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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Amazin’ Avenue: Howard Johnson’s Playing Days Aren’t Over?

Remember how odd it was when Phil Ochs started to live his life as John Butler Train? This is odder.

Say it ain’t so, HoJo.

The Can-Am League’s Rockland Boulders announced on their website this morning tthat they have signed 50-year-old Howard Johnson and his son, Glen Johnson, to their 2011 player roster. The father-son duo will suit up and play for the sixth-place Boulders (18-22) in their final homestand on September 4 and 5 during a pride-saving weekend against their geographic rivals, ...

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Repoz Posted: August 30, 2011 at 07:58 PM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: history, mets

Royal Review: Alex Gordon: Royal MVP Candidate

Jeff Francoeur has done an amazing job mentoring Alex Gordon this season. An amazing job. Lost in the endless discussion of how awesome Francoeur and Cabrera have been, has been Gordon’s 2011 season, which has been more valuable than Cabrera and Francoeur’s combined. But hey, he was Baird draft pick, so he’s an unperson.

That strong offensive line, coupled with good baserunning and defense has made Gordon one of the most valuable players in the American League. Not surprisingly, as Matt Hays ...

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Tripon Posted: August 30, 2011 at 07:46 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: royals

BP (FREE) Judge a Player by His Performance, Not the Company He Keeps

Thing is, you don’t need to do a major sabermetric study to know that winning in baseball requires a team effort. When Babe Ruth set the record for slugging percentage in 1920, personally out-homering every team in the league, the Yankees finished a close third. When Steve Carlton went 27-10 with a 1.97 ERA in 1972, the Phillies still lost 97 games. The Orioles lost 95 games in 1991 despite Cal Ripken playing every game, hitting .323/.374/.566, and having his best year with the glove (for ...

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Paul D(uda) Posted: August 30, 2011 at 06:03 PM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: awards

Mitchell: Hey Giants, How About Some Same Sex Couples on the Kiss Cam

And when I see him/her in the seats
My heart takes a leap and skips a beat…

If the Jumbotron at AT&T Park is to be believed, there are no gay people in San Francisco.  Either that, or the city’s sizeable gay community includes no baseball fans.  The evidence of this is that during the sixth inning of every game, the filler between innings is something called the Kiss Cam.  The Kiss Cam consists of couples from the stands being shown on the giant screen in centerfield.  After a few seconds, ...

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Repoz Posted: August 30, 2011 at 05:48 PM | 52 comment(s)
  Beats: giants, special topics

MLB: Lucchino ‘amped’ for Yankees series

AMP: Adopey Media Player.

Red Sox president Larry Lucchino feels the three-game series his club and the Yankees start on Tuesday still carries its regular cachet, despite the likelihood both teams make the playoffs.

...With the race as tight as it has been, and likely will continue to be, in the American League East, the second-place team won’t exactly be out in the cold. Both the Sox and Yankees are on pace to see October baseball, barring an incredible run from another AL team.

Knowing as ...

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Repoz Posted: August 30, 2011 at 01:58 PM | 143 comment(s)
  Beats: red sox, yankees

Peck: MLB Stadiums Ranked By Number of Check-Ins

I have no idea what any of this is (stares blankly at old-style Ballantine beer can opener pilfed from Yankee Stadium…realizing something…).

Many people are still on the fence about location-based services, which enable people to check in to venues such as restaurants, shops and sports stadiums and share their location with friends on social networks. According to a Comscore study from March, 17.6% of smartphone users checked in to services such as Foursquare, Facebook Places and Gowalla. ...

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Repoz Posted: August 30, 2011 at 01:38 PM | 94 comment(s)
  Beats: business, media

Mitchell: Baseball at Ground Zero: Ghosts in the Outfield at Killing Field

Required reading…for John Sterling.

To welcome its first pro team, Hiroshima erected the stadium in the early 1950s. The mayor hoped baseball would “revitalize the spirit of Hiroshima,” and make the citizens forget what had happened on August 6, 1945. Yet he built the stadium 300 yards from the epicenter of the atomic explosion.

There was no evidence that the fans felt particularly uncomfortable in this setting. A majority of adults in this city were survivors of the bomb, or lost parents ...

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Repoz Posted: August 30, 2011 at 01:20 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: books, history, japan, media, site news, special topics

Pitchers & Poets: Why Couldn’t I Buy A Dodger Hat at Dodger Stadium?

This wouldn’t happen if MLB takeover team had a cap.

