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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

S.I.: Jenkins: Strange Brew (but It’s Working)

Ronnie’s Wallbangers are this week’s cover boys. Yep, they’re jinxed.

Happy hour in the Brewers’ clubhouse starts early, with Morgan flexing in two coats of baby oil, Axford scanning the room for the putters used in naked golf, and the team listening to a head-rattling mash-up of music ranging from Marilyn Manson to Lil Wayne. In the dugout the starting pitchers recline in their personal cushioned chairs, including one they claim has supernatural powers to improve changeups. Batters commemorate hits by raising their claws and growling like beasts from the movie Monsters, Inc. They celebrate walk-off wins by punching one another in the kidneys. All teams have customized handshakes ... but the Brewers have customized handshakes with their ...

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Greg Franklin Posted: August 24, 2011 at 04:47 PM | 43 comment(s)
  Beats: brewers, music

The Art of Scouting: How to Compile a Professional Scouting Report

Step one - chomp on cigar!

The problem with scouting is that while the general public think “OMG, if I become a scout I get to watch the best prospects in baseball play every, single day!” Well, maybe not the entire general public, but some. When a scout watches a team for several days at a time (which is usually the case) he has to file a report on either every player he’s assigned to (at times everyone who plays while the scout is in attendance) or just a handful. Not every team has top prospects. In fact, most teams, especially in the New York Penn League don’t have any, if not one at most. Johnny Scout will watch and take notes on the eight players he’s assigned to and six more. Those six are listed as “follows.” “Follows” are ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 24, 2011 at 03:56 PM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: scouting

Royals bullpen could provide needed starters

All well and good so long as you don’t mess with THE PROVEN CLOSER!

Occasionally, you’ll hear somebody dismiss the chances of a dynamite reliever making a conversion to the rotation with this statement: “He’s a max effort guy. That’s just the way he pitches – max effort.”

The supposed logic in that statement is that a reliever who has a “max effort” style needs to throw every pitch as though it’s the last of his life – and therefore couldn’t learn to pace himself to go deep into games as a starter.

Frankly, the whole concept may mean nothing – at least in some cases.

It makes as much sense as everyone’s favorite cliché: “He was looking for a pitch he could drive.”

What else would a hitter be expecting – a pitch he could pop ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 24, 2011 at 02:35 PM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: royals, sabermetrics

Bullpens have changed, Duane Ward says

Well sure…after they cleaned up the David Cone mess, MLB had to.

Ward, now 47, played nine seasons in the major leagues, including the final eight years of his career with the Jays. His 45 saves during the ‘93 season stands as the franchise’s single-season record. It’s an accomplishment the 6-foot-4 right-handed former pitcher is still proud of.

“I don’t think I blew more than three saves (dickish editor’s note: make that six) that season, so I had a pretty good conversion rate,” Ward said. “You have to have a perfect situation every time you come into a game, plus you have to have a team that wins. You have to have the opportunity even to get a save, and I certainly had a lot of opportunities.”

...“You can bring someone in now and if ...

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Repoz Posted: August 24, 2011 at 12:42 PM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: blue jays, history, sabermetrics

Hummel: Cards attendance down almost 3,000 a game

Don’t #### with the Pedro Feliz Fan Club!

The Cardinals have the fourth highest attendance decline in the major leagues at nearly 171,000, or 2,843 a game, before Tuesday night’s game here. The troubled Los Angeles franchise leads with a dropoff of more than half a million fans from this time last year.

But, with four weekend series remaining — with Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Atlanta and Chicago — and Willie McGee and Holliday bobblehead promotions this Friday and Sunday, Joe Strohm, vice president of ticket sales, said the Cardinals still will exceed three million fans for the eighth year in a row and 15th year overall. Strohm said the club would exceed three million on Friday, Sept. 23 against the Cubs.

...Before the season began, ...

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Repoz Posted: August 24, 2011 at 12:04 PM | 93 comment(s)
  Beats: business, cardinals, media

Kilgore: The case for bringing back Ivan Rodriguez

Every Good Boy Deserves Pudge: Check-Out Time.

