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Friday, May 02, 2014

BBTF 2014 Softball Game

Time again for Softball!

Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: May 02, 2014 at 03:44 PM | 550 comment(s)
  Beats: injuries, softball

Friday, July 25, 2014

5 for Friday: Leo Mazzone, pitching coach to the HOFers

“the hitters are off the ‘roids and the amphetamines for chrissake!” I’m now going to use this to end every bargument I get into.

5. MALINOWSKI: There’s been a trend this season where we’re seeing more position players pitch in games than ever before, but the Braves haven’t had one do so since 1989, the longest such streak for any team. Was that something that was just never considered, and what do you make of this new acceptance we’re seeing these days?

MAZZONE: Yeah, I know it wasn’t when I was there. There’s no way. That’s an embarrassment. That’s embarrassing your pitching staff.

No, it wasn’t considered at all. What we’d do is, if we felt we were short and it could go a long way in extra innings, I held back one of the starter’s practice sessions, so that he was available down in the bullpen if it went extra innings. And then if it looked like he wasn’t going to go in, then he could have his practice session, to get ready for his next start. That happened very rarely.

If someone has the sense to figure this out — which we did — if you have your setup guys learn how to throw great straight changes, how many times do you have to change righty/righty, lefty/lefty? It negates a changing of the pitcher for every single hitter. So therefore you don’t use as many pitchers.

Now, why’s it going on a record pace? Because there’s eight pitchers used every game, four on one side at least and four on another! So therefore, you run out. It’s absolutely asinine how pitching staffs have been handled in the big leagues so far, the trend anyway. They’ll say, “Well, everyone’s pitching good.” Well, they’re pitching good because the hitters are off the ‘roids and the amphetamines for chrissake! I mean, let’s be real about all this. And the way (Maddux and Glavine) pitched and they’re going in the Hall of Fame and they did that in the era of offensive baseball? Makes it even more of a tremendous accomplishment.

Repoz Posted: July 25, 2014 at 10:16 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: history, hof

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-25-2014

Bennington [Vermont] Evening Banner, July 25, 1914:

The management of the Athletics, the American League baseball club, has forbidden the further operation by newspapers or other news distributing agencies of baseball score boards on which the games in [Philadelphia] are reproduced on the street play by play. The management takes the ground that the boards are responsible for the loss of more than $1,000 a day in attendance at the ball park.
...
[Athletics president Ben Shibe:] “It is just as if everything that was taking place in theatres should be reported free to a crowd outside the house. I don’t see why the newspapers want to supply such news. Why don’t they give their papers away free? It would be just as reasonable.”

100 years later, baseball fans can use pocket devices to get free live pitch-by-pitch updates of dozens of MLB and MiLB games every day, not to mention free content from newspapers.

Greasy Neale Heaton (Dan Lee) Posted: July 25, 2014 at 07:55 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

La Russa: Asterisk for tainted stars

La sterisk, if you will.

La Russa, who managed the White Sox, Athletics and Cardinals between 1979 and 2011, said that because he’s one of the Hall’s six new inductees, he now feels free to state his opinion on the candidacies of the tainted greats of the modern era.

“Treat them all the same,” La Russa said. “If you were a Hall of Famer during that period as far as your pitching and playing, I would create some kind of asterisk, where everybody understands that, ‘Look, we have some questions, but you were still the dominant pitchers and players of your time.’

“We have to acknowledge that that period for about 10 or 12 years, somewhere around the early ‘90s to the early 2000s, was a black spot, a negative mark in our history.”

Vote totals for Clemens, Bonds and McGwire weren’t close to sufficient for election to the Hall last year or this, and went down, with the trio finishing ninth, 10th and 18th, respectively, among players on this year’s ballot.

La Russa said if he had his druthers, all three would be in the Hall.

“I might get voted out of the Hall of Fame with that attitude, but that’s what I believe,” he added with a smile.

...La Russa says he can understand the argument that if there are asterisks for the era’s inducted players, perhaps that should apply to its managers—including him.

“I know that there’s people that have accused me because of some of the guys that helped us win in Oakland and St. Louis, so the only thing I can say is I know 100 percent that our program was absolutely clean for everything that we could control,” he said.

Repoz Posted: July 25, 2014 at 07:25 AM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: hof

Thursday, July 24, 2014

7-25-14 OMNICHATTER

TGIF. It’s OMNICHATTER

Gamingboy Posted: July 24, 2014 at 11:50 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: omnichatter

Noble: Tom Seaver expects Derek Jeter to become first unanimous Hall of Fame inductee

Lyme disease. Just horrible.

