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Monday, March 23, 2015

Who is Jose Abreu?

This is good stuff and much of it untold (including how he actually got to the US—harrowing stuff) on Jose “Pito” Abreu:


They left in the middle of the night, entrusting their fate to a tiny boat, its two motors, and the ink-black sea. For 12 hours, they pressed on. Through darkness, then dawn, then scorching daylight. Through 15-foot waves. And through the paths of trawlers and other ships that could cut their own 20-foot vessel in two.

Six of them huddled close atop a roiling ocean under ...

Read More...
madvillain Posted: March 23, 2015 at 11:15 PM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: jose abreu, longform

Neyer: John Dowd’s Box of Illogic

Pete’s real crime? That haircut.

It was fairly common knowledge back then that Giamatti was open to a suspension for Rose if the Reds manager would admit to gambling on baseball and enter treatment for his gambling addiction.

Yet, according to Dowd, it went further than that. Dowd now says he and Giamatti worked with federal prosecutors and even the FBI to work out a deal that any pending charges for tax evasion against Rose would be dropped if he came clean.

In addition, FBI agents worked ...

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Jimmy Rollins Q&A: ‘I feel like I’m free to be myself’

Here’s a great interview with Jimmy Rollins.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 23, 2015 at 08:57 PM | 22 comment(s)
  Beats: dodgers, jimmy rollins, phillies

The hunt for more Veterans Committee ballots | Baseball: Past and Present

Graham Womack makes some excellent points.

It seems unfortunate to me that full voting information for the Veterans Committee might be lost. It’s a little galling as well. Since its founding, the committee has put far more people in the Hall of Fame than the BBWAA. If there was one thing that came through resoundingly in my research, it’s that the Veterans Committee has been able to more or less operate with impunity and little transparency. Its process is far from democratic for fans, with ...

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Jim Furtado Posted: March 23, 2015 at 08:46 PM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: hall of fame, veterans committee

Votto, Phillips: Same team, different approaches

Brandon Phillips, the new Jeff Francoeur.

Nothing against Votto, Phillips says, but he’s up there swinging the bat, believing driving in runs is the best way to help your team win games.

Nothing against Phillips, Votto says, but he believes the best way to score runs is simply getting on base, no matter the situation.

And regardless what statistics may say, they’ll never change their ways, believing their method is best.

“I don’t do that MLB Network on-base percentage (stuff),’’ Phillips ...

Read More...

Bridgeport Bluefish and Long Island Ducks will experiment with foul-ball strikes and three-pitch walks

Last August, author Paul Auster — also a big baseball fan — wrote a letter to the editor of the New York Times with a radical idea about how to speed up baseball games:

Eliminate the two-strike foul ball as a neutral play (neither strike nor ball) and rule it a strike. To compensate for the advantage this would give the pitcher, allow the batter to go to first base after three balls instead of four.

At least a couple of teams think it might be fun to see how this works. Thankfully ...

Read More...
Karl from NY Posted: March 23, 2015 at 03:17 PM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: atlantic league, crazy clown town, rules of play

Tampa Bay Rays prospect Brent Honeywell’s screwball a “bloodline deal” | MiLB.com

Another screwball article, including a Mike Marshall connection.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 23, 2015 at 02:44 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: brent honeywell, mike marshall, rays, screwball

Nationals’ Jerry Blevins as much a renaissance man as he is a baseball player

He became an avid film watcher then, too. His mother always made time on Sundays to take him and his brother to the movies. As a minor leaguer with a lot of free time on the road, Blevins always found the local video store.

“I remember Clinton, Iowa,” said Blevins, whose favorite movie is “The Shawshank Redemption” and who loves the documentary “The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters.” “They had a riverboat casino and a Blockbuster down the street. You could go and get five ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 23, 2015 at 01:35 PM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, jerry blevins, loogys, nationals

Houston’s NRG Astrodome “Can And Should Live On,” Says ULI Report

If they tear it down, where would

?

he report provides details on the following recommendations from the panel:

Recognize the Astrodome’s iconic status with a museum celebrating its history as the world’s first domed sports stadium and create a new vision that rehabilitates the dome and the surrounding portions of NRG Park.
Redevelop the Astrodome as a multi-use facility.
Develop 1,500 additional parking spaces in the lower levels of the Astrodome.
Create a new ground floor in the ...

Read More...
RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 23, 2015 at 12:40 PM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: astrodome, astros, defunct ballpark, houston

Wilson buys Louisville Slugger for $70 million

The parent company of Wilson Sporting Goods has acquired Louisville Slugger for a reported $70 million in cash. The deal is expected to close by this summer, according to a report early Monday

Executives for both companies are due to discuss the sale at a news briefing for 11:30 a.m. Monday at Hillerich & Bradsby Co.‘s headquarters on Main Street.