As his two-year, $6 million contract is coming to an end, Ivan Rodriguez wants to play for the Nationals next season. Rodriguez has maintained all year he wants to finish out his career in Washington, and he reiterated that desire last week. “I would love to play here,” he said.

The Nationals and Rodriguez haven’t yet discussed next season, Rodriguez said, but there are certainly reasons why the Nationals would benefit having him around again. His offense may have continued to decline as Rodriguez adapted to playing every third day – he hit .214/.276/.325 before succumbing to a right oblique strain in mid-July. But Rodriguez remains valuable in other ways.

“I think Pudge brings so ...

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Repoz Posted: August 24, 2011 at 11:28 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: hall of fame, history, nationals

Simers: He really hopes this Vin Scully guy makes the grade

I once thought I received a Bob Gamere opinion survey….but it turned out to be just some dated Silentlambs literature.

I cannot make this stuff up, so you know I’m writing about the Dodgers.

John Richards, a season-ticket holder from Yorba Linda, e-mailed Tuesday to let me know the Dodgers have asked him to fill out a survey.

On a scale of 1 to 5, “They wanted my opinion of Vin Scully in the following eight areas: 1. Knowledge of baseball; 2. Knowledge of Dodgers organization; 3. Objectivity; 4. Accuracy of calls; 5. Storytelling ability; 6. Focus on the game; 7. Style; 8. Overall performance.

“This is like polling Catholics about Mother Teresa’s work,” he said. “This is Vin’s 62nd year behind the microphone in a broadcasting career ...

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Repoz Posted: August 24, 2011 at 10:33 AM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: announcers, dodgers, media, television

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 8-24-2011

St. Joseph News-Press, August 24, 1911:

[Long] Tom Hughes, pitcher of the Washington baseball team in the American League, and Edward Johnson, a Chicago artist, fought in an alley back of a downtown hotel last night until arrested.  Both men took a severe drubbing and were bleeding freely.

Johnson criticized Hughes’ pitching in Tuesday’s game against the Chicago team…Hughes is said to have suggested that he and Johnson settle their differences by a fisticuff.  “You’re on,” Johnson replied.  “If you can’t fight any better than you pitch, I’ll win easily.”

The Toledo News-Bee declared the fight a draw.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: August 24, 2011 at 09:42 AM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Goldman: Why Did Joe Girardi Play for One Run in a Two-Run Game?

Uhh…because he bought the obsolete “Fritz Weaver on Strategy” book by mistake?

In the bottom of the ninth inning of Tuesday night’s game against the A’s at Yankee Stadium, the Yankees trailed 6-3 entering the frame. Jorge Posada led off with a solo home run off of A’s closer Andrew Bailey, closing the deficit to 6-4. Russell Martin followed with a double, and Brett Gardner reached on third baseman Scott Sizemore’s error, putting runners on first and second with no outs and bringing Derek Jeter to the plate.

...Again, the Yankees needed not one run, but two. In baseball this year, teams that have put runners on first and second with no outs have scored an average of 1.4 runs, which is to say the Yankees stood a very good chance of ...

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Repoz Posted: August 24, 2011 at 05:59 AM | 63 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, game recaps, projections, sabermetrics, yankees

MLB.com: Burroughs, Kennedy make perfect tag team

It was not as unlikely as the earthquake that rocked the D.C. area Tuesday, but a rare home run by Sean Burroughs helped power the D-backs past the Nationals, 2-0, in front of 17,029 at Nationals Park.

The win snapped Arizona’s six-game losing streak and capped a wild day that saw a 5.8-magnitude earthquake snarl traffic and prevent the team bus from arriving at the ballpark until about 1 hour, 45 minutes before the scheduled start of the game.
...
“I was basically looking dead red fastball, try to get it out front, get my foot down early and try to stay up the middle,” Burroughs said. “It was just one of those things. I wasn’t trying to hit a home run, I never, obviously, ever do.”

