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Sunday, September 11, 2011

NY Times: Big League Anxiety on the Baseball Diamond

Sunday Book Review of THE ART OF FIELDING By Chad Harbach

Chad Harbach makes the case for baseball, thrillingly, in his slow, precious and altogether excellent first novel, “The Art of Fielding.” “You loved it,” he writes of the game, “because you considered it an art: an apparently pointless affair, undertaken by people with a special aptitude, which sidestepped attempts to paraphrase its value yet somehow seemed to communicate something true or even crucial about the Human ...

bobm Posted: September 11, 2011 at 06:07 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: books, fantasy baseball

AL West race: September 10, 2011

TEX 82-64 [5-4 in SEPT]
LAA 80-65 [7-2 in SEPT] (1.5 GB) Rangers burned by grand slam in loss to A’s

The Rangers trailed by five runs going into the bottom of the sixth before launching a comeback that fell one hit short in an 8-7 loss to the Athletics on Saturday afternoon at the Ballpark in Arlington. Haren blanks Yanks as Halos climb up West

A more efficient Haren outlasted Sabathia, foiling the Yanks’ ace in his bid for a 20th win, and the Angels prevailed, 6-0, with some ...

NTNgod Posted: September 11, 2011 at 04:03 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, game recaps, rangers

AL Wildcard race: September 10, 2011

Braves and Brewers (both having played Phillies/Cards this past week) are also making things more interesting than they’d both probably like, and may also be showing up soon.

BOS 85-60 [2-8 in SEPT]
TBR 80-64 [6-3 in SEPT] (4.5 GB)
LAA 80-65 [7-2 in SEPT] (5 GB) Behind Longoria, Rays trim Wild Card deficit

But in the 11th, Desmond Jennings hit a ball to right-center off Red Sox reliever Daniel Bard that Jacoby Ellsbury couldn’t catch. Jennings made it to third, and then after B.J. ...

NTNgod Posted: September 11, 2011 at 03:10 AM | 47 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, game recaps, rays, red sox

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Guillen wants to lead White Sox ‘next 20 years’

Yeah, and I want to lead Die Jungen for the next 20 years…but that whole one-man-band thing kinda gets in the way.

Ozzie Guillen hopes 2011 won’t be his final season with the White Sox. In fact, Guillen said Saturday he expects his managerial tenure in the city to extend well beyond the present decade.

“I expect to be back here next year,” Guillen told ESPN 1000’s “Talkin’ Baseball” on Saturday. “I expect to be back here for a long time. I think I’m shooting for the moon, but I think my ...

Repoz Posted: September 10, 2011 at 11:07 PM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: white sox

Joel Horlen, former OSU baseball player

Catching up with the traceable Joel Horlen.

Horlen, now 74, is believed to be the only person to play on teams that won the Pony League World Series, the College World Series and the major league World Series.

We had a good pitching staff. Led the league in four or five different categories. I still didn’t get pitcher of the year award.

I faced a bunch of good hitters. Tony Oliva won the batting title every year. That’s about the only guy I can remember that I really didn’t like facing. I ...

Repoz Posted: September 10, 2011 at 10:56 PM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: college, history, reds, white sox

Sullivan: LaHair hopes to be given chance to make Cubs in ‘12

Lots of interesting little tidbits in this one:

LaHair credited Iowa hitting coach Von Joshua for changing his hand slot and helping renew his confidence. He hopes to be given a chance to make the Cubs in 2012, though the organization appears to be leaning toward re-signing Carlos Pena.

Dusty watch: Reds manager Dusty Baker said the hardest part of managing the Cubs was the lack of patience in Chicago.

“They keep reminding you of the 100 years,” he said, referring to the 103-year ...

McCoy Posted: September 10, 2011 at 08:04 PM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs

NYT: Forman: Lee’s Value to Phillies Can Be Measured in Zeros

Just heard Gary Cohen and Ron Darling talking up Forman’s latest (take note Kay/Flush…HA!).

Lee’s total of six complete-game shutouts leads the National League and is four ahead of the second closest pitchers, Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers and Jaime Garcia of the Cardinals, and two ahead of any other team’s total in the National League. A four-shutout lead is the biggest lead since 1988 when Roger Clemens led the American League with eight shutouts, four ahead of Greg Swindell, Dave Stieb ...

Repoz Posted: September 10, 2011 at 05:55 PM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: history, phillies, sabermetrics

KC Star: Dutton: Switch in Gold Glove balloting could benefit Kansas City OFs

Balloting this season for the Rawlings Gold Glove awards, which recognize defensive excellence, will for the first time not lump all outfielders together in balloting by managers and coaches.

