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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

MLB.com: After leadoff homer, Verlander sails to 19th win

And with the Tigers’ 5-2 win over the Rays, Verlander (19-5) reached the cusp of becoming Detroit’s first 20-game winner in 20 years.

The Tigers, meanwhile, maintained their command atop the AL Central. They improved their lead over the just-swept Indians to 5 1/2 games after Cleveland lost to Seattle on Monday night.

Verlander gave up his lone run on his fourth pitch of the night, a 95 mph fastball tagged by his former Tigers teammate Matt Joyce for his 17th home run of the year. From there, only one Ray reached scoring position against him.

NTNgod Posted: August 23, 2011 at 03:12 AM | 24 comment(s)
  Beats: game recaps, rays, tigers

Britton: Pedroia’s stalwart defense helps his MVP chances

Don’t Bogar that joint venture, my friend!

At Fangraphs, Pedroia ranks second in all of baseball in WAR, behind only Toronto’s Jose Bautista. That high standing is due to how loftily Fangraphs rates Pedroia’s defense at second base, since he ranks ninth in the offensive component of WAR, behind teammates Ellsbury and David Ortiz.

Not only is he listed as the best in the game at his position, Pedroia is also credited with saving more runs defensively than all but one player in baseball. (Brett Gardner of the Yankees ranks first.) He ranks behind only Gardner in ultimate zone rating as well.

Add it up, and with over a month to play this season, Pedroia’s WAR is already higher than it was in his 2008 MVP season. Fangraphs has ...

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Repoz Posted: August 23, 2011 at 03:00 AM | 150 comment(s)
  Beats: history, projections, red sox, sabermetrics

MLB.com: Schelling: Work with Old Coach Helped Jeter Find Swing

At the time, the right calf strain that sent Derek Jeter to the disabled list on June 14 appeared as though it would simply delay his chase for 3,000 hits by three weeks.

Two months later, the time off looks like a blessing in disguise.

In addition to getting healthy, Jeter used the time off to work on his swing with instructor Gary Denbo at the Yankees’ training complex in Tampa, Fla.
. . .
Since coming off the disabled list on July 4, Jeter has batted .339, reaching base at a .392 clip and slugging .461. He has collected more extra-base hits (14) and RBIs (25) over 40 games than he had in the previous 62.

Not. Dead. Yet.

The Yankee Clapper Posted: August 23, 2011 at 01:56 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: hall of fame, yankees

Yahoo: Nationals beat punchless Diamondbacks 4-1

Jayson Werth hit a three-run homer, Ross Detwiler took a four-hitter into the seventh inning and the Washington Nationals beat Arizona 4-1 Monday night to extend the Diamondbacks’ losing streak to a season-high six games.

Henry Blanco homered for the Diamondbacks, who have scored only seven runs in their last six games. Mired in its longest skid since a seven-game run in July 2010, Arizona now leads second-place San Francisco by just one game in the NL West.
...
Nationals RHP Stephen Strasburg allowed one earned run and two hits in three innings, striking out six, in a rehabilitation assignment with Class A Hagerstown against Hickory.

Given the two teams’ recent play, the Giants were the night’s big winners, since they didn’t play ...

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NTNgod Posted: August 23, 2011 at 01:44 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: arizona, game recaps, nationals

Monday, August 22, 2011

ESPN New York: A.J. Burnett spot in question

Cashman takes a hit from the objectivity pipe:

“We have six guys who can pitch in a pennant race, period,” Cashman said. “A.J. Burnett is having his typical terrible August. For whatever reason, he can’t pitch in August, I don’t know why. It is what it is. August is obviously not an effective month for him.”...Cashman added that Burnett “is not our No. 2 starter,” but hasn’t pitched poorly enough to be treated like “Oliver Perez.”

NJ in NY (Now with Big Girl!) Posted: August 22, 2011 at 11:17 PM | 25 comment(s)
  Beats: mets, obituaries, yankees

Brian Kenny leaving ESPN, heading to MLB Network?

Brian jonesin’? The Amsinger, not the song.

Anchor Brian Kenny is leaving ESPN and becoming a TV free agent.