The last time Burroughs, who was out of the Majors ...

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NTNgod Posted: August 24, 2011 at 04:08 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: arizona, game recaps, nationals

ESPN: Streaking Rockies hand Astros third straight loss

The old “stick the pitcher in the outfield for one batter” move!  Wright went to…err, right.

Wesley Wright pitching for Houston
W Wright relieved F Rodriguez.
C Gonzalez fouled out to catcher
D Carpenter relieved W Wright
W Wright in right field
T Tulowitzki grounded out to shortstop
J Shuck in right field
W Wright relieved D Carpenter
T Helton struck out looking.

NTNgod Posted: August 24, 2011 at 03:49 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, game recaps, rockies

Yahoo: Kershaw wins 16th, Dodgers rip Cardinals 13-2

“Position player on the mound” alert: Skip Schumaker pitched the ninth: 1 IP, 1 H, 2 R, 2 K, 1 BB, 1 HR (to Aaron Miles, TLR’s former mopup man)

Clayton Kershaw won his National League-leading 16th game and Rod Barajas homered twice in the Los Angeles Dodgers’ 13-2 victory over the fast-fading St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday night.

Kyle Lohse (11-8) was rocked for a season-worst eight runs in three innings, an impossible deficit against the 23-year-old Kershaw, who struck out eight in six scoreless innings.
...
Kershaw (16-6) is 8-1 with a 1.21 ERA in his last nine starts and hiked his NL-leading strikeout total to 207.

NTNgod Posted: August 24, 2011 at 03:26 AM | 23 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, dodgers, game recaps

Yankees’ Prior shut down in minors

Lost time horizon…

Yankees right-hander Mark Prior has been scratched from his scheduled minor league appearance because of shoulder discomfort.

The converted reliever was slated to pitch in a Gulf Coast League game on Tuesday.

Prior has struggled with shoulder injuries and his last major league appearance came in August 2006. The 30-year-old went 18-6 with a 2.43 ERA in 30 starts for the NL Central champion Chicago Cubs in 2003.

Prior has made six appearance with the Yankees’ rookie-level club since August 5 as part of a rehab program for a strained groin. He hurt the groin in April while pitching at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

There is no timetable for when Prior will pitch again.

 

Repoz Posted: August 24, 2011 at 02:40 AM | 32 comment(s)
  Beats: minor leagues, prospect reports, yankees

Pie designated for assignment; Angle recalled

Pie: victim of MILKAMANIA.

The Felix Pie era in Baltimore appears to be officially over.

The talented but mistake-prone outfielder was designated for assignment today and replaced on the Orioles’ 25-man roster by Matt Angle.

Pie, 26, was batting just .220 with seven RBIs in 85 games, while also struggling defensively… In 268 games for the Orioles over the past three seasons, Pie has batted .259 (182-for-704) with 14 homers and 67 RBIs…

Angle will assume the fourth outfielder role. The 25-year-old batted .272 in 107 games for Triple-A Norfolk, and his 27 stolen bases rank third in the International League.

The District Attorney Posted: August 24, 2011 at 12:52 AM | 23 comment(s)
  Beats: orioles

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

NYT: Did Newark Bet on the Wrong Sport?

After a promising start to the return of minor league baseball here 13 years ago, a persistent dark cloud has settled over the Bears and their cozy ballpark near the New Jersey Performing Arts Center. In recent years, the team has changed ownership several times, gone into bankruptcy and emerged to an almost nonexistent fan base and grim financial reality.

The Bears are more than $800,000 in arrears on rent to Essex County and have provided little in ticket and sponsorship revenue due the county. Whatever the team’s fate, the county and the city must each pay $1.1 million a year in debt service on the ballpark until 2029.

Given the large soccer constituency in the city’s Portuguese and Latino strongholds, did Newark get its ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 23, 2011 at 09:08 PM | 118 comment(s)
  Beats: business, minor leagues

NYBD: Silva: R.A. Dickey and the Human Narrative

“Let me say one more time, loudly…R…A…....Dickeee!

