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Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Beyond the Box Score guide to looking beyond the box score

TOOTBLAN

Perhaps baserunning errors are your thing. There is a wonderful site dedicated to tracking all extra base outs, which are outs on would-be sacrifice flies, pickoffs, double offs, fielder’s choice outs with an open base, batter’s interference, runner interference, or any other method for which a baserunner makes an out on the base paths (excluding stolen bases).

bobm Posted: April 12, 2014 at 05:43 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: general

Thursday, April 03, 2014

NYT: Brayden King: What Umpires Get Wrong

THIS season Major League Baseball is allowing its officiating crews to use instant replay to review certain critical calls, including home runs, force plays and foul balls. But the calling of the strike zone — determining whether a pitch that is not swung at is a ball or a strike — will still be left completely to the discretion of the officials. This might seem an odd exception, since calling the strike zone may be the type of officiating decision most subject to human foible.

In research soon to be published in the journal Management Science, we studied umpires’ strike-zone calls using pitch-location data compiled by the high-speed cameras introduced by Major League Baseball several years ago in an effort to measure, monitor and reward umpires’ accuracy. After analyzing more than 700,000 pitches thrown during the 2008 and 2009 seasons, we found that umpires frequently made errors behind the plate — about 14 percent of non-swinging pitches were called erroneously.

Some of those errors occurred in fairly predictable ways. We found, for example, that umpires tended to favor the home team by expanding the strike zone, calling a strike when the pitch was actually a ball 13.3 percent of the time for home team pitchers versus 12.7 percent of the time for visitors….

Baseball insiders have long suspected what our research confirms: that umpires tend to make errors in ways that favor players who have established themselves at the top of the game’s status hierarchy. But our findings are also suggestive of the way that people in any sort of evaluative role — not just umpires — are unconsciously biased by simple “status characteristics.” Even constant monitoring and incentives can fail to train such biases out of us.

Technologically, Major League Baseball is in a position, thanks to its high-speed camera system, to enforce a completely accurate, uniform strike zone. The question is whether we, as fans, want our games to be fair and just, or whether we are compelled to watch the game because it mimics the real world, warts and all.

Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: April 03, 2014 at 02:59 PM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: general, umpiring

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Survey of insiders reveals who’s at top of their game | New York Post

Mike Trout is the best player. Who knew?

Jim Furtado Posted: March 23, 2014 at 08:27 AM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: general

Sunday, March 16, 2014

NY Post: Davidoff: Plenty of hot seats to go around with Opening Day imminent

Nelson Cruz, Baltimore. He accepted a one-year, $8 million deal from the Orioles after rejecting a one-year, $14.1 million qualifying offer from the Rangers. Oops. In a related note, he will be returning from a 50-game Biogenesis suspension. [...] Ruben Amaro Jr., Philadelphia. Clever critics for years have called the Phillies’ GM “Ruin Tomorrow, Jr.,” and tomorrow seems to have arrived. Cole Hamels’ sore left shoulder and the Rollins-Sandberg tension have made for an aggravating spring.

bobm Posted: March 16, 2014 at 10:56 AM | 28 comment(s)
  Beats: general

Friday, March 14, 2014

Brad Ziegler tweets his mind, and then some

He wants baseball’s drug testing program strengthened and says it’s impossible to believe the game is totally clean without it. He wants Milwaukee Brewers star Ryan Braun to once and for all divulge the details that led to his drug suspension instead of vague apologies. He wants the Hall of Fame to be off limits to any player linked to performance-enhancing drugs. And, if it’s not asking too much, he wants every player to hustle to first base.
When the St.Louis Cardinals signed Jhonny Peralta to a four-year, $52 million contract this offseason less than two months after the shortstop served a 50-game suspension for his links to the Biogenesis doping scandal, Ziegler reacted to the controversial deal on Twitter: “It pays to cheat. Thanks, owners, for encouraging PED use.”

Shoebo Posted: March 14, 2014 at 05:18 AM | 33 comment(s)
  Beats: diamondbacks, general, peds, twitter

Thursday, March 13, 2014

In the Mets Locker Room, an Old Slur Resurfaces

In the New York Mets locker room Monday morning, I was talking with Jeff Cutler, a 30-year old Japanese American from suburban Boston who serves as the interpreter for Japanese-born pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka.

We were talking casually about Asian communities in America when we heard a voice behind us.

“Jeff!”

Cutler and I turned around. It was Dan Warthen, the Mets pitching coach.

“I’m sorry I called you a ‘Chinaman’ yesterday,” Warthen told Cutler.


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Astros release Brett Wallace

KISSIMMEE, Fla.—The Houston Astros gave infielder Brett Wallace his unconditional release on Wednesday.

