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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

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Rays have the ultimate troll for visiting managers

In most visiting clubhouses, there’s not much personality. Bare walls, basic necessities, nothing to make the place feel like home. A manager’s office might feel like an empty box, devoid of any warmth. And why not, it’s not up to the home team to make the visitors feel too welcome.

The Rays decided to shake things up by providing a little art on the walls of the visiting manager’s office, a way to make managers feel right at home.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 23, 2017 at 12:10 PM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: rays

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Alex Rodriguez has his very own arcade machine called the ‘A-RodCade’

It appears that Rodriguez has his very own custom arcade system, appropriately titled “A-RodCade.” We have a lot of questions—how long has A-Rod had this? Just who made it for him?—but most important, we need to know exactly what games the A-RodCade contains. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles? NBA Jam? A version of Street Fighter featuring nothing but A-Rods? Stay tuned.

News you need to know.

PreservedFish Posted: July 22, 2017 at 06:06 PM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: alex rodriguez

20 years ago today: Greg Maddux threw a 76-pitch complete game

He had a cursory reputation.

Only 13 [pitches] were balls. He had six strikeouts. Not only did Maddux not walk anyone, he didn’t get into a single three-ball count all day. He only got two balls against a hitter twice — once in the second inning against Sammy Sosa and in the seventh against Mark Grace.

...Maddux threw seven pitches in the first inning and then seven in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings. He really labored in the fourth inning — that was when he surrendered the one run — and threw 12 pitches. 

...There’s even a stat named after him — The Maddux — for when a pitcher throws a shutout with fewer than 100 pitches. Maddux did that 13 times during his career.

Gonfalon Bubble Posted: July 22, 2017 at 04:55 PM | 25 comment(s)
  Beats: greg maddux, speed-up-the-game


Yoenis Cespedes wants to finish career in Oakland - San Francisco Chronicle

“I wish that happens,” Céspedes said, adding “I told (former A’s and current Mets teammate Jerry) Blevins, ‘I don’t know how many years I’m going to play, but I’m going to play the last year of my career with Oakland.’ I don’t know if that’s possible or not, but that’s my goal.”

A series against the A’s means more to the outfielder than most because of his fond feeling for the team and for the fans, he said.

“I still love the A’s. They were the first team to give me an opportunity to play in the big leagues,” Céspedes said. “I love Oakland all the time.”

Jim Furtado Posted: July 22, 2017 at 09:58 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, mets, yoenis cespedes

CBS Denver: Charlie Blackmon Kid Meets The Real Deal

IT’S THE TWO-YEAR OLD!!!

The little boy in the viral video who screamed for Rockies center fielder Charlie Blackmon got to meet the real deal Friday night.

Whenever Blackmon would to the plate, 2-year-old Tommy Carlson would get excited.

Really excited.

Renegade (((JE))) Posted: July 22, 2017 at 08:09 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: charlie blackmon, fans, kids, rockies

Friday, July 21, 2017

NYP: Yoenis Cespedes: I want to finish my career with A’s

Melvin to Cespedes: “Damn baby! What did you do to your hair?”

Yoenis Cespedes hasn’t finished the first season of his four-year, $110 million contact with the Mets, and the star outfielder already is thinking about joining another team.

Before Friday’s game against the A’s at Citi Field, Cespedes told the San Francisco Chronicle that he would like to end his career in Oakland, where he debuted in 2012, and remained until being traded to the Red Sox in July 2014.

“I wish that happens,” Cespedes said in a rare, English-speaking interview. “I told [former A’s and current Mets teammate Jerry] Blevins, ‘I don’t know how many years I’m going to play, but I’m going to play the last year of my career with Oakland.’ I don’t know if that’s possible or not, but that’s my goal.

“I still love the A’s. They were the first team to give me an opportunity to play in the big leagues. I love Oakland all the time.”

Cespedes’ affection extends to Oakland’s bench, where the slugger said he believes A’s manager Bob Melvin has done a better job than every manager he’s ever had, including the Mets’ Terry Collins.

“I tell my guys here all the time that he’s the best manager for me so far,” Cespedes said. “I don’t think there’s a better manager than Melvin.”

