Mets general manager Omar Minaya quickly tried to smooth things over
with Carlos Beltran after the team publicly expressed their displeasure
in his decision to undergo surgery on his right knee this week, telling
David Waldstein of the New York Times that the whole controversy may have stemmed from a miscommunication of protocol:
“It was a very good conversation. Everything is fine. Listen, we have no problems with Carlos Beltran. I
have no problem with him and ownership has no problem. We love him. The
only issue was with the process, not the player.”
It’s a very telling quote. While he is speaking in reference to a very
specific instance, it only confirms the perception of dysfunction in
the organization’s leadership structure. For example, assistant general manager
John Ricco conducted the conference call on Thursday instead of Minaya, increasing speculation that the current general manager has been marginalized.
More broadly, the decision to make the dispute public has done more
harm than good in the eyes of the fanbase and public at large. Both
prompt the question: Exactly who is steering this troubled and overpriced ship?
On a related note, Sam Page of Amazin’ Avenue has put together an amusing, yet sadly-accurate flow chart of the team‘s decision-making practices.
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.
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.