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Saturday, June 20, 2015

Holding On to a Special Ball, With No Apology

Two security officials led the way through the Yankee Stadium crowd on Friday, and a group of reporters followed, as Zack Hample clutched the ball that was Alex Rodriguez’s 3,000th hit so tightly that his knuckles were white….

Hample was not exactly awe-struck. He had, to a degree, planned this all out. He had bought a season ticket in right field knowing that it would be a prime location for home runs. The Yankees described him as a professional home run catcher, and the whole scene felt something like a robber being escorted out of a bank after a heist….

“He still has the ball,” said Jason Zillo, the Yankees’ director of communications.

As he was rushed to those negotiations, Hample said he had caught more than 8,000 balls. He said he had caught Mike Trout’s first home run, Barry Bonds’s 724th home run and the last Mets home run at Shea Stadium. He had spent years perfecting his technique. He even wrote a book titled “How to Snag Major League Baseballs.”...

ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: June 20, 2015 at 07:06 AM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: a-rod, yankees

Big League Stew: Notorious ballhawk Zack Hample catches A-Rod’s 3,000th hit

Yo, Randy Levine: Market this.

He’s been on the receiving end of several notable milestones over the years, including Mike Trout’s first major league home run on July 24, 2011 at Camden Yards. He also caught Barry Bonds’ 724th career home run at Petco Park in 2006, and over the years has caught several balls at the Home Run Derby in numerous locations.

Now he adds Alex Rodriguez’s 3,000th hit, which should prove to be the most valuable of them all.

Of course, no one knows that better than Hample, and before all’s said and done we’re guessing A-Rod will wish he’d hit it any place other than directly into Hample’s glove. ...

And no, Hample’s not going to back off his stance now that he’s actually somehow managed to wrangle that “one-in-a-million souvenir.” If anything, it will be even more difficult to pry it from his hands.

Via NJ.com:

  “My intention all along, I’ve been imagining this scenario as a 1-in-a-million, was not to give it back,” Hample said. “You know, just because the guy who got Jeter’s 3,000th hit, a lot of people called him an idiot. A lot of people said that he was a wonderful person and extremely generous. And I really think that, whatever you want to do with it is your choice.”

  He added, “I think that someone like Derek Jeter or Alex Rodriguez, who has made half a billion dollars in his career, doesn’t really need a favor from a normal civilian and a fan like me. I don’t know right now if I’m going to sell it. I mean, depending on what the Yankees could offer, I would consider giving it back. I’m not giving it back for — I don’t plan to give it back for a chance to meet him and full autographed bats because I don’t collect bats, I collect baseballs. Just having this ball is so meaningful to me. I can’t believe that I got it.”

JE (Jason) Posted: June 20, 2015 at 12:01 AM | 38 comment(s)
  Beats: 3000 hits, a-rod, fans, souvenirs, yankees

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Brewers honor past, celebrate future with Selig exhibit

If this doesn’t bring the fans into Miller Park, what will?

The “Selig Experience” attraction opens this week at Miller Park. It’s billed as a state-of-the art tribute to the franchise’s history and symbol of baseball’s rock-solid future in Milwaukee.

“Everything is really, really extraordinary. I can’t emphasize that,” said Selig, who got an early glimpse at the exhibit. “I am rarely speechless in my life. I was speechless.”

Jim Furtado Posted: May 27, 2015 at 09:30 AM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: brewers, bud selig

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Alex Rodriguez ties Babe Ruth for 4th on all-time RBIs list at 1,992

Because RBIs were not considered an official statistic until 1920, there is some discrepancy as to how many RBIs Ruth should be credited with. However, Elias Sports Bureau, the statistician of Major League Baseball, has Ruth at 1,992 for his career.

bb-ref has Ruth at 2214 RBI. If you ignore everything before 1920, it becomes 1990 RBI. So it would seem that they’re ignoring everything before 1920 and have two extra RBI unaccounted for. Maybe they came from the same game as Ty Cobb’s two extra hits.

 

Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: May 23, 2015 at 12:05 PM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: a-rod, babe ruth, yankees

Saturday, May 09, 2015

Paine: Willie Mays Was Way Better Than Alex Rodriguez

Mays beats A-Rod by nine lengths.