The 27-year-old Wallace played with the Astros for four years, mostly at first base and also at third base. He played in 79 games last season, batting .221 with 13 home runs. In eight games this spring, Wallace was 2-for-14 with eight strikeouts.

That leaves first basemen Chris Carter and rookie Jon Singleton on the roster. The Astros have 51 players remaining in camp, including 16 non-roster invitees.

Catcher Jason Castro is the only player on the current roster who has been with the Astros continuously longer than Wallace.

attaboy Posted: March 12, 2014 at 02:43 PM | 41 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, general

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Art of Pitching: Mastering the Sinkerball

My original idea for this story was a simple article discussing how Cumpton was getting advice from Morton and was working on improving his sinker. Add in some numbers from Cumpton last year, and it would be an easy story that I could file away as I tried to get ahead during the early weeks of Spring Training. But after talking with both players, I quickly realized that there was so much I didn’t know about the sinker, and about what players discuss when they’re talking to each other about grips. After over a dozen interviews with nine players and coaches over the last month, I realized how complex something as simple as a sinkerball pitch could be.

Really good technical article about the sinker from Pirates Prospects.


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

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 Opening Day Day seems to have been hatched over a beer. Or rather, a beer company. Budweiser — which is now owned by a corporation in Belgium, where they play soccer, not baseball — launched a petition drive and advertising campaign using Hall of Fame shortstop Ozzie Smith as a pitchman….

 

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

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Catricala retires from baseball to pursue law enforcement

In 2011, Vinnie Catricala was the best player in the Mariners minor league system, 16 months later the Sacramento, California native is retiring from baseball.

“I am just moving on (with my life) and actually one month into the Sacramento Police Academy,” said Catricala on Monday night. “I am really excited about the police department and my future.”


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

I-96 shootings suspect says he got ‘coded messages’ telling him to act

A Wixom man police say is the Interstate 96 corridor shooter who terrorized motorists in October 2012 testified Monday that he was prompted to randomly shoot at cars after receiving “coded messages” during Detroit Tiger baseball games.
[...]
Casteel said one of the shootings occurred while he was listening to a Tigers baseball game on his car radio and suffered anxiety at seeing a “long line of cars” driving in his direction.

He said he recalled listening to one pre-game broadcast discussing baseball hitters “aiming at shadows” or “shooting at shadows.”

“To me it meant shooting at cars,” he said.

Better cars than Trucks, I guess.

Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 28, 2014 at 05:10 PM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: crime, detroit tigers, general, radio

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

B.A.T. program walks Redmans through adversity

Ten years ago this season, Tike Redman was living the dream. He played center field and led off for Lloyd McClendon’s Pirates on Opening Day in 2004 at PNC Park, going 2-for-4 and doubling off Kevin Millwood to score Craig Wilson with the first run of the season in a 2-1 victory over the Phillies. It was the first of 155 games Redman played that year.

“It was my total dream,” Redman recalls. “I felt like I was really on top of the world then.”

Those are the kinds of stories that a Major League Baseball player would love to sit back and regale upon others through the golden years to follow. But things didn’t go quite as Julian Jawonn Redman imagined after that.

kthejoker Posted: January 21, 2014 at 04:39 PM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: general

Friday, January 10, 2014

Antonio Álvarez estará al frente del Ministerio del Deporte

There aren’t any English-language sources on this that I’ve found, so here’s a link to El Nacional. The upshot is that former Pirates outfielder Tony Alvarez (who goes by Antonio these days) was just chosen as Venezuela’s new Minister of Sport.


Thursday, January 09, 2014

What can a baseball fan do to get through the winter? | SportsonEarth.com : Howard Megdal

I know what I do, I spend a lot of time prepping for my Dynasty League Baseball fantasy draft. For years I spent most of my time coming up with my own WAR system based on real stats. I now I spend that time coming up a WAR system for the game. I’m not sure it’s the best use of my time but if it helps me win I’ll be able to live with it.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 09, 2014 at 09:25 AM | 28 comment(s)
  Beats: general

Friday, January 03, 2014

AZ Central Piecoro: There’s no Black Monday for GM’s in Baseball, ....but maybe next year

But baseball hasn’t had a general manager fired since 2011 — or it has had only one if you count the changes in Miami, where Larry Beinfest was fired as president of baseball operations….....

Another factor is probably tied to the backgrounds of modern GMs, many of whom are business savvy and/or Ivy League trained. Being able to speak the same language as their owners, to rationalize their decision-making based on more quantifiable factors rather than on scouting hunches or gut instincts, can only help when things don’t work out as planned.