But while his Hall of Fame standing has brought him unique acclaim and been so fulfilling, he is quite willing to be displaced atop the list—so long as his replacement is the right player.

Derek Jeter is the right player.

Seaver says so. Moreover, he believes the Yankees captain ought to be the first unanimously elected Hall of Famer.

“I can’t see how he won’t be,” Seaver said on Wednesday from his home/vineyard in Calistoga, Calif., “unless somebody beats him to the punch.”

Not likely. If DiMaggio, Aaron, Gibson, Mantle, Koufax, Mays, Ruth, Gehrig, Maddux, Cal, Gwynn, Killer, The Big Train, Spahnie, Stan the Man, Yogi, Tyrus Raymond, Nolie, Lefty Grove, The Rajah, Clemente, Rapid Robert, Greenberg, Foxx and Mr. Theodore Ballgame were not unanimously elected, who’s to say anyone ever will be?

Seaver is.

“I’ve thought about it; Jeter should be the one,” Seaver said. “What can you say he hasn’t done? He has every credential imaginable—great player, good citizen. He plays the game properly, respects the game and his predecessors. He’s done it in the big city, for one team that wears a uniform of greatness. He has no marks against him. He has the numbers. And he wins.

“He’s a class act all the way. A pro’s pro, a gentleman’s gentleman. If you’re starting a franchise, who do want as your first pick? I’ll take Jeter, thank you. And I’m sure I wouldn’t get too many arguments.”

Repoz Posted: July 24, 2014 at 08:03 PM | 67 comment(s)
  Beats: hof

The Inventor of the High Five

Glenn Burke was credited with inventing the high five in 1977, early in his MLB career. Unfortunately, he was outed as a gay man that offseason, and his career and his life were both shortened.


Surprising Sports Stars – Guided by Voices’ Robert Pollard

Perhaps Now the Phil Regan.

Another claim to fame for Guided by Voices is that Pollard is sometimes mentioned as the most prolific songwriter of his generation. In fact, he’s joked that he could write five songs while on the toilet, and three of them would be good. As of the writing of this article, he has 1669 songs registered with BMI, and more than 80 albums released.

But what makes Pollard’s story even more unbelievable comes down to his less heralded athletic past. It may not be such a surprise to think of Pollard as a ‘jock,’ given his propensity for high kicks and microphone twirls while performing in concert. As a high school athlete in a sports obsessed Dayton, Robert Pollard was a football quarterback who could throw for an amazing 70 yards, and a basketball point guard who averaged 20 points a game.

But it was in baseball where he was especially notable. He was a star pitcher with a 95 miles an hour fastball, and who in 1978 threw a no-hitter for Wright State University. Pollard’s father, believing his son to be a gifted athlete, rubbed down his arm each night, referring to the appendage as his ‘golden arm.’ Sadly, the ‘golden arm’ eventually failed him after popping a tendon in his elbow, and his throwing speed fell to around 85-88 mph. His baseball career was essentially over after an unsuccessful tryout camp with the Cincinnati Reds.

Later, while on the 1994 Lollapalooza tour with Guided by Voices, his sporting past most famously reemerged during a basketball game where his band played against a combined force of The Smashing Pumpkins and The Beastie Boys. Though the latter two bands were huge basketball fans, they had no idea who they were up against, and by all accounts it wasn’t much of a contest.

Repoz Posted: July 24, 2014 at 05:52 PM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: history, music

Ex-MLB star Chuck Knoblauch accused of assaulting ex-wife

And yet, still no justice for him hitting Keith Olberman’s mom.

Former Major League Baseball star Chuck Knoblauch was arrested Wednesday night and accused of assaulting his ex-wife.

Knoblauch, 46, is charged with assault of a family member after allegedly hitting Cheri Knoblauch.
They divorced in 2012.

Memorial Village police officers arrested Knoblauch and he was released after posting a $10,000 bond.

This isn’t the Knoblauch’s first brush with the law. He was convicted of hitting Stacey Stelmach, who he was married to at the time, in 2010. He was sentenced to one year of probation in that case.

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 24, 2014 at 03:43 PM | 21 comment(s)
  Beats: chuck knoblauch, domestic violence, royals, twins, yankees


A’s designate Johnson for assignment

Oakland acquiring Jim Johnson from Baltimore and agreeing to pay him $10 million this season left a lot of people shaking their heads and now the move is officially a spectacular failure. And over, too.

