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Sunday, April 13, 2014
Update Thursday, April 17th at 11:00 AM: I’ve been bogged down looking for a fix to a domain redirect issue caused by a new php handler that I’m using on the server. For now using some of the old domain names will produce an error if you try to go to a sub-directory (like www.baseballprimer.com/newsstand/). I’ve decided to put off fixing this until later so I can get to some other things on my to-do list. At the moment I’m working on removing ads for people who’ve donated. With the way I have ...Read More...
Posted: April 13, 2014 at 09:00 AM | 102 comment(s)
Sunday, April 20, 2014
Zander Hollander, a journeyman journalist who rebounded from the merger of his newspaper in the mid-1960s by becoming what Sports Illustrated called “the unofficial king of sports paperbacks” — particularly a once wildly popular series of encyclopedic yearbooks — died on Friday in a nursing home in Manhattan. He was 91.
The cause was Alzheimer’s disease, his wife, Phyllis, said.
Before televised sports were pervasive and the Internet a nonstop gusher of sports trivia, Mr. Hollander ...
Why wOBA Works
Let’s say you have a player, let’s call him Al Trout, who has hit six singles in 10 plate appearances (making an out every other time) and the league, on average, hits three singles every 10 plate appearances (again, making an out every other time). To use linear weights to figure out how many more runs Al contributed above the league average, you’d…
Calculate the extra runs Al contributed by hitting more singles, which equals the difference in singles times the run ...
Posted: April 20, 2014 at 05:27 AM | 0 comment(s)
As a Met fan used to tell me…“It wasn’t just us…he Bordicked everybody.”
When he walks the streets of Manhattan he sees faces staring back at him. Phillips wonders what they are thinking, good, bad, or indifferent. “But what they are thinking,” Phillips said, “says more about them than it does about me.”
The nature of sportstalk radio, and the media in general, requires commentators to pass judgment — quickly — on athletes who find themselves in trouble. Whether it be for drugs, ...
Posted: April 20, 2014 at 05:12 AM | 2 comment(s)
As Lord Byron Browne once noted…“All baseball farewells should be sudde…”
Who started this fairly new trend of farewell tours for retiring baseball players?
I’d like to choke them.
This is the third consecutive year Major League Baseball fans have to endure the nauseating, endless stream of tributes, gifts, videos and photos of opposing retiring players by the teams they root for. First it was Chipper Jones, then Mariano Rivera and now it is Derek Jeter.
Don’t take it the wrong way. As a ...
Posted: April 20, 2014 at 04:47 AM | 13 comment(s)
Saturday, April 19, 2014
Last night’s game featured some strangeness, with Astros manager Bo Porter getting bent out of shape about Jed Lowrie’s bunt attempt against the shift in the first inning and the A’s up 7-0. Consensus around the Oakland clubhouse: The first inning is way too early to get upset about a guy bunting – plus, if you put the shift on, you’re inviting the bunt. Why would you then get upset about it?
“I’m really flabbergasted by the reaction,” Lowrie said of Porter’s ...
Posted: April 19, 2014 at 08:04 PM | 18 comment(s)
Footage of Babe Ruth’s first game back in 1925 is interesting, but perhaps not worth blogging about. However, it was not this portion of the film that excited me. Instead, it was other footage, shot earlier that same day, that caught my attention. This pre-game footage showed Ruth taking batting practice, tossing the ball around and posing for the camera in front of the Yankees dugout. Here’s are a pair of frames from this section of footage [...]
Behind Ruth, at far left, is a familiar ...
Posted: April 19, 2014 at 05:43 PM | 4 comment(s)
If only someone had done this with Yaz when he was 21…
Nationals wunderkind Bryce Harper was pulled from Saturday’s game and benched for a “lack of hustle,” manager Matt Williams told reporters. Harper grounded out back to pitcher leading off the sixth inning but did not run hard down to first base.
...Yeesh, tough call by Williams. He’s clearly using Harper to set an example for the rest of the team. I don’t think any player would run out that ball hard.
More...“We made an agreement,” ...
