ARLINGTON – Ever wonder what it would be like to hit a baseball at Fenway Park, Yankee Stadium or Wrigley Field?
You can take a swing at that at Rich’s Batting Cage and Sports Science Clinic in Arlington.
Rich Perdue, who played every baseball position in high school and junior college, is a real estate agent for Best Choice, but has a passion for baseball. He opened his “side gig” business a few months ago, and it’s become a favorite hangout for high school baseball players from Arlington and Stanwood.
The cage can be instructional or just for fun like virtual gaming. Perdue can help you with your swing using metrics and science with the HitTrax system. “You get a baseline, and I don’t tell you anything” at first, he said. With his high-tech system, “It’s easy for me.” He can then tweak your swing to help you be more successful. “I can hone in on your launch angle,” he said, adding the optimum is 25 to 30 degrees.
Perdue said he doesn’t want to give customers too much to think about.
“You can’t hit when you think. It’s all reaction,” he said. When players are in a slump, it’s usually because they are “overthinking or pressing.”
So he gives customers just a few things to work on. They then practice until it’s entrenched in their muscle memory.
“It’s a game of adjustments,” he said of hitting. Kids aren’t the only ones who like to go there.
Matt Walker of Arlington was there earlier this week. Walker, who played baseball at Lake Stevens High School, has been coming once a week for about a month.
He said he enjoys the challenge of trying to beat his score from the previous week.
One of his goals is to hit the ball out of T-Mobile Park in Seattle. He’s got a ways to go. On this day, even Perdue couldn’t hit it out, but he did show warning-track power.
Perdue said a lot of his customers are like Walker.
“Their inner competitor wants to beat those numbers,” he said.
But first he wants to offer as much as he can with baseball, such as: home run derbies, 3 on 3 simulation games, tournaments, etc. Insurance limitations only allow him to use the Hack Attack pitching machine to throw 80 miles per hour, but it can throw curves, knucklers and more. It can also pitch softballs.
Perdue’s always been a student of the game, but he got burned out in college when he figured out he wasn’t going to reach his dream of going pro. He didn’t used to think much of softball, but during a mid-life crisis that’s all he did for three years. He played on some high-level teams traveling all around playing 130 games a year.
“Through softball I relived my youth,” he said. “My wife totally supported me. You’re only young once.”