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Thursday, April 25, 2019

You Are Cordially Invited to SOFTBALL IN THE CITY

Permit application process has been started, with any luck we’ll be frolicking in the North Meadow of Central Park some sunny Saturday in July or August.* Attendance will be taken! Those not in attendance will be talked smack of!

Further details will be posted as they become available, or as I remember them. If you’re in contact with primates (or other beings) who don’t regularly visit the site, make sure to let ‘em know! They don’t need to be good, there are already enough of you who make me look bad.

RSVP before game time, whenever that turns out to be. Or just show up.


*Okay, I requested 11 - 2 on July 20, we’ll see what happens
**Per post #130 below, it’s Saturday, August 10, 11 - 2 on North Meadow field #4. I’ll try to keep the ...

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Hysterical & Useless Posted: April 25, 2019 at 11:30 AM | 316 comment(s)
  Beats: community, hot town, injury-plagued, meetups, softball

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Revisiting whether clutch is a skill

Now that we’ve assessed most of the baselines, we can now get to examining perhaps the biggest question. Is being clutch a repeatable skill? To help eliminate actual hitting skills, we’ll be examining the difference in offensive production between low and high leverage situations and how that difference correlates year-to-year….

Some single examples that can illustrate include 2014-2015 Josh Harrison (207 wRC+ year one, 28 wRC+ year two), 2014-2015 David Ortiz (201 wRC+ year one, 60 wRC+ year two), 2017-2018 Cody Bellinger (187 wRC+ year one, 46 wRC+ year two), and 2018-2019 J.D. Martinez (231 wRC+ year one, 19 wRC+ year two). There is zero consistency in high leverage performance. Considering high leverage situations make up such a ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 22, 2019 at 01:48 PM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: clutch

Justin Verlander responds after Astros block Free Press from media session

The Houston Astros blocked a Detroit Free Press reporter from attending Justin Verlander’s postgame media session on Wednesday night, violating Baseball Writers’ Association of America protocol and possibly the MLB collective bargaining agreement.

The Astros blocked Free Press writer Anthony Fenech at Verlander’s request, according to Gene Dias, Astros vice president of communications. Dias said Verlander was “adamant” that he would not speak to any credentialed media while Fenech was present.

Fenech has been the Tigers beat writer for the Free Press since 2015.

On Thursday, Verlander tweeted that the block stemmed from “his unethical behavior in the past.”  Verlander did not mention Fenech by name. It wasn’t immediately ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 22, 2019 at 01:46 PM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: justin verlander

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 8-22-2019

New York Tribune, August 22, 1919:

“Who has the hardest wallop,” queries a reader, “Babe Ruth or Jack Dempsey?” It depends on whether they are hitting a baseball or Jess Willard.

Either way, the thing getting hit is knocked into next week.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: August 22, 2019 at 12:01 PM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history


Everything You Should Know About a Weird Day at Fenway

It could take four at-bats, it could take four hours. When it comes to the completion of the Red Sox’ suspended game with the Royals Thursday afternoon there is plenty of mystery…- There isn’t a single member of the Kansas City media who will be making the trip. The team’s television coverage will consist of a feed from NESN.

- There is no media access to the players or managers prior to the game.

- Fans can walk on the warning track between 11 a.m.-noon. Kids will be able to run the bases following the game. Kids under 18 years old will gain free entrance, with adults getting in with $5 general admission tickets. All proceeds will go to the Jimmy Fund.

Jose is Absurdly Unemployed Posted: August 22, 2019 at 09:27 AM | 27 comment(s)
  Beats: red sox, royals, suspended games

Mariners lose on walk-off wild pitch

2019 has not been kind to the Seattle Mariners. After starting the year 13-2, the club has gone 41-71 since, earning last place in the AL West. To give credit where credit is due, however, the Mariners were on something of a roll, entering Wednesday afternoon’s series road trip finale against the Rays on a four-game winning streak. However, the M’s lost Wednesday’s contest in very depressing fashion.

