Francisco Rodriguez after blown save: “I definitely have to get my head out of my butt”

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After blowing a save last night Francisco Rodriguez uttered one of my favorite quotes of the season:

You know what, I’m going to speak as a fan, not as a player. I definitely have to get my head out of my butt, pretty much. Simple as that. I have to stop these pathetic outings; they’re really pathetic. I just have to get it done, I have to find a way to go out there and be more aggressive, start making quality pitches, and start getting people out. Because it’s been really embarrassing this month, pretty much.

I like everything about that quote, from the fact that he actually said “butt” instead of something that needed censoring to his repeated use of “pretty much.”

Rodriguez blew his first save chance of the season back in April, converted 19 straight saves, and has now blown saves in back-to-back appearances. Yet for all the criticism he’s taken and for how critical of himself he is in that quote Rodriguez is actually having a very good season with a 3.34 ERA and 41/14 K/BB ratio in 35 innings, including seven straight outings without issuing a walk.

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.