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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Frank Deford: It’s Time To Shrink Home Plate

Day by day it grows! Science is baffled! And so is Frank Deford!

It’s time to make home plate smaller. I know: That’s heresy; that’s sacrilegious. But there are simply too many strikeouts in baseball now, and that hurts the game, because if the ball isn’t in play, it’s boring.

The size of home plate was not decreed by God. Back when it was an iron plate — where the name came from — it was, in fact, round. It became rubber and a square, 12 inches to a side, but its present distinctive ...

Read More...
Repoz Posted: February 26, 2014 at 05:01 PM | 84 comment(s)
  Beats: history

Dwyre: Chone Figgins is back and might just catch on with the Dodgers

NL pennant is secure!

It has come to this for Figgins. His talent and history in the game will no longer carry him. He has to make the team by performing, starting with that first pitch Wednesday.

He knows it. There is no sulking, no hint of entitlement. The quiet, hustling personality that made him so popular in Anaheim has not changed. His perspective has.

On Jan. 15, he worked out in his hometown of Tampa, Fla., for officials of most of the major league teams. When he finished — “It was ...

Read More...
Greg Franklin Posted: February 26, 2014 at 02:22 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, dodgers, mariners, marlins

James: On the Relative Importance of Pitching Categories (Registration Required)

Part I:

Which pitching stats are most closely connected to value?... I took all pitchers in history who pitched 199.0 to 201.0 innings… The more often a category agrees with the bottom line, the more closely it is connected to Value.

What is Value?  I decided to use Fangraphs WAR as “true value”.

The District Attorney Posted: February 26, 2014 at 12:50 PM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: bill james, sabermetrics

Coker: Josh Hamilton, Angels Slugger, Downsizes Role of Anti-Drug “Accountability Partner”

Crutch/crutches.

John Hamilton came to your Anaheim Angels of Anaheim with a big stick and a lot of baggage. The first overall pick in the 1999 Major League Baseball draft spent most of his first eight seasons in the minors or suspended due to drug and alcohol addiction. He’s gone on to become a lifetime .295 hitter, five-time All-Star outfielder and 2010 American League MVP in the Bigs. By his side on and off the road has been an “accountability partner”—think a life chaperon. But the Angels ...

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Repoz Posted: February 26, 2014 at 11:50 AM | 26 comment(s)
  Beats: angels

Mets’ ‘Dominican Mafia’ has a new leader…Jose Valverde

Leave the JUGS gun. Take the deditos de novia.

In less than two weeks with the Mets in spring training, Jose Valverde has emerged as the leader of, what the reliever calls, the team’s “Dominican Mafia.”

The members include young pitchers Jenrry Mejia, Jeurys Familia, Rafael Montero and Gonzalez Germen, and meetings are held in a corner of the clubhouse near Valverde’s locker. Another veteran Dominican pitcher, Bartolo Colon, also presides.

“It feels like we are brothers here,” ...

Read More...
Repoz Posted: February 26, 2014 at 10:14 AM | 50 comment(s)
  Beats: mets

WashPost: New pitch would make baseball’s opener a holiday

The following question came before the American body politic Tuesday: Should Congress designate baseball’s opening day as a federal holiday?

To which fans responded: You mean it’s not?

The first day of the baseball season is already a day of mass miracles, when hundreds of thousands of invalids who call in sick at 8:30 a.m. are healed in time to be at the ballpark by the first pitch at 1:05 p.m. Maybe it should be a religious holiday….

Like many great ideas, the movement to create ...

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Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: February 26, 2014 at 10:14 AM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: business, general

Connie Mack’s Less Than Graceful Exit

The Yankees made them do it. That’s the time-honored explanation for the American League’s decision to move the Philadelphia Athletics to Kansas City in 1954. After strong-arming the rest of the league to install a friendly, compliant owner in Kansas City, the Yankees looted the Athletics franchise, acquiring such key players as Roger Maris, Ralph Terry and Clete Boyer in return for nobody in particular.

That conventional wisdom has been disputed recently by historian Bill Deane, who ...

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snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: February 26, 2014 at 10:04 AM | 57 comment(s)
  Beats: history

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-26-2014

The race to sign Big Six is heating up.