The Chronicles of Reddick Posted: July 24, 2014 at 02:02 PM | 20 comment(s)
  Beats: oakland a's

Intentional Walk Issued to Bonds Yields Unintentional Disbelief (Happy Birthday, Barry)

The Diamondbacks led San Francisco, 8-6, with two out when Bonds walked to the plate with the bases loaded. When he walked to first base, the run forced in by the rare intentional walk made it 8-7. Gregg Olson, who had walked five other batters in the eighth and ninth, went to a 3-2 count on Brent Mayne before getting him on a line drive to right field, ending the game.

“There are only three or four players in this game you’d do it with, and Bonds is one of them,” [Buck] Showalter said. As the manager, he added, “You try to give your club the best opportunity to win a game; it might not have been good, but it was better than the option we had.”

From 1998! Said Showalter later: “They said he’s going crazy and we seen this before. But I’m doing pretty good as far as geniuses go.”

Happy Birthday, Barry Lamar.

Wins Above Paul Westerberg Posted: July 24, 2014 at 11:58 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: barry bonds

OMNICHATTER: 7-24-14

The OMNICHATTER!

Gamingboy Posted: July 24, 2014 at 11:04 AM | 59 comment(s)
  Beats: omnichatter

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-24-2014

Washington Times, July 24, 1914:

Eppa Jephtha Absolom Rixey, jr., [sic] former Virginia varsity twirler, was sadly bumped again yesterday by the Cubs. Rixey insisted on remaining at college until June this season and has been of no use to the Phillies at all. He has yet to win a ball game and may be released.

This is the second day in a row that a newspaper suggested that a guy who’d go on to become the winningest pitcher in franchise history would be released. Yesterday it was the Phils’ eventual all-time wins leader, today the Reds.

Rixey went 2-11 and allowed 73 runs (50 earned) in 103 innings in 1914, but the Phillies didn’t release him. They kept him long enough for him to pitch brilliantly for a few years and lead the league in losses twice (the Phillies were terrible for most of his time there). Eventually they traded him to Cincinnati for a Hall of Famer, but unfortunately it was a Pro Football Hall of Famer: Greasy Neale. They also got league-average innings eater Jimmy Ring in the Rixey deal.

Greasy Neale Heaton (Dan Lee) Posted: July 24, 2014 at 10:44 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, eppa rixey, history

Buck Showalter, Tommy Hunter bemoan shrinking strike zone in Orioles loss

Hour by hour it gets smaller - and - smaller! Grant Williams, yes. Grant Angelos, no.

The glare that Buck Showalter shot home plate umpire Hal Gibson III as the Orioles manager exited the visiting dugout during the eighth inning to pull Brian Matusz spoke volumes.

A late-inning shrinking strike zone had made an already tough task—beating the Angels—tougher.

Angels starter Jered Weaver seemed to get the low strike call throughout the night in the Orioles’ 3-2 loss. But as a one-run Orioles lead turn into a one-run deficit in the bottom of the eighth due in part to three walks (one intentional), Gibson stopped giving the low strike call.

He umpired his first big-league game behind the plate in April.

“It’s an issue like expansion baseball,” Showalter said after Wednesday’s game. “When you expand you have a lot of players in the big leagues who normally wouldn’t be there. He was pretty consistent until late in the game. He’ll get better. He’s got a good attitude and a heart of fire. … That didn’t beat us, but I see the same thing you all do.”

...As Showalter glared during his walk to the mound, Hunter shook his head in the dugout. Several players yelled at Gibson.

“It was a little tight, but I don’t know,” Hunter said of the strike zone. “That’s something you can’t control. Try to control the things you can, and move on. He thought they were balls. I would see it a little differently. I’m a pitcher and he’s an umpire so I can see the disagreement we would have probably had with each other if we talked about it. Other than that, it is what it is.”

Repoz Posted: July 24, 2014 at 10:15 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: orioles

Yadier Molina serves his brother crackers on a plate — home plate

Orange slices and Shasta for everyone after the game!

Jose was in St. Louis to play catcher for his Rays, while Yadier was sidelined with a thumb injury, so maybe Jose should have been the one sending the pick-me-up. As it happened, TV cameras caught Cardinals third base coach Jose Oquendo putting a couple of packs of peanut butter-filled cheese crackers on home plate, then showed Yadier laughing and motioning for his brother to take them.

Sure enough, Jose gratefully accepted the offering and put the crackers in his back pocket.

Picture-by-picture breakdown here.

 


Fivethirtyeight: Billion-Dollar Billy Beane

Billy Beane should have never written this article.

Now that we have a sense of Beane’s performance and how much it would cost to replicate it, let’s turn back to the Boston Red Sox and their failure to sign him (or even to offer him anywhere near his worth)....

