The Oakland A’s are all about efficiency and innovation. Over the weekend, they combined those two traits to create a spring training scene that may be a first in MLB.
Double cages in use with batters in each: pic.twitter.com/PZZhRqo6nY
— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) February 21, 2014
Yes, those are twin batting cages, side-by-side, with two batters peppering the field simultaneously.
It should go without saying this only works with an empty field. One batter swinging away is dangerous enough with players meandering and running drills. Two batters would be inviting disaster. There are no fielders out there, and the A’s also utilized pitching machines so their coaches would stay protected as well.
It’s an awesome idea that maximizes time and resources, but the A’s were quick to point out that credit for the original idea goes elsewhere.
After seeing Japanese teams make use of this setup before exhibition games in Tokyo in 2012, the A's toyed with the idea of copying the format last spring but were hesitant of coaches getting hurt while throwing. Then bench coach Chip Hale came up with the idea of using pitching machines, paving the way for Friday's wildly successful experiment.
Of course, unlike Japan, it’s not something we’ll ever see implemented at a major league stadium, but it’s perfect for early spring training when everyone is back at square one and needing to get their work in.
"Double the work and in just two and a half hours," said manager Bob Melvin. "It was a good day out there today."
Wait, speaking of efficiency, check out where the A’s were taking some of their player photos on Saturday.
Either that’s nod to their recent “problems” at O.co Coliseum, or they really know how to get the most out of limited space.
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