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Friday, March 27, 2015

BBTF 2015 Shooty Memorial Softball Meet-up!

We’ve finally got a date scheduled for this year’s NYC softball game, August 8.

Anybody who’s in contact with Primates who haven’t been around lately, please let ‘em know.

Hysterical & Useless Posted: March 27, 2015 at 06:49 PM | 267 comment(s)
  Beats: softball

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Cardinals rookies in full uniform buy coffee at Starbucks next to Wrigley Field - SBNation.com

Maybe they should have gotten some espresso shots today.

Jim Furtado Posted: July 07, 2015 at 04:12 PM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, cubs

That A-Rod Ball Was Worth Far More Than Initially Thought - Hall of Very Good

I suspect someone’s jock collection just got bigger.

“The Yankees have given me all the things they initially offered, such as meeting A-Rod, doing a press conference at Yankee Stadium, being interviewed live during the game on TV and the radio, and receiving signed memorabilia and free tickets, including tickets to this year’s Home Run Derby and All-Star Game in Cincinnati.” Hample told The Hall exclusively. “I will also have opportunities to write for Yankees Magazine, get a special behind-the-scenes tour to the most restricted areas of the stadium that no one in the public gets to see, get to meet the players, and more. There are certain things I’ve been asked not to talk about, so I need to respect that.”

Jim Furtado Posted: July 07, 2015 at 04:02 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: alex rodriguez, collectables, yankees

Scout Hiring and Pay Practices Challenged in New Lawsuit

Who would ever believe teams would collude to suppress pay?

In a new class action lawsuit filed last week in New York federal court, former Kansas City Royals scout Jordan Wyckoff contends that MLB teams have unlawfully agreed not to compete with one another for the services of their amateur and professional scouts. As a result, the suit – Wyckoff v. Office of the Commissioner of Baseball – asserts that a number of MLB scouts currently make less than the minimum wage and are not paid overtime, even when working more than 40 hours in a given week.

Wyckoff alleges that these practices not only violate the FLSA, but that they fail to comply with both federal and state antitrust law as well.

Wyckoff’s complaint (available here) begins by accusing MLB and its teams of forming an illegal conspiracy to decrease the competition for scouts. In particular, the lawsuit contends that MLB prevents its teams from negotiating with or hiring away any scout currently under contract with another franchise, unless that team has expressly granted the scout permission to talk with other clubs. Wyckoff asserts that teams will typically only grant permission in cases where the new franchise would be giving the scout a promotion (such as by hiring another team’s area scout as one of its cross-checkers), and alleges that even then teams have been known to fire a scout simply for requesting permission to talk to another club.

Similarly, the lawsuit also notes that whenever a high-level executive is hired away from one franchise by another — such as when the Padres hired A.J. Preller from Texas last year — the two teams will often agree that the departing executive will not bring other employees (including scouts) with him from his former employer.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 07, 2015 at 03:01 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: labor, lawsuit, legal, scouting

Robinson Cano’s trying year: Lingering illness, grandfather’s death test him

I see an endorsement for Prilosec in his future.

In a Spanish-language conversation with USA Today Sports, Cano provided some previously undisclosed details about a stomach ailment that has sapped his energy. He also spoke of the impact of losing his paternal grandfather, Ovidio, who died of lung cancer in March, calling him, “like a second father to me.’‘

Cano, 32, said he was especially reluctant to talk about the stomach problem because it might be perceived as making excuses for his poor performance. Nobody likes to hear excuses from a player earning $24 million a year.

If nothing else, though, his revelation sheds light on the challenges that come with playing at the elite level Cano established for the majority of his previous 10 seasons.

“When things go well, people like everything you do,’’ Cano said. “When things don’t go well, people look for 1,001 explanations, and they don’t understand you’re a human being.’‘

Cano was in the midst of his sixth All-Star season last year when he started experiencing stomach discomfort in August. With the Mariners in the playoff chase, he didn’t get it checked until their season was over, in October. Cano said he was told he had a common parasite, which was treated with antibiotics, but he was left with acid reflux to this day.

“It still affects me,’’ Cano said. “Sometimes you drink water and it makes you feel like vomiting. I can’t eat the same way I did. It’s hard to deal with, especially being the first time this has happened to me. Sometimes I eat only once a day before playing, because I feel full. And you just don’t have the same energy.’‘

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 07, 2015 at 12:16 PM | 34 comment(s)
  Beats: mariners, robinson cano

Justin Turner cites philosophical differences for Mets departure

Former Mets utilityman and current Dodgers star Justin Turner cited philosophical differences as a reason why he and the Mets’ front office did not always get along. Turner, who played for the Mets from 2010-2013, says that his approach at the plate clashed with the organizational philosophy promoted by General Manager Sandy Alderson.

