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Monday, March 09, 2020

8th? BBTF Central Park Softball Game: October 3

Let’s start planning for this year’s game. First questions:

1. Who is submitting the permit request? (Answer: Hysterical & Useless)

2. What dates should we aim for? (Answer: July 25 October 3)

3. Where is the post-game destination?

Monday, August 10, 2020

MLB average salary down due to pandemic

Salaries averaged $1,295,942 on expanded Opening Day rosters after prorated pay was factored in, according to the AP study. That must feel like a throwback paycheck, similar to a vintage jersey—it’s the lowest average in the AP’s annual Opening Day study since $1,176,967 in 1996 and down from $4,375,486 at the start of the 2019 season.

Unhappy with flattening salaries during the first four years of a collective bargaining agreement that runs to December 2021, players spoke even before the curtailed season of seeking large changes. Talks figure to be the most contentious since the 1994-95 strike, the last shortened seasons before this one.

Even with contracts at full value and projected for 25-man active rosters, this year’s average of ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 10, 2020 at 04:05 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: payrolls

2020’s Most Irreplaceable Players

How big a loss for the Braves was Soroka? With him still in the rotation, the ZiPS projection system had the Atlanta Braves with an 89.5% chance of making baseball’s expanded 16-team playoffs. Without Soroka, that number drops to 81.5%, nearly doubling the probability that Atlanta watches the playoffs from home. How does that eight percentage points rank among baseball’s stars? As I do every season, I asked ZiPS to re-project league standings with individual star players removed from their team’s rosters.

This isn’t a WAR ranking, which would be kind of boring. Teams whose playoff fortunes are most up in the air, especially those without sufficient depth, tend to be the ones that get in the most trouble when they lose a key player ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 10, 2020 at 03:41 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: zips

Marcus Stroman Opts Out Of 2020 Season

The Mets announced Monday that right-hander Marcus Stroman has opted out of the remainder of the 2020 season. The right-hander, who is a free agent at season’s end, called the move a family decision and cited the many “uncertainties” and “unknowns” of playing in the current health-and-safety atmosphere.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 10, 2020 at 03:06 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: coronavirus, marcus stroman, mets

The Fastball Is Disappearing. What Does It Mean for MLB’s Future?

Fastball use held steady from 2010 through 2015 at between 56.8% and 57.8%. Then the fastball began to fall out of favor, slowly at first, but with stunning drops in the past two seasons. Fastball percentage starting from 2015: 56.8, 56.3, 55.3, 54.5, 51.9 and–drum roll, please–49.7 at the start of this week. (Here and throughout, “fastball” references do not include cutters.)

“I think 95 is the new 90,” Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “Guys can really hit velocity. And so, to kind of get guys off of that, pitching off your secondaries … I really believe there’s a lot to that.”

It’s an upside-down world. Secondaries are primaries. And the simplest explanation why this strategy is happening is ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 10, 2020 at 03:01 PM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: fastballs

Report: Reds’ plan to bring fans back approved by city, county

The Cincinnati Reds want fans to come back to Great American Ball Park.

Cincinnati submitted an official plan for the return of Reds fans this season to Major League Baseball, the state of Ohio, the city of Cincinnati, and Hamilton County, according to C. Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic.

Both the city and county have approved the plan, albeit “with lots of conditions,” a source told Rosecrans. MLB and Ohio have yet to respond.

The plan, if implemented, allows a portion of fans to return in either September or for the playoffs, the source told Rosecrans. Details of the plan, such as to how many fans are allowed into the stadium, are unknown. Great American Ball Park’s capacity is 42,319.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 10, 2020 at 01:42 PM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: coronavirus, reds

Could Casey Mize win the Rookie of the Year award twice?

Jayson Stark poses a question in his latest article at The Athletic: would it be possible for a player to win the Rookie of the Year Award twice due to the truncated 2020 schedule? As it turns out, it is absolutely within the realm of possibility.

Unless some changes in the rules occur between now and when the votes are cast, one could qualify for the honor both in 2020 and 2021 if certain conditions are met. Sure, it is very unlikely this could happen, but what I’m saying here is there is a chance. Here are the conditions that would disqualify a player from earning the award a second time.

• Log 45 days or more on a big-league roster before Sept. 1.

• Pitch 50 innings or more.

• Roll up 130 at-bats or more.

In a 60-game ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 10, 2020 at 01:40 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: rookie of the year

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 8-10-2020

Philadelphia Evening Public Ledger, August 10, 1920:

President William H. McCarthy, of the Pacific Coast Baseball League, on his return from a trip to Los Angeles to question “Babe” Borton, suspended Vernon first baseman, declared that players of the Salt Lake, Vernon, Portland and Seattle teams were involved in baseball gambling scandals.

