Scott Schoeneweis DL'd for a very, very good reason

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Given how long the baseball season is and how many new things happen every day, it’s easy to forget stuff that happened even a couple of months ago. One thing that I, and I’m sure some of you who don’t follow the Diamondbacks too closely had forgotten was the tragic death of reliever Scott Schoeneweis’ wife back in May. After a couple of weeks away from the game, Schoeneweis has bravely attempted to pitch through his pain, all while raising four children by himself.  Understandably, however, the strain has become just too much:

Scott Schoeneweis has been placed on the 15-day disabled list by the Arizona Diamondbacks because of depression, less than three months after his wife was found dead at their home.

The 35-year-old left-hander spent three weeks on the bereavement list after his wife, Gabrielle, was found dead on May 20 in the master bedroom of couple’s home in the Phoenix area. 

I can’t imagine a guy waking up in the morning after such a thing, let alone putting himself through the grind of a Major League season. Kudos to Schoeneweis for doing his best to solider through, but here’s hoping he can take the rest of the season to gather himself, be a father to his children, and try to move on in the face of this tragedy.  

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.