Posted: April 19, 2014 at 05:10 PM | 66 comment(s)
In 2009, Lukas posted a link to a photograph estimated to be from around 1915 of Maranville wearing a cap with a swastika on it. A few months later, Tom Shieber, the senior curator of the Baseball Hall of Fame, analyzed the uniform and the ballpark’s background in the picture and concluded on his Baseball Researcher blog that the photograph was taken on April 14, 1914, opening day at Ebbets Field between the Braves and the Dodgers. The ballpark was in its second season as the home of the ...
Posted: April 19, 2014 at 02:34 PM | 10 comment(s)
Wow! Who knew the dizzying vapors from Uncle Eddie Savitz’s apartment were still lingering around Philadelphia!
Utley isn’t the hitter the great Williams was — no one in history was — but Utley entered his 12th major league season as hot as Las Vegas in July. Even after the Phils’ 12-1 loss to the Rockies on April 18, Utley’s stats are amazing:
In 14 games, he leads the National League with a .429 average with 14 hits in 56 at-bats, seven doubles, three homers and 10 RBIs, a .484 on ...
Posted: April 19, 2014 at 02:02 PM | 64 comment(s)
Wooooooo! The Nature Boob speaks!
Just don’t make the mistake of talking to him about velocity.
“Why do you guys care about velo so much, man?” an agitated Papelbon said at his locker Thursday. “Is that—does that matter? You think that matters? I don’t understand that. I mean, if a ball has life at the plate and you are throwing 88 miles an hour as opposed to 98 miles an hour, it doesn’t make one damn bit of difference. Whether you throw 93 or 94 or 84. I just, I don’t get it man.” ...
Posted: April 19, 2014 at 01:42 PM | 11 comment(s)
Games averaged two hours and 56 minutes in 2011 and three hours flat in 2012. They tacked on four more minutes last year — even as runs per game fell, to 4.17 from 4.32 the year before. And games this year, with the advent of instant replay, have added another three and a half minutes on average, through Sunday.
The pace is slowing. The average break between pitches was 21.6 seconds three years ago, 22.1 seconds two years ago and 22.6 seconds last year, according to FanGraphs. Taking into ...
Cesar buried! Unfair shake! Speared in the back! I need a cocktail!
It was a scene straight out of the Steinbrenner Yankees playbook, circa the late 1900s: a young reliever, having suffered through a horrendous outing, suffering one more indignity.
That is what fell on Cesar Cabral just moments after the domed roof of Tropicana Field fell in on him Friday night. Less than a half-hour after Cabral had been tossed from the game by home plate umpire Joe West after hitting his third ...
Posted: April 19, 2014 at 08:44 AM | 23 comment(s)
From the beginning, baseball promised that if its new rules warranted adjustments, those adjustments would be made.
Two such adjustments are likely to occur, according to sources with both Major League Baseball and the players union.
The first, at minimum, would be a guideline in which catchers will be asked to give the runner a lane to the plate in their initial positioning, further reducing the possibility of collisions at home plate.
The second would be a less strict interpretation of the ...
Posted: April 19, 2014 at 08:12 AM | 11 comment(s)
Cox collecting. Who knew?!
But for Bobby Cox, the cards of him as a player are limited. Topps issued one for him in 1969 (#237) after his only full major league season as a Yankee third baseman and then he disappeared from cards until he became manager of the Braves in 1978.
Cox, who debuted in the big leagues at age 26 after being acquired from Atlanta in December of 1967, was basically was a one-season wonder for the Yankees who used him as a starter in 1968 and then replaced him with ...
Posted: April 19, 2014 at 07:11 AM | 10 comment(s)
The one where Dennis Menke becomes Dennis Mickey.
BL: Johnny, you’re working with the Topps baseball card company. Do you remember receiving your first card after you reached the majors?
JB: Surely you jest. Of course I do, my goodness gracious. That’s what made you a major leaguer. So I loved it. I thought it was the greatest thing ever. Now I say “Look at me.” You could carry ‘em around, “Here, have my card.”
BL: In the 1970s the Reds went to the World Series four times, ...
Posted: April 19, 2014 at 07:03 AM | 3 comment(s)
Mets players received statistical breakdowns of their 2013 performances centered upon Bases Per Out, an internally developed metric that seeks to measure a player’s overall offensive production.
Players with less than three years of service time were told that their BPOs would determine bonuses tacked onto future salary offers. Each base—one for a walk or single, two for a double—would earn them $200 more than what they would otherwise receive. Each out would slice off $100.