But some of that money was spent and some of those wins came before the Red Sox attempted to hire Beane. To be conservative, let’s just look at the period since Henry made Beane his offer: In the last 12 years, the Red Sox spent $1.714 billion on payroll, while the A’s spent $736 million. We can then break down what it could have looked like if Beane had worked for the Red Sox like so:

  Let’s say it would have cost Boston the same $736 million that it cost Oakland to get the A’s performance with Beane.
  At the hypothetical $25 million-per-year salary I suggested earlier, Beane would have cost the Red Sox another $300 million. (It’s possible that Beane would have wanted more, but it’s even more possible that they could have gotten him for less.)
  The difference in performance between the A’s and the Red Sox over that period (where the Sox were as successful as at any point in the franchise’s history, and the A’s were supposedly stagnating after Beane’s early success) has been about 50 games for Boston. Since we don’t know exactly how good Beane would be at procuring additional wins above his Oakland performance, let’s assume that the Red Sox would have had to pay the typical amount teams have paid for wins in the period to make up the difference. According to the year-by-year price of wins from my calculations above, those 50 wins (taking when they happened into account) would have a market value of about $370 million (though this might have been lower with Beane in charge).

If we combine these — the price of the A’s performance ($736 million) plus Super-Expensive-Billy-Beane’s salary ($300 million) plus the additional 50 Red Sox wins at high market estimates ($370 million) – merely duplicating their previous level of success still would have saved the Red Sox more than $300 million relative to what they actually spent, and that’s with reasonably conservative assumptions. That’s money they could have pocketed, or spent making themselves even better.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 24, 2014 at 09:47 AM | 22 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, billy beane, moneyball, payroll, red sox

MLB: Tarp problems at Yankee Stadium

It’s a…

 

Repoz Posted: July 24, 2014 at 12:15 AM | 28 comment(s)
  Beats: rangers, yankees

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Goldman: Eliminating the shift a bandage for a phantom wound

Oh Bandage Up Yours!

Fans like offense. That’s what professional writers such as Buster Olney and Tom Verducci are saying as well: We dwell in a low-offense valley, and they miss the offense.

Olney suggested “perhaps lowering the mound again, or changing the composition of the ball.” Verducci wants to outlaw the shift. The terrible, painful irony here is that they fail to recognize that such remedies for the current lack of offense are no different from the use of drugs to get the same effect. What doesn’t seem to have occurred to those asking for more offense is that they are requesting the manipulation of scoring levels by artificial means, which is exactly what Barry Bonds and Alex Rodriguez supposedly did.

What they are suggesting is actually worse, because the efficacy of PEDs was never untangled from all the other phenomena at work during that period, particularly stadium design, ball composition and a highly variable but generally shrinking strike zone, whereas if you (say) lowered the mound, or lowered it and moved it back from its traditional 60’6” from home plate, if you moved all the fences in to 250 feet, if you shrunk the foul territory in ballparks like Oakland’s and told the Rockies to deactivate their humidor, we know what would happen. You’d fix offense, in the sense that the 1919 World Series was fixed.

Self-appointed purists have complained that baseball’s sacred record-book was pillaged by drug users, but it was always subject to manipulations like these. Remember 1930, the average hitter in the National League averaged .303 and slugged .448. After that season, the NL deadened the ball by publicized choice, whereas the American League stayed with the rabbit ball for awhile longer. That’s why from 1931 through 1938 the AL had 14 seasons of 40 or more home runs and the NL had none, why Lou Gehrig and Hank Greenberg had seasons of more than 180 RBI and the NL topped out with Joe Medwick’s 154 (one of only two NL seasons of more than 138 RBI during that period), the NL had seven seasons with batting averages above .350 while the AL had 18, and so on.

We won’t rehash all the other ways that baseball’s record book is bogus except to mention the biggest one: Apartheid major league baseball was a minor league.

Repoz Posted: July 23, 2014 at 05:00 PM | 37 comment(s)
  Beats: history

Nats Fan in Colorado Shows Support with Curly W BEARD

You can’t make up stuff like this. Google “curly w beard”, be entertained.

I just saw him on TV, it’s for realz.

boteman is not here 'til October Posted: July 23, 2014 at 04:23 PM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: beards, fans, nationals

2015 Competitive Balance Lottery Results

The Competitive Balance Lottery for the 2015 MLB Draft took place this afternoon. Twelve competitive balance picks are awarded, with the first six taking place after the first round’s conclusion and the next six taking place following conclusion of the second round. Here are the results, per MLB.com (Twitter links)...

