Must-click link: The anatomy of Bryce Harper’s swing

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There’s a wonderful collaborative multimedia piece on the Washington Post website analyzing Bryce Harper’s violent-yet-beautiful swing.

The story, written by Adam Kilgore, goes in-depth on the roots and mechanics of Harper’s swing. It includes an anecdote about how the young phenom had an important realization at about 7 or 8 years old. Yes, while most of us were watching cartoons and drinking juice boxes, Harper was thinking critically about his swing.

Kilgore’s story is complemented by a wealth of data, ranging from how Harper is pitched to his success rate against particular pitches. Finally, there’s an interesting video breakdown of Harper’s swing which shows an eerie similarity to one of the best home run hitters in history.

Tremendous work all around. Put aside 10 minutes and check it all out. It’s well worth your time.

Royals fire manager Mike Matheny after 65-97 end to season

Minnesota Twis v Kansas City Royals
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Manager Mike Matheny and pitching coach Cal Eldred were fired by the Kansas Cty Royals on Wednesday night, shortly after the struggling franchise finished the season 65-97 with a listless 9-2 loss to the Cleveland Guardians.

The Royals had exercised their option on Matheny’s contract for 2023 during spring training, when the club hoped it was turning the corner from also-ran to contender again. But plagued by poor pitching, struggles from young position players and failed experiments with veterans, the Royals were largely out of playoff contention by the middle of summer.

The disappointing product led owner John Sherman last month to fire longtime front office executive Dayton Moore, the architect of back-to-back American League champions and the 2015 World Series title team. Moore was replaced by one of his longtime understudies, J.J. Picollo, who made the decision to fire Matheny hours after the season ended.

Matheny became the fifth big league manager to be fired this year.

Philadelphia’s Joe Girardi was replaced on June 3 by Rob Thomson, who engineered a miraculous turnaround to get the Phillies into the playoffs as a wild-card team. The Angels replaced Joe Maddon with Phil Nevin four days later, Toronto’s Charlie Montoyo was succeeded by John Schneider on July 13 and the Rangers’ Chris Woodward by Tony Beasley on Aug. 15.

In addition, Miami’s Don Mattingly said late last month that he will not return next season.