Bishop Recreating His Game

FORT MYERS, FL – Surrounded by teammates, coaches and staff members that are passionate about the game of baseball, catcher Beau Bishop remembers his first love: softball. At the age of seventeen, Bishop was playing for the Junior Black Sox, a professional fastpitch team in New Zealand. He was one of youngest players and one of best softball prospects playing professionally in his home country.

Now in Fort Myers with different colored socks on and with the ball thrown overhand toward him in the batter's box, Bishops boasts a .273 average through his first three starts.

"I grew up playing softball with my family – all of my family played at a pretty high level," Bishop stated. "I was just like a family sport that we all played. I ended up getting pretty good at it.

Before I came here, before I got this opportunity, all I thought about was softball and that was pretty much my goal."

In 2011, Bishop was signed as a nondrafted free agent out of Wellington, New Zealand, and spent the season in the MLB Australia Academy Program. While there, he led the league in games, was third in both walks and hits and was fourth in home runs.

"One day, one of the New Zealand baseball scouts asked it I wanted to get a chance to tryout for baseball," the eighteen year old recalled, "and it's always been a dream, watching it on TV and it's like, ‘Wow.'

"Finally I was getting the chance [to play] because where I'm from, we never play baseball. I ended up going out and one of the scouts, the Red Sox scout John Diebel, had seen me play softball and had some footage of me playing softball. It all pretty much came together from there."

The right-handed catcher was forced to make substantial adjustments, with the path to improvement taking Bishop through daily grinds.

"My swing has definitely changed since coming in," Bishop noted. "I've been working really hard with our batting coach UL Washington, and he's helped me a lot. He's been there for me everyday.

"We pretty much broke down my whole swing and recreated this new swing that I have now and it's going pretty well. "

"Softball is a little different from baseball," Red Sox hitting coach UL Washington said. "The ball's a little bigger, coming from a shorter distance, coming from a different angle down here [pointing at the hip], and he has really worked hard at getting a better load, more balance throughout the swing, and shortened the swing up quite a bit.

"He's got a better weight shift to the ball, through the ball, and it's taken awhile. But most of the kids who come here who haven't played a lot of baseball, reps and time are the only things that cure it," Washington commented.

"That's what he's had to go through for a long time. We had to work, going in and talking to him, and try to do the right things to get something that looks like a baseball swing out of what he brought here with him. And it's finally starting to look like a baseball swing.

"We can teach a load, a straddle, a weight shift, but he's got to go out there and try to make his body do what we're trying to tell him to do," Washington added, "and he's got to understand why we are trying to get him to do those things."

Bishop can feel the repetitions and technique changes paying off, saying, "Physically, I can do it. Now it's just the mental side of things."

"The only way that's going to happen is by going out there everyday like we do, hitting off the tee, taking soft toss, batting practice and he's been able to take it to the game with him," Washington said.

Before his minor league baseball debut on June 19, 2012, Bishop went through his usual routine: "I came down at 6:30[am], did a half hour of cardio and then a little stretching.

"After that, I just kind of chill out at my locker, listen to some music. I'm a big reggae fan, so I just sit and listen and think about what I want to do that day.

"Knowing you are getting the start, I'm just thinking about how much I didn't want to stuff up [mess up]," Bishop said with an authentic New Zealand laugh.

When he steps to the plate for the GCL Red Sox, Beau Bishop is playing a game that he has known for only a short time.

"Before the game, I wasn't nervous at all. George Lombard, our manager, came up [to me] and said, ‘You nervous?' I told him it just felt like another day. And then when you get out there, it all really hits you.

"Every time [at the plate], I can feel my legs shaking," Bishop said. :As soon as that first pitch comes, you sort of get those nerves chilling down your back. After that first pitch, it all kind of settles in and you realize that I have to do this and this is what I'm doing."

"Experience will help [him] a ton, learning to play the game and us teaching him how to go about and what he can do in his swings," Red Sox manager Lombard remarked.

"This isn't just offensively, but defensive too. The more success they have defensively, it's gonna carry over to the offensive side of the ball."

Sitting behind the plate for the Red Sox this season will prove to be a test for this former softballer.

"The biggest thing [for him] is getting them [the pitchers] to trust that the fingers you are putting down are the right ones for him that day," Washington emphasized.

"The important part of what he does is handling pitchers and calling games and that's bigger than the hitting. He's gotta be able to do those things, and then the hitting is kind of a plus."

Softball to baseball. Sixty feet base paths to ninety feet. Neon yellow ball to white ball. Underhand to overhand.

"It looks like the same game but it isn't," Bishop said. "The base of it is the same, but all the techniques, everything you need to change.

"It's been hard. It's a long road and it's still going. But you've got to want it."


