From the Pages of Vine Line: James Rowson
In his first year with the Cubs, James Rowson jumped from minor league hitting coordinator to interim major league hitting coach, replacing Rudy Jaramillo on June 12. The former minor league outfielder spent the last six seasons with the New York Yankees, where he also served as minor league hitting coordinator. For the October issue of Vine Line, we talked to the 36-year-old about coming to the Cubs, staying ahead of the curve and his New York state of mind. To read the complete interview, pick up the October issue, available now at select Jewel-Osco, Walgreens, Meijer, Barnes & Noble and other Chicago-area retailers.
GETTING TO KNOW YOU The first thing, most importantly, is you get to know the players. You talk to them, you build relationships, and you listen. Sometimes that process takes a little bit longer than you’d like, but you have to have a real good understanding of that player before you try to go in and do something different with his swing. Swings are personal. That guy knows his swing, and he’s worked on it for a long time to get to this level.
TOOLSY PLAYER In this business, when you think you know everything, you’re probably wrong or you’re probably out of the game. Being a hitting guy myself, I have some techniques I use, but I’m always looking to build on that. You’re always going to find a player you may not be able to reach with what you have, so you talk to different guys and try to build up your toolbox.
THE CUBS WAY My hitting philosophy is simple. It’s two things: Get a good pitch to hit and use the field. We want guys to have good plate discipline, to hit strikes and also guys who are able to use the whole field so the defense has to play them straight up and can’t cheat against them.
BIG DREAMS When I was in New York, they were already winning. Here, it’s awesome because we’re building to that. You go through some tough times at the beginning, but it’s awesome because you can see at the end of the rainbow, we’re looking for a championship. So I think the excitement level is a little bit higher here. That’s part of the aura of this job is imagining being part of that first group that wins a championship in Chicago.