Yankees suspend beerman for taunting Red Sox pitcher

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If it could even be considered a taunt.

The New York Post reports that Steve Lazarus, who has been serving beer at Yankee Stadiums for 35 years, was suspended for the first two games of the ALDS as the result of an exchange with former Yankee and current Red Sox pitcher Alfredo Aceves.

According to Lazarus, the vendor was with co-workers near a freight elevator when he spotted Aceves, started walking over and called out “Hey, you got ID?”

Aceves responded by grabbing his crotch and saying “I got your ID right here.”

Lazarus says it was a playful exchange that led to laughter all around, but that Yankees brass got wind of it and he was summoned by his supervisor during the game and escorted from the ballpark for harrassing a player.

“They take my badge — this is only my 35th year, by the way — and they escort  me out like a common criminal,” he told The Post. “To suspend me, when I did nothing?”

Although Lazarus is fuming, it doesn’t sound like he’s interested in walking away. He’ll be eligible to return if there’s a Game 5 in the ALDS or if the Yankees advance.

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.