When sliding feet-first into a base, is your front foot straight up or sideways? Before a game starts, what are the first two things a player should check? Stumped? Don't fret. When first-base coach Rusty Kuntz asked the Kansas City Royals to take his quiz on outfield play and baserunning fundamentals, there were quite a few "who didn't have a clue."
But that was better than the first player Kuntz quizzed a couple of years ago in Pittsburgh. "Out of 50 questions, the guy got five correct," Kuntz said. "And this was a starting player in the major leagues, a very well-known guy. I thought, `Oh, my gosh. Oh, my goodness.'"
So Kuntz came up with a detailed list of written questions and tried them out on a number of players. The results were encouraging.
Fun story and all, but I'm sort of with Crash Davis on this one: don't think, it can only hurt the ballclub. If I'm a Royals fan, it's my hope that the team has scouted for guys who exhibit proper fundamentals out of instinct whether or not they can recall them on a written test. I mean, I'm pretty sure I could do pretty well on that kind of test, and I topped out baseball-wise in the 10th grade.
And no matter how good the test, it certainly didn't help that Pirates team a couple of years ago . . .