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Sunday, October 12, 2014

NY Magazine: How Pro Sports’ Biggest Losers Became World Series Contenders

1. They started spending.
Royals owner David Glass had developed a reputation as a cheapskate, and for good reason. In 2011, the Royals had a payroll of just $38 million — less than a fifth of what the Yankees spent that year. (The Royals record in 2011? A weak 71–91.) In the seasons since, though, they’ve steadily raised that figure: from $64 million in 2012 to nearly $82 million in 2013 to $92 million this year. In 2014, their Opening Day payroll was a middle-of-the-pack 19th, ahead of ...

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bobm Posted: October 12, 2014 at 09:15 PM | 25 comment(s)
  Beats: royals

Adam LaRoche accepts that he must step aside to make room for Ryan Zimmerman

Adam Kilgore in the Washington Post-

... this October was likely LaRoche’s last ride with the Nationals — the last time the beloved teammate, dependable first baseman, genial outdoorsman and charitable man will wear a Nationals uniform. If the decision was his to make, in a vacuum, LaRoche would finish his career in Washington. He knows it is not, and he is okay with that.


Grant: Two role models for new Texas Rangers manager | Dallas Morning News

In the case of the Rangers’ managerial search, which is likely to be pared down to three finalists this week, the mentors — particularly Terry Francona and Clint Hurdle — loom very big. Both are models for what the Rangers want in their next manager. Both have taken two different organizations to the postseason. Both have been to the World Series.
Most importantly, they both have commanding presence, yet manage by inclusion.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 12, 2014 at 10:04 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: clint hurdle, managerial search, managers, terry francona, texas

Pair in Greinke trade coming up Royal in ballclub’s turnaround | FOX Sports

Hearing “hitterish” makes me wince.

Finally, I thought “hitterish” was a newfangled term created by baseball scouts. Nope. When I talked with Hall of Famer Brett in the Royals clubhouse after Game 2, he invoked the term in reference to the emergence of Mike Moustakas. He said the iconic hitting coach Charley Lau used the word during Brett’s playing career to describe batters who look like they’re going to get a hit every time they’re at the plate — even though we know that’s not ...

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Jim Furtado Posted: October 12, 2014 at 10:01 AM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: baseball lexicon, royals


What a strange trip it’s been for the Royals and their fans | The Kansas City Star

The Royals are definitely on a roll. How long will it last?

Jim Furtado Posted: October 12, 2014 at 09:32 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: playoffs, royals

ESPN MLB Chaotic week for new father Britton

That’s the Monarch Notes version of Britton’s game; he relied on a sinking fastball and a slider to induce a staggeringly high ground-ball percentage of 75.3 percent during the regular season. But when the games are this big and the ground balls lead to baserunners, ill-fated timing and BABIP woes can smell suspiciously like failure on a grand stage. Fans and the media tend to see it that way, although pitchers try to keep the phenomenon in context.

“One of the biggest things for us as ...

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Jim Furtado Posted: October 12, 2014 at 09:29 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: orioles, zach britton

The complicated case of the next Red Sox ace - Over the Monster

I hate the idea that the Red Sox will pay one of these guys the going rate in free agency. I know big pickups help sell tickets in the short run but I’d much rather see them work out a deal from their prospect surplus than get locked into a big money deal for guys on the wrong side of thirty.

But ideally the Red Sox will simply be looking at this from a slightly more dynamic perspective. Where a high price point isn’t just a high price point that shouldn’t be met, but is taken in the context of ...

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Jim Furtado Posted: October 12, 2014 at 09:23 AM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: free agents, red sox

Live chat: JABO crew takes your questions during NLCS Game 1 | FOX Sports

The alternative broadcast of the NLCS was a mixed bag last night. Some of it went very well; some of it pushed me back to the regular broadcast. The biggest complaint I have is the split screen format. Although the producers went to more full-screen game action as the game wore on, after complaints on Twitter, there were still too many shots of the guys talking about the game. As I mentioned on Facebook, I don’t really want to see them. Sure, if you have some analysis during a break in action, ...