On the bright side, at least it wasn’t a walk-off balk.

 

QLE Posted: August 22, 2019 at 06:24 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: mariners, walk-off, wild pitch

As Clayton Kershaw passes Sandy Koufax in wins, October remains the focus

LOS ANGELES — When the Los Angeles Dodgers weren’t very good and when they were great, when he was skinny and floppy and when he was grown and daunting, in regular seasons and in October, in Vero Beach and Glendale, I got in a car to go see Clayton Kershaw.

Because the baseball was good. Because he cared. Because his standard became everyone else’s. Because the chance for greatness over three hours was more likely than it was not. Because he was better than most everyone else many nights.

Because Sandy Koufax existed in another time, in my mind in black and white, in my ears as a tinny and tenor voice-over, in my eyes as the dignified older gentleman leaning on a bullpen rail, whispering into Kershaw’s ear.

So Clayton Kershaw ...

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QLE Posted: August 22, 2019 at 06:22 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: clayton kershaw, dodgers, sandy koufax

LEADING OFF: Mad Max and Gerrit Cole return, Fenway freebie

WELCOME BACK, MAD MAX

Nationals ace Max Scherzer comes off the injured list to start at last-place Pittsburgh. The three-time Cy Young Award winner is 9-5 with a 2.41 ERA in 20 starts but has pitched only once over the past six weeks because of a strained muscle in his back. His 12.7 strikeouts per nine innings lead the NL. Washington holds the league’s top wild-card spot.

FENWAY FREEBIE

The Boston Red Sox are offering free admission to fans under the age of 18 for the 1:05 p.m. EDT conclusion of a game against Kansas City that was suspended on Aug. 7 because of rain. An admission fee of $5 for adults will be donated to the Jimmy Fund. Play will resume in the top of the 10th inning with the score tied 4-all and Josh Taylor working ...

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QLE Posted: August 22, 2019 at 06:22 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: gerrit cole, max muncy, max scherzer, orioles, suspended games

Giants’ Samardzija celebrates 10 years in majors with call for service-time reforms

CHICAGO - The Giants held a private celebration for pitcher Jeff Samardzija on Sunday for reaching 10 years of major-league service time, a milestone that guarantees a full big-league pension and stands as a symbol of endurance.

“I got a shark cake, a lot of butt slaps and a lot of attaboys, but when half your team already has 10 years it’s not really that special,” he joked.

Samardzija got serious, too, when asked if he appreciated the union’s role in getting those pensions and other rights, such as a player’s ability to veto any trade once he reaches 10 years, plus five with the same club.

The 34-year-old, who faces his original club at Wrigley Field on Thursday, turned the conversation toward teams using minor-league options and ...

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QLE Posted: August 22, 2019 at 06:22 AM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: jeff samardzija, service time

Why Bryce Harper is rooting for Mookie Betts to beat his $330 million deal

For three weeks during spring training, Bryce Harper was the owner of Major League Baseball’s richest contract ever.

Now the 26-year-old outfielder is hoping he’ll be third on that list come opening day 2021 after offering a ringing endorsement for soon-to-be free agent Mookie Betts of the Boston Red Sox.

Speaking to NBC Sports Boston this week, Harper made it clear that he includes Betts among the league’s elite class of players. He’s hopeful the 2018 American League MVP will be recognized and paid as such when or even before he’s slated to hit free agency.

The answer seems obvious to me- but, then again, I am not one to court popularity….

 

QLE Posted: August 22, 2019 at 06:22 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: bryce harper, contracts, dollah dollah bills, y'all, mookie betts

Alex Cora has bold proposal to cut down on position players pitching

There are many segments of fans and analysts who believe that letting position players pitch in blowout losses is a way to cheapen the game. There’s no real way to stop it, but Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora has a few ideas.

