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Monday, July 17, 2017

Taking Back the Ballparks - San Francisco Giants

Welcome to the initial nominating thread of Taking Back the Ballparks, where today’s palatial, taxpayer-funded ballyards will be reclaimed from Fortune 500 companies, in-pocket politicians and onerous owners, and returned to the fans who fill them. Over the course of however long this takes, we’re going to select new, distinct and appropriate names for each of the 30 major league ballparks instead of the corporate-sponsored monstrosities they currently call themselves. And, in some cases, we might determine the old sobriquet was just fine.

To get this series started correctly, we’re going right to the stadium in most need of a permanent moniker makeover: AT&T Park, a ballpark that’s already had more legal name changes than a member of the extended Kardashian Klan.

One of the absolute gems* of the HOK era, the stadium has been an upgrade over the Giants previous home in every way but one. Candlestick was a glorious name for a ballpark, either in its full or nicknamed version (the Stick). AT&T will never be anything but the name of a phone company.

Now, you can fix that. In this thread, suggest a replacement for the Giants stadium, and make a case why this new name is preferable. Given the source material (San Francisco and the Bay Area and a history-rich franchise), there should be no shortage of potentially evocative names just waiting to be tapped.

In two weeks, we’ll close nominations here, at my blog and anywhere else that might piggyback onto this exercise. With the help of a few other Primates, we’ll select up to four finalists from the nominees and we’ll begin a full vote to be taken exclusively here at BTF.

* By all other accounts. As with the case with most of the parks, I haven’t been there, so I can only go on the reports of others. The baseball writing staff at the Washington Post just slotted it No. 1 among the MLB 30, for instance.


Ballpark History
Name: AT&T Park (previously Pacific Bell Park, SBC Park)
Built: 2000
Capacity: 41,915
Other ballparks used by club in its current city: Candlestick (aka 3Com Park), 1960-1999, Seals Stadium 1958-1959)
Distinctive Features: As many as you’ll find anywhere. The Coke Bottle and Glove in Left; 24-foot high brick wall in right; McCovey Cove.

Ballpark Highlights:
Giants have played in four World Series since park opened in 2000, winning three. However, none of the title-clinching games took place there, nor was the Game 7 loss to Anaheim in the 2002 Fall Classic.
Matt Cain threw baseball’s 22nd perfect game there in 2012.
Neifi Perez scored on an infield fly.
Ruben Rivera engaged in “the worst baserunning in the history of the game.”
Barry Bonds played a lot of games at the place.

SoSH U at work Posted: July 17, 2017 at 10:00 AM | 188 comment(s)
  Beats: giants, stadium names

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Heyman | Mets Likely To Promote Shortstop Amed Rosario Soon

With the Mets luck this year…

Two weeks later he gets DL’d “with a minor league injury”. Two months later his leg gets amputated.

Top prospect Amed Rosario may be called up soon by the New York Mets, with a source telling FanRag Sports that the team may call him up from Triple-A Las Vegas in a week or so.

Jim Furtado Posted: July 25, 2017 at 06:06 PM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: amed rosario, mets

Ken Rosenthal - Cubs and Verlander

Here’s something interesting you might know about the Cubs: Their luxury-tax number for 2018 is $74.6 million, leaving them more than under $120 million under the threshold, according to Cot’s Baseball Contracts.
So, if the Cubs want to pursue Tigers right-hander Justin Verlander – one of perhaps 20 trade options they are considering, according to major-league sources – they’ve got the financial flexibility to pull off such a move.

Jim Furtado Posted: July 25, 2017 at 02:03 PM | 32 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, justin verlander



The Cooperstown Casebook Is a Crowning Compendium – The Hardball Times

He likes it! I’m behind my reading but whenever I get caught up, I’ll be buying this book. Here’s an excerpt in you need more incentive to dig into your pocket.

I love to have books like this that I can refer back to. My copies of The New Bill James Historical Abstract and The Neyer/James Guide to Pitchers are never far from reach. The Cooperstown Casebook is in league with these books. You could draw parallels also to yearly books like the Baseball Prospectus Annual, The Hardball Times Baseball Annual, The Bill James Handbook and the prospect annuals from Baseball America and John Sickels, but I feel that The Cooperstown Casebook will be more timeless than those books.

The Cooperstown Casebook is a book nearly 15 years in the making, and it was most certainly worth the wait. The book is a master stroke for Jay Jaffe, and if you consider yourself a serious baseball fan, it’s a book that you need to add to your bookshelf post haste.

Jim Furtado Posted: July 25, 2017 at 10:37 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: book reviews, hall of fame

Bellinger homer gives 30-year-old rookie win in MLB debut - LA Times

On the first day of life without Clayton Kershaw, rookie Cody Bellinger put the Dodgers on his shoulders. With the Dodgers five outs from a defeat, Bellinger hit his 28th home run, a three-run shot that powered the team to a 6-4 victory Monday over the Minnesota Twins.

The crowd chanted for a curtain call. Bellinger obliged, with a nudge from Enrique Hernandez.

Update: Here’s the video.