The 120-year-old batmaker is best known for making Louisville Slugger baseball bats. Its Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory on Main Street in ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 23, 2015 at 12:28 PM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: bats, business, louisville slugger, sporting goods


Time for baseball to expand rosters - Sports - The Boston Globe

This is a day late. After thinking about the expanded roster idea, I’m opened minded to hearing more about it. I don’t see how going to a six-man starting rotation makes a lot of sense. All it will do is shift innings from better starters to worse starters.

The game evolving into six-man rotations is not what many of us want to see, since many of us remember four-man rotations. But that’s how it’s evolving. The extra day would likely — although nothing is for certain — make a difference ...

Read More...
Jim Furtado Posted: March 23, 2015 at 10:57 AM | 25 comment(s)
  Beats: sunday notes

BRADLEY COOPER AS ROGER CLEMENS ALMOST HAPPENED

Steve Buschemi as Brian McNamee?

Not only has there been a Hollywood script written about the fall of Roger Clemens, but reportedly there was a “heated auction” for its rights. According to The Hollywood Reporter, “The Rocket”, a script written by Jeffrey Gelber and Ryan Belenzon, was fought over by some Hollywood titans.

Ultimately Black Bear Pictures (The Imitation Game, All Is Lost) won the auction for a price rumored to have topped $2 million, a heavy price that tells us this likely goes ...

Read More...

Andrew McCutchen is tired of John Fogerty’s ‘Centerfield’

Andrew McCutchen probably wants more Pavement played at ballparks.

Former National League MVP and perennial All-Star Andrew McCutchen has made his name in part due to his skills as a center fielder, but apparently would get by just fine if he never heard John Fogerty’s 1985 hit song “Centerfield” again at the ballpark.

So writes the face of the Pittsburgh Pirates franchise in a questionnaire he filled out at the Players’ Tribune on Friday.

The exact question: “The song I never want to hear ...

Read More...
RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 23, 2015 at 10:15 AM | 97 comment(s)
  Beats: andrew mccutchen, centerfield, john fogerty, music, pirates

Tommy John Surgery Success Rates in the Majors – The Hardball Times

When we think about pitchers who have recovered from Tommy John surgery, our minds tend to lock onto the successful ones. Tommy John himself. A.J. Burnett. Adam Wainwright. Jordan Zimmermann. What is critical to understand is that one out of every five major pitchers who undergoes the operation never throws another pitch at that level. These are less familiar names, given their career-ending injuries. Ambiorix Burgos. Anthony Reyes. Macay McBride. Bill Simas. The most recent data suggest that ...
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Jim Furtado Posted: March 23, 2015 at 09:37 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: tommy john surgery

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 3-23-2015

Pittsburgh Press, March 23, 1915:

Bob Steele, young left-hander, tells a good one on Calvo, a Cuban outfielder who was with the Victoria club in the Northwestern league. It seems the squad was traveling by boat from Victoria to Vancouver. The club jokesters began kidding Calvo and one of them told the Cuban that the boat had to go through a tunnel in order to get into Vancouver. This sounded interesting to the Cuban and he sat up all night waiting to see the boat go through that tunnel.

I once ...

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Are D’backs in denial about $68.5M phenom or are harsh scouts wrong? | New York Post

In MLB if you are smarter than everybody else, you get a chance to prove it. Or not.

But — unprovoked — both Arizona chief baseball officer Tony La Russa and general manager Dave Stewart begin conversations by saying the D’backs will be better than critics are claiming, citing positional and starting depth and a credo to play hard and fundamentally well.

So is the chorus wrong, or are Arizona officials delusional about the roster in general and Tomas — who they still say can play third ...

Read More...
Jim Furtado Posted: March 23, 2015 at 06:48 AM | 60 comment(s)
  Beats: dave stewart, diamondbacks, peter o'brien, tony la russa, yasmany tomas

Are the Mets Big Enough for Matt Harvey?—NYMag

Here’s a NY Magazine feature about Matt Harvey.

Sandy Alderson is more clinical. “When someone transcends the sport and becomes a brand in and of himself, he needs to keep in mind what the foundation of that celebrity is,” the general manager says. “It’s not a fashion line. He’s a baseball player. But I think he’s smart enough to know that.Matt likes to talk. I don’t mean that in a negative way. He likes to talk things through and take time to absorb what he hears and consider ...

Read More...
Jim Furtado Posted: March 23, 2015 at 06:34 AM | 26 comment(s)
  Beats: matt harvey, mets

Starting 9: Minor league options can lead to March roster madness | TribLIVE

Pirates options as Spring Training winds down.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 23, 2015 at 06:33 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: pirates

Top prospects Gray, Butler get chance to prove themselves | rockies.com

Gray, out of the University of Oklahoma, was the Rockies’ first-round pick in 2013; Butler, out of Radford, was the 46th player selected overall in 2012. The pair is ranked 1-2 on MLB.com’s organization prospect list, and Butler made three big-league starts last season.