Cora suggested that any team that uses a position player should be obligated to do it again in the next game to cut down on the practice. He also suggested that a team that uses a position player should not be allowed to hit again during that game.

Sadly, the really sensible ideas, “be brave enough to keep your starters in the game longer”, and “use your relievers under the old-time “fireman” model, instead of playing weird games over how they can be used”, seem not to be included….

  ...Read More...

QLE Posted: August 22, 2019 at 06:22 AM | 29 comment(s)
  Beats: alex cora, position players pitching

MLB warns sexual enhancers may include PEDs

Major League Baseball in a memo warned about the “very real risk” of over-the-counter sexual-enhancement pills after at least two players this year were suspended for performance-enhancing drugs and claimed the banned substances found in their urine came from the unregulated products, sources familiar with the situation told ESPN.

The use of over-the-counter pills, which are often purchased at gas stations is prevalent among baseball players, according to multiple sources. It prompted the league to send out a memo on Monday that outlines the risk of consuming non-NSF-certified supplements.

The memo, obtained by ESPN, warns that “these products are often contaminated with prohibited and unsafe ingredients” and that players are subject to ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 22, 2019 at 06:22 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: peds

The Real Reliever Problem

Over the past five seasons, medium- and high-leverage situations have gone up by about two percentage points. Low-leverage situations have shot up at twice that level, increasing by about four percentage points. Not only are the worst relievers performing at a lower level than their peers compared to past seasons, they are also pitching a lot more.

When we consider the issue of reliever usage and performance, we generally aren’t talking about taking out the starting pitcher who used to finish a game, but now only goes seven innings. Those relievers are still getting the job done, at least relative to starter performance. We aren’t even talking about a starter being removed after five innings in a close game and asking the bullpen to ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 22, 2019 at 06:22 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: reliever problems

‘You’re the guy with the ball to the crotch’: The inside story behind the funniest baseball card ever made

The photographer who showed up that day was shooting for the 1989 ProCards set, so we were doing this for next year’s cards. He had his hat backward, like you might expect from a photographer. While that guy was setting up for the shoot, my teammates started talking about how they wanted to sabotage their own cards.

One by one, they stepped up and posed. Right-handed batters tried to hold the bat like a lefty; left-handed pitchers wore right-handed gloves. They tried everything. The photographer caught every one of them. He had a sheet, or something, that had our numbers and lefty-righty stuff on it. He was really, really strict. He wasn’t having any of it.

Finally, it was my turn. The photographer asked me what I wanted to do, expecting ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 22, 2019 at 06:22 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: baseball cards

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

‘You’re the guy with the ball to the crotch’: The inside story behind the funniest baseball card

I think the title is pretty self-explanatory…

Keith Comstock played on four major league clubs as a journeyman reliever, but his professional career is most often remembered for one thing: a ball to the crotch. Thirty years ago—in what otherwise would have been a forgotten minor league set—Comstock appeared on one of the most memorable baseball cards ever made. Here’s the story of how it came together, in his words.



Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 8-21-2019

Pittsburgh Gazette Times, August 21, 1919:

Joseph Wilhoit, outfielder of the [Wichita] Western League club, and who will go to the Boston Americans next month, [yesterday] ended his batting streak in which he set a new world record by hitting safely in 69 consecutive games. The former record of 45 consecutive games was made by Jack Ness of Oakland, Cal., in 1915.

Wilhoit, who formerly played with the Boston Nationals and the New York Giants in the 69 contests prior to [yesterday], was at bat 299 times and secured 151 hits. His percentage was .505. He obtained five home runs, eight triples, 23 doubles and 115 singles.

He hit .505 during a 69 game hitting streak? Nice.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: August 21, 2019 at 09:59 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, nice

Squirrel runs onto field to interrupt play during White Sox-Twins game

In one of the nuttier things to happen at a baseball game this season, a squirrel came onto the field during Tuesday’s White Sox-Twins game.

The squirrel ran onto the field during the bottom of the fifth and the umpire called time to stop play. It ran through the legs of Max Kepler, who was the baserunner at first base for the Twins at the time, straight across the infield and into the White Sox dugout.

Mind you, nowhere near the worse pitch invasion in White Sox history….

 

QLE Posted: August 21, 2019 at 04:26 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: pitch invasions, squirrels, white sox

Mariners manager: Hernández to rejoin rotation this weekend

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Pitcher Félix Hernández will rejoin the Seattle Mariners’ starting rotation this weekend.

Manager Scott Servais made the announcement Tuesday.

Hernandez has missed three months with right shoulder stiffness. He pitched 3-plus innings Monday night for Triple-A Tacoma in his fourth rehab appearance, giving up one run on four hits and three walks while striking out five.

For of all sad words of tongue or pen,
The saddest are these: “It might have been!”

-John Greenleaf Whittier

 

 

QLE Posted: August 21, 2019 at 04:23 AM | 26 comment(s)
  Beats: felix hernandez, mariners

Welcome to the Pecos League

Sean Kiley wasn’t ready to hang up his glove after college, so he set out to play in the Pecos League, the lowest level of professional baseball in the United States. This is his story.

I see the email from our GM at 6:22 p.m. Welcome to Trinidad! The email mentions details about the 10,000-person Colorado town, including player discounts, which help when you only make $50 a week. This includes 10 percent off everything at her cannabis dispensary.

Welcome to the Pecos League, the lowest level of professional baseball in the U.S.

As a right-handed pitcher throwing 79 mph, I had few offers to play college baseball. I chose Oberlin College in Ohio. I started for four years, and by the end I’d gotten my fastball to top out at 91 mph. ...

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QLE Posted: August 21, 2019 at 04:01 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: independent leagues, pecos league

Clemens nixes political run, citing ‘climate’

Pitching great Roger Clemens didn’t shy away from many battles in his major league career, but politics is something he’s not willing to take on.

Clemens had been encouraged to run as a Republican candidate for the seat of Texas Republican Rep. Pete Olson, who announced his retirement last month.

The 57-year-old Clemens said he was honored but had “no interest” in running for office.

“The climate in politics at this time is much more than I would want to undertake, along with my family considerations,” Clemens said in a message to Olson that was obtained by ABC News.

So, would a bid for higher office aid Clemens’ HOF chances- or hinder them?

 

QLE Posted: August 21, 2019 at 03:53 AM | 23 comment(s)
  Beats: politics, roger clemens

Grudge continues to fester between Braves, Marlins

The Braves and Marlins have some bad blood, especially concerning Ronald Acuña Jr. Around this time last year, José Ureña intentionally threw at Acuña in the first at-bat of a game, leading to a benches-clearing incident. Acuña was hit on the elbow and exited the game but was ultimately fine. Acuña’s crime? Just being good at baseball. At the time, he had homered in five consecutive games, including three games against the Marlins.

In 2019, the first-place Braves and last-place Marlins have mostly minded their own business. The Marlins, however, can certainly keep a grudge it appears. With his first pitch in the bottom of the first inning Tuesday night in Atlanta, Marlins starter Elieser Hernández hit Acuña in the hip.

I’m not ...

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QLE Posted: August 21, 2019 at 03:49 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, grudge match, marlins

Mike Trout hits career-high 42nd home run

With a two-run home run in the first inning of the first game of Tuesday’s doubleheader against the Rangers, Angels outfielder both tied Cody Bellinger for the major league lead in home runs and set a new single-season career-high at 42. Trout’s blast opened the scoring, staking the Halos to an early lead.

Trout is batting .300/.445/.669 on the year. The dinger leaves him two RBI shy of 100 for the year, and he’s already at 101 runs scored. MLB can already inscribe Trout’s name on the 2019 AL MVP Award. Per FanGraphs, he has 8.5 WAR, which is almost a full 3.0 WAR more than his next closest competitor, Xander Bogaerts (5.6). The difference between Trout and Bogaerts at No. 2 is about the difference between Bogaerts and Jonathan ...