“[Alderson] is a ‘Moneyball’ guy,” Turner said to ESPN Los Angeles. “I don’t know if ‘Looking to walk’ is the right way of saying it, but he talks about on-base percentage. I’m never looking to walk. Sometimes when you miss pitches you should hit, you end up walking. I wasn’t worried about on-base percentage or anything like that. I was just trying to have good at-bats.”

The 30-year-old third baseman was non-tendered by the Mets in December 2013 after the team’s front office reportedly felt that Turner had not hustled during his tenure with the team.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 07, 2015 at 11:33 AM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: dodgers, justin turner, mets, moneyball, sandy alderson

Angels tried convincing Red Sox to help them trade for Josh Reddick

“C’mon, just helps us. All the cool kids are doing it.”

e Angels could use another bat, as Matt Joyce hasn’t worked out in their outfield and C.J. Cron isn’t getting it done as the designated hitter. According to MLB’s Alden Gonzalez, they wanted to pry Josh Reddick from their division rivals, the Athletics, but didn’t have the resources to do so. Gonzalez reported that the Angels’ (and then-GM Jerry Dipoto’s) solution was to get the Red Sox involved in a three-way trade to make it happen, but Boston had no interest, and as you know, nothing went down.

It makes all the sense in the world that the Red Sox wouldn’t help the Angels out here, and it has nothing to do with the six games separating them in the wild card standings. What, exactly, were the Angels planning to send the Red Sox in return for Reddick? Their farm system is atrocious, and Reddick is still a highly productive outfielder. Reddick can’t hit lefties, sure, but he’s also batting .288/.346/.463 overall, has one of the strongest arms in the game, and has been worth at least a win defensively in each of the last three seasons according to Baseball Reference’s measures.

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 07, 2015 at 09:37 AM | 47 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, athletics, jerry dipoto, josh reddick, red sox, trade rumors

SmartSports founder Corrine Vitolo on her sports technology SmartKage and having an idea ahead of its time - Bizwomen

Has anyone seen the SmartKage?

“Suddenly 10 years later, everyone says it is a great idea,” Vitolo, CEO of Tyngsborough, Mass.-based SmartSports told Bizwomen. “It is hard to have to wait for the market to catch up with what you know. That being said, it has been a fantastic opportunity to focus on innovation, and it forces you to find the best minds — the innovative and inventive people — because you are building something that doesn’t exist.”

Jim Furtado Posted: July 07, 2015 at 08:53 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: technology

Perhaps the Phillies just got bad and have stayed bad

It’s not easy. It’s not supposed to be easy. The Phillies stink. Although it’s a handy excuse to explain their current predicament, other teams and GMs have proven it’s possible to be successful over a longer period than the Phillies timeline.

The criticism of this franchise I think has been that maybe they tried to keep the party going too long,” the Phillies president-in-waiting said in an interview with the MLB Network.

MacPhail opined that “this game is designed to punish the successful” by way of reverse-order-of-finish drafting and salaries that increase with performance and service time.

Jim Furtado Posted: July 07, 2015 at 08:16 AM | 25 comment(s)
  Beats: phillies

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-7-2015

Pittsburgh Press, July 7, 1915:

Jack Coombs, the veteran pitcher, fainted in the pitcher’s box as he was winding up to hurl the ball to a Boston batsman in the fourth inning of the first game between Brooklyn and the Braves. Coombs fell to the ground, and had to be carried off the field.

An examination at the clubhouse disclosed the fact that the veteran twirler had strained a tendon in his left leg. He soon recovered from the attack, but it was thought it would be a week or ten days before he will be able to pitch again.

Either the people of 1915 had an entirely different idea than we do of what constitutes fainting, or that’s the strangest cause of fainting I’ve ever heard.

At the time, Coombs was still returning from a horrible stretch of injuries and illness. He suffered a severe groin strain in the 1911 World Series, hadn’t entirely recovered but pitched through it in 1912, then missed most of the 1913 and 1914 seasons with a case of typhoid fever that dropped his weight all the way down to 126 pounds. (He was six feet tall.) Given his history, it’s tough to know whether this was a leg injury, a fainting spell, or both.