Posted: April 19, 2014 at 12:35 AM | 9 comment(s)
Friday, April 18, 2014
Mr. Met, the mascot for baseball’s saddest franchise, received a stern warning from the Secret Service in 1997, when President Clinton visited Shea Stadium: “Approach the president, and we go for the kill shot.”
Former Mr. Met AJ Mass recounted the death threat in his new book, Yes, It’s Hot in Here: Adventures in the Weird, Woolly World of Sports Mascots.....
“We have snipers all around the stadium, just in case something were to happen. Like I said, do whatever it is you ...
I had to make sure Zack Thornton wasn’t Zach Stewart, but does it matter?
A long-awaited deal has finally been struck, as the Mets officially dealt first baseman Ike Davis to the Pirates in exchange for minor league righty Zack Thornton and a player to be named later…
For New York, the departure of Davis means that the club will move ahead with Lucas Duda as its regular first baseman, a role that he had taken on early in 2014. It also marks the end to an ultimately disappointing tenure in New ...
OAKLAND—The Athletics have agreed to terms with left-handed pitcher Sean Doolittle on a new five-year contract for the 2014 through 2018 seasons. The agreement also includes club options for both the ‘19 and ‘20 seasons.
The A’s have always gone for these long-term contracts for young pitchers, but I think this is the first time they’ve done it with a reliever. Along with Johnson’s $10M signing the A’s seem to be shifting away from “relievers are fungible”. Who knows what the terms are, of ...Read More...
Well, a-beat the drum and hold the phone call from Jack O’Connell.
Brain Kenny led a panel discussion on MLB Network yesterday about whether Carlos Beltran has a shot at the Hall of Fame. The consensus was yes. My immediate reaction was that Beltran was benefiting from having his hitting compared to center fielders, that if he were compared to right fielders like Hank Aaron then Beltran would have more difficulty.
While Beltran have may a few years to go, right now he is included among ...
Posted: April 18, 2014 at 09:58 AM | 43 comment(s)
With nary an Ex-Ray Barker on the horizon.
This all raises the question of why nobody on the Yankees in spring training looked around and saw an injury prone first baseman, three veteran outfielders vying for time in right and DH—center field and left field are occupied by Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury, two of the Yankees best players—and thought to give one of the veterans a first baseman’s glove. First base is generally considered the least demanding defensive position to play, but it is ...
Posted: April 18, 2014 at 09:22 AM | 57 comment(s)
El Paso Herald, April 18, 1914:
The worst luck in the world follows the sight of a cross eyed person, according to the ball players. However this “jinx” may be broken by spitting in your hat immediately. In procuring bat boys to carry the clubs from the home plate back to the bench and kepe them neatly piled in order, baseball managers, as a rule pick out the worst looking youth to be found. He is retained as long as things go well, but when the time arrives that the team hits a slump another ...
But..but..Miguel Cabrera has none.
Of all the elements of the young Angels season that have not gone according to expectations, there might be nothing as surprising as this: It took Mike Trout 14 games to even attempt a stolen base.
This is a guy, after all, who stole 49 bases as a rookie, a guy whose value is accentuated by his combination of power and speed.
Stealing bases, however, is about more than speed. It’s about opportunity, and that has been the obstacle for Trout since the start ...
Posted: April 18, 2014 at 07:27 AM | 7 comment(s)
Thursday, April 17, 2014
A Secret Service agent threatened to put some high heat in the Mets mascot’s oversized dome if he ventured too close to former President Bill Clinton during a 1997 game at Shea Stadium. “We have snipers all around the stadium, just in case something were to happen,” the agent warned. “Like I said, do whatever it is you normally do. But approach the President, and we go for the kill shot. Are we clear?”
AJ Mass, the man inside the Mr. Met outfit from 1994-97, recounted his brush with ...
The natural question, now that Jim Johnson has thrown five consecutive scoreless innings, is whether the $10 million reliever soon will return to the closer’s role.
Well, what if the Athletics refuse to entertain the notion?
What if they take a wrecking ball to traditional bullpen roles and use their best relievers in the highest-leverage situations, regardless of inning?
If ever there was a general manager who would be willing to defy baseball’s conventional wisdom, it’s Billy Beane. ...Read More...
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