Go-Go Godwin Learning How To Fly

In 2005, his senior year at Troy University in Alabama, Adam Godwin started running and, like Forrest Gump, (who, come to think of it, was from the same state) just kept on. And when he was done, he had stolen 84 bases in 93 attempts, which not only led all the nation's colleges but was better than anybody anywhere else in baseball. Why, he was the biggest thief this side of corporate America as it were.

Feeling the lack of speed in the organization, the Dodgers just had to get this guy and they did with an 11th round draft selection. Sent to Ogden, Godwin hit more than satisfactorly-310 to be precise- but his stolen bases percentage dropped way off, winding up with 12 steals in 19 tries. Not bad but hardl;y the same.

What was the difference ? "Everything about it," he says now. "In college, when I got up I just went. Some catchers weren't all that good so against them, I'd steal second, then steal third. I didn't worry about who was back there."

But as a pro- "You have to watch everything- the pitcher's move, the catcher's arms. Every catcher in pro ball seems to have a good one. There's just so much to stealing bases so I was too cautious at first, I admit. Later on when I got more comfortable, I had more success."

Now, Godwin is busy learning what base-stealing is really all about. "The other day, for the first time, a coach worked with me on leads, getting a good jump, that sort of thing. Until now, I hadn't really had anybody teach me."

They're also working with him on another facet- hitting down on the ball. Adam's only 5-11, 170, built for speed obviously but not for power. A lot of guys his size spend a lot of frustrating time, swinging away only to see the balls they used to drive off the wall for triples in the friendlier parks they played in as amateurs fall harmlessly into outfielders' gloves now.

So, to takle advantage of what assets he posseses, they're busy trying to to make Godwin an up-to-date version of Brett Butler, who parlayed that sort of game into a long, very successful career.

"Exactly," Godwin agrees as he works on duplicating that. For he's quickly learned what got him here is what is going to get him up to the top - if he can apply the lessons he's being given

Troy's progtram, he allows, "was pretty good," though hardly that of, say, Florida State or Stanford. As for all those bags he swiped," I didn't really think a lot about it when I was doing it. When it was all done, I realized it had been pretty cool."

Enough to make him realize what awaits him now so, naturally, he's eager to keep his running game in high gear. So far, this season, he has for with Columbus, he's been getting on-and going, stealing three in his first four attempts.

That would be in the Dodger tradition of Maury Wills and Davey Lopes. But Butler's been the only go-go guy they've had in recent years that resembled them and lately they've become absolutely stodgy in that area. The game itself is ever evolving and the trend has been away from that style of play but there's still very much a place for it.

And Godwin is working to make it happen.