Kenny will host his final SportsCenter in early September, confirmed ESPN spokesman Mike Soltys. “Brian did great work for us. His contract was up and he found a new opportunity,” Soltys said Monday night.

Given his experience covering Major League Baseball, the veteran anchor/host could be a good fit with rival MLB Network, which has been competing with ESPN for TV talent and viewers.

...During his 13-year career at ESPN, Kenny has anchored Baseball Tonight and done play-by-play for Wednesday Night Baseball and the World Baseball Classic. He’s also hosted ESPN’s coverage of the Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremonies from ...

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Repoz Posted: August 22, 2011 at 10:15 PM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: announcers, media, television

ESPN NY: Best closer ever? Try Trevor Hoffman

SVs - BSv - Pct.

601 - 76 - 88.7740 - Hoffman
592 - 72 - 89.1566 - Mariano

Isn’t it obvious by now!

Yankees fans like to think of Mariano Rivera as the greatest closer in baseball history.

They couldn’t be more wrong—at least according to San Diego Padres radio announcer Ted Leitner.

In a ceremony retiring Trevor Hoffman’s No. 51 at Petco Park on Sunday, Leitner told the 40,000-plus in attendance that there is no question: The best closer of all time ... is Hoffman.

“And I know, baseball fans—baseball broadcasters—we love to argue. So we argue, who’s better? Who’s the best? But there is no argument,” Leitner said. “This is not a Padre broadcast bias. It’s not a Padre fan bias. We know this. The only true measure of a closer is how ...

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Repoz Posted: August 22, 2011 at 09:10 PM | 50 comment(s)
  Beats: fantasy baseball, history, media, padres, sabermetrics, yankees

Brown: Online Outlet Bleacher Report Adds 5 Lead Writers to Solidify Reputation

Maury adds…“Thrusting the front end to meet the back end.”

As a matter of commentary, I have seen Bleacher Report and have been drawn to its allure while also being repelled by it. When King Kaufman was brought on – a highly respectable writer – one had to wonder, what was in the works? Recently, John Thorn penned work for BR, someone that’s incredibly respected and now MLB’s Official Historian.

The media landscape is changing. The fall of newspapers. The fall of AOL Fanhouse. The rise of Twitter…. Bleacher Report. Somehow, nothing seems impossible anymore.

But, there’s something intriguing about how BR is taking content so seriously and how they went about courting these writers. They are not Peter Gammons or Joe Posnanski, ...

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Repoz Posted: August 22, 2011 at 08:10 PM | 27 comment(s)
  Beats: business, media, site news, special topics

‘Duk: Starlin Castro’s space cadet routine draws Bobby V’s ire

Well…so much for not throwing the ball until your infielders are set.

Over the course of a season, I’m guessing it’s an impossible task for any player outside of the battery to be 100 percent dialed into every pitch of a 162-game season. The mind can wander, the mind can zone out, the mind can see something without seeing anything. It’s human nature.

But for the love of pete, you’d like to think that your defenders would at least be facing the right way each time the pitcher winds up and throws a baseball. Check out Chicago Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro being nowhere close to an acceptable position during Sunday night’s 6-2 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals.

...Maybe this happens more often than I think, I’m not sure. But kudos to ESPN’s ...

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Repoz Posted: August 22, 2011 at 06:14 PM | 57 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, cubs, history

Grantland: ‘Psychic Benefits’ and the NBA Lockout

“The Boston Red Sox signed their first black player in 1959, a utility infielder named “Pumpsie” Green.1 This was 12 years after the Brooklyn Dodgers broke the color line with Jackie Robinson. No other team in baseball dragged its feet on integration like the Red Sox. It wasn’t until 1965, in fact — 18 years after Robinson started at second base for the Dodgers — that Boston had its first full-time black player. Why?

The simple answer — that the Red Sox owner at the time, Tom Yawkey, was a racist — is not terribly satisfying. Lots of racists are happy to hire black people, particularly if they can exploit them as spectacularly as baseball owners exploited their players in the postwar years.”

A significant portion of the article ...

