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Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Inventor of the High Five

Glenn Burke was credited with inventing the high five in 1977, early in his MLB career. Unfortunately, he was outed as a gay man that offseason, and his career and his life were both shortened.



Wednesday, July 23, 2014

2015 Competitive Balance Lottery Results

The Competitive Balance Lottery for the 2015 MLB Draft took place this afternoon. Twelve competitive balance picks are awarded, with the first six taking place after the first round’s conclusion and the next six taking place following conclusion of the second round. Here are the results, per MLB.com (Twitter links)...

Competitive Balance Round A

  Marlins
  Rockies
  Cardinals
  Brewers
  Padres
  Indians

Competitive Balance Round B

  Reds
  Athletics
  Mariners
  Twins
  Orioles
  Diamondbacks

As MLB.com’s Jim Callis explained earlier in the week, teams that have one of the 10 smallest markets or one of the 10 smallest revenue pools are eligible to receive a compensatory pick between the first and second rounds (Round A) or between the second and third rounds (Round B).

Its about time the Cardinals got some help to become more competitive.


Saturday, July 19, 2014

Nine things to know about the best changeup in baseball | FOX Sports

You don’t know Jack about Felix Hernandez’s change up.

Jim Furtado Posted: July 19, 2014 at 01:20 PM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: felix hernandez, mariners

Friday, July 18, 2014

Dave Cameron: 2014 Trade Value: The Top 10

7. Salvador Perez

If there’s one piece of feedback I got more clearly than any other last year, it was that I was too low on Salvador Perez. I had one friend in the game tell me should have been in the top five, and I had him at 36. My bad, Kansas City. Consider this a mea culpa.

Perez might not yet be the best catcher in baseball, but there are a lot of people convinced that he’s going to be in the near future. He’s basically a power spike away from being Jonathan Lucroy, only he’s four years younger than Milwaukee’s backstop, and at a point where many catchers are still honing their craft in the minors. And while framing metrics don’t love him the same way they do Lucroy, his defensive reputation is still stellar, as he shuts down the running game as well as anyone.

And then there’s the contract. Because the Royals locked up Perez after just 39 big league games, he’s set to make $2 million each of the next two years, and then they have team options for three additional years at $4 million, $5 million, and $6 million respectively. It’s $19 million over five seasons, or an average of $4 million per year. The best catcher in the American league is signed to the kind of deal you give a decent middle reliever.

Perez doesn’t even have to get any better to be one of the biggest steals in baseball. If he does improve, though, he might eventually challenge for the top spot on this list.

BUT WHO IS #6????


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Journal News: Recap of Derek Jeter Retirement Gifts

The big 2nd half issue at BBTF is likely to be the retirement gifts The Captain receives as he completes his Final Journey. To provide perspective, the LoHud Yankee Blog reviews the 1st half:

May 25 — White Sox
Once a powerful hitter for both the Yankees and White Sox, retired slugger Ron Kittle built Jeter’s U.S. Cellular Field retirement gift. Kittle created a bench made of baseball equipment with bases as the seat, bats as the back and arm rests, and baseballs used for decoration and spacing. Long time White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko also presented Jeter with clay removed from the shortstop position at U.S. Cellular, plus a $5,000 donation to Jeter’s Turn 2 Foundation.

Looks like it wouldn’t be difficult for Furtdao to top the Cubs effort on behalf of BBTF.


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

MLB Finally Acknowledges Glenn Burke, The Game’s Gay Pioneer

At tonight’s all-star game, MLB will recognize the career and contributions of Glenn Burke, a speedy outfielder who became the first baseball player to be out to his teammates, and the first to acknowledge it publicly after his career ended.

Burke left the game in 1979, citing the burden of keeping his personal life private.

eddieot Posted: July 15, 2014 at 03:58 PM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: all-star game, dodgers, glenn burke

Monday, July 14, 2014

Knobler: Inside MLB’s Cuban Pipeline: It’s High-Risk, High-Reward

Mr. Burns, I think we can trust the President of Cuba.

Eventually, the players who leave the island establish residency in another country and are declared free agents. Workouts are scheduled, sometimes attracting 200 scouts and executives if the player is a big enough star.

Sometimes, a player may work out for a specific team, as Abreu did for the Reds when they wanted to see if he could play third base or left field (he couldn’t, at least not to their satisfaction, and with Joey Votto set at first base, they reluctantly dropped out of the bidding).