R.A. Dickey was holding court before Friday night’s Mets- Brewers games at Citi Field. He was talking about why he recently joined Twitter, his upcoming climb of Mt. Kilimanjaro, the manuscript for his memoir that is due out next April, and how throwing the knuckleball is about relationship and perfection. I asked Dickey if he could have imagined two years ago his position in the game today. “The human narrative is just a neat thing,” he said. “There is lot of that is outside my control, but the stuff that I felt like I could control I really tried to throw myself into it.  I am able to see some fruit of a lot of hard work that people poured into me.”

...After Sunday’s ...

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Repoz Posted: August 23, 2011 at 09:06 PM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: history, mets, projections, sabermetrics

A’s trade Kouzmanoff to Colorado Rockies

Kouz. Kouz. Kouz. Come here.

...The Oakland A’s announced today that they have sent third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff and cash to the Colorado Rockies for a player to be named later or cash considerations.

Kouzmanoff, who was supposed to be a steadying presence at third base and provide power to Oakland’s light-hitting lineup, was traded to Colorado Tuesday after spending much of the 2011 season at Triple-A Sacramento.

Kouzmanoff, acquired in a trade in January 2010, began this season as Oakland’s starting third baseman but was sent down for the first time in his career on June 6. At the time of his demotion he was batting .221 with nine errors.

Last season Kouzmanoff led the A’s with 16 home runs and tied for the club lead with 71 ...

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Repoz Posted: August 23, 2011 at 08:56 PM | 33 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, rockies

Diamondbacks trade Johnson to Blue Jays for Hill and McDonald

The D-backs sent second baseman Kelly Johnson to the Blue Jays on Tuesday in exchange for infielders Aaron Hill and John McDonald.

This seems sort of pointless on all fronts, but hey, baseball news.

Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: August 23, 2011 at 07:42 PM | 32 comment(s)
  Beats: arizona, blue jays

Earthquake felt during Indians-Mariners game

Shock waves from an earthquake on the East Coast made the press box sway slightly and sent some fans toward the exits during the first game of a doubleheader between the Indians and Seattle Mariners.

As the Mariners were batting in the fourth inning Tuesday, the press box high above home plate and the third-base line moved left and right and continued for nearly 30 seconds. Fans sitting in the upper deck at Progressive Field noticed the unusual movement, and weren’t sure what was happening.

“It went on for at least a minute,” said Betsy Hammond, who was attending the game with her husband, Tim, and their three children. “We were looking around and someone stood up and yelled, ‘Is that an earthquake?’ Then someone who works here came over ...

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Gamingboy Posted: August 23, 2011 at 07:06 PM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: general

JSOnline: Sports Illustrated has Brewers covered

Ryan Braun, Prince Fielder and Nyjer Morgan are on the cover of this week’s Sports Illustrated, the first time since 1987 the magazine has featured an all-Brewers cover.

The story by Lee Jenkins is headlined “Living the High Life,” with the subhead “How T-Plush and Two Wallbanging MVP Candidates Are Mixing a Strange Brew in Milwaukee.”

Great… now we’re gonna lose 2/3 of our outfield and our first baseman. Just in time for the playoff run, too!

whoisalhedges Posted: August 23, 2011 at 04:27 PM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: general

Jose Bautista - Also Good at Internetting

It’s from fangraphs and I can’t get a cut and paste, but basically some kid call Bautista a slur, and Bautista tells the kid to stop hating, and that he’s a douche.

Speaking of Bautista, here’s something to smile about:

June 5, 2000: Drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 20th round of the 2000 amateur draft. Player signed May 19, 2001.
December 15, 2003: Drafted by the Baltimore Orioles from the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 2003 rule 5 draft.
June 3, 2004: Selected off waivers by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays from the Baltimore Orioles.
June 28, 2004: Purchased by the Kansas City Royals from the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
July 30, 2004: Traded by the Kansas City Royals to the New York Mets for Justin Huber.
July 30, 2004: Traded by the New ...

