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Saturday, August 30, 2014


Thursday, August 28, 2014

Markusen: Seinfeld, Sabermetrics and Ken Phelps

Bruce, Bill James made me love Phelps also, but c’mon, they already had Don Mattingly and Jack Clark, it was never gonna work.

this year marks the 25th anniversary of the debut of Seinfeld, arguably the most successful sitcom in the history of American television. This month (August) also marks the 60th birthday of Ken Phelps, one of the poster children for Bill James’ Sabermetric movement of the 1980s…

Phelps had had drawn the Yankees’ interest since 1985, when Billy Martin had instructed the front office to do whatever it took to get him. Three years later, Phelps finally arrived, too late for Martin but just in time for new manager Lou Piniella. Here was the plan. Phelps would DH against right-handers, allowing the Yankees to alternate days off for Jack Clark, who was 32 years old, and Dave Winfield, who was 36. To make the trade even more favorable for New York, scouts had their doubts about Buhner, the primary ingredient the Yankees sent to the Mariners. Buhner, a onetime prospect with the Pirates, had several holes in his uppercut swing, struck out at an alarming rate, and appeared ill-suited for Death Valley at the old Yankee Stadium.

So on all fronts, trading Buhner for Phelps made me happy. Unfortunately, Piniella, who was early in his career as a field boss, couldn’t figure out how to get Phelps into the lineup more regularly. (In fairness to Piniella, the injury-prone Clark complained about having to move back to the outfield to make room for Phelps, making life more difficult for Sweet Lou.) ...

Although Phelps’ Yankee career will never amount to a Yankeeography, he is far from forgotten. Quite the contrary, he has become a popular culture icon, thanks to the efforts of Jerry Seinfeld, George Costanza, and the mythical George Steinbrenner (voiced by the brilliant Larry David)... Much like Larry David did in voicing the role of George Steinbrenner, I found myself saying “Ken Phelps, Ken Phelps” a lot in 1988, to the point that his name became an obsession with me. I thought he would become the next big thing in New York. It never happened. But I understood where George Steinbrenner was coming from. And if you were a Mariners fan in the mid-1980s, you probably did, too.

The District Attorney Posted: August 28, 2014 at 02:36 PM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: bill james, ken phelps, mariners, sabermetrics, television, yankees

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Jack White, Eddie Vedder, and Paul Simon take in a Seattle Mariners game

I have a sudden urge to play The Jam’s “Thick As Thieves”.

mbd

Not since Ken Griffey Jr., Alex Rodriguez, and Edgar Martinez were lighting up pitchers in the 1990s has Seattle seen this much star power at its ballpark. Three generations of rock royalty, Jack White, Eddie Vedder, and Paul Simon attended today’s Mariners-Rangers game at Safeco Field.

White just finished up a two-night residency at Seattle’s Paramount Theatre. During night two, he dedicated his performance of “Steady As She Goes” to Vedder, who was in attendance.

Repoz Posted: August 27, 2014 at 06:32 PM | 200 comment(s)
  Beats: mariners

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Mariners Extend GM Jack Zduriencik

“Aim low. Aim so low no one will even care if you succeed.”

The Mariners have agreed to a multi-year contract extension with general manager Jack Zduriencik, the club announced via press release.

The District Attorney Posted: August 26, 2014 at 05:47 PM | 50 comment(s)
  Beats: jack zduriencik, mariners

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Bryan Cranston was positively giddy for meeting with Vin Scully

Vin Scully is no anti-dentite!

On Tuesday, the curtain pulled back for actor Bryan Cranston, allowing him to meet for the first time the legendary voice of the Dodgers, Vin Scully.

A California native and lifelong Dodgers fan who earned a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame, Cranston, who probably doesn’t go a day without fielding an autograph request, was awed by Scully’s presence.

“I have been looking forward to this moment for so long,” the “Breaking Bad” actor said. “I’m a little nervous right now.”...

Scully attempted to put Cranston at ease and then surprised him: Cranston got tasked with annoncing the Dodgers and Padres lineups.

