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Saturday, December 13, 2014

First Major Leaguer Appointed Ambassador

The name Mark Gilbert may not be familiar to most baseball fans, but the former Chicago White Sox outfielder is primed to do something no other former player has done before.
On Friday, the U.S. Senate voted to approve Gilbert’s nomination to serve as a U.S. ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa, which will make him the first major league veteran to serve in that capacity ...

Gilbert played all of seven games, hitting .273 with three runs scored and three RBIs. The following season, he required knee surgery and elected to walk away from the game and move on to a career in finance. But that cup of coffee with Chicago [White Sox] moves Gilbert into a category of his own.

#6bid is partially elite Posted: December 13, 2014 at 04:08 PM | 22 comment(s)
  Beats: general, politics

Monday, November 24, 2014

Former Major League Baseball player, Greenfield native Don Grate dies at 91

Mr. Grate was born Aug. 27, 1923 in Greenfield and was a star athlete at McClain High School and The Ohio State University.

He played Major League Baseball as a right-handed pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies in 1945-46, making his MLB debut on July 6, 1945. He had a 1-1 Major League record.

R.I.P.


Friday, November 21, 2014

ESPN Suspends Keith Law From Twitter For Defending Evolution

Heavy-tweetin’ ESPN baseball writer Keith Law has been noticeably silent for the last couple of days. That’s no coincidence—he’s been given a Twitter timeout by ESPN, and we’re told that it’s for loudly and repeatedly defending Charles Darwin from transitional fossil Curt Schilling, his Bristol colleague.

Pardon the interruption?


Monday, November 17, 2014

D-backs Announce Analytics Department

The Arizona Diamondbacks announced the hiring of Dr. Ed Lewis as the team’s Director of Baseball Analytics and Research. Lewis will oversee the organization’s increased efforts in those areas and work closely with Assistant GM Bryan Minniti, Baseball Operations Data Analyst John Krazit and Baseball Operations Coordinator Sam Eaton, with additional staff likely to be added. Lewis will report to General Manager Dave Stewart, who made the announcement.

shoewizard Posted: November 17, 2014 at 05:16 PM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: analytics, baseball operations, diamondbacks, general, sabrmetrics

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Sunday Notes: More from the GM Meetings | FanGraphs Baseball

Another interesting column from David Lauria.

“The fatigue factor is something you to have to look at,” said Mozeliak. “Take this past year, for example. Runs were at their peak in April and at their lowest in September. I don’t know if there’s a direct correlation (with the amphetamine ban) but it certainly feels like there might be. Creating a way for players to have energy and stay fresh seems like a good strategy. There has to be some science behind how to optimize that. One thing to study might be sleep cycles.”

Jim Furtado Posted: November 16, 2014 at 08:39 AM | 38 comment(s)
  Beats: general, general managers

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Robinson Cano Breaks Toe in Japan

Cano was hit by a pitch on the right foot in the seventh inning of a 4-0 loss in Tokyo on Saturday in which the MLB players were no-hit by Japan’s Takahiro Norimoto and three relievers. X-rays revealed a fracture in his small toe.

shoewizard Posted: November 15, 2014 at 11:12 PM | 21 comment(s)
  Beats: general, injury, japanese baseball, mariners

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Sunday Notes: A Change Will Do You Good: Brewers, Yanks, Cards, Astros, DBacks | FanGraphs Baseball

David Laurila’s Sunday column on FanGraphs.com.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 09, 2014 at 02:13 PM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: general

Saturday, November 01, 2014

OTP Politics November 2014: Mets Deny Bias in Ticket Official’s Firing

The Mets and their chief operating officer, Jeff Wilpon, in court papers filed Friday, denied all the accusations made in a lawsuit by a former senior ticket-sales executive who said that she had been discriminated against for being pregnant out of wedlock.

The executive, Leigh Castergine, said she had been fired in retaliation for complaining to the team’s human resources department.

“The termination of her employment,” the Mets and Wilpon said in their filings in United States District Court in Brooklyn, “was based on legitimate business reasons that have nothing whatsoever to do with her gender, marital status, pregnancy or leave.” They cited “business issues and conflicts in the workplace” between Castergine and her supervisor, Lou DePaoli, the team’s chief revenue officer, and other executives that arose before her pregnancy. The Mets and Wilpon offered few details behind their defense….

Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: November 01, 2014 at 12:26 PM | 5123 comment(s)
  Beats: general, politics

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Sunday Notes: Maddon, Cherington, Fixing the Reds, Trusting Buck, more | FanGraphs Baseball

Another great column by David Laurila .

There are a lot of ways to look at how you might augment your offense, but it can’t just be nine guys working a pitching staff over,” said Maddon. “If your goal is to get a starter out of a game, that might be the last thing you want to do. You see a lot of 95-plus out of the pen now, and some of those guys have quality secondary pitches. I think it’s become easier to build bullpens, and it’s rare a team has a bad one.”

The Kansas City Royals are a fit for Maddon’s musings. Not only is their pen dominant, their speed-focused offense posted the lowest walk rate in the game.

“We might possibly need to see a trend away from seeing pitches,” suggested Maddon. “I can see speed – including using it creatively – becoming a more important part of the game. I think the trend might be going back to the way the game had been before the unrealistic home run numbers arrived and walks became prominent. I really don’t know.”

Jim Furtado Posted: October 26, 2014 at 01:22 PM | 30 comment(s)
  Beats: buck showalter, general, joe maddon, orioles, red sox, reds, tigers

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Boswell: October baseball is a different game: May the winning team be the best

There’s no moping in October. Say “wait ’til next year,” pick a team to root for, join the fun and, above all, don’t say, “It’s not fair.” Baseball has been giving out rings since 1903 based on head-to-head series. The autumn game is every bit as central to the sport as the summer game. But it sure is different….

There’s a tendency for the sport’s best regular season teams — and their fans (and media) — to moan about insufficient reward for six months of superior work. There’s muttering about flukes. For example, the Royals and Cardinals hit the fewest homers of any teams this season.

But no rule says the ability to play under incredible do-it-now pressure is an inferior standard to do-it-every-day-for-six-months. Nothing says postseason baseball with more off days and the option to use your best pitchers in a much higher percentage of your team’s innings is an inferior form of baseball to a long season in which nondescript starters and no-name relievers might work 700 innings.

To be champions, you have to master both forms of the game….

Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: October 16, 2014 at 09:22 AM | 43 comment(s)
  Beats: general, postseason

Wednesday, October 08, 2014


Monday, October 06, 2014

Dave Wallace thrives with the Orioles - Sports - The Boston Globe

It doesn’t often happen in baseball that you’re hired on merit alone, not because you know somebody.

That’s where Dave Wallace’s story starts.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 06, 2014 at 06:52 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: dave wallace, general, orioles, pitching coaches

Thursday, October 02, 2014

For old fans of Senators, Washington baseball success is a contradiction in terms

At Chevy Chase Elementary School in the early 1960s, my friend Alan Alper heralded every baseball season’s opening day by predicting confidently that the Washington Senators would have a winning season and maybe go to the World Series.

He was always wrong. Drastically so. The Senators were so bad that their woes inspired a best-selling book and Broadway musical.

It never stopped Alper. He was committed, devoted, a true believer.

“I didn’t think about how they were so bad — I just knew they were my team,” Alper, 61, who lives in Northwest Washington, recalled….

Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: October 02, 2014 at 09:45 AM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: general, nationals

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

UNR study: Temperature affects baseball scores

“It could be beneficial for managers of MLB teams to take game day temperature into account when setting their lineups,” Koch said.

“For instance, if a manager is having difficulty choosing between two players for his starting lineup, and one player is a more patient hitter and tends to draw more walks than the other player, the manager might benefit from starting the patient hitter in cold temperatures,” Koch said.

Link to the full study here: http://bit.ly/YJceAp

Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: October 01, 2014 at 12:40 PM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: general, research, stadia, weather

Dog eats baseball playoff tickets

the Royals’ ticket delivery system.

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“I went outside and I found basically this, scattered all over the place,” he said holing up shredded cardboard and papers.

Breslaw’s seven-month-old 80 pound Burmese mountain dog names Fezzik got to the tickets first, chewing at them like they were a T-bone steak.

“I guess when that friendly man in the blue shirt put this new toy over the railing, it was irresistible,” Bredlaw said.