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Paul D(uda) Posted: August 23, 2011 at 03:27 PM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: blue jays, online

ESPN: Szymborski: The Yankees’ off-speed problem (INSIDER)

Anyone with even a passing familiarity with the 2011 New York Yankees knows they have one of the best offensive attacks in the league. They are edging out the Boston Red Sox and Texas Rangers for the most runs scored in baseball this season, and it’s hard to find a true weakness in the lineup to exploit. The Yankees hit at home and on the road, against lefties and righties, against fly-ball pitchers and ground-ball pitchers. With apologies to the late great Dr. Seuss, this team would score runs in a box, with a fox, in a house or with a mouse.

Looking at the pitch-by-pitch stats against the Yankees on FanGraphs, however, tells a story of a lineup with a weakness this season. The Bronx Bombers have been the best team in baseball this year ...

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Dan Szymborski Posted: August 23, 2011 at 03:02 PM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: sabermetrics, yankees

ESPN: Schoenfield: 10 reasons to keep on watching

Me? I’m following Aaron Harang’s 12 - 3 season…just to see if he returns that potion to Throckmorton’s Curio Shop on time!

September is around the corner, that time of year when baseball fans pretend to care about that little sport called football. The pennant races and wild-card chases don’t look too dramatic right now, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of reasons to remain excited about the final five-plus weeks.

5. Michael Young’s pursuit of his second batting title.

Young was vilified in the offseason when he initially balked at being moved from third base to designated hitter, asking the Rangers for a trade in early February. Unable or unwilling to move Young and his $16 million salary, the Rangers and Young were ...

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Repoz Posted: August 23, 2011 at 02:08 PM | 31 comment(s)
  Beats: history, projections, sabermetrics

Feinsand: Granderson makes case for AL MVP, one voter calls Yankees CF ‘the front-runner’

Bautista Bite! Bautista Bomb!

With five weeks remaining in the season, Granderson hasn’t just worked his way into the MVP conversation, he’s emerged as the favorite.

“With five weeks to go, I’d say he’s the front-runner,” one voter said. “But it’s a very close race.”

Granderson leads the league in runs, RBI, total bases, triples and extra-base hits, is second in home runs and slugging percentage and third in OPS. He also ranks in the top 12 in stolen bases, walks and on-base percentage, doing all of this while playing a solid center field.

...Then there’s Jose Bautista, the one-man wrecking machine in Toronto. Bautista, the only man with more home runs than Granderson this season, leads the league in slugging percentage and OPS, ...

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Repoz Posted: August 23, 2011 at 01:37 PM | 41 comment(s)
  Beats: awards, blue jays, projections, sabermetrics, yankees

NY Daily News: Angel Pagan delayed in bathroom while on deck, New York Mets lose 10-0 laugher to Ph

The one where a New York Met successfully does not take a poop on the field.

After Evans walked, and no batter appeared, home plate umpire Mike DiMuro strolled toward the bench. The crowd began to boo. The public address announcer waited.

Where was Pagan?

“I told the trainer, I have to go to the bathroom,” Pagan said.

Turns out, the center fielder felt a rumble at the end of the fourth. It arrived suddenly, and with great force. Pagan said he informed trainer Ray Ramirez, and ran to the clubhouse.

“When you’re up fourth in the inning and you have to do that, it’s just not fun,” Pagan said.

With the immediate problem near resolution, Pagan noticed that the inning had progressed more quickly than expected.

“When I finished, I looked ...

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Avoid Running At All Times- S. Paige Posted: August 23, 2011 at 01:28 PM | 30 comment(s)
  Beats: memorabilia, mets

ajc: Bradley: What’s wrong with Jason Heyward? It’s a blip in his BABIP

Although BVWAJ (Bobby Valentine Who’s A Jerk) is certainly no blip.

We’ve noted before that Heyward is swinging more and accomplishing less. (His batting average and on-base percentage tell us that much.) We’ve also noted that this is the truly baffling part. Unlike, say, Jordan Schafer, who has struck out a lot at every level, Heyward arrived in the majors bearing the stamp of a young player who knew the strike zone and could work a count.

