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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

SI cover: 2015 MLB Preview: It’s anyone’s year

The last time Sports Illustrated anointed the Cleveland Indians as favorites to win the World Series was 1987.
With Joe Carter (who would have his own World Series moment years later) and Cory Snyder on the cover, SI declared that “Cleveland is the Best Team in the American League.”

No, this is not the script of the movie “Major League,” as the previous five seasons before 1987 Cleveland finished 5th, 7th, 6th, 7th and 6th in the American League East.

Well, 1987 was no different as ...

Read More...
RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 24, 2015 at 11:58 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: indians, mariners, nationals, royals, sports illustrated

Cooperstown Confidential: The Enigmatic Life of Alex Johnson – The Hardball Times

The recent death of Alex Johnson brings to an end one of the most controversial and enigmatic chapters in baseball history. Even as we try to put the many conflicts of Johnson into proper perspective, I’m not sure whether to characterize him as a sympathetic victim of circumstances or as an antisocial figure who unnecessarily made life miserable for those around him. Or maybe, it’s a matter of both.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 24, 2015 at 10:25 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: alex johnson, history

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 3-24-2015

Pittsburgh Press, March 24, 1915:

The break has finally come, and it looks as if the Cincinnati club will have to release Manager [Buck] Herzog or accept the resignation of Secretary Harry Stephens. These two officials of the club had a big row at Covington…

The Reds’ training field in Covington, Louisiana was frozen and unplayable, so Herzog wanted the players in New Orleans, where the players could train. The problem was that the Reds were supposed to play an exhibition game against New ...

Read More...
Corey Klübermensch (Dan Lee) Posted: March 24, 2015 at 08:13 AM | 27 comment(s)
  Beats: buck herzog, dugout, history

Mariners feel pieces are in place for special ‘15 | MLB.com

Expectations are high in Seattle.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 24, 2015 at 07:42 AM | 31 comment(s)
  Beats: mariners

Harper: Signs of friction between Collins and Alderson - NY Daily News

This relationship seems headed to a breakup.

In the end, though, someone who knows the GM well said he believes Alderson thought “it wouldn’t have been fair” to Collins not to give him a chance to manage a team that finally has enough talent to contend.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 24, 2015 at 07:14 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: mets, sandy alderson, terry collins

Spring training lets umpires sharpen their game too | Toronto Star

Umpires are people too.

The hardest part of the job, Iassogna says, is moving on after you know you missed a call. He admits he struggles to follow the advice he gives to minor-league umpires about not taking the job home at night. “It eats you up, it really does. I don’t know if I’ll ever have a good way of dealing with that.”

Jim Furtado Posted: March 24, 2015 at 07:10 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: spring training, umpires

Minor, Upton not likely to return before May | www.ajc.com

How much longer will Upton play for the Braves anyway?

Jim Furtado Posted: March 24, 2015 at 07:08 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, melvin upton, mike minor

NY Times: Kepner: Pete Rose’s Statistics: 4,256 Hits and a Big Error

Mike Schmidt and Paul Molitor watched an exhibition game Monday from opposite dugouts here at the Philadelphia Phillies’ spring training camp. Historically, they belong to the same team, as Hall of Famers with plaques in Cooperstown, N.Y. But on an issue that divides so many in baseball, Schmidt and Molitor disagree.

Pete Rose, the career hits leader, has applied for reinstatement to Major League Baseball, which barred him for life in 1989 for gambling on games played by the Cincinnati Reds, ...

Read More...
bobm Posted: March 24, 2015 at 12:19 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: dallas green, fay vincent, gambling, larry bowa, mike schmidt, paul molitor, pete rose

Monday, March 23, 2015

Who is Jose Abreu?

This is good stuff and much of it untold (including how he actually got to the US—harrowing stuff) on Jose “Pito” Abreu:


They left in the middle of the night, entrusting their fate to a tiny boat, its two motors, and the ink-black sea. For 12 hours, they pressed on. Through darkness, then dawn, then scorching daylight. Through 15-foot waves. And through the paths of trawlers and other ships that could cut their own 20-foot vessel in two.

Six of them huddled close atop a roiling ocean under ...

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madvillain Posted: March 23, 2015 at 11:15 PM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: jose abreu, longform

Neyer: John Dowd’s Box of Illogic

Pete’s real crime? That haircut.

It was fairly common knowledge back then that Giamatti was open to a suspension for Rose if the Reds manager would admit to gambling on baseball and enter treatment for his gambling addiction.

Yet, according to Dowd, it went further than that. Dowd now says he and Giamatti worked with federal prosecutors and even the FBI to work out a deal that any pending charges for tax evasion against Rose would be dropped if he came clean.

In addition, FBI agents worked ...