Several suspensions and releases may be expected shortly, he said. Borton was suspended on account of suspicious circumstances surrounding a payment of $300 to Harl Maggert, the Salt Lake center fielder, who was released last week for alleged gambling in connection with Coast League games.

Turns out the $300 was to get more Borton license plates for the gift shop.

I’m just happy these sorts of ...

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: August 10, 2020 at 10:18 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Fernando Tatis, Jr. is bringing joy back to baseball

Since the Padres’ opener on July 24, all Tatis has done is play better than everyone in the sport. Through the first quarter of Major League Baseball’s truncated 60-game season, nobody had more wins above replacement than the 21-year-old Tatis. His excellence isn’t purely statistical either. His home runs are majestic, his bat flips righteous, his drip undeniable.

What Tatis does not yet realize is how symbiotic his relationship with baseball is. As much as it fulfills him, the game needs him even more. MLB spent much of the first three months of the pandemic fighting players over money. As baseball tries to endure amid coronavirus outbreaks, the best antidote to its predilection for self-immolation is a player like Tatis, whose only ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 10, 2020 at 09:34 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: fernando tatis, jr., padres

Giants’ Johnny Cueto loses no-hitter as routine fly ball ends in disaster

Holding a no-hitter in the sixth inning, Cueto allowed a fly ball to Dodgers utility man Kiké Hernández that should not have been a problem. Statcast measured the xBA of the ball (i.e. the likelihood of a hit on similar balls in play) at just .060, with a 99% catch probability. It was a routine fly ball.

However, no routine fly ball is routine when the outfielder doesn’t see the ball. Enter Hunter Pence:

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 10, 2020 at 08:45 AM | 21 comment(s)
  Beats: giants, johnny cueto

Sunday, August 09, 2020

Oakland Athletics OF Ramon Laureano charges Houston Astros dugout, sparks brawl

Oakland’s Ramon Laureano got hit by a pitch—for the third time in the three-game series—this one by Humberto Castellanos with one out in the seventh. Laureano began exchanging words with animated Astros hitting coach Alex Cintron, then left first base, threw down his batting helmet and began sprinting toward him.

Astros catcher Dustin Garneau tackled Laureano before the A’s outfielder reached Cintron, and a wild scene ensued.

Players rushed out of both dugouts to join the fray. A’s and Astros players who were sitting in the seats, observing COVID-19 social-distancing protocols, also rushed onto the field.

Laureano was ejected by plate ump Ted Barrett, and the umpiring crew could easily be heard yelling at the players to “get back to the ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 09, 2020 at 08:42 PM | 40 comment(s)
  Beats: alex cintron, astros, athletics, brawl, ramon laureano

Source: Indians send Zach Plesac home for leaving hotel to go out in Chicago

The Cleveland Indians sent home starter Zach Plesac after he violated team rules by leaving the hotel to go out in Chicago Saturday night, a source confirmed to ESPN.

The Athletic first reported the news on Plesac, who now will be quarantined for 72 hours back in Cleveland.

Plesac drove back to Cleveland in a rental car, a source told ESPN’s Jeff Passan.


RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 09, 2020 at 06:55 PM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: coronavirus, indians, zach plesac

Pirates’ Phil Evans ruled out for season after collision

Pirates utility infielder Phillip Evans will miss the remainder of the season after suffering a concussion and fracturing his jaw in a collision with teammate Gregory Polanco in foul territory.

Director of sports medicine Todd Tomczyk said Sunday that Evans was in good spirits but is still dealing with some swelling in his face. Evans, who was placed on the 45-day injured list, is expected to make a full recovery, Tomczyk said, but the shortness of the 2020 season means he will not return this year.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 09, 2020 at 06:55 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: phil evans

Off the glove and over the fence! Texas Rangers’ Nick Solak homers in unique fashion.

Texas Rangers outfielder Nick Solak received an unexpected gift during Sunday’s game when Adell misjudged a fly ball in deep right field in the fifth inning. The ball bounced off Adell’s glove and over the fence, giving Solak his first home run of the season….

Adell, who got turned around and made a last-second attempt to catch the ball on the warning track, put his hands on his head in disbelief as Solak circled the bases. Angels pitcher Mike Mayers was charged with giving up the home run and taken out after it.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 09, 2020 at 05:20 PM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: rangers

Uni Watch: What’s It Like to Be an MLB Reporter During the Pandemic?

