CrossFit For Baseball

Everyone is doing CrossFit nowadays.

And that is a fantastic thing. Well, kind of.

I know why CrossFit is attractive to a baseball player–or even many other athletes. The workouts are fast, hard and are generally performed in a group atmosphere.

crossfit workout

That said, as somebody who trains with a great deal of baseball players, I’ve got an unusual view about the requirements of the game, and I believe CrossFit isn’t a fantastic match for baseball.

In all honesty, there are all kinds of benefits of CrossFit. In the past I have written my share of “words” around CrossFit. There are numerous things about it that I do not agree with or approve. But again, I personally think veganism is bizarre, and a few people believe Justin Bieber makes excellent music.

What I Enjoy About CrossFit

They have done an excellent job of creating a bunch of exercises–especially lifting weights–trendy.

They generally set a premium on weights and also adhere to compound moves, which I adore.

It makes people work very hard. Lots of people–as well as athletes–have zero clue of what its like to train at a high intensity.

It is difficult to knock whatever gets people that eager to train.

What I Do Not Like About CrossFit

This size of this listing may rival Lord Of The Rings, but here is a cut down version:

I am not fond of the very low barrier to entry. From what I have accumulated, all someone needs to do to become”accredited” would be to have a weekend program and pay a franchise fee and they are in.

CrossFit’s one-size-fits-all programming version is playing with passion, believing that their courses comprise individuals from all walks of existence to a daily basis.

There is a valid absence of evaluation happening, without a suitable method for development and regression. This changes from box to box, however it is a widespread issue.

This Is an Issue for Baseball Players

baseball training

The issues that I have with CrossFit use clinically to anybody who participates, however they’re especially problematic for baseball players. (Find out about CrossFit’s accident prices.)

Baseball players are famous for being loose, and which includes its own advantages and advantages.

On the 1 hand, laxity assists gamers toss tough. His laxity enabled him to possess a mad layback, or outside turning, inside his arm, and that aided him to toss over 100 miles off.

On the flip side, this sum of freedom has to be controlled securely. When it is not the athlete dangers an accident.

That is precisely why in Cressey Performance, we are fans of employing the Beighton Laxity Scale. It assists us”monitor” our athletes to specify whether they’re stiff or lumpy. If a person scores between a nine and six on the exam, it is a safe bet they are hypermobile and might require additional attention to detail in their own programming. Sadly, this is something that CrossFit seldom –if ever, offers.

Worse, the total amount of stress put on the elbow is equal to dangling a 40-pound barbell onto a series in the hand into the floor. Therefore, the shoulder needs to take care of some substantial forces throughout baseball players. Adding pressure to it at the weight room may exacerbate any difficulties and quicken a possible overuse injury.

Taking an athlete who’s hypermobile and under pressure from pitching, and requesting him to take part in workouts which involve high-rep Olympic lifts and kipping Pull-Ups (among other questionable approaches ) isn’t a smart use of training period.

Conclusion

In a game where shoulder stability is forfeited for greater freedom, CrossFit isn’t a risk worth considering my own opinion. Some others choices exist which may offer an identical training impact.

In the long run, CrossFit has many positive aspects, and it is an OK match for a number of people. But given the distinctive requirements of baseball, it is not a fantastic match for baseball players.

You tell ’em Grams.

My Grandma called me this afternoon to ask me why the Twins are so bad.

“I see how bad they are, and I think about how hard it must be for you to watch!”

“Nah. It’s not that hard to watch. I mean, it’s embarrassing and awkward sometimes. But I push through.”

“You love them so much. They should play better for you.”

You hear THAT boys? You have officially been shamed by my grandmother. You make her sad.

If that’s not enough to make you better at baseball, I don’t know what is.

How Bad Are We?

We’re currently going through a little bit of a rough patch (much in the same way that the Titanic hit a small bump) right now.

It’s less painful if we own the suck. It’s almost empowering if we just accept and embrace it, I think.

We know that record-wise, we are the worst team in baseball right now. But just how bad are we?

Let’s check the info-graphic.

How Bad Are We

And there’s the silver lining. Goodbye Bandwagon-jumpers, don’t let the door hit you on the way out. I hear Colorado is nice this time of year.

