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Monday, June 04, 2012

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-4-2012

Baseball Notes in the Pittsburgh Press, June 4, 1912:

Wagner batted for Viox in the ninth, and got on. Clarke sent Rehg out to run for the captain, but Honus wouldn’t stand for this…An unpopular decision by Umpire Westervelt almost caused a riot at Comiskey’s park yesterday, and policemen escorted the umpire to the clubhouse after the battle…Tom Needham, old and fat, is doing some catching for the Cubs. The pitchers say that he has wonderful wisdom, and they are all delighted when he is assigned to backstop duty.

Bartolo Colon, old and fat, is doing some pitching for the Athletics.

And it looks like Honus really did refuse to leave the game. The box score shows Wagner as a pinch hitter, but no appearance for Rehg.

The Robby Hammock District (Dan Lee) Posted: June 04, 2012 at 05:16 AM | 14 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: dugout, history, honus wagner

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   1. The Robby Hammock District (Dan Lee) Posted: June 04, 2012 at 05:27 AM (#4147413)
Elsewhere in the Pittsburgh Press 100 years ago:

The United States League continues its ridiculously slow implosion:
The Cincinnati club has quit the U.S. league...Manager McKinnon, speaking for [owner J.J.] Ryan, made the following statement: "Mr. Ryan has decided that it is useless to send good money after bad. He has lost several thousands of dollars, and does not feel like wasting any more on a proposition which he believes does not have a chance to live. As a matter of fact, the only teams remaining in the league are Chicago and Pittsburg, and the two teams which formerly claimed Cleveland and Reading as their homes, but which are now being operated from Pittsburg. They are without homes, and the chances are they will be disbanded this week."
...and a former Nap snaps:
Ernest Vinson, a baseball player, formerly with Cleveland and who was active in the game until last season, went violently insane at his home in Chester, Pa., Sunday night. It required the efforts of four patrolmen to place him under arrest. In his ravings Vinson broke up furniture and severely beat his wife.
I'm not sure what the direct result of Vinson's outburst was (perhaps we'll find out), but he lived another four decades, dying in a window washing accident at age 72.
   2. The Robby Hammock District (Dan Lee) Posted: June 04, 2012 at 05:31 AM (#4147414)
An excellent defensive Birthday Team up the middle. They may have trouble scoring runs, but they've got a good punter and should be able to play a field position game.

C: Tony Pena
1B: Tim Murnane
2B: Doug Griffin
3B: Lee Magee
SS: Kurt Stillwell
LF: Terry Kennedy
CF: Darin Erstad
RF: George Watkins

SP: Bob Klinger
SP: Art Mahaffey
SP: Larry Demery
SP: Orville Jorgens
SP: J.C. Romero
RP: Cla Meredith

Manager: John McNamara
Harmonica: Phil Linz
Not that one: George Washington
   3. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: June 04, 2012 at 08:41 AM (#4147453)
Dan, to celebrate an early Father's Day, Ross Grimsley, Sr. was born on this day.
   4. The Robby Hammock District (Dan Lee) Posted: June 04, 2012 at 08:48 AM (#4147456)
Nice catch, Edmundo. Alas, the elder Grimsley wasn't as...uh...memorable-looking as his son.

It's as if that photo of the younger Grimsley has laser eyes that could burn through just about anything.
   5. Tom Nawrocki Posted: June 04, 2012 at 08:52 AM (#4147459)
Promotional gimmick for the birthday team: Ten-Cent Beer Night.
   6. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: June 04, 2012 at 09:50 AM (#4147478)
Up at THT: South Side seat syndrome on White Sox attendance concerns.

Also, today is the 10th anniversary of the Moneyball draft. Go throw a chair across the room to commemorate it.
   7. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: June 04, 2012 at 10:31 AM (#4147517)
Game of the day (yesterday): Pirates 6, Brewers 5. B-R is currently missing the Sunday Night game, but a 6-1 game isn't generally going to be a prominent contender for GotD even on a day when the field is relatively unspectacular.

