MLB Spring Training aka Preseason is now over and Opening Day has passed. Spring Training for many, is just a way to get into playing shape. Pitchers focus on new pitches, stabilizing velocity and stretching out their arms for durability. Position players focus on fielding, bat speed and contact, their power and their range. These guys don’t really need all four weeks that come with preseason ball, that is rather, most of them don’t.
For Seattle Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager (28), it was a totally different spring. While others have struggled with their on-base skills, or their throwing abilities, Seager flourishes in most baseball related skills. He’s a four-tool player, with a single problem. His issues lie outside of the game itself, and more within it, in between innings and during celebrations. For Kyle Seager: can’t give a proper high-five.
Here’s Seager just last year, in the midst of post-game winning celebratory high-five. He whiffed.
It all stems back to his big league debut. In July of 2011, teammates realized that Seager was the real deal, he was a special player. He was a third baseman with a high floor and bigger ceiling of talent. But, it wasn’t until a month after his debut, when he slugged his first home run that he started having problems.
Former teammate Dustin Ackley was the first to notice Seager was a terrible high-five giver. Ackley (now with the Yankees) said: “It’s rough. A guy just smacked a dinger and you wanna get him a high-five only to get some sort of weird hand hug. I couldn’t take it. I’ll let that whole damn team try and high-five that kid before I give it another go.” It’s now almost five years later and Seager still has problems with his high-five mechanics. Many thought a year ago, when veteran spark-plug Nelson Cruz signed a deal that he could help Seager regain his high-five motion, but after a brief streak of success, he’s back to square one. Nobody knows what to do.
New Mariners manager, Scott Servais spoke about the issue saying, “This spring we’ve come in here with a lot of goals to achieve. But, among our biggest is getting [Kyle Seager] back to where we need him on his high-fiving ability. We’ve brought in sports psychologists, hypnotists, high-five experts, even had a choir come in to sing to him. Right now, I got I got him working with a specialist to change his throwing motion. Nothing’s worked yet, but we’re confident we’ll get there.”
In his first game of the season Seager blasted a home run against Rangers pitcher Cole Hamels. When he reached home plate he was greeted with an array of a high five from his teammates. Seager opted out to not end his celebration with embarrassment, and went for the fist bump. For now, Kyle Seager still can’t land an accurate high-five, but with a new manager, a great supporting cast of players, and plenty of opportunities, maybe he’ll finally have success this season.
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