Diehard Magazine Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nNow in Fort Myers with different colored socks on and with the ball thrown overhand toward him in the batter's box, Bishops boasts a .273 average through his first three starts.
\r\n
\r\n\"I grew up playing softball with my family – all of my family played at a pretty high level,\" Bishop stated. \"I was just like a family sport that we all played. I ended up getting pretty good at it.
\r\n
\r\nBefore I came here, before I got this opportunity, all I thought about was softball and that was pretty much my goal.\"
\r\n
\r\nIn 2011, Bishop was signed as a nondrafted free agent out of Wellington, New Zealand, and spent the season in the MLB Australia Academy Program. While there, he led the league in games, was third in both walks and hits and was fourth in home runs.
\r\n
\r\n\"One day, one of the New Zealand baseball scouts asked it I wanted to get a chance to tryout for baseball,\" the eighteen year old recalled, \"and it's always been a dream, watching it on TV and it's like, ‘Wow.'
\r\n
\r\n\"Finally I was getting the chance [to play] because where I'm from, we never play baseball. I ended up going out and one of the scouts, the Red Sox scout John Diebel, had seen me play softball and had some footage of me playing softball. It all pretty much came together from there.\"
\r\n
\r\nThe right-handed catcher was forced to make substantial adjustments, with the path to improvement taking Bishop through daily grinds.
\r\n
\r\n\"My swing has definitely changed since coming in,\" Bishop noted. \"I've been working really hard with our batting coach UL Washington, and he's helped me a lot. He's been there for me everyday.
\r\n
\r\n\"We pretty much broke down my whole swing and recreated this new swing that I have now and it's going pretty well. \"
\r\n
\r\n\"Softball is a little different from baseball,\" Red Sox hitting coach UL Washington said. \"The ball's a little bigger, coming from a shorter distance, coming from a different angle down here [pointing at the hip], and he has really worked hard at getting a better load, more balance throughout the swing, and shortened the swing up quite a bit.
\r\n
\r\n\"He's got a better weight shift to the ball, through the ball, and it's taken awhile. But most of the kids who come here who haven't played a lot of baseball, reps and time are the only things that cure it,\" Washington commented.
\r\n
\r\n\"That's what he's had to go through for a long time. We had to work, going in and talking to him, and try to do the right things to get something that looks like a baseball swing out of what he brought here with him. And it's finally starting to look like a baseball swing.
\r\n
\r\n\"We can teach a load, a straddle, a weight shift, but he's got to go out there and try to make his body do what we're trying to tell him to do,\" Washington added, \"and he's got to understand why we are trying to get him to do those things.\"
\r\n
\r\nBishop can feel the repetitions and technique changes paying off, saying, \"Physically, I can do it. Now it's just the mental side of things.\"
\r\n
\r\n\"The only way that's going to happen is by going out there everyday like we do, hitting off the tee, taking soft toss, batting practice and he's been able to take it to the game with him,\" Washington said.
\r\n
\r\nBefore his minor league baseball debut on June 19, 2012, Bishop went through his usual routine: \"I came down at 6:30[am], did a half hour of cardio and then a little stretching.
\r\n
\r\n\"After that, I just kind of chill out at my locker, listen to some music. I'm a big reggae fan, so I just sit and listen and think about what I want to do that day.
\r\n
\r\n\"Knowing you are getting the start, I'm just thinking about how much I didn't want to stuff up [mess up],\" Bishop said with an authentic New Zealand laugh.
\r\n
\r\nWhen he steps to the plate for the GCL Red Sox, Beau Bishop is playing a game that he has known for only a short time.
\r\n
\r\n\"Before the game, I wasn't nervous at all. George Lombard, our manager, came up [to me] and said, ‘You nervous?' I told him it just felt like another day. And then when you get out there, it all really hits you.
\r\n
\r\n\"Every time [at the plate], I can feel my legs shaking,\" Bishop said. :As soon as that first pitch comes, you sort of get those nerves chilling down your back. After that first pitch, it all kind of settles in and you realize that I have to do this and this is what I'm doing.\"
\r\n
\r\n\"Experience will help [him] a ton, learning to play the game and us teaching him how to go about and what he can do in his swings,\" Red Sox manager Lombard remarked.
\r\n
\r\n\"This isn't just offensively, but defensive too. The more success they have defensively, it's gonna carry over to the offensive side of the ball.\"
\r\n
\r\nSitting behind the plate for the Red Sox this season will prove to be a test for this former softballer.
\r\n
\r\n\"The biggest thing [for him] is getting them [the pitchers] to trust that the fingers you are putting down are the right ones for him that day,\" Washington emphasized.
\r\n
\r\n\"The important part of what he does is handling pitchers and calling games and that's bigger than the hitting. He's gotta be able to do those things, and then the hitting is kind of a plus.\"
\r\n
\r\nSoftball to baseball. Sixty feet base paths to ninety feet. Neon yellow ball to white ball. Underhand to overhand.
\r\n
\r\n\"It looks like the same game but it isn't,\" Bishop said. \"The base of it is the same, but all the techniques, everything you need to change.
\r\n
\r\n\"It's been hard. It's a long road and it's still going. But you've got to want it.\"
\r\n
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