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Thursday, March 30, 2017

CENTRAL PARK - JULY 1, 2017 10 AM - BBTF ANNUAL SOFTBALL EXTRAVAGANZA

I think this year we should make t-shirts.

The Central Park field for 10 AM on July 1st has been submitted for approval to the Parks Department, but not yet assigned.  We’re waiting to hear back.  It’s never been a problem as yet, so hopefully it won’t be this year as well. UPDATE: 10:30 AM to 1:30 PM, Great Lawn, Field #2. -vi

Note: This is the same weekend as the massive SABR extravaganza in NYC.  I would expect all connections and all favors to be called in to get some retired MLB players or broadcast and basement-dwelling notables to come by.  Rob Neyer, Tommy Lasorda, Benny Agbayani, Robothal, Pete Rose, no target too high.  Or too low.  So maybe Calcaterra could make it.

Let’s hear it, who’s coming?

Lassus Posted: March 30, 2017 at 09:49 AM | 301 comment(s)
  Beats: sabr

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

In MLB’s New Home Run Era, It’s The Baseballs That Are Juicing

But it turns out there was an experiment in progress under our noses all along. Baseball’s camera- and radar-tracking technologies measure the speed of the ball shortly after the pitcher releases it and then again when it crosses the plate. By examining how much speed it loses between those two locations, we can calculate its air resistance (as measured by drag coefficient). For example, the average pitch loses about 7.4 mph on its way to the plate. The exact amount of velocity lost depends on the thickness of the air (which varies with temperature, weather and elevation), but a high-drag ball tends to lose about 8.7 mph on the way to the plate, while a slicker ball would lose only 6.5 mph.

With some help from baseball physicist Alan Nathan, I used those measurements to estimate the air resistance on the ball in each full month of MLB action since 2013, accounting for weather and altitude. If the ball has a lower drag coefficient, it ought to lead to longer fly balls and more dingers. Sure enough, you can see a strong correlation between the drag coefficient and the rate of home runs per fly ball in a given month1:

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 28, 2017 at 04:24 PM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: fivethirtyeight, home run spike, juiced baseballs

Let’s Do the Math on Miguel Montero and Jake Arrieta

As recently as 2011?

It underscores the importance of time to the plate as Jon Lester, and his well-known battles with the yips, controls the run game vastly better in part due to a quick time to the plate. When Montero has been catching anyone, a paltry 3% of base-stealers have been caught. Montero’s arm has declined significantly, as he led the league in caught-stealing percentage (40%) as recently as 2011, though that rate fell has fallen each year since 2012 (42%) to 20% in 2015 and 11% last season.

We can do the math, and it suggests and Montero and Arrieta should not be working together.

Jim Furtado Posted: June 28, 2017 at 03:29 PM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, jake arrieta, miguel montero

JT Realmuto is baseballs most athletic catcher | MLB.com

Remember when we said that the Major League average Sprint Speed was 27 feet per second? Herrera was flying down the basepath at a scorching 29.8 feet per second, but thanks to Realmuto (and pitcher Edinson Volquez), he still couldn’t quite make it safely.

But if you look back to our top five fastest catchers list, you’ll notice something. They’re all young, with the 28-year-old d’Arnaud the elder statesman of the bunch. We talked about Realmuto playing shortstop in high school, and Barnes (second base, third base) and Contreras (left field) have each seen time at non-catching positions in their brief careers. Realmuto seems aware of how important youth can be behind the plate.

Jim Furtado Posted: June 28, 2017 at 03:20 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: j.t. realmuto, marlins

The education of New York Yankees prospect Clint Frazier

But the question wasn’t whether it was true or not, but could it be? Like A-Rod and the legend of his centaur painting, the believability of the story said a lot. Could A-Rod have had a picture of himself painted as centaur? Yeah, A-Rod could. Considering Frazier’s perceived bravado, could Frazier have asked for a Yankees number to be unretired? Yeah, it’s possible.

Meanwhile, Frazier’s unwavering belief in his own talent can rub some people the wrong way. Until you make it, of course. Then they’ll say that’s why you made it.

“I’m not going to shy away from letting people know I’m confident in my ability,” Frazier said.

Jim Furtado Posted: June 28, 2017 at 03:20 PM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: clint frazier, yankees

Miguel Montero after Cubs cut him: ‘People can’t handle the truth’ – Chicago Sun-Times

Being right about a fact doesn’t mean you have to share the fact with no tact.

“Sometimes people can’t handle the truth,” he said. “That’s my biggest issue. I’m just straightforward, man, a straight shooter. I’m not going to say you’re pretty when you’re ugly.”