Milwaukee Sentinel, February 26, 1914:

Christy Mathewson, the Giant star pitcher, who has been offered the berth of manager of the Federal league Brooklyn club left [Los Angeles] on Wednesday for Marlin Springs, Tex., the spring training camp of the New York Giants.

He carried with him his unsigned contract to play with the Giants and while reiterating his intention to seriously consider the Federal offer, declared he was confident of coming to terms ...

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Izenberg: Happy 95th birthday Monte Irvin

83-year old Jerry Izenberg, on Monte Irvin’s 95th birthday.

The last Eagle will be 95 years old this morning. Monte Irvin broke the New York Baseball Giants’ color line in 1949 and played in two World Series for them. He was the first African-American to work as an aide in the office of the Commissioner of Baseball. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.

That’s for the résumé.

But for me, he will always remain a Newark Eagle.

...Now, after all those years home and abroad ...

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Repoz Posted: February 26, 2014 at 08:00 AM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: history

Larry King to Host ‘At Bat’ Show For the Dodgers Network

Hello…Manuel, no longer in Chavez Ravine…you’re on the air!

Larry King bleeds blue for his beloved Los Angeles Dodgers and even celebrated his 80th birthday at the stadium last November.

Now, the lifelong fan will become one of the faces of the team as he hosts Larry King at Bat, a new series premiering March 18 at 7 p.m for the SportsNet LA channel, which launched today.

A season ticket holder and a fan since the Dodgers played in Brooklyn (they moved to L.A. in 1957, which shows what a ...

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Repoz Posted: February 26, 2014 at 06:33 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: dodgers

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Ozzie Smith Talks Derek Jeter’s Career and Gives His Shortstop Mount Rushmore

Great Gutzons! Garry Templeton is on Ozzie Smith’s Mount Rushmore of shortstops!

For now, Jeter already has a special place in history in Smith’s eyes. When asked to name his shortstop Mount Rushmore, Smith was quick to include him.

“Well, of course Cal would be on there. Derek would be on there. Omar Vizquel would be on there. The guy I got traded for actually would be one of those guys because he was a true five-tool player,” said Smith.

Also, naturally: “And of course, I’d put myself on ...

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Repoz Posted: February 25, 2014 at 08:16 PM | 177 comment(s)
  Beats: history, hof

Blue Jays Adventure 2

From the person who brought us Gregg Zaun as a drunken mini-boss, we have the (unpatched) 2014 Blue Jays adventure!

About a year ago I uploaded an 8 bit video game adventure surrounding the 2013 Toronto Blue Jays.
Needless to say, things didn’t work out as the game predicted.
I took a stab at predicting the 2014 season, but for some reason I can’t get it to work correctly.

Good cripple hitter Posted: February 25, 2014 at 03:25 PM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: blue jays, youtube

Jose Fernandez announces goal of 1.95 ERA for sophomore campaign

Even Pretzels Getzien and his 1.95 ERA don’t see the logic in this!

He delivered his message quiet matter-of-factly, as if he were discussing the everyday, the mundane, the fully expected. With neither fanfare nor a deep breath to preface his quiet announcement, Jose Fernandez calmly said, “My goal this year is to have a 1.95 ERA.” There.

Oh, 1.95? Well, of course? Why not? Why not 1.90?

“I think I can,” Fernandez said with an earnestness that is delightful and disarming. His response to his ...

Read More...
Repoz Posted: February 25, 2014 at 02:29 PM | 36 comment(s)
  Beats: marlins

Posnanski: Me and Maddux

Shouldn’t it have been Kuiper’s card?

The District Attorney Posted: February 25, 2014 at 12:51 PM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: greg maddux, joe posnanski, simulations, strat-o-matic

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-25-2014

Toledo News-Bee, February 25, 1914:

The White Sox and Giants were aboard the Orontes, nearing the equator. Half the party had been summoned on deck to watch the crossing of the line. Joe Benz thought he saw it in the distance, but Steve Evans declared it was high water and the equator was submerged.

An argument arose and the matter was appealed to Umpire Klem.

“Is it in or out at this season?” demanded Steve.

“I cannot make a decision,” replied Klem; “I didn’t see it.”

This has to be ...

