Red Sox getting tired of Dice-K's act

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To say that the Red Sox are disappointed that Daisuke Matsuzaka came
out and blamed his health issues on Boston’s trainers is like saying
Brett Favre is indecisive.

Or that Randy Johnson is tall. You get the idea.

The BoSox, in fact are not simply “disappointed”, as the ultra polite Terry Francona said on Tuesday. Like a mushroom-cloud-laying Jules Winnfield from “Pulp Fiction, they seem ready to strike down upon their pitcher with great vengeance and furious anger.

This from the Boston Globe’s Tony Massarotti:

“I think we all share, in a word, that it’s disappointing,” Red Sox
pitching coach John Farrell said a short time ago in the Boston
clubhouse — veins all but bulging from his neck — in response to
critical comments made by Daisuke Matsuzaka. Added Farrell when asked
if he was frustrated, “The disappointment comes in airing his dirty
laundry.”

Massarotti goes on to write that the Red Sox have been frustrated with
Dice-K’s “high-maintenance” act long ago, but put up with it because he
won. Now that the right-hander is tossing barbs at the organization,
the team might be finished playing nice.

In retrospect, what Farrell did not say was that Matsuzaka looked
like he spent the winter eating dumplings and shumai, which the Red Sox
believe contributed to the pitcher’s problems.

“It’s not just the shoulder,” Farrell said tonight when asked about
the importance of proper conditioning. “When the overall body is not in
the condition necessary to support that, there has to be some
responsibility taken [on the part of the pitcher.]”

So the Red Sox turn the tables, blaming Dice-K for his poor conditioning. It’s not quite “Fat Toad” territory, but pretty darn close.

Dice-K’s comments have not endeared himself to fans. It will be interesting to see where this leads.

The Indians are unveiling a Frank Robinson statue on Sunday

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The Cleveland Indians will unveil a Frank Robinson statue at Progressive Field on Saturday.

Robinson’s tenure in Cleveland was not long, but it was historic. On April 8, 1975, he became the first African-American manager in Major League history. He was a player-manager. One of the last ones, in fact. He spent two years in that role and then a third year — a partial year anyway — as a manager only. Robinson would go on to manage the Giants, Orioles and the Expos/Nationals, compiling a career record of 1065-1176 in 16 seasons. He is now a top MLB executive.

Robinson was, of course, a Hall of Fame player as well, lodging 21 seasons for the Reds, Orioles, Dodgers, Angels and Indians. He won two MVP awards and hit for the Triple Crown in 1966. Overall he hit 586 home runs – 10th all time – and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982. For an inner-circle Hall of Famer with that kind of resume he is still, strangely enough, underrated. I guess that happens when your contemporaries are Willie Mays, Hank Aaron and Mickey Mantle.

Anyway, congrats to Frank Robinson for yet another well-deserved honor in a career full of them.

Hey kids: don’t swing a weighted bat in the on deck circle

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Here’s an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal. It’s about some studies of hitters who use weighted bats or doughnuts on their bats in the on deck circle. Turns out that, contrary to conventional wisdom, using a weighted bat for practice hacks does not speed up one’s swing when one uses a naked bat in the batter’s box. In fact, it slows it down.

There are lots of caveats here. The sample size in the studies are small and they all involve college and high school players, not big leaguers. The results, however, are consistent with previous studies and they do make some intuitive sense. This is particularly the case with batting doughnuts, which add weight to a very concentrated portion of the bat, thereby changing the center of gravity and thus the swing mechanics of the hitter.

Whether this is applicable at large or to higher level hitters or not, I still find it kind of neat. I always like it when people scrutinize ingrained habits and ask whether or not that thing we’ve always done is, in fact, worth doing.