Dan Lee is a Big Hunk of Neufchâtel Posted: July 07, 2015 at 08:02 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, jack coombs

Fraley: Nearly two years out of baseball, Rangers prospect Jurickson Profar facing tough road to recovery | Dallas Morning News

It doesn’t sound like his return is a sure thing.

Profar, who was not available for comment, is going through daily rehabilitation sessions at the Arlington clinic of team physician Dr. Keith Meister. He undergoes an MRI test about every four weeks and advances if the result is good. Daniels said the club is looking for ways to keep Profar engaged and avoid discouragement about his situation.

“Ultimately, it is extremely tough on these guys when they’re away,” Daniels said. “You try to keep them grounded as much as possible, but the waiting is a challenge.”

When Profar returns, he will need extended playing time in the minors to scrape off the rust. No one dares guess when Profar will appear in the majors again, but it will not be any time soon. Nothing is guaranteed, even for the best of prospects.

Jim Furtado Posted: July 07, 2015 at 07:57 AM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: jurickson profar, rangers

Notes: Rangers will need to get creative to move Choo | FOX Sports

I don’t think he’s representing Kenny’s beliefs but maybe I’m not reading Kenny right. Intangibles are real. They are just really difficult, if not impossible, to quantify.

Some sabermetricians — I’m talking to you, Brian Kenny — dismiss the significance of intangibles, contending they are impossible to quantify and insignificant to winning.

Well, I wish Kenny could have heard Mets manager Terry Collins talk about the lift that David Wright gave his teammates upon meeting them at Dodger Stadium on Friday afternoon.

Wright had been away from the club while rehabilitating from spinal stenosis in Los Angeles. But he remains the Mets’ biggest star, the face of the organization, and his absence has left the team with more than just a void on the field.

Collins described the mood as “completely different” with Wright in the room, saying the players were laughing more, talking louder. No one would suggest that Wright’s presence is the reason the Mets won two of three from the Dodgers. But these things matter, more than some people think.

Jim Furtado Posted: July 07, 2015 at 07:33 AM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, dodgers, marlin byrd, mets, notes, rangers

Final Vote underway for last AL, NL spots | MLB.com

You can vote online, using a mobile phone, or via Twitter. At least using Twitter shouldn’t produce more spam.

Jim Furtado Posted: July 07, 2015 at 07:26 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: all star game

Sale fans 6 in complete-game win over Jays | MLB.com

He only struck out six but he finished the game with 108 pitches and a win.

Jim Furtado Posted: July 07, 2015 at 07:24 AM | 44 comment(s)
  Beats: chris sale, white sox

Peter Gammons: Manager-GM Collaboration; Trade Deadline Ambiguity - GammonsDaily.com

The older age is improved and empowered by the new age, the new age buoyed by the eyes, ears, experience and human understanding of the traditionalists. Scioscia and DiPoto should have worked. Did each make mistakes? Probably. But while Moreno is running his own businesses, he needed to define the Angels organization and, instead, sometimes making capricious decisions (like Josh Hamilton) and not having a clear, defined structure, created confusion.

This is not about stat freaks and baseball men, it’s about how the a billion dollar business has to be structured and run. Jim Bowden on MLB Network Radio talked about how Marge Schott wanted to be in on every decision, and the drifts that created. Similarly, Moreno preferred what he saw as his own traditional company model, and the result is that there were no partners, there was little collaborative thought and now Bill Stoneman, the first and fourth of Moreno’s general managers, is out looking for number five.

Jim Furtado Posted: July 07, 2015 at 07:18 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: general managers, trade deadline

Video: Must C: Lester’s first hit | MLB.com

He’s now hitting .015, 1-68

Jim Furtado Posted: July 07, 2015 at 07:05 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, jon lester

OMNICHATTER 7-7-2015

The Jon Lester Hit-Streak OMNICHATTER

Gamingboy Posted: July 07, 2015 at 12:05 AM | 84 comment(s)
  Beats: mlb, omnichatter

Monday, July 06, 2015

GIFs, Twitter suspensions, and social media: an open letter to MLB Advanced Media

See, when someone, say, fellow SB Nation “blogger” Grant Brisbee, posts something as innocuous as a Vine of a silly happening during a baseball game—I have no idea what it was as you can see below—the post is targeted for removal because By Jove! One of these Internet Types is stealing our banwebs! Delete the pictures and return the stolen files, although it was probably something that never would have made it onto any of MLB’s social media accounts which are notoriously ill-equipped for sharing content on the new media platform which functions on instantaneous connectivity upon which they are found….

