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Thursday, March 30, 2017

CENTRAL PARK - JULY 1, 2017 10 AM - BBTF ANNUAL SOFTBALL EXTRAVAGANZA

I think this year we should make t-shirts.

The Central Park field for 10 AM on July 1st has been submitted for approval to the Parks Department, but not yet assigned.  We’re waiting to hear back.  It’s never been a problem as yet, so hopefully it won’t be this year as well.

Note: This is the same weekend as the massive SABR extravaganza in NYC.  I would expect all connections and all favors to be called in to get some retired MLB players or broadcast and basement-dwelling notables to come by.  Rob Neyer, Tommy Lasorda, Benny Agbayani, Robothal, Pete Rose, no target too high.  Or too low.  So maybe Calcaterra could make it.

Let’s hear it, who’s coming?

Lassus Posted: March 30, 2017 at 09:49 AM | 179 comment(s)
  Beats: sabr

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Cards notebook: Carpenter defies shift; Sierra still surging | St. Louis Cardinals | stltoday.com

“If their third baseman is not there, if they don’t have a shortstop playing third or someone on the grass on the left side, I’ll do it every time,” Carpenter said. “I look every time. If they had a true David Ortiz (shift) where they are all over there, I would do it every time. But they don’t because they know I would do it.”

Jim Furtado Posted: May 27, 2017 at 03:16 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals

Fantasy Draft Rankings for Imaginary Players

Roy Hobbs—The Natural
A 35-year-old rookie with a nebulous past and no minor-league track record to speak of? Sign me up! A shooting in a hotel room, an outfielder dying after crashing through a fence, and a bribe potentially influencing a top player’s effort all illustrate the challenges fantasy managers would have had in the 1930s had our game existed back then. Pick up Hobbs? Whatever. Life in Roger Towne and Phil Dusenberry’s scripted version of the 1952 Bernard Malamud novel is a depressing menagerie of horrific events, and there is a good chance you are going to die long before the season ends and you win your fantasy league. If you can survive this hellscape until 1964, eat at Arby’s in its founding year. Hobbs is the kind of player the worst owner in your league would spend all of his FAAB on. Don’t worry. That guy never pays attention and will finish fifth instead of 10th this year.

Fantasy take: Bid all of your remaining FAAB in mid-July.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 27, 2017 at 01:54 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: baseball in film, fantasy baseball, hollywood, roy hobbs

Former Senator, baseball Hall of Famer Jim Bunning has died

Former Republican Senator Jim Bunning has died.

He served as a United States senator from 1999 to 2011.

Bunning pitched in the MLB for 17 years and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1996.

His career was spent mostly with the Detroit Tigers and Philadelphia Phillies.

Bunning had suffered a stroke at his Southgate home in October.

He was 85 years old.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 27, 2017 at 01:52 PM | 33 comment(s)
  Beats: jim bunning, obituary, phillies, tigers


Senator Jim Bunning Dies at 85

Former U.S. Senator and National Baseball Hall of Fame member Jim Bunning has died.

He was 85.

“Heaven got its #1 starter today. Our lives & the nation are better off because of your love & dedication to family,” tweeted David Bunning, the senator’s son and a federal judge for the eastern district of Kentucky.

R.I.P.

QLE Posted: May 27, 2017 at 01:16 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: jim bunning, obituary

Hollywood casts the Chicago Cubs - Chicago Cubs Blog- ESPN

Kyle Hendricks: “Dustin Hoffman in ‘The Graduate.’ Embodies the quiet cerebral determination that Dustin’s character had in the movie. And I can’t deny that I project him to have a hidden mischievous side.”

Jim Furtado Posted: May 27, 2017 at 11:46 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs

Phillies’ Bowa, Hernandez form bond that crosses generational and cultural lines

“We just had a meeting and I told these guys, ‘Even if all you go 0-for-4, you should still be dead tired at the end of the game from backing up bases, moving on pitches and going out for relays,’” Bowa said. “These are things that come into play. You’re in a position on the field where you’re always in the middle of the action. Double plays are huge. It’s the pitcher’s best friend. So you have to stay alert.