An easy way to measure Mays’ dominance over A-Rod is to look at the all-time wins above replacement (WAR) leaderboard1. By total WAR, Mays ranks as the fifth most-productive player in major-league history, trailing only Babe Ruth, Barry Bonds and pitchers Cy Young and Walter Johnson. Mays also ranks as the third-best non-pitcher ever, according to JAWS, which attempts to balance a player’s aggregate WAR compilation against the brilliance of his peak. Among position players in the history of baseball, only Ruth had a better prime — as measured by WAR in a player’s best seven seasons — than Mays did when he was at the top of his game.

Rodriguez also ranks highly in WAR, but his numbers are nowhere near those of Mays. A-Rod ranks 17th all-time in total WAR, trailing Mays by about 40 wins. At his career rate of WAR per 162 games, Rodriguez would have to play five and a half more seasons of 162 games apiece — that is, until age 44 — to catch Mays. It also bears mentioning that Rodriguez hasn’t even played more than 150 games in a season since 2007; at a more realistic rate of 125 games per year, he’d have to play until age 46 (with no decline in performance) to reach Mays’ total.

Since Rodriguez has recently missed big chunks of playing time in which he could have been accumulating raw WAR, his peak ranking fares a bit better than his overall WAR rank. That’s why A-Rod sits at 12th all-time in JAWS. But the difference in JAWS between No. 3 Mays and No. 12 Rodriguez is the same as the difference between Rodriguez and No. 33 Charlie Gehringer.

And the gap isn’t likely to close much before Rodriguez retires. While A-Rod is having a resurgent start to the 2015 season, Baseball Prospectus’ PECOTA projection system still only predicts about 0.7 more wins above replacement left in his career before his contract runs out (and, coincidentally, he begins to provide negative value) following the 2017 season.

So, any way you cut it, Mays provided much more value in his career than A-Rod.

JE (Jason) Posted: May 09, 2015 at 01:12 PM | 171 comment(s)
  Beats: a-rod, willie mays

Friday, May 01, 2015

MLB game times drop considerably; player penalties may be dropped

The system is working. Change the system!

Major League Baseball average game times are down almost 8 1/2 minutes from 2014, thanks to the league’s new pace-of-game rules.

That’s good news not just for fans, but players as well; ESPN reports that MLB officials and the players union are in discussions to drop the fines for slow play the league could impose beginning Friday.

According to Major League Baseball, through Wednesday’s games, the average nine-inning game time of just under two hours and 54 minutes is 8 1/2 minutes quicker than the 3:02 average in 2014.

The success of the new pace-of-game rules has led MLB officials to rethink the need to institute slow-play fines, which would range from $100 to $500 for infractions such as leaving the batter’s box during an at-bat. MLB officials agreed to give players a month of play to get used to the new procedures, issuing warnings for infractions, before issuing fines beginning May 1.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 01, 2015 at 08:35 AM | 22 comment(s)
  Beats: fines, mlbpa, pace of play

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Stark - Worst free-agent signings of all time

1. Josh Hamilton (5 years, $125 million)
2. Mike Hampton (8 years, $121 million)
3. Melvin Upton Jr. (5 years, $72.25 million)
4. Manny Ramirez (2 years, $45 million)
5. Chan Ho Park (5 years, $65 million)

HM. Carl Pavano (4 years, $39.9 million with the Yankees)
HM. Jason Bay (4 years, $66 million with the Mets)
HM. Chone Figgins (4 years, $36 million with the Mariners)
HM. Gary Matthews Jr. (5 years, $65 million with the Angels)
HM. Andruw Jones (2 years, $36.2 million with the Dodgers)

Additionally: Jason Schmidt, Barry Zito, Denny Neagle, Kei Igawa, Shin-Soo Choo, A-Rod.

bbmck Posted: April 30, 2015 at 09:17 AM | 118 comment(s)
  Beats: a-rod, bad contracts, josh hamilton, manny ramirez

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Economist: One Swing is All You Need

Hold off on the glue.

However, the sabermetric canon also includes a caveat to “Voros’s law” about the volatility of small sample sizes. Although the overwhelming majority of events that can transpire in baseball over a brief time period cannot be distinguished statistically from random variation, a handful of accomplishments are so rare that even a single game can contain impressive predictive power. Bill James, the father of modern baseball analysis, called this principle “signature significance”. In one well-known example, of the 14 pitchers who have struck out 18 or more batters in a nine-inning game during the past century, 12 were at least All-Stars, and six are in the Hall of Fame. Mr Rodríguez’s mammoth blast might well be a similar case. After all, of the 38,143 homers hit in MLB since 2007—the first year that HitTracker recorded the path of every ball to leave the yard—just 25 (0.06%, or one in 1,525) traveled 477 feet or more. ...