Naturally, Cranston, aka Walter White, killed it.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 20, 2014 at 02:13 PM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: bryan cranston, dodgers, vin scully

Iwakuma gives Mariners a second true ace

Good idea from KLaw: “Have the Wilson sisters re-recorded ‘Barracuda’ with new lyrics that say ‘Iwakuma’ yet?”

the degree to which [Hisashi] Iwakuma is underrated is almost a crime.

He is easily the most anonymous ace in baseball, and all the proof you need is in this list of qualified American League starters that have a lower ERA than Iwakuma (2.63) since his first MLB start on July 2, 2012:

Yup, that would be no one…

[his] rate of 0.73 walks per nine innings easily leads all major-league starters and puts him on pace to enter the record books.

Only two qualified American League pitchers in baseball history have posted a walk rate that low in a single season: Carlos Silva (0.43 in 2005) and Cy Young (0.69 in 1904)...

The only other pitcher this season with a walk rate of less than four percent, a ground-ball rate of at least 50 percent and a strikeout rate of 20 percent or better is ... Mr. Clayton Kershaw…

thanks to the combination of baseball’s most anonymous ace (Iwakuma) and most deserving ace ([Felix] Hernandez), Seattle is now in prime position to give its fans something besides football to cheer about in October.

The District Attorney Posted: August 20, 2014 at 12:02 AM | 28 comment(s)
  Beats: hisashi iwakuma, mariners

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

FG: Clayton Kershaw, Felix Hernandez and Appreciating Greatness

Let’s go back to the qualified pitcher seasons since 1915, of which there are 7,464… Only 18 times — 0.002% — has a pitcher topped 25% in strikeouts and kept walks below five percent… Four of those seasons had more than one home run per nine innings. Ten of them were above 0.50/9. Still very good, and yet now out of the mix.

We’re left with four seasons… Let’s limit our pitchers to only seasons where the ground ball rate has been at least 50%; this, unfortunately, goes back only to 2002, when batted ball data was first available… We’re left with two guys. They’re both doing it right now. You probably already know who they are…

If you prefer this in a visual format, here’s a graph of every qualified starting pitcher season since 2002, all 1,136 of them…

 

 

 


Monday, August 11, 2014

CAN CLAYTON KERSHAW WIN THE MVP?

Since Clayton Kershaw came back from the disabled list in May, he has been pitching even better than ever. His 2014 ERA (1.78) is even better than his 2013 ERA. He also hasn’t allowed an un-earned run, so his RA9 is also 1.78. Kershaw’s 1.76 FIP is the best of his career by over half a run. Johnny Cueto is still relatively close to Kershaw in adjusted ERA, and he has more innings. He might still win over voters in the Cy Young voting, based on how they have voted in the past (let’s face it, 99% of the BBWAA doesn’t care about FIP). Even so, Kershaw’s peripherals blow everyone else out of the water. Kershaw would be up there with the best in baseball in counting stats, too, if Felix Hernandez wasn’t also out of his mind and if Cueto didn’t have 40 more innings.

Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: August 11, 2014 at 06:11 PM | 52 comment(s)
  Beats: dodgers

The Best Beer in Baseball

Several years ago, craft beer started taking off at Cincinnati’s Great American Ballpark. From 2011-2012, sales went up by 20 percent. From 2012-2013, they were up 47 percent.

So when it came time to create a new hangout in a highly trafficked spot on the third-base concourse, the ballpark went all-in on craft-style beers. The new Reds Brewery District – an 84-foot-long bar with more than 50 taps – included more than 20 craft offerings when it opened this spring. There were local beers from Cincinnati brewers like Christian Moerlein, MadTree, Blank Slate, Fifty West, Rhinegeist, Mt. Carmel, and Rivertown. There were national options from well-regarded breweries like Founders, Bell’s, West Sixth and Great Lakes.

And the market exploded. Counting single-day offerings, the Cincinnati Reds’ selection of distinct beers went from 42 to more than 130 – the most in Major League Baseball, according to a Washington Post analysis….

While teams like the Reds are just discovering the craft-beer market, the Seattle Mariners have long reveled in it. Located in the hops-mad Pacific Northwest – one of the bastions of craft brewing – the Mariners have a beer program that would make many specialty bars jealous.

