“Ask Sam” – Your Baseball Questions Answered By MLB Coach Sam Perlozzo January 2015

Ask Sam Perlozzo - Twins

Welcome to the latest “Ask Sam.” I’m Sam Perlozzo and I’m the minor league infield and baserunning coordinator for the Minnesota Twins. A former manager and coach at the major league level, I am also one of Professional Baseball Instruction’s Major League Advisors. Each month, I answer your baseball-related questions.

Inside BaseballBefore we get into this month’s questions, I want to tell you about something brand new that I’m involved in and very excited about. Fellow PBI Advisor Leo Mazzone and I have teamed up with former MLB players Roy Halladay, Dave Magadan, Jody Reed, Tom Foley and others on a new website called Inside Baseball. We offer the world’s largest online library of baseball training videos with proven advice and training methods designed to help baseball players of all abilities improve their game. I hope you’ll take a few moments to check out the website; there’s a lot of excellent information there.

Now, let’s get to your questions. And remember, if you have something you’d like to ask? Email me directly – AskSam@baseballclinics.com.

Q: Sam, this year my son will be using a wooden bat. I would like to give this bat a chance to hold up longer by wrapping it with a fiberglass wrap to prevent breakage. It is also a safety issue for the defense. Question is, will an ump have an issue with a bat having this wrap? I will likely have it going up ALL of the handle. Bat wrap of course will cover most of it, but there would be about 5″ of exposed fiberglass. Thanks in advance, Tom.

David Wright broken bat

Photo courtesy New York Times

A: Tom, here’s the best I can do with your question about protecting your son’s wooden bat. I’m pretty sure there are rules about foreign substances on your bat up to a certain distance. For instance, players use pine tar for a better grip. It is only allowed on your bat up towards the barrel for so many inches. If it goes past that point the opposing team can ask the umpire to check the bat and consequently negate whatever hit you may have gotten for using an illegal bat. So I would suggest you check the rules for the league that your son plays in first so you won’t cost your son and his team a little embarrassment.

Next, let me give you a little tip that will help in another way, which is legal. Have you ever heard of a player boning his bat? Well, back in the day, players would get a big bone and rub the barrel of the bat to help close any pores the bat may have and help keep moisture from separating around your barrel. Actually I’ve seen some major league teams have a bone attached to wood inside their clubhouse for the players to use. What else will work is the bathroom sink. Rub the bat on the porcelain edge of your sink and the results are the same (don’t break your sink!). What you end up doing is compressing the wood some to make it just a little harder and hopefully protecting some breakage.

I’ll be honest with you, if you swing hard enough and hit the barrel at just the wrong way, your bat is going to break. Wood bats break, period. A lot of players are also using wraps that you put on tennis racquets to put on the handles of their bats for comfort, grip, and strength. I would try any and also of these methods. But remember, all wood bats break!! Hope this helps! Sam

Baseball and schoolQ: Hi, Sam. I’ve been having the most challenging time of my baseball career from the start of me being a freshman through my senior year in high school. Now I’m in college and I was never scouted. My question is how can I keep my academic and baseball career balanced? This is my first time in college and it feels impossible for me to to keep my academics and baseball career balance because of time management for me and that I need to study. Thanks in advance, Dariel.
A: Dariel, let me start by saying nothing is impossible if you put your mind to it! If baseball means as much as you say it means then I don’t see a reason this can’t work. I went to college on a baseball scholarship and graduated also. I never felt I was a gifted student by any means, but I got good grades and played baseball and had fun doing it. Now I didn’t have much time to go out with the boys and girls every night or more grades would have suffered. But baseball meant so much to me that I made it and school my priority. Consequently, I did well in school and baseball, and picked my spots for the rest of my free time.

