Reigning Central League MVP Alex Ramirez is used to hearing a chorus sugoi (amazing) rain down from the stands after fans watch him send ball after ball into orbit.
Which is why, while his numbers would be the envy of many other players, the Giants outfielder wasn’t quite happy at the plate earlier this season.
Because where other players would be satisfied with being good, Ramirez holds himself to a higher standard.
Following a few video sessions and a little extra practice time, the Yomiuri slugger is up to his old tricks again and poised to send the crowd into hysterics and CL pitches running for cover once more.
“I’m saving my sugois for later in the season,” Ramirez joked on Monday afternoon before facing the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles at Tokyo Dome.
He was all smiles after the game as well, fresh off hitting his ninth homer of the season in the Giants’ 8-3 win, which coincidentally came on “Alex Ramirez Player Day.”
“It was a great feeling,” Ramirez said. “I worked hard, I put good swings in there and it paid off. So hopefully it continues.
“I’m glad I did,” Ramirez said of hitting the homer, which was his first in eight games. Hopefully it continues from now on.”
Not completely happy with the way things were going earlier in the year, Ramirez took a close inspection of his footage from past games to get a better idea of what to focus on. He came to the conclusion that his approach at the plate was slightly different compared to last season.
“It was a little bit of a difference in the way my legs were positioned and also my arms,” Ramirez said. “I checked the DVDs from last year and I had my hands right behind my helmet and I had better balance with my legs.
“That’s what (hitting coach Kazunori) Shinozuka-coach and I have been practicing and I felt a lot better.”
Ramirez is beginning to see the fruits of his labor, hitting a crucial eighth-inning double (which was nearly a home run) on June 6 against Hokkaido Nippon Ham, and going deep on Monday night against Rakuten.
“It’s the first time I hit a home run opposite field this year and that’s a good sign for me,” Ramirez said.
His enlightenment comes at a great time for the Giants, who are on the doorstep of opening up a sizable lead in the CL standings.
“Yeah, I think I got the idea of how I was last year when I was hot and I just gotta continue,” Ramirez said. “If I can continue and maintain that, I think everything is going to be OK. So I just gotta practice every day and I should be all right.”
Always positive, Ramirez never got down while he worked out the kinks at the plate and now appears ready to reap the benefits.
“There is nothing you can do about the day before, the game before,” Ramirez said.
“You always have to put that behind you and start from the beginning. Like I said, sometimes you hit sometimes you don’t hit, that’s part of the game.”