UPDATE: the Jim Joyce Twitter account is a hoax

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UPDATE: No one has said so or anything (OK, now they have!) but just plain logic is causing most people to believe that the Joyce Twitter account is a fake. The avatar thing is just too nuts. And it’s not likely that that Major League Baseball would allow such a thing anyway.

How did I get suckered? Just lazy, I guess. Fake accounts tend to be over the top. That this one wasn’t probably threw me. I’m usually sharper and more skeptical than that, so who knows what my problem was. I suppose I was just caught up in a credulous moment this morning.

Still, there was something positive here. As I said a few minutes ago, I heard about this from secretly viewing Jon Heyman’s Twitter feed (shhh! don’t tell him!). Which means that someone is
pulling a prank on Heyman, because he believed it. I don’t approve of Twitter hoaxes, and I sure as hell don’t like being duped just like Heyman was, but I do
approve of people messing with Heyman, so consider me conflicted
here.

11:35 A.M.: Here’s something I wasn’t expecting: infamous-then-noble umpire Jim Joyce started up a Twitter account late last night. The best part: at first his avatar was a screen-cap of his call at first base in the Galarraga game, showing that Joyce has either a good sense of humor or a great perspective or both.  He changed it, though, because people thought it was one of the many hoax celebrity (such as he is) Twitter accounts.  This is legit though. (Update: rather, it probably isn’t)

If I had to guess it will soon go quiet, like so many Twitter accounts do. At the very least by the beginning of next year because I bet Major League Baseball doesn’t want umpires on Twitter.  I kind of hope not, though.  Anything that cuts through the filters and static between newsmakers and the public is a good thing.

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.