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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

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Deford: All-Star Games Are Worthless If The Players Are Not All-Stars

So right now –– just to take one example –– Salvador Perez has 11,666,785 votes for catcher. What does that mean? It’s like light years or grains of sand on the beach, just number numbers.

But having fans vote is the way leagues like to run All-Star balloting nowadays, instead of being old-fashioned and letting the choices be made by people who actually know something, people we dare call experts.

You see, when fans vote, it’s interactive. It’s an interactive world now. Baseball’s rationale is that if you voted your thirty-five times for Salvador Perez, interactively, you’ll then be on pins and needles to see if he can win. You’re invested in Salvador Perez.

But actually it’s the reverse, because the irony is that if you want to get fans just plain actively engaged, the fewer decision-makers the better. Half the fun in the selection of All-Stars — or any award winners — is being able to castigate the people who made the choices you disagree with as dimwitted dummies.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 01, 2015 at 12:03 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: all-star game, fan voting, frank deford, npr, royals

Nats to introduce Calvin Coolidge as latest Racing President - The Washington Post

I hope the fans don’t get out of control.

Jim Furtado Posted: July 01, 2015 at 09:50 AM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: nationals

Rany on the Royals: Goodbye for Now

Rany takes a break from blogging.

And then in 2013 I got the call that, in retrospect, I had spent the previous two decades working to get. The Chicago Cubs contacted me and asked if I would be interested in interviewing for an analytics position in their front office.

Let me rephrase that: The Chicago Cubs wanted me to work for them.

Let me reframe that one more time: The Chicago Cubs, run by Jed Hoyer and Theo Epstein, who had already won two world championships and ended an 86-year championship drought in Boston together, thought that I could help them in their attempt to accomplish the same in Chicago. More than that, the Cubs contacted me even though they knew I was a dermatologist and wouldn’t be able to work for them full time. Forgive me if I never get tired of bringing that up, because it was the moment that most vindicates the 20-year passion project that has been my baseball writing career. It probably always will be.

In the end, I didn’t get the job, in large part because the Cubs felt they needed someone who would be able to commit to the organization full-time. I completely understood their reasoning, and frankly remain astonished that they would even consider the alternative. Maybe they really didn’t consider the alternative, but simply figured that once an opportunity to work in baseball presented itself to me, I would be willing to walk away from my dermatology career to pursue it.

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 01, 2015 at 09:46 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, rany jazayerli, royals

Baseball Prospectus | Fantasy Freestyle: How We Got Here

An interview with Alex Patton and Peter Kreutzer, two pioneering Roto experts.

To follow up on that, you used to play in the pre-Internet age, when people read newspapers and networked with friends in other cities for relevant fantasy information? Do you still enjoy the game with all of the information just there for anyone to get in a matter of minutes?

Alex: I miss the networking. But I still read newspapers! Better enjoy that while I can, I guess.

Peter: Information increase is inevitable, but it’s hard not to miss the days when you might gain an edge by catching a team’s beat reporter in the newsroom and glean some injury or usage information by vocal. Today that same info is tweeted by that same guy, to everyone savvy enough to listen. That’s a lot less romantic, but I’m not inclined to say the older days were better. Hard work is still a big part of getting an edge.

Jim Furtado Posted: July 01, 2015 at 09:11 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: fantasy baseball

Full Count » How Red Sox teamed up to help Eduardo Rodriguez not tip his pitches

“In the midst of that one inning that Eduardo had the other day, it was me and Wade [Miley] sitting down in the batting cage watching TV and balls are getting hit hard. I think the one that set us off was the Chris Davis slider. It was a good slider away and he stayed on it and went the other way. You have to expect 96 or 97 and you’re staying back on a slider on a full count, left on left? It didn’t register. So we went in there and looked at it and found something that was not really blatantly obvious if you’re not looking for something, but as we sat down and started looking we found something that he was doing on every off-speed pitch and he wasn’t doing it on his fastball.

Jim Furtado Posted: July 01, 2015 at 09:07 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: eduardo rodriguez, red sox


Joe Maddon brings in magician to “lighten things up” amid Cubs skid

Joe started talking about [baseball] magic and the next thing I know there was a magician there,” second baseman Addison Russell said afterward.

Non-Youkilidian Geometry Posted: July 01, 2015 at 08:42 AM | 30 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-1-2015

Dakota County [Nebraska] Herald, July 1, 1915:

Marty McHale has invented a new wrinkle in delivery. He pours a cupful of water on his right knee just before he starts for the rubber, and when he wants to pitch he rubs the ball on the wet spot and gets it good and smooth so that his grip is better. The other teams have protested against the trick, but the umpires see no other way to stop it.

Seems like the exact opposite of what you’d want to do in order to get a good grip, but he was a big league pitcher and I’m a doofus with a computer. If making the ball smooth worked, you can’t really tell from McHale’s big league stats. He went 11-30 with an ERA+ of 80 and 0.4 career WAR in six seasons.