The new approach will select a left fielder, a center fielder and a right fielder – and candidates at each position will be limited to those who play a specific number of games at that position.

NJ in DC (Now with Wife!) Posted: September 10, 2011 at 04:56 PM | 29 comment(s)
  Beats: awards, royals

Daniel Hudson Tosses complete game

They’re getting so used to winning at home, the Diamondbacks won’t be satisfied with simply clinching the National League West.

Forget about the San Francisco Giants, who the Diamondbacks lead by a staggering 8 1/2 games. The Diamondbacks have their sights on catching the Milwaukee Brewers for the second-best record in the NL and the right for home-field advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

Forget about the magic number, which has quickly dropped to 10. Friday’s win over the Padres, ...

shoewizard Posted: September 10, 2011 at 04:46 PM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: general Davidi: Head of the class

The Toronto Blue Jays’ latest foray into developing Canadian baseball at the grassroots level comes in the form of a scout school for a handful of coaches from the country’s top amateur teams this weekend at the Rogers Centre.

The two-day session, which kicked off Friday morning, is being led by amateur scouting director Andrew Tinnish and is both selfless and a touch selfish in motivation.

By divulging some of the club’s philosophies on both player evaluation and development, the Blue ...

Boileryard Posted: September 10, 2011 at 03:15 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: amateur, blue jays, scouting

No agreement on NPB’s demand for bigger share in 2013 WBC

Japanese baseball officials held negotiations in New York Thursday to demand a bigger slice of revenue to take part in the 2013 World Baseball Classic, but no agreement has been reached with organizers of the tournament.

Toshimasa Shimada, the head of international relations and other representatives of Japanese baseball, have requested that sponsorship rights and the rights to baseball memorabilia for the Japanese team be transferred to Nippon Professional Baseball.

Japan has said that they ...

Gamingboy Posted: September 10, 2011 at 03:03 PM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: international, japan

Rosenthal: MVP debate will have no clear winner

as Robothal (freep-freep) does have an AL MVP vote this year.

My elite eight:

The Blue Jays’ Jose Bautista.

The Yankees’ Curtis Granderson and Robinson Cano.

The Red Sox’s Jacoby Ellsbury, Dustin Pedroia and Adrian Gonzalez.

And the Tigers’ Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera,

...Most arguments, like most statistics, are flawed. Truth be told, I eliminated certain paragraphs from this column because I was contradicting myself. But that’s all part of the process, one that has ...

Repoz Posted: September 10, 2011 at 01:37 PM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: awards, projections, sabermetrics


or…The Vernon Dent: Healthy, Wealthy and Numb


But let’s stick with the lede, waddya say? Who is that fallen Angel? That’s not hard—it’s Vernon Wells, a convenient target of derision due to his fat contract and his sleepwalking performance.

But Vernon did something the other day that puts him in line to set a major league record—he hit his 20th home run of the season.

How the heck does that put him in position to rewrite the record books? Well, because at the moment, Vernon has the lowest ...

Repoz Posted: September 10, 2011 at 12:42 PM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, history, sabermetrics

Ex-O’s pitcher Jefferson dead at 62 of cancer

RIP…Jesse Jefferson.

Former Orioles right-hander Jesse Jefferson died Thursday at age 62 of prostate cancer. He pitched for five major league teams, including the Orioles from 1973 to 1975. He was 7-7 with a 4.13 ERA in 42 games with Baltimore. He was a resident of Midlothian, Va

Repoz Posted: September 10, 2011 at 12:01 PM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, blue jays, obituaries, orioles, pirates, white sox

AL West race: September 9, 2011

TEX 82-63 [5-3 in SEPT]
LAA 79-65 [6-2 in SEPT] (2.5 GB) Rangers rout Athletics, protect division lead

The Rangers continued their domination of the Athletics with a 13-4 victory over the American League West rivals on Friday night.

The Rangers have now won nine straight over the A’s, tying for their second-longest winning streak against them. Texas beat Oakland 13 straight times in 1977-78. Long after Weaver’s gem, Halos deny Yanks

Maicer Izturis lifted a sacrifice fly with ...

NTNgod Posted: September 10, 2011 at 05:04 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, game recaps, rangers

Toronto Observer: Bautista no longer MVP front-runner

Imagine how observers outside of Toronto feel.

Bautista’s September eight-game hitting stats — .179 batting averag, .324 on base percentage and .321 slugging average are atrocious, but can easily be jettisoned due to small-sample-size bias.