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Matheny wishes new collision rule had more teeth

Major League Baseball’s attempt to enact a rule to protect catchers from injury and possible concussions in home-plate collisions resulted in some experimental legislation announced today. But some of the bite was taken out of it, as far as Cardinals manager Mike Matheny was concerned.

“I did think we were making some pretty good progress and then the progress was stopped,” said Matheny. “After talking with people from the players’ association and with Major League Baseball, I think we have ...

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Repoz Posted: February 25, 2014 at 07:45 AM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: mlb

Adam Dunn invited to Oscars

Adam Dunn seen here with his acting/hitting mentor Chuck Connors.

lp

Dunn, an investor in the Oscar-nominated film “Dallas Buyers Club,” has an invitation to attend the Academy Awards show Sunday in Los Angeles. Dunn has a cameo role as a bartender in the movie, which was produced by his friend Joe Newcomb, founder of Truth Entertainment.

“I’m still debating whether I want to do it,” Dunn said from Chicago’s spring training camp in Glendale. “I don’t know yet, but the offer is there. How many ...

Read More...
Repoz Posted: February 25, 2014 at 06:52 AM | 21 comment(s)
  Beats: white sox

Buck Showalter asks prospect who didn’t recognize Frank Robinson to write paper on him

And stop wearing your shirttails backwards…and tuck in those caps in your pants!

On Monday, Robinson was in Sarasota, Florida to speak with Oriole players at spring training. Among those in attendance was Josh Hart, who was selected by the team in last year’s amateur draft. As Robinson made his way around the facilities, Hart had the opportunity to meet the former All-Star. The minor problem was, the 19-year-old had no idea about the man with whom he had come face-to-face.

Eduardo A. ...

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Repoz Posted: February 25, 2014 at 06:23 AM | 171 comment(s)
  Beats: history, orioles

Chris Wheeler: ‘I did the last nine games knowing I was a lame duck’

We’ve all had Wheels to take ourselves away…

Phillies team president David Montgomery found Wheeler before the game.

“[He] told me on Sept. 21 that I wasn’t going to be back to do the games,” Wheeler said. “I did the last nine games knowing I was a lame duck. And that was a little difficult . . . Leaving the booth that Sunday, I caught myself looking around as I walked to the bus.”

...Wheeler is back in Clearwater this spring, going about his business as if nothing has changed. Although he ...

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Repoz Posted: February 25, 2014 at 05:57 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: media, phillies

MLB adopts rule on collisions at plate

The new rule, 7.13, states “a runner attempting to score may not deviate from his direct pathway to the plate in order to initiate contact with the catcher (or other player covering home plate).” A runner violating the rule shall be declared out, even if the fielder drops the ball.

And there are a lot more rules, too. If a catcher blocks the plate with the ball, a collision is still legal. If a catcher blocks the plate without the ball, the runner is automatically safe.

Bitter Calculus Instructor Posted: February 25, 2014 at 01:24 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: rule changes, rules, rules of play

Monday, February 24, 2014

Blue Jays, Astros, Nationals Spring Training Site Musical Chairs

Let’s see if I can make the biggest mess yet with this thread!

LAKE WORTH — Lake Worth city officials think they have a home run of an idea to help revitalize their city and save spring training on Florida’s east coast: A baseball stadium on the shores of Lake Osborne in John Prince Park.

They just need Palm Beach County, which owns the land, to buy into the idea. And that might not happen anytime soon.

...Still, city officials say they are cautiously optimistic about the prospect of ...

Read More...
boteman digs the circuit clout Posted: February 24, 2014 at 09:29 PM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, blue jays, florida, nationals, spring training

Mike Matheny wishes new collision rules had more teeth.

New “rule” being implemented in regards to blocking the plate, doesn’t really look like it does much though.

For this year, the rule being implemented will prohibit the “most egregious collisions” at the plate. The rule states that a runner attempting to score may not deviate from his direct pathway to the plate in order to initiate contact with the catcher or anyone else covering the plate. If, in the umpire’s judgment, a runner attempting to score initiates contact with the ...

Read More...
cardsfanboy Posted: February 24, 2014 at 08:05 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, rule changes

OT: The NHL is finally back thread, part 2

Now that the Olympics are over it’s time for the important Hockey to restart.