Jim Furtado Posted: July 25, 2017 at 10:18 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: cody bellinger, dodgers


Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-25-2017

Honolulu Star-Bulletin, July 25, 1917:

Mention in the news that their baseball experience makes Pershing’s men quick to learn the trick of the hand grenade is a reminder of the time the champion baseball thrower of Honolulu stopped a revolution here with two well-aimed bombs at the old bungalow in the palace yard.

Well, that certainly led me down a rabbit hole. The revolution in question was the 1889 Wilcox rebellion and there’s more information about the baseball aspect of the story here.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: July 25, 2017 at 10:10 AM | 20 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Mets giving sizzling rookie a shot in Zack Wheeler’s place | New York Post

On Monday the Mets right-hander was placed on the disabled list for the second time this season, as he deals with soreness in his humerus bone. Wheeler was previously on the DL last month with biceps tendinitis.

“I am not going to be dumb and try to push something I think would hurt me after missing two full seasons — that would be stupid,” said Wheeler, who missed 2015 and ’16 while rehabbing from Tommy John surgery.

Chris Flexen will be promoted from Double-A Binghamton on Thursday to start in Wheeler’s spot. In seven starts for Binghamton, the 23-year-old righty is 6-1 with a 1.66 ERA and 0.72 WHIP.

Jim Furtado Posted: July 25, 2017 at 10:09 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: mets, zach wheeler

Royals Acquire Cahill, Maurer, Buchter from Padres

I like a good “gimme all your guys” trade.

Royals send back Travis Wood, Matt Strahm, and an a-ball IF


With injuries piling up, will the Nationals need to change their deadline strategy? - The Washington Post

Not another one.

But Sunday, the shock of Strasburg’s early departure, and the nebulous “forearm stiffness” that caused it, affirmed a disturbing reality. For as easily as the Nationals have built this lead in the National League East, they are one or two injuries away from being another elite team that fell short in the end. With a week until the trade deadline, will they alter their plans accordingly?

Jim Furtado Posted: July 25, 2017 at 09:42 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: injuries, nationals, stephen strasburg

Dealing For Further-Away Prospects An Emerging Trend | BaseballAmerica.com

At the rate baseball is going, by 2020 teams will be signing international prospects on July 2 and trading them on July 3.

In the never-ending attempts to find an edge, the 2017 trade deadline has shown a developing pattern. Teams are willing to dig deeper into the furthest recesses of farm systems in an attempt to land a bargain.

Already a full one-fifth of Baseball America’s 2016 Top 20 Dominican Summer League Prospects list has swapped teams. Royals middle infielder Esteury Ruiz became the latest high-upside-if-far-away prospect to get a new home as he was traded to the Padres in the Trevor Cahill-Ryan Buchter-Brandon Maurer trade. Before him the Rays acquired Carlos Vargas from the Mariners, Jose King went to the Tigers in the recent J.D. Martinez trade and Brayan Hernandez was sent to the Marlins for David Phelps.

Jim Furtado Posted: July 25, 2017 at 09:20 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: prospects, trades

Texas Rangers ready to move ace Yu Darvish in ‘right deal’

He said; he said.

Sources told ESPN.com that Rangers general manager Jon Daniels began calling potential suitors Monday and telling them the team is open to trading Darvish for the “right deal.” If no team offers a return package to the Rangers’ liking, Daniels has informed clubs that Texas will hold onto Darvish and continue to make a push in the American League wild card race.

The latest development appears to be the Rangers’ most declarative statement yet on Darvish, who instantly becomes the prize catch of the trade deadline. After 4 p.m. Monday, players must clear waivers and trades become considerably more challenging to complete.

Jim Furtado Posted: July 25, 2017 at 09:16 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: rangers, trade rumors, yu darvish

Pitchers Are (Slowly) Adapting To The Home Run Spike | FiveThirtyEight

But for every hole in the zone that the league’s batters close, another one opens. “It goes in waves, the pitching changes its philosophy, and the hitting changes up, and the pitching adjusts, and on and on,” Baker said. With batters adopting uppercut swings to generate loft even on low pitches, it stands to reason that pitchers could go even higher in response. Previous research has shown that when a fly-ball hitter meets a high strike, the result is often a popup or weak contact. I looked at the median height of all four-seam fastballs month by month to see whether pitchers are giving that strategy a try.

Jim Furtado Posted: July 25, 2017 at 08:53 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: home runs

Jose Altuve continues torrid July in Astros win over Phillies - Houston Chronicle

Jose Altuve has made a giant dent in Aaron Judge’s American League MVP candidacy, which at the end of the season’s first half looked close to a slam dunk.

With a second consecutive four-hit performance in the Astros’ 13-4 win against the Philadelphia Phillies on Monday night at Citizens Bank Park, Altuve improved his AL-best batting average to .365. He’s batting an astounding .507 in July with six games left in the month. During a career-high 16-game hitting streak, he’s batting .528.

Altuve’s 1.005 OPS ranks second in the AL behind only the New York Yankees’ Judge (1.083), who has cooled off early in the second half. Through the Astros’ first 99 games, their star second baseman is on pace to better his production from last season, when he placed third in MVP voting behind Mike Trout and Mookie Betts.