New Beginnings

I guess it’s not a secret that I have sort of abandoned this place. There are a few reasons for this:

1. I’m busy. Yeah yeah yeah….I know what you’re saying…”we’re ALL busy. Man up, Sarah.” And I hear you. But when I work 9-10 hours in front of a computer screen, I generally don’t want to spend more time in front of one when I get home.

2. I have grown weary of the Twins Internet community, and sort of the Internet in general. I have not made this a secret. As a people, we’ve gotten jerkier on a whole, and I don’t like it.

3. I have tried to spend more time trying to make a difference in the world, and to quote Maria Bamford, “it has really cut into my sittin’ around time.”

However, I’ve decided I just cannot let it go. I can’t. There are a few reasons for this too:

1. I miss it.

2. It’s too good, and there are too many things I’ve written that I adore, to just let it rot in Internet No Man’s Land waiting for comment spammers to descend like vultures on a rotting corpse. If and when it is its time to go, we’re going to give it a proper funeral at least.

3. There are still too many lost souls googling “Nick Swisher Shirtless” each and every day. I truly feel like it is my calling in life to set them straight (Swish is pretty gross, y’all).

4. I don’t want anyone to think I stopped blogging here because the Twins stopped being good. That is not the case. It was purely coincidental.

5. The Twins NEED me. Obviously. It is almost May and I can still count the wins on my fingers. I want to have to take a shoe off, boys. C’mon.

So where does that leave the blog? Good question. I am going to make an effort to not kill it with neglect. But I cannot promise the ability/desire to post with a dependable frequency. I’ll also be doing double-duty and posting at my new baseball-blog BalkAboutIt.com, a joint venture with Jen from Lipgloss & Baseball. But I can promise that I will TRY to keep up.

We’ll see. Wish me luck.

-posted hastily via mobile device; forgive any typos/formatting issues please.

Random Thoughts of Sadness and a Happy Rangers Primer

First…an almost half-serious question. Has anyone in the Twins organization looked into the possibility of a team-wide food allergy to champagne? Just a thought. We’re always doing so well until they pop those corks, then the season goes down the drain.

Second…I know it sounds weird, but as a Twins fan, I was a lot more offended by the headline on the Twins twitter feed reading “Current Trend a Testament to Yankees” than I was by the “EZ Pass” NY Daily News Headline. NY media is supposed to diss us. That’s their job in this somewhat laughable post-season rivalry. And honestly, I’m not going to be upset about headlines like that until they stop being true. But the “Well, the Yankees are really good,” excuses from our side make my blood boil. I had a basketball coach once who told us before every game that the Win was already ours, but it was up to us if we gave it away or not. I am increasingly convinced that the Yankees have the same general belief system when they take the field, and the Twins perhaps just…do not. Which makes me sad.

And it’s not about buying the championship either….the team the Yankees are fielding is completely beatable. The Twins are just failing to do so.

Third….as equally sad as I am for the Rays and their fans, (that ovation for Carl Crawford made me tear up a little), Ian Kinsler is my happy place right now.

So, here’s a great Texas Rangers primer from my very favorite Texas baseball fan, another Sarah! You may already know and love her on Twitter as @salty_birdie, but today she joins the ranks of Those Girls to help us get to know the likely Team Who Is Not The Yankees for this year’s ALCS. (Sorry Rays. We won’t discount miracles…but you have now joined us in our boat of doom.)

Thanks to Sarah for sharing the Rangers love with us, and thanks to her sister Evie for the great pics!

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BP+RBHowdy y’all from the Lone Star State! Thanks to Sarah for allowing me to brag a bit about our boys in blue, the Texas Rangers. After their strong showing last season under President (now co-owner) Nolan Ryan, the Rangers grabbed a hold of the AL West lead by the early summer and held on with a tight grip. Making their first appearance in the postseason since 1999, this Rangers team isn’t like teams of the past-instead of carrying a load of power bats, this team combines speed and solid pitching from both the starting rotation and the bullpen. Well…they do have some power bats too. The Rangers are going to have a tough competitor in the ALDS facing the Tampa Bay Rays, but when you’re a team looking for their first postseason series win *ever*, you might as well face the best!

