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Saturday, January 24, 2015

Ernie Banks, Hopeful Mr. Cub, Dies at 83; His Mantra Was ‘Let’s Play 2’

Long after retiring, Banks recalled the sweltering midsummer’s day in 1969 when he bubbled over in a phrase that became his trademark.

“We were in first place, and all the reporters were already in the locker room when I arrived at Wrigley for a game with the Cardinals,” Banks told The Arizona Daily Star. “I walked in and said: ‘Boy, it’s a beautiful day. Let’s play two.’ They all thought I was crazy.”...

“Ernie was the eternal optimist,” the former Cubs second baseman Glenn Beckert told Peter Golenbock in “Wrigleyville” (1996). “Everything is fine, a great day. You’d go back to Chicago from the nice weather in Arizona. A lot of times we’d open against St. Louis, and when you did that, Bob Gibson was going to be their pitcher. Gray, overcast, 32 degrees in Wrigley, big crowd, start snowing about the sixth inning, and Ernie says: ‘Isn’t this a great day? We’ll keep nice and cool so we don’t get overheated.’ ”

Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: January 24, 2015 at 07:28 AM | 79 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, general

Friday, January 16, 2015

Arthur Rhodes officially retires

MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon reports that reliever Arthur Rhodes has officially retired from baseball.

Rhodes hasn’t pitched since 2011, but I think he still deserves a proper sendoff. 20 years, 900 games, 1,152 strikeouts, one All-Star berth, and two of the biggest earrings you ever saw.


Thursday, January 15, 2015

Wait — the Mets are charging players to attend offseason workouts? Really?

If this is true — and given that Barwis himself is telling people that minor leaguers are paying him, there’s a good chance it is — it’s simply awful. As we’ve discussed an awful lot around here, minor leaguers make peanuts for the most part. And yet the Mets are, allegedly, requiring them to shell out for their own training and, subtly or otherwise, communicating that there is a penalty for not attending the sessions.


Monday, January 12, 2015

How To Improve the User Experience – The Hardball Times

This is the first in a 10-part series commemorating baseball’s new commissioner with advice for his tenure.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 12, 2015 at 04:04 PM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: general

Saturday, January 03, 2015

A look at Zobrist and MLB’s best utility players. | SportsonEarth.com : Paul Casella Article

Hanley Ramirez isn’t a utility player. It’s silly to list him as one.

Hanley Ramirez, Red Sox

Ramirez is a newcomer to this category. He has spent nearly his entire career at shortstop, playing 1,077 games at the position, while making only 98 appearances elsewhere—all at third base. That, however, didn’t stop the Red Sox from listing him as a left fielder after signing him to a four-year, $88 million contract this offseason.

It remains to be seen how exactly Ramirez will fare in the outfield, but the Red Sox can tentatively plan on penciling him in as a left fielder, shortstop or third baseman on any given night. That’s not a bad array of options, especially when Ramirez has put up a .300/.373/.500 batting line over his nine full seasons, while averaging 21 homers, 73 RBIs and 29 stolen bases—despite playing fewer than 100 games in two of those campaigns.

Jim Furtado Posted: January 03, 2015 at 06:51 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: general

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

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