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Chicago Joe Posted: August 22, 2011 at 02:49 PM | 44 comment(s)
  Beats: business, history, red sox

Rico Brogna: MLB Needs To Take Cues From NFL

Get some knowledge here!! (and if not here…somewhere else!!)

In baseball, there are too many levels of leadership that always seems to lead to a breakdown at some point. People within an organization do not always know what their jobs are and therefore under perform or they step on other people’s toes because they try to do too much. Again, leadership is the key! If at the end of the day the team is struggling mightily and the vision is not taking hold after a period of time (often too well too short nowadays), the team’s owner may decide to make a change at the head coaching position. General managers, one’s that really do a dynamic and super job, understand that the head coach, or field manager in MLB, has the pulse of what needs ...

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Repoz Posted: August 22, 2011 at 12:51 PM | 40 comment(s)
  Beats: business, history, media, special topics

Jack O’Connell: Ivan Nova improves Jackie Robinson Award credentials

Ooh, look..magic fire stick and shiny win total!

Ivan Nova just might be running away with the American League Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year Award if he had not had to spend most of the month of July in the minor leagues because of the Yankees’ pitching logjam. Nova ran his winless streak to 10 starts with Sunday’s 3-0 victory over the Twins that completed a 5-2 trip for the Yanks, who are proving to be true road warriors.

The righthander’s 13 victories in 17 decisions are the most for rookie pitchers, and seven shutout innings brought his ERA below 4.00 at 3.97. This was a scoreless game for five innings. Nova was most impressive in working out of tight situations.

...Nova’s victory total is the most for a Yankees rookie ...

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Repoz Posted: August 22, 2011 at 12:25 PM | 36 comment(s)
  Beats: awards, projections, sabermetrics, yankees

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire frustrated by young players’ fundamental mistakes

Other young players who have inspired tirades from Gardenhire include infielders Trevor Plouffe and Danny Valencia.

After running some young outfielders through a relay drill Saturday, the manager said: “We’re doing all this stuff so we don’t have to tell them. We shouldn’t have to. They should learn this in the minor leagues.”

Q. It seems there’s a disconnect for some players between details and winning.

A. This stuff actually matters. But you preach it, and you talk about it enough, the fundamentals of the game. But you also have to understand, these guys are trying to get their feet in the door and keep them in the door, so their focus is more on getting hits than it is anything else, because numbers speak for themselves. “I’m ...

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Repoz Posted: August 22, 2011 at 11:32 AM | 37 comment(s)
  Beats: history, sabermetrics, twins

Larry Jaster: Dominating the Dodgers like no other

Catching up with Larry Jaster…including some bucketheaded quotes from McCarver.

Nothing quite like it had ever happened before, and nothing has equaled it since. A rookie and fifth starter on a Cardinals pitching staff that included Hall of Famers Bob Gibson and Steve Carlton, along with Ray Washburn and Al Jackson, Jaster shut out the defending world champion Dodgers five consecutive times.

...“He did it almost entirely with one pitch — the fastball,” McCarver said. “I remember, outfielders would always infuriate me when, standing 300 feet or so away, they would tell me about calling a game. Curt (Flood) and I were never at odds. But we were one day when he came in while I was shaving and said, ‘Tim, you have to call for something ...

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Repoz Posted: August 22, 2011 at 11:26 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, dodgers, history

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 8-22-2011

AP, August 22, 1965:

San Francisco’s Juan Marichal slugged Los Angeles catcher John Roseboro over the head with a bat in the third inning of Sunday’s game, triggering a wild melee between both teams.

Before the battle ended, Marichal swung his bat at Roseboro’s head several times and the Dodger catcher, blood trickling from a cut over his left eyebrow, pumped a right hand that seemed to clip the Giants’ pitcher in the face.

Who’d have thought that ten years later, Marichal would be a Dodger?

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: August 22, 2011 at 08:42 AM | 34 comment(s)
  Beats: dodgers, dugout, giants, history

Yahoo: McKeon rips Marlins after they’re swept by Padres

“You have to start using your brain and figuring out how to get hitters out,” [Jack] McKeon said after the Marlins lost 4-3 on Sunday as the San Diego Padres completed a four-game sweep.
...
The Marlins have lost 15 of 17 games.

