Ripken: Infield practice is really outfield practice. It’s for the catchers and it’s for the outfielders. As infielders, we take enough ground balls, we turn enough double plays, we don’t need to do that. I often wondered ... Pepper. Pepper was a form of batting practice at some point. Or, that whole stuff where they flipped the ball around and do that crazy stuff you’d see in the old highlights. I’ve got to believe coming to the ballpark there wasn’t a lot of time to get ready and you had to figure out a way to get ready to play the games. You know those signs you see now, “No Pepper.” Pepper wears out your grass. Pepper was a real big part of preparation. Just think about that. Now you have batting cages, where someone can throw to you and you can hack away, you can go on the field and do all kinds of stuff. But pepper in a lot of cases was your batting practice. And infield was a way to say, Let’s do something kind of formal as a team to get ready to play. I would imagine guys got off the bus at the ballpark, went out to their positions, developed this sort of routine and said, “OK, we’re ready to play.” When I played I took infield all the time. It was your last test before the game started. Am I ready to play? That’s something I think they should look out. Outfielders need to throw. Catchers need to see the ball coming to home plate. When does that happen?
Gwynn: They also forget the fans are there are the ballpark. That’s a great opportunity for people to see how good somebody is defensively. We focus so much on the offense, we don’t talk about defense until the game starts. I used to go to Dodger Stadium all the time and we would go for visiting BP, so we would see both teams take infield. To see Henry Aaron take outfield and see what kind of arm he had, and how he got to balls. Everybody talks about his home runs. But the guy could defend. He was a great defender.
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