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Jim Furtado Posted: October 12, 2014 at 08:57 AM | 33 comment(s)
  Beats: jabo, television

Sox in ‘15: Three options at second base - Chicago White Sox Blog - ESPN Chicago

This is the kind of problem a team wants. Both Micah Johnson and Marcus Semien look like good options at 2B.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 12, 2014 at 08:47 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: white sox

How a Disgruntled Ace Gave the Royals a Full House - NYTimes.com

Moore and Melvin liked dealing with each other. Each had a scouting background and tended to trust traditional scouting methods more than advanced analytics.

“I have nothing against numbers, but everybody has the same numbers,” Melvin said. “When you’re talking about scouting and player development, that’s risk-taking. If Escobar’s hitting .170, that’s probably not a good deal for them. Same with Cain. But they did a nice job in the last years of their development.”

The teams ...

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Jim Furtado Posted: October 12, 2014 at 08:44 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: alcides escobar, lorenzo cain, playoffs, royals, zack greinke

Lo and behold: Cain a threat in all phases | MLB.com

Lorenzo Cain is this year’s playoff darling.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 12, 2014 at 08:37 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: lorenzo cain, playoffs, royals

2014 LCS DAY 3 OMNICHATTER

NLCS Game 2: Giants (Peavy) at Cardinals (Lynn), 8 PM, FS1. Giants lead Best-Of-7 series 1-0.


CHATTER UP!

Gamingboy Posted: October 12, 2014 at 12:07 AM | 511 comment(s)
  Beats: omnichatter

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Theo says Cubs’ goal is to win division in ‘15 | cubs.com

Meeting with reporters after the fan session, Epstein joked they can go ahead and write columns criticizing the Cubs for missing out on some big-name free agents this offseason.
“To be the organization that we want to be—to be a world-class organization—you can’t be afraid of perception,” said Epstein. “You have to put yourself out there and look stupid at times. We’re going to miss on players by not signing them, we’re going to sign players who don’t work out. But we’re also going to sign ...

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Jim Furtado Posted: October 11, 2014 at 08:11 PM | 260 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs

Poz: Going all the way back to 1977

Jack Brett raged at his nice boy son. And George Brett learned to fear failure. He learned to fear embarrassment. He learned to fear that voice, the rumbling voice of his father, tearing him apart over an error he made in the third or a swing out of the strike zone. After one such conversation, George tore the phone off the wall in the clubhouse. After more than one, he headed out into the night to find relief.

George Brett did not grow up to be a nice boy. He took a bat to the toilets in ...

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Borowsky: The Cardinals need to reclaim spirit of ‘64 to heal St Louis’ racial tensions

Viva Larry Borowsky.

The Cardinals unite the city of St Louis as no other civic institution can. As the rest of the country has noted (with growing irritation), St Louisans take tremendous satisfaction in the success of our baseball team. Michael Brown was no exception; like almost every local kid, he identified as a proud member of Cardinal Nation. (The Cardinals hat he was wearing when he was shot rested atop his casket on the day of his funeral.) So, no doubt, do most of the officers who ...

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Repoz Posted: October 11, 2014 at 02:34 PM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals

Contact, Speed, and the 2014 Royals | Articles | Bill James Online

Some interesting breakdowns.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 11, 2014 at 02:13 PM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: sabermetrics

Video: Statcast: Dyson caught stealing | MLB.com

This is nice stuff.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 11, 2014 at 10:38 AM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: jarrod dyson, playoffs

Mark Appel Proved Wednesday The Big Stuff Is Back | FanGraphs Baseball

The total package is here for a #2 starter. An efficient delivery from a brick wall of a human being, two plus or better pitches and a third average pitch with signs of Major League pitchability. Unless the control hiccups are a harbinger of things to come (something that I’ll be on the lookout for the rest of the month here) I think he’ll be just fine.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 11, 2014 at 09:17 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: jake reed, mark appel, prospect reports, prospects

Diamondbacks narrow list of potential managers

The sources would not identify the three candidates, but a report by USA Today listed four finalists for the position: Oakland A’s bench coach Chip Hale, Cleveland first-base coach Sandy Alomar Jr., Diamondbacks Triple-A manager Phil Nevin and former major-league manager Jim Tracy. Sources would not confirm nor deny the names in the report.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 11, 2014 at 09:12 AM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: diamondbacks, managerial search

