fifty-seven minutes, let’s go!’. They play better behind you if you’re working quickly.
Ken Holtzman could pitch a game in ninety minutes. Wouldn’t throw a breaking ball. And he had a great breaking ball.
I did that once. Went a whole game without throwing a breaking ball—or threw two or three at the most. Got beat 2–1.
我也这么干过一次。一整场比赛没有投一个变化的球 —— 或者最多只投了两三个。2比1获胜。
It’s not just stepping out of the box or slowing things down. It’s any little edge you can get. When I went to home plate in a game-tied situation or with a chance to do something and help the ballclub win one, I’d try to make eye contact with the pitcher. Now, you didn’t do that with Hoot—that’s what a lot of us like to call Gibson, after the old Hollywood cowboy—or a Mickey Lolich or a Jim Palmer or a Catfish Hunter. You weren’t going to stare down those guys.
并不仅仅是迈出击球区放慢节奏。你要尽可能争取到任何微弱的优势。当我走向本垒板，如果此时比赛僵持，或者有机会为球队赢一场做点什么的时候，我会试图和投手有目光接触。而现在你们不敢和吉布森有目光接触 —— 这是我们很多人喜欢把吉布森称为好莱坞老片子里面的牛仔 —— Mickey Lolich ，Jim Palmer， 或Catfish Hunter。你也不敢直视这些家伙。
But if a guy was a young player, I would wait to get into the box because I wanted him to look at me. If he wouldn’t look at me, I felt I had him beat. If a guy did make eye contact, you could find out if you could intimidate him. Later in my career, when I had the weight of a reputation behind me, I did that a lot.
Heck, I couldn’t see if a guy was looking at me or not. I had enough trouble trying to see the signs back there. Tell you what I did, though. I used to look in and shake off signs just to mess with the hitters. Did that all the time. Tim McCarver would give me a sign and then give me another one that meant shake me off. The thing was, I didn’t have that many pitches to shake off to. So I’m out there shaking my head, and the batter’s thinking, “What the hell?”
When I was with the Yankees in 1978, we were playing Baltimore at Yankee Stadium and the score was 3–3 going into the bottom of the ninth inning. I led off against Tippy Martinez—a little left-hander who always gave me trouble—and the count went to three-and-oh. I had the green light in that situation, but instead of digging into the box I stepped out and looked down to the third-base coach for a sign. Then I glared over there like I was ticked off and shot a look into the dugout at our manager, Dick Howser, pretending that I was angry about getting a take sign. After all that, I stepped into the box, the pitch came floating right down the middle, and I hit a game-winning home run. In fact, that was the only home run I ever hit against Tippy Martinez.
当我1978年在扬基效力的时候，我们有场比赛在扬基球场对巴尔的摩，比分3比3进入9局下半。我面对Tippy Martinez，一个经常给我制造麻烦的小左投手，球数是3球0击，我局面领先。我形势大开绿灯。但是，我并没有站死在击球区，而是迈出击球区，看向三垒指导区教练要一个暗号。然后我怒气冲冲地盯着那里，还忿忿地看向球员休息区的总教练Dick Howser，假装我被这个暗号激怒了。所有这一切后，我踏入击球箱。投球正好是在中间的位置，我打出了赢得比赛的本垒打。实际上，这是我对阵Tippy Martinez打出过的唯一一记本垒打。
I got a lot of mileage out of looking angry. Sometimes it wasn’t intentional—like when I was squinting in for the signs and the batters thought I was glowering at them—but the fact is, I was deliberately unfriendly to the opposition. I wouldn’t even say hello to hitters on the other teams. I didn’ t want them knowing me. I didn’t want them knowing what I was like or what I was thinking. It was important to me that I retain an air of mystery.
除了一脸怒容之外，我还有很多招数。有时候也不是有意为之 —— 比如我斜着眼睛看暗号，击球员觉得我是在阴森森地盯着他 —— 实际上是我是有意地作出对对手不友好的姿态。我甚至不会和其他队的打者打招呼。我不想让他们了解我。我不想让他们了解我喜欢什么我在想什么。对我来说保持一种神秘感非常重要。
I never let the coaches put any kind of clock or gun on my pitches, because I didn’t want that information to get out. I wouldn’t talk to the team psychologist, because I didn’t want anybody figuring me out. I even asked our manager, Red Schoendienst, to keep me out of spring training games against National League teams, if at all possible.
In spring training, you’re just working on stuff, not trying to get batters out all the time, and I thought that if they got up there and whacked me around a little bit it would only give them confidence. I didn’t want them confident. I wanted them wary of me. Uncertain. Intimidated.
The Pirates had a young outfielder named Gene Clines who came up to me before a game with a baseball and asked me to sign it. I took the ball and tossed it over my shoulder into left field.
Everybody in the league knew I had trouble with the inside pitch. I got away with it only because the great majority of pitchers were afraid of making a mistake in that spot. The threat of power is one of the best weapons you have in the batter’s box. They were also concerned that if they missed inside, they’d hit me, put me on base. Now, for a guy like Gibson, that was okay. His attitude was, if I’m gonna miss, I’m gonna miss at you.
What pitchers are really afraid of is their own control. They don’t truly believe that they can get a pitch in there exactly where they want it—especially against a hitter as powerful as Reggie, who can put his team on the board at any moment. They know that if they miss in the wrong place, a power hitter will knock the crap out of it. But you can’t go out there with the attitude that you’re going to miss your spot. You can’t go out there afraid of the hitter or afraid of yourself. You’ve got to respect the hitter, though—some more than others, of course—and you’ ve got to respect yourself.
投手们真正担心的是他们自己的掌控力。他们不会真正相信他们能把一颗球精确地投到他们想投的地方 —— 特别是面对像瑞吉这样强悍的打者的时候，他能任何时候都能准备好他的武器库。他们知道，如果他们投错了地方，一个强打者会打穿投手。但是你不能站在场上有那种你会投错的态度。你上场不能惧怕打者惧怕自己。你需要尊重对手，当然，有些会更尊重一些，并且你还必须尊重自己。
Contrary to what people thought, I didn’t make my living on the inside corner. My idea was to pitch away, pitch away, pitch away, come in, pitch away. I mostly worked the outside part of the plate; but you can’t be scared to come in when the time or the hitter calls for it. The thing is, if I’m pitching a guy inside, I’m going to make sure I get it way in there. If you put the ball in the strike zone inside—especially against a guy who can hit the ball out of the ballpark—that’ s horrible. Left-handed or right-handed batter, it doesn’t matter. Don’t do that.
和人们想的相反，我并不靠内角球吃饭。我的想法是投开去、投开去、投进去、投开去。我绝大多数投球是找本垒板的外沿，但是你也不能怕投进去，如果时间允许或者解决打者需要的话。情况是如果我投一个家伙的内角，我会确保投向那里。如果你投球投进好球区 —— 特别时面对一个能把球击出棒球场外的家伙 —— 这太可怕了。左打还是右打，都一样。不要这样干。