Friday, April 26, 2013
Screw Lilly…we need the Jeff Ledbetter Fair Play Act of 2013!
College baseball is on pace to set a record for fewest home runs and a 40-year low for scoring and batting average. Now some coaches are calling for a livelier ball to bring the numbers back up.
The switch to toned-down metal bats in 2011 has led to an offensive decline greater than many expected.
“The game isn’t the same,” Clemson coach Jack Leggett said this week. “It’s not as exciting.”
Leggett is leading an effort to adopt the ball used in the minor leagues. That ball has flat seams and a harder core, which he says makes it conducive to greater flight than the college ball. No change could be made until the 2015 season.
The NCAA’s midseason statistics report shows a continuation of the drastic offensive drop that began two years ago. Division I teams entered April averaging one home run about every three games. In 2010 the average was about one per game.
The per-team home-run average of 0.37 a game at midseason was on track to be the lowest since it was 0.40 in 1970, the first year the NCAA kept statistical trends.
The midseason batting average of .270 and per-team scoring of 5.25 runs are the lowest since 1973, the year before the aluminum bat was brought into the college game.
Posted: April 26, 2013 at 05:18 AM | 27 comment(s)
Friday, February 22, 2013
While not as big a deal as Rob Parker moving to The Shadow League or Posnanski going to NBC…Ted Berg is now at USA Today! (I’m running out of space)
Former Major League manager Bobby Valentine will continue to diversify his resume when he becomes Sacred Heart University’s new athletic director. According to a report in the Connecticut Post, Valentine will be named successor to retiring A.D. Don Cook on Tuesday.
Baseball fans may best know Valentine from his stints managing the Rangers, Mets and Red Sox in the majors and the Chiba Lotte Marines of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball League, or from his work as a baseball analyst for ESPN from 2009-2010.
But Valentine’s interests have never been limited to baseball. Since 1980, he has owned and operated an eponymous sports bar in his hometown of Stamford, Conn., where he maintains he invented the wrap sandwich even though reports of meats being wrapped in flatbread date back to Hillel the Elder over 2000 years ago.
In 2011, Valentine took a job as Stamford’s director of public safety, a role in which he was seen directing traffic near a crowded interstate but decidedly not seen when Hurricane Irene hit the city in December.
...The school’s board of trustees includes politician and professional wrestling executive (and occasional professional wrestler) Linda McMahon, meaning Valentine’s newest foray is practically begging to end in a steel-cage match at a forthcoming Wrestlemania.
Posted: February 22, 2013 at 10:39 AM | 8 comment(s)
Saturday, February 09, 2013
For those who think it’s overdone when gay people tell you their coming-out stories, consider what’s been going on with Sean Karson.
Karson, who grew up outside Orlando, Fla., is a junior on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology baseball team. He’s the Engineers’ starting third baseman, and he’s pretty good, too: He compiled a .350 batting average as a sophomore, including a seven-game hitting streak during which he hit .540. He’s a co-captain on this year’s team.
...A couple of days ago, during an indoor practice at MIT, Karson asked coach Andy Barlow if he could say a few words to his teammates.
“I had no idea what he had in mind,” Barlow said. “He had just returned from a conference in California, so I assumed he was going to talk about his company.”
Instead, Karson took a deep breath, and told his coaches and teammates that he’s gay.
“They came up and gave me high fives and said they’d have my back and everything,” he said. “It was so supportive, it was ridiculous.”
Thanks to Chet.
Posted: February 09, 2013 at 04:23 PM | 15 comment(s)
Sunday, February 03, 2013
California Institute of Technology’s baseball team ended a 228-game losing streak Saturday with a 9-7 victory over Pacifica—the Beavers’ first win in nearly 10 years.
It was a non-conference game, though, and Caltech, mainly a Division III participant, has not won a Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference contest since 1988—a span of 463 games.
Sounds like the kind of guys the Astros should be scouting.
Bitter Calculus Instructor
Posted: February 03, 2013 at 02:51 AM | 27 comment(s)
Monday, December 12, 2011
Travis Madden had a bright future at Texas A&M-Kingsville.
