Monday, September 02, 2013
Ryan Doumit can’t remember exactly when he switched to a titanium catcher’s mask, but it was sometime around 2009.
The appeal, if not the outright benefit, seemed obvious.
“It’s extremely light, which is what catchers like,” said Doumit, in his second season with the Twins. “It’s kind of grown on me.”
The traditional steel mask is noticeably heavier, Doumit said.
“Throughout the course of the game, you start to feel it in the back of your neck,” he said.
Joe Mauer felt the same way about the switch to a titanium mask—which claims to be 10 times stronger than steel while weighing just 16 ounces—until he followed Doumit onto the concussion disabled list Aug. 20.
That continued a staggering trend for the month in which at least seven major league catchers suffered concussions while working behind the plate.
Also sidelined were Alex Avila (Detroit), Santiago Perez (Kansas City), Carlos Corporan (Houston), Yorvit Torrealba (Colorado) and John Jaso (Oakland).
Of those, at least three were believed to be using titanium masks at the time of their injuries. So were Doumit and Mauer.
Monday, July 29, 2013
How to protect a young arm, from two different perspectives:
Ball, whom the Red Sox picked No. 7 overall out of New Castle (Ind.) High School, has yet to pitch in a game this season. He had his first live bullpen session Tuesday. He threw 24 pitches and described the experience as “awesome” after spending the previous month riding buses across Southwest Florida, spending time in the weight room and doing everything with his teammates except pitch.
Stewart, whom the Twins chose No. 4 overall out of St. Pius X High School in Houston, has started three Gulf Coast League games and relieved in two others. He pitched three or fewer innings in each of those five appearances.
“Each guy is different,” Minnesota Twins director of minor leagues Brad Steil said. “Everybody has different circumstances. There are a lot of different factors that go into it. We talk to our scouts. We talk to Kohl, to see what kind of shape he’s in. We talk about it and come up with a plan, our pitching coordinator and our field coordinator and myself. There’s all kinds of information out there as to what has been done with innings increases and year-to-year. There’s all sorts of research about arm injuries. There’s no right or wrong answers. A lot of it is subjective. We just take all of the information into account and make the best decision that we can.
“There’s no magic formula that says if you do X,Y, and Z, that your player is going to develop, and he’s not going to get hurt.”
Wednesday, July 10, 2013
Baseball math is intense.
It’s Sabermetrics, or the specialized analysis of baseball through objective evidence [Wikipedia]. Sabermetrics painstakingly collects every minor tidbit of information, weighs each statistic against all known variables and computes a prediction; it even addresses margin of error….
The Saints’ remaining contribution, $8.5 million, needs to be paid, presumably upfront, it is unclear who will pay the initial cost which the team will pay-off (or rent) over the course of 25 years.
When looking to mitigate risk and maximize public return on investment, finding long-term, sustainable funding sources for infrastructure is essential. In this case, St. Paul has a funding shortfall of $8 million from it’s promised $17 million. Where the remainder of funds is coming from is currently unknown. If a city isn’t able to cover upfront capital costs, how confident are you that they will be able to afford on-going, long-term maintenance costs of the infrastructure without pulling resources from other city essentials?
Or, will it become a political football of getting something you want, not covering your end of the bargain, asking for forgiveness and then doubling-down? It’s a long story; you can read about it here.
A question that reaches beyond scrutinizing numbers: why would you break ground on a stadium site in 5 days without a clear understanding of how to address an $8 million funding shortfall? (The $8 million municipal shortfall still doesn’t include the additional $8.8 million in unfunded environmental cleanup liabilities).
Whoever can close that funding gap should be eligible for Saint-hood.
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