“Some of these guys had better wake up,” McKeon said. “This is the time of the year where you’d better be a salesman and show your wares and how good you are. How bad do you want to be a major league player? This is not a picnic. You’re not on scholarship. Sometimes we treat them that way.”
...
Asked about Stanton’s homer, McKeon continued to rip on the Marlins’ pitching staff. “I’m sure he’d sure as hell hit against our staff, because they get behind and lay it in there. Ridiculous. ...

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NTNgod Posted: August 22, 2011 at 02:04 AM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: miami

Baseball America: Statistician Bill Weiss Passes Away At Age 86

Before there were computer databases and automated scorebooks assembling minor league baseball stats, there was Bill Weiss.

Weiss, one of the most significant statisticians in baseball history, died on Aug. 16 at his home in San Mateo, Calif. He was 86.

Few have loved stats more than Weiss. Back at a time where compiling statistics was a labor intensive job done by hand, Weiss compiled the official stats for numerous leagues around the West. Before he joined Howe Sportsdata in 1988, Weiss was responsible single-handedly for producing the stats for multiple minor leagues.

“He was the keeper of the flame of what’s important to the game. Unlike most other sports, baseball’s statistical legacy is unparalleled. When it comes to minor league ...

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Repoz Posted: August 22, 2011 at 01:55 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: hall of fame, history, memorabilia, obituaries

OC Register: Angels, Weaver agree on multi-year extension

The Angels have reached agreement on a multi-year contract extension with ace right-hander Jered Weaver.

The agreement will be made official at a press conference scheduled for Tuesday afternoon. But the agreement is reportedly for five years and $85 million.

That would take Weaver through the final year of his arbitration eligibility (2012) and buy out the first four years of free agency as well.

SI.com: Heyman - Angels, Weaver sign five-year, $85M extension

NTNgod Posted: August 22, 2011 at 01:26 AM | 39 comment(s)
  Beats: angels

Sunday, August 21, 2011

MLB.com: Bautista’s shot backs [Luis] Perez’s stellar first start

Rookie left-hander Luis Perez took a perfect game into the sixth inning and Jose Bautista homered, as the Blue Jays salvaged a series split with a 1-0 victory over the A’s on Sunday afternoon.

Perez, who was making his first career start, was dominant on the mound for Toronto. He retired the first 15 batters that he faced while utilizing a low-to-mid 90s fastball mixed in with an effective changeup and occasional slider.

The 26-year-old spent the previous three weeks working out of the bullpen and began to tire in the sixth. Perez opened the frame by walking shortstop Cliff Pennington on five pitches, which ended Perez’s chance at a perfect game.

Two batters later, Perez issued his second walk of the inning. Oakland second baseman ...

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NTNgod Posted: August 21, 2011 at 11:16 PM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: blue jays, game recaps

Yahoo: Angels’ [Jerome] Williams beats Orioles 7-1

Jerome Williams pitched seven stellar innings to get his first major league victory in almost six years, Peter Bourjos homered for the third straight game and Howie Kendrick also went deep, leading the Los Angeles Angels to a 7-1 victory over the bumbling Baltimore Orioles on Sunday and a sweep of the three-game series.
...
Williams (1-0) posted his first victory in the majors since Sept. 25, 2005 with the Chicago Cubs, after losing his previous eight decisions. The 29-year-old Hawaiian-born right-hander allowed a run and six hits over seven innings, struck out six and walked none.
...
Williams, a first-round draft pick by San Francisco in 1999, hadn’t started a game in the majors since May 15, 2007 with the Washington Nationals. He ...

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NTNgod Posted: August 21, 2011 at 11:06 PM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: angels

Washington Post: Jonny Gomes takes one for team to drive in winning run in 10th inning

When play resumed after a 71-minute rain delay, the Nationals didn’t have to face Halladay, could turn to its steady bullpen and potentially pull out a win. The Nationals took advantage of the situation, after clawing back twice, to pull out a 5-4 walkoff win when a pitch hit Jonny Gomes in the bottom of the 10th inning before a crowd of 41,727.