Baseball was my fun and it sounds like it is yours, too. Buckle down, don’t be afraid to ask for help in college and write down a plan for yourself and stick to it. I made a specific time for study, a specific time for baseball, For eating, and for other fun. If I was too busy, other fun got the boot! Another thing that may help you is to lessen your load of classes during the baseball season and catch up during the fall semester. That way you will have more time for both areas and take the pressure off of you. I’m sure you are a smart kid, otherwise you wouldn’t be in college. Hang in there and buckle down. You will be fine. Good luck in both baseball and college. Remember, your education lasts a lifetime and baseball is relatively short. Make the best of both. Sam

Baseball New Year 2015Q: Sam, with the New Year now here, what were some of the better New Year’s resolutions you’ve come across from ballplayers? Thanks, Bob.
A: Hey Bob, that’s a pretty good question, not one that I have a lot of answers to. Almost all players vow to be in better shape, get stronger, be faster, and dedicate themselves a little more. Those are all good physical resolutions, most of which I used in the day. I lean back sometimes and wonder if we all shouldn’t just resolve to be a better teammate, don’t let things worry us so much, and to just enjoy the moment. Being 63 years old and having put in 26 years in the major leagues, I often wonder if I enjoyed it as much as I should have. I was always going to work hard at my trade, but was I going to treasure it as much as I should have? Maybe, maybe not.

I believe that my intense style is what made me go. If I lost that, I was probably not going to be as good as I was. Even so, I think we need to put the “GAME” into perspective. Baseball isn’t life or death. Our families are life and death. Enjoy the game, work hard…there’s plenty of room for both! Enjoy, Sam

Thanks again for the great questions. I always enjoy talking baseball with people. Send your questions to me via email at AskSam@baseballclinics.com.


  1. Christine White says:

    Hi, maybe you can answer this question for me. If alex rodriguez was proven to have used steroids, why does he get to beat someone’s home run record? If he was able to hit home runs because of performance enhancing drugs, how can it be fair to beat someone who didn’t? Just wondering the rules, my husband thinks I’m crazy! Lol thanks for any answers.

    • Christine – Alex served the suspension that was given to him as a result of his use of performance enhancing substances. As such, he is allowed to resume playing.

  2. Kai Moody says:

    Hey Sam, I am going into my junior year of high school and I’ve performed pretty well. But I still have flaws in my swing, the major flaw being my front elbow bending in my swing. I was wondering if you have a drill or tip to help me. Thanks.

    • Kai –

      Thanks for your question. Could you be a bit more specific? The front elbow should be bent at the start of your swing. Are you talking about not getting enough extension in your swing?

  3. Bruce Parmly says:

    In the baseball situation of:
    Runners @ 1sr & 3rd, w/ less than 2 outs:

    I played baseball through college, but have never understood why almost 100% of coaches look for a sacrifice fly in this situation, when pop-ups and ground balls are just as likely. I constantly see MLB teams fail to score in this scenario, and it absolutely boggles me!

    Is the bunt a skill that no one teaches anymore, or is it just too un-manly?! Why not bunt on the 1st base side? Not only will it score the runner from 3rd, but it moves another runner into scoring position at 2nd, and precludes the strong possibility of a double play. This play would, at worst case, ‘cost” less than the sac-fly, and (with a speedy/skilled bunter) might even provide an infield hit.

    Please help shed light on whatever it is that I am missing here.

    Perplexed in NC,


  5. I am a huge fan of MLB players who have both power and speed, so that should explain why I am asking this question. In your experience seeing all the MLB athletes you have seen, do you think it is possible for a player to hit 50 HRs and Steal 100 bases in the same season? I believe 50/50 might be possible because B. Anderson and B. Bonds both hit 50 HRs and stole 50 bases in two different seasons, but is is physically possible for a Rickey Henderson (who once hit 28 HRs) type player to have the speed and ability to steal 100 bases, but also the power in his bat to hit 50 HRs? Is it physically possible for a player to do both or impossible because of some difference in the power and speed physical build?

  6. Steve Cresswell says:

    In mlb, when you finish first in your division, and make the playoffs, it’s called winning the division.
    Then you go to the division series. So you win the division series, but it’s the same name as the prior
    winning, or ALDS. Is there a different term for finishing first in your division, before the ALDS?
    It’s a bit confusing, the terms.
    Thx, Steve. Go Jays!

  7. mark watson says:

    balk rule for moving pivot foot, why call a balk?
    How much spit on the ball is allowed? example: jose tomlan-Indians.

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