5/12 Extra swings & preparation

We had a 7:45 a.m. bus in L.A. and guys were on it. Ready to go. Everybody. It takes some extra work. The first couple series here with all the rain, we couldn’t get on the field like we wanted to. We have to take advantage of the warm days and getting on the field and being able to let it loose and see the ball fly and not being in the dungeon in the cage. We make it work.

Let’s see, we have early hitting on night games. Anyone who gets to the field early, we hit at 2:30 and we don’t finish until 3:45 or so. Guys are in the cage, working on the breaking ball machine. We have to do our homework — we get our scouting reports on the starting pitchers, the relievers. We have to go over all of them. We also go into the video room — I’ll spend 15 minutes watching the starting pitcher’s last two starts. We’ll watch the relievers to see if they’re tipping, we’ll watch glove movements, any indication to see if a pitch is coming. That takes time because we need to see a slow breakdown. We also have to go over our swings at the same time.

It’s hard for people to understand how much work we do. For a 1:20 game, I wake up at 8 in the morning and I’m here at 8:15 so I’m prepared to go out there and not just for this game in May but to be prepared for a game in September and be ready for that playoff run. I leave an hour and a half, sometimes two hours after a game is over because I have to go in the weight room and I look at video again to see what my swings looked like that day.

I don’t look at bad swings at all. I only look at my good swings. If I don’t have any good swings that day, I’ll look at Manny Ramirez’s hands on his separation, I’ll look at Ian Kinsler’s feet for my timing, and I’ll look at Michael Young for his timing, especially when he’s in two-strike mode. There’s a lot of work that we put into it that people don’t see. We have the greatest job in the world. I know people watching on TV think it looks easy but when you’re here and playing this game you know it’s not. This is the creme de la creme. It takes a lot to get here and it takes even more to stay here.

— Marlon


I gave Lester Strode a Thank You letter while you were here in AZ, and if you remember and have time feel free to ask him to read it. I appreciate everything that you do, not only for the fans, but for the game. It’s not easy, especially in Chicago – and it is definitely appreciated.

Good luck the rest of the way.

Adam Scott

Dear Marlon,

Cubs fans love you. Keep up the hard work. We enjoy what you do. Keep it real. I really enjoyed reading this article.


We, as a Cubs orginazation [players, office & fans around the world] NEED YOU. [[WE NEED YOU MARLON!!! MARLON, WE NEED YOU]]

We are incredibley blessed to have you on our team. The way you lead by example and are humble about your results is inspiring. The way you have taken younger players under your wing makes our future brighter. Your can do attitude mixed with your team spirit remind us all how to achieve our goals.

Nobody is perfect, but to have someone that is willing to give it their all day in and day out, for the team more than for themselves, and to do it with the above mentioned qualities is extremely rare. Chicago appreciates you, what you represent and what you give us to cheer for. Not only are you a great player, you are a great leader. You remind me of a great man, my father.

We are so happy you are in Chicago, you give our future hope! We will do our part, as good people on this blessed earth, as well 🙂

I’ve only been a Cubs fan for 63 years, so there is lots more for me to learn about the game I love so much. Your article this time was perhaps the most enlightening piece I’ve ever read regarding the daily, intense preparations you do. I had no real sense of the work that goes into keeping your rhythm and awareness at peak levels. I have even more respect for you and the other players who work as you do. I played ball at various levels – never professionally – and was above average but didn’t work on my game anywhere near what you’ve described. I understand much better what separates top performers from the rest of the group. Thanks for revealing such an important insight! May you have continued great success!

If every Cub had the hustle and work ethic of you, Barney and Castro, we might be relevant again. Hopefully we can find that in this year’s team, so we don’t have to look for it in the off-season.

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