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Monday, March 27, 2017

Heyman: Cardinals, Molina Making Big Progress Toward Extension

The St. Louis Cardinals and revered catcher Yadier Molina are making major progress toward a possible contract extension, sources tell FanRag Sports. While the current terms being discussed are unknown, Molina was originally seeking a four-year extension, while the team countered with a two-year offer. A deal now appears to be getting close between the two sides.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 27, 2017 at 07:23 PM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, yadier molina

Now hiring: Red Sox on the hunt for a backup Wally mascot

Looking for a career change?

Well, if you’re shorter than 5-foot-8, then you may be in luck. The Red Sox marketing team recently posted a job opening for a backup Wally mascot, who would be responsible for wearing the Green Monster suit at a variety of designated events, including Sox games, school and hospital visits, and charity events.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 27, 2017 at 06:31 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: mascots

Bronson Arroyo: “I’m literally about to pull off the impossible”

Bronson Arroyo feels normal, and that’s pretty abnormal.

It’s been nearly three years since the 40-year-old has thrown a pitch in the major leagues. He’s spent most of that time fighting to come back from shoulder and elbow surgeries, unable to get his aging body to rebound.

But now he feels healthy, with nothing remarkable to report about his preparation for the regular season. Now, he’s on the verge of pitching in a major-league rotation – or in the majors at all – for the first time since 2014.

“I’m literally about to pull off the impossible,” Arroyo said. “That’s the way I see it.”

The Cincinnati Reds signed Arroyo to a minor-league deal just as spring training began, taking the low-risk bet that he was finally healthy. After an injury to Anthony DeSclafani left the rotation short of experience, they’ll be relying on him more than they could have expected.

No one with the Reds has said for certain that Arroyo will join the rotation, not wanting to count on his health before it’s absolutely proven. T

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 27, 2017 at 05:54 PM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: bronson arroyo, reds

THE B/R Q&A: ROB MANFRED WANTS MLB TO ‘OWN THE NEXT GENERATION’ OF SPORTS FANS

B/R: You’ve talked about the need to create more action, and certainly the numbers support your desire. In the 2016 regular season, a record 30.2 percent of all plate appearances failed to produce a fair ball, instead ending in a strikeout, walk or hit batter. How much are you alarmed by this and where does adjusting the strike zone up stand?


RM: It’s not about whether or not we should change the game. The game has changed. The question is, should we be more like other professional sports and more actively manage that change to produce the kind of product we want to have out there on the field. Me? I’m one for active management of that change. I think it’s really important for us to look at.

Strike zones, great example of it. Years ago, we thought when the strike zone was higher on the knee that the low pitch wasn’t getting called. We moved it to the hollow of the knee to try to get the umpires to call that. Interesting thing happens: Technology gets laid on top of that, our umpire force starts to turn over, they all get used to being evaluated and all of a sudden, they’re actually calling it where we told them to call it. You can’t blame the umpires on this. They’re doing exactly what we told them, and the technology told them that they were doing what we told them to do. The problem with that pitch is, it’s tough to hit. So the question becomes do you make an adjustment? And honestly, if we moved it from the hollow of the knee up to where it was before, I think modern civilization is going to survive.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 27, 2017 at 05:16 PM | 27 comment(s)
  Beats: fans, international teams, pace of play, rob manfred

Oakland A’s ‘understand’ Raiders need to move, remind us they need a new stadium

Monday afternoon the NFL announced their owners have approved relocation of the Oakland Raiders to Las Vegas. The move is at least two years away, but it has been agreed to.  Owners voted 31-1 in favor of the move . 

The Raiders and Athletics have shared the Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum since 1995, thought it’s no secret the A’s have been looking for a new ballpark. A few hours after the Raiders move was announced, the A’s released a statement saying they are “focused” and “excited” about staying in Oakland, as long as they get a new stadium.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 27, 2017 at 05:04 PM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics

Braves urge fans to plan as traffic test looms with exhibition game

Monday’s event offered little new information, but team representatives emphasized that fans should buy tickets and parking ahead of time, or take Uber, an official partner. They also touted a new mobile app with built-in GPS.