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Jimmy Rollins Q&A: ‘I feel like I’m free to be myself’

Here’s a great interview with Jimmy Rollins.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 23, 2015 at 08:57 PM | 22 comment(s)
  Beats: dodgers, jimmy rollins, phillies

The hunt for more Veterans Committee ballots | Baseball: Past and Present

Graham Womack makes some excellent points.

It seems unfortunate to me that full voting information for the Veterans Committee might be lost. It’s a little galling as well. Since its founding, the committee has put far more people in the Hall of Fame than the BBWAA. If there was one thing that came through resoundingly in my research, it’s that the Veterans Committee has been able to more or less operate with impunity and little transparency. Its process is far from democratic for fans, with ...

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Jim Furtado Posted: March 23, 2015 at 08:46 PM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: hall of fame, veterans committee

Votto, Phillips: Same team, different approaches

Brandon Phillips, the new Jeff Francoeur.

Nothing against Votto, Phillips says, but he’s up there swinging the bat, believing driving in runs is the best way to help your team win games.

Nothing against Phillips, Votto says, but he believes the best way to score runs is simply getting on base, no matter the situation.

And regardless what statistics may say, they’ll never change their ways, believing their method is best.

“I don’t do that MLB Network on-base percentage (stuff),’’ Phillips ...

Read More...

Bridgeport Bluefish and Long Island Ducks will experiment with foul-ball strikes and three-pitch walks

Last August, author Paul Auster — also a big baseball fan — wrote a letter to the editor of the New York Times with a radical idea about how to speed up baseball games:

Eliminate the two-strike foul ball as a neutral play (neither strike nor ball) and rule it a strike. To compensate for the advantage this would give the pitcher, allow the batter to go to first base after three balls instead of four.

At least a couple of teams think it might be fun to see how this works. Thankfully ...

Read More...
Karl from NY Posted: March 23, 2015 at 03:17 PM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: atlantic league, crazy clown town, rules of play

Tampa Bay Rays prospect Brent Honeywell’s screwball a “bloodline deal” | MiLB.com

Another screwball article, including a Mike Marshall connection.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 23, 2015 at 02:44 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: brent honeywell, mike marshall, rays, screwball

Nationals’ Jerry Blevins as much a renaissance man as he is a baseball player

He became an avid film watcher then, too. His mother always made time on Sundays to take him and his brother to the movies. As a minor leaguer with a lot of free time on the road, Blevins always found the local video store.

“I remember Clinton, Iowa,” said Blevins, whose favorite movie is “The Shawshank Redemption” and who loves the documentary “The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters.” “They had a riverboat casino and a Blockbuster down the street. You could go and get five ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 23, 2015 at 01:35 PM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, jerry blevins, loogys, nationals

Houston’s NRG Astrodome “Can And Should Live On,” Says ULI Report

If they tear it down, where would

?

he report provides details on the following recommendations from the panel:

Recognize the Astrodome’s iconic status with a museum celebrating its history as the world’s first domed sports stadium and create a new vision that rehabilitates the dome and the surrounding portions of NRG Park.
Redevelop the Astrodome as a multi-use facility.
Develop 1,500 additional parking spaces in the lower levels of the Astrodome.
Create a new ground floor in the ...

Read More...
RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 23, 2015 at 12:40 PM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: astrodome, astros, defunct ballpark, houston

Wilson buys Louisville Slugger for $70 million

The parent company of Wilson Sporting Goods has acquired Louisville Slugger for a reported $70 million in cash. The deal is expected to close by this summer, according to a report early Monday

Executives for both companies are due to discuss the sale at a news briefing for 11:30 a.m. Monday at Hillerich & Bradsby Co.‘s headquarters on Main Street.

The 120-year-old batmaker is best known for making Louisville Slugger baseball bats. Its Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory on Main Street in ...

Read More...
RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 23, 2015 at 12:28 PM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: bats, business, louisville slugger, sporting goods


Time for baseball to expand rosters - Sports - The Boston Globe

This is a day late. After thinking about the expanded roster idea, I’m opened minded to hearing more about it. I don’t see how going to a six-man starting rotation makes a lot of sense. All it will do is shift innings from better starters to worse starters.

The game evolving into six-man rotations is not what many of us want to see, since many of us remember four-man rotations. But that’s how it’s evolving. The extra day would likely — although nothing is for certain — make a difference ...

Read More...
Jim Furtado Posted: March 23, 2015 at 10:57 AM | 25 comment(s)
  Beats: sunday notes

BRADLEY COOPER AS ROGER CLEMENS ALMOST HAPPENED

Steve Buschemi as Brian McNamee?

Not only has there been a Hollywood script written about the fall of Roger Clemens, but reportedly there was a “heated auction” for its rights. According to The Hollywood Reporter, “The Rocket”, a script written by Jeffrey Gelber and Ryan Belenzon, was fought over by some Hollywood titans.

Ultimately Black Bear Pictures (The Imitation Game, All Is Lost) won the auction for a price rumored to have topped $2 million, a heavy price that tells us this likely goes ...

