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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?

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Multiple Reports Link Angels To Dave Dombrowski

Angels general manager Billy Eppler is in the final season of his contract, and with the Angels assured of a fifth straight losing season, multiple reports have linked the team to veteran executive Dave Dombrowski as a potential replacement. The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal calls the Halos the “most likely” team to make a switch at GM, adding that Dombrowski is the most frequently mentioned replacement option. Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times writes that the “widely held belief” is that the Angels are in for yet another front-office regime change and that the “industry consensus” is that owner Arte Moreno will pursue Dombrowski.

It’s been five years since Eppler took over for Jerry Dipoto, who resigned from his post in the wake ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 22, 2020 at 11:23 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, dave dombrowski

Angels’ Andrelton Simmons opts out as Los Angeles’ season draws to a close

Los Angeles Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons has decided to opt out of the remainder of the season, with only five games left in the regular season and his team all but eliminated from postseason contention.

In a statement released through his agency, ISE, Simmons said, “Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association developed an environment and system that empowered players and provided us the opportunity to decide on whether to play or opt out of the season. At this moment, I feel this is the best decision for me and for my family. We don’t know what the future holds, but we would like to sincerely thank the Angels organization and Angels fans for welcoming and making us feel at home.”

Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: September 22, 2020 at 08:06 PM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: andrelton simmons, angels

Rob Manfred exclusive: Commissioner says MLB plans to have fans at NLCS, World Series

And now, with the postseason beginning Sept. 29, with an expanded 16-team format that Manfred has no interest in continuing under its current structure, there will be fans to provide authentic crowd noise, beginning with the NLCS on Oct. 12 at 40,300-seat Globe Life Field.

“We are pressing ahead to have fans in Texas,’’ said Manfred, with a ticket sales announcement expected soon. “One of the most important things to our game is the presence of fans. Starting down the path of having fans in stadiums, and in a safe and risk-free environment, is very, very important to our game.’’

Manfred would like the postseason to be expanded from 10 teams in the past to 14 in the future, which was discussed last winter, but not 16. The ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 22, 2020 at 03:32 PM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: coronavirus, expanded playoffs, rob manfred

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 9-22-2020

Seattle Star, September 22, 1920:

The chastity of baseball went on trial [in Chicago] today when the Cook county grand jury opened an active investigation of charges of “fixed games.”
Rube Benton, New York Giant pitcher, said to have been offered $750 by a Chicago player to throw a game; Heinie Zimmerman, Lee Magee and Hal Chase, former players, were also expected to be quizzed.
[Charles] Comiskey was expected to explain why bonus checks of eight White Sox players were held up last season and what his investigation of the world’s series scandal in 1919 produced.

Concerned Puppet dot JPEG.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: September 22, 2020 at 10:19 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

The Athletic: ‘You can’t own an idea’: Attempt to patent a baseball stat surprises community [$]

Sub required.

The first claim on the QOP patent is a long one, but you can read the whole thing if you like. You might notice that the claim begins with the mention of a ton of hardware, hardware that would be familiar to anyone who has followed along as Major League Baseball’s Advanced Media (MLBAM) arm has installed PITCHf/x, TrackMan, and then Hawk-Eye systems in order to improve the quality of their data. SportVision’s PITCHf/x is a video-based system, TrackMan is a doppler radar system, and Hawk-Eye is an “imaging system.”

The QOP patent describes a process that goes all the way from hardware to a display system, much like baseball’s statistics on BaseballSavant come all the way from the Hawk-Eye sensors to a ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 22, 2020 at 09:52 AM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: patent law, statistics

Passan: Inside a final week like MLB has never seen before

What happens if there’s a tie?

Are you sure you want to do this?

Should I not be?

Take a deep breath. This is gonna get a little messy.

Let’s start with the tiebreakers. Unlike years past, there will be no Game 163 (or Game 61). If there is a tie within a division—Marlins and Phillies for second in the East, any of the three Central teams for second in the division or a wild-card spot—the first tiebreaker is head-to-head record. If teams from different divisions are tied, the team with the better record against its own division gets the nod.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 22, 2020 at 09:01 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: tiebreakers

Monday, September 21, 2020

Dorktown: Send Luis Castillo’s 2000 season to Hollywood

In 2000, the average Major League player drove in about 0.125 runs per plate appearance. Luis Castillo of the Florida Marlins drove in about 0.072 runs per … hit. That’s right — in a year where he broke Jeff Conine’s then-franchise record for single-season hits, Castillo parlayed 180 of ’em into just 13 RBI.

In other words, you can pick out of a hat any of MLB’s 189,635 plate appearances from that season not taken by Castillo, and it would be expected to generate nearly twice as much run production as the average hit by Florida’s second baseman in 2000.

Now, his RBI total was a bit higher than 13, as he did drive in four runs on groundouts, giving him 17 RBI overall for the season.

So. 180 hits. 17 RBI. Trust me when I ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 21, 2020 at 10:48 PM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: luis castillo

Judge Sends Baseball Fans’ Suit Against Ticketmaster, StubHub to Arbitration

Baseball fans unhappy about COVID-19 ticket refund policies who bought their seats on Ticketmaster or StubHub will have to arbitrate their claims, a California federal judge has ruled.