“In the end, they know I’m trying to help them, and if I see them trying to take shortcuts, I’ll let them know. It’s a grind playing this game every day. And if you think you have it licked, it will bite you real quick.”

Jim Furtado Posted: May 27, 2017 at 10:36 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: cesar hernandez, phillies

With 95 mph slider, Glover seizing opportunity to close - Nationals Pastime

Glover is doing his job thanks in part to some extra oomph on his secondary pitches. In the last few days, he has thrown six sliders that registered at least 94 mph. His final pitch last night to Renfroe was a slider that officially clocked in at 95.6 mph, the hardest slider for a swinging strike in the majors this season, according to MLB.com’s Statcast figures.

Jim Furtado Posted: May 27, 2017 at 10:35 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: koda glover, nationals

Brian Kenny on Twitter: “Regarding the Andrew McCutchen comeback: An absence of good news.

Jim Furtado Posted: May 27, 2017 at 10:25 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: andrew mccutchen, pirates

Yankees ticket sales plunge; New York has lost $166 million since 2009 | SI.com

Wow.

Last year, Chief Operating Officer Lonn Trost, went on the team’s local radio station, WFAN, and basically admitted the Yankees want to keep the riff raff away from the wealthy people who spend the big bucks.

“The problem below market at a certain point is that if you buy a ticket in a very premium location and pay a substantial amount of money,” Trost said. “It’s not that we don’t want that fan to sell it, but that fan is sitting there having paid a substantial amount of money for a ticket and (another) fan picks it up for a buck-and-a-half and sits there, and it’s frustrating to the purchaser of the full amount.

“And quite frankly, the fan may be someone who has never sat in a premium location. So that’s a frustration to our existing fan base.”

That disgusting comment is what turns people away. It has nothing to do with bells-and-whistles and deals that sound enticing, but in reality aren’t that good.

Jim Furtado Posted: May 27, 2017 at 10:22 AM | 20 comment(s)
  Beats: yankees

Friday, May 26, 2017


Rachel Robinson To Join Husband In Hall Of Fame

“Rachel Robinson has worked tirelessly to raise the level of equality not only in baseball, but throughout society,” Hall of Fame chairman Jane Forbes Clark aid in a statement. “Through her grace, dignity and unsurpassed spirit, she continues to show the value, decency and importance of inclusiveness.”


Braves Rio Ruiz positioned to remain in Majors | MLB.com

Rio Ruiz was distraught last week when the Braves opted not to promote him from Triple-A Gwinnett after Adonis Garcia was placed on the disabled list. But when Freddie Freeman fractured his left wrist the next day, Ruiz was given an opportunity that has positioned him to remain Atlanta’s primary third baseman even after Garcia is activated.

Ruiz is far from a finished product, as there remains some concern about his strikeout rate, struggles against left-handed pitching and some defensive limitations. But as the 23-year-old third baseman recorded a career-best three hits during Thursday afternoon’s 9-4 loss to the Pirates, he gave the Braves further reason to believe he has at least earned the right to extend his development at the big league level.

“Is there room for growth? Yes, absolutely,” Ruiz said. “But I’m happy with my first homestand up here. I was glad I was able to help by getting some knocks.”

Jim Furtado Posted: May 26, 2017 at 12:11 PM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, rio ruiz

A look at what all 30 teams can do with MLB’s free agent mega-class of 2018-19

Over the next 18 months, as two trade deadlines and one offseason pass, all 30 teams in baseball will have one eye trained squarely on Las Vegas. The city’s reputation as chaos agent certainly won’t abate on account of baseball holding its most anticipated Winter Meetings ever there. What happens in Vegas will reverberate for the next decade.

For those who have yet to hear about the free-agent class of 2018-19, here’s a sampling: Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Clayton Kershaw, Josh Donaldson, Daniel Murphy, Dallas Keuchel, Charlie Blackmon, Andrew Miller, Zach Britton, Craig Kimbrel. There are dozens more. Teams will guarantee $3 billion to players that winter. The number could exceed $4 billion.

