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Thursday, April 03, 2014

NYT: Brayden King: What Umpires Get Wrong

THIS season Major League Baseball is allowing its officiating crews to use instant replay to review certain critical calls, including home runs, force plays and foul balls. But the calling of the strike zone — determining whether a pitch that is not swung at is a ball or a strike — will still be left completely to the discretion of the officials. This might seem an odd exception, since calling the strike zone may be the type of officiating decision most subject to human foible.

In research ...

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Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: April 03, 2014 at 02:59 PM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: general, umpiring

MLB.com: Astros Shower Jeter With Applause & Gifts

First there was the pair of Yankees pinstriped Lucchese cowboy boots, emblazoned with Jeter’s No. 2. Then came the Texas-size Stetson cowboy hat, seemingly a must-have for anyone who passes through Minute Maid Park on his way to the Hall of Fame.

Pettitte, Roger Clemens and Mike Stanton, all former teammates and all Houston residents, joined Jeter on the field to present the gifts, along with longtime Astros radio announcer Milo Hamilton.

The ceremony also involved several big names from ...

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Mike Trout: 6 years, $144.5 million

Trout is clearly an elite hitter already, at age 22. There is certainly no reason, on the surface, to question whether he’ll be worth his recent six-year, $144.5M extension that will carry him through his age 28 season. Still, let’s look into the game’s past and try to identify his peer group. Does he even have one? How did they age, when did they peak, and what might the future hold for Mike Trout, and for the Angels’ investment in him?

[...]

The start to Trout’s career is almost ...

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An Athletic in Powderhorn™ Posted: April 03, 2014 at 02:29 PM | 96 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, contract extensions, history, mike trout

The Chad Curtis Story

This one’s a little tough to take, but Hanlon did a fantastic job reporting on the story. One of the finest published pieces today.

djordan Posted: April 03, 2014 at 02:27 PM | 90 comment(s)
  Beats: chad curtis, mlb

Arizona Diamondbacks running out of supersized corn dogs - ESPN

$25. $25. $25. $25.

Sales of the Arizona Diamondbacks’ $25 corn dog have been so brisk that the team’s concessionaires can’t wait for a week-long road trip that starts Friday so that they can prep enough to be ready for the team’s April 11-13 homestand against the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Diamondbacks are selling the D-Bat—an 18-inch corn dog stuffed with cheddar cheese, jalapenos and bacon and served with fries—for $25.
The 18-inch corn dog, called the D-Bat, is stuffed with cheddar cheese, ...

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Jim Furtado Posted: April 03, 2014 at 02:27 PM | 42 comment(s)
  Beats: diamondbacks, food


Dick Monfort says changes at Coors Field “will pizazz it up” - The Denver Post

I bet they are not making it look more like Marlins Field.

Jim Furtado Posted: April 03, 2014 at 02:20 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: coors field, rockies

Rays notes: Archer ready to take his turn

I hope he doesn’t drink the bad water going around.

[Chris] Archer, 25, signed a six-year, $25.5 million contract Wednesday that also has two option years, which can raise the value to $43.75 million.

“It’s outstanding,” manager Joe Maddon said. “When you get that commitment both ways, from the owners to the player and the player’s commitment back to the organization, my first thought is, that’s the way to become consistent in regards to winning and establishing a tradition. Great moment ...

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Jim Furtado Posted: April 03, 2014 at 02:18 PM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: chris archer, rays

Heisey’s walk-off avenges Reds’ Opening Day loss

Although he doesn’t get as low, Tony Cingrani reminds me a lot of Sid Fernandez. He slings the ball in a way that really makes it difficult for hitters to pick up the ball. That he’s sitting 93-96, only makes their task that much harder.

Cingrani went seven shutout innings. He allowed two hits, walked two and struck out nine. He threw 92 pitches, 57 of which were strikes. He’s made 19 starts in the majors. He’s never allowed more than five hits.

Cingrani, 24, is fearless. He attacked hitters ...

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Jim Furtado Posted: April 03, 2014 at 02:03 PM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: reds, tony cingrani


Pirates notebook: No word yet on Taillon’s elbow exam | TribLIVE

Is there something in the water?

Jim Furtado Posted: April 03, 2014 at 01:58 PM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: elbow, injuries, pirates

Friday, March 28, 2014

The old ball game comes back to Montreal

46,000+ tonight, 50,000+ expected tomorrow.

crict Posted: March 28, 2014 at 10:46 PM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: gary carter, jays, mets, montreal expos


The Last Great Call (ESPN)

[bq]What this really was, when you think it through, was the Last Great Umpiring Call (or Calls) of the Pre-Instant Replay Era, the technology which—beginning in 2014—will permeate the lives of every umpire who ever sets foot on a major league field from now on.