The Inez native and Industrial graduate was a freshman majoring in chemical engineering and had just completed his first season of fall baseball.
But Madden died Sunday morning at the age of 18.
Kingsville police responded to a call just after 9 a.m. found Madden unconscious at the bottom of a stairwell at an apartment complex on the 1400 block of West Santa Gertrudis Street, about a block away from the campus, according to a police department release.
The release said Madden had been dead for several hours… Madden had reportedly left a party off-campus the night before and was walking to his dorm on the Texas A&M-Kingsville campus. There is no known connection between Madden and the apartment complex where he was found, the release said.
The police department is awaiting the result of an autopsy and the investigation continues.
The District Attorney
Posted: December 12, 2011 at 11:11 PM | 7 comment(s)
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
So what will it mean for the Nationals, now that they’re picking later in the draft than they have before? Well, in the short-term, they won’t be at as much risk of losing their first-round pick for signing a Type A free agent as they would have been under the old system. But it seemed less likely they were going to pursue a big-name free agent this year than they were last year anyway. This has been a team built on scouting and development; Rizzo constructed his entire front office around the idea of winning the amateur draft. Lately, that has meant spending money.
Now the trick will be to figure out if a player can be selected later in the draft, knowing the savings will be greater than if he goes early in the draft. But with such a large pool of players, both from college and high school, baseball’s draft is unlike any other sport’s, and it might be the biggest crapshoot of the major professional leagues. Teams won’t be able to pluck falling talents like Purke (who was projected to go in the first round but slipped to the third because of signability concerns) with fat contracts. It might mean the top players go where they should, but that would require every team to agree on who the top players are. At the very least, it’ll be interesting.
Thursday, November 17, 2011
Burrell was elected into the University of Miami Hall of Fame in 2008 and was followed two seasons later by Aubrey Huff(notes) and Jason Michaels(notes). Huff later credited Pat with helping him overcome his shyness by saying “I broke out of my shell at the University of Miami when I got around guys like Burrell.”
How did Burrell help? Well, here’s one story Huff has told:
“After two weeks at Miami, I wanted to go home [...] So my mom flies out, trying to convince me to stay. I was living with two seniors and they ragged me, too. I just didn’t understand all this baseball ragging nonsense. She’s in my room one night and I’m sitting on my bed and she’s telling me to give it another two weeks.
“Anyway, there’s a knock on the door, and before I can even get off the bed, Pat comes barging in with a six-pack in his hand, dripping wet, buck naked.”
Friday, November 04, 2011
Other penalties, some self-imposed by ASU in a case under investigation since January 2008, include scholarship reductions, vacating wins and the 2007 Pac-10 title, coaching limitations during practice and restricted recruiting.
ASU continues to dispute that some players being minimally overpaid for working in the Sandlot program, created by former coach Pat Murphy to promote youth baseball, and that certain work by student managers including throwing batting practice are major violations. Neither, ASU claims, provides a recruiting advantage.
Gold Star - just Gold Star
Posted: November 04, 2011 at 05:01 PM | 0 comment(s)
Good stuff from Alan Schwarz…including a Father Gabe Costa sighting!
Watching a baseball telecast may not be the best way to learn basic probability.
Let’s say Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees and his .313 career batting average stride to the plate after 20 straight at-bats without a hit. Sports Announcer No. 1 will invariably discuss how Jeter is in a slump, suggesting that, because of some problem either physical or mental, his chance of getting a hit is somewhere less than his usual 31 percent. And then, right on cue, Announcer No. 2 will giddily agree — “Yeah, Marv, Derek’s definitely due!” — with the “due” implying that Jeter has gone hitless for so long that his chances now are somehow greater than his innate 31 percent.
Welcome to “Bert and Ernie Teach Probability,” America’s less storied national pastime.
...As society gets ever more data driven and risk aware, formal statistics are becoming increasingly relevant. Probability has revolutionized finance, polling and, yes, even the running of sports franchises; popular culture has embraced stat geeks through television shows (“NUMB3RS”) and best-selling books (“Freakonomics”). As Brad Pitt evangelizes the power of probability in this fall’s hit movie “Moneyball,” you know that numbers have earned a seat at the cool kids’ table.
