I’m a huge sports fan, and when the Cubs or Sox are actually good, I’m a huge baseball fan. I’m not sure there is another sport where each move, each pitch, each play can carry so much significance. Especially when you get the the playoffs.
Well if you’re building a good baseball team you need a few kinds of players. Of course you need a solid pitching rotation. You need a decent, if not good, bullpen. And you need good hitters. Most fans think that you have to have big boppers–home run hitters. And you do need power. But you also need guys who can just put the ball in play and get hits. Some of the best hitters in the history of baseball have not been huge home run guys, but knew how to find a way to get on base.
The way they do this is they “shoot the gaps.” That is to say they are so skilled in their hitting, so disciplined, that they can read the defensive alignment and poke the ball thru the gaps. I’m thinking of guys like Tony Gwynn, who rarely hit a home run, but always got hits. Pete Rose was another. Ichiro Suzuki is another. What they do looks easy, but is hard to do. It’s hard to discipline your at bat and find a way to position the ball exactly where you would like it on the field.
In a way, writing is like this. To be a good writer, to build an audience and platform, you need to “shoot the gaps.” What do I mean by this?