Jim Furtado Posted: June 28, 2017 at 02:34 PM | 21 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, miguel montero

Mariners Smyly to have Tommy John, season over

Seattle Mariners pitcher Drew Smyly will undergo Tommy John surgery and miss the rest of the 2017 season, the team announced Wednesday.

Dr. James Andrews is scheduled to perform an ulnar collateral reconstruction on Smyly’s left elbow on July 6 in Birmingham, Ala. Since the typical recovery time from a UCL reconstruction is 12-15 months, Smyly is likely to miss most or all of the 2018 season as well.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 28, 2017 at 02:14 PM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: drew smyly, mariners, tommy john surgery

BULL DURHAM AT 29: A TRUE HOLLYWOOD STORY

I had played baseball at UNC and was just finishing up my course work to get my degree.
Someone called UNC and gave them my name. I showed up and did what I always did, I just
played ball.

The first scene I was in, called for me to hit a double as a right-handed hitter. Tim Robbins,
who played “Nuke LaLoosh” actually had to throw it to me because the camera was behind
him filming the scene. He was the worst athlete any actor could possibly be. The guy was all
over the place.  Crash Davis was right when he said Nuke couldn’t hit water if he fell out of
a boat. Before the scene, Ron Shelton, who wrote and directed the movie, told me to try to
hit a line-drive betwee shortstop and third base. I said to myself, “If I could do that, I’d probably
be playing in the big leagues.”


What made that even harder was the fact that Robbins couldn’t throw the ball over the plate, or
within a mile of it. He was throwing it behind me, over my head, five feet in front of the plate,
and he hit me twice in the back. It took 17 takes to get the scene right. When I finally hit one,
I was so stunned that I didn’t even move. Costner got up and yelled at me, “Run!”. In the
movie, the radio man back in Durham hits a piece of wood and says, “there’s a line drive to
left-center field.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 28, 2017 at 11:59 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: baseball in movies, bull durham, hollywood

As the Tigers falter, Justin Verlander emerges as an intriguing trade possibility

Multiple front-office sources told Yahoo Sports they expect Verlander to hit the trade market sometime in the next two weeks. This is more tea-leaf reading than any indication Tigers general manager Al Avila has given in conversations with teams. Still, if the Tigers do punt on 2017 – their 34-42 record is the AL’s second worst – they could begin a rebuild in earnest without a franchise icon.

That and Verlander’s performance this season are both tangible issues, as would be his trade value, all three of which could combine to make a deal difficult to consummate. Even though Verlander is owed $56 million over the next two seasons, the Tigers would not view a deal of him as a pure money dump.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 28, 2017 at 11:44 AM | 22 comment(s)
  Beats: justin verlander, tigers, trade rumors

Gators knock off LSU, win first baseball national title

Michael Papierski grounded into a double play, allowing Smith to score from third with what would have been the tying run. Instead, Slaughter’s high slide — his foot struck shortstop Dalton Guthrie’s knee — was ruled interference by second base umpire Steve Mattingly, nullifying the run.

Mainieri argued with Mattingly, numerous LSU fans sitting in the outfield of TD Ameritrade Park tossed cups and other debris on the field. They did so again after Papierski’s line drive was caught by a sliding Nick Horvath to end the inning.

Mainieri said Mattingly’s explanation was that Slaughter did not slide directly into the base, hence the interference.

“I didn’t think there was anything wrong,” Mainieri said. “I don’t know what the video showed; I haven’t looked at it…my base runner said he did slide into the base and the umpire said he didn’t, so somebody’s not telling the truth.”...


“They earned it,” Mainieri said. “Kevin [O’Sullivan] does a phenomenal job, he recruits great athletes. He finally got his championship, and I’m happy for him.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 28, 2017 at 11:27 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: college baseball

No. 4 pick Brendan McKay gets record bonus from Rays

University of Louisville pitcher-first baseman Brendan McKay, the fourth overall pick in the MLB first-year player draft, has signed with the Tampa Bay Rays for a record-setting bonus of $7,007,500.

McKay’s bonus is the highest since baseball’s current draft signing system went into effect in 2012. It surpasses the recent $7 million bonus received by Vanderbilt pitcher and Atlanta Braves first-round pick Kyle Wright, who broke the previous high of $6,708,400 established by Kris Bryant with the Chicago Cubs in 2013.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 28, 2017 at 10:44 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: brendan mckay, draft, rays


Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-28-2017

El Paso Herald, June 28, 1917:

Smoky Joe Wood, who essayed a comeback four weeks ago against the New York Yankees in Cleveland, must begin all over again. In other words, he overtaxed his arm when he pitched those eight innings…

When [Wood] told [his doctor] that he had pitched eight full innings, Dr. Drury threw up both hands, exclaiming: “It’s a wonder you have any arm left—you should have started gradually, finished up a game here and there, going one, possibly two innings, until your arm was entirely strong.”