Many observers — from Bobby Valentine, who’s a jerk, and Chipper Jones, who’s not — have suggested that Heyward’s “mechanics” have gone, if you will, haywire. That can happen. Ask Dan Uggla. But the bit about “losing control of the strike zone” is the puzzling part. That’s ...

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Repoz Posted: August 23, 2011 at 01:14 PM | 22 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, history, projections, sabermetrics

Brew Beat: Roenicke urges care with ‘beast mode’

They scare because they care.

In recent weeks, the Brewers have been celebrating big hits by raising both arms in the air, a gesture that Prince Fielder says it began with his kids imitating characters from the animated movie, “Monsters, Inc.” Fielder did it after driving in both of his runs in Sunday’s win over the Mets.

Lately, even some routine singles have become cause for celebration. Is Roenicke OK with that? Not really.

But before going to players with a request to tone things down, Roenicke consulted clubhouse veterans Craig Counsell and Mark Kotsay.

“I mentioned some things to them, I mentioned some things to a few guys. I don’t want it to get carried away,” Roenicke said. “Do I like it? Not particularly. But I ...

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Repoz Posted: August 23, 2011 at 12:59 PM | 25 comment(s)
  Beats: brewers, history, media

Hughson: The Use Of Sabermetric Stats Makes Me Uncomfortable

“accuracy - not flakiness” Handles for sale! Get your red hot handles!

Skill-Interactive Earned Run Average (SIERA)

Skill-Interactive Earned Run Average estimates ERA through walk rate, strikeout rate and ground ball rate, eliminating the effects of park, defense and luck.  How is it calculated you ask?

SIERA = 6.145 – 16.986*(SO/PA) + 11.434*(BB/PA) – 1.858*((GB-FB-PU)/PA) + 7.653*((SO/PA)^2) +/– 6.664*(((GB-FB-PU)/PA)^2) + 10.130*(SO/PA)*((GB-FB-PU)/PA) – 5.195*(BB/PA)*((GB-FB-PU)/PA)

The statistic is so convoluted that Baseball Prospectus removed SIERA from their toolbox of stats.  That’s good enough for me.

...Ideally, what I want from my statistics are black and white outcomes.  That’s what I love about OBP – either ...

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Repoz Posted: August 23, 2011 at 12:32 PM | 29 comment(s)
  Beats: community, fantasy baseball, history, projections, sabermetrics, site news, special topics

WTOP.com | Center fielder uses his head for crazy triple play

Check out this crazy play.

Logan Schafer, a center fielder for the AAA Nashville sounds, makes an amazing grab…after the ball bounces off his glove, then his noggin.

The use of his head is so confusing the runners that the infield turns it into a triple play.

Here’s the footage of the comical out:

Coot Veal and Cot Deal taste like Old Bay Posted: August 23, 2011 at 11:40 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: minor leagues

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 8-23-2011

22 years ago today:

                1  2  3   4  5  6   7  8  9  10 11 12  13 14 15  16 17 18  19 20 21  22    R  H  E
                -  -  -   -  -  -   -  -  -   -  -  -   -  -  -   -  -  -   -  -  -   -    -  -  -
Dodgers         0  0  0   0  0  0   0  0  0   0  0  0   0  0  0   0  0  0   0  0  0   1    1 20  1
Expos           0  0  0   0  0  0   0  0  0   0  0  0   0  0  0   0  0  0   0  0  0   0    0 13  1


AP via Pittsburgh Post Gazette, August 25, 1989:

The score was 0-0 in the top of the 22nd inning, the game was six hours old, and Rick Dempsey, at 39 the oldest player on the field, was ready to go home.  He stepped to the plate against Dennis Martinez and ended the second longest shutout ever.

...

The six Expos pitchers…did not ...

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Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: August 23, 2011 at 09:01 AM | 38 comment(s)
  Beats: dodgers, dugout, expos, game recaps, history

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