At this point, my employee friend explained that the team has been having problems with it’s merchandiser, Facilities Management Inc. You might remember that on August 10th, that merchandiser, FMI, requested protection from the Dodgers in federal bankruptcy court. It turns out, we learned after talking to a few retail salespeople around the stadium, that FMI stopped ordering new merchandise for this season three months ago. Due to low ...

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Repoz Posted: August 30, 2011 at 12:58 PM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: business, dodgers

Ozzie Guillen sounds off on season, Ken Williams, Marlins

Oz: “It’s no place like home”

What has Guillen fired up is the idea that he was making decisions to sabotage the season in hopes of making Williams look bad.

“Let’s get this straight: I’m the face of the franchise,’’ Guillen said. “People can say what they want. There’s a lot of blame going around out there, but I blame myself because I guess I’m the one with the balls around here. It’s not because I’m cocky or an arrogant guy, but I can leave Chicago with my head up. ...

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Repoz Posted: August 30, 2011 at 12:33 PM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: business, media, miami, white sox

Moose Skowron: ‘Fire ‘em’

Moosehaven: City of Contentment!

Bill “Moose” Skowron says baseball Commissioner Bud Selig should take a tougher stance with steroid abusers.

“I played when we didn’t have none of that stuff. God gave me ability to become a ballplayer,” Skowron, 80, said Sunday at the Chicago Tribune-sponsored White Sox PressPass event in the Stadium Club at U.S. Cellular Field.

“I did the best I could. But now with the steroids … if they get caught and they are not supposed to do it, fire ‘em, get rid of ...

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Repoz Posted: August 30, 2011 at 12:17 PM | 27 comment(s)
  Beats: dodgers, history, steroids, white sox, yankees

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 8-30-2011

Youngstown Vindicator, August 30, 1911:

It is probable that Boston base ball fans will witness today one of the most interesting pitching duels in the history of baseball.

Opposed to each other in one of the games of the double header between Boston and Pittsburgh will be Marty O’Toole, the youngster for whose release from St. Paul the Pirates recently paid $22,500…and Young, the “Grand old man of Baseball,” veteran of more than 800 games and 500 victories.

It will be O’Toole’s debut for ...

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Dan Lee is some pumkins Posted: August 30, 2011 at 09:21 AM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Neyer: Is Ian Kennedy A Viable Cy Young Candidate?

Ian Cy hunter: One of the boys.

Cy Young voters focus on three statistics: wins, ERA, and strikeouts. Last year when Félix Hernández was the American League’s Cy Young winner with only 13 wins, it was hailed as some sort of victory for the pointy-headed sabermetricians ... but Hernández led the league with a 2.27 ERA and was just one strikeout behind league-leader Jered Weaver in that category. I’m not saying sabermetrics didn’t make a difference; without a doubt, some of the voters looked ...

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Repoz Posted: August 30, 2011 at 06:06 AM | 34 comment(s)
  Beats: arizona, awards, projections, sabermetrics

Royals.com: Francoeur is double-threat player in KC

CLEVELAND - Right fielder Jeff Francoeur, in his first season for the Royals, has already matched his career high in doubles at 40.

Francoeur’s double in the second inning of Friday night’s 2-1 loss to the Indians equaled his total for 162 games in 2007 with the Braves. That might have been his best all-around season as Francoeur also batted .293 with 19 homers and 105 RBIs.

This season, Francoeur has 15 home runs and 19 stolen bases, thus joining a select list of six Royals who had seasons ...

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Tripon Posted: August 30, 2011 at 04:36 AM | 51 comment(s)
  Beats: royals