Read More...

Andrew McCutchen is tired of John Fogerty’s ‘Centerfield’

Andrew McCutchen probably wants more Pavement played at ballparks.

Former National League MVP and perennial All-Star Andrew McCutchen has made his name in part due to his skills as a center fielder, but apparently would get by just fine if he never heard John Fogerty’s 1985 hit song “Centerfield” again at the ballpark.

So writes the face of the Pittsburgh Pirates franchise in a questionnaire he filled out at the Players’ Tribune on Friday.

The exact question: “The song I never want to hear ...

Read More...
RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 23, 2015 at 10:15 AM | 97 comment(s)
  Beats: andrew mccutchen, centerfield, john fogerty, music, pirates

Tommy John Surgery Success Rates in the Majors – The Hardball Times

When we think about pitchers who have recovered from Tommy John surgery, our minds tend to lock onto the successful ones. Tommy John himself. A.J. Burnett. Adam Wainwright. Jordan Zimmermann. What is critical to understand is that one out of every five major pitchers who undergoes the operation never throws another pitch at that level. These are less familiar names, given their career-ending injuries. Ambiorix Burgos. Anthony Reyes. Macay McBride. Bill Simas. The most recent data suggest that ...
Read More...
Jim Furtado Posted: March 23, 2015 at 09:37 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: tommy john surgery

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 3-23-2015

Pittsburgh Press, March 23, 1915:

Bob Steele, young left-hander, tells a good one on Calvo, a Cuban outfielder who was with the Victoria club in the Northwestern league. It seems the squad was traveling by boat from Victoria to Vancouver. The club jokesters began kidding Calvo and one of them told the Cuban that the boat had to go through a tunnel in order to get into Vancouver. This sounded interesting to the Cuban and he sat up all night waiting to see the boat go through that tunnel.

I once ...

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Corey Klübermensch (Dan Lee) Posted: March 23, 2015 at 07:48 AM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: bob steele, dugout, history, jack calvo

Are D’backs in denial about $68.5M phenom or are harsh scouts wrong? | New York Post

In MLB if you are smarter than everybody else, you get a chance to prove it. Or not.

But — unprovoked — both Arizona chief baseball officer Tony La Russa and general manager Dave Stewart begin conversations by saying the D’backs will be better than critics are claiming, citing positional and starting depth and a credo to play hard and fundamentally well.

So is the chorus wrong, or are Arizona officials delusional about the roster in general and Tomas — who they still say can play third ...

Read More...
Jim Furtado Posted: March 23, 2015 at 06:48 AM | 60 comment(s)
  Beats: dave stewart, diamondbacks, peter o'brien, tony la russa, yasmany tomas

Are the Mets Big Enough for Matt Harvey?—NYMag

Here’s a NY Magazine feature about Matt Harvey.

Sandy Alderson is more clinical. “When someone transcends the sport and becomes a brand in and of himself, he needs to keep in mind what the foundation of that celebrity is,” the general manager says. “It’s not a fashion line. He’s a baseball player. But I think he’s smart enough to know that.Matt likes to talk. I don’t mean that in a negative way. He likes to talk things through and take time to absorb what he hears and consider ...

Read More...
Jim Furtado Posted: March 23, 2015 at 06:34 AM | 26 comment(s)
  Beats: matt harvey, mets

Starting 9: Minor league options can lead to March roster madness | TribLIVE

Pirates options as Spring Training winds down.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 23, 2015 at 06:33 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: pirates

Top prospects Gray, Butler get chance to prove themselves | rockies.com

Gray, out of the University of Oklahoma, was the Rockies’ first-round pick in 2013; Butler, out of Radford, was the 46th player selected overall in 2012. The pair is ranked 1-2 on MLB.com’s organization prospect list, and Butler made three big-league starts last season.

They both opened eyes this spring, and not with their “stuff.” There was never any question about that. Rather it was their maturity and focus that has caught the attention not only of the Rockies but of scouts from other ...

Read More...
Jim Furtado Posted: March 23, 2015 at 06:29 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: eddie butler, jon gray, rockies

Rays to name Asdrubal Cabrera everyday shortstop | Tampa Bay Times

“He has not done anything this spring to look like he’s lost range,” Cash said last week. “If I had to say, from spring training, this spring, I’ve had the benefit of seeing him his last two years in Cleveland, he looks better. … His body looks better. He’s moving really well.

“He’s made a couple nice plays where he is moving, soft line drives, a couple plays up the middle, and then a backhand play (last week) where he kind of pulled (first baseman James) Loney off the bag, but still he ...

Read More...
Jim Furtado Posted: March 23, 2015 at 06:27 AM | 34 comment(s)
  Beats: asdrubal cabrera, rays

D-backs prospect O’Brien among 7 sent down | dbacks.com

Pete O’Brien can catch, they said.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 23, 2015 at 06:26 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: diamondbacks, pete o'brien

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