Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com spoke with Terry Francona, who says that he will not seek to manage in 2012 “for my benefit.”
Francona interviewed with the Cardinals and said he would have liked that job, but they went with Mike Matheny. He says he’s been in contact with Theo Epstein in Chicago, but says it’s not the right opportunity. As such, he’s preemptively bowing out of any other jobs should they become vacant.
I think it’s probably a good call by Francona because (a) everyone could use a break and (b) I think Francona was pretty awesome on TV in the playoffs and would love to see more of him. But one wonders how much of a choice this really was.
I mean, if you’re Theo Epstein, and you don’t really want to hire Francona, don’t you maybe suggest to him — out of courtesy — to make such an announcement before you hire, say, Mike Maddux? So no one could write the “Epstein snubs Tito, goes with Maddux” stories?
Fine. Call me a conspiracy theorist. I don’t care. Whatever the case, enjoy the year off, Terry.
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.