Braves’ president of development, Mike Plant said the new stadium had “much more extensive parking” than Turner Field.

“In today’s world, you have to plan early, and planning is the key before you leave your house or place of work,” Plant said. “Buy a ticket early, buy parking online, use Uber and Waze to help you get here, and then that experience is going to be better for you, for everyone.”

The Braves say they have more than 15,000 parking spaces, including private lots that have entered into lease agreements with the team. Some of these scattered lots will be served by a new circulator operated by the county, which will launch on March 31, the same day as the exhibition game.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 27, 2017 at 05:01 PM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, parking, suntrust park

Jose Canseco is getting back in baseball as a television analyst covering the A’s

According to Joe Stiglich of CSN Bay Area, Canseco is joining NBC Sports California as an on-air analyst for their pre- and postgame coverage of the Oakland Athletics, one of his former teams. From Stiglich:

“I’ve got quite a bit of experience. I’ve pretty much been there, done all of that whether it’s on or off the field,” Canseco said. “I think the fans can expect the truth — an honest opinion, honest analysis — and hopefully in some shape or form we expand the fan base.” 

He’s enthused about taking on his first role as an analyst, and he joins NBC Sports California at a time of budding excitement surrounding the A’s and the expectation of them building a new ballpark in Oakland. Canseco, the 1986 AL Rookie of the Year, played for the A’s when they were one of the Bay Area’s hottest sports stories.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 27, 2017 at 04:42 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, jose canseco

Jury sides with Cleveland Indians in suit brought by fan blinded by foul ball

Rawlins took his then-15-year-old daughter to the game against the Baltimore Orioles and sat along the left field line in the stadium’s lower bowl. With two outs in the top of the ninth inning, Rawlins claimed the park’s ushers ordered fans to empty the section he was in and several others before a post-game fireworks show.

Rawlins said that he and several other fans stood up and walked up the aisle. As he had his back turned, he heard the crack of a baseball bat connecting with a pitch. He turned toward the field just as a line-drive foul ball struck him in the face.

The impact broke several bones and left him blind in his left eye, court records say. The ball was traveling about 95 miles per hour, according to court records.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 27, 2017 at 04:20 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: foul balls, indians, legal, protective netting

Tiebreaker, intentional walk rules added to minor league games

What has long been rumored is now true: Minor league games in the Gulf Coast, Arizona and Dominican Summer Leagues will all use international-style tiebreaker rules to eliminate lengthy extra-inning games. Once a game goes into extras, each successive inning will begin with a runner on second base.

That’s true in the 10th inning of regulation games, as well as the eighth inning of minor league doubleheaders, whose games are scheduled for just seven innings apiece. That differs from international-style tiebreaker rules, like those employed in the recent World Baseball Classic, which allow for one normal extra inning before placing runners on base. International rules also call for runners on first and second base, which almost certainly lead to the first batter bunting.

The new rules will not be used in the playoffs, but just in the regular season.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 27, 2017 at 02:30 PM | 27 comment(s)
  Beats: minor leagues, rule changes

Raul Mondesi wins starting second base job for the Royals

On Monday morning, seven days before Opening Day, Royals manager Ned Yost announced that Mondesi would be the club’s starting second baseman when the season begins next week in Minnesota. Once viewed as an afterthought in a four-man competition and likely headed for Class AAA Omaha, Mondesi, 21, delivered a sterling performance all spring, beating out Whit Merrifield, Christian Colon and Cheslor Cuthbert.

“He went from, in our mind, day one of spring training, going back to Class AAA, to outright winning the job,” Yost said….

