A-Rod puts on clinic for fans at home

Three-time AL MVP talks fundamentals on Instagram

March 23rd, 2020

Remote learning has extended itself to the baseball world.

Students all around the world have been taking classes and going to virtual school through their computers and other devices during the coronavirus pandemic. But offered a different type of lesson to aspiring ballplayers on Monday.

Rodriguez, accompanied by his family in his backyard, ran a virtual baseball clinic -- the first in a series of sessions that he’s titled the “A-Rod Baseball Bunch” -- live from his Instagram account (@arod). Rodriguez went through all facets of the game, including some long toss -- a practice he says he engaged in every day as a big league infielder -- with his daughters. He preached the value of footwork when throwing the ball, which he says is just as important as an infielder’s raw arm strength.

“Everyone thinks it’s their hands, but it’s in the feet,” he said, citing all-time defensive stars like Ozzie Smith and Omar Vizquel. “Great defenders are usually synonymous with great legs. Baseball is about using your legs and your momentum.”

Next, Rodriguez dug up an old favorite of his and demonstrated how a hitter can practice hand-eye coordination with a broomstick, working his or her way up from an object as small as a black bean or an almond, to a Wiffle ball to a baseball.

“I haven’t swung a bat in maybe four years,” joked Rodriguez. “I’m going to need a massage after this.”

Rodriguez said when he was practicing, he wouldn’t stop until he connected with 100 tiny beans, a practice that took him about 20 minutes to complete as a big leaguer. One time in Texas, when A-Rod was stuck in a massive slump with the Yankees, he borrowed a bowl of beans from the hotel kitchen and he went to work on his time-honored drill in the middle of the night.

“The next day I came out and the ball looked this big,” recalled Rodriguez, pointing to a softball. He wound up turning his slump around.

The theme of the day was fundamentals, an area Rodriguez couldn’t stress enough as vital for the success of a ballplayer. He said he would start at “ground zero” every day, building his game from the ground up with drills that date back to Little League.

“Now, once we take the field,” he said, “we’ve covered every part of our game.”

A-Rod even broke down the outside-the-lines aspects of his routine in a Q&A session, like his postgame ritual -- weights, ice baths, saunas -- and the way he would soak his glove in shaving cream, place a softball in the webbing and stick it in the freezer after each game to protect its integrity.

Rodriguez’s fiancée, superstar Jennifer Lopez, even offered some parting words of wisdom for all of us stuck at home.

“This is a great time to practice by yourself,” she said. “Practice, practice, practice. Use this time to get stronger.”