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Thursday, May 02, 2019

Are Any Of MLB’s Breakout Teams For Real?

Statheads know that it usually takes roughly 70 games for baseball results to really start meaning something. On the first day of May a year ago, the New York Mets were 17-9 and the Los Angeles Dodgers were 12-16. Needless to say, both these teams’ fortunes would change: The Mets immediately collapsed into oblivion; the Dodgers went 80-55 the rest of the way and made the World Series. So the sensible move would be to sit tight and ignore the standings for a few more weeks.

But we obviously aren’t going to do that — it’s too much fun to speculate about which hot starts are for real. And MLB’s first full month had plenty of interesting results: As some favorites’ playoff chances have receded, other teams have put themselves in strong postseason position already. Here are the teams that have improved the most in our MLB Elo ratings since opening day:

....

We can break the most improved teams into a couple of groups. One features teams that were on the edge of contention before the season and whose hot starts solidified them as teams to be reckoned with in the playoff race. The other contains clubs who were not “supposed” to be this good (or even good at all) in the eyes of the preseason projections. These teams are in an interesting spot because their playoff odds are still low despite their promising showings. So how well they maintain their surprising performances will have a big effect on their decision-making around July’s trade deadline.

A consideration of team performance so far- something to bookmark for future months, to see how things change.

 

QLE Posted: May 02, 2019 at 06:07 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: mlb, statistics, teams

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

MLB seeing continued surge in home runs

With a home run on Monday or Tuesday night, Cody Bellinger will enter May with 15 home runs, which would be a record. Currently, Bellinger and Christian Yelich this season have joined Albert Pujols (2006) and Álex Rodríguez (2007) as the only players to hit 14 home runs by the end of April.

Bellinger, however, isn’t the only player surging in home runs. The entire league is. According to Baseball Reference, the league is averaging 1.33 home runs per game, which would be by far a record if the season were to end today. The previous record was set in 2017 at 1.26. Before that, the record was 1.17 in 2000, believed by many to be around the apex of the “steroid era.” The homer rate per game was actually well below 1.00 as recently as 2014 (0.86).

A reminder that, if you want to watch home run derbies, that most of the 1960 series is on YouTube.

 

QLE Posted: April 30, 2019 at 04:22 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: cody bellinger, home runs, mlb

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

One player, four drafts: The remarkable tale of Dave Winfield’s draft history

Imagine what would happen if a guy like Dave Winfield — a phenomenal athlete drafted by four (!) different pro leagues — showed up in 2019.

Zion Williamson and Kyler Murray would be afterthoughts. NBA Twitter would establish churches in his honor. NFL draft tape-eaters would look for the slightest sign he wasn’t Serious About Football. Baseball fans would praise him as the game-saving messiah. Knicks, Mets and Giants fans would tear New York apart. Sports talk radio and daytime talk shows would fire off takes hot enough to be seen from orbit. It’d be glorious anarchy.

Dave Winfield isn’t walking through that door, even though he’d probably still get drafted if he did. He remains one of the few athletes in American sports history to get drafted by more than one pro league, and as Thursday’s NFL draft tipoff nears, it’s worth considering just how far we’ve come … and just what a remarkable cat Winfield was.

A consideration of what kind of athlete Dave Winfield was, and (less directly) how much we lost when drafts became media events.

 

 

QLE Posted: April 23, 2019 at 04:19 AM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: aba, dave winfield, draft, mlb, nba, nfl

Monday, April 15, 2019

LEADING OFF: MLB celebrates Jackie Robinson Day

JACKIE ROBINSON DAY

Major League Baseball observes Jackie Robinson Day at ballparks all over the country. Robinson broke baseball’s color barrier when he debuted with the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 15, 1947. All players, managers, coaches, umpires and other on-field personnel will wear Robinson’s retired No. 42. Members of Robinson’s family are expected to be at Dodger Stadium for the opener of a three-game series between the Reds and Dodgers.

Will we all wear #42 today as well?

 

QLE Posted: April 15, 2019 at 07:44 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: jackie robinson day, mlb

Friday, April 12, 2019

What is going on with Major League Baseball’s video highlights?

Let’s talk about video clips. As in video clips of baseball highlights the sort of which you are used to sites like this and others embedding in posts or sharing on social media. The sort of clips that have been part of the online baseball media and baseball fan landscape for several years now.

Until this year there had been a pattern of increasing availability and sharability of such clips. MLB.com and its various social media arms had, over the years, gotten better and better at putting such clips up quickly and effectively. A couple of years ago they created a dedicated, searchable video page at MLB.com that could get anyone clips of almost any notable highlight going back years. Last year they even added a searchable GIF database to it, which included both great plays and all manner of whimsy. The result of all of this was a super-engaging way to share great baseball moments with friends or readers or anyone who may have an interest in seeing a killer baseball highlight.

And then, this year, something changed.

At the rate it’s going, highlights of recent games might become harder to find than color episodes of The Steve Allen Plymouth Show.

 

QLE Posted: April 12, 2019 at 08:21 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: highlights, mlb, video

Get used to it, baseball: NBA teams pass MLB in average value for first time ever

It’s been a long time coming, but it might be time to finally make it official: The NBA has surpassed MLB as America’s second-biggest sports league.

That’s the conclusion that rang out with Forbes’ annual team valuations, which attempts to put a number on the dollar value of each team in the four major North American sports leagues. For the first time ever, the average NBA team’s value came in above the average MLB team.

As usual, the NFL reigned supreme while the NHL represented a somewhat distant fourth place.

Isn’t team value a pretty lousy way to measure the popularity of a sport, compared to metrics that actually analyze the audience of a sport?

