Manager Lee Fohl of the Cleveland Indians does not agree with Clark Griffith that cigarets are bad for professional ball players.
Griffith is deadly opposed to cigarets and his players know it, for any member of the local club caught smoking a cigaret is fined $10.
Fohl said: “You’ve got to show me where cigarets ever harmed a ball player. I will admit that perhaps they would be better off without smoking, but I don’t believe it hurts them much…In the first place, you can’t stop an inveterate cigaret smoker by threatening to fine him. He is going to smoke—that’s all there is to it. I have placed no ban on cigaret smoking—all I ask for is that my men play good ball; if they don’t I’m through with them.”
Fowler has been one of the premier leadoff hitters in baseball, hitting .314 with a .435 on-base percentage, including five homers and 21 RBI. He has the third-highest WAR among NL position players, and the Cubs, not coincidentally, are 29-14.
Yet, he was available 10 days into spring training when the Cubs signed him to a one-year, $13 million contract, because teams were so intent on retaining the first-round draft pick they would have forfeited to sign Fowler, one of 16 players who rejected a $15.8 million qualifying offer…
You can go on and on. It was no different for shortstop Ian Desmond, who had to switch positions and go to the Texas Rangers as an outfielder on a one-year contract. The only offer second baseman Howie Kendrick received all winter was a two-year deal from the Los Angeles Dodgers, who merely brought him back. Outfielders Yoenis Cespedes and Justin Upton had to wait almost the entire winter to find jobs, with Cespedes likely to opt out and test the market again next winter.
This at best is incomplete analysis, especially for a guy who quotes Fowler’s WAR; at worse, it’s just bad.
We don’t know what Fowler was asking for. For his career, he’s about a 2 win player; $13M is a decent deal, but $13M + a pick isn’t. There’s no way I’d pay him more, or for more years. The same could be said for Desmond.
Kendrick wasn’t any good last year, and is a middle infielder in his 30s. Buyer beware.
But the worst is lumping in Cespedes and Upton. According to USA Today, Cespedes is the 7th highest paid player in MLB this year, and Upton is #20. In no way were they hurt financially by the rules.
In Tuesday’s rematch, Harvey surrendered a career-high 20 total bases before departing. Of the 90 pitchers to make at least nine starts this season, he is one of four to fail to reach the seventh inning at least once. The others are Michael Pineda, Wily Peralta and Shelby Miller.
The Mets had implored Harvey to fire his fastball more forcefully on Tuesday than in previous starts. And Harvey actually had his best velocity of the season in the early innings, registering as high as 96 mph with his fastball. But he missed on changeups to Zimmerman and Rendon, when they belted consecutive solo homers in the fourth. And his velocity dipped and he had a “different” delivery, according to Collins, while allowing three runs in the fifth.
Contrary to conventional wisdom, Major League Baseball pitchers who throw a high percentage of fastballs may be at increased risk for Tommy John surgery, according to research at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.
Researchers suggest that throwing fastballs nearly half of the time puts pitchers at risk of injury to their elbow. MLB pitchers who have undergone Tommy John surgery threw on average 7 percent more fastballs than pitchers who had no surgery.
Researchers found no statistical differences in other pitch types like curveballs, sliders and change-ups. They also found no correlation between pitch velocity and risk of injury.
The findings are published in the Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery.
“Our findings suggest that throwing a high percentage of fastballs rather than off-speed pitches puts more stress on the elbow,” says Robert Keller, M.D., chief resident in Henry Ford’s Department of Orthopedic Surgery and the study’s lead author. “This leads to elbow fatigue, overuse and, subsequently, injury.”
Log onto any mainstream website or media outlet (certainly any program within the ESPN empire) and 30 seconds cannot pass without extreme statistical analysis, which didn’t exist 20 years ago, hijacking the conversation. But not in “BlackWorld,” where never is heard an advanced analytical word. Not in urban barbershops. Not in text chains during three-hour games. Not around office water coolers. Not even in pressrooms or locker rooms where black folks who make a living in the industry spend all day and half the night talking about the most intimate details of sports.
Let’s take the Golden State Warriors locker room, for example. I thought the complete stiff-arming of the statistical revolution might very well be generational. Old black folks don’t, but younger black folks might.
I asked Draymond Green, the Warriors star whose new-age game is constantly being defined statistically, if he engages in any advanced analytics conversation either professionally or personally. His answer was emphatic.
“No. Neither. Professionally, I play completely off of feel. I hear people discussing my game in terms of all these advanced numbers. I have no part of it,” Green said. “Even paying attention to it, from a playing standpoint, would make me robotic and undermine my game. I’m supposed to step back behind the line in real time to avoid taking a ‘bad two’? That’s thinking way too much. I don’t get the fascination at all.”
The shuuto isn’t new or unique. Its first introduction to Americans was as “the great equalizer,” the pitch that constantly bedeviled Tom Selleck in Mr. Baseball. Only the name is exotic. In MLB, the shuuto has been thrown for decades, but under a different identity. You know it as a two-seam fastball, or a circle change, or a screwball. It’s any pitch that breaks to a pitcher’s arm side. The shuuto in Japan generally falls somewhere between a change-up and a fastball in velocity, but it’s merely an umbrella term for an entire family of pitches. This unfamiliar term for an extant pitch is a big part of the confusion surrounding the actual gyroball.