His 88 August at-bats,  however, are a much better barometer for highlighting the slugger’s concerning decline. In that month, he recorded a .261 batting average, while launching eight homers, but striking out 26 times, his highest monthly total of ...

Repoz Posted: September 10, 2011 at 02:55 AM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: awards, blue jays, projections, sabermetrics

Tigers Broadcaster Rod Allen Apologizes for Calling Little People ‘Midgets’

He pingpinging.

During the sixth inning of Friday night’s Tigers-Twins game, play-by-play man Mario Impemba asked Allen what minor league city was his favorite. Allen said it was Buffalo and he explained why.

“The atmosphere at the ballpark was second-to-none. They had people at the concession stands that were dancing on top of the dugouts. They had some midgets around, they had some giants around.”

A half inning later, Allen took a moment to apologize for calling little people ...

Repoz Posted: September 10, 2011 at 02:39 AM | 104 comment(s)
  Beats: announcers, media, television, tigers

Friday, September 09, 2011

Brisbee: On Juan Pierre Reaching 2,000 Hits ...

The Glasscock Line? Wasn’t that Cynthia Plaster Caster’s first attempt?

So that gap in between Doerr and Grudzielanek is where things become truly impressive, where a baseball player can make the jump from long, pleasant career to something more. This shall be known as the Glasscock Line, after Pebbly Jack Glasscock, who finished 244th all-time with 2041 hits.

Above Glasscock, you have Hall-of-Famers and All-Stars, players whose posters you would have had on your wall as a kid, whose baseball ...

Repoz Posted: September 09, 2011 at 09:31 PM | 24 comment(s)
  Beats: history, sabermetrics, white sox

Jim Crane Speaks, But Did It Help or Hurt Him in Securing the Astros?

Maury adds…“Let’s play, “Fall on the sword”.

Jim Crane spoke publically to the Houston Chronicle for the first time yesterday since the mid-May press conference to announce the sales agreement to purchase the Astros. Crane approached the Chronicle in an attempt to address some of the issues swirling around his stalled approval by the league’s owners. It was a needed move, that on one hand, addressed direct issues around the EEOC, war-profiteering and divorce issues, while on the other hand, ...

Repoz Posted: September 09, 2011 at 07:41 PM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, business, media, site news

Umpires show ethnic bias in ball/strike calls—unless they’re feeling watched

Do these subtle biases add up? The authors make a compelling case that they do. One of the ways they do this is by analyzing the location of the pitches. They divide the area near home plate into three regions: probable strikes, probable balls, and an edge region between the two, where the call is likely to be largely based on the umpire’s discretion. Normally, just under 20 percent of pitches are thrown to that edge region. But, when an umpire is not being monitored (and thus more likely to ...

Paul M Hates Krispy Kreme Posted: September 09, 2011 at 05:04 PM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: general

McClary: The End of Denny McLain’s Career Began in 1966

Hammond organic: Capable of decay.

I knew pitchers 40 years ago regularly went deep in games and threw a lot of pitches, but McLain’s output in 1966 was staggering.

On Aug. 29, 1966, McLain threw 229 pitches in the Tigers’ 6-3 win over the Orioles. He gave up eight hits, walks nine and struck out 11 Orioles to notch his 16th win. According to the Baseball box score, McLain faced 43 batters in the game.

He was just 22 at the time.

In that game, McLain set the Orioles down ...

Repoz Posted: September 09, 2011 at 01:14 PM | 24 comment(s)
  Beats: history, projections, sabermetrics, tigers

Chung: Is Our National Pastime… Past its Time?

Oh, the blancpain… the blancpain!

Baseball is in danger of being like the Swiss watchmakers of old.  Up until the 1970’s, the Swiss watchmakers dominated the market.  When quartz technology first came on the scene, the Swiss were not concerned and continued to do business as usual. As Asia and American watch industries embraced this quartz technology, Switzerland continued to ignore it.

What ensued was a near collapse of the Swiss watch making economy. What was once known as the best ...

Repoz Posted: September 09, 2011 at 10:13 AM | 37 comment(s)
  Beats: fantasy baseball, royals

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 9-9-2011

Pittsburgh Press, September 10, 1911:

While [Rube] Marquard has not earned a great deal of money like some of the older players, he owns considerable property.  His father and mother are both dead and he has no brothers or sisters.  His parents left him a large farm at New Brunswick, O., 22 miles from Cleveland.


When the elder Richard de Marquis, a soldier of France, came to America and became engineer for the city of Cleveland he did not realize that in his son he was giving to Uncle Sam ...

