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Preparation i

For a Rockie, little videos mean big hits

Rockies firstbaseman Todd Helton has lots of hits on his iPod--but no music. During springtraining Rockies video coordinators Brian Jones and Mike Hamilton gave Helton avideo iPod loaded with clips of each of the 1,509 hits he had stroked in hiseight major league seasons. (It took them about four hours to compile anddownload them.) Rather than sorting by album, genre, artist and song, Heltonsorts by month, opposing team, type of hit and pitcher.

"It's good towatch right before a game," he says. "I can see how the [starter]pitched me the last time, and probably more important ... I can [see] my pastgood swings, so I'll have a good feeling going in. You can use it on the plane,on the bus, sitting at your locker, and it's not bothering anybody."

Because Heltonhas a career .334 average (he's at .296 now), his teammates respect his hittinghabits and have followed his lead. At least eight Rockies--including outfielderMatt Holliday, third in the NL with a .337 average and making his firstAll-Star appearance--now have iPods with their hitting histories. Colorado G.M.Dan O'Dowd also had the video guys pack his iPod with clips of potential draftpicks, helping him choose 6'7" Stanford pitcher Gregory Reynolds secondoverall last month. He's hoping Reynolds's name will become music to theRockies' ears.


THE METS' Carlos Delgado has a more Luddite method oftracking pitchers. After each at bat he records the pitch sequence--the type ofpitch as well as its location--in a notebook. "It's very efficient andconvenient," says Delgado, 34, who began writing in a book while a Blue Jayseven years ago after seeing Triple Crown threat Albert Belle keep one."I'll know if a pitcher likes to throw a fastball first pitch, or if a guywill go to a breaking ball all the time [at] 3 and 2." Knowledge is power:Delgado's on pace for 42 homers.