About 70 percent of Safeco Field’s 700 beer handles are devoted to “good, quality craft beer,” according to Steve Dominguez, the general manager of Centerplate’s operations at Safeco Field.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 11, 2014 at 03:01 PM | 75 comment(s)
  Beats: beer, mariners, reds, stadium fare

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Dodgers Acquire Kevin Correia

Attention and fame.

The Dodgers acquired righty Kevin Correia from the Twins for a player to be named later or cash considerations, announced the teams.  The Dodgers officially placed Josh Beckett on the DL earlier today with a left hip injury, which is expected to sideline him for at least two weeks… “Kevin gives us an additional option as a starter or long reliever.  He also supplies us with more veteran pitching depth for the stretch drive,” said [Dodgers GM Ned] Colletti in tonight’s press release.

Correia, 34 later this month, posted a 4.94 ERA, 4.2 K/9, 2.2 BB/9, 0.90 HR/9, and 41.5% groundball rate in 129 1/3 innings for Minnesota… The Twins signed Correia to a two-year, $10MM deal after the 2012 season…

Minnesota has saved about $1.5MM by shipping Correia to the Dodgers.  Additionally, they’ve opened a spot for new acquisition Tommy Milone, who will start Monday night in Houston.  Twins GM Terry Ryan is looking beyond 2014, with his club mired in last place, and Milone will be one of two new faces in Minnesota’s rotation going forward, alongside rookie Trevor May.

The District Attorney Posted: August 10, 2014 at 11:11 AM | 20 comment(s)
  Beats: dodgers, kevin correia, trades, transactions, twins

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Was Chrissy Teigen drunk during first pitch?

Chrissy Teigen was worried she’d throw a first pitch worse than 50 Cent before Tuesday night’s game at Dodger Stadium, but as usual, she wound up looking pretty good.

Balkroth Posted: August 07, 2014 at 07:47 PM | 30 comment(s)
  Beats: dodgers, first pitch

Dodgers Acquire Roberto Hernandez

The second white flag trade Hernandez has been involved in! (Wait, what?)

The Phillies announce that they have traded Roberto Hernandez to the Dodgers for two players to be named later or cash considerations…

The Phillies signed Hernandez to a one-year, $4.5MM deal last winter, and he posted a 3.87 ERA with 5.6 K/9 and 4.1 BB/9 in 121 innings for them, with a strong 52.0% ground ball rate. Hernandez, formerly known as Fausto Carmona, has played parts of nine seasons, also spending time with the Indians and Rays.

Hernandez’s role with the Dodgers is unclear. They have a strong rotation of Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Dan Haren and Josh Beckett.


Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Why The Wild Card Game Should Be A Two-Game Series

But adding an extra game would push the World Series to Christmas!

Wha’? A two-game series? Erm…don’t know how to tell you this, Nico, but…um…two is an even number. I know. And the wild card game should, for many reasons at once, be a two-game series. Here’s how I think it should work, and why…

To advance to the ALDS, the 2nd wild card team should have to beat the 1st wild card team twice. That “two chances to win one” backdrop gives the 1st wild card team a significant advantage over the 2nd wild card team. This is important because the difference in record between the 1st and 2nd wild card teams can be large, potentially even larger than the spread between a division winner and a 2nd place team.

Never has this been more evident than in 2014, where the Los Angeles Angels (of Anaheim, if you didn’t know) are currently in the 1st wild card slot despite currently being on pace to win 97 games. Leading the 2nd wild card race, at the moment, are the Toronto Blue Jays, currently on pace to win all of 86 games.

A team 11 games worse should not be on such equal footing as to have only to snatch one game, albeit an away game, in order to advance. Consider a team like the Seattle Mariners, also in the thick of the wild card hunt just 2 games back of Toronto, that is on pace to win only 83 games but has King Felix Hernandez as a tremendous “one-game wild card” weapon.

In order to create sufficient incentive to win the 1st wild card, and not just “any wild card,” making the 2nd wild card sweep a two-game series in order to advance is more fair to the 1st wild card winner.

