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Friday, March 28, 2014
[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 ...Read More...
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 ...
Posted: March 28, 2014 at 10:50 AM | 15 comment(s)
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, ...
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. ...
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 ...
Posted: March 28, 2014 at 12:42 AM | 17 comment(s)
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 ...Read More...
Thursday, March 27, 2014
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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.
Posted: March 27, 2014 at 09:01 AM | 22 comment(s)
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 ...
Posted: March 27, 2014 at 07:11 AM | 19 comment(s)
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 ...
Posted: March 27, 2014 at 12:59 AM | 46 comment(s)
Wednesday, March 26, 2014
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 ...
Marrero was a bright spot on a bad team. He didn’t reach the majors until he was just a few days shy of 39, an age most ballplayers were well into retirement. The Washington journalist Bob Addie once wrote that Marrero “might have become a Hall of Famer had he been plucked at a younger age.”
In just his fifth big league game, Marrero struck out Boston’s Ted Williams with a dancing knuckleball. According to specious news accounts, he patted himself on the chest as he walked off the ...Read More...
While the lengths have not been finalized, a person involved with the talks said Wednesday the most likely penalties would be about 80 games for an initial testing violation and a season-long ban for a second.
“It will be a significant deterrent because players will know they’re not going to just easily walk back into a lineup,” Travis Tygart, chief executive officer of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, said in a telephone interview. “It probably is the best policy in professional ...
Posted: March 26, 2014 at 03:24 PM | 27 comment(s)
C’mon now, cancelling the World Series is joyous compared to Arli$$.
Hey Bill, In what context do “one run” offensive strategies (in particular the sacrifice bunt, but also stolen bases) make sense in the early innings of a game? Said another way, how scarce do runs need to be in order to make the sacrifice bunt a favorable strategy in the early innings of a game?
I’m not sure I have a solid understanding of the issue. Billy Southworth bunted constantly in the early innings, believing that the ...
McGowan, 32, lost the better part of five years to shoulder injuries. Once a promising starter, he told management at the end of last season that he wanted to try to win a rotation job. But a 10-day bout with the flu seemed to knock him out of the running because he had not been stretched out enough to set himself up for that role.
He expected to wind up in the bullpen again. “It seemed like time was running short on me,” he said Thursday before learning of his new assignment.
But in his ...
Ka-Prow…there it is.
When David Ortiz was signed to a contract extension on Sunday, Red Sox owner John Henry was quoted on the press release saying, “We are so proud to have this ambassador of our game with us as he continues on this road to Cooperstown.”
On Twitter and elsewhere, it was immediately pointed out that Ortiz was once tied to the use of performance-enhancing drugs and such players have so far been denied induction in the Hall of Fame by the Baseball Writers’ Association of ...
Posted: March 26, 2014 at 09:23 AM | 84 comment(s)
Click through to see the results.
Based on our qualifications, 71.7 percent of players who enjoyed those spring power surges went on to increased power in the regular season. Moreover, a similar study of that trend on the team level showed similar results.
In recent seasons, we’ve started to see some feedback from independent studies suggesting that trend may no longer hold true. We were curious to investigate, so we ran the same study with the same qualifications on the data from the most ...
Posted: March 26, 2014 at 09:06 AM | 0 comment(s)
I am listening to MLB Radio on Sirius (which I really like, BTW) and they were talking about this issue. The host was worked up about the way Seattle handled the situation. I don’t get it. They are working within the CBA. As you might expect, Wolf wanted the rest of his contract guaranteed. The Mariners weren’t prepared to do that. The Mariners offered a bridge contract. He didn’t like it. They cut him, which they could have done without the 45-day offer. Had Wolf pitched better in the spring, ...Read More...
Posted: March 26, 2014 at 08:54 AM | 41 comment(s)
Washington Times, March 26, 1914:
“Lefty” Ruth’s wicked shoots proved too much for Connie Mack’s world’s champions [in Wilmington, NC] yesterday, especially when allied with some timely clouting by Ezra Midkiff and Neal Ball.
Big deal. Some teenager pitched well in March. He’ll never amount to anything.
A few months ago, I learned of the stunning archival holdings at the University of South Carolina’s Moving Image Research Collections. Thanks to the invaluable help of Production Manager Ben Singleton, I had the chance to review some amazing baseball footage, part of the Fox Movietone News outtakes that were donated to USC back in the early 1980s.
When you think about it, this collection of footage is doubly rare. Certainly, very few people have seen the film today. But, since this footage ...
Posted: March 26, 2014 at 05:48 AM | 39 comment(s)
Tuesday, March 25, 2014
Barton is kind of a Grady Sizemore writ small.
The first base puzzle is officially coming together for the Oakland A’s.
Manager Bob Melvin told reporters Tuesday morning that switch-hitting Alberto Callaspo will play first base against left-handed starting pitchers. With signs pointing toward the A’s keeping just two catchers, John Jaso and Derek Norris, it means Daric Barton is likely to make the Opening Night roster and split first base with Brandon Moss against right-handed pitchers. ...
The District Attorney
Posted: March 25, 2014 at 11:56 PM | 32 comment(s)
Ding Ding Ding! Hall of Shame used!
At an event co-presented by Arizona State University at Scottsdale’s Clayton on the Park, a panel of baseball insiders offered their observations and opinions.
USA Today baseball columnist Bob Nightengale, the evening’s moderator, asked the panelists whether they qualify statistics based on whether or not the numbers were posted in the era of drugs.
Retrosheet founder David W. Smith, who collects extensive play-by-play data, said he’s not nearly as ...
Posted: March 25, 2014 at 07:12 PM | 14 comment(s)
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Lance Reddick! Lance him!