YES Network just announced that Michael Kay has signed a multi-year extension to remain its lead New York Yankees play-by-play guy:
“We are pleased that Michael will continue to play a vital role here at YES,” said John J. Filippelli, president of production and programming at the YES Network. “For the past decade on YES, Michael has been the voice of the Yankees, deftly capturing the drama, intensity and passion associated with the greatest franchise in sports.
Kay has been at YES Network since it launched in 2002 and has been doing Yankees broadcasts in one form or another since the mid-90s.
I know some people like to nitpick him, but (a) just about every broadcaster can be nitpicked; and (b) Kay, even if he isn’t your cup of tea, has always seemed pretty solid to me. Then again, I may only watch three or four Yankees games a year when Kay’s at the mic. But that same number of games is enough to turn me way the hell off of some other broadcasters. The key for me is whether someone is actively assaulting. Kay is not that, and I don’t mean that to be faint praise.
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.