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QLE Posted: August 21, 2019 at 03:46 AM | 59 comment(s)
  Beats: home runs, mike trout

Blue Jays minor leaguer T.J. Zeuch throws no-hitter

Toronto Blue Jays minor leaguer T.J. Zeuch tossed a no-hitter for Triple-A Buffalo last night. The feat came in a 3-0 victory over the Rochester Red Wings. He needed 114 pitches to do it while striking out three and walking one. He also hit a batter, giving him only two blemishes in the game.

The last no-hitter for Buffalo came when the club was the Indians’ Triple-A team back on June 20, 1997. The guy who did it: Bartolo Colon.

 

QLE Posted: August 21, 2019 at 03:43 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: minor leagues, no-hitter, t.j. zeuch

Report: Octavio Dotel And Luis Castillo Arrested In Narcotics Sting In Dominican Republic

Who is ready for a particularly grim session of Let’s Remember Some Guys? Because according to reports coming out of the Dominican Republic, former MLB players Octavio Dotel and Luis Castillo have been arrested in what authorities have described as “the largest operation against organized crime” in the country

Well, this wasn’t what I was expecting with “drug ring” and former baseball players….

QLE Posted: August 21, 2019 at 03:37 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: drugs, luis castillo, octavio dotel, sting

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

WEEI/Red Sox Jimmy Fund Telethon

WEEI (the Red Sox radio partner) has more than a few horrible people working for them and the Sox are not perfect either.  But every year they raise millions of dollars for a truly great cause (Dana Farber at Charity Navigator)

The 18th annual WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon presented by Arbella Insurance Foundation is taking place this Tuesday and Wednesday in support of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Over the span of 36 hours and two Boston Red Sox games, the broadcast will feature inspiring stories from patients, doctors, researchers, and athletes. In 2018, the event raised an incredible $4.4 million to support Dana-Farber’s lifesaving mission.

There are any number of ways to try and make our little blue ball hurtling through ...

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Jose is Absurdly Unemployed Posted: August 20, 2019 at 02:37 PM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: charity, sick kids


MLB Down The Line Predictions Uncategorized (DO NOT USE) Could Nick Markakis be enshrined? in Cooperstown?

Markakis, now in the midst of his age 35 campaign, has accumulated 2,341 career hits, which leave him only 659 hits shy of reaching the 3,000 benchmark.

That’s right. 659 bloopers, infield chops, or oppo-against-the-shift base hits away from baseball immortality. If you don’t think the 3,000 hits milestone merits induction, ponder this stat: the only Hall of Fame-eligible players to reach 3,000 hits that do not own plaques in the Hall of Fame are Pete Rose, Barry Bonds, and Rafael Palmeiro. If not for either MLB lifetime bans from the sport or ties to the PED scandals of the early 2000’s, these three would be in the Hall of Fame. Outside of controversies, the 3,000-hit plateau has always been a milestone that assured induction to ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 20, 2019 at 11:04 AM | 45 comment(s)
  Beats: nick markakis

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 8-20-2019

Seattle Star, August 20, 1919:

Big Bob Meusel, the Vernon star, could learn a lot of baseball that he doesn’t know now better [in the PCL] than he would be able to learn it in the big show…according to Jack Knight, Seattle first sacker.
...
“Meusel has wonderful ability,” says Jack, “but he is far from a finished player. He can be fooled easily and will be fooled more often than he is out here when he goes to the majors. Another year in the Pacific Coast League wouldn’t hurt him any.”

Meusel only hit .328 with 58 extra-base hits for the 1920 Yankees. This was indeed worse than his 1919 output for Vernon: .337 with 67 extra-base hits.

Another cautionary tale of an overmatched kid getting rushed to the majors before his time. ...Read More...

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: August 20, 2019 at 10:29 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

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