After making his major-league debut in the 2015 World Series, Mondesi, a former top prospect, made his regular season debut last July, batting .185 with 48 strikeouts and six walks in 149 plate appearances. He often looked overmatched at the plate. His pitch recognition and selection appeared raw. He appeared headed for Omaha in 2017, another assignment to refine his approach at the plate.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 27, 2017 at 01:38 PM | 39 comment(s)
  Beats: raul mondesi, royals

Barry Bonds, Pac-Man and the greatest baseball fun fact of all time

Baseball’s greatest fun fact was born in three stages: on the last day of the first half of the 2004 season, on the last day of the 2004 season and, many years later, when a young man was kicking stones along the river bank and discovered it half-buried by mud and shrubs. It is one part record, one part curiosity and one part magic trick. Fittingly, it concerns Barry Bonds, and as a scholar of Barry Bonds fun facts, it is my opinion that it will never be topped.

Meatwad needs baseball Posted: March 27, 2017 at 01:23 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: barry bonds, ops, pac man

Twins’ attempt to chart fatigue raises concerns with players union

“I think it’s a very dangerous proposition to start taking data that’s generated internally by an individual player,” Tony Clark, executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association, said this spring. “The value of that data, how that data can be used, is a very dangerous, very delicate conversation to have.”

Jim Furtado Posted: March 27, 2017 at 12:51 PM | 20 comment(s)
  Beats: injuries, twins

Is Trevor Story ready to fill Troy Tulowitzki’s big shoes with the Rockies?

Replacing the best shortstop in the history of the franchise isn’t easy.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 27, 2017 at 10:50 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: rockies, trevor story

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 3-27-2017

Tacoma Times, March 27, 1917:

[Seattle manager] Bill Leard waxed highly indignant the other day because of a remark by Harry Wolverton of the Seals, quoted in a local newspaper, the tenor of which was that organized baseball might just as well let down the bard to negroes if it is to permit Chinamen to play.

You tell ‘em, Bill! Of course players of all ethnicities should be allowed to play!

“Think of that!” fairly hissed the scrappy Leard. “Think of it. Ayau is an American-born, half-Chinese-half Hawaiian, has attended American schools and speaks English almost as well as I do. And Wolverton has on his San Francisco club Jacinto Calvo, a Cuban who butchers the American lingo.

Oh.

Well, I guess being right for the wrong reason is better than nothing.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: March 27, 2017 at 10:13 AM | 21 comment(s)
  Beats: casual ethnic prejudice, dugout, history

Cleveland Indians 2017 opening day roster projections: Paul Hoynes | cleveland.com

Indians roster questions.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 27, 2017 at 09:37 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: indians

Sandy Alderson on Steven Matz’s latest injury: ‘It’s worrisome’ | Newsday

“It’s worrisome that he continues to be injured off and on,” Sandy Alderson said. “That’s the difficulty. We don’t think it’s serious. On the other hand, we have to be able to, with starting pitchers, to rely on them every five days. We’re not sure exactly where this is going to take us.”

Jim Furtado Posted: March 27, 2017 at 09:17 AM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: mets, steven matz

Matt Harvey hits 97 in best start of spring | MLB.com

Mid 90s plus he’s an ace. Low 90s he’s a backend guy.

“Today, he amped it up a little bit,” Collins said. “And I’m sure when we get to Citi Field and he gets out there for the first time, he’ll amp it up that day, also.”
It wasn’t just velocity that boosted Harvey in his best start of the spring. There was also a high-80s slider that Harvey routinely buried low-and-away to right-handed hitters, plus a command of all pitches that Harvey lacked for much of the spring.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 27, 2017 at 09:13 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: matt harvey, mets


Red Sox spring training: Blake Swihart leads group sent to minor-league camp - Over the Monster

He’ll be back when Sandy Leon proves he’s a pumpkin.

The highlight here is that Blake Swihart has been optioned to Triple-A. While this was always seen as inevitable, it is still something of a disappointment to some. There is an argument to be made that he is the most talented catcher in the organization, but since he was the only backstop with minor-league options he’ll have to wait to prove it. He had a hell of a spring, though, and it won’t be too long before he gets that chance.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 27, 2017 at 09:08 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: blake swihart, red sox

Yard Goats stadium sparking literally dozens of hotel-room conversions, yay? | Field of Schemes

VERDICT: I do not think that word “dramatically” means what you think it means. Building a new sports facility may not have the kind of economic impact that sports team owners pretend it does, but it does have some, and “making the hotel-to-rental-apartment conversion that developers already had in the works marginally more marketable” is just about perfectly the size of it. Downtown Hartford is starting to draw more interest from renters with money, but that’s thanks to the Great Inversion, not anything to do with sports, and certainly not a minor-league baseball stadium that until recently wasn’t certain ever to open.

