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Baseball Center Lets You Face Off Against The Pros

A batter swings in a batting cage.

A batter swings in a batting cage.

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McKINNEY (CBSDFW.COM) – Getting the bat on the ball. That will be one of the major goals for the Texas Rangers Thursday night. But how tough is it?

Could you stand at the plate while someone threw a 90-mile an hour fastball? CBS 11 went to a local baseball center that simulates the match-up between big league pitcher and batter.

Hitting a baseball with a big wooden stick sounds simple enough. But the art of hitting a major league fastball is connected to the science being taught by guys like Danny Florence.

“We can choose the height of the player,” said Florence, who runs the Frozen Ropes Training Center in McKinney. At the center the mechanics and visual training of amateur and professional baseball players are taken to the top level.

If you want to take on Rangers pitcher Cliff Lee, for example, just give the computer the details. You can enter things like – 90 mph fastball, left handed pitcher or wicked curve-ball.

“A pro batter machine will do just about anything that you see in a game,” explained Florence. “It’s got a computer screen. You can move the ball in, out, up, down.”

When CBS 11 was at the facility, ballplayer T.J Ladd seemed to be getting the hang of it. But Frozen Ropes will let self-proclaimed ‘ballers’, like our own Steve Pickett, up to the plate as well.

As Steve put on his gear Florence explained, “Since C.J. is throwing tonight we’ll put a left-handed batter, uh we’ll start you off with a breaking ball.”

Okay so knocking one to the fence is just like riding a bike, right? CBS 11’s Steve Pickett stepped to the plate and well…

“Oh, alright, got a piece,” Florence encouraged after one swing.

Then strike, after strike, after strike and one swing that took him to the ground, Steve gave up. “I’m done! I’m done!” he said.

In case you’re wondering about the name of the facility, a ‘frozen rope’ is baseball speak for a hard hit, line drive. To get to that level the folks at the McKinney center teach batters another lesson as well… you can’t hit, what you can’t see.