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 05, 2014 at 11:47 AM | 72 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, blue jays, mariners, royals, wild card, yankees

Monday, August 04, 2014

The utility guy the Yankees actually wanted at the deadline | New York Post

Before acquiring Martin Prado from the Diamondbacks on Thursday, the Yankees inquired about the Mariners’ Dustin Ackley.
Nevertheless, when Seattle asked for minor league right-hander Bryan Mitchell, the discussions essentially ended because the Yankees view the 23-year-old right-hander as a rotation candidate either this year or next.

Jim Furtado Posted: August 04, 2014 at 06:40 AM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: mariners, yankees

Friday, August 01, 2014

Mariners notebook: Zduriencik fires back at critics | Mariners Insider - The News Tribune

“I wasn’t willing to do it. That’s just the way it is. We’ve put too much into this. Our fans have suffered too much for 10 years (for us) to try to get to a point where we’re competitive. We are now, and we’re going to get better.

“This group of kids will get better. We’re not finished. We’ve got Paxton coming back. We’ve got Taijuan eventually. We have a lot of nice pieces. It isn’t just a couple. I think that’s very important.”

Jim Furtado Posted: August 01, 2014 at 08:40 AM | 31 comment(s)
  Beats: mariners, trade deadline

Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Dark Side of Booming Local TV Deals

But who wants to watch Astros games anyway?

It turns out that big local TV contracts aren’t always good news for teams either. That has turned Selig’s mood quite sour.

When a regional sports network agrees to pay millions of dollars to an MLB team, that RSN has two principal ways to recoup that investment: (1) sell ads during the game broadcasts; (2) charge a carriage fee to the cable and satellite operators in the region who want to carry the RSN. But what happens when the cable and satellite companies balk at the carriage fees?...

Comcast SportsNet Houston launched in October 2012 and, since then, has been seen only by Comcast cable customers. The new RSN – a joint venture among the Houston Astros, Houston Rockets and Comcast Sports Group — couldn’t come to agreement on carriage fees with any other cable or satellite company in the region. With the RSN bleeding cash, Comcast forced the venture into bankruptcy court last September, where the parties have been fighting ever since. Astros owner Jim Crane also sued Comcast and former team owner Drayton McLane for fraud in the sale of the team. That did not make Bud Selig happy at all.

That brings us to the Los Angeles Dodgers. As I explained before the season started:

SportsNet LA launched in February with around-the-clock Dodgers programming, but only customers with TWC or Bright House can view the network in their homes.Every other cable and satellite operator in the Los Angeles market has balked at the network’s carriage fee demand. And TWC hardly counts as an arms-length agreement, as it is the Dodgers’ broadcast partner in SportsNet LA. Indeed, TWC will essentially pay itself the carriage fee for SportsNet LA, and then pay the Dodgers their monthly rights fee as part of the 25-year, $8.3 billion megadeal.

No deal’s been reached. A vast majority of Dodgers fans in LA missed Josh Beckett’s no-hitter, Clayton Kershaw’s no-hitter and every Yasiel Puig bat flip — unless they watched with a friend or at a bar with TWC. Even Vin Scully is without Dodgers’ broadcasts when he’s at home during the team’s long road trips.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 31, 2014 at 07:50 PM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, dodgers, nationals, orioles, padres, television, tv contracts

Mariners acquire outfielder Chris Denorfia from Padres

I prefer to call him Abe “The Alien” Almonte.

A Mariners team looking for an offensive boost acquired Padres outfielder Chris Denorfia on Thursday in exchange for two Minor Leaguers about two hours before the non-waiver Trade Deadline.

Seattle sent outfielder Abraham Almonte, who opened the season with the Mariners, along with right-handed reliever Stephen Kohlscheen to the Padres…

Denorfia has hit .275/.335/.397 over parts of nine seasons with the Reds, A’s and Padres. Denorfia is earning $2.25 million in 2014 and will be a free agent after this season… The 6-foot, 195-pounder hit .242 with one home run and 16 RBIs in 248 at-bats for San Diego this season…

Almonte, 25, opened the season as Seattle’s starting center fielder, but was sent down after batting .198 with one home run and eight RBIs in 27 games. He’s hit .267/.333./.390 with six home runs and 31 RBIs in 72 games for Triple-A Tacoma.