Posted: November 04, 2011 at 01:59 PM | 13 comment(s)
Tuesday, November 01, 2011
Pittsburgh Press, November 1, 1911:
JAMES THORPE, OF CARLISLE, GREAT ALL-ROUND ATHLETE
Football this season has brought into the public eye a young Indian student at the Carlisle school, who promises to become the greatest athlete the world has ever seen.
James Thorpe has broken all traditions by approaching world records in so many lines of activity that physical trainers are at a loss to account for his skillful feats of strength and endurance.
Puh-leeze. Greatest athlete the world has ever seen? Like anyone 100 years from now is going to know who James Thorpe was.
Monday, October 17, 2011
Didn’t the Cardinals have Jordan Etier high on their draft chart?
Jordan Etier, an infielder with the University of Texas Longhorns baseball team, was arrested Saturday afternoon and charged with two misdemeanors: Evading Arrest and Possession of Marijuana (less than 2 oz.).
According to a police affidavit, a person witnessed two men urinating beneath a pedestrian bridge on the 1800 block of Trinity Street and told a nearby police officer.
When the officer approached the two, Etier took off running with the officer in pursuit.
After being chased for two blocks, he was arrested in the second story of a parking garage. Police say they then saw him throw an object outside into bushes below.
When officers searched the bushes, they found an ATM receipt belonging to Etier wrapped around what they believe to be marijuana.
Posted: October 17, 2011 at 09:16 AM | 9 comment(s)
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Budget cuts, tuition increases and insufficient revenues have left Cal State Fullerton athletics barely clinging on to Big West Division I status.
The NCAA requires a university to maintain seven priority sports and fund them at 80 percent in scholarships in order to be considered Div. I.
The seven sports that are considered priority by the Big West conference out of CSUF’s 15 are men and women’s basketball, men and women’s soccer, baseball, softball and women’s volleyball. CSUF is currently Div. I defending champions in both baseball and women’s volleyball.
CSUF is now at the bare minimum seven priority sports and is in jeopardy of being bumped to Div. II if its expenditures continue to exceed the current budget.
“We have some issues in terms of whether or not we can meet our minimum funding at the Div. I level,” said Steve DiTolla, associate senior athletics director. “In the NCAA, the Div. I level is defined, outside of men and women’s basketball, you need to have 50 scholarships, full scholarships, and we are dangerously close to not being that far.”
The full scholarships are split evenly between the men and women’s priority sports, DiTolla explained. The CSUF athletics budget barely covers these fees even after terminating both men’s wrestling and woman’s gymnastics during spring in order to meet budgetary obligations.
The budgeted athletics scholarship fund for 2011-12 is about $2.1 million and was not increased to accommodate the additional 12 percent tuition fee increase that affected every student on campus.
“When we are issuing scholarships, we pay the school for our student athletes,” DiTolla said. “So as each one of you got hit (with tuition fee increases) we got hit to the tune of about $90,000.”
Posted: September 27, 2011 at 10:05 PM | 22 comment(s)
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Probably by the ACC.
The New Mexico State University baseball team says its “hitter” mannequin has been stolen.
NMSU announced Tuesday that the team reported the mannequin stolen after a player noticed that it was missing.
The six-foot tall black mannequin wearing a gray New York Yankee uniform is modeled after a baseball player holding a bat and standing at home plate. The equipment, paired with a “catcher” mannequin that was not taken, is used for pitching practice.
The hitter mannequin is valued at approximately $4,000. However, because the pitching practice mannequins are only sold in pairs, the NMSU baseball team will be forced to replace both pieces of equipment at a cost of $16,000.
Posted: September 20, 2011 at 07:52 PM | 19 comment(s)
Friday, September 16, 2011
Former LSU baseball player Terry Belle, twin brother of former Tiger Albert “Joey” [Belle] died in a car accident last Saturday in Paradise Valley, Ariz.
Belle, 45, earned three letters from 1985-88 and played on LSU’s first two College World Series teams. He batted .276 in 135 career games with 11 homers and 65 RBI.
Belle’s two children were in the car with him at the time of the accident, but were apparently unharmed. RIP.