Renegade (((JE))) Posted: July 21, 2017 at 11:05 PM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, mets, retirement, yoenis cespedes

Baseball’s Best Teams Are Too Damn Good

As we approach the July 31 trade deadline, this is more than just an academic curiosity. A team’s willingness to pony up prospects for a better shot at the World Series is directly tied to how much good it thinks a trade will do. In a wide-open season, even teams outside the top tier of contenders could be convinced to roll the dice on an upgrade — particularly with the expanded wild-card format. But the stronger the top teams are, the less incentive teams on the periphery have to make a championship push. According to Elo, we haven’t seen a stronger crop of elite teams in the expansion era than this season’s top six.1

As recently as a few years ago, you could have lamented the lack of dominant teams at the top of the major leagues. At this same time in 2015, for instance, the leading Elo teams were among the weakest at their slots in the expansion era. But baseball’s era of parity seems to be officially over, with the game moving back toward imbalance. While a top-heavy MLB might never look like its basketball equivalent,2 it’s still going to be tougher than usual for aspiring contenders to break through — a fact you can bet every GM is keenly aware of in the lead-up to the deadline.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 21, 2017 at 05:40 PM | 61 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, dodgers, fivethirtyeight, parity

Steven Souza Jr. blames state of Athletics’ field for hip injury

Tampa Bay Rays right fielder Steven Souza Jr. is blaming the field conditions at the Oakland Athletics’ O.co Coliseum for a left hip injury that knocked him out of Wednesday’s game.

“I went to slide, and it was extremely muddy around second base,” Souza said after the Rays’ 7-2 loss. “My leg got stuck in the ground, and I just kind of felt a jump in my hip. That didn’t feel very great.”...

“I don’t know how it got real muddy out there, but it was not OK,” Souza told reporters. “I’ve never actually slid into a major league base like that and stuck and felt like I was going deeper in the ground.”

The A’s have played at the Coliseum since 1968. The stadium has had other notable issues in recent years, most memorably when sewage backed up into the home and visiting clubhouses.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 21, 2017 at 04:51 PM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, rays, stephen souza

Sonoma Stompers pitcher just 3rd woman to win pro game

In seven solid innings, the 5-9, 165-pound right-hander allowed just one run and four hits while striking out four and not allowing a walk. The Stompers trounced the Pittsburg Diamonds, 16-1.

Piagno allowed only one hit after the second inning and retired 20 of the final 22 batters she faced.

 

DanG Posted: July 21, 2017 at 03:39 PM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: sonoma stompers, stacy piagno, women ballplayers


He played where? Majors’ best ‘irony jerseys’

Giants: Darryl Strawberry’s No. 17
The only time Straw wore that weird No. 17 (which had always been Keith Hernandez’s number in New York) was the 29 games he played with the Giants in 1994. He got off to a very hot start, hitting homers in back-to-back games in Montreal and then doing it again with back-to-back homer days against the Rockies. At that point, Strawberry was hitting .303/.407/.530, but he promptly went 2-for-his-next-26, the strike came, and the Giants let him go.

Indians: Keith Hernandez’s No. 17
Most people think Hernandez retired as a Met, but he actually played 43 games for a lamentable Cleveland team in 1990. Five years later, Cleveland would have one of the greatest offensive teams in baseball history—this team had Candy Maldonado, Chris James, Cory Snyder, Felix Fermin and Brook Jacoby. Put it this way: Hernandez got 145 plate appearances with the Tribe. He scored seven runs. He drove in eight.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 21, 2017 at 02:43 PM | 78 comment(s)
  Beats: joe posnanski

Carson Kelly promoted to Cardinals; Marco Gonzales traded | Derrick Goold: Bird Land | stltoday.com

A bunch of moves and the following report:

Sounds like a managing change is coming.

Jim Furtado Posted: July 21, 2017 at 02:11 PM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals

Why all the rest for the Pirates? Clint Hurdle explains | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

This article convinced me that I need a nap.

Jim Furtado Posted: July 21, 2017 at 01:57 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: pirates

Mariners trade top prospect Tyler O’Neill to Cardinals for LHP Marco Gonzales

The Mariners have made another trade to beef up their pitching staff, acquiring left-handed starter Marco Gonzales from the Cardinals in exchange for minor-league outfielder Tyler O’Neill, the organizations’ top prospect.

The team announced the move Friday morning, a day after acquiring reliever David Phelps from Miami for four minor-leaguers.

Gonzalez, 25, has a career 5.53 ERA in 12 games over parts of three seasons with St. Louis. He was a first-round pick out of Gonzaga in 2013 and was named the Cardinals’ minor-league pitcher of the year in 2014.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 21, 2017 at 01:15 PM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, marco gonzalez, mariners, tyler o'neill

Ties to Cuba Enhance and Entangle Jorge Mas’s Marlins Bid

MIAMI — Throughout his life, Jorge Mas Santos has had a passion for Cuba, family, business and sports.

Now, as one of the wealthiest people in Miami and a serious contender to buy the Miami Marlins, Mas may be able to combine his interests in a way that would have an impact on baseball and, perhaps, the larger world of politics.