Dan Lee is a Big Hunk of Neufchâtel Posted: July 01, 2015 at 08:40 AM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, marty mchale

Prospect Pulse: Meet the Matz!

IF these guys can stay healthy…

Jim Furtado Posted: July 01, 2015 at 08:38 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: mets, steven matz

Sale away: Ace’s road show ties Pedro | MLB.com

There are a lot of things wrong with the White Sox this year but Chris Sale isn’t one of them.

Jim Furtado Posted: July 01, 2015 at 08:37 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: chris sale, white sox

Video: Statcast: Gordon’s speedy homer | MLB.com

Dee Gordon is fast.

Jim Furtado Posted: July 01, 2015 at 08:35 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: dee gordon, marlins

BLS: Gorkys Hernandez’s awful mistake on the bases nearly costs Pirates

Meh, Hernandez is no Ruben Rivera.

With the game tied 4-4 in the 14th inning, Hernandez made a base-running gaffe that nearly cost his team the game. After a one out single by Chris Stewart, Hernandez entered the game as a pinch runner. He did not do his job very well.

The next batter, Josh Harrison, sprayed a double to center, and that’s when things got confusing for Hernandez.

Center fielder Rajai Davis nearly got to the ball, diving at the last second. The ball deflected off Davis’ glove, but Hernandez didn’t see it.

Because of that, Hernandez turned around and attempted to run back to first base, thinking the ball had been caught. He touched second on his way back, but was then waved to keep going by Harrison.

On his way to third base, Hernandez did not retouch second. At first, it appeared no one noticed Hernandez’s gaffe. Eventually, someone on the Detroit Tigers figured it out.

Before throwing his next pitch, Tom Gorzelanny appealed to second base and Hernandez was called out. This was a crucial out in a tie game.

Fortunately for Hernandez, he was let off the hook. Harrison would come around to score on a Neil Walker double, and the Pirates held on for the 5-4 win.

JE (Jason) Posted: July 01, 2015 at 07:53 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: baserunning, gorkys herandez, pirates, tigers

OTP - July 2015:  Winning the Political Game: Politics is More Like Baseball Than Football

Some smart person, I believe it was political columnist and baseball guru George Will, said that politics is a lot more like baseball than football.

What he meant is that if you lose a few football games the season quickly becomes unsuccessful. But if you lose even a lot of baseball games, you can still win the World Series. NFL teams play 16 regular season games. Major League Baseball teams play 162.

In politics you can lose a lot of legislative battles and public policy fights, and still be very successful. Of course, you can’t lose many of the big games – elections – or you don’t last long in politics. But many politicians bounce back even from election losses.

Some politicians are timid because they can’t stand to lose any fights. But that’s not the route to a successful political career. Here’s another insightful George Will quote: “Conflict avoidance becomes habitual. Risk averse politicians are constantly at risk. The rule regarding power is use it or lose it.”

Bitter Mouse Posted: July 01, 2015 at 07:30 AM | 68 comment(s)
  Beats: politics

Source: Dipoto could step down as Angels GM | angels.com

On Monday, a FOXSports.com report stated that “emotions simmered” amid a series of meetings revolving around the front office’s belief that the coaching staff was doing an inadequate job of relaying scouting information to players. In those meetings, occurring this past weekend, at least one coach “responded heatedly” to Dipoto and Pujols issued “a pointed rebuttal” to the fourth-year GM.

Jim Furtado Posted: July 01, 2015 at 06:34 AM | 23 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, jerry dipoto, mike scioscia

OMNICHATTER 7-1-2015

The WE-ARE-NOW-IN-JULY OMNICHATTER

Gamingboy Posted: July 01, 2015 at 12:48 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: mlb, omnichatter

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

International signing period opens Thursday | MLB.com

An international player is eligible to sign with a Major League team between July 2 and June 15 of next year if he is 17 or will turn 17 by the end of the first season of his contract. Additionally, any prospect who is already 17 or older and has not previously signed a Major or Minor League contract, resides outside of the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico and has not been enrolled in a high school or college in the U.S., Canada or Puerto Rico within the previous year is eligible to sign during the period.

Each team is allotted a base of $700,000 and a bonus pool made up of four slot values, based on the team’s record from the previous year, to spend on these prospects. Including the base, the money allotted to spend ranges from $5,393,900 for the D-backs, who had the Majors’ lowest winning percentage last year, to $1,968,600 for the Angels, who had the highest winning percentage.

Additionally, clubs are allowed to trade pool money. Bonuses of $10,000 or less are exempt and do not count against the allotment.

Teams that exceed the pools by 0 to 5 percent have to pay 100 percent tax, and teams that exceed the pools by 5 to 10 percent are not allowed to sign a player for more than $500,000 during the next signing period. They also have to pay a 100 percent tax on the pool overage. Teams that exceed the pools by 10 to 15 percent are not allowed to sign a player for more than $300,000 during the next signing period, and must pay a 100 percent tax on the pool overage.