Saturday, September 10, 2011
Catching up with the traceable Joel Horlen.
Horlen, now 74, is believed to be the only person to play on teams that won the Pony League World Series, the College World Series and the major league World Series.
We had a good pitching staff. Led the league in four or five different categories. I still didn’t get pitcher of the year award.
I faced a bunch of good hitters. Tony Oliva won the batting title every year. That’s about the only guy I can remember that I really didn’t like facing. I know I gave up enough hits to everybody else. He was by far the best. I tried to hit him one time, right in the neck. He just stepped to the side and hit a double down the left-field line.
Winning all those different World Series, they’re all good. The major league World Series was more boisterous. We poured 100 bottles of Champagne on each other. Then had to get back on the airplane and go back to Oakland. The party continued on the airplane. We got in about 2 o’clock in the morning. Opened a couple of bars for us there, then celebrated some more. Had to be at the park at 8 o’clock in the morning and be ready for the parade. They served cocktails there, too.
Posted: September 10, 2011 at 10:56 PM | 10 comment(s)
Thursday, September 01, 2011
It’s B.J. Wallace.
Billy Lyle “BJ” Wallace Jr., 40, and Amber Sheree McKenzie, 29, were being held in Baldwin County Corrections Center as of Wednesday, both charged with first-degree manufacturing of a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Wallace, a Monroeville native, pitched for the U.S. team in the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, Spain, and the Montreal Expos picked him third in that year’s amateur draft, signing the left-hander for $550,000, according to baseball-reference.com and Press-Register archives.
He set an Olympic record for strikeouts in a game by fanning 14 in a win over Italy, but he never reached the major leagues. ...
While his professional baseball career never prospered, Wallace put up impressive numbers in organized baseball.
In 1992, Wallace set a Mississippi State University school record with 145 strikeouts, according to baseball-reference.com.
Posted: September 01, 2011 at 04:03 AM | 15 comment(s)
Friday, August 26, 2011
Willson, a power-hitting, left-handed hitter, will report to Toronto’s minor-league complex in Dunedin, Fla., at the end of the spring semester. Willson can play either first base or the corner outfield spots.
As part of his deal, Willson received a signing bonus that will be spread over three years, which allows him the flexibility to pursue a football career after college, if he chooses.
The baseball contract will not affect Willson’s remaining two years’ football eligibility.
Willson has a baseball background, which includes playing for the Canadian junior national team. He also briefly worked with the Rice baseball team in the fall 2009 before deciding to concentrate on football.
I know these type of signings don’t normally get their own thread, but this particular signing seems very interesting. He doesn’t play baseball for Rice, only football, and he’s signed a professional contract with the Jays but will stay be allowed to play Rice football. I had no idea that was allowed by either the NCAA or MLB.
Posted: August 26, 2011 at 02:58 PM | 12 comment(s)
Friday, August 12, 2011
The NCAA has given final approval for the use of instant replay to review certain calls at the 2012 College World Series.
Reviewable plays would be limited to deciding if an apparent home run is fair or foul, whether a batted ball left the playing field for a home run or a ground-rule double, or whether there is fan interference on apparent home runs.
The NCAA Baseball Rules Committee proposed the rule, and it was approved Thursday by the Playing Rules Oversight Panel.
Instant replay won’t be used in regionals and super regionals because not all venues will have access to the same technology as TD Ameritrade Park, the new home of the CWS.
Thanks to Jed.
Posted: August 12, 2011 at 06:12 PM | 4 comment(s)
Wednesday, August 03, 2011
Boston youth resist The Charm of the Highway Strip and don’t Get Lost on The Wayward Bus en route to The House of Tomorrow.
Yogi Berra once said you can’t think and hit at the same time.
However, the New York Yankees legend never attended the MIT Science of Baseball program. It encourages eighth- and ninth-grade inner-city boys to learn baseball-related math and physics each morning and then apply those principles on the ballfield in the afternoon.
Half of the 30 students are poor enough to qualify for free or reduced-priced meals at Boston and Cambridge schools. Some worry more about bullets than baseballs; “safe at home” is just a baseball term.
Posted: August 03, 2011 at 03:55 PM | 0 comment(s)
for his generous support.
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