We’ve seen a lot of articles about how players are dealing with the new rules and protocols brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. I’ve also heard quite a few broadcasters talking about how their own work experiences have been affected by this strange season.

But what about print and web journalists, the guys who are up in the press box? What’s it like to cover a sporting event this year compared to previous years? How does it affect the articles we read, and the people who wrote those articles?

I’ve been curious about that, so I asked my friend Ken Davidoff if he’d be willing to talk about it. He’s a baseball columnist for The New York Post (a role in which he covers all things MLB-related but with a strong emphasis on the ...

Lowry Seasoning Salt Posted: August 09, 2020 at 03:04 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: media

Yankees’ Aaron Boone argues with umpires about air horn being blown outside Phillies’ ballpark

Following the top half of the third inning, Boone came out to home plate to speak with the umpires and pointed out that a group of fans were blowing an air horn outside of the Citizens Bank Park gate. It appeared that Boone was pointing out that the fans were blowing the air horn when Phillies pitcher Zach Eflin delivered a pitch to home plate.

I can’t wait until the next time the Yankees come to Philly.

Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: August 09, 2020 at 03:04 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: phans, phillies, yankees

Special Consideration: Deadball Pitchers

Dr. Chaleeko goes through the careers of several deadball era pitchers to determine if they might deserve any “extra credit” when ranking them among the all-time greats. Pitchers considered in this article include Dazzy Vance, Sarge Bagby, Red Faber and two different pitchers named Urban.

Generally, big league teams knew where the brightest talent in the minors pitched, but sometimes talented hurlers could fall through the cracks, especially if their top-level results appeared meh. So we’ll start off a series within a series by looking at a few deadball pitchers whose shot at the big time didn’t come quite so easily.

Mike Webber Posted: August 09, 2020 at 03:04 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: deadball era, hall of merit

An absurdist baseball game is tearing up the internet, thanks to fans

The official website for the game Blaseball won’t tell you any of the above. It is an information-heavy website full of box scores and statistics with a light sprinkling of absurdist horror. Nevertheless, Blaseball has completely taken over Weird Internet, and amassed legions of fans who, despite the bare-bones framing, imagine each Blaseball matchup in the language of epic poetry.

Blaseball (pronounced like baseball with an “L,” not like blasé-ball) is actually a very simple gaming experience. It’s an automated baseball league, with 20 teams each representing different regions, full of players with their own statistics. You play by picking a favorite team, passively earning coins when they win, and actively betting on match-ups ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 09, 2020 at 11:25 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: video games

Why MLB didn’t use bubble plan for 2020 regular season; and what league insiders think of the decision

The accepted explanation around the league is that the bubble concept was left on the drawing room floor because the players were not on board with the idea. One source, who indicated that the owners are responsible for much of what ails the league, said this aspect of the season falls on the players. Another nodded to the length of the season as a reason why players objected.

A few players were vocal about their reservations, including Mike Trout, the Los Angeles Angels outfielder who doubles as the sport’s best player and de facto face.

“[Being] quarantined in a city, I was reading for—if we play— a couple of months, it would be difficult for some guys. What are you going to do with family members?” said Trout, whose wife Jessica ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 09, 2020 at 11:01 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: coronavirus

Chris Iannetta retires after Yankees send catcher to alternate site

Veteran catcher Chris Iannetta retired from baseball after 14 major-league seasons, he told Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic on Saturday.

Iannetta was in the New York Yankees organization on a minor-league contract. He made the team out of summer camp, but the Yankees designated him for assignment earlier this month before he got into a game. The 37-year-old was placed on the restricted list Friday after not reporting to their alternate training site.

“If I didn’t make the team out of spring, I was going to call it a career. They knew that the whole time,” Iannetta told Rosenthal. “That’s kind of what transpired when they took me off the roster and wanted me to go to Scranton. I was like, no. I wasn’t about to hang on or sit around and wait ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 09, 2020 at 10:57 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: chris ianetta

BA: 2020 Minor League Free Agents Will Be Eligible For Free Agency This Fall

Sub. required.

Minor League Baseball players who were scheduled to be free agents at the end of the 2020 season have been told they will be eligible for free agency this fall.

The Major League Baseball Players Association has informed agents that non-40-man players will be eligible for free agency even though there was no 2020 MiLB season.

Because of the wording of how players become eligible for MiLB free agency, that was not a certainty. MiLB free agency requires players to provide “skilled services as a Minor League Player in seven (7) separate championship playing seasons” as part of their initial contract.