Never again will six men in blue work a World Series game, or any other game, knowing there is no replay machine, no technological wizardry, hovering in the background to serve as their safety net.

Never again will there be quite the ...

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Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: March 28, 2014 at 03:25 PM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, obstruction, red sox, umpires, world series

ESPN: Hank the dog gets own bobblehead

The Brewers announced Thursday that popular pup Hank will have his own bobblehead night in September.

Hank is the little dog that wandered into the Brewers’ complex at spring training. The stray became the unofficial team mascot, and is now living in Milwaukee with the family of a club executive.

Bobblehead Hank night will be Sept. 13 against Cincinnati at Miller Park.

Brewers pitcher Brandon Kintzler says the team wants to help other animals in need. Part of the ticket sales from the ...

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spike Posted: March 28, 2014 at 10:50 AM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: brewers, milwaukee

WSJ: Deee-fense: Baseball’s Big Shift Playing the field suddenly is becoming a sophisticated science

Baseball’s approach to defense, long unchanged except for the gloves getting bigger, is undergoing the most radical change in strategy since the Reconstruction Era. Defensive shifting, which started as a trend several years ago, is becoming epidemic. Major League teams “shifted” 8,134 times last season, compared with just 2,357 in 2011. [...]

Last season, the Pirates “shifted,” meaning they had three infielders on one side of second base or in significantly nontraditional positions, 494 times, ...

Read More...
bobm Posted: March 28, 2014 at 09:20 AM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: brewers, cardinals, orioles, pirates, rays, red sox, shift

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 3-28-2014

The [Missoula, MT] Daily Missoulian, March 28, 1914:

Joe Jackson was piloting a team of barnstormers through the Carolinas…The local phenom who did the hurling for the home team struck out [Jackson] on one occasion. Jackson also sent up two pops to the infield.

“So that’s the kind of a swatter you are,” was the sarcastic remark made by the kid pitcher when Jackson came up the fourth time. “They must have a lot of boobs pitching up there in the American league.”

The remark roused Joe’s ire. ...

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Craig Calcaterra: On journalists with access to the clubhouse vs. journalists who don’t.

A positive, constructive meeting in which Puig came away saying all the right things about wanting to be a better player and a good teammate and a manager saying that it’s all good and that everyone is heading in the right direction. No teammates, on the record or off, are saying they have continuing problems with Puig. It’s a sourced and reported story of a team nipping a problem in the bud.

But this all happened on Tuesday. Before Bill Plaschke wrote a column in which Puig was a cancer ...

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Tripon Posted: March 28, 2014 at 12:42 AM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: dodgers, media

Miguel Cabrera and Tigers agree on eight-year, $248 million extension

Miguel Cabrera, the best hitter in baseball, will also be the best-paid player in the game when the slugger and the Detroit Tigers finalize what multiple reports say would be the biggest contract extension in baseball history based on average annual value.

Cabrera and the Tigers have agreed on an extension that would keep an Olde English “D” on Cabrera’s chest through 2023. It’s worth $248 million over eight years and kicks in after Cabrera finishes his old deal, which still has two ...

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GregD Posted: March 28, 2014 at 12:05 AM | 138 comment(s)
  Beats: contract extension, miguel cabrera, tigers

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Posnanski: At WAR with Pedro

The W.A.N.D. (The Whiff Always Negates Defeat)

Somebody asked me this question on Twitter: If I could have any pitcher from any time pitch one game… who would I choose?

I immediately typed: Pedro. 1999… Any baseball pitching question can be answered, somehow, by: Pedro, 1999. I would actually like to answer ALL questions that way. When I go fill up gas, and the little pump screen asks: “Cash or Credit” I’d love to be able to type in: Pedro, 1999.

Anyway, the choice lit up the Twitter ...

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The District Attorney Posted: March 27, 2014 at 04:55 PM | 35 comment(s)
  Beats: boston, history, joe posnanski, pedro martinez, sabermetrics

Nationals star Bryce Harper works hard to take care of his body

a companion piece for the David Wells article…

Bryce Harper’s diet veers between world-class athlete and overgrown kid, which makes sense because that’s what he is. Harper pours glutamine powder into yogurt-and-fruit shakes and drops amino vitamins into homemade organic juice. He also scarfs his mom’s made-from-scratch cooking. He sneaks Klondike Bars, Starbucks pumpkin spice lattes and Double Stuff Oreos. He does not drink Red Bull or Five-Hour Energy, both full of sugar and caffeine ...