Monday, August 29, 2011

Ruff going at Citi

Deadspin brought this to my attention: Stray dogs around CitiField are “menacing” fans as they leave the ballpark. If only I had a Silver Age comic book cover that could show this adequately…

~~~edit zzzap~~~

image

Gamingboy Posted: August 29, 2011 at 10:17 PM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: mets

Billy Crystal Making (Another) Sports Movie

View at Your Own Asterisk.

A near-capacity crowd packed a minor league ballpark in Fresno, Calif., over the weekend for a chance to see Crystal in his latest project. The veteran actor plays Artie Decker, the radio voice of the Fresno Grizzlies.

The Fresno Bee reports the film “Us & Them” spent one day filming in the California city. In the film, Crystal and his wife travel to Atlanta to take care of their grandchildren while their daughter is on vacation.

Most of the film will be shot in ...

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Repoz Posted: August 29, 2011 at 10:08 PM | 194 comment(s)
  Beats: business, media, minor leagues

Yahoo: Rangers’ [Nelson] Cruz expected out 3 weeks with hamstring

Texas slugger Nelson Cruz is expected to miss about three weeks with another hamstring injury.

The AL West-leading Rangers say an MRI exam on Monday revealed a grade 1 strain of Cruz’s left hamstring. He is expected to get an injection from team physician Dr. Keith Meister that is intended to stimulate the healing process.

Cruz got hurt when running out a double in Sunday night’s game against the Los Angeles Angles.

Dallas Morning News: Lance Berkman among Rangers’ options while Nelson ...

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NTNgod Posted: August 29, 2011 at 09:53 PM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, rangers

Heyman: Curtis Granderson and Ryan Braun are my MVP picks

Stats are most assuredly a major part of the equation. But they shouldn’t be completely determinative. Otherwise, let’s just run the numbers through a computer. And rename the award Most Outstanding player. Because there’s no way to put a number on the value of leading a team into the postseason, which should be everyone’s goal.

Like people, stats are imperfect. Even WAR, which I agree is a very useful stat, is imperfect because it depends on the value placed on other statistics by the person ...

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Repoz Posted: August 29, 2011 at 05:14 PM | 90 comment(s)
  Beats: awards, fantasy baseball, projections, sabermetrics

Dusty Baker talks about his Reds lineups

Baker, 62, does not do Twitter or other social media. But Baker knows the critics are out there because, for one thing, he hears them during games. Batting orders, pitching changes, you name it. Everyone is an expert.

“Nothing works all the time, I don’t care how you do it,” Baker said. “This game is basically about matchups and the odds.”

Making a lineup can take several hours, Baker said. Reams of scouting reports are available, and Baker well knows the strengths and weaknesses of ...

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Repoz Posted: August 29, 2011 at 05:06 PM | 23 comment(s)
  Beats: history, projections, reds, sabermetrics

Huntington Beach Ocean View wins Little League World Series in dramatic fashion

Reporting from South Williamsport, Pa.—Bases loaded, two outs, a 12-year-old boy digs his foot into the batter’s box and there it is, a moment youngsters from all over the world dream about.

The scene might have taken place in the mind of any kid standing in a backyard or on a sandlot field, but on Sunday it played out before a national television audience and a crowd of 11,950 at Lamade Stadium, youth baseball’s Mecca.

And Nick Pratto, the confident son of a coach, delivered in a very real ...

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Gamingboy Posted: August 29, 2011 at 02:51 PM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: amateur, international, japan

THT: Jaffe: 10 things I didn’t know about managerial match-ups

Chris explains..."The hook: going by the numbers at Baseball-Reference, this Saturday's Reds-Cards game will be the 200th time LaRussa and Baker face off. They'll be only the 2nd pair of managers in the entire divisional era to do it."
1. Tony LaRussa and Dusty Baker are the greatest managerial rivals of our time ...Last, but certainly not least, Baker and LaRussa don’t seem to like each very much. Not at all, in fact. They have very different styles. Baker is the nice guy, and LaRussa ...
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Repoz Posted: August 29, 2011 at 01:31 PM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats:

Steven: Baseball in Washington During the Civil War

The Civil War helped facilitate the spread of the “New York game” as soldiers idled away time in camp, prisons, and even the front lines. Just as other social organizations, such as fireman units, enlisted together, so to did some baseball clubs.  On April 5, 1861 the Jefferson Base Ball Club demonstrated their dedication to the Union by erecting a flag pole at their regular Franklin Square playing grounds at 14th and I Streets NW.

Amongst the thousands of New York troops arriving in ...

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JE (Jason) Posted: August 29, 2011 at 01:05 PM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: amateur, history

Crashburn Alley: What the Phillies and Rays Learned About BABIP

...and the rest of my Fantasy League has not. HA!...take that Absecon Arse-To-Gobbers!

As strange as it may sound, Cole Hamels and James Shields have a lot in common. While one earned a championship ring and World Series MVP honors in 2008 and the other did not, both have strongly benefited and suffered from the effect of BABIP. BABIP is a stat that many analysts use to infer how much of a pitcher’s successes and failures are due to factors outside of his control, such as randomness and ...

