There have been a lot of ups and downs with the last three weeks. It’s not just that there isn’t baseball. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to upend everything. As of this writing more than 90 percent of the country is under a stay at home order, the unemployment claims being made across the country continue to absolutely skyrocket and we are so early in the fight against this pandemic.
It’s a lot for all of us. If you’ve been following this diary you know that I’ve reflected a few times on how chaotic and uncertain everything feels. So it was lovely to take a break Thursday evening for a baseball conversation with the Cubs‘ new MiLB hitting coach and lead hitting lab tech Rachel Folden. Rachel is the first female coach in the Chicago Cubs organization and one of four women who will coach in MiLB and MLB in 2020. A glance at her résumé makes it clear she’ll be a tremendous asset to the Cubs.
Andi Cruz Vanecek noted on the podcast that Folden has an impressive record as a top tier softball player. She was a four-time time All-American at Marshall University, played professionally for five years and is in the top 10 in National Pro Fastpitch history in home runs, RBIs, walks and doubles. She also founded Folden Fastpitch, a softball and baseball training facility which focuses on biomechanics, science, technology and data in hitting.
One prevalent theme in our conversation was a commitment to process and a belief that the coaching process is all about creating the space and structures for players to grow and adapt throughout their careers. While it will take a few years for the minor leaguers working with Rachel and the hitting lab to reach Chicago I have zero doubt this is exactly the type of hitting approach the team needs to embrace. I’m excited to see it deployed throughout the system.
In addition to a lovely conversation about coaches and getting the most out of players, Rachel shared a few personal gems in this episode of Cuppa Cubbie Blue. Find out how she’s dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic that interrupted the baseball season right as she was starting her new job, what she’s reading during the shutdown, why she’s sticking to her routine and more on this special episode of Cuppa Cubbie Blue: