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Wednesday, October 01, 2014

BP: 2014 Internet Baseball Awards

This year’s Internet Baseball Awards voting is open.

Last year’s winners: AL Player of the Year - Mike Trout; AL Pitcher of the Year - Max Scherzer; AL Rookie of the Year - Wil Myers; AL Manager of the Year - John Farrell; NL Player of the Year - Andrew McCutchen; NL Pitcher of the Year - Clayton Kershaw; NL Rookie of the Year - Jose Fernandez; NL Manager of the Year - Clint Hurdle

The District Attorney Posted: October 01, 2014 at 10:55 PM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: awards, baseball prospectus, internet baseball awards

The Baseball Show with Rany Jazayerli and Joe Sheehan - 9/29/14

Missed (understandably, I think).that this has been posted. It also seems to have all sorts of audio issues, including eventually becoming totally unsynced. I don’t think even Rany and Joe talk over each other that much. Anyway.

  • Unsurprisingly, the two discuss Rany’s team, the Royals. They go over the strange set of circumstances—expanded playoffs, exceptional parity, and second-half swoons—that helped the Royals advance to the postseason with 89 wins. They move on to the squad itself, and its unusual strengths of low-strikeout hitters and a superb defensive outfield.

  • Rany describes what it was like to be at the game (at Chicago’s U.S. Cellular Field) where the Royals clinched the postseason.

  • They discuss Ned Yost’s managerial acumen. Rany admits that Yost is a poor tactical manager, and has failed to develop the Royals’ vaunted minor league hitters, but also cites the dismissal of hitting coach Kevin Seitzer as a factor in the latter. Rany thinks that, even despite his tactical mistakes, Yost deserves some credit for the superlative performances of his pitchers. Rany: “Ned Yost clearly, in my mind, has a positive impact on the clubhouse stuff that you and I are in no position to quantify, and may not exist.” Joe is not a Yost fan. He thinks Ron Washington illustrates that we might mistake managing a specific clubhouse well for a more general “good clubhouse guy” skill.

  • One manager whom they do both like is Buck Showalter; they express their admiration for winning 96 games with the Orioles’ roster. They also praise Joe Girardi.

  • Joe doesn’t think that the Royals’ level of success justifies the high price paid for James Shields. Rany admits that he was previously vocally against the trade and is afraid of being seen as stubborn at this point if he sticks to that. But he praises Shields’ pitching so far, and believes that the Royals’ postseason performance this year also factors into the calculus.

  • They do a little playoff discussion and prediction. Both like Kansas City over Los Angeles, and Washington over the wild card. Rany likes Baltimore over Detroit, Dodgers over Cardinals; Joe is opposite.
The District Attorney Posted: October 01, 2014 at 07:42 PM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: joe sheehan, ned yost, podcasts, postseason, rany jazayerli, royals

Posnanski: The Beauty of Belief [Royals win Wild Card, headed to ALDS]

The Royals really are the closest baseball thing to a Coen Brothers movie. With two outs, the Royals tried some sort of double-steal with Billy Butler at first and Eric Hosmer at third. If I got the play right, and can write this without breaking down in convulsions, Butler was supposed to get hung up between first and second, distracting the A’s long enough to allow Hosmer to steal home. This, of course, ended in humiliation, with Hosmer being thrown out at the plate by 800 million steps, but as is often the case the spectacular ineptitude of the play was doubled or trebled by the Ned Yost explanation, where he explained that Butler left early and Hosmer left late and, otherwise, the Royals would have score a run.

Any comedian will tell you that you can’t explain comedy, and every effort to do so will just dig you deeper into anti-comedy, and maybe that’s why the straight-laced Yost always comes across so absurdly in these situations. Eric Hosmer is a generally lumbering first baseman, and Billy Butler might be the slowest player in baseball, and any complicated running play with these two is destined to become a Will Ferrell movie. It would have made me feel so much better if Yost had not given a considered answer on how that madcap scheme might have worked but instead said, “Yeah, that was crazy, right? Woo hop! Brain cramp! Hey, it’s the first postseason for me too!”

Esoteric Posted: October 01, 2014 at 04:53 PM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, kansas city, oakland, playoffs, royals

OT: Monthly NBA Thread - October 2014

I estimate only 10-12 Primates care about the NBA, but with our own thread, we won’t detract from what this site is really about: JETER

The District Attorney Posted: October 01, 2014 at 04:32 PM | 26 comment(s)
  Beats: basketball, nba, off-topic

Fangraphs (Sullivan): How Jarrod Dyson Stole The Biggest Base Of His Life

An absolute must-read from Jeff Sullivan, with illustrative .GIFs showing exactly how Jarrod Dyson, a veteran basestealer, marked his man in Sean Doolittle, learned his “tell,” and took advantage. There’s more explanatory insight into the in-game situational awareness required to be a great basestealer than anything else I’ve ever read.

I want to talk about the biggest steal of the game. Maybe the biggest steal of the season? When Jarrod Dyson stole third base in the bottom of the ninth, it was worth .133 WPA to the Royals. When Josh Willingham opened the frame with a single, it was worth .133 WPA. When Aoki brought Dyson home, it was worth .133 WPA. Stolen bases are usually incremental factors, but Dyson got himself to third with one out in a one-run game, and the numbers tell you how important that was. Now let’s look at how Dyson stole the base off Doolittle, leaving Norris almost helpless.

Dyson led the American League this year in swipes of third, with ten. He was topped in the majors only by Billy Hamilton, and Hamilton was caught one more time than Dyson was. Dyson was rather famously picked off at second by Joe Nathan just a few weeks ago, but that wasn’t representative of his skills. Also, Dyson had just been inserted into the game, for a rather obvious purpose. Also, it happened before Dyson could get a good read. When Dyson was caught stealing this year, it was within the first one or two pitches. When he moved up to third, it was always after observing multiple pitches, sometimes several of them. Dyson got to see a lot of Doolittle before he finally took off.

Again: read, read, read.

Esoteric Posted: October 01, 2014 at 04:17 PM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, kansas city, oakland, poker tell, royals

Baseball Will Test Out Six New Rules To Speed Up The Game

1. Hitters must keep at least one foot inside the batter’s box at all times, barring exceptions like foul balls, wild pitches, or if the umpire grants him time out.
2. Pitchers must throw a pitch within 20 seconds of receiving the ball. Clocks posted in each dugout will count down the 20 seconds.
3. There will be a maximum break between innings of 2:05, with a clock keeping track. Hitters must be in the batter’s box by 1:45. If the hitter’s not ready, the umpire can call a strike. If the pitcher doesn’t throw a pitch by 2:05, the umpire can call a ball.
4. Teams will have a maximum of 2:30 to change pitchers, with the clock starting as soon as the reliever enters the playing field.
5. Teams are limited to a maximum of three mound visits per game, not including pitching changes. This applies to trips to the mound by managers, coaches, and catchers.
6. Pitchers no longer have to deliver four balls for an intentional walk. The manager can simply signal to the umpire.

Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: October 01, 2014 at 04:00 PM | 46 comment(s)
  Beats: rules

Peter Gammons: Royals steal A’s thunder, giving baseball its first taste of the postseason

Vintage Gammons.

Yost has been skewered for bringing Yordano Ventura into that sixth inning situation, and with the depth of his bullpen and the fact it was not a clean situation, it might well have been a questionable move, a move Buck Showalter may well make against the Tigers with Kevin Gausman, just as Brad Ausmus will use Anibal Sanchez for the third relief appearance of his career before the end of the ALDS.

These are no computer rotisserie games. They are now October games played beneath second decks. Bill Buckner was a better first baseman than Dave Stapleton, Gene Mauch knew at noon in Milwaukee in 1982 that Sanchez was going to pitch to Cecil Cooper and not Andy Hassler, the Mark Langston pitch to Tino Martinez was a strike, and in Game Six of the 1985 NLDS Tommy Lasorda went to the mound and reminded Tom Niedenfuer of Jerry Stephenson’s scouting report that read, “with men on base, never throw Jack Clark a fastball.” Niedenfuer threw one, anyway.

Gone.

And if Niedenfuer hadn’t gotten too smart, the Royals might never have won that World Series and now wouldn’t have a four game post-season winning streak.

 

Guapo Posted: October 01, 2014 at 03:18 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: history, royals

WSJ: Scoring in Baseball Is Down. Blame the Umpires A Study Found That Umpires Have Expanded Their Strike Zone in Recent Years

The rate of correct strike calls has increased 9% from 2007 to 2013, Mills found, while the correct ball rate has increased 2.63%. According to Mills’s analysis, these shifts can account for as much as 40% in the decrease in ERA over that span. And it isn’t just that umpires are calling more strikes; they’re doing it more accurately. In particular, umpires have been calling lower strikes, by the batter’s knees. The odds of getting a hit on one of those pitches, Mills said, are 27% lower than other pitches.

bobm Posted: October 01, 2014 at 02:51 PM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: strike zone, umpires

A’s wild swing of a season ends in wild-card loss to Royals

Dunn, playing for a postseason team for the first time in his 14-year career, did not come to the plate. He was still fully dressed at 1 a.m. Central time as the A’s clubhouse had all but emptied out.

At the age of 34 and with 462 career homers, Dunn said he still plans to retire.

“This is probably it,” he said.

Dunn waited 14 years and 2,001 career games to get to the playoffs, longer than any other active players, and then he did not make it into the game.

“It’s not disappointing at all,” he said. “We had our chances to win and we didn’t.”

 

Good cripple hitter Posted: October 01, 2014 at 01:27 PM | 37 comment(s)
  Beats: adam dunn, bob melvin, oakland a's

UNR study: Temperature affects baseball scores

“It could be beneficial for managers of MLB teams to take game day temperature into account when setting their lineups,” Koch said.

“For instance, if a manager is having difficulty choosing between two players for his starting lineup, and one player is a more patient hitter and tends to draw more walks than the other player, the manager might benefit from starting the patient hitter in cold temperatures,” Koch said.

Link to the full study here: http://bit.ly/YJceAp

Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: October 01, 2014 at 12:40 PM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: general, research, stadia, weather

Dog eats baseball playoff tickets

the Royals’ ticket delivery system.

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“I went outside and I found basically this, scattered all over the place,” he said holing up shredded cardboard and papers.

Breslaw’s seven-month-old 80 pound Burmese mountain dog names Fezzik got to the tickets first, chewing at them like they were a T-bone steak.

“I guess when that friendly man in the blue shirt put this new toy over the railing, it was irresistible,” Bredlaw said.

On the bright side, it’s still better than the Royals’ ticket delivery system.


New manager should have Mauer catch again

What will the Twins’ next manager do about Joe Mauer?

Here’s a thought: Let him catch again.

The reason he was told to pack away his catcher’s mitt was because he kept getting hurt and there was a belief sticking him at first and having him DH would mean fewer injuries and more games played.

Well …

Mauer played in 113 games and had 445 at bats while still a catcher in 2013. This season, no longer catching, he played in 120 games and had 455 at bats. Yep, a difference of seven games and 10 at bats.

He had 11 home runs in 2013, just four this season. He had eight more doubles and a .324 batting average in 2013. He hit .277 in this just-completed debacle of a season and injuries hijacked about a fourth of the games he could have played in if healthy.

Face it, the guy is brittle wherever you play him.

I usually don’t believe in posting bad articles for people to mock… but in this case, I’m willing to make an exception.


OT:  October 2014 - College Football thread

Georgia Institute of Technology will be the first university in the world to integrate bitcoin payments into its stadium concession sales and student dining and shopping credit system, announced Wednesday by BitPay, the world’s leading bitcoin payment processor.

Bitcoin point-of-sale devices will be located in the student section of Bobby Dodd Stadium, and the Barnes & Noble store in Tech Square will be home to a bitcoin-enabled point purchase terminal for student credit BuzzCards. Students who use bitcoin will now be able to purchase food and goods at almost all locations on the Tech campus.

Lance Reddick! Lance him! Posted: October 01, 2014 at 12:17 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: college football, off-topic

FOX (Rosenthal): Kansas City Royals exorcise city’s three decades’ worth of demons

Worth clicking on for nothing more than the video of a thoroughly endearing clubhouse interview with Cristian Colon and basestealing hero Jarrod Dyson:

Players and former players texted me that Yost should be fired after he pulled right-hander “Big Game” James Shields in favor of rookie righty Yordano Ventura in the sixth inning. Yost chose Ventura, a starting pitcher, over a bullpen full of accomplished relievers. Moss hit a three-run homer, his second of the game, triggering a five-run rally.

At that point, I started writing a column comparing Yost to former Red Sox manager Grady Little, who was fired after sticking too long with Pedro Martinez in Game 7 of the 2003 American League Championship Series.

Red Sox fans, who at that point were still waiting for the “Curse of the Bambino” to end, would not have tolerated Little’s return. And I’m not sure Royals fans would have tolerated Yost’s return if the night had ended in bitter defeat.

But it did not.

Esoteric Posted: October 01, 2014 at 10:45 AM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, kansas city, oakland, playoffs, royals


Adam Dunn, 34, calls it a career

KANSAS CITY, Mo.—Adam Dunn trekked 14 seasons and 2,001 games just to get to the postseason. But when his one and only playoff chance arrived Tuesday, he never got off the bench, and afterward he said he will retire.

The Oakland Athletics designated hitter, 34, told ESPN’s Pedro Gomez that he has played his final game.

“I guess the computer got me,” Dunn said, referring to the A’s “Moneyball” tactics.


The Players’ Tribune

Jeter’s got a brand new bag.

I do think fans deserve more than “no comments” or “I don’t knows.” Those simple answers have always stemmed from a genuine concern that any statement, any opinion or detail, might be distorted. I have a unique perspective. Many of you saw me after that final home game, when the enormity of the moment hit me. I’m not a robot. Neither are the other athletes who at times might seem unapproachable. We all have emotions. We just need to be sure our thoughts will come across the way we intend.
So I’m in the process of building a place where athletes have the tools they need to share what they really think and feel.  We want to have a way to connect directly with our fans, with no filter.

I am working with other athletes, with editors and with producers to create a platform that gives us a chance to say what’s on our minds. It’s called The Players’ Tribune. Over the next few months, we’ll be introducing a strong core of athlete editors and contributors who will shape the site into an online community filled with first-person stories and behind-the-scenes content.

My goal is for the site to ultimately transform how athletes and newsmakers share information, bringing fans closer than ever to the games they love.

Fat Al Posted: October 01, 2014 at 09:21 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: yankees


Why the Nats will win the World Series - ESPN

I predict the Red Sox will not win the World Series this year.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 01, 2014 at 08:34 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: playoffs

Dayton Moore’s vision for Kansas Royals validated - ESPN

For now.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 01, 2014 at 08:31 AM | 49 comment(s)
  Beats: royals

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 10-1-2014

Milwaukee Journal, October 1, 1914:

Dr. John Lavan, who is shortstopping for the Browns, has set one world’s record anyway. He is the only ball player who ever took the degree of doctor of medicine after participating in a world’s series. Lavan belonged to the Browns last year but was traded to Connie Mack with the agreement that he should be returned to the Browns this season. So Johnny drew $3,000 for being on the Athletics’ pay roll, though he did no playing against the Giants in the championship contests. Then he returned to the University of Michigan and got his diploma as a doctor.
...
He is 24 years old and can play the piano with skill. When he gets through shortstopping he expects to become a regular sawbones.

Lavan wasn’t much of a hitter (.245/.288/.308, 74 OPS+ career in 1163 games) but was a good defensive shortstop. He appeared on the league dWAR leaderboard five times in his seven seasons as a regular (90+ appearances) SS.

I’m not sure how he was as a physician.

Dan Lee is some pumkins Posted: October 01, 2014 at 08:28 AM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: doc lavan, dugout, history

OT: Politics, October 2014: Sunshine, Baseball, and Etch A Sketch: How Politicians Use Analogies

Closer to home, the “three strikes” policy in California attracted a wave of support by appealing to Americans’ sporting ideals and love of baseball. The measure, which mandated that repeat criminal offenders be imprisoned for life, drained state coffers while cramming jails with shoplifters and petty thieves. “Confronted with a hard question like how to deal with the complexities and challenges of prison policy,” Pollack told me over the phone, “most of us would prefer to swap in an easy question: Is baseball fair?” The Golden State legislature decided that yes, baseball was fair. Eight years after “three strikes” passed, that analogic reasoning had racked up a 1.2 billion dollar, 3,000 prisoner price tag.

Bitter Mouse Posted: October 01, 2014 at 07:57 AM | 137 comment(s)
  Beats: politics

NL WILD CARD 2014 OMNICHATTER

MORE BASEBALL!


Giants (Bumgarner) at Pirates (Volquez), 8 PM Eastern, ESPN

CHATTER UP!

Gamingboy Posted: October 01, 2014 at 01:08 AM | 283 comment(s)
  Beats: omnichatter

LinkedIn: 10 Sales Lessons From “The Captain”

LinkedIn??? Yeah, it was only a matter of time.

2. Be modest in success. The word “I” struggled to find its way into the Derek Jeter Vocabulary Book. Every action and every word has been for the greater good of the team or his audience. When fans serenaded him at Yankee Stadium during his final game with chants of “Thank You Derek,” the reaction wasn’t “you’re welcome,” but rather, “no, thank you.” Jeter’s success has always been attributed to someone else’s contributions, and success was never about “him.” It’s important to remember those who have helped pave success in your career—the managers who gave you an opportunity, the colleagues who shared their secrets, the teammates who supported your roles. Everyone plays a part, and no one can do it alone.

3. Have and maintain grit. In Jeter’s post-game press conference after his final home game, he acknowledged that there were better players, but that “no one works harder” than him. Jeter ran out every ball. He made every dive—even if it meant knowing that was the only way to stop. He played hurt, and never complained. If you attack your job with the grit that he did every day, there’s nothing that should stop you from succeeding. And conversely, if that grit seems to fade, it may be time to do what Jeter did—walk away, or take a break. When asked if he thought he could keep playing, his response was, “I think I can, I just don’t want to.” If you can’t look forward to going to the office, the only thing you’ll look forward to is being home.

5. Be on the top step of the dugout. Jeter’s head was always in the game—always. He was focused on the task at hand, even when it wasn’t his turn at the plate—can you picture him leaning over the rail and the screen guarding the steps to the dugout clapping right now? He was always the first to congratulate success or serve as a “pick-me-up” after a rough outing. He led by example. Even on days where he was 0-4 with a few strikeouts, another teammate’s success was top of mind. You may not always be the top performer on your team every month, but it’s important to recognize the value in others’ achievements. Equally important is supporting colleagues in times of need or demanding excellence for satisfactory efforts.

JE (Jason) Posted: October 01, 2014 at 12:37 AM | 23 comment(s)
  Beats: derek jeter, grit, teamwork, yankees

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

WSJ: Playoff Hateability Index

For the second straight year, the New York Yankees have missed the playoffs, abdicating one of their most important social responsibilities: giving America an obvious team to root against in October.

So, as a public service to fans looking for pleasure in the misery of others, The Wall Street Journal has assembled its second-annual Major League Baseball Hateability Index, ranking this year’s 10 playoff teams in order of general loathsomeness. The rankings are based on how many points teams racked up in 10 contempt-worthy categories, such as drug suspensions, ridiculous beards and winning too much. (As with driver’s licenses, points are bad here.)

Cardinals pip Dodgers.

Commissioner Bud Black Beltre Hillman Posted: September 30, 2014 at 05:16 PM | 36 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, playoffs

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