Now what we should not do is argue for the right to set up our own little broadcasting channels in order to subvert the arm of MLB Advanced Media, who are, admittedly, trying to figure out how best to navigate this ever-changing new media network. What we should do, though, is read about how the league is trying desperately to hold onto an outdated model of ubiquitous market control in an era where television networks—television networks!—have learned to let an audience with money in its pockets use and share their product amongst themselves for free advertising.

We should wonder why MLB refuses to make 90% of their highlight videos embeddable until a day after the game airs, when studies have regularly shown that emotion is one of the most powerful tools by which to make online content go viral. Emotion, which by the way easily wanes after Nelson Cruz’ hilarious awkward slide home gathers almost 24 hours between its original posting and its availability to be embedded through MLB’s official channels. They are literally leaving money on the table.

The real question the court needs to answer is how to pronounce “GIFs”!

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 06, 2015 at 11:30 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: fair use, gifs, legal, mlb advanced media, social media, twitter

Fewer walks and bunts, more shifts among midseason trends - MLB

Walks are down and shifts are up!

New commissioner Rob Manfred took plenty of heat when, in a January interview with ESPN’s Karl Ravech, he claimed he was open to the idea of restricting defensive shifts.
Number of shifts, MLBYear No. of shifts
2010 2,464
2011 2,357
2012 4,577
2013 8,180
2014 13,298
2015 18,698 (prorated)

Manfred essentially walked those comments back, and with good reason, considering the use of shifts shows no sign of letting up. According to Baseball Info Solutions, teams have used the shift 9,495 times through the July 4 holiday weekend. A prorated total of 18,698 would represent a 40 percent increase over 2014.

Jim Furtado Posted: July 06, 2015 at 10:24 PM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: sabermetrics

Full All Star Team Rosters

Brock-bleeping-Holt is the Red Sox rep?!

AMERICAN LEAGUE
Pitchers
RHP: Chris Archer, Rays
RHP: Dellin Betances, Yankees
RHP: Brad Boxberger, Rays
LHP: Zach Britton, Orioles
RHP: Wade Davis, Royals
RHP: Sonny Gray: Athletics
RHP: Kelvin Herrera, Royals
RHP: Felix Hernandez, Mariners
LHP: Dallas Keuchel, Astros
RHP: Darren O’Day, Orioles
LHP: Glen Perkins, Twins
LHP: David Price, Tigers
LHP: Chris Sale, White Sox

Reserves
C: Russell Martin, Blue Jays
C: Stephen Vogt, Athletics
1B: Albert Pujols, Angels
1B: Mark Teixeira, Yankees
2B: Jason Kipnis, Indians
3B: Manny Machado, Orioles
SS: Jose Iglesias, Tigers
IF/OF: Brock Holt, Red Sox
OF: Jose Bautista, Blue Jays
OF: Adam Jones, Orioles
OF: J.D. Martinez, Tigers
DH: Prince Fielder, Rangers

Final Vote candidates
SS: Xander Bogaerts, Red Sox
OF: Yoenis Cespedes, Tigers
SS: Brian Dozier, Twins
OF: Brett Gardner, Yankees
3B: Mike Moustakas, Royals

Starters
C: Salvador Perez, Royals
1B: Miguel Cabrera, Tigers
2B: Jose Altuve, Astros
3B: Josh Donaldson, Blue Jays
SS: Alcides Escobar, Royals
OF: Mike Trout, Angels
OF: Lorenzo Cain, Royals
OF: Alex Gordon, Royals
DH: Nelson Cruz, Mariners

NATIONAL LEAGUE
Pitchers
LHP: Madison Bumgarner, Giants
RHP: A.J. Burnett, Pirates
LHP: Aroldis Chapman, Reds
RHP: Gerrit Cole, Pirates
RHP: Jacob deGrom, Mets
RHP: Zack Greinke, Dodgers
RHP: Mark Melancon, Pirates
RHP: Shelby Miller, Braves
RHP: Jonathan Papelbon, Phillies
RHP: Francisco Rodriguez, Brewers
RHP: Trevor Rosenthal, Cardinals
RHP: Max Scherzer, Nationals
RHP: Michael Wacha, Cardinals

