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Sunday, July 06, 2014

Rosenthal: Yankees acquire RHP McCarthy from D-backs

The New York Yankees have acquired right-hander Brandon McCarthy from the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for left-hander Vidal Nuno, FOX Sports 1 Insider Ken Rosenthal reports.

The benefit for the Yankees here seems fairly obvious. I’m a bit more quizzical about the Diamondbacks’ perspective - maybe they were primarily motivated by a desire to unload McCarthy’s salary, and plan to stick Nuno into the LHRP slot just vacated by Thatcher?


Saturday, July 05, 2014

Diamondbacks send Joe Thatcher and Tony Campana to the Angels

The Diamondbacks’ are on the verge of making the first of what could be many trades this month, agreeing to a deal that will send left-hander Joe Thatcher and outfielder Tony Campana to the Los Angeles Angels.

In exchange, the Diamondbacks are receiving a pair of minor leaguers, right-handed reliever Joey Krehbiel and outfielder Zach Borenstein.

I know it’s not a trolling article about sabermetrics from an old fogey sportswriter, but we need to fill the front page with something, and I guess actual baseball transactions make as much sense as anything.


Thursday, July 03, 2014

SC Featured: Toe Nash - ESPN Video - ESPN

The story of Toe Nash.

Edit: Removed dopey ESPN video which was intent on autoplaying. Jim

Jim Furtado Posted: July 03, 2014 at 06:52 AM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: general

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Twitter: Mitchell Lichtman

Jim Furtado Posted: June 26, 2014 at 06:56 AM | 43 comment(s)
  Beats: general

Thursday, June 19, 2014


Thursday, June 12, 2014

Baseball Helps….Sometimes

Lindsey Adler, a BuzzFeed sports intern, noted that the unpredictability of baseball holds her attention as she has anxiety and depression. The simplicity of the game keeps it stress free for Adler.

“I’ve found baseball to be really effective in curbing my anxiety/depression,” Adler said. “Watching upwards of 150 games over the course of the season serves as a major distraction from my anxieties. It creates a routine for me, in which I spend approximately four hours every night focusing almost solely on the game.”

Poster Nutbag Posted: June 12, 2014 at 01:08 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: general

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

D-backs’ GM Kevin Towers: ‘I don’t want to be a pseudo-GM’

For Towers, right now it’s business as usual and he’s hoping his duties and responsibilities don’t change much.

“I certainly don’t want to be a pseudo-GM,” he said. “The front office role will be new to him and I’m hoping I can help him too, like the daily calendar and what’s important in June and July. These are some of the good players in our system—no different from what Jerry Dipoto did for me in my first year here.

“I’m hoping that we help one another and as we get to talk that he’ll have the confidence in the very near future to let me run the club as I have been but everything will go through him and be shared with him. You’d like to think that our vision and everything is on the same page.”

shoewizard Posted: May 21, 2014 at 07:29 PM | 31 comment(s)
  Beats: diamondbacks, general, general managers

Friday, May 16, 2014

Witnesses: Mitch Williams Called Child “A Pussy,” Ordered Beanball

Here’s video of an incident that happened in the fifth inning, when the SJ Titans pitcher came to bat in the leadoff position. Watch as Williams says something to his catcher, after which the catcher goes out to the mound to say something to his pitcher. SJ Titans coaches and players overheard this interaction, and report that Williams ordered his pitcher to intentionally hit the SJ Titans batter with the first pitch. One witness told us it was in an attempt to knock the SJ Titans pitcher out of the game.

Sure enough, the first pitch hits the SJ Titans player square in the ribs. (The home plate umpire, who had been made aware of the upcoming beanball, warned both benches.) One SJ Titans assistant coach confronted Williams about the pitch after the game, and reported that Williams stated, “I told him to throw it inside.”

Mitch Williams sounds like a really classy dude.

Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: May 16, 2014 at 04:44 PM | 69 comment(s)
  Beats: amateur, general

Chris Getz retires from baseball

“I’ve enjoyed every minute that I’ve played and will always be passionate about the game,” Getz said. “I’m starting a family, and I’m interested in other endeavors both inside and outside of the game.”

Getz: Back where he once belonged.


Thursday, May 08, 2014

EPA to test soil at baseball complex near Bridgeton landfill

Cold War-era nuclear waste is buried at West Lake Landfill, which is adjacent to the Bridgeton Landfill, where underground smoldering has created an odor problem. Many residents also worry about what could happen if the smoldering reaches the nuclear waste, though landfill operators say safeguards will prevent that from happening. Operators are spending millions of dollars build in blockades to keep the smoldering from the nuclear waste, and to address the smell.

The EPA testing comes after Bridgeton residents organized private tests that found high radiation levels in drainage areas near the ball fields. That caused a youth baseball tournament featuring nearly 100 teams to relocate elsewhere in St. Louis County last weekend.

Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: May 08, 2014 at 02:23 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: amateur, general, st. louis

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Jackson St. University baseball team’s bus destroyed by fire on I-20/59 in Birmingham

A Jackson State University bus carrying the men’s baseball team caught fire while traveling through Birmingham on Interstate 20/59 Monday, ABC 33/40 has learned.

According to police, everyone on board escaped the burning bus unharmed, but they will have to find a new ride as the bus was completely destroyed in the fire. It is unknown at this time what caused the blaze.

Be sure to click the link for the photos - it looks like a pretty impressive fire.

(Jackson State is a D-1 program, a historically black college in Mississippi. It has produced nine MLB players, most notably Oil Can Boyd, Dave Clark, and Wes Chamberlain.)

Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: May 06, 2014 at 12:13 PM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: college, general, travel

Monday, May 05, 2014

6-year-old burn victim Owen Mahan joins UIndy’s baseball team

February 11, 2014. The scene was surreal. Cameras were clicking as the young boy signed his letter of intent to join the University of Indianapolis baseball team. Once he slipped his new jersey over his shirt, it was clear he belonged.

Owen Mahan, No. 1.

“He was very timid when he first walked in,” baseball coach Gary Vaught said. “But then I said, ‘Owen, are you ready to put that Greyhound uniform on?’ It was like a light switch went on. We put that jersey on him and it was like, ‘Hey, I’m a part of this team. I’m on this ballclub now.’”
[..]
He’s a part of the team. So much so that the coach gave him the nickname “Big Daddy Jack Rabbit” to join the ranks of other Vaught disciples: “Big Chief,” “The Hawk,” “Bull.” So much so that Asalon said, “He’s just like one of us. He’s just another guy on the team.”

Nice story out of Indiana. I think I have something in my eye…

Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: May 05, 2014 at 02:04 PM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: college, general, injuries

Alberta teen banned from baseball team over long hair

Mackenzie has been coaching the team for seven years and says his decision comes down to basic respect for the game.

“To me, the hair issue is part of the uniform,” he said. “It’s like the hat. It’s like the jersey. It’s all part of the appearance and that’s important to me, to have respect for yourself and for your other team mates.”

The kid says that he’s growing it out to donate to a cancer charity. I’ll leave you to make your own decisions about the respect and moral values there.


From No. 1 draft pick to prison inmate: The Matt Bush story

I interviewed Bush at Hamilton Correctional Institution in Jasper, Florida, close to the Georgia line. He has been incarcerated since the spring of 2012 and our crew represented his first visitors.

Bush was tired and moving slowly when he showed up in the room selected for our chat. We conversed intimately in an old, exceptionally hot, minimally ventilated, out-of-service infirmary. The prison staff had neglected to alert Bush of our impending arrival, he said.

An interesting jailhouse interview with Matt Bush. Kapler has been doing some really good work lately.


Thursday, May 01, 2014

Ohio State freshman pitcher Zach Farmer diagnosed with leukemia

Zach had not been feeling good for approximately a week when he went to see our team doctors on Monday,” [Ohio State coach Greg] Beals said. “Blood tests were drawn as doctors originally suspected mono. The tests came back negative for mono, but abnormalities in the blood count showed leukemia. Further blood tests were done to led us to this diagnosis.”

Farmer, a lefthanded starter from Piketon, had a 6-4 record with a 3.28 ERA in nine starts this season. In 49.1 innings, Farmer had held opponents to a .234 batting average. While at Piketon High, Farmer was a four-year letterwinner and three-time first team All-Ohio selection. He went 10-1 with a 0.52 ERA and 162 strikeouts in 81 innings as a senior.


Monday, April 28, 2014

Pitcher Clay Hensley will retire from baseball

Hensley spent parts of seven seasons in the majors with the Padres, Marlins, and Giants, finishing his career with an even 4.00 ERA and a 1.37 WHIP in 271 games and 517 innings pitched. He last played in the majors in 2012, and was most recently pitching for the Atlantic League’s Sugar Land Skeeters.


Thursday, April 24, 2014

NY Times: The Upshot: Up Close on Baseball’s Borders

Steve Rushin of Sports Illustrated has called the line running through Connecticut that separates Yankee fans and Red Sox fans the Munson-Nixon line. Mr. Rushin came up with the name — in honor of the late Yankee catcher Thurman Munson and the retired Red Sox right fielder Trot Nixon — in 2003, and he had to guess where the line ran: “north of New Haven but south of Hartford, running the breadth of central Connecticut.”

We don’t have to guess anymore.

Fans may not list which team they favor on the census, but millions of them do make their preferences public on Facebook. Using aggregated data provided by the company, we were able to create an unprecedented look at the geography of baseball fandom, going down not only to the county level, as Facebook did in a nationwide map it released a few weeks ago, but also to ZIP codes. We can now clearly see that both Hartford and New Haven are in fact Yankee outposts. We can also determine the precise Chicago neighborhoods where White Sox jerseys stop being welcome and the central California town where the Dodgers cede fan favorite status to the Giants.

Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: April 24, 2014 at 12:31 PM | 94 comment(s)
  Beats: fans, general

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.”

shoewizard 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.


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