On the bright side, it’s still better than the Royals’ ticket delivery system.


New manager should have Mauer catch again

What will the Twins’ next manager do about Joe Mauer?

Here’s a thought: Let him catch again.

The reason he was told to pack away his catcher’s mitt was because he kept getting hurt and there was a belief sticking him at first and having him DH would mean fewer injuries and more games played.

Well …

Mauer played in 113 games and had 445 at bats while still a catcher in 2013. This season, no longer catching, he played in 120 games and had 455 at bats. Yep, a difference of seven games and 10 at bats.

He had 11 home runs in 2013, just four this season. He had eight more doubles and a .324 batting average in 2013. He hit .277 in this just-completed debacle of a season and injuries hijacked about a fourth of the games he could have played in if healthy.

Face it, the guy is brittle wherever you play him.

I usually don’t believe in posting bad articles for people to mock… but in this case, I’m willing to make an exception.


Sunday, September 28, 2014

As Jeter Ends Farewell Tour, Yanks Plan a Welcome Party

BOSTON — Even before Derek Jeter plays his final game for the Yankees, which is scheduled to take place here Sunday, the focus has turned from Jeter to Alex Rodriguez — from a cherished star to a tarnished one….

With Rodriguez, there never seems to be a question of whether he is working hard. Cashman said Rodriguez had been working out diligently on his own in Miami and at U.C.L.A. and was eager to return. He said Rodriguez did not express an interest in playing winter ball, although Cashman did not seem particularly inclined to have him do it, either.

Cashman would not say what role the Yankees had in mind for Rodriguez next year, whether as third baseman, the first baseman or strictly at designated hitter.

He did say, however, that the hostility of the past had been eliminated and that it was now a matter of getting Rodriguez back on the field.

“It wasn’t a healthy process for anybody involved,” Cashman said of last season’s investigation and suspension. “But the process had finality, and now it’s about moving forward.”

Girardi, discussing who would replace Jeter as the Yankees’ captain and leader, also spoke about Rodriguez….

Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: September 28, 2014 at 11:23 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: general, yankees

Monday, September 15, 2014

Mariners have decided not to retain the ice-cream buying scout

Butch Baccala, the high-ranking Mariners scout who angered Jesus Montero by sending Montero an in-game ice cream treat, will be let go by the team, sources said.
[...]
Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik, reached by phone Sunday night, shortly after the contending team’s 4-0 loss to the A’s, declined comment on Baccala’s status with the team. The Mariners conducted an investigation to determine what happened but apparently aren’t ready to discuss the findings.


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Yo Joe! Unanimity, Stadium Names, Field Goals

From Brilliant Reader Melody:

Yo Joe! I’m assuming you’re not a fan of teams selling their stadium names to large corporations. It’s sad for many reasons, including a disconnect between the stadium name and the local area, as stadiums were often named for physical features of the area or important local individuals.
I know you’ve been to far more ballparks than I have– if you could re-name each one that’s sold its name, what would you choose?

Joe:

All right, Melody, I’ll bite. Here’s what I’d call each stadium — mostly I would go old school:

Baltimore: Camden Yards.
Toronto: Skydome.
New York: Yankee Stadium 2.0 (or 3.0, really)
Tampa Bay: Demolished.
Boston: Fenway Park.

 

Baldrick Posted: September 11, 2014 at 03:01 PM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: general, joe posnanski, stadiums

South Side Salute:  For White Sox’ Paul Konerko, 16 Years of Earning His Keep Is an Ample Farewell

...the White Sox are not an ivy-covered afternoon party, the way it is at Wrigley Field for the hapless Chicago Cubs. The White Sox work harder for the hearts of fans, and they never doubt the sincerity of those who support them.

Konerko, a serious slugger who never left the South Side, has been their perfect representative. The farewell of the Yankees’ captain, Derek Jeter, has been a backdrop to the entire major league season. Konerko, the White Sox’ captain, has been honored at just two ballparks outside the American League Central — Wrigley Field, where he was given his No. 14 from the scoreboard, and Yankee Stadium, where Jeter gave him an autographed base….