That was Wood’s final major league start. He made six more relief appearances between 1917-1920, but Smoky Joe was almost exclusively an outfielder starting in 1918.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: June 28, 2017 at 09:42 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Trib: Joe Maddon on visit to White House: ‘Easy to say ‘yes’ out of respect to the office’

I was hoping Maddon and his players would show up in their best “Anchorman” attire:

“Whatever Mr. Ricketts would like me to do, I’m going to do. Mr. Ricketts and the Ricketts family have been good to us. So part of that is that. The other part is whenever you have a chance to go to the White House, I think it’s easy to say ‘yes’ out of respect to the office and the building itself.”

But this time, not as many players are expected to attend, due to the scheduled afternoon visit before the Cubs play the Washington Nationals in the evening.

“It’s not a big deal for me to go there because last time they went, they told me it was four hours with standing up and getting tired,” reliever Hector Rondon, who didn’t attend the January visit with President Obama due to travel issues. “I don’t want to go there and get tired. I prefer to stay in my hotel room and be here and prepare for the game and for my teammates.”

Infielder Tommy La Stella said he doesn’t pay attention to politics and would not be attending.

“I’m sure it’s a pretty nice production,” La Stella said. “It’s not as simple as just showing up.”

Some members of the traveling party won’t be as well dressed as their January visit.

“I’ll have my best pair of jeans on and a nice shirt, which I’m really digging on,” Maddon said. “So it’s not nearly as formal as the last one, even though the last one I didn’t wear a shirt and tie, either.”


Miguel Montero shifts blame to pitchers after Nationals steal seven bases - Chicago Tribune

What’s Montero’s pop times? Statcast, Cubs Nation looks to you for answers.

“What can I say?” said Montero, who has thrown out only one base stealer in 32 attempts, according to baseball-reference.com. “A couple of times (Tuesday night) I didn’t even try to throw because there was no time, no chance to throw (out anybody).”

The situation became even more embarrassing for Montero in the fourth when Michael A. Taylor stole second and scored while stealing third when Montero sailed a throw wide of the base and into left field.

“So why am I even going to make a throw, or what happened at third? (I) try to make a throw to third and throw to left field because I tried to be too quick.

“It’s frustrating for a catcher because it really hurts me. I feel like I can still throw. I have a good arm, my arm feels great. I just try to be quicker, I try to be perfect. And to make those two together is hard to do.”

Jim Furtado Posted: June 28, 2017 at 08:13 AM | 75 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, miguel montero, stolen bases

Ron Darling rips Mets’ muscle-head trainers as a ‘joke’ | New York Post

Is this a real link?

The former Met and current SNY color analyst tore into the team’s current approach to training its players after watching Robert Gsellman become the latest casualty in an injury-plagued season. The Mets have been playing catch-up all season with each star player that hits the disabled list, and Darling suggested on live television he’s found the reason why the injuries keep piling up.

“[These] trainers, get them in a room with some of the old trainers and people that took care of baseball players and how to keep them healthy,” Darling said in the SNY booth with Gary Cohen during the Mets’ 6-3 loss to the Marlins in Miami. “And get them in a room and try to tap into their knowledge on how you train baseball players — not weightlifters, not six-pack wearers — baseball players.

“They’re doing a disservice to their million-dollar athletes that they’re paying. It’s a joke to watch this happen each and every night.”

Jim Furtado Posted: June 28, 2017 at 08:04 AM | 23 comment(s)
  Beats: injuries, mets, ron darling

OT-NBA off season thread


I estimate only 10-12 Primates care about the NBA, none that bothered to submit a monthly thread for nearly 4 months as to avoid detracting from what this site is really about: ... white privilege

RollingWave Posted: June 28, 2017 at 07:45 AM | 146 comment(s)
  Beats: basketball, nba, off topic

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

The Freeze popular with MLB fans and players | MLB.com

Every superhero has a back story, of course, and so it is for The Freeze, who came to life on June 9, 2017, when Nigel Talton saw that guy celebrating.

Jim Furtado Posted: June 27, 2017 at 07:12 PM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, promotions, the freeze

Former Mets pitcher Anthony Young dead at 51

Former Mets pitcher Anthony Young has died, according to ex-MLB player Lenny Harris. He was 51. The Mets later confirmed his passing.

Young was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor in January. He said in February that doctors treated the growth as cancerous because it was located on the brain stem, meaning it was impossible to do a biopsy to test its malignancy. He underwent chemotherapy and reported at the time that the tumor had shrunk. Harris said earlier Tuesday that Young had fallen into a coma.