Eventually, a player signs pending a physical exam, which can be something of an adventure in itself. The Dodgers had to have someone drive Puig 1.5 hours across Mexico City to find an MRI machine. When the Reds recently signed pitcher Raisel Iglesias, scheduling the physical was almost a bigger obstacle than negotiating the contract.

“We were working on a tight deadline, and the kid couldn’t get a visa yet to come to the Dominican Republic or the U.S.,” Reds general manager Walt Jocketty explained. “We finally brought a doctor from the Dominican, and a Spanish-speaking doctor we work with in Cincinnati, to see the kid in Haiti. But then they had to find an MRI machine in Haiti.”

It all got done, and now the Reds will hope Iglesias does as well for them as Chapman has. He was nearly as expensive, costing the Reds $27 million for a seven-year contract, even though he wasn’t as highly touted as Chapman (who got $30.25 million for six years in January 2010).

The prices keep going up, which only makes the decisions tougher.

“The gut feel has to be there,” said Don Welke, a top Rangers scout who has been to many Cuban showcases and was involved in the signing of outfielder Leonys Martin. “It’s huge risk, huge reward. As it’s turned out recently, whoever has taken the risk has gotten the reward.

“But some scout had to stick his neck out for every one of these guys. And you’d better darn well be right, because your owner is asking you why you want to spend so much on a guy you only saw in two workouts.”


Saturday, July 05, 2014

Clayton Kershaw ups scoreless innings run to 36 in Dodgers’ win

The hard-throwing lefty nearly had no-hit stuff against Colorado again, allowing only two singles over eight innings as the Dodgers beat the Rockies 9-0 on Friday night.
What’s more, Kershaw (10-2) extended his scoreless streak to 36 innings before being replaced by a pinch hitter in the ninth. Kershaw bottled up the top-hitting team in the majors in nearly matching the no-hitter he threw against the Rockies on June 18 at Dodger Stadium. Kershaw struck out eight and walked one.

“You don’t ever want to give up a run,” Kershaw casually said. “I guess that’s the goal.”

And that was a start that lowered his K:BB ratio. Enough said. And oh yeah, this was in the ballpark of terror known as Coors Field.

Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: July 05, 2014 at 07:39 AM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: clayton kershaw, dodgers, rockies

Friday, July 04, 2014

John McGrath: Acquiring Cano not the only move that helped turn the Mariners around | John McGrath | The News Tribune

Is he lucky or good?

A final stat: The combined 2014 salaries for Jones, Elias, Morrison, Beimel and Young add up to $4.85 million, or about $850,000 more than the average big league player earns per season.

Zduriencik has taken flak for trades that disappointed (starting pitcher Cliff Lee to the Rangers for a prospect package centered around Smoak) and signing expensive free agents who turned out to be worthless (Chone Figgins, $35 million for four years of bad vibes).

But Zduriencik’s ability to patch a flawed team with bargain-basement acquisitions could do more than save his job.

It might establish his legacy.

Jim Furtado Posted: July 04, 2014 at 08:50 AM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: mariners

Tuesday, July 01, 2014


Thursday, June 26, 2014

Rick Cerone: “Robinson Cano . . . what a fool!”

You can’t spell Encore Rick (that’s what we used to yell to him after his 1980 outlier season) without Rick Cerone.

Former Yankees catcher Rick Cerone was on SiriusXM’s Fantasy Sports Radio channel with hosts Scott Engel and Adam Ronis today, and he had some pretty strong opinions about Robinson Cano signing with the Mariners:

  Host/Scott Engel:  “Robinson Cano in Seattle, why is he not hitting for power?”

  Rick Cerone:  “Big ballpark.  Big mistake.  No backup.  No protection in the lineup.  I mean, what a fool.  Robinson Cano, I liked him as a Yankee.  What a fool.  Got bad advice.  Yeah, he took more money but you know how much more money and exposure he could’ve had playing in New York, come to the lights.  He’s going to go up to Seattle, we might see him once or twice in an All-Star Game.  He’s only got four home runs.  Four home runs for how many million, 200 and something million dollars?”

Repoz Posted: June 26, 2014 at 05:00 PM | 256 comment(s)
  Beats: mariners, yankees

Monday, June 23, 2014

Rapoport: Kershaw’s gem was great, but batters feared Nolan Ryan

Hey, Rapoport! I haven’t read you in ages.

Ranking no-hitters may seem like a fool’s errand. Greatness is greatness and this sort of example doesn’t happen very often. Why not leave it at that?