This particular game features two 27-year-old starting pitchers, one of them a rookie making his second professional start, the other one a relative veteran who's having a pretty magnificent season so far. The rookie, Milwaukee's Michael Fiers, put runners on the corners with one out in the top of the first, but trail runner Andrew McCutchen was thrown out stealing, helping him elude damage. Pittsburgh's James McDonald, meanwhile, should have had a 1-2-3 first inning, but out #2 turned into a Nyjer Morgan ROE. Morgan stole second with two out and scored on a Tyler Green double; Rickie Weeks's subsequent single gave the Brewers a 2-0 lead. Pittsburgh responded with a run in the top of the second when ex-Brewer (and with good reason) Casey McGehee doubled, moved to third on a flyout, and scored on a hit by Clint Barmes, and both starters settled in from there, keeping the game at 2-1 through 4 innings. Fiers finally ran into serious trouble in the fifth; he allowed McDonald a leadoff single, and two outs later, gave up back-to-back homers to McCutchen and Garret Jones, turning his 2-1 lead into a 4-2 deficit. Fiers gave way to Kameron Loe after the inning, and the teams traded solo homers in the sixth, Pittsburgh's from Rod Barajas and Milwaukee's courtesy of Morgan. McDonald was then pulled for Juan Cruz, who gave up a solo shot to Martin Maldonado in the seventh, pulling the Brewers within a run. Milwaukee put two runners on with two out in the eighth, bringing up shortstop Cody Ransom, who, being Cody Ransom, was lifted for a pinch hitter. Milwaukee sent up the best bat they had available on their bench - reigning NL MVP Ryan Braun.

It'd be nice if there was some climactic event to write about here, but Braun flied out to right on the first pitch; that's how baseball goes sometimes. The teams continued their exhibition of dueling solo home runs in the ninth, with Barmes notching one for Pittsburgh and Brooks Conrad chipping in for the Brewers; a one-out walk brought the winning run to the plate for Milwaukee, but Norichika Aoki hit into a double play to end the game.

It's a perfectly fine game - close throughout, one good-sized lead change, one very nice starting pitching performance and one that was looking quite good until the back-to-back homers. I'd have left the park satisfied. But it's still unusual for a 78th percentile game to be the best one on a day that had every team playing.

Game of the day (last year): Brewers 6, Marlins 5. The Brewers started off quickly in the top of the first - Corey Hart singled with two outs, and Prince Fielder followed it up with a 2-run homer against Ricky Nolasco (who is presumably Fangraphs' favorite pitcher this side of Javy Vazquez - career ERA is 4.49, FIP is 3.85). Gaby Sanchez answered in the second with a leadoff homer off of Randy Wolf, and the Marlins followed up with a walk and a single before Wolf rallied to strike out the side, ending a TTO-heavy inning. With one out in the third, Milwaukee loaded the bases on two hits and a walk, then scored twice on a sac fly by Casey McGehee and a hit by Mark Kotsay. Florida put two runners on in the third courtesy of an error and a hit batter, but Sanchez ended the inning with a double play. In the fourth, Giancarlo nee Mike Stanton led off with a homer; one out later, Wes Helms singled and Emilio Bonifacio tripled him in. After Wolf walked Nolasco, which is never good, Chris Coghlan tied the game with a sac fly.

The fifth inning went 1-2-3-4-5-6, and Nolasco worked around a single and a steal in the sixth, ending his outing with a pretty typical line for him: 6 innings, 1 walk, 6 K's, 1 HR, but 7 hits and 4 runs allowed. Meanwhile, Wolf was pulled for Sergio Mitre to start the bottom of the sixth, and Mitre gave up a leadoff double to John Buck. Two groundouts later, Greg Dobbs broke the tie with an RBI single; two more singles loaded the bases before Logan Morrison grounded out to end the inning. Neither team threatened in the seventh; both stranded runners on second in the eighth. In the ninth, then-Leo Nunez came in to preserve the one-run lead, and Yuniesky Betancourt led off with a single. That brought up the relocated pitcher's spot, now #8 in the order, and for the first of what would become two consecutive June 3rds, Ryan Braun was brought off the bench to pinch hit with his team down 5-4 in the late innings.

Unlike yesterday's Ryan Braun, last year's Ryan Braun demonstrated the proper dramatic use of a pinch hit appearance by a superstar, cranking a line drive homer to left to give the Brewers a 6-5 lead.

The game wasn't over quite yet; John Axford loaded the bases on three walks in the bottom of the ninth (the middle one, to Stanton, was intentional, set up by a wild pitch earlier in the inning). The Marlins, not having Ryan Braun on the bench, were left with Brett Hayes as their pinch hitter with two outs, and he struck out to end the game.

