For Lavarnway, it's not rocket science, or is it?

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For Lavarnway, it's not rocket science, or is it?

By Jessica Camerato
CSNNE.com Follow @JCameratoNBA

Some would say the game of baseball isnt rocket science. Even if it was, Ryan Lavarnway would still be interested in it.

The Boston Red Sox catcher, who was recently recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket, developed a love for physics as a teenager at El Camino Real High School in California. Inspired by his science teacher, Lavarnway chose to study the subject when he enrolled at Yale University, where he also played baseball.

I went to school and I wanted to be a rocket scientist after Mr. C made me fall in love with physics, he said. What kid doesnt want to be an astronaut? I loved understanding how things worked. I loved the mechanics aspect of it -- projectiles in the air and cars. I love knowing how everything around me worked.

Lavarnway, 24, breezed through his first semester, but switched concentrations after encountering the obstacle that is advanced calculus. From physics to philosophy, he chose another academic focus that challenged him in a different way.

I aced my first class in math and physics, and then second semester I couldnt hack it with the math anymore. It was calculus 4 with linear algebra, he said. Then I kind of fell in love with philosophy. I loved the fact that philosophy was kind of an attempt to solve questions that didnt have any answers. There are no right or wrong answers as long as you could prove your point.

Rather than relying on his athletic achievements, Lavarnway grew up in a household where education took precedence over sports. When it came time to change majors, it was only natural for him to select an area that would be mentally stimulating. He may have been playing baseball at Yale, but he was still a college student.

My parents always installed in me that with student athletes, student came first, he said. I couldnt go to baseball practice until my homework was done, growing up. They never took baseball away as a penalty, but it was always there -- take care of your schoolwork first.

I was lucky enough to be a naturally good student. Then when the opportunity to go to an Ivy League school came and I was surrounded by all the history thats there and all the brilliant people, you learn almost more in the dining hall talking with your classmates than you do in the classrooms and the extra work with the professors outside of the class to make sure that youre keeping up with the material. Its just an environment of excellence.

While Lavarnway left Yale early to pursue a career in baseball (he was drafted by the Red Sox in the sixth round of the 2008 amateur draft), there are still times when he can view baseball with a scientific eye. Physics, he says, are part of the game.

I definitely dont sit at night and analyze my swing and efficiency with Netwons laws of physics, but if you were to take a step back you could definitely analyze how curveballs spin, what makes a knuckleball knuckle, and how outfielders read the ball, he said. Theres a lot of physics going around in baseball. We just kind of do it without thinking about it in our heads.

There is one lesson, though, that Lavarnway learned at Yale and has applied to his baseball career. After spending the past month splitting his time between the Red Sox and PawSox, the balanced approach he gained in college has helped him make it to Fenway Park.

The most important thing for me was separating different aspects of your life, he said. When I was at the baseball field, I focused on baseball with all of myself and all of my attention. When I was in the library or the classroom or studying, I went at that with all of myself and all of my attention. Then when I was hanging out with my friends, I had to learn how to let all of that go and just relax and have fun with all of your attention.

That relates to baseball. When youre hitting you cant be thinking about your defense. When Im catching, I cant be thinking about my hitting. Then when I go home, its a 162-game season, a lot of stuff goes on, ups and downs, youve got to be able to let it go.

Jessica Camerato is on Twitter at http:twitter.com!JCameratoNBA

Youkilis weighs in on Valentine possibly being Japan ambassador

Youkilis weighs in on Valentine possibly being Japan ambassador

Among the reactions to the news that Bobby Valentine was possibly being considered to be the US amassador to Japan in President Donald Trump’s administration was this beauty from Kevin Youkilis. 

Valentine famously called out Youkilis early in his stormy tenure as Red Sox manager in 2012. Remember? "I don't think he's as physically or emotionally into the game as he has been in the past for some reason," Bobby V said of Youk at the time. 

The Red Sox traded Youkilis to the White Sox for two not-future Hall of Famers, outfielder Brent Lillibridge and right-hander Zach Stewart, later that season.

Youkilis, now Tom Brady’s brother-in-law by the way, had a 21-game stint playing in Japan in 2014 before retiring from baseball. 

 

Report: Bobby Valentine could be Trump’s US ambassador to Japan

Report: Bobby Valentine could be Trump’s US ambassador to Japan

Major league manager. Inventor of the wrap sandwich. Champion ballroom dancer.  And…

US ambassador to Japan?

Bobby Valentine is on the short list for that position in President Donald Trump’s administration, according to a WEEI.com report.

The former Red Sox manager (fired after a 69-93 season and last-place finish in 2012), and ex-New York Mets and Texas Rangers, skipper, also managed the Chiba Lotte Marines in Japan’s Pacific League for six seasons. 

When asked by the New York Daily News if he's being considered for the post, Valentine responded: "I haven't been contacted by anyone on Trump's team." 

Would he be interested?

"I don't like to deal in hypotheticals," Valentine told the Daily News.

Valentine, 66, has known the President-elect and Trump's brother Bob since the 1980s, is close to others on Trump’s transition team and has had preliminary discussions about the ambassador position, sources told WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford. 

Valentine, currently the athletic director of Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn., is also friendly with current Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who, like Valentine, attended the University of Southern California.