But when a pitcher ascends toward the upper echelon of strikeout potential and pitches a no-hitter as well, the temptation to match him against those who came before becomes irresistible. And since claims are being made that Clayton Kershaw’s no-hit victory over Colorado on June 18 is the most dominant pitching performance ever, it becomes our civic duty to summon up a memory of Nolan Ryan.

...The only mark against Ryan that day was that he issued four walks while Kershaw allowed none. This gives Kershaw the nod, his supporters say. Fair enough, except for this.

Ryan threw the ball harder than Kershaw—his fastball was routinely measured at more than 100 miles per hour—and he therefore didn’t have Kershaw’s ability to control where it went. Walks were such a part of Ryan’s repertoire that he didn’t pitch a complete game without one until he was 36 years old and was no longer throwing as hard.

But I’ve always thought that Ryan’s occasional inability to get the ball over the plate was one of his strengths. The idea that a pitch might get away from him was firmly implanted in hitters’ minds as they approached the plate.

...As Kershaw’s no-hitter in Dodger Stadium was winding down, a television camera peered into the Rockies’ dugout and Vin Scully noted the look of awe on the faces of their hitters. That struck me as about right and points to the essential difference when the subject is domination.

When the Tigers came to the plate against Ryan that day, their main emotion was not awe but fear.

Repoz Posted: June 23, 2014 at 05:53 AM | 53 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, dodgers, history, mets

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Kershaw throws second Dodgers no-hitter of 2014, fans 15 Rockies

This grumble from Dodger pal Glossops+: “When Koufax was throwing his no-hitters…the strikeout rate was like minus 2 or something!”

The Rockies had no answer for Clayton Kershaw on Wednesday night. The Dodgers southpaw threw his first career no-hitter against Colorado, and he was only a Hanley Ramirez throwing error away from a perfect game.

The 26-year-old Kershaw threw 107 pitches in the no-hit effort, so his pitch count was never an issue. His career high is 132 pitches, set last April. That is the only time he’s thrown more than 120 pitches in a start in his career.

Kershaw struck out 15 batters, breaking his previous career high (13) set back in April 2009. Ramirez’s error came on a slow chopper by Corey Dickerson leading off the seventh inning. Colorado hit only three balls out of the infield and did not make much hard contact at all.

The Rockies came into Wednesday’s game leading baseball in batting average (.284), on-base percentage (.337) and slugging percentage (.461). Some of that is Coors Field aided, of course, but this team can still hit. Kershaw definitely earned the no-hitter.

You don’t win two Cy Young Awards before your 26th birthday without being historically dominant. Kershaw had previously thrown two two-hitters in his career, and they came roughly a month apart in 2011. He did it against the Marlins that May and again against the Tigers in June.

Repoz Posted: June 19, 2014 at 05:35 AM | 61 comment(s)
  Beats: dodgers

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Chad Billingsley of Los Angeles Dodgers to miss rest of season - ESPN Los Angeles

Dodgers pitcher Chad Billingsley will have season-ending surgery next week to repair a partially torn flexor tendon in his right elbow.

Jim Furtado Posted: June 17, 2014 at 06:27 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: chad billingsley, dodgers

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Dodgers’ fans, players and Vin Scully react to Kings’ Stanley Cup victory

In fact, even those in attendance at Dodger Stadium had to find a way to get their eyes on overtime. They ended up flooding the concourse where the in-stadium televisions broadcast each heart-stopping pass, shot and save. Then, finally, with the baseball action in the bottom of the sixth inning, a small eruption could be heard as Alec Martinez tapped home a rebound for the Cup clinching goal.

AJ Ellis on crowd reacting to #LAKings win: “We knew they weren’t getting fired up over a Chone Figgins at-bat.”

Pretty sporting of the Dodgers to show another game on the TVs during their game.  Well done.

Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: June 14, 2014 at 07:05 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: dodgers, hockey, vin scully

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Dodgers fan arrested for Cincy trespass

‘‘Apparently, he’s been obsessed with the Dodgers for a long time,’’ she said. She said she didn’t believe he had any weapons, but said another attorney would probably be appointed to represent him on the burglary count, which could carry prison time upon conviction.

Sexton is known online among Dodger fans as ‘‘Troy From West Virginia’’ for video postings about the team and its players, including his admiration for former Dodger relief pitcher Joe Beimel and coarse retorts to critics of young Dodger star Yasiel Puig.

There sure is a lot of crazy going around these days.

Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: June 12, 2014 at 02:39 PM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: dodgers, mental health, reds

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Cole: 45 Years Ago Today: Maury Wills Returns to the Dodgers

Lover Come Back…indeed!