In order to determine how much predictive power a single deep home run can provide, I started with every batter who played between 2007 and 2014. I first discarded all their ground balls and pop-ups, since balls on those trajectories cannot become homers no matter how hard they are hit. I then measured the share of their other batted balls—the line drives and outfield flies—that turned into home runs, a standard measure of a batter’s power. If ultra-long home runs truly have signature significance, then players who hit even one ball as deep as Mr Rodríguez’s should fare well above average in this category over the course of an entire season.

As one might expect, the data were extremely noisy—using a single swing to project what will happen on as many as 300 others is a tall order. But buried within them was a powerful and highly statistically significant trend. For each foot beyond the distance of a league-average longball (usually just under 400 feet) that any individual home run travels, an additional 0.06% of that batter’s other line drives and outfield fly balls in that season become home runs (see chart).

In most cases, this amounts to a rounding error. But for the biggest of blows, those percentage points add up in a hurry. If a player about whom we had no other information—say, a recent arrival from Cuba—hit a home run of average distance in his first at-bat, we would expect him to hit about 6% more homers than an average player for the rest of the season. In contrast, if the player hit a 477-foot home run like Mr Rodríguez’s in his first at-bat, we would expect him to hit around 50% more homers than average. That is as strong an example of signature significance as one could hope to find.

JE (Jason) Posted: April 22, 2015 at 09:43 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: a-rod, oldwarhorse, yankees

Saturday, April 18, 2015

A-Rod connects twice, within 2 of Mays on HR list

Do dead centaurs bounce?

In other all-time HR list news, Trout passes Drew.

cercopithecus aethiops Posted: April 18, 2015 at 11:19 AM | 56 comment(s)
  Beats: a-rod, centaurs, history, yankees

Friday, April 10, 2015

MLB, union prohibit players from daily fantasy games

Who should I start this week, Joe Jackson or Pete Rose?

Major League Baseball and the players’ association have agreed to a deal that forbids players from playing in daily fantasy baseball games that involve a prize, but still allows them to endorse these companies.

Earlier this week, at the IMG World Congress in California, commissioner Rob Manfred said that although he considered daily fantasy different from gambling, playing fantasy for prizes became part of Rule 21, which prohibits players from gambling. Players will be subject to discipline if they are found to have violated the rule.

Sources involved in the talks between the league and the players’ association said that there was indeed concern over conflict of interest or at least the appearance of a conflict of interest in which the players could affect the outcome and potentially make money off of it.

The deal between MLB and the players’ association does not preclude the players from playing fantasy baseball when something of value is not involved and they can play fantasy sports other than baseball for prizes. It also doesn’t stop any player from accepting compensation from a daily fantasy site to endorse or promote the company or the players’ association from signing an official deal with one of those companies.

Major League Baseball acquired a stake of daily fantasy sports site DraftKings in 2013 when the site became the league’s official daily fantasy game. The league recently received a larger stake as part of an expansion of that original deal.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 10, 2015 at 03:47 PM | 27 comment(s)
  Beats: draft kings, endorsements, fanduel, gambling, mlbpa

Monday, March 30, 2015

The MLBPA Has a Problem | FanGraphs Baseball

Nathaniel Grow makes some great points about the growing gap between baseball’s revenues and the players’ share of those revenues. Do you know what be a great thing for the MLBPA to work toward in the next CBA? A guaranteed portion of the revenue for minor leaguers. I won’t hold my breath.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 30, 2015 at 11:55 AM | 42 comment(s)
  Beats: economics, mlbpa

Monday, March 09, 2015

MLB union chief: Designated hitter in NL still a ‘topic of discussion’

I’ll take “‘80s sports talk topics” for $800, Alex.

For more than 40 years, the National League has remained free of the designated hitter, but that could change in the future, according to MLB players’ union chief Tony Clark.

“That topic has come up independently of us bringing it up,” Clark said to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “It has been a topic, as I’m sure you know, a topic of discussion going back the last two bargaining agreements. Nothing has changed at this point in time. But I am guessing come 2016 that conversation will come up again.”...

