WILLIAMS: Don, I haven't had the opportunity to watch you and the Yankees as much as I would have liked in the last year or so. But I'm impressed, very impressed. That [Mike] Pagliarulo looks like a good young hitter.
MATTINGLY: He's getting better. He's learning, it seems like more and more. He's trying that weight-shift thing, and getting back seems to help.
WILLIAMS: What do you mean? Tell me about the weight shift.
MATTINGLY: Just transferring from back to forward. It has helped me a lot. When I was in the middle of my body and my head was in the middle of my body, I was always right here. [He puts his hands tight to the middle of his body.] I was always inside-outing the ball, and I was popping up the ball away. So when I went here [leaning on his back foot], then went to there [striding forward], I got on top of the ball more, and I could pull the ball inside. It allowed some kind of freedom. I think you don't agree with me.
WILLIAMS: I don't think what you're telling me is right. My impression is that, even with all your great success, you don't really realize what you're doing.
MATTINGLY: I think I realize what I'm doing. I don't believe in the total Lau thing, but I think I need some sort of weight shift to hit the ball with more power. It's simple: I have to go back before I can go forward. It has helped me to put the ball in the seats, which I never did before. I always got a topspin, and I'd hit the ball to the warning track. Now I get the backspin, and the ball carries for me. Everything before was an uppercut and I was hitting on top of the ball, so I was getting line drives that would drop down.
WILLIAMS: What you're saying is that you're swinging down on the ball and—get me some paper, O.K. There's a great thing in life called logic. If you say you like to swing down....
MATTINGLY: I didn't say that. I just said I like to get backspin on the ball.
WILLIAMS: O.K. You want backspin, so you're cutting the ball. We'll say you're swinging level. At the moment of impact, in order to hit the ball just right and cut it, you have to hit it on the underneath side with the ball coming slightly down. Now, if I swing slightly up, I hit it with the greatest impact. This swing incorporates the single most important thing—not shifting your weight but getting your butt moving, your hips working. Do you believe that?
MATTINGLY: Yes, definitely.