That said, I am eagerly awaiting the chance to take in a Yard Goats game this summer. I will almost certain make it a day trip from New York City, and will probably stop for pizza or falafel in New Haven. My footprint on the Hartford economy will be exceedingly light, but if some millennials want a view from their apartments of my car pulling in and out of the stadium parking lot, more power to them.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 27, 2017 at 09:07 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: minor leagues, stadium deals

How Latino Players Are Helping Major League Baseball Learn Spanish : Code Switch : NPR

Guillén agrees that there are missed opportunities for Latino players to take up leadership roles because they cannot be outspoken about what they feel and think. That, he says, is a reason some great Latino players never become managers or join a team’s leadership ranks. Guillén says learning English and acclimating to U.S. culture is most important for young players in the minors who have less money and support, both on and off the field. During the 2016 Minor League Baseball season, Latinos accounted for more than 41 percent of the players.

While long overdue, MLB’s plan to improve language services and cultural acclimation, and the press’s continued efforts to more accurately cover Spanish-speaking players should result in players feeling more at ease with the press and their fans, and fans gaining more access to and insights into their favorites.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 27, 2017 at 09:04 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: diversity, reporting

Silverman: Christian Vazquez deserves starting catcher job | Boston Herald

He can catch but can he hit?

Jim Furtado Posted: March 27, 2017 at 07:08 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: red sox

Sunday, March 26, 2017

OTP 27 March 2017: Trump, Healthcare, and the Art of the Botched Deal

OK, there’s just one easy-ground-ball baseball metaphor in this story.  And Donald Trump started college the year the Mets moved to Queens.  But it is the week’s big political news:

When Donald Trump was growing up in Queens, the local baseball team, the New York Mets, was the lowliest franchise in the National League. The Mets were so bad that the manager, Casey Stengel, once famously asked of his team: can’t anybody here play this game?

That’s the central question now in Donald Trump’s Washington. On Friday afternoon, the House GOP leadership pulled its bill overhauling Obamacare rather than experience a humiliating defeat.

When he arrived in Washington, many wondered whether Donald Trump could play this game. Just two months into his presidency, the answer is glaringly obvious: he cannot.

(As always, views expressed in the article lede and comments are the views of the individual commenters and the submitter of the article and do not represent the views of Baseball Think Factory or its owner.)

 

 

BDC Posted: March 26, 2017 at 10:10 PM | 219 comment(s)
  Beats: casey stengel, mets, politics

Will teams blow White Sox away for Jose Quintana?

Nick Cafardo’s Sunday baseball column.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 26, 2017 at 07:20 PM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: notes

Gammons: Daniel Bard Is Willing To Endure The Frustration

The Cardinals last spring signed Bard to a two year deal which his agent Mike Milchin thought would give the organization time to see if they could ground him. His initial numbers with Palm Beach in the Florida State League (3 3 8 9 13 1) were not successful, but Director of Player Development Gary LaRocque and his minor league pitching staff decided to have him try a lower arm slot.

“In some ways, it’s a lot like what Andrew did—simply everything,” says Bard. In 2012, when struggling with his delivery, Miller, with the help of pitching coach Bob McClure, tried a delivery that was part slidestep, part of fire-the-ball-at-the-backyard wall step and fire.” Which, as we saw in October, helped him develop into one of the best relievers in the game.

Bard now just loads and fires from his low ¾ slot. On this video, shot by Woodard, one can see him registering 96 on the radar gun.

I’d love to see him return to his top form. Maybe not with the Cardinals…

villageidiom Posted: March 26, 2017 at 05:01 PM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, comebacks, control issues, cubs, daniel bard, pirates, rangers, red sox

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