Today’s Dodgers don’t make headlines with trades as early in the season as June 11. Yesterday’s Dodgers did, and General Manager Buzzie Bavasi pulled off one such deal 45 years ago today, correcting the baseball injustice that had Maury Wills wearing something other than Dodger Blue for parts of three seasons: Bavasi acquired Wills and Manny Mota from the Montreal Expos for Ron Fairly and Paul Popovich on June 11, 1969.

Mota would go on to record a then-best-in-history 150 pinch hits (ex-Dodger Lenny Harris holds the current record with 212). Still an L.A. fan favorite, he has been with the team in one capacity or another since that very day (happy anniversary!). He is also the answer to the riddle, “What do you call a baseball coach with a flat tire?” Answer: “Manny Mota and jack.”

But bringing back Wills - L.A.‘s shortstop and captain - was the real story. Maurice Morning Wills had been a part of the club’s 1959, 1963 and 1965 World Series championships, was the National League’s Most Valuable Player in the near-miss 1962 campaign, when he broke Ty Cobbs’s 47-year-old record with 104 stolen bases, and had been an All-Star in 1966.

But Wills went 1-13 in the World Series that October as the Dodgers were swept by the Baltimore Orioles in humbling fashion. Bavasi, no doubt employing the famous “better to trade a player a year too early than a year too late” strategy, shipped his shortstop off to Pittsburgh for Bob Bailey and Gene Michael on December 1, 1966.

...Wills, along with his Bucs’ teammate Mota, were selected by the Expos in the 1968 expansion draft, and were on the chalk lines when Major League Baseball opened for business in Canada, April 14, 1969 at Jarry Park (Montreal 8, St. Louis 7, Dan McGinn with 5 1/3 innings of shutout relief over Gary Waslewski).

Hitting just .222 at the time of the trade 45 years ago today, Wills improved to .297 the rest of the way. The Dodgers moved into first place ten days after his return, ultimately finishing fourth in what was known that year as the NL’s “Wild Wild West.”

Wills, at 38, led the Dodgers to within a game of the division crown in 1971, losing out to the Giants on the last day of a memorable race, and retired after the 1972 season. He worked as a baseball analyst for NBC, managed the Seattle Mariners for parts of two seasons, and in recent years has been a fixture at Chavez Ravine during homestands.

Repoz Posted: June 11, 2014 at 09:23 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: dodgers, history

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Slate: Baseball Has an Amazing Gay History. It’s Time to Recognize It.

Numbers can’t possibly begin to explain how a tremendously talented athlete would eventually be sidelined by vicious institutional homophobia. After coming out to his teammates and managers in 1978, Burke was reportedly offered $75,000 by Dodgers Vice President Al Campanis to enter into a sham marriage. When turning down the offer—more than $312,000 in today’s money—Burke wittily replied, “I guess you mean to a woman.” Unfortunately, Glenn Burke’s fearlessness would lead to his exile from Los Angeles: That same year, he was traded to Oakland.

According to former Athletics teammate Claudell Washington, manager Billy Martin was cruelly homophobic from Day 1, introducing Burke in the locker room by saying, “Oh, by the way, this is Glenn Burke, and he’s a faggot.” Much as Jackie Robinson endured unfathomable racism from fans and fellow players alike, Burke too faced the injustice of bigotry in sports. Yet as an out gay, black man in professional sports—in the 1970s—Burke was light years ahead of his time. “Being black and gay made me tougher. You had to be tough to make it. Yeah, I’m proud of what I did,” Burke recalled later in life. In a Philadelphia Inquirer interview just before his death from AIDS-related illness in 1995, Burke was defiant, declaring, “They can’t ever say now that a gay man can’t play in the majors, because I’m a gay man and I made it.”

MLB’s most significant tribute to Glenn Burke is a puff piece from 2013, which details the creation of the high five.


Wednesday, June 04, 2014

MLB.com: For the Garveys, home is all about family

“For us, it’s simply where the heart and soul of the family is,” Garvey said. “It’s a place that originally was a house, and this very talented woman makes it a home.

“It’s where we love and we live. We have so many kids, then we send them out into the world”—he laughs—“to find homes of their own.”

