We all know that giving yourself a nickname is simply inexcusable. Someone has to apply it to you, T-bone, you can’t just pick it yourself. Similarly, you have to earn a nickname. You can’t just start off with one. And this applies to collective names as well as individual ones. I’m looking at you Stan Hochman of the Philadelphia Daily News:
I want the best starting rotation in baseball called “The Un-four-gettables.” Little musical reference in there, which should please Kristen Lee, who loved the city’s cultural climate first time around. And the quaint chance to play Nat King Cole’s version of “Unforgettable” whenever Cole Hamels pitches.
I’m pretty confident that the Phillies’ rotation will be awesome next year. And I think they’re going to win the division by an extremely comfortable margin. But is it too much to ask that they, you know, do a single thing together before we give them a nickname?
And when they do get one, let’s try to make sure it’s not one as lame as “The Un-four-gettables,” OK?
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.