Young played six seasons in the majors—three with the Mets, two with the Cubs and one with the Astros—and had a career ERA of 3.89. Most baseball fans remember him as the man who lost 27 consecutive decisions—14 as a starter and 13 as a reliever—from May 6, 1992 to July 24, 1993. Young, though, grew to accept that the streak would be his lasting mark on the game, even though he chalked it up to bad luck.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 27, 2017 at 06:07 PM | 27 comment(s)
  Beats: anthony young, cubs, mets, obituaries

Indians manager Terry Francona leaves game after not feeling well

Indians manager Terry Francona left Cleveland’s 15-9 win over the Texas Rangers on Monday night because he wasn’t feeling well.
 
He was evaluated by the medical staff and checked out “fine,” the team said, but he did not return to the game.

The team said he experienced symptoms similar to those he had during a game earlier this season. Francona was hospitalized on June 13 following a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Progressive Field. He underwent a battery of tests and was released a few hours later. He returned to work the following night.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 27, 2017 at 03:11 PM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: indians, terry francona


Is There Still a Place for Ladies Night in Baseball?

Casey Landman, 39, is a lifelong Phillies fan and has attended Baseball 101 every year from 2010 to 2016. Having played softball for 14 years, she’s no stranger to the diamond, but getting to run the bases at Citizens Bank Park, to throw in the bullpen with the Phillies’ pitching coaches, to catch pop-ups and field ground balls with the infield coaches, and to hit in the cages is a fan experience she says is unlike any other. “I just love being as close to baseball as I can and it’s a really rare opportunity to be able to do things that.”

Landman says that even if the event weren’t just for women, she would go. “I’m not offended if they market to a different part of the female audience [for more traditional ladies nights], but personally I just want to see the game.”

But what about the teams who do host the more traditional Ladies Nights? Is there a place for these promotions? “With [the Round Rock Express’] ladies night we were sensitive to some of the issues we’ve seen about not-done-well women-targeted events in baseball,” said Cacic. “At the same time, there are women who like baseball and want to get a manicure and get wine.”...

Some women, like Brewers fan Megan Brown, feel like having gender-specific events at all is a problem. “There’s zero need to further divide female sports fans,” she says. After all, women who like sports are already seen as “women who like sports” instead of just “fans.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 27, 2017 at 01:35 PM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: women in baseball

Yankee Stadium Charity Is Called Into Question

In the summer of 2006, when the Yankees broke ground on a gleaming new stadium in the South Bronx, they offered an olive branch to a community furious that more than 25 acres of treasured public parkland had been seized for the project. The Yankees created a charity, called the New Yankee Stadium Community Benefits Fund, which it intended to distribute almost $40 million in cash grants and sports equipment, along with 600,000 baseball tickets, to community organizations in the borough over four decades.

Ten years later, however, an examination of the fund’s public financial records and interviews with community members and a former administrator of the fund show that it has operated with little oversight or public accountability, neglecting those who live near the stadium and instead sending money to other, often wealthier parts of the Bronx that were not affected by the construction.

The fund also regularly donates to organizations with which it shares common board members. And although the Yankees provide $35,000 a year to cover operating expenses, the fund in 2011 began to allocate 10 percent of the grants it awards to cover its own “additional administrative costs.” Those costs have never been publicly explained.

Many Bronx organizations say they have benefited greatly from the fund. But they are generally not in neighborhoods around the stadium. Of the $6.8 million distributed by the fund between 2008 and 2015, the last year for which records are available, only 30 percent — $2 million — went to charities occupying the same ZIP code as Yankee Stadium or four bordering ZIP codes.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 27, 2017 at 12:51 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: charity, yankees

Aaron Judge or Cody Bellinger?

There, atop the home-run leaderboard for the year, are two young stars on great teams in big media markets: Aaron Judge and Cody Bellinger. That’s a match made in heaven, at least for barside arguments around the country. Which one would you rather have?...

Judge has the advantage in raw totals — which isn’t surprising, considering he’s also played more — but he’s also superior in the rate stats right now, both walking more often than Bellinger and offering greater defensive value so far.

It might be worth pointing out that Judge’s line is buoyed up by a .426 batting average on balls in play. There are a few modern ballplayers in the career leaders in BABIP (minimum 1000 plate appearances), but even the two at the very top — Miguel Sano (.365) and Mike Trout (.360) — are well below Judge’s current tally.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 27, 2017 at 10:46 AM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: aaron judge, cody bellinger

Phillies Nation: When do the Phils pull the plug on Mackanin?

Soon please, for Pete’s sake!

We can go on and on about how the skipper has nothing to work with, but in reality, Mackanin hasn’t done his part either. Let alone the questionable on-field moves, it’s the lack of communication and discipline on this team that’s causing the demise of the third year manager.

eddieot Posted: June 27, 2017 at 10:20 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: pete mackanin, phillies, worst team in baseball

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