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Repoz Posted: August 29, 2011 at 12:30 PM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: history, phillies, projections, rays, sabermetrics

Stan Isaacs: A Time of Mickey Mantle, Me and J. Edgar Hoover

or…Daily Pafkos at the Wall.

In the summer of 1998 CBS’ Channel 2 in New York broke the story that the FBI had investigated Mantle. It cited some 1969 correspondence between President Nixon’s domestic adviser, John Erlichman, and the FBI. New York Times sports media columnist Richard Sandomir noted that I was listed along with Mantle, Billy Martin and Mrs. Branch Rickey.

It turned out to be in connection with the 1969 baseball All Star Game in Washington. Nixon invited a large group of ...

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Repoz Posted: August 29, 2011 at 11:58 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: dodgers, history, yankees

McGrath: With Hendry Gone, the Next Step Is Clear

Which, hopefully…will be more successful than The Next Step Beyond.

Thus did Mike Quade become a big-league manager. The Milton Bradley signing was reason to question Hendry’s sanity; the Quade hire raised doubts about his judgment.

That said, firing Hendry was not an easy call for Ricketts. He liked him — hard worker, down-to-earth guy, clearly loves baseball — and as he spoke of “recommending” that some top aides be retained, Ricketts seemed to be softening the impact of the ...

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Repoz Posted: August 29, 2011 at 11:32 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: business, cubs, history, projections

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 8-29-2011

Pittsburgh Press, August 29, 1911:

[Larry] McLean, the eminent tragedian, was sleeping soundly up in his room, when the sinners of the team told the night clerk that Lary (sic) had a bunch of Indians up in the apartment, playing poker.  The clerk fell for the stuff, went up, and pounded on Lary’s door.

...

Then the joshers routed the Eminent Dodo [Clark Griffith?] from his sleep, and gave him the same story.  The Eminent Dodo, justly enraged at such a breech of training rules, thereupon ...

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Dan Lee is some pumkins Posted: August 29, 2011 at 10:42 AM | 26 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

ESPN: Schoenfield: Where Chipper ranks among all-time 3B

Frank Malzone Ratings sees things differently!

I would hope everyone recognizes by now that Jones is a first-ballot Hall of Famer. Last week, I exchanged Twitter messages with readers on where Jones ranks among the greatest third basemen of all time. Six names came up in that discussion, and with apologies to Home Run Baker and Ron Santo, here is my ranking of them.

2. CHIPPER JONES

...Chipper’s game was consistent excellence over a long time. His peak seasons may not quite match those ...

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Repoz Posted: August 29, 2011 at 04:01 AM | 62 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, history, sabermetrics

MLB.com: Hill, Cowgill back Kennedy’s NL-best 17th win

Sunday afternoon, 5,000 kids walked into Chase Field and were handed Ian Kennedy Growth Charts. Three hours later, 27,564 fans walked out of Chase Field after Kennedy and the D-backs handed the Padres a series sweep in a 6-1 victory.
...
Kennedy’s seven innings of one-run baseball propelled the D-backs to their sixth straight win, their largest division lead all season—four games—and Kennedy to the top of the NL with 17 wins.
...
Tied with the Phillies’ Roy Halladay and the Dodgers’ Clayton ...

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NTNgod Posted: August 29, 2011 at 02:56 AM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: arizona, game recaps

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Salvador Perez `hard to take out of the lineup,’ Yost says

Salvador Daily…natch.

Rookie catcher Salvador Perez didn’t play Sunday in the series final against the Indians after starting 15 of the 17 previous games since arriving from Class AAA Omaha.

This is how it figures to be for Perez over the next several years: Days off will be rare.

“He’s like (shortstop Alcides) Escobar for me,” manager Ned Yost said. “He’s hard to take out of the lineup. So, yes, he’ll play 140 games (a year) because one, he’s young; two, he’s very ...

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Repoz Posted: August 28, 2011 at 11:18 PM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: royals

David Price strikes out franchise-high 14 in Rays romp

Price struck out a franchise-record 14 in seven dominant innings, Desmond Jennings hit a pair of solo home runs and the Tampa Bay Rays beat Toronto 12-0 on Sunday.

“Hitting is hard enough already,” Rays catcher John Jaso said. “What David brought today made it pretty much impossible.”

It wasn’t just Price’s stuff, but a stiff wind blowing out to center field that made him so effective, giving his fastball extraordinary movement.

“I’ve never had that much movement before so it was pretty ...

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Repoz Posted: August 28, 2011 at 11:05 PM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: blue jays, game recaps, rays

Seattle Times: White Sox players hit the waters of Puget Sound for salmon

From the pics, it seems like a close-knit grouper.

Baseball players rarely find free time during the long season. But when they do, they take advantage of it.

That was what Chicago White Sox second baseman Gordon Beckham, and pitchers Mark Buehrle, John Danks and Zach Stewart did on Thursday afternoon by booking a salmon fishing charter trip on Puget Sound. ...

This isn’t the first fishing outing the White Sox have pursued on an off-day this summer. Back in July, a group went walleye fishing ...

Read More...
Greg Franklin Posted: August 28, 2011 at 10:34 PM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: special topics, white sox

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