Jim Furtado Posted: May 26, 2017 at 12:11 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: free agency

Big League Talent Harder to Find in 2017

An area scout was discussing his region. But based on conversations with scouts around the country, he may as well have been talking about the whole 2017 draft class.

“I feel like a beachcomber with a metal detector,” he said, “and all I keep finding is a broken earring here or there.”

Scouts do not expect to look back at the 2017 draft with fondness. But they will look back and find big leaguers, even impact big leaguers, who came out of this class.

They’re just harder to find, and a bit less obvious.

Jose is El Absurd Pollo Posted: May 26, 2017 at 11:11 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: draft

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 5-26-2017

Chicago Eagle, May 26, 1917:

The old idea that a pitcher couldn’t hit is being rapidly dissolved. Ray Caldwell is the main pinch hitter of the Yankees. Walter Johnson is the leading pinch hitter of the Nationals.

But the premier bird of them is Babe Ruth of the Red Sox. Ruth is probably the best hitting pitcher that baseball has ever known. George Sisler started out as a pitcher, and he may have challenged Ruth’s title, but not even the Brownie star is as feared as the big left-hander on the Red Sox staff. He is not only a consistent batsman, but he is as likely to crack one over the fence or up into the stands as any man in baseball.

Meh. Small sample size. There’s no way this Ruth character would keep hitting so well if he got 500 at-bats per year.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: May 26, 2017 at 10:33 AM | 22 comment(s)
  Beats: babe ruth, dugout, history

Clayton Kershaw dominant, lowers career WHIP under 1

I’m aware that WHIP is a rate stat and it could very well rise above 1 as soon as next start. However:
Kershaw hasn’t had a WHIP above 1 since 2012
His WHIP since 2013 is .854, so he’s gliding at a pace of well below a 1 WHIP right now and has for some time now
If he continues his since 2013 pace, he’ll pass Ed Walsh for second place next start and then Addie Joss for number 1 by the end of the season.
It’s true that Kershaw hasn’t had his decline phase yet, but neither did Addie Joss. There is a great chance that when Kershaw passes Joss’ 2327 IP, (probably 2019) that he’ll have a lower career era than Addie Joss.
All that said, he’ll probably finish his career with a WHIP higher than 1, but it’s still cool to see a guy with over 1800 career innings have a WHIP below 1.

Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: May 26, 2017 at 09:21 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: addie joss, dodgers, ed walsh, kershaw

A look at what all 30 teams can do with MLB’s free agent mega-class of 2018-19

Five best positioned
New York Yankees: More than $50 million come off the Yankees’ payroll this offseason, and by the time 2019 rolls around, they’ve got only $74.2 million guaranteed – less than the Royals or Marlins. Were Masahiro Tanaka to opt out of his current deal this offseason, the Yankees would rank 19th in committed money for ’19.

All of which is to say: Baseball should be scared. The upper reaches of Yankees management want Bryce Harper, and they can get him. If they really wanted to shoot the moon, they could target Harper and Machado. It’s a lot easier to spend on pricey free agents when they’re young – Harper and Machado will hit the market at 26 – and when there’s a core of stars like the one New York is building.

The Yankees’ patience in building the Aaron Judge-Gary Sanchez-Luis Severino core should be applauded. A few years ago, after they’d committed to going young, the Yankees received a whopper of a proposition from the Braves, who were about to start their rebuild: Jason Heyward, Andrelton Simmons, Melvin Upton Jr., Chris Johnson and David Carpenter for Judge, Sanchez, Severino and pitching prospects Ian Clarkin and Manny Banuelos. The Yankees said no. And because of it, nobody in baseball is in a better place to pounce in the 2019 offseason.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 26, 2017 at 12:37 AM | 53 comment(s)
  Beats: bryce harper

FiveThirtyEight: Pitchers Are Slowing Down To Speed Up

Despite consternation from the commissioner and rule changes to speed up the game, baseball has never been slower than it is right now.1 Even in the short time since last season, the average delay between pitches has jumped a full second. It’s all part of a decadelong trend toward more sluggish play, and there’s an alarming reason baseball’s pace problem is likely to get even worse going forward: Slowing down helps pitchers throw faster.

