There’s a long article in the ESPN the Magazine season preview issue about pitching and biomechanics. About how a pitchers’ motion and physical approach could make all the difference in terms of whether that pitcher maintains his health and avoids those visits to Dr. James Andrews.
I’m not gonna say I fully understand this stuff. Even the experts have some disputes among one another and the data is far from perfected yet. But I read this this quote from White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper and I don’t want to live on this planet anymore:
“I’m not going to let new-school ways get in the way of my old-school thinking. I don’t need biomechanics. I have experience. I have my eyes. I just watch and look.”
If you were an executive in a billion dollar business and one of your supervisors took that approach when presented with something that, even if untested, at least claimed to have significant benefits for your business, you would fire him. Indeed, even if you were skeptical yourself, you would fire that guy if he didn’t at least engage the new information if, for no other reason, than to debunk it.
But not baseball! In baseball, people like Cooper ignore and dismiss new stuff until they have absolutely have no choice but to acknowledge it. Or, more commonly, until their successors acknowledge it while they sit in the retirement home and continue to talk smack about the new-fangled ways of doing things.
On Friday, it was reported that free agent Hanley Ramirez was under federal and state investigation, though no one knew for what, exactly. Michele McPhee of ABC News said, “Obviously I know absolutely nothing about sports or Hanley Ramirez’s stats, but what I do know is crime. And there has been some reports about a FaceTime phone call that was made between a man during a car stop. After that car stop, police recovered a significant amount of drugs. And during that car stop, the suspect claimed that one of the items found in the vehicle belonged to Hanley Ramirez and then FaceTimed [Ramirez] in front of police. And that car stop coordinated with the timing of his release from the Red Sox.”
The suspect was reportedly transporting 435 grams of fentanyl and a “large amount” of crack cocaine. But it turns out that Ramirez’s name only got mentioned because the suspect was hoping to avoid arrest. Ramirez is not actually under investigation, Shelley Murphy and Evan Allen of the Boston Globe report.
The attorney of the suspect said that his client grew up in the Dominican Republic with Ramirez and used the former Red Sox DH’s name “to get the cops off his back, which didn’t work.” During the traffic stop, a trooper asked permission to open a brown cardboard box found in the rear cargo area of the suspect’s jeep. The suspect said the box contained books, shipped to him by Ramirez’s mother to deliver to Ramirez in Boston. The suspect FaceTimed Ramirez to back up his story, but Ramirez said he wasn’t aware that the suspect was on his way to visit. Ramirez gave permission to the trooper to open the box. He did, and found a gift bag with two kilograms of fentanyl. The suspect was arrested on drug trafficking charges.
Ramirez, 34, hit a disappointing .254/.313/.395 with six home runs and 29 RBI in 195 plate appearances for the Red Sox before being designated for assignment on May 25 and released on June 1. The Red Sox maintain that Ramirez’s release had nothing to do with anything off-the-field.