Kohlscheen, 25, is 3-1 with a 2.70 ERA in 38 appearances while splitting the year between Tacoma and Double-A Jackson.


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Vin Scully To Return

The Los Angeles Dodgers are proud to announce that Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully will be returning for his 66th season.

http://m.mlb.com/lad/video/topic/8010468/v34916389/?c_id=la


Dodgers, Cardinals lead race for top trade deadline pitchers Lester, Price - CBSSports.com

The Dodgers and Cardinals have been talking to the Rays for weeks about Price too. It was reported by USA Today the Cardinals may have offered top hitting prospect Oscar Taveras and young starter Shelby Miller in a package for Price, who’s value is a bit higher than Lester’s because Price can’t become a free agent until the end of next year while Lester becomes a free agent after this season.

The Dodgers also have excellent prospects, led by shortstop Corey Seager, outfielder Joc Pederson and pitchers Julio Urias and Chris Anderson.

Jim Furtado Posted: July 30, 2014 at 09:47 AM | 28 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, dodgers, rays, red sox, trade rumors

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Trader Jack? As Seattle’s GM struggles to complete deals, some rival executives wonder | FOX Sports

Zduriencik sounds like a bad fantasy baseball trading partner. If you’ve ever played in a league, you know just the kind of guy I’m talking about. If you don’t, you are probably that guy.

Jim Furtado Posted: July 29, 2014 at 11:06 AM | 59 comment(s)
  Beats: mariners, trade rumors

Monday, July 28, 2014

Barney + cash to Dodgers for PTBNL

The PTBNL better be alive!

Walt Davis Posted: July 28, 2014 at 07:41 PM | 28 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, dinosaurs, dodgers

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Yasiel Puig hits three of Dodgers’ five triples, joins elite company

Yasiel Puig returned to the lineup with a bang-bang-bang on Friday night, becoming the first Los Angeles Dodgers player since Jimmy Sheckard in 1901 to hit three triples in a single game.

...he became the 49th player in MLB history with at least three triples.

Jimmy Sheckard!  That’s who Puig reminds me of!  Man, that’s been bugging me.

The first triple was a little sporty.  A drive into left center that was batted down by a fan.  The umps spent four minutes looking at it and then awarded him a triple, which seems unlikely given the ball was left of center but whatever.  I’m sure nobody wanted the headache of telling him to go back to second.

 

Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: July 26, 2014 at 05:09 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: dodgers, jimmy sheckard, records, triples, yasiel puig

Friday, July 25, 2014

Kemp’s agent Stewart on trade talks: ‘Sometimes change is good’

“Eight years is a long time to be in one place,” Kemp’s agent Dave Stewart, the former star pitcher, said by phone. “Sometimes change is good. This might be the time to change.”

Stewart hinted at that a week ago, first expressing an openness for Kemp’s to be dealt to another team, preferably one that would play him in center field, a proclamation that mostly surprised Dodgers folks for its timing; he had played 42 of the past 44 games at the time.

Well, the trade talks are on, and if anything, the rhetoric has been bumped up a bit.

It’s clear things aren’t going the way Kemp sees them. It’s just as clear the Dodgers are starting to see it his way in terms of the possibility of a trade; they are no longer saying they won’t deal Kemp (or any of the other four established outfielders), and they are mentioning his name to potentially interested teams, as baseball writer Danny Knobler first said on twitter.

Five teams are said to have shown interest, or at least talked to the Dodgers, and you can be sure L.A. will keep in touch with those teams.

There’s little question Stewart is right. It’s probably time for Kemp to go….

Word is, via FOXsports.com, which first suggested Kemp’s openness for change, is that they’ve checked in with the Mariners, Rangers and Red Sox to gauge interest. Two other teams, one in the NL, is said to have shown interest. Yet, it may not be so easy. He has $117 million to go through 2019.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 25, 2014 at 03:17 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: dave stewart, dodgers, mariners, matt kemp, rangers, red sox, trade rumors

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.



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