A-Rod: Bud Selig is trying to destroy me

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A-Rod bolted today’s hearing, and headed straight to Mike Francessa’s show on WFAN.

They’re talking as if it was a spontaneous eruption, but it’s almost as if it was planned that way.

Rodriguez and his lawyer, Joe Tacopina, were on the show (link here). It’ll likely be archived there later. For what it’s worth, A-Rod is fired up: “I’m so pissed off right now I can’t even think straight.” He is ripping into Bud Selig. He said Selig is “trying to destroy me. To put me on his big mantle on the way out, that’s a hell of a trophy.”

Other choice soundbites:

  • “I know [Selig doesn’t] like New York, but you gotta come face me.”
  • “And [Selig] doesn’t have the courage to come and tell me this is why I’m gonna destroy your career?”
  • “People have told me ‘I hate your guts, but what MLB is doing to you is disgusting.’ ”

Rodriguez said he was planning on testifying on Friday, but now that Bud Selig is not testifying, he is unwilling to go back.

A-Rod and Tacopina’s position: Major League Baseball has not carried its burden of proof. Indeed, Tacopina said that the league hasn’t put on a shred of evidence to justify a suspension and that if MLB came to him today with an offer of a 50-game suspension, A-Rod would turn it down. “He shouldn’t serve an inning.” he said.

Whether A-Rod is there or not, the panel will eventually make a decision. And it if it’s not to his liking, A-Rod’s appeal rights are severely limited, as courts tend not to review employment arbitration decisions. So there is no escaping the fact that by turning up the heat like he has, A-Rod is playing a dangerous game.

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.