Jim Furtado Posted: July 25, 2017 at 08:52 AM | 33 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, jose altuve

Rangers leaning toward not trading Yu Darvish | MLB.com

“I know we are confident we are going to make it to the postseason,” Darvish said. “That’s how we are playing.”

Darvish met with the media briefly before Monday’s game in preparation for Wednesday’s start. He usually meets with the media two days ahead of a start, but he prefaced this session by making it clear he did not want to discuss trade rumors.
It has been a mentally challenging time for the right-hander beyond the normal rigors of a 162-game season. He is a free agent at the end of the season and has become a favorite topic of trade rumors as the Deadline approaches.

“I’m trying to take the same approach mentally,” Darvish said. “I’m not changing anything. I’m staying strong mentally.”

Jim Furtado Posted: July 25, 2017 at 08:44 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: rangers, trade rumors, yu darvish

Yoan Moncada tops 2017 midseason Prospect list | MLB.com

One theme at the very top is youth. At age 22, Moncada is the elder statesman. Rosario is 21 and the next eight are 20 or younger. There are a pair of teenagers now in the top 10: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. of the Blue Jays and Ronald Acuna of the Braves.
1. Yoan Moncada, 2B, White Sox
2. Amed Rosario, SS, Mets
3. Gleyber Torres, INF, Yankees
4. Rafael Devers, 3B, Red Sox
5. Victor Robles, OF, Nationals
6. Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 3B, Blue Jays
7. Eloy Jimenez, OF, White Sox
8. Ronald Acuna, OF, Braves
9. Brendan Rodgers, SS/2B, Rockies
10. Kyle Tucker, OF, Astros

Jim Furtado Posted: July 25, 2017 at 08:19 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: prospect rankings, prospects

Monday, July 24, 2017

Dodgers beat Braves in 10 after losing Kershaw | MLB.com

UPDATE: Projected to miss 4-6 weeks.

No, no, no, no. no.

Kershaw, who missed 2 1/2 months last year with a herniated disk, left with lower right back tightness suffered while warming up for the second inning after an eight-pitch first inning. Atlanta starter Sean Newcomb (1-6) struck out nine but also issued five walks in six innings, two of them scoring ahead of the homer by Barnes inside the left-field foul pole on an 0-2 pitch.

Jim Furtado Posted: July 24, 2017 at 02:59 PM | 22 comment(s)
  Beats: clayton kershaw, dodgers


Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-24-2017

Pittsburgh Press, July 24, 1917:

INFIELD WORKS IN 232 STRAIGHT GAMES

Playing in 232 games the Louisville American association infield is believed to have established an all-time baseball record. The infield is composed of Jay Kirk at first, Joe McCarthy, second; [Red] Corriden, third, and Wilbur Roach at short. The members played in 167 games last year and 65 this year without a member missing a game.

Yep, it’s that Joe McCarthy. I’m not sure how long the streak continued or if it’s still a record, but 232 games in a row with the same infield is darned impressive.

Elsewhere on the same page, the Press reports on the Giants’ new superstition: They believe that if someone carries the bag of practice balls off the field when the Giants are in the lead, they’ll win that game.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: July 24, 2017 at 10:31 AM | 55 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

The sweet friendship forming in Yankees’ rising-star outfield | New York Post

Give Clint Frazier credit. At 22, he’s figuring it out. He is having poised at-bats.

Frazier has sat back and watched how fellow rookie Aaron Judge has handled himself in tough times and in good times, and that has made all the difference. Listen to what Frazier told The Post about Judge:

“He’s the new Jeter,’’ Frazier said.

Jim Furtado Posted: July 24, 2017 at 09:09 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: yankees

Sunday Notes: Jose Berrios’s Breaking Ball is Bugs Bunny | FanGraphs Baseball

Sunday notes, one day late. Sorry.

Jim Furtado Posted: July 24, 2017 at 08:40 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: notes

Dan Shaughnessy: What went down between David Price and Dennis Eckersley

I find it shocking—SHOCKING!!—that Dan Shaughnessy has ever been confronted by a player. As for Eckersley, his honesty and broadcasting style make him my favorite part of Red Sox telecasts. That Price didn’t issue an apology says a lot about him as a person.

Jim Furtado Posted: July 24, 2017 at 08:31 AM | 46 comment(s)
  Beats: red sox

Nick Cafardo: Every team needs a character player — even during this analytics age

It’s never been all about analytics. Ever.

Sometimes it’s as if baseball has become all about analytics. It’s good to know there’s still a human side to the game. Even analytics-driven teams such as the Astros, Yankees, and Red Sox understand you need players with character who provide elements that can’t be measured with numbers.

These players not only do it between the lines but off the field. They generate good karma and help teammates relax, and act as mentors for younger players.

The Yankees, who traded two character players in Carlos Beltran and Brian McCann last season, signed Matt Holliday to be their DH during the offseason. Yankees general manager Brian Cashman’s decision to bring in Holliday was not only based on performance, but to provide a veteran influence who could get in the ear of a younger player.

Jim Furtado Posted: July 24, 2017 at 08:23 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: notes

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