“That was a concern when we started to talk about evening out the divisions and how that would manifest itself over the course of interleague play,” Clark said. “The idea that you would be in September with a possible division (title) on the line with one team who was not used to having a DH or a team that was used to having a DH not having it and how that could affect the overall outcome.

“As you might expect, we are very concerned about the integrity of the game and having scenarios or situations play out like that that could affect inevitably how a division ends, is not a place you want to find yourself.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 09, 2015 at 05:03 PM | 138 comment(s)
  Beats: designated hitter, mlbpa, national league

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

A-Rod To Home-Run King Barry Bonds: ‘I Want To Take Your Record’

Alex Rodriguez, in preparation for the upcoming season, worked out with legendary slugger Barry Bonds in January at the Future Prospects Baseball facility in San Rafael, California.

“He was funny,” Bonds told the San Francisco Chronicle. “He said, ‘I want to take your record.’ I said, ‘That’s OK. If that’s what you want to do, we’ve got a lot of work to do.’ I was excited he wanted to do it.”

Gonfalon Bubble Posted: February 10, 2015 at 05:09 PM | 51 comment(s)
  Beats: a-rod

Friday, February 06, 2015

Cashman: A-Rod, Yanks will meet

“Alex considers everything with the Yankees to be family business and family business stays within the family,” Rodriguez’s spokesman Ron Berkowitz said Friday.


Friday, January 23, 2015

Neyer: That time Bud Selig yelled at me

I let the machine pick up, and was more than a little bemused to hear this: Rob, this is Commissioner Selig. I read your column on ESPN and wanted to talk to you about it. When you get a chance, please call me at …”

Selig clearly had a print-out of my ESPN.com column at hand, probably with the offending passages highlighted by a flunky. And he spent the next half-hour or so simply going through the passages, and telling me exactly how I’d gotten each one so horribly wrong. A few times, I tried to interject with my questions. He wasn’t having any of it, not even a little. I think it’s probably safe to say that Selig didn’t respond, or really react at all, to a single thing I said. He was the High Commissioner of Baseball, Lord of Lords, and I was nothing.

When finally he’d finished haranguing me, I believe he did sign off civilly. But it’s certainly the most frustrating conversation in my professional life, to this day. And I probably was less well-disposed toward Selig than I’d been before.

I probably became even less well-disposed a few weeks later, when the word came down from above: Lay off Commissioner Bud. Oh, I wasn’t told I couldn’t criticize him. Just that I couldn’t do it with such obvious relish.

Still, seemed petty at the time (and still does). I wasn’t the only one, either. I know other writers who’d gotten calls from Selig, and I know other writers who’d been told by their bosses to take it easy on the poor old Commissioner.

Win Big Stein's Money Posted: January 23, 2015 at 09:00 PM | 31 comment(s)
  Beats: black hand, bud selig, commissioner

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Bud Selig: The Greatest Commissioner in the History of Baseball | HardballTalk

Craig Calcaterra’s take on Bug Selig’s tenure as Commissioner.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 22, 2015 at 07:16 AM | 205 comment(s)
  Beats: bud selig, commissioner

Thursday, January 15, 2015

MLB’s Bud Selig is in position to give parting gift to scouts charity - LA Times

“The scouts are among the most underappreciated part of the game of baseball, so what Dennis has done with his foundation and dinner is just so right. That’s why I come,” Selig said. “What Dennis has done for them is remarkable.”

Jim Furtado Posted: January 15, 2015 at 09:07 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: bud selig, scouts

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Pace of game on agenda at this week’s baseball owners’ meetings - Newsday

I hope nobody gets arrested at the party.

This week’s quarterly meetings for the 30 MLB owners will double as a retirement party for Bud Selig, whose 23-year tenure as commissioner officially ends Jan. 25.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 14, 2015 at 09:03 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: baseball owners, bud selig, commissioner

Changes coming to MLBPA agent certification | FOX Sports

I am not sure I get the bachelor degree requirement. What if a former player, who has MLBPA and CBA knowledge and experience, decides he wants to be an agent? He can’t? Does Dave Stewart have a degree?

But policing these rules has been a difficulty. Despite clearly stated rules that a bachelor degree is required for certification, there’s a high-profile agent that has recently been outed as lacking that all-important section on his resume. Perhaps he has demonstrated “sufficient knowledge” to be exempted as the rule states, but there was agreement between the sources that there isn’t much enforcement from the MLBPA on many rules.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 14, 2015 at 06:52 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: agents, mlbpa

 

 

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