It’s a thoroughly redeemable tendency, even if it occasionally leads to a little cross-cultural silliness. New baseball hotbeds with new philosophies are welcomed with open arms. In almost every other slice of society—and in most every other sport—the unknown in demonized. In baseball, it’s romanticized.
QVC Marine Field is one of the most unique venues in NPB. Fans in the upper deck can see the ocean behind the right field wall. The sea can play havoc with the winds, but were calm on this day. It’s an outdoor stadium, but the turf is artificial, which allows doorless Audi convertibles to cart in relief pitchers without breaking the field. The most unique in-play feature is the vast stretch of foul territory; during a game in mid-May a runner advanced to second on a sacrifice fly to the catcher.
I’m not particularly a Marines fan, though they have some fun players. Through an agreement with the Cuban government, select players are allowed to sign with NPB teams without defecting. The Marines have used that pact to sign Alfredo Despaigne, who is considered one of the best players in Cuba. His Baseball-Reference page from his peak years have the gaudiest numbers this side of Barry Bonds (in 2009 he hit .404/.489/.814), and he’s starting his third year in Japan. He’s 5’9″ and has 80-grade raw power…
Steve tells me that the ball in that video hit the lights. As you can imagine, Despaigne is one of the most fun players in all of baseball, anywhere. If the Marines are good enough for Despaigne, they’re good enough for me. In this game, he would go 2-for-4 with two singles and a walk.
Sitting in the ouenseki was intimidating because cheering is not optional, but despite my initial hesitations it was an absolute blast. After the Marines scored, it was a big party:
The family of Gwynn, who played for the San Diego Padres from 1982 to 2001, filed the lawsuit against Altria Group Inc., the company formerly known as Philip Morris. They allege the company induced Gwynn to start dipping when he began college at San Diego State University in 1977 with free samples of their product, knowing its health risks. As The New York Times reports:
For 31 years—1977 to 2008—Gwynn used one and a half to two cans of smokeless tobacco (usually Skoal) per day. It was the equivalent, the suit says, of four to five packs of cigarettes every day for 31 years. Gwynn would dip Skoal immediately upon waking up, the suit said, and sometimes fall asleep with the product in his right lip and cheek area.
There are no damages specified in the complaint, which asks for a jury trial on grounds of negligence, fraud and product liability. Essentially, the complaint says that Gwynn, while in college, was the victim of a scheme to get him, a rising star athlete, addicted to smokeless tobacco, while knowing the dangers it posed to him. The suit says that the industry was undergoing a determined effort at the time to market its products to African-Americans, and that Gwynn was a “marketing dream come true” for the defendants.
Throughout his career, Gwynn was photographed in games with a bulge of dip in his cheeks. And he wasn’t the only player with the habit. Dipping tobacco remains one of the key aspects of the game; young players start the habit as early as high school, The New York Times reports.
The Braves made another trade Monday that underscores the importance they place on the June draft in their rebuilding plan.
They traded minor league pitchers Brandon Barker and left-hander Trevor Belicek to the Orioles in exchange for left-handed reliever Brian Matusz and the No. 76 pick in next month’s draft. That brings to five the number of picks the Braves hold among the first 80 picks in the June 9-11 draft, Nos. 3, 40, 44, 76 and 80.
The Braves immediately designated for assignment the contract of Matusz, who could traded or released.
Mike Mowrey was put out of yesterday’s game after he had been called out at second on a close play. He laid on the ground and gave an imitation of swimming. Umpire Byron promptly ordered him from the field.
Then last year the Marlins sued Axelband, alleging he had illegally backed out of a two-year season ticket deal. He might have reacted angrily, but that’s just not the kind of guy he is. “I wasn’t shocked, just disappointed,” he says. “After all these years, I wondered, why now?”
Axelband isn’t alone. In fact, the Marlins have sued at least nine season ticketholders and luxury suite owners since 2013. That virtually never happens in sports, experts say. Two stadium vendors are also locked in court battles with the team, both alleging the Marlins promised robust crowds and then didn’t deliver.
All this from a team that has gone from world champion to perennial also-ran, hustled taxpayers on a Little Havana stadium, and just lost its best hitter and last year’s National League batting champion Dee Gordon to an 80-game drug suspension.
“You bamboozled us for this ballpark and now you have the audacity to sue a small businessman?” says Rene Prats, who went into bankruptcy after his Sir Pizza franchises failed at the ballpark. “I lost it all. I lost my business. And you’re coming after me?”
I paid good $ to see BartoLOLo swing the bat at Nats Park and instead this happened:
Colon later admitted he has battled lower-back soreness for the last two-plus weeks. Not wanting to risk aggravating the back, he kept the bat on his shoulder and was called out on strikes three times.
“I thought it wasn’t worth it to swing,” Colon said. “I swing at the balls pretty hard and I thought, ‘Not worth making my back worse,’ so I told their catcher from the beginning, ‘Just throw it right down the middle, [I’m] not swinging.’ ”
Also, take note:
WOR radio will rebroadcast Game 6 of the 1986 World Series (with play by play from Bob Murphy and Gary Thorne) on Thursday at 7 p.m. The Mets will celebrate the 30th anniversary of that World Series title — the franchise’s most recent — this weekend.