 

 

QLE Posted: April 12, 2019 at 08:21 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: mlb, nba, popularity, the sky is falling

Saturday, April 06, 2019

David Price blasts MLB for failing to market Red Sox star Mookie Betts

David Price wants to see more of MVP teammate Mookie Betts on TV, beyond the on-field show Betts puts forth daily.

Price told reporters Friday that MLB is wasting an opportunity to attract younger fans, specifically fans of color, by not making an effort to promote one of the sport’s best players.

Mind you, MLB in the current day seems remarkably incompetent at marketing any of its players, so….

 

QLE Posted: April 06, 2019 at 07:59 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: david price, mlb, mookie betts

Wednesday, April 03, 2019

MLB takes over Dodgertown, renames it for Jackie Robinson

VERO BEACH, Fla. (AP)—The former Dodgertown spring training camp will be named the Jackie Robinson Training Complex and be used for Major League Baseball’s amateur development initiatives.

Then based in Brooklyn, the Dodgers started training in Vero Beach in 1948. The franchise moved to Los Angeles after the 1957 season but kept spring training at Vero Beach through 2008. The team shifted to Glendale, Arizona, the following year.

Given my professional training, I have a strong interest in adaptive reuse….

QLE Posted: April 03, 2019 at 03:58 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: dodgertown, jackie robinson, mlb

Field of dreams: Major League Baseball makes pitch for Chinese star

A coach’s voice in an unmistakably American accent rings out across a baseball field: “Attaboy, good job Wayne, nice throw!”

It could easily be California or Florida, but this is a world away in Nanjing and Major League Baseball is hunting for its first star from China.

If—or more likely when—that happens, he will probably come from here.

MLB has three development centres in China and in February, three youngsters from the Nanjing site were signed to the Milwaukee Brewers.

A piece of interest for those curious about the worldwide expansion of the national pastime.

QLE Posted: April 03, 2019 at 03:30 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: china, development, mlb

Tuesday, April 02, 2019

MLB FoodFest is back for 2019 and it’s expanding to L.A. and London

One of the most delicious new ideas to emerge in Major League Baseball last season was FoodFest — an event that brought the best ballpark foods from all 30 teams into one place for fans to try. For MLB FoodFest’s NYC debut, tickets sold out in 48 hours.

So you know what that means for Year No. 2: FoodFest is expanding. MLB announced Monday the plans for FoodFest 2019, which includes new events in Los Angeles and London, in addition to another in NYC.

Keeping with MLB’s international flair for the 2019 season, there will be three additional items, one from Japan, one from Mexico and one from London, all of which are hosting MLB games this season. The L.A. event is happening April 26-28 at Magic Box. The London and NYC dates will be announced later in the season.

It’s been a while since we’ve had a good discussion of ballpark food….

 

QLE Posted: April 02, 2019 at 03:40 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: food, mlb

Thursday, March 28, 2019

MLB continues trying to shed uptight image with second ‘Let the Kids Play’ ad

Baseball’s uptight image might be its biggest barrier toward growing the game with young fans — even more so than pace-of-play or anything else. Baseball has traditionally been a sport that squashes big personalities and polices fun.

Last year, before the postseason, Major League Baseball made waves by releasing a very in-your-face ad titled “Let the Kids Play” that featured many of MLB’s vibrant young personalities and a guest spot by Ken Griffey Jr. The message was clear: The unwritten rules should be a thing of the past.

On Wednesday, MLB unveiled its 2019 hype ad, a sort of “Let the Kids Play 2.0” that starts with players doing a very cliche press conference-style interview, saying the usual tired stuff. Until Alex Bregman jumps in with some personality.

This is going to age as badly as all that “EXTREME!” advertising of the 1990s, isn’t it?

 

QLE Posted: March 28, 2019 at 05:49 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: ads, mlb

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

The 2019 MLB Poll | The Athletic (paywall)

As​ we did last season, this​ spring​ The​ Athletic​ had our beat writers ask as many​ players​ as​​ they could — about a third of the league overall, including players from all 30 teams — about a wide range of topics. We covered the best players in the game, managers they would and would not want to play for, their feelings on the current labor situation, and more, from the silly to the serious.

Of particular interest were the following two poll questions:

11. Do you think there has been collusion among teams that has affected free agency?
Yes: 40%
No: 17%
Don’t know: 43%

12. Do you think there will be a work stoppage when the current CBA expires?
Yes: 28.6%
No: 25%
Don’t know: 46.4%

Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: March 26, 2019 at 01:39 PM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: mlb, players poll

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

MLB concerned at number of strikeouts, says Torre

TOKYO (Reuters) - Major League Baseball is concerned at strikeouts surpassing the number of hits and needs more balls in play to arrest the dip in popularity, the league’s chief baseball officer Joe Torre said on Wednesday.

Last season was the first in the league’s history to feature more strikeouts than hits, leading to calls for changes to increase interest.

Average attendance for regular season games in 2018 fell four percent from the previous year to 28,830 per game, according to MLB, while the total number of fans who showed up at the ballpark fell below 70 million for the first time since 2003.

So, do you have a solution for fixing this, Joe, or are you like Manfred?

 

QLE Posted: March 20, 2019 at 07:42 AM | 113 comment(s)
  Beats: joe torre, mlb, strikeouts

Friday, March 01, 2019

Potential MLB, MLBPA rule changes could impact Giants at some point

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — For weeks there have been rumors that MLB and the MLB Players Association could come to an agreement on new rules, but that hasn’t been at the forefront of conversations in the Giants clubhouse.

When asked about the possibility of changes, several veteran players have pointed out that the real issue right now is the slowdown in free agency and service time manipulation, not a universal DH or a pitch clock.

“Some of these rules seem pretty insignificant to me considering the bigger picture,” Buster Posey said earlier this month.

A discussion of rule changes being considered- of note as a summary of those apparently under active consideration.


 

 

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