Bad idea jeans: The Marlins are handing out vuvuzelas tomorrow

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I’m not following the World Cup closely enough to be able to say anything all that insightful. I know that England gave us that goal we got in the first game. I know we got boned this morning in the Slovenia game. I know that everyone hates the vuvuzelas too.

In fact, these plastic horns are so hated that some baseball teams — most notably the Yankees — have issued a peremptory ban on fans bringing them into the ballpark. The ban is less to prevent the actual annoyance than because there is a non-trivial chance that anyone who blows one of those things at the ballpark will be murdered, and that’s a lot of paperwork the Yankees don’t need.

But never fear, fans of obnoxiously awful things, the Marlins got your back!

Like it or not, Marlins players – and fans – will get an earful of
World Cup soccer atmosphere Saturday night at Sun Life Stadium. Plastic
horns will be given to the first 15,000 fans as part of a promotion to
capitalize on the World Cup buzz.

I’m not sure what’s funnier: that the Marlins think anyone would want to sit and listen to that awful buzz or that there will be 15,000 people at the ballpark on Saturday to get one.

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.