As GMs have become more front and center in the post-“Moneyball” years, managers’ stars have dimmed somewhat. And certainly, the GMs are far more secure than the managers they hire; 12 teams have featured new managers since the end of the 2012 season.

 

Shoebo Posted: January 03, 2014 at 01:30 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: diamondbacks, general, general managers

Monday, December 30, 2013

Bob Smizik: My Hall of Fame ballot

This year, for reasons beyond my control, my ballot will have the maximum number of 10 on it. I’ve gone from extremely discriminating to the type of voter I used to laugh at. My excuses for this behavioral twist? My colleagues made me do it. The Hall of Fame made me do it. MLB made me do it.

I will not leave a player off my ballot because he is tainted by the performance-enhancing drug scandals of the 1990s and that includes those annually rejected by well more than a majority of the voters. If MLB or the Hall of Fame, which is a separate entity, don’t want a player to be enshrined then do what was done to Pete Rose. Take him off the ballot.

I will not leave off a player tainted by the drug scandals and vote for a player who is not tainted when for all I know that player was a bigger cheat. I choose not to serve as the judge and jury on alleged cheaters of the steroids era.

Ten votes: Bagwell, Bonds, Clemens, Glavine, Maddux, McGwire, Palmeiro, Piazza, Raines, and Thomas.

On the whole, I think that’s a pretty good ballot.


Thursday, December 19, 2013

A’s acquire Corey Brown from Nationals

Corey Brown was designated for assignment by the Nationals last week and today they traded the 27-year-old outfielder to the A’s for cash considerations.


Red Sox trade Franklin Morales, minor leaguer to Rockies for utility infielder

The Red Sox have traded left-hander Franklin Morales and minor-league right-hander Chris Martin to the Rockies in exchange for infielder Jonathan Herrera, a switch-hitter without much offense but considered a decent defensive player who can play second base, shortstop and third base.


Royals acquire Valencia from Orioles for Lough - Third baseman to back up Moustakas, possibly play first base

Lough’s status with the Royals was in jeopardy after right fielder Norichika Aoki was obtained from the Brewers. Lough had spent his entire career in the KC organization, so the trade to Baltimore was unsettling.

“It was kind of a shock to me,” Lough said.


Braves trade for Twins C Doumit

After a season of having three catchers at manager Fredi Gonzalez’s disposal, the Braves have decided they want to do it again. The team traded for veteran catcher Ryan Doumit, sending minor leaguer pitcher and former first round draft pick Sean Gilmartin to the Minnesota Twins.



Tuesday, December 17, 2013

USA Cricket: David Warner to give baseball a shot

Australian opener David Warner has attracted the attention of American baseball scouts and was considering it, The Daily Telegraph reported yesterday. Warner has been in superb form throughout the Ashes and scored his second century in the third Test and his sixth this season.
[...]
Warner has endorsement deals with Gray Nicolls, Asics and ANZ Stadium and could sign deals to the tune of $5 million based on his current form.  He is also expected to fetch $2 million at the next IPL auction. “His talent is second to none in raw ability and now he’s combining it with a great work ethic,” [Warner’s manager Tony] Connelly told the Telegraph. “If he was any good at baseball, he could double or triple what he earns from cricket.”


Former UWSP baseball player facing domestic abuse charges

Cody Koback, 23, of Stevens Point was arrested Friday on charges of battery, false imprisonment and strangulation and suffocation after a former girlfriend told deputies about a domestic abuse incident at his house the previous day.

Koback, a tenth-round pick in 2011, is a member of the Red Sox’s minor league system.


Tuesday, December 03, 2013

SF Giants Minor Leaguer Players in Arizona Crash

The crash occurred when a team van collided with a car after pulling out of a hotel’s driveway.

Police and fire spokesmen said either three or four people affiliated with the Giants were hurt and taken to a hospital, while Giants spokeswoman Staci Slaughter says six Giants minor league players were transported.

Police Sgt. Mark Clark said none of the injuries was life-threatening.

Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: December 03, 2013 at 01:11 PM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: general, giants, injuries, san francisco

Monday, December 02, 2013

Bucs prospect Chambers dies at 24 - Pittsburgh’s 2009 third-round pick passes away in his sleep

“All of us at the Pittsburgh Pirates are shocked and saddened by Evan’s sudden passing in his sleep this past weekend,” Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said. “Beyond being just a talented ballplayer, Evan was a great teammate and a quiet leader who went about his craft as a professional every day.

“Off the field, Evan loved making a difference in the community, and often dedicated a lot of his time working with children in the communities in which he played. Our heartfelt sympathies and prayers go out to his family for this unimaginable loss. He was far too young. He will be missed.”


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