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: September 09, 2011 at 09:37 AM | 25 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, fantasy baseball, hall of fame, history

Ian Kennedy picked up his National League-best 19th win as he pitched the D-backs past the Padres,

Ian Kennedy picked up his National League-best 19th win as he pitched the D-backs past the Padres, 4-1, on Thursday night in front of 21,402 at Chase Field.

The win was the 14th in the last 16 for the D-backs, who increased their lead in the National League West to 7 1/2 games over the idle Giants.

With the Brewers’ loss to the Phillies, the D-backs closed to within 1 1/2 games of Milwaukee for the second-best record in the NL and a more advantageous first-round playoff matchup.

Kennedy ...

shoewizard Posted: September 09, 2011 at 04:38 AM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: arizona, awards

Romano: History suggests Tampa Bay Rays fans should temper their hopes

Yeah, and the last time someone had high hopes in Florida they ended up with a hole in their head!

I do not say this to be a party pooper or a contrarian. And it is not because I have too little faith in the Rays or too much respect for the Red Sox. It is simply because I trust history. And history pretty much says it ain’t going to happen.

...This is the time of year when we begin talking about magic numbers for teams in contention. Okay, so Tampa Bay’s magic number is 27. That means, if the ...

Repoz Posted: September 09, 2011 at 03:04 AM | 78 comment(s)
  Beats: history, rays, red sox, yankees

True Blue L.A.: Dee Gordon Fast Becoming A Favorite

Dee Gordon. Giddy.

Dee Gordon is a fascinating study in head versus heart in baseball fandom. He had four more hits on Thursday, giving him 16 hits in 31 at-bats in his last seven games since getting activated from the disabled list. But even with his hot streak, on the season he is batting only .296/.306/.352. To be fair to Gordon though, National League shortstops this season are hitting .260/.314/.372 so his production holds up decently enough.

There are reasons for concern with Gordon at ...

Repoz Posted: September 09, 2011 at 02:49 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: dodgers, projections

Bill Lee Says Baseball Will Never Die, But Something Must Be Done to Improve Tempo of Game

Don’t list me in the BJNHBA or Popular Crime…and see what you get! How much of a problem is the length of games these days?

BL:Terrible. Terrible problem for baseball. The length of games, you have a director from the TV network and every game is televised. He controls the tempo. Every time there’s a break in the action, that break in the action was brought to you by “new back supports—keeps you from breaking your back.” It’s all scripted.

The umpires these days don’t call strikes ...

Repoz Posted: September 09, 2011 at 02:19 AM | 32 comment(s)
  Beats: fantasy baseball, history, red sox, sabermetrics

Pajiba:  Moneyball Review: Cash Rules Everything Around Me

Bennett Miller’s Moneyball is unquestionably a great movie. What makes it more remarkable is that not only is it a great movie, but that it’s a great movie despite its being about a subject that few other than hardcore baseball fans and purists care about — or even know about. It’s a remarkable achievement, to take a subject as dense and complicated as Billy Beane’s statistical, small ball approach to baseball (based on Bill James’ theory of sabermetrics) as outlined in Michael ...

McCoy Posted: September 09, 2011 at 02:17 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: general

Vanity Fair: Excerpt from “The Art of Fielding” by Chad Harbach

I prefer Mazeroski Hornsby, myself.

The door marked 405 stood slightly ajar, and bleepy, bloopy music came through the gap.  Henry lingered nervously in the stairwell. He didn’t know how many roommates he’d have, or what sort of roommates they might be, or what kind of music that was. If he’d been able to imagine the students of Westish College in any specific way, he imagined twelve hundred Mike Schwartzes, huge and mythic and grave, and twelve hundred women of the sort Mike Schwartz ...

The District Attorney Posted: September 09, 2011 at 01:29 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: books

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Shaughnessy: Neither the Red Sox nor the Yankees will win World Series

But the Sox and Yanks are on a collision course in 2011. Bursting with self-importance, last week they needed four hours and 21 minutes to play a nine-inning game in which six runs were scored. The Sox will be back in New York for the final weekend of the regular season. It’ll be Athens-Sparta, Ali-Frazier, Russell-Chamberlain and Brady-Manning. Deep into the night. Every night.

It’ll be Seabiscuit-War Admiral, Palmer-Nicklaus, Godzilla- Mothra, Jefferson-Adams, India-Pakistan, Japan-Korea, ...

Gamingboy Posted: September 08, 2011 at 08:53 PM | 37 comment(s)
  Beats: red sox, yankees

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