Royals win powerful ALCS opener - SweetSpot Blog - ESPN

Yes they did.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 11, 2014 at 09:10 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: orioles, playoffs, royals

Midnight magic: Alex Gordon’s blast powers the Royals to another thrilling extra-inning win | The Kansas City Star

The personification of this Royals team is a busted prospect who made himself into a star turning a fastball that catches too much of the plate into a trophy for the right-field seats.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 11, 2014 at 08:54 AM | 30 comment(s)
  Beats: alex gordon, orioles, playoffs, royals

OMNICHATTER 2014 LCS DAY 2

LCS DAY 2: Electric Boogaloo.

4 PM: ALCS GAME 2, Royals (Ventura) at Orioles (Not Available At Submission Time Due To Showalter Secrecy), TBS, Royals lead 1-0

8 PM: NLCS GAME 1, Giants (Bumgarner) at Cardinals (Wainwright), FOX (w/“Just a Bit Outside” simulcast on FS1). Series, obviously, tied at 0.

May the Baby Walrus watch over you and provide comfort during your angst.

Gamingboy Posted: October 11, 2014 at 01:02 AM | 536 comment(s)
  Beats: omnichatter

Friday, October 10, 2014

ESPN: MLB players want ‘voice’ in changes

In an offseason in which baseball has committed itself to speeding up the pace of games, several players told ESPN.com this week that players want “a voice” in this process and they’re concerned that, so far at least, no one except the players’ union has asked them what they thought.

“Players are very interested in being involved in these discussions,” veteran pitcher Kevin Slowey said. “We just want to be part of a collaborative effort to address these issues. And we want to ...

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kthejoker Posted: October 10, 2014 at 12:10 PM | 80 comment(s)
  Beats: rules

Evaluating the Prospects: Houston Astros | FanGraphs Baseball

Fangraphs has begun their prospect reports.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 10, 2014 at 11:16 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, prospects

Recap: Survivor: “Actions vs. Accusations”

Anyway, he’s still in good shape.

“It was well played,” John Rocker says, walking down the steps with the Idol in his pocket. “I enjoyed myself and was happy to have the opportunity,” John says…

I just can’t see voting John Rocker out at this stage in the season, other than to avoid awkward moments at mixed tribe social events. If you go along with John, he’s always a bigger target than you are, no matter who you happen to be. He’s always the person who will be viewed as the bigger threat or ...

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The District Attorney Posted: October 10, 2014 at 10:50 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, indians, john rocker, rangers, rays, television

IG eyes Red Sox land deal | Boston Herald

The public always gets screwed.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 10, 2014 at 09:54 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: business, red sox

Royals legends are relieved to see this team create 1985-like memories | The Kansas City Star

“I’m tired of talking about 1985, I really am,” he says. “I am sick and tired of it. You know? You can only look in the past for so long.”

George Brett is awesome.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 10, 2014 at 09:06 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: george brett, playoffs, royals

Buck Showalter and Ned Yost will be under intense scrutiny - ESPN

Major League Baseball’s division series action proved that big payrolls and star power can be overrated, while leaving plenty of managerial roadkill in its wake. Judging from the always measured and thoughtful public sentiment on Twitter, Brad Ausmus has no clue how to run a bullpen, Don Mattingly’s ability to make bad decisions knows no bounds, and Matt Williams isn’t equipped to run a convenience store, never mind a team with World Series aspirations.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 10, 2014 at 08:46 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: buck showalter, ned yost, playoffs

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 10-10-2014

United Press via Toledo News-Bee, October 10, 1914:

Continuing their whirlwind play, George Stallings’ Boston Braves annexed the second game of the world’s series from Connie Mack’s Athletics.
...
The Braves had dug up an additional mascot. A young man dressed in a brilliant red costume, such as picture books and stage Inians wear, was on the job at the Boston bench. He was adorned with war feathers and what appeared to be some unfortunate horse’s tail, hung down over his shoulders.
...
A ...

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Dan Lee is some pumkins Posted: October 10, 2014 at 08:13 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

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