With the bases loaded and only one out, Phillies reliever Brad Lidge hit Gomes on his left arm to score Ryan Zimmerman, the winning run.
...
The Nationals tied the game twice late after allowing the Phillies to pull ahead. Down 4-3 in the bottom of the ninth inning, Ian Desmond drove a slider from reliever Antonio Bastardo just over the left field fence to tie the game.

NTNgod Posted: August 21, 2011 at 10:55 PM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: game recaps, nationals, phillies

Vecsey: 50 Years Later, Maris’s 61-Homer Season Looks Even Better

Blah-blah, blah-blah-blah-blah
Blah-blah-blah-blah
Blah-blah-blah-blah-blah-blah-blah
Tracy Stallard, never, never, ever let me go!

Some Maris supporters say that anybody who beat Ruth’s record and won two Most Valuable Player awards and the most pennants of any player in the 1960s (seven) deserves to be in the Hall. Writers at The New York Times are not allowed to vote for awards, but (and this always angers friends of mine from Maris’s home town of Fargo, N.D.) I do not think Maris had enough good seasons or career statistics to warrant a place in the Hall. Yet for those two seasons, he was Hall of Fame caliber.

“You look at the Hall of Fame, and the criteria, and it says integrity and what you did for the game,” Randy Maris ...

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Repoz Posted: August 21, 2011 at 10:55 PM | 24 comment(s)
  Beats: history, sabermetrics, steroids, yankees

Yahoo: Sandoval’s two-run homer lifts Giants over Astros

A week’s worth of Giants offense, all in one day!

Pablo Sandoval hit a tie-breaking two-run homer with two out in the 11th inning to lead the San Francisco Giants to a 6-4 victory over the Houston Astros Sunday.

The score had been tied at 4-4 since the fourth inning and the Giants missed several chances to take the lead until Sandoval’s 15th homer off Mark Melancon (6-4).
...
The Giants left 12 base runners stranded, including seven over the final five innings. The loss snapped a four-game winning streak for the Astros, equaling their longest of the season.

Brandon Belt hit a three-run homer in the second inning and had a career high four hits.

MLB.com: Closer Wilson to rest elbow on disabled list

NTNgod Posted: August 21, 2011 at 10:09 PM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, game recaps, giants

ESPN: Curtis Granderson’s inside-the-park HR helps Yanks

Alex Rodriguez returned to the lineup and Curtis Granderson hit an inside-the-park home run to help the New York Yankees to a 3-0 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Sunday.

Rodriguez went 0 for 5 in his first game since July 7, but Mark Teixeira also homered and Ivan Nova (13-4) pitched seven shutout innings as the Yankees took three of four from the Twins.
...
[Granderson’s] drive off of Jose Mijares hit high off the out-of-town scoreboard in right-center field and got away from both center fielder Ben Revere and right fielder Jason Kubel. Granderson motored around the bases and easily beat the throw home for his third career inside-the-park home run.

Teixeira followed with a solo shot to left field to make it 3-0, giving them enough ...

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NTNgod Posted: August 21, 2011 at 09:48 PM | 39 comment(s)
  Beats: game recaps, twins, yankees

Yahoo: [Delmon] Young, [Victor] Martinez homer as Tigers sweep Indians, 8-7

Center fielder Austin Jackson threw out Kosuke Fukudome at the plate to complete a game-ending double play and the Detroit Tigers held on to beat the Cleveland Indians 8-7 in a wild game Sunday.

Delmon Young and Victor Martinez homered in a seven-run third inning as the first-place Tigers completed a three-game sweep of the Indians. The Indians could have taken over first place with a sweep of their own, but leave Detroit trailing by 4 1-2 games in the AL Central race.
...
Jose Valverde pitched the ninth for his 37th save in as many tries, but it wasn’t easy. He walked Fukudome to start the inning and then hit Jason Donald on an 0-2 pitch. Jack Hannahan bunted the runners over, before pinch-hitter Matt LaPorta lined to centerfield and ...