They both opened eyes this spring, and not with their “stuff.” There was never any question about that. Rather it was their maturity and focus that has caught the attention not only of the Rockies but of scouts from other ...

Read More...
Jim Furtado Posted: March 23, 2015 at 06:29 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: eddie butler, jon gray, rockies

Rays to name Asdrubal Cabrera everyday shortstop | Tampa Bay Times

“He has not done anything this spring to look like he’s lost range,” Cash said last week. “If I had to say, from spring training, this spring, I’ve had the benefit of seeing him his last two years in Cleveland, he looks better. … His body looks better. He’s moving really well.

“He’s made a couple nice plays where he is moving, soft line drives, a couple plays up the middle, and then a backhand play (last week) where he kind of pulled (first baseman James) Loney off the bag, but still he ...

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Jim Furtado Posted: March 23, 2015 at 06:27 AM | 34 comment(s)
  Beats: asdrubal cabrera, rays

D-backs prospect O’Brien among 7 sent down | dbacks.com

Pete O’Brien can catch, they said.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 23, 2015 at 06:26 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: diamondbacks, pete o'brien

Robothal: Players union must fight again as familiar story unfolds in Chicago

If Kris Bryant starts the season at Triple-A, the union should file a grievance, even though it would stand little chance of winning. New union chief Tony Clark should embrace the pending Bryant absurdity as the perfect opportunity to take a stand, knowing that bigger fights lie ahead with the collective-bargaining agreement expiring in 2016.

Why won’t Epstein simply acknowledge service-time considerations with Bryant? Presumably for the same reason that other executives follow the same ...

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Win Big Stein's Money Posted: March 23, 2015 at 01:41 AM | 154 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, kris bryant

Will Ferrell now has his own Baseball Reference page

Will Ferrell is officially in the annals of baseball.

Baseball Reference, the online encyclopedia of America’s Pastime, has given the “Anchorman” star his own page on the site after Ferrell played in five different spring training games in Arizona on Thursday.

Before his odyssey began, Ferrell told a radio interviewer that he expected to raise $1 million to be used for college scholarships for cancer survivors. The entire tour was being chronicled by HBO for an upcoming special. Memorabilia ...

Read More...
Win Big Stein's Money Posted: March 23, 2015 at 01:29 AM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: baseball reference, diamondbacks, will ferrell

Pedroia Inspires Teenage Girl To Play With The Boys

Sydney Dore is 14 years old. She’s about 5-foot-3 with blond hair, blue eyes and a big smile that’s lined with shiny braces. She’s down here for spring training.

“Dustin Pedroia is my favorite player on the Red Sox. He is very awesome. I follow him all the time, just follow his stats,” Sydney said.“I would love to meet him though. That would be my biggest dream in the whole world,” she said.

As a first-year player, Sydney comes off the bench. She’s a catcher and occasional ...

Read More...
Win Big Stein's Money Posted: March 23, 2015 at 12:32 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: pedobear, red sox, teenage girl

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Daniel Norris looking like Blue Jays’ fifth starter

After an off-season in which he became a viral sensation for his bushy beard, cerebral surfer persona and his habit of living in his van, Daniel Norris is ready to bring the focus back to his work on the mound.

The media requests — from The Atlantic magazine to NBC — are still pouring in for the man ESPN dubbed “The Most Interesting Pitcher in Baseball,” but the 21-year-old is turning them all down now.

The rookie left-hander, considered among the Blue Jays’ top prospects, is ...

Read More...
Win Big Stein's Money Posted: March 22, 2015 at 09:05 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: blue jays, daniel norris, van down by the river

Rockies unexpectedly part ways with Chacin | MLB.com

Well, that was a surprise.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 22, 2015 at 06:27 PM | 21 comment(s)
  Beats: jhoulys chacin, rockies

The PosCast with Joe Posnanski and Michael Schur - 3/21/15

Pace of play: Both Joe Posnanski and Michael Schur dislike the new pace of play rules. They fear that they will detract from the feel of the sport, and from the hitter/pitcher “chess game.” They believe it is pointless to address the pace of play without addressing the main problem, which in their opinion is pitching changes. Since pitching changes are opportunities to run commercials, they are pessimistic that anything meaningful can be accomplished on this front.

Playoff picks: In the AL, ...

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Amazing Plaid Coat on Senators’ Skipper Clark Griffith - Ghosts of DC

Managers don’t know how to dress like the old timers did.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 22, 2015 at 12:28 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: uniforms

Twinsights: Josmil Pinto diagnosed with concussion - Twins Now

How do you get hit three times?

Pinto left Saturday’s game against the Baltimore Orioles after Adam Jones hit him three times on the follow-through of his swing. All three swings came during the Orioles’ four-run second inning, with the last one striking Pinto on the top of his helmet.

Jim Furtado Posted: March 22, 2015 at 12:20 PM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: josmil pinto, twins

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