Jim Furtado Posted: June 30, 2015 at 09:16 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: international players

OMNICHATTER 6/30/15

The End-Of-June OMNICHATTER

Gamingboy Posted: June 30, 2015 at 10:00 AM | 103 comment(s)
  Beats: mlb, omnichatter

Don’t ever make closer Huston Street pitch earlier than the ninth inning

I’ll do whatever it takes to win….except pitching the eighth inning.

Traditionally, the best reliever in a team’s bullpen gets designated the closer. In recent years, though, there’s been an argument that using your best reliever in high-leverage situations is more valuable than saving your closer for a save opportunity that may never materialize.

Huston Street is not a fan of that thinking, according to David Alder of MLB.com.

“I’ll retire if that ever happens,” Street said. “If they ever tell me, ‘Oh, we’re gonna start using you in these high-leverage situations.’ … All right, good. You now can go find someone else to do that, because I’m going home.”

Street is referring to using closers in the earlier innings if the game dictates that situation. For example, if your team is leading by one run in the seventh inning, but the opponent has men on second and third with one out, you probably want your best reliever on the mound. That’s often the closer.

Few managers do this, however, and will bring in an inferior option even though the game is on the lin. Let’s say that player gives up both runs and your team loses by one. Now, you’ve lost a tight game and your best reliever (again, probably the closer) never got a chance to pitch. He was saved for a moment that never existed.

Street understands that, but he’s still not a fan.

“People talk about how the game is decided right now mostly in the sixth and the seventh, sometimes the eighth. I think if you were to start using the closer in those types of innings, 25 years from now you’d start noticing most games are decided in the eighth and ninth,” Street said.
We’re not so sure about that last part, but Street clearly gets the concept.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 30, 2015 at 09:05 AM | 50 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, closers, huston street, mentality, roles, the will to win

A Glimpse of Moonlight | Baseball Hall of Fame

A nice anecdote about Moonlight Graham.

Jim Furtado Posted: June 30, 2015 at 08:08 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: history, moonlight graham

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-30-2015

Milwaukee Journal, June 30, 1915:

Elmer Leifer, a left-handed pitcher for Ewan, Wash., struck out thirty-two batsmen in a nineteen-inning game with the Malden, Wash., team.

...and then his arm fell off. Okay, not really, but Leifer had an interesting career.

He signed to play in the Northwestern League and was eventually converted to the outfield. Elmer hit .352 for Butte in 1917, .326 in 1920 as Moose Jaw’s everyday third baseman, and made it all the way to the big leagues for a cup of coffee in September 1921. Leifer went 3-for-10 for the ‘21 White Sox, then opened the 1922 season with Little Rock in the Southern Association. In May 1922, he collided with teammate Travis Jackson in pursuit of a popup, suffering a fractured skull and a severed optic nerve. Believe it or not, Leifer was healthy enough to be the Opening Day starting pitcher for Minot in 1923. He played ball through 1926, then headed back home to retire in Washington state.

(Hat tip to the excellent SABR bio of Leifer, written by Terry Bohn.)

Dan Lee is a Big Hunk of Neufchâtel Posted: June 30, 2015 at 08:06 AM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, elmer leifer, history

As trade season approaches, Astros have hole in rotation - Houston Chronicle

McCullers high point is 104.2 innings heading into this season.

Collin McHugh and the rehabbing Scott Feldman remain quality rotation pieces, but there’s a need beyond them that young pitchers Lance McCullers and Vince Velasquez probably can’t fill because of developmental innings limits.

“(I’m hopeful for a trade based on) what we’re doing right now and the position that we’re in,” Keuchel said before Saturday’s 9-6 loss to the Yankees. “Fully intend for the front office to make a move. And that’s not like something that’s a given; it’s just that, I know that they want to win and it’s a shared interest between the players and the front office.

“I just would assume we’ll probably get a pitcher based on the fact that we’re not going to run the young guns out for 200 innings. We’re going to need somebody to kind of help fill that void. Whether it’s Kazmir, Samardzija, Hamels, Cueto, whoever, we’re going to expect them to come in and help us out.”

Jim Furtado Posted: June 30, 2015 at 06:44 AM | 20 comment(s)
  Beats: astros

Braves have one eye on present, two on future | braves.com

“When we get to the Trade Deadline, we won’t look to ship out everyone who is on a free-agent contract or everybody who is over the age of 30,” Coppolella said. “We’re going to look to make good solid baseball trades that will be made in the best interest of this franchise. I don’t know if we’ll be as active as we have been previously. We’ll see what comes up at the Deadline, but by no means will we totally gut this team.”

Jim Furtado Posted: June 30, 2015 at 06:42 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: braves

Billy Beane still weighing A’s options as trade deadline nears | CSN Bay Area

It’s a long season. The Wild Card opens up many possibilities.

“It’s really depending on how you’re playing and where you’re headed,” Beane said. “Just about any deficit can be overtaken if you’re clicking as a club. Case in point, 2012.”

Jim Furtado Posted: June 30, 2015 at 06:39 AM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, billy beane


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