Let’s revisit Ted Williams’s take on launch angle, and other thoughts

1955 Ted Williams baseball card
Globe file
1955 Ted Williams baseball card.

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Picked-up pieces while thawing out from the home opener (kudos to the amazing fans who hung in for all 12 innings) . . .

 Launch angle. A 2018 baseball innovation? Here’s what Ted Williams wrote in “The Science of Hitting” in 1971 (page 13): “The ideal swing is not level and it’s not down,” and (pages 62-63): “If you get the ball into the air with power, you have the gift to produce the most important hit in baseball — the home run. More important is that you hit consistently with authority. For those purposes I advocate a slight upswing (from level to about 10 degrees), and there is another good reason for this — the biggest reason: Say the average pitcher is 6 foot 2. He’s standing on a mound 10 inches high. He’s pitching overhand, or three-quarter arm. He releases the ball about ear level . . . The flight of the ball is down, about 5 degrees.’’

 With so much light being shed on racial sensitivity and hate speech — and given connections with past partnerships that turned unfortunate (Bill Cosby) — it’s curious that Red Sox chairman Tom Werner would choose this time to renew an old partnership with Roseanne Barr. The “Roseanne” reboot is a national sensation for Werner and ABC, but Barr’s Twitter history has gotten less-famous folks fired or suspended from Disney and ESPN Media Networks. Werner did not wish to comment on Barr’s incendiary Twitter history.


 John Henry’s request to change the name of Yawkey Way back to Jersey Street is likely to be decided when the Boston Public Improvement Commission meets Thursday. Later that day, the Red Sox will host the Yankees at Fenway Park and the Bruins will open their 2018 Stanley Cup quest at the New Garden.

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 Admit it, now that the playoffs are finally (almost) here, you’re more excited about the Bruins than the Celtics. This is hardly the Celtics’ fault, but too many injuries have doused great expectations. Sure, they can win a round, possibly two, but when they won 16 in a row with Kyrie Irving we were thinking NBA Finals, and now that is gone. It’s all about 2018-19 when Irving and Gordon Hayward come back. Meanwhile, the Bruins have become the local team with the Garnett-esque mantra of “Anything’s possible!’’

 Notre Dame’s buzzer-beating legend Arike Ogunbowale certainly had the last laugh on bully UConn coach Geno Auriemma. Back in 2014, when Ogunbowale was a Milwaukee-area high school senior considering options, she sent out a tweet identifying her final five college considerations and did not include UConn on the list. Fourteen minutes later, Geno on his verified Twitter account, wrote, “Stay tuned for my list of the 5 players I saw the past 7 days that I have zero interest in recruiting . . . #whatajoke.” It was an obvious and immature direct shot at Ogunbowale, and Geno’s account was soon taken down. Ogunbowale beat UConn at the buzzer in the NCAA semifinals last weekend. In the loss, Geno could have used some of the 140 points he ran up against St. Francis in the first round.

 While we’re at it, let’s acknowledge that the NCAA women’s basketball Final Four was way better than the men’s Final Four. Both women’s semifinal games went into overtime, and Ogunbowale’s back-to-back game-winners are already the stuff of legend. The women’s game was well served by the parity and the drama of championship weekend. Hats off to the UConn Huskies for losing with dignity in their overtime shocker, but I wonder if they’d be better off getting out of the American Athletic Conference (football won’t allow it, of course). Auriemma schedules the out-of-conference iron every year, but UConn’s average margin of victory this season was still 38 points. The Huskies beat Wichita State, 124-43, and scored 94 points in their first half against St. Francis. It says something that the almighty Huskies have lost their last seven overtime games.

 It was easy to root for Villanova in the men’s tourney after Wildcats coach Jay Wright said, “We’re more interested in maintaining our culture than we are getting guys to the NBA or winning national championships. We feel that fits our university and it will serve every player the best in the end.’’ Compare that with nefarious John Calipari, who in 2010 declared NBA Draft night “the biggest day in the history of Kentucky’s program” because five of his players (four one-and-dones) were selected in the first round. Adolph Rupp and others would argue that Kentucky’s basketball program has had bigger days.


 Curt Schilling continues to do damage. Schill’s final contribution to New England baseball probably will be the long-running Red Sox Triple A franchise abandoning Pawtucket because citizens of Rhode Island are still burned by the 38 Studios debacle and will not help build a stadium for the team. Thanks again, Schill.

 Quiz: Who is the only big leaguer with at least 500 hits for four teams? Answer below.

 With the Celtics no longer a serious threat, look for LeBron James to make it to his eighth consecutive NBA Finals. After that? Think Philadelphia. LeBron would be a worthy successor to native son Wilt Chamberlain in the City of Brotherly Love. Meanwhile, can we please quit talking about James Harden or anyone else winning the NBA MVP? Harden is the flavor of the day, but LeBron is easily the best player in the league. Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni says Harden is the greatest offensive player he’s ever seen. D’Antoni must be too young to remember when Chamberlain averaged 50 points a game.

 Kudos to Billy Witz of the New York Times for discovering Giancarlo Stanton’s mother wanted to name him “Fidel” but was talked out of it by her husband, Mike Stanton. Today, Stanton’s mom calls him “Cruz’’ and his dad calls him “Mike.’’ Stanton’s mom, Jacinta Garay, arrived at “Giancarlo” as an homage to actors Giancarlo Giannini and Giancarlo Esposito.

 When Jose Altuve inked a five-year, $151 million extension last month, Scott Boras said, “It gives him respect.’’ Hate that. Equating dollar numbers with respect is sheer agent talk and it’s the kind of skewed thinking that makes people such as Carl Crawford and David Price choose “respect” over happiness in environments better suited to the disposition of the ballplayer.


 Based almost solely on analytics, the Mariners moved Dee Gordon from second base (Gold Glove in 2015) to center field.

 Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer will make $7.6 million in 2018.

 Take the family to Camden Yards this summer. If you buy a ticket in the upper deck, you can bring two kids (9 and under) for free.

 Good luck to the Twins with Fernando Rodney closing. I have never seen Rodney have a clean inning. Must be me.

 Hannah Zeile, daughter of former big leaguer Todd Zeile, is one of the “young Kate” actresses in “This is Us.’’

 Major League Baseball should just pull out of Florida altogether. No more Marlins or Rays. Go to Montreal, Nashville or San Antonio.

 Check out Sam Horn’s critically acclaimed “What is Your Pre-Game?’’ Saturdays at 10 a.m. on NBC Sports Boston. Big Sam understood launch angle when he drove a 450-foot home run out of Orlando’s Tinker Field in the spring of 1988. Horn’s majestic blast banged off the press box of the adjacent Citrus Bowl.

 Quiz answer: Rusty Staub (Astros, Expos, Mets, Tigers). RIP.

Dan Shaughnessy is a Globe columnist. He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @Dan_Shaughnessy.