Yoenis Cespedes, Baseball Savant Posted: June 04, 2014 at 09:32 AM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: dodgers

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Corcoran: Top studs and duds: The best and worst No. 1 picks in MLB draft history

1. Chipper Jones, SS, Braves, 1990

By career wins above replacement, Alex Rodriguez has been by far the most valuable first-round pick in draft history, but no team ever got more out of the No. 1 overall choice than the Braves got from Chipper Jones. Rodriguez, who went 1/1 in 1993, chased big free agent money at the first opportunity, leaving Seattle after compiling 38 WAR in his team-controlled years. Ken Griffey Jr. (1987) forced a trade to his home city of Cincinnati after 11 years with the Mariners, but Jones, a regional high school shortstop who settled in at third base in the major leagues, spent his entire 19-year, soon-to-be Hall of Fame career with team that drafted him.

“He looks just like you, poindexter!”

Eddo Posted: June 03, 2014 at 05:03 PM | 130 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, draft, mariners, mets, padres, twins, white sox, yankees

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Moura: Sabermetrics: Puig nearly in league of his own

Hey, WAR Puig!

Here is a list of baseball players since 1901 who had inarguably better debut years in the majors than Dodgers right fielder Yasiel Puig.

1.

2.

3.

Here is a complete list of baseball players since 1901 who had arguably better debut years in the majors than Puig:

Frank Thomas, Fred Lynn and Johnny Mize.

It’s that short.

On Monday, Puig will complete his first full year in the major leagues, having been called up from Double-A Chattanooga on June 3, 2013.

In the last 363 days, he has managed to establish himself as the Dodgers’ best hitter, arguably their best defender and probably the most talked-about player in baseball.

All of that can be discerned by the eye — or ear — test. But sabermetrics show us how Puig’s performance compares historically.

There is a big problem with examining historical statistics solely as presented on the back of baseball cards: a lack of context. A below-average season in 1950 looks the same as a good season in 1943. An above-average season in 2000 looks like a dominant one in 2014.

Luckily, there exist several metrics that put individual seasons on fair scales, for both the different stadiums and leagues and for differing run environments over the years.

Repoz Posted: June 01, 2014 at 08:46 AM | 45 comment(s)
  Beats: dodgers, sabermetrics

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

How much longer before Royals shake things up in dugout, front office?

Robothol’s latest. A lot of good stuff.

An agent, of all people, suggested a perfect replacement for the retiring Derek Jeter: Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy, who is eligible for free agency at the end of the season.
The agent, who has no affiliation with either player, made an excellent point: Hardy is steady and unassuming, and his low-maintenance personality would make him well-suited to replace a legend.
Hardy, who turns 32 on Aug. 19, missed nearly a month with a strained left oblique earlier this season. He’s batting .304 with a .701 OPS, albeit with no home runs, in 158 at-bats.
His defense remains solid. And his transition could be relatively seamless, considering that this is his fourth season in the AL East.

As a Red Sox fan I highly endorse the Yankees signing Hardy to a five-year contract.

Jim Furtado Posted: May 27, 2014 at 10:34 AM | 68 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, j.j. hardy, mariners, mets, padres, phillies, rangers, royals, yankees

Monday, May 26, 2014

A.J. Ellis suffers severe ankle sprain during no-hitter celebration

Ellis jumped up and landed on Drew Butera’s discarded catcher’s gear during the celebration, he said.

When you’re a 33-year-old catcher, hitting .170, and you’ve just returned from the DL, this isn’t the smartest thing to do.

vortex of dissipation Posted: May 26, 2014 at 06:33 PM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: dodgers

Sunday, May 25, 2014

AP: Josh Beckett pitches first career no-hitter and first in MLB this season

PHILADELPHIA—Josh Beckett pitched the first no-hitter of his stellar career and the first in the majors this season, leading the Los Angeles Dodgers over the Philadelphia Phillies 6-0 on Sunday.

Beckett struck out six, walked three and didn’t come close to allowing a hit against a lineup that included two former NL MVPs and four former All-Stars.

“I don’t think I had no-hit stuff,” he said. “I just really kept them guessing.”
The 34-year-old right-hander, whose career was almost derailed last year by a nerve condition that left him unable to feel his fingertips, threw 128 pitches and fanned Chase Utley on a called strike three to end the game.

Beckett mixed a sharp fastball with a slow, deceptive curve that kept hitters off-balance. He pitched the Dodgers’ first no-hitter since Hideo Nomo beat Colorado at Coors Field in 1996, and the 21st in franchise history. Sandy Koufax threw four.
Beckett pitched the first no-hitter in the majors since Miami’s Henderson Alvarez did it against Detroit on the final day of the 2013 season.

Tripon Posted: May 25, 2014 at 09:18 PM | 43 comment(s)
  Beats: dodgers

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