In Mas — who inherited his family’s business from his father, Jorge Mas Canosa, who died in 1997 — baseball sees a deep-pocketed investor with strong local roots. As a Cuban-American, Mas, 54, would also give Major League Baseball its second owner of Latino background. (Arte Moreno of the Los Angeles Angels is Mexican-American.)

Bote Man Posted: July 21, 2017 at 12:56 PM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: loria, marlins, team sales

It’s unacceptable — Cardinals have lost their Way under Matheny

It was embarrassing and unacceptable, and somebody must be held accountable. Who are these guys masquerading as the St. Louis Cardinals?

There’s a right way to play baseball and a wrong way to play it. For 124 years of Cardinals’ baseball, the glorious franchise of Stan “The Man” Musial was the gold standard.

These guys hardly resemble George Kissell’s beloved Cardinals anymore. They aren’t your mom and dad’s Cardinals, much less your grandma and grandpa’s. The Cardinal Way is gone, and let the record show it went missing on manager Mike Matheny’s watch.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 21, 2017 at 12:27 PM | 27 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, mike matheny

The Absurd History of “The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim”

Almost nobody noticed it, but a major league team changed its name prior to the 2016 season. Slipped into a team style sheet was a detail almost nobody noticed until this June:  The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim dropped the “of Anaheim” label and returned to the name “Los Angeles Angels” for the first time since the club moved away from Dodger Stadium in 1965.
This is, admittedly, a minor change, but the “Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim” name has been a source of ridicule for fans across the country since the team adopted the moniker in 2005. The Angels are no more “Los Angeles” than Orange County or Disneyland. Angels Stadium is roughly 30 miles away from downtown Los Angeles and is at least a 45-minute drive away — and potentially significantly longer with that legendary Los Angeles traffic.

The Angels claiming Los Angeles is one of the more cynical marketing moves in American professional sports, but it’s understandable. Especially in a world where media markets determine so much of a franchise’s revenue, anything to claim more viewers — like the 17 million people in Los Angeles — goes. But in the history of the Angels name and the distinctions between Los Angeles and Anaheim is a fascinating story of the battles between sports franchises and the cities who host and help finance them.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 21, 2017 at 12:10 PM | 96 comment(s)
  Beats: angels

Do Teams Still Overpay for Free Agents from Other Teams?

Fascinatingly, the OPP Premium for pitchers has completely disappeared and reversed itself, while the OPP Premium for hitters has increased. I suspect that this is just a function of limited sample sizes, but it could also be a case of the market overcorrecting for the risk of signing other team’s pitchers.]

I think the best evidence is that teams have gotten smarter about signing free agents from other teams, and the market has become more efficient as a result. While it is difficult to say for sure due to sample sizes, the marked decline in OPP Premium for pitchers in particular suggests teams now consider the information asymmetry when targeting free agents.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 21, 2017 at 12:07 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: free agents

The Pirates and Cardinals will play in “The Little League Classic” on August 20

Major League Baseball and the MLBPA just announced that the Pittsburgh Pirates and the St. Louis Cardinals will play a special regular season game during the 2017 Little League World Series on Sunday, August 2. It will be called “The Little League Classic” and will be played in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. The Pirates will be the home team.

The game, which takes place during the Little League World Series, will air nationally on ESPN at 7pm that night. ESPN, of course, broadcasts the Little League World Series. This is what they call “synergy.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 21, 2017 at 11:47 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, little league, pirates

The 10 best Cardinals blockbuster trades in the DeWitt era | Jeff Gordon | stltoday.com

It’s time for the Cardinals to pack it in.

Jim Furtado Posted: July 21, 2017 at 11:15 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals

Tap-In Question: Should the Orioles be sellers no matter how they fare against the Astros? - BaltimoreBaseball.com

It’s pretty amazing how well Duquette has done in Baltimore working under the constraints of Angelos.

Jim Furtado Posted: July 21, 2017 at 11:13 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: orioles

Yankees’ Luis Severino handcuffs Mariners | MLB.com

Severino is looking more and more like an ace.

Jim Furtado Posted: July 21, 2017 at 10:48 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: luis severino, yankees

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-21-2017

Chicago Eagle, July 21, 1917:

Bob Veach of the Tigers wants to know if hitting a ball over the bull sign entitles a batter to $50 the same as actually hitting the sign. In one of the games Detroit played in Washington Veach sent the ball clear over the sign for one of the longest drives ever seen in Washington. It is some trick to hit the sign there, let alone clear it.

Elsewhere on the same newspaper page, former big league catcher Ted Easterly is released on probation after a conviction for passing a bad check, an upheld protest drops Hank Gowdy’s batting average from .324 to .250, and Clark Griffith is not happy about the American League’s efforts to relocate his ballclub.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: July 21, 2017 at 10:27 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

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