I think this every time I hear it from a broadcaster or a journalist, but I absolutely love that Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch put it in words on his Twitter feed this afternoon:
My definition of a great at-bat: One pitch, one swing, damage … The “great at-bat” and “great piece of hitting” crowds are entertaining. It’s as if they’re actually educating those around them. #strokers
The “strokers” tag is the topper. Made Diet Coke shoot out my nose just now.
And of course Strauss is right. There’s always a smugness to that “great piece of hitting” exclamation, as if the guy saying it is seeing something you didn’t. Sure, he made an adjustment or something after 15 foul balls because he couldn’t turn on the fastball, but let’s lighten up on that sort of praise. As Strauss says, a truly great piece of hitting is when the batter rips a line drive that almost decapitates the third baseman and leads to the hitter being intentionally walked the next seven times he comes to the plate because he has put the fear of God Almighty in the opposition.