There was no 2020 MiLB season, so a legal argument could have been constructed that there was no championship season, ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 09, 2020 at 10:56 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: minor league free agency

Saturday, August 08, 2020

What Happened to MLB’s Elite First Basemen?

The two worst OPS+ for first basemen relative to league splits, at least as full records exist since 1973, have occurred in each of the past two years: 111 last year and 112 in 2018. And the early returns this year are that it’s getting worse. It’s down to 106. First basemen are off to a .226 start.

The last time any other position posted a better OPS+ than first base was 29 years ago–and that “position” was DH. For the first time anybody can remember first basemen have posted a lower OPS than three other positions: shortstop, center field and right field. That just should not happen for a position with low defensive requirements.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 08, 2020 at 12:12 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: first basemen

Starting Pitcher Workloads Have Been Significantly Reduced in 2020

Already what sticks out is that this year, for the first time, starters are averaging fewer than five innings per turn, and their per-start average is down more than one full inning since 2015. What’s more, if this trend continues, it would be the biggest year-to-year drop in innings per start in the span, more than double the drop from 2018-19, and more than triple the other year-to-year drops within that span.

Over the years, a number of factors have driven that decrease, starting with deeper pitch counts, which are a byproduct of higher strikeout rates, as you can see in the table. There’s also the increased understanding of a few sabermetric concepts: starters are generally less effective facing batters for the third time in the ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 08, 2020 at 12:10 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: starting pitchers

Friday, August 07, 2020

Rules for pitcher feats in 7-inning twin bills

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Major League Baseball’s official statistician, neither a team nor an individual pitcher will be credited with a no-no in a scheduled seven-inning game of a doubleheader—unless that game goes to extras. If the contest extends to at least nine innings and that pitcher (or a team’s group of pitchers) has still not allowed a hit, then it goes down in the history books as a no-no.

Elias’ designation follows the tradition of a 1991 ruling by a committee led by then-Commissioner Fay Vincent that stated that in order for a pitcher to be credited with a no-hitter:

“…a pitcher or pitchers had to pitch a complete game of nine innings or more without allowing a hit. Any game of fewer than nine innings ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 07, 2020 at 11:57 PM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: no-hitters

Cubs-Cardinals series opener postponed over another positive coronavirus test

Friday’s series opener between the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals has been postponed after a St. Louis player tested positive for COVID-19, according to Major League Baseball.

In total, eight Cardinals players have tested positive for the coronavirus since last week.

MLB said the postponed game would allow for additional testing and contact tracing. A source told ESPN’s Jesse Rogers that the remainder of the three-game series also was in jeopardy.

The Cardinals have not played since July 29 because of positive coronavirus tests. The team previously announced that it had returned 13 positive tests from its traveling party, with seven of them coming from players.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 07, 2020 at 03:48 PM | 20 comment(s)
  Beats: coronavirus

Former Angels employee Eric Kay charged with distributing fentanyl in Tyler Skaggs case

Former Angels employee Eric Kay has been charged by federal authorities in Texas with distributing fentanyl in connection with the overdose death of pitcher Tyler Skaggs, according to court documents reviewed by the Los Angeles Times.

An affidavit in support of the criminal complaint against Kay filed in U.S. District Court in Fort Worth said the longtime member of the Angels’ media relations department and Skaggs had a “history of narcotic transactions” and that Kay would “distribute these pills to [Skaggs] and others in their place of employment and while they were working.”

Kay voluntarily surrendered to authorities Friday, per court records. The complaint, filed last week, was unsealed Friday, as well.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 07, 2020 at 03:47 PM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: tyler skaggs

Ex-White Sox Manager Ozzie Guillen Still Really, Really Hates ‘Fake’ Nick Swisher

Guillen is now an analyst for NBC Sports Chicago, working on the network’s White Sox postgame show. On Wednesday night, host Chuck Garfien teed up Guillen with a doozy of a prompt: “Who did you dislike more? Carlos Gomez or Nick Swisher?” And Guillen did not hold back.

“Oh my god,” Guillen replied. “Nick—nobody can compare that with Nick Swisher. I hate Nick Swisher with my heart.”

Guillen called Swisher “fake” and said his one season in Chicago was “one year too long.”

Swisher’s 2008 season with the Sox was a total mess. He was traded from Oakland to Chicago before the season in exchange for Gio González (then a promising prospect) and Ryan Sweeney (who would go on to be an everyday player for the A’s). He ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 07, 2020 at 10:36 AM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: nick swisher, ozzie guillen

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