Here’s a few tidbits about the Rangers…I can write a term paper about this team and every player, but with these early afternoon starts, let’s keep it simple. A top nine list to describe the awesomeness of the Texas Rangers:

Of all the recognizable names on the Rangers roster, the longest tenured player on the team is Michael Young. The literal “Face of the Franchise,” he joined the team in 2000. After 1508 career games (#2 on the active player list), he finally is making his first postseason appearance, along with other playoff virgins-the Giants’ Aubrey Huff (#3 with 1479 games) and the Phillies’ Mike Sweeney (#4 with 1454 games). Random factoid: current leader Randy Winn (1717 games) started the season with the eventual AL wildcard Yankees, but was designated for assignment. A few days after being officially released, he signed with the St Louis Cardinals. Still has to wait at least one more year for that dance invitation!

Michael and his wife, Christina, are the current chairpersons for the Rangers Triple Play, an annual event benefiting The Texas Rangers Foundation. The guys dress up, play games like Fielders’ Feud (Family Feud with the outfielders opposing the infielders), and have the annual rookie performance. This special from 2009 was themed “Guys and Dolls” and included the performance of “Afternoon Delight” in the style of Anchorman.

Unlike some teams who have “stuffy” benefits and fundraisers, the Rangers like to have fun, both on and off the field. One SportsCenter-worthy moment came during interleague play in New York in 2008. In 2009, Rangers Insider covered the players handshakes and other celebratory moves. This year’s trend, the “claw” and “antlers”, was introduced to the team by Nelson Cruz (of ”Boomstick”fame) and veteran journeyman Esteban German. The “claw,” like a long distance high-five, is used when something positive offensively occurs (basically-a hit); the “antlers” are used when the player shows speed, whether going first to third or beating out an infield hit.

Speaking of speed, one of the most entertaining, and surprising, moments of the Rangers’ 2010 season was when newly acquired catcher Bengie Molina hit for the cycle in Boston. The oldest of the Molina brothers is often referred to as one of the slowest base runners in the major leagues, so the call for his final hit needed (a triple) is particularly hilarious. He was only the fifth Rangers player to ever hit for the cycle (the last one was blog favorite Ian Kinsler in 2009), and the first catcher since 1900 to hit a grand slam as part of the cycle.

ian

Interesting walk-off wins have been the Rangers’ signature this season. There was the Nelson Cruz first-pitch homerun against Boston and his 13th inning homerun beating the Yankees. Twice the Rangers have beaten certain Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera in their final at-bat: David Murphy’s single and Jeff Francoeur’s odd walk-off HBP. The strangest (and most defensively cringe worthy) walk-off came against the Mariners, with the walk-off strikeout.

Time to show some love to the pitchers. The Texas heat in high summer has been the downfall of many Rangers teams in the past. When Nolan Ryan became president of the team and Mike Maddux joined the coaching staff, an emphasis on extra conditioning and no pitch count limits became the norm. With the trade of Kevin Millwood to the Orioles, the Rangers lost their “horse” of the rotation who ate up innings, even if he was on the losing end. A former Ranger returning after a long journey following surgery and a stint overseas, Colby Lewis was the “unknown factor” of the rotation this season. All he did was continue his high strikeout count (led the NPB in strikeouts in 2008-09) and make 32 starts, with 24 of them at least 6 innings pitched. As well as leading the NPB in strikeouts, Colby also lead in pitcher homeruns, hitting five during his two seasons. This one) hit the back of the fencing of the seating area. Notice the “gift” the player receives after the homer.

Whereas Lewis was the unknown in the rotation, the surprise addition was former setup man/closer C.J. Wilson. The blue-gloved lefty is the most accessible Ranger, whether by Twitter, his blog, or at charity events, including Guitar Hero and bowling. He totally embraced the extra running and conditioning that Ryan preached last season, and combined it with his straightedge, healthy lifestyle. He has almost tripled the numbers of innings pitched this season, and has made the most starts by anyone on the staff with 33.

cj

One of the most dependable arms out of the bullpen is righty sidewinder Darren O’Day. In his second season with the Rangers, he ranks 7th in the league in appearances with 72. His delivery isn’t the only unusual thing…Darren actually received his degree in animal biology, as well as completed (and passed!) both the MCAT and LSAT exams. His outgoing, energetic personality didn’t seem to fit with the law school lifestyle-however, it fits perfectly with his bullpen mates. In the past, the Rangers bullpen saluted the outfielders and still perform a pregame ritual with Red Bull.