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NTNgod Posted: August 21, 2011 at 09:42 PM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: game recaps, indians, tigers

Rosenthal: Those Wild and Crazy Brewers

The Brewers’ personality is like no other club’s. They are the anti-Cardinals, joyful instead of joyless, exuding energy. Their dugout erupted after they regained the lead in the ninth, and the players were still exchanging high-fives and hugs when they took the field for the bottom half, almost like a high-school team.
...
“It may seem like it’s a free-for-all. I don’t want it be a free-for-all,” Roenicke said. “But with a lot of stuff, I just say, ‘All right.’ I try to pick battles when I think they need to be picked. I bite my lip a lot.”

Roenicke said that he often seeks guidance from Kotsay and Counsell, two veterans who have played for winning teams.

If, for example, an outfielder such as Nyjer Morgan and Carlos ...

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The Keith Law Blog Blah Blah (battlekow) Posted: August 21, 2011 at 05:49 PM | 125 comment(s)
  Beats: brewers, cardinals

Cistulli: Mike Trout and the Teenage Homer Club

On or off the Bandwagonesque…which is it?

Friday night, Angel outfield prospect Mike Trout hit the second home run of his very short career. That Trout has any home runs at all at his age places him into a pretty exclusive club.

Though Trout is technically 20 years old — having celebrated his birthday on August 7th — he’s currently in his age-19 season (the cutoff being July 1st, or roughly halfway through the season).

Over the last 25 years, only 10 major leaguers have hit a home run before their respective age-20 seasons. Below is that list of players, including how many homers each one hit in his age-19 season and also each player’s career WAR per 650 plate appearances:


image

Repoz Posted: August 21, 2011 at 04:38 PM | 44 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, history, sabermetrics

Theoharis: Adam Jones’ team play has been a bright spot in a rough season

In Theoharis We Trust!

Lost in all the “important” stats is one that shows Jones has not only blossomed into a star player, but a team player.

Jones is currently tied for the most amount of sacrifice flies in the American League. The Royals Jeff Francoeur and the White Sox Paul Konerko share the honor with 10 a piece.

Just to give you an idea of how dramatically Jones has improved in this area, before this season he had nine total sacrifice flies in his first five years in the big leagues.

The fact that he is now leading the American League in sacrifice flies shows that the light bulb finally went on for Jones. He’s become an intelligent hitter.

In 2008 when Jones first came to Baltimore, up until last year, it was frustrating to ...

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Repoz Posted: August 21, 2011 at 03:59 PM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: orioles, sabermetrics

John Feinstein: ‘Hard-working’ isn’t reason enough for some umpires to stay in the Majors

Tales from QuesTec School…

After the game in Tampa I asked Mussina why he’d gotten so angry. He patiently explained that when an umpire consistently misses pitches, especially when you’re older, you become convinced those extra pitches you have to throw will come back and get you sooner or later.

“A lot of guys think C.B. Bucknor should be a Double-A umpire,” I said.

“That,” Mussina said, “would be an insult to Double-A umpires.”

Mussina is now retired; Bucknor is still in the Major Leagues.

I don’t want to pick on any one individual. I’m sure these guys are nice men who work hard at their job. But that’s not enough—not in any job. You need to do the job WELL. Angel Hernandez has had an attitude problem since ...

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Repoz Posted: August 21, 2011 at 01:09 PM | 30 comment(s)
  Beats: history, special topics

Powers: Twins GM Bill Smith deserves his share of the blame for lost season

Whistling Bill Smith past the graveyard…

Players and managers have bad years. So do front offices. The Twins’ front office is having a terrible year. Not only have there been a series of questionable personnel moves, but Smith also probably has botched any chance of re-signing potential free agents Michael Cuddyer and Jason Kubel.

He has handled their situations abysmally. Remember that glut of outfielders everyone was talking about? Well, it looks like the Twins will be down to Ben Revere and Denard Span next spring, with no minor leaguers ready to step in.

Fifteen days before dumping Young, who had become increasingly portly and lackadaisical, Smith stood pat at the non-waiver trade deadline. But he should have been either a buyer or ...

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Repoz Posted: August 21, 2011 at 12:40 PM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: projections, prospect reports, scouting, twins

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