Compared with 2007, the average MLB pitcher now holds the ball a full two seconds longer between consecutive pitches. This leisurely behavior has helped drag the average game out to a full three hours, five minutes — roughly 10 minutes longer than it was two years ago. Some have argued that the pace of the game isn’t a problem, but MLB commissioner Rob Manfred has announced that he intends to make baseball faster “for the benefit of the game and the fans.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 26, 2017 at 12:35 AM | 29 comment(s)
  Beats: fivethirtyeight, pace of play

Thursday, May 25, 2017

First-Place Yankees Aren’t Faring Nearly as Well at the Ticket Office

The Yankees are, at the moment, a marketer’s dream. With a spirited start to the season, they can boast of having one of baseball’s best records, bask in the captivating presence of the Bunyanesque outfielder Aaron Judge and nod in approval at some popular changes to their ballpark — with all of these developments wrapped in the team’s rich history.

But even those selling points have yet to turn around attendance at Yankee Stadium, where ticket and suite revenues through last season had fallen by a staggering $166 million since the end of 2009, the year the Yankees christened the new ballpark with their last World Series title.

The financial figures, from the public filings the Yankees are required to make on their stadium bonds, represent a 42 percent loss in ticket and suite revenues over the last seven seasons. And despite the team’s compelling play this season, attendance through the first quarter of their home schedule is down from the same point last year.

The ticket and suite revenues are only a portion of the Yankees’ overall income, which also includes television and radio broadcast fees, advertising and licensing, and a portfolio of ancillary businesses. And indeed, the decline in ticket and suite income has offered some relief from baseball’s revenue-sharing system, allowing the Yankees to pay less into the pot that is distributed among all 30 teams.

But the losses do provide a window into how even the blue-blooded Yankees, who have been largely impervious to the market forces that have affected the rest of baseball, have had difficulty maintaining their audience.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 25, 2017 at 04:35 PM | 27 comment(s)
  Beats: attendance, yankees

Inside Baseball AL Notes | Royals Slow Playing Their Free Agents

Heyman’s AL notes.

NL notes.

Jim Furtado Posted: May 25, 2017 at 03:22 PM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: notes

Heyman: Twins expected to pass on Hunter Greene

Word is, barring a late change the Minnesota Twins will pass on prep pitching phenom Hunter Greene, which means there still wouldn’t have been a high school righty ever picked No 1 overall.

Greene has hit 100 mph and he’s seen as an extremely fine and polished young man, as Lee Jenkins wrote in a Sports Illustrated cover story. He also is a very good shortstop, but he’s seen as a pitcher in pro ball and most see a prep pitcher as a gamble at No. 1.

The choice seems to have come down to Vanderbilt pitcher Kyle Wright, Louisville pitcher/first baseman Brendan McKay and San Juan Capistrano Junipero Serra shortstop Royce Lewis, with rivals suggesting they see Wright as the most likely of the three.

LA Podcasting Hombre of Anaheim Posted: May 25, 2017 at 02:24 PM | 22 comment(s)
  Beats: draft prospects, hunter greene, twins


Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 5-25-2017

Washington Times, May 25, 1917:

Ferdinand Schupp, the young Giant pitcher, is likely to take his place among the greatest southpaws of all time, if he continues in his present brilliant form. Schupp is McGraw’s best bet. Starting this year where he left off last season, he has pitched brilliant ball, and now has five straight victories to his credit.

I had been mostly unfamiliar with Ferdie Schupp before he began to appear in the newspapers of 100 years ago, but he was one heck of a pitcher. In 412.1 innings over the 1916 and 1917 seasons, Schupp put up a 1.59 ERA (158 ERA+), threw ten shutouts, and allowed less than a baserunner per inning. Schupp’s 1916 season is one of the great forgotten performances in baseball history: 140.1 innings, 22 runs, 14 earned, and an ERA of 0.90.

Depending on which story you believe, Schupp either blew out his shoulder in a bar fight or in Spring Training 1918 and was never the same.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: May 25, 2017 at 10:50 AM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

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