The most important bullpen member is, of course, the closer, Neftali Feliz. The 22-year-old fireballer is finishing his first full season in the closer role with great success. He was named to the 2010 All Star roster, set the rookie record for number of saves in a season (currently at 40), and is a strong candidate for the AL Rookie of the Year. He was considered the rawest, but most promising, piece of the Mark Teixeira trade as a starter with a 100+MPH fastball. Up until 2009, Neftali was starting in the minor leagues-did not move to the bullpen until he joined the majors. Whether he will rejoin the rotation in the future is unknown, but after the successful transition of Wilson, it might be possible.

Honestly, I could write about every one of the guys, but we have afternoon games to watch. Hopefully y’all learned a little more about some of the Rangers and will cheer them on in the playoffs-if you don’t already have an AL favorite, that is. One thing they can almost guarantee is an exciting game.

ALDS Rays Guest Poster: Jessica from Her Rays

Welcome Jessica, of Her Rays, the bestest Rays blog. This is phase one of The Most Adorable ALDS Ever With One Exception. She gives us some excellent reasons to pull for Barty and the Boys. Thanks for coming to play along Jessica! We’re proud to have you as an Honorary Those Girls. Wow…that was terrible grammar. Oops.

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I have a problem with this ALDS. Sarah has dubbed it the “Most Adorable ALDS Ever with One Exception.” This is the root of my problem. In playoff situations I prefer the antagonists or opposing teams to be dark, evil creatures that must be vanquished from the earth. For instance in 2008 when the Rays made the playoffs for the first time they played the White Sox and the Red Sox. See my point? These are teams that needed to be crushed.

Now contrast that with the Rays options for this year’s first round, the Twins or the Rangers. Seriously, could they draw two more likable teams? (Sounds a little like Chandler from Friends but whatever) Since this is a Twins blog I don’t need to tell you that your club is pretty likable. Plus since this is a girl blog I’m sure you are aware that the Rangers are also extremely likable.

In fact since the Rangers have Ian Kinsler, Michael Young, CJ Wilson and other characters that are really entertaining to watch, I’m afraid the nation is going to be pulling for them. Therefore I’d like to give you some reasons to love the Rays.

Let’s start with the skipper. Joe Maddon looks like Michael Douglas’s character in Falling Down but his demeanor is the exact opposite. Matter of fact there are times when fans wish he would freak out a little more. However he is a master at managing these youngsters and together with an awesome front office they were able to field a team that won the AL East at a fraction of the cost. You gotta love that.

Now on to the face of the franchise, Mr. Evan Longoria. I’m very sad to report that our beloved third baseman is sporting a mullet of Joe Dirt proportions. He is normally much more attractive. He IS doing it for charity. Evidently his fellow Dirtbag Troy Tulowitski is responsible. Have no fear though, he happens to be very good at baseball, and sometimes that is enough to endear him to fans.

From there we move to ole faithful. Carl Crawford has been with the Rays through thick, lots of thick, and thin. He is a treasure. Rays fans are trying to cherish him this season as it’s most likely to be his last here in Tampa Bay. He would be the face of the franchise, but he’s really not that kind of guy. He just quietly goes about his business, and this year is his best yet. He is a dynamic player that can change games. Watch him run. He looks like a cartoon character, his upper body doesn’t move too much and his legs become a blur. Between him and BJ Upton not too much falls in left center field.

In order to garner some votes from the Twin’s fans, I’d like to remind you who plays shortstop for the Rays. Jason Bartlett is still super cute. Last year he had a career year, but this year he has been struggling. He’s still the skipper’s go to guy and is a very intelligent player. However since he’s been struggling, a young shortstop has come onto the scene to fill in occasionally and you can’t help but love Reid Brignac. He is our ragin’ Cajun. Rays fans love his range and he’s been like a kid in a big league candy store. It is totally infectious.

Another tie to the Twins is Matt Garza. He’s a nut job, but that’s what makes him so lovable. I’m happy to report that he is spitting less this year. You remember his stringy spider man spit? Evidently it was from going to the rosin bag too often, then licking his fingers and it made his mouth dry. Too much information?