Competitive Balance Round A

  Marlins
  Rockies
  Cardinals
  Brewers
  Padres
  Indians

Competitive Balance Round B

  Reds
  Athletics
  Mariners
  Twins
  Orioles
  Diamondbacks

As MLB.com’s Jim Callis explained earlier in the week, teams that have one of the 10 smallest markets or one of the 10 smallest revenue pools are eligible to receive a compensatory pick between the first and second rounds (Round A) or between the second and third rounds (Round B).

Its about time the Cardinals got some help to become more competitive.


Cameron Maybin Suspended 25 Games

This may actually improve the Padres terrible offense.

It was announced today that OF Cameron Maybin has been suspended 25 games for violating Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.

In a statement released by the team, Padres manager Bud Black said that “Our club fully supports Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. Cameron has accepted full responsibility for his violation and apologized to his teammates and coaches. We are all looking forward to his return.”

The suspension begins immediately and Maybin will be eligible to return to the Padres’ active roster on August 20th, when the team is in Los Angeles for the second game of a three-game series against the Dodgers.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 23, 2014 at 03:11 PM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: cameron maybin, padres, peds, suspensions

CSN: Enough is enough — time to move on from Ryan Howard

The budget Ryan plan…

At what point does this experiment end? Howard is hitting .224 with a .305 on-base percentage. He has one home run in his last 121 plate appearances. He has three doubles in his last 55 games dating back to May 22.

The Phillies are throwing away games and costing themselves wins by batting Howard fourth nearly every night. It hurts to write that about a player as gregarious, as friendly, as easy to root for as Howard, but it’s the truth. There is no longer a logical defense for him.

Howard’s backers cite his RBI total, that he’s driven in 60 runs. Well, so have 17 other major-leaguers. And Howard has had more plate appearances this season with men on base than any player in baseball.

In 224 of Howard’s plate appearances, one or more runners have been on base. He’s driven in just 14.8 percent of them. More than 175 players have a better rate of plating their baserunners.

Howard is owed $25 million next season. He’s owed $25 million the season after that. In 2017, he’s on the books for $23 million but can be bought out for $10 million. So he will be paid at least $60 million over the next three seasons, making him completely untradeable unless the Phillies pick up just about every dollar.

...Playing him everyday, batting him fourth everyday, will not turn this situation around. Howard has hit .236 with 40 home runs in his last 1,026 plate appearances. His OPS over that span is two percent below the league average. That’s a pretty indicative sample size.

At this point, Darin Ruf deserves the opportunity. Bat Marlon Byrd cleanup until/unless he’s traded. Maybe bring up Maikel Franco and give him a two-month look against major-league pitching. See what they can do with all of the RBI opportunities that have gone to waste.

Because the easy route, the loyal route, the status quo that values feelings over results ... that isn’t working.

Repoz Posted: July 23, 2014 at 03:08 PM | 89 comment(s)
  Beats: phillies, sabermetrics

Jeff Francoeur’s Teammates Prank Him, Again

Isn’t the prank that he has to play for the San Diego Padres now?

Earlier this year, Francoeur’s teammates convinced him that pitcher Jorge Reyes was deaf, which turned into a lovely short film by first baseman Cody Decker. This time around, the gag was less complex. Decker again filmed the payback delivered when Francoeur unwisely used the coaches’ bathroom. With some help from Travis Buck and Carlos Quentin, who was rehabbing in Triple-A at the time, the group turned the cushy bathroom into a cushy prison for Frenchy.
Jeff Francoeur’s Teammates Pulled A Hilarious Weeks-Long Prank On Him

Jeff Francoeur’s currently playing for the El Paso Chihuahuas, the Padres’ Triple-A…Read more

Without spoiling the end, Francoeur made his escape, but not through either of the doors. Bless him.

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 23, 2014 at 02:31 PM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: jeff francoeur, padres, prank

Korea’s Hanwha Eagles have robots for fans who can’t attend

Across lots of land and water in South Korea, the Hanwha Eagles (former team of Hyun-Jin Ryu) have gone “next level” by providing robots to stomp and yell unifying chants for those who cannot attend the game in person….

In any event, this sentence—“At important moments, the Fanbot encourages group cheering”—is the most creepily utopian baseball-related sequencing of words ever uttered. May it one adorn the flag of every formerly sovereign nation on earth.

Let us now look forward to being mauled at a urinal by one of these.

Best Fanbots in Baseball.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 23, 2014 at 12:41 PM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: hanwha eagles, korean baseball, robots in baseball

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