Read More...

During A Bender, David Wells Took A Break To Throw A Perfect Game, Immediately Returned To The Party

Boomer rumor

David Wells is one of the few people who excels at working while hungover. Case in point: He’d spent the night before a day game partying at an SNL cast party. In 1998. Ya, probably a bit more than just drinking going on, but that didn’t stop Boomer from retiring 27 straight Minnesota Twins the following morning.

That’s right — after getting sloppy with Jim Breuer, Will Ferrell, Ana Gasteyer, Darrell Hammond, Chris Kattan, Norm Macdonald, Tim Meadows, Tracy Morgan, Cheri ...

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eddieot Posted: March 27, 2014 at 01:50 PM | 23 comment(s)
  Beats: burp, david wells, saturday night live, twins, yankees

Boras Corp. Loses Grievance Claim Against Beltran

Hope Scott has socked some pocket change away for such hard times.

The Boras Corporation—the powerful agency led by Scott Boras—has lost a grievance action that it brought against recent Yankees signee Carlos Beltran, report Bob Nightengale and Jorge L. Ortiz of USA Today. Boras had sought $1.3MM in damages from Beltran for leaving his agency in October of 2011, prior to inking a two-year, $26MM contract with the Cardinals.

The ruling by arbitrator Shyam Das held that Boras could not enforce ...

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eddieot Posted: March 27, 2014 at 10:25 AM | 45 comment(s)
  Beats: austin jackson, carlos beltran, robinson cano, scott boras, yankees

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 3-27-2014

Pittsburgh Press, March 27, 1914:

“Who stabbed King Cole in the leg?” That question is destroying brain cells among the New York Yankees today. Just before arriving in Atlanta, Ga., from Mobile, Cole jumped from his berth roaring “I’ve been stabed,” and several stitches were required to close the wound in his shin.

The King knows absolutely nothing, he says, of how he came to be wounded. Some hint darkly that a Federal league agent, disguised as a porter, committed the dastardly crime while the ...

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Rocco Baldelli understands ordeal Grady Sizemore faces in comeback | Boston Herald

Although it’s a great story, I will be shocked if Sizemore gets more than 300 PA.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 27, 2014 at 09:04 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: grady sizemore, red sox

Major League Baseball unveils state-of-the-art replay center | MLB.com

377 out of 50,000 calls. Do we really need instant replay?

Among the most impressive parts of the presentation were the statistics MLB compiled which showed how few “clear and convincing incorrect calls” were made by umpires in 2013. By MLB’s reckoning, there were only 377 out of some 50,000 that merited review. Only 27 times did it happen twice in a game. On just three occasions, it happened three times, never against the same team.

Linked fixed: Sorry, Jim.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 27, 2014 at 09:01 AM | 22 comment(s)
  Beats: instant replay, rules

YES Network: Ken Singleton says Ellsbury + Gardner = a nearly impenetrable defense

Or as this Yankee fan told me in the bar the other day…“This Pillsbury kid is spossed to be really good”.

When you talk about the best defensive outfields in baseball, the Yankees certainly have to go into that conversation. Right now, it seems as if Alfonso Soriano and Carlos Beltran will rotate through that spot, but whether it’s one of them, Ichiro, or a literal statue out in right, former MLB outfielder Ken Singleton agrees that the left/center combo of Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury ...

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Repoz Posted: March 27, 2014 at 07:11 AM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: yankees

ESPNLA: Dodgers, Yasiel Puig clear air

Yasiel Puig is always going to be a story. The Los Angeles Dodgers just don’t want him to be the only story anyone ever talks about on a team with World Series aspirations.

So before the latest controversy with Puig had a chance to mushroom, manager Don Mattingly called a team meeting Tuesday to clear the air, sources with knowledge of the situation told ESPN.

A source described Puig as “very open” during the meeting and receptive to what was said.

“I asked them to please keep ...

Read More...
Tripon Posted: March 27, 2014 at 12:59 AM | 46 comment(s)
  Beats: dodgers

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Texas Rangers name Tanner Scheppers opening day starter; Yu Darvish to open on DL

Well, hello, hello and welcome, my friend, to Tanner’s Happy Good-byes.

In a flurry of pitching moves forced by injuries and slow rehabs, the Rangers named first-time starter Tanner Scheppers their opening day starting pitcher… Scheppers will start on March 31 against Philadelphia and will be followed by LHP Martin Perez, LHP Robbie Ross and LHP Joe Saunders. RHP Nick Martinez, who pitched at Class A and Double A last year, will have the fifth spot for the start of the season…

despite a very ...

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