Stay classy, Mike Lupica

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Mike Lupica brings the class. In his A-Rod column he plays the same “A-Rod just needs to go away” tune as everyone else at the Daily News. Then, when explaining the options the Yankees have, drops this gem about the MLB Players Association:

Or — this appears to be even more of a longshot — they want the commissioner of baseball, Bud Selig, to hit him with a drug suspension so they can start exploring ways to void his contract, even though the Major League Baseball Players Association will fight to protect guaranteed money in baseball the way gun nuts protect their guns.

Get that? A union, whose sole function is to protect the collectively bargained-for rights of its membership, is the equivalent of “gun nuts.”  I’m gonna go on a limb and say, based on past quasi-political things Lupica has written, that he is not exactly the staunchest Second Amendment guy, so in addition to equating the MLBPA to “nuts” he’s probably implicitly saying here that guaranteed contracts are illegitimate and unnecessary.

I also assume that he would be totally cool in giving up some of the money in his contract with the Daily News if he suddenly became unpopular.

Anyway, gotta hand it to the Daily News these past few days. Aside from utterly ignoring reality with respect to A-Rod’s contract situation and being wholly uncritical of their Yankees sources, they have done a bang-up job ratcheting the rhetoric to a ridiculous degree.

Well played, guys. Well played.

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.