It should be noted that I had no idea when I was writing about the first game that Braun had also pinch hit in the second one. That's the kind of coincidence that tends to make my day. Anyway, given the different outcomes of Braun's at bats, it shouldn't come as too much of a shock that last year's game grades out better, 92nd percentile rather than 78th. This one is how you do a 6-5, 9-inning game right.
   8. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: June 04, 2012 at 10:34 AM (#4147519)
Dag - I posted a couple of thoughts about your excitement system in Friday's dugout after you were already gone. Here they are again in case you're still around today:

I think I disagree with the extra points for walkoff grand slams - a walkoff grand slam in a tie game isn't really more exciting than a walkoff 3-run homer in a tie game. (A walkoff grand slam when down by 3, now that's excitement.)

As a further example, take Nelson Cruz's walkoff slam in the playoffs last year - it came with the bases loaded, nobody out, and the game tied; the Rangers entered his AB with something like a 93% win expectancy already. Compare that to, say, a double with 2 outs, runners on first and second, home team down a run in the bottom of the ninth, and a play at the plate for the winning run. There's no question in my mind that the latter play is not just more exciting, but significantly so. The walkoff grand slam may be more frequently replayed on ESPN in the future, but that doesn't make it better.

Basically, with the caveat that it's your system and you can do whatever you like, I'd take all the extra points you're giving walkoff homers and grand slams, and bundle them together to be awarded to come-from-behind walkoff events of any kind.
   9. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: June 04, 2012 at 10:34 AM (#4147520)
Second one:

Also, on the same topic - you mentioned a while back that you've devalued extra innings in your system somewhat. I'm curious as to (1) how much, and (2) why - to me, more baseball is always a positive thing (and the system I use, while it doesn't contain a specific extra-inning bonus, does favor extra inning games simply because they contain an abundance of high-leverage events by their very nature. My method has the 12 top games of the year all going extras, and 23 of the top 24; that may be a bit high, but I think it's defensible.)
   10. Rennie's Tenet Posted: June 04, 2012 at 10:45 AM (#4147527)
Larry Demery


Deservedly nicknamed "The Bullfrog," Demery never had a losing record in four major league seasons.
   11. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: June 04, 2012 at 10:57 AM (#4147538)
Eric - I saw your comments. I might get rid of the walk-off slam thing. I do think it's too high right now.

As for extra innings, the old system was just too high. Length could out do seemingly everything else. As of now, it's been changed so that making extra inning is worth three points; an additional half-point for each individual extra inning; coming back to tie the opposing team in extra innings is 2.5 points & coming back to take the lead is worth an additional five points. (The last pair refers to if a team falls behind in the top half of hte inning comes back in the bottom of the frame. And those points are on top of already existing points you get for comebacks and all that).

   12. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: June 04, 2012 at 01:17 PM (#4147724)
As for extra innings, the old system was just too high. Length could out do seemingly everything else.

If I'm reading the old system correctly, it used to be 4 points per extra inning, right? I agree that's probably too much; the biggest jump should come from going to extras in the first place. What would the effect be of using, say, 5 points for going to extras and 1 point per inning?

I've tried tweaking my system in the past to de-emphasize extra innings; as mentioned before, 23 of the 24 best games of 2012 using the unadjusted method went past regulation. The modification I've considered is multiplying the scores for extra inning games by 3/sqrt(innings). Doing that with this year's games moves the best 9-inning game up to #5, drops the 17-inning game from #1 to #4 (and the 16-inning opening day game from #6 to #26); it still has only one 9-inning game in the top 12, but it has 7 in the top 24, which is a bit more balanced. I'm on the fence about this shift, but leaning against it, for the basic reason that a really good extra-inning game by definition already contains an oustanding 9-inning game, and then you get one or more bonus ninth innings on top of it. That should be hard for a 9-inning game to match - not because 9-inning games are insufficient in some way, but because extra innings are just that awesome.
   13. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: June 04, 2012 at 02:58 PM (#4147850)
Deservedly nicknamed "The Bullfrog," Demery never had a losing record in four major league seasons.

Larry Demery would then go on to kill Michael Jordan's father. Wait, that was a different Larry Demery.
   14. Sunday silence Posted: June 05, 2012 at 06:01 AM (#4148652)
Wagner batted for Viox in the ninth, and got on...


Hey wasnt that stuff banned?

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