Deadspin: The Milwaukee Brewers’ Adopted Stray Dog Is The Best Dog

We interrupt your daily curmudgeonliness for the following:

This is Hank the dog. Hank is a stray who wandered into the Milwaukee Brewers’ spring training facility last week, and has since become the team’s unofficial mascot. Hank is the best dog. Why is Hank the dog so great? Well, before arriving at Brewers’ camp, he was wandering the streets of Phoenix after having been hit by a car.

spike Posted: February 24, 2014 at 02:23 PM | 35 comment(s)
  Beats: milwaukee, puppies

John Thorn: Woodrow Wilson: The First Fantasy Baseball Player

Eat your heart out, Kerouac!

Yes, it’s a provocative title but a startling new find has me believing it’s true. Like the protagonist in Robert Coover’s 1968 novel The Universal Baseball Association, J. Henry Waugh, Prop., the 14-year-old Thomas Woodrow Wilson—known as Tommy—created a whole universe of players, statistics, and a pennant race, with or without the aid of dice. But unlike Waugh—who invented a table game using three dice, a “Stress Chart,” and an “Extraordinary ...

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Repoz Posted: February 24, 2014 at 11:40 AM | 155 comment(s)
  Beats: history

IATB: Ellsbury, Gardner, And The Change In Yankee Philosophy

Trosty Icepick says…“To Yankee fans, those philosophies are sacred!”

It symbolizes the Yankee front office waking up to what’s been happening around them over the last 5 or so years and realizing that a team full of mashers isn’t going to get it done.  Pitching wins championships, and elite defense behind any kind of pitching can elevate a team’s chances to win just as much as a bunch of 30-HR hitters can.  That’s the kind of defense that Ellsbury and Gardner will provide.  Another ...

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Repoz Posted: February 24, 2014 at 10:19 AM | 50 comment(s)
  Beats: yankees

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-24-2014

Pittsburgh Press, February 24, 1914:

The world touring players, now in London, have come in for considerable panning as a result of their failure to play ball in the rain in Paris. The London papers gave great space to their arrival, but did not take kindly to the remarks of John McGraw that baseball would be a betetr [sic] game than cricket for England if that country wished to take the lead in sports. The Pall Mall Gazette suggested that “Mr. McGraw keep these impertinences to his friends at ...

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Harris: The Worst Trade In Cubs History Was Much Worse Than You Thought

A prevailing view of how far baseball fans were willing to go with integration was identified by a sportswriter named John Lardner in the 1950s. The view was described in Roger Kahn’s 1955 article “Ten Years of Jackie Robinson.” Kahn described Lardner’s view of a “50 percent color line.”

As long as a team fielded at least five white players, Lardner observed, it would remain predominantly white. That was a line that even progressive owners like Rickey preferred not to cross.

With ...

Read More...
Repoz Posted: February 24, 2014 at 07:11 AM | 65 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, history

Angels’ Albert Pujols prepared to ‘shut a lot of mouths’ this season

Albert productions: The basics.

As a three-time MVP, a .321 career hitter with 492 home runs and a certain Hall of Famer when he retires, Albert Pujols has no need to listen to critics, especially those ripping on his huge contract.

Oh, but how he would love to silence them.

Pujols, who is trying to bounce back from the two worst seasons of his career, said he avoids reading stories about himself and doesn’t have time to indulge those who say he’s an old 34 and will never reach his previous ...

Read More...
Repoz Posted: February 24, 2014 at 06:58 AM | 26 comment(s)
  Beats: angels

Rosecrans: A newly open Joey Votto is in his ‘sweet spot’

Joey Votto, changing the constitution one wRC+ point at a time.

Becoming the face of baseball’s new metrics

And on some level, Votto’s WLW fireside chats have been something of a lecture, as well. He’s the tenured professor, educating and exposing people to new ideas.

At one point Votto explained wRC+, or Weighted Run Created Plus, sending a flood of traffic from southeastern Ohio to the servers at FanGraphs.com.

Votto’s become the face of a certain argument between new-school and ...

Read More...
Repoz Posted: February 24, 2014 at 06:41 AM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: reds, sabermetrics

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