The White Sox are honoring Konerko’s career all month with nightly giveaways ranging from T-shirts and lapel pins to towels and posters. His No. 14 is bound to be retired before long; the White Sox have an open space between Luis Aparicio’s 11 and Ted Lyons’s 16 in their row of retired numbers above the home-plate suites. Konerko, a bench player now, broke a bone in his left hand on Sept. 2, but has vowed to return before the end of the season….

In some ways, Konerko compares more closely to Bernie Williams than he does to Jeter, a certain Hall of Famer. Konerko, like Williams, may fall short of Cooperstown, but he is similarly cerebral, a thoughtful interview subject with a guitar in his corner locker….

Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: September 11, 2014 at 08:43 AM | 38 comment(s)
  Beats: general, white sox

Monday, August 18, 2014

Wired—Baseball Bat With an Axe Handle Brings More Power, Fewer Injuries

The Axe Bat is more than a Frankenstein-style meshing of an axe handle and a baseball bat barrel. The key lies in the bat’s final few inches near the handle. That’s where the design gracefully curves from the standard round shape to a asymmetrical oval before tapering to an angled knob at the end.

The results, as reported in a recent study (PDF) by UCLA engineering professor Dr. Vijay Gupta, show that the Axe Bat is more comfortable, delivers more power and speed, and reduces injuries when compared with traditional bats.

Zach Posted: August 18, 2014 at 03:26 PM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: bats, general

Saturday, August 16, 2014

A Mound Becomes a Summit:  Mo’ne Davis Dominates at Little League World Series

SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. — An unmistakable electricity ran through Howard J. Lamade Stadium on Friday as a team from Pennsylvania faced a team from Tennessee on the second day of the Little League World Series.

Outside the stadium, fans and family members were enjoying a pleasant afternoon. But inside, there was the energy of championship Sunday, a sense of expectation that went beyond partisan cheering. Something special was happening.

Mo’ne Davis was on the mound for the first time since her suffocating performance in the Mid-Atlantic Regional championship, when she shut out Delaware-Newark National to lead Taney Youth Baseball Association of Philadelphia to the Series. Most of the announced 15,648 in attendance recognized the potential for something historic to unfold.

Could she live up to the hype?

Yes.

Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: August 16, 2014 at 10:23 AM | 20 comment(s)
  Beats: general, little league

Friday, August 08, 2014

Jennings takes liner off head in Marlins loss to Pirates

In one seventh-inning instant, the game became secondary.

The Marlins and Pirates played through a horrific episode that saw lefty reliever Dan Jennings take a Jordy Mercer liner off the left side of his head. The ball went straight up and into the glove of shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria.

A shocked and disoriented Jennings went down and got up immediately. Catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia arrived and helped him down to a knee. PNC Park went silent. Jennings’ teammates gathered and Mercer in a catcher’s crouch looked on from the infield grass between first base and the mound.

It sounds like he’s going to be OK, but man, that was scary.


Decline of the Curve

The fans laughed at the batter as he slunk back to the dugout, where he was greeted with his own teammates’ laughter and derision. Steineke shouted toward the opposing team’s bench, “That’s all right, Sonny. It ain’t over for you yet. You still got time to call Daddy, tell him you’ll be home in time for bailing hay, because, #######, Daddy, I ain’t never gonna be able to hit that f—-ing pitch.”
[...]
In early March, I drove down to Orlando, Fla., on an expedition to discover how, why and when the Unfair One became extinct. Who killed it? What killed it?

Even by Pat Jordan’s standards, this is a very good piece.

Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: August 08, 2014 at 07:49 AM | 33 comment(s)
  Beats: general, history, pitches, pitching

Did The Enquirer Take Down a Castellini Arrest Story?

Robert S. Castellini, the 46-year-old son of Reds owner Bob Castellini, and his wife Deanna were arrested and charged with domestic violence for fighting in front of their children.

Crime reporter Kimball Perry was all over the story, as he has a long history of detailing the crayist of the cray in Hamilton County courtrooms, reporting on Monday that both Robert and Deanna went in front of a judge that morning and how court documents described “visible scratch marks around the neck of Ms. Castellini” and Robert having “visible scratches around his neck and shoulder.

Despite such drama and intrigue — three Castellinis work in the Reds front office and Robert’s lawyer is Hamilton County GOP chairman Alex Triantafilou — The Enquirer appears to have pulled the story from its website as of Tuesday afternoon.


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