Kolkhorst and Streaks Have Become Synonymous

Kolkhorst and Streaks Have Become Synonymous

Very few people have hitting streaks of 30 plus games. Forty players have had hitting streaks of 30 or more games in Major League history. Getting on base in 30 consecutive games played, therefore, puts Chris Kolkhorst in pretty good company.

More impressive is Chris Kolkhorst accomplished the feat without modern technology. There is no film work being done in Fort Wayne, the Low-A affiliate of the San Diego Padres.

In fact, Kolkhorst does not perform any extra curricular activities that would enhance his batting eye.

There is no Carlos Beltran-esque technique – watching numbered baseball go by at speeds up to 160 miles per hour and reading the numbers off the ball.

Kolkhorst is blessed with a natural ability to recognize pitches.

"I have always had good eyes," Kolkhorst explains. "I am the only one in my family that does not wear corrective lenses. I keep my fingers crossed. It is only a matter of time before I have to see the eye doctor.

"I have never done any kind of eye training. Spring training, I was rooming with Brian Wahlbrink. He had this program on his computer. It brought up different images and you were supposed to cross your eyes and focus and I could never get it right so I said to heck with it. Some guys have little cards they look at in the dugout before they come to bat, work on training their eyes. I have never resorted to that."

Up until Thursday, Kolkhorst had opposing pitchers thinking ‘Oh, Doctor' when he entered the batters box. The left fielder had reached base in 30 straight games before going 0-for-4 on Thursday.

In 19 of those games, he reached base safely at least twice. His on base percentage was a cool .414. His longest hitting streak during the span lasted ten games and he walked in five consecutive games as well.

Kolkhorst put up similar on base percentage numbers a year ago, spent between three leagues from Peoria to Eugene and eventually landing in Fort Wayne.

It is a stat he revels in.

"On base percentage is the stat I pride myself on the most," said the left-handed hitter. "Me being a leadoff hitter, I try and get on base anyway I can. I don't know what my streak was, 30 games, a pretty good streak. All streaks have to come to an end and I will start another one tomorrow."

In the lower levels of the minors, there is no reliance on video. They simply don't have it readily available.

Studying pitchers is done in the dugout and on the stat sheet. Kolkhorst, who came from one of the most prominent baseball colleges in the country in Rice University, does his homework whatever way he can. The idea is to get a leg up on the competition so he knows what to expect when he steps into the box.

It starts with taking the first pitch of the game.

"I rarely swing at the first pitch of a game just because if you get a hit that's great but anything else is terrible," Kolkhorst explained. "If a pitcher can make one pitch and get an out, then maybe he will settle down and get into a groove the rest of the game. I will never do that. It doesn't let my teammates see any pitches either. The first at bat I will be more selective, until they show a pattern. If it they throw first pitch fastball every time or first pitch away, in later at bats I will tee in on that and maybe I will swing at the first pitch.

"I like to check their stats before facing them, look at their walk to strikeout ratio and hits. That gives me a good idea."

Kolkhorst has had more than a good idea this year. Thirty straight games – that is something special.

Kolkhorst ended his 2004 tour in Eugene getting on base in 22 straight. When he says it is a chance to start a new streak, it is believable.

Streaks have become habit-forming with Chris Kolkhorst.

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