Remember when the Twins had that dominant left-handed pitcher and everyone in the league wanted one. The Rays have that now in David Price. He can flat out throw the ball, and he’s kind of a hoot on the days he’s not pitching. Two qualities I love in a pitcher.

Oh one more guy that you have to check out is Matt Joyce. The Rays stole him from my sister’s team the Tigers. He’s a hometown kid here in Tampa, he’s super cute and he can hit the ball very high and very far. Oooh then there’s Carlos Pena, yum. Okay obviously I could go on and on about why the Rays are a great team to follow, but hopefully they will show you themselves in the coming weeks.

Here’s to our teams meeting in the ALCS, even though your team is so stinking likable!

I don’t even have a title for this.

I have been MIA this week due to one technological catastrophe after another. But honestly, it was kind of nice. It was surprisingly nice to watch these games and not see reactions online that force me to double check if we only lost a baseball game or if I actually needed to stock up on bottled water, batteries and canned goods for the immediately impending apocalypse.

My technological collapse actually came at a very good time, because I was starting to really hate the internet anyway. Considering I own this blog, saying that feels a little like hypocritical self-loathing, but it’s true. I really dislike the direction that the internet drives social interaction. The anonymity seems to make people think that there’s no consequences attached to their words, and they write and behave in ways I sincerely hope they would not in face-to-face situations.

If you haven’t read last week’s Sports Illustrated piece A Light in the Darkness, about mental health issues and baseball, you should. I worked in the mental health field for what felt like forever, and it’s an area of particular interest.

Anyway, in the article Ian Snell spoke really candidly about the fact that he seriously considered suicide a couple years ago. And I think the following excerpt should serve as an interesting reminder when we’re tempted to make cruel personal attacks because of ultimately meaningless play on the field:

“…Worst of all, Snell could not forget what he kept hearing and reading in Pittsburgh: the boos from the stands and the cruel insults online going back to the previous season, when he went 7–12 with a 5.42 ERA. Once the Pirates’ minor league pitcher of the year, Snell was now a figure of ridicule. You can find out where these guys live, he would think in a fury, even if they just have some secret name on the Internet.
The loss to the Brewers was a match flickering near all this tinder. Snell felt unbearably alone. Should I just do it? he thought again.
“It was a juggling back and forth, like the angel versus the demon,” Snell says. “I felt like I was going to have a heart attack.” So he turned the shower dial from hot to cold, trying to cool off, trying to douse a million burning questions: If a player messes up, why does everyone automatically think he’s a bad person? Do parents even want me to say hi to their kids and give them high fives? Why am I always being singled out?…”

Now, I’m sure Snell would be the first one to say that the people insulting him were NOT the root cause of his issues, but I think it’s worth keeping in mind that we have no idea what’s going on in a player’s life, what they’re feeling and how random words on the internet might affect them at any given time.

I know I’m guilty of it sometimes, but I like to think that this blog is not really like that. I try not to be, anyway. But at the same time, I really have no interest in participating in a community, online or otherwise, where those sorts of negative, fatalistic and personally hurtful words and behaviors are the norm. And I get that feeling more and more about the Twins online world.

I guess I just don’t understand the reasoning for it. When we lose, I do feel bad. But I feel bad because I (for the most part) love the team and the players and I want them to win. But we could lose all 162 games, and it would not affect my life one tiny bit. Same thing with winning…I would love to see this team win the World Series. They’re a great team and they deserve that success and all the things that come with it. But I don’t personally gain anything from it.

I have no personal stake in the team, aside from the fact that they provide me with a certain entertainment value, whether they win or lose.

Neither do you.

I really wish everyone would lighten up a little, I guess.

Now, the players and their families, the managers and coaches and the front office staff and the owners…they’re a different story. Their jobs and livelihoods and professional futures are all affected by play on the field. So if they want to take a more live-and-die-with-every-pitch attitude about the game, that’s up to them. But there’s another line in that SI story that hits home: “Baseball is just a job.”

I know I’m glad no one has a blog or Twitter account that’s so reactionary about my job performance. I bet you are too.

So, that was a little soap-boxy. I’m sorry. I’m just feeling kind of ambiguous right now.