Chip Caray is fisted into a new job

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Well, that’s how he’d probably describe it anyway. The details:

Chip Caray received an early Christmas present on Monday morning, when
Fox Sports Net hired him to serve as their play-by-play announcer for
all the Braves games televised by Fox Sports South and SportSouth. 

This
was the role previously held by Jon “Boog” Sciambi, who accepted a
full-time role with ESPN at the conclusion of this past season.

I’m a Braves fan with much love in my heart for Chip’s old man. Best thing about Skip Caray: back when the Braves sucked in the 1980s, he’d say so. Repeatedly. Best call ever: as the Braves were losing a lead in the face of an opponents’ rally: “bases loaded and I wish I was too.”  You can’t teach that.

Anyway, I think that if Skip were alive today he’d say — at least when his wife and son weren’t around to hear it — that the Braves are going from a pretty damn good announcer in Boog Sciambi to a pretty crappy one in Chip “Line drive! Base hit! Caught out there” Caray.

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.