Reserves
C: Yasmani Grandal, Dodgers
C: Yadier Molina, Cardinals
1B: Adrian Gonzalez, Dodgers
1B: Anthony Rizzo, Cubs
2B: DJ LeMahieu, Rockies
2B: Joe Panik, Giants
3B: Nolan Arenado, Rockies
3B: Kris Bryant, Cubs
SS: Brandon Crawford, Giants
OF: Andrew McCutchen, Pirates
OF: Joc Pederson, Dodgers
OF: A.J. Pollock, D-backs
OF: Justin Upton, Padres

Final Vote candidates
RHP: Johnny Cueto, Reds
RHP: Jeurys Familia, Mets
LHP: Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers
RHP: Carlos Martinez, Cardinals
SS: Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies

Starters
C: Buster Posey, Giants
1B: Paul Goldschmidt, D-backs
2B: Dee Gordon, Marlins
3B: Todd Frazier, Reds
SS: Jhonny Peralta, Cardinals
OF: Bryce Harper, Nationals
OF: Matt Holliday, Cardinals
OF: Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins

The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: July 06, 2015 at 08:07 PM | 63 comment(s)
  Beats: all star game

Recreating Memorable Trading Cards

They’re hardly a Hall of Fame crew; they rarely even get recognized at Starbucks. But slap a sombrero on one of them, hand him a saxophone or a novelty-sized glove, and —Hey! I know that guy. They’re the players—mostly journeymen (39 combined stops) and utilitymen (35 positions)—whose faces you remember from collectible cards, their backs stained with bubble-gum sugar. And they want you to know that they appreciate your love.

bbmck Posted: July 06, 2015 at 01:29 PM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: collecting, humor

Nationals, Astros WPB Spring Training Site Approved

Monday morning, Scott made the change officially official with a bill-signing ceremony held with Nationals and Astros representatives on hand, an acknowledgement of the return of Spring Training baseball to West Palm Beach for the first time since the Braves and Expos left decades ago. That the Astros and Nationals will move to Palm Beach County — if all stays on schedule — means there will be five teams within a 30-minute drive of one another on the east coast of Florida, a good sign for the health of the Grapefruit League, which requires more travel than the Cactus League in Arizona


Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-6-2015

Pittsburgh Press, July 6, 1915:

An invitation to join the Brookfeds is contained in a letter received by Angelo Aragon, former Yankee, who has been doing spectacular work at shortstop for the Richmond Internationals. Aragon, a Cuban, can’t read English, so had Manager Dunn read the letter to him. Magee’s letter described his Brookfeds as a club in flourishing condition. Aragon laughed aloud.

He was right to laugh, but it’s not like Aragon went on to fame and fortune in the big leagues. He had cups of coffee with the Yankees in 1916 and 1917 and hit .116/.164/.130 those two seasons with an OPS+ of -11. Aragon had a pretty solid minor league career, though, hitting around .300 mostly for Richmond.


New York Mets, David Wright don’t have surgery as a top option | Newsday

Want to know about David’s condition? Read the article.

What are Wright’s thoughts on potential surgery?

“I have very little knowledge of it,’’ he said. “I sat down for the consultation with the doctors, the first couple of meetings. I was made aware that there is a surgery for it. I was also made aware that Dr. Watkins was going to do everything in his power to make sure that I do not need that surgery, and that’s really the only time we’ve talked about it. He made me aware there is a procedure and he also made me aware that it’s normally for people a lot older than me and don’t necessarily have to twist and turn and move up and down. That was the only time we ever even discussed it, and it really wasn’t even a discussion. He just told me he was going to do everything he can to keep me from having it. It wasn’t recommended then and it definitely hasn’t been something we’ve discussed since.”

Jim Furtado Posted: July 06, 2015 at 07:48 AM | 30 comment(s)
  Beats: david wright, mets

U of T engineering students build first knuckleball pitching machine | Toronto Star

Engineers, by nature, are less inclined to leave such mysteries unsolved. Armed with their pesky math and science, they want answers.

As such, four mechanical engineering students at the University of Toronto set out to “demystify” the knuckleball by attempting to build the world’s first pitching machine that would replicate the notoriously capricious pitch on a consistent basis.

“The idea was if we could control everything maybe we could get a knuckleball to be the exact same every time,” said Alex Gordon, who coincidentally shares a name with the Kansas City Royals’ all-star left fielder and is one of four since-graduated students who worked on the project last year.

On paper, it seemed doable. If they could control all the variables — velocity, air conditions, the orientation of the ball — theoretically they should be able to propel the ball exactly the same way every time.

Jim Furtado Posted: July 06, 2015 at 07:42 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: knuckleballers, science

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