Fans in April sued the league itself; each individual team; StubHub; and Ticketmaster and its parent, Live Nation….

U.S. District Judge Dale Fischer on Sept. 14 sided with the sites finding that the click-through agreements users interact with while signing into the site and buying tickets are sufficient to provide notice of the policy and constitute mutual assent to an arbitration agreement. Citing an unpublished 9th Circuit decision in another dispute involving Ticketmaster, Fischer notes the site’s Terms of Use ‘provided sufficient notice for ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 21, 2020 at 10:43 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: lawsuit

MLB officially cancels 2020 Arizona Fall League

The novel coronavirus pandemic has cancelled a lot of sporting events around the world in 2020, and now MLB’s annual Arizona Fall League for prospects has met the same fate, per this Baseball America article:

Specifically, MLB did not believe the AFL’s traditional facilities—Salt River Fields, Scottsdale Stadium, Surprise Stadium, Peoria Sports Complex, Sloan Park and Camelback Ranch—were well-suited to deal with 40-plus players as well as coaches and other staff members while still maintaining proper physical distancing.

Beyond that, many of the players who would have been considered for the AFL are already at the teams’ alternate sites and either preparing to enter playoff bubbles or head to the fall instructional league.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 21, 2020 at 10:31 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: arizona fall league

Seeding, not record, will determine who bats last in this year’s neutral-site World Series

The higher seeded team reaching the World Series will have last at-bats in Games 1 and 2 and if needed Games 6 and 7, not necessarily the team with the best record.

The specification was contained in the July 23 agreement between Major League Baseball and the players’ association to expand the playoffs following a regular season shortened due to the novel coronavirus. A copy of the deal was obtained by The Associated Press.

This year’s change means a No. 1 seed from one league with fewer regular-season wins than a lower seed from the other league would have the ``home-field advantage’’ for the World Series should they both win pennants. In the event both pennant winners have the same seed, regular-season winning percentage would decide ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 21, 2020 at 10:29 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: world series

Ken Giles To Undergo Tommy John Surgery

Blue Jays closer Ken Giles, plagued by arm injuries throughout the season, is headed for Tommy John surgery that will quite likely wipe out the entirety of his 2021 campaign as well. Giles first announced the move via his wife’s Instagram account, and Toronto skipper Charlie Montoyo has confirmed as much, per ESPN’s Marly Rivera (Twitter link).

Giles’ arm problems date back to last season, when elbow issues prevented him from changing hands around the 2019 deadline in July. Giles looked like a prime candidate to move before then, as he was among the majors’ most dominant relievers. Toronto had to retain the hard-throwing right-hander as a result of his health woes, and the club could now lose him for nothing in the next couple ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 21, 2020 at 06:09 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: ken giles, tommy john surgery

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 9-21-2020

Pittsburgh Press, September 21, 1920:

John A. Heydler and Ban B. Johnson, presidents of the National and American baseball leagues, are expected [in Chicago] tomorrow to testify before the county grand jury inquiring into alleged baseball gambling. Subpoenas for Rube Benton, New York Giants’ pitcher; Charles A. Comiskey, owner of the Chicago Whitesox; William Gleason, manager of the Sox; William L. Veek [sic], president of the Chicago Cubs, and Chicago baseball writers also were issued. Efforts to have Hal Chase, Heinie Zimmerman and Lee Magee, former players, testify will be made, it was said.

The world’s series of 1919 between the Whitesox and Cincinnati Nationals and the alleged “fixed” game of Aug. 31 between the Chicago Cubs and ...

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: September 21, 2020 at 10:07 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: black sox, dugout, history

The Cubs finished their worst offensive season ever at Wrigley Field. Can they just blame it on 2020?

But one glaring deficiency they’ve battled from the outset is a consistent inability to hit — particularly at Wrigley Field. The Cubs’ overall .226 batting average heading into Sunday night’s home finale against the Minnesota Twins was fourth-worst in the majors, and their .218 home average was better only than the Seattle Mariners’ .212 average at Safeco Field.

It’s an ongoing mystery that no one, including manager David Ross and President Theo Epstein, can explain.

This year’s group will finish with by far the lowest average in the ballpark’s 106-year history, a head-scratching problem that could doom the Cubs if it carries into the wild-card round.

For fans watching on TV, it’s almost incomprehensible. Even some ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 21, 2020 at 09:09 AM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs

Sunday, September 20, 2020

John Thorn: Lemons and Lovelies

With the introduction of the reserve clause in 1879 — at first enforced against only five players on each club, but soon enough against all — player contracts were agreements that revolved indefinitely. Accordingly, these pieces of paper were more valuable to team owners than the entirety of their municipal franchises. Indeed, even a disbanding club might sell off its reserved contracts as part of a liquidation move. John M. Ward’s 1887 article for Lippincott’s Magazine, “Is the Base-Ball Player a Chattel?” made the case for regarding the treatment of players with that of slaves (

In that year King Kelly of Chicago, the greatest star in the game, was sold by the Chicago White Stockings to ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 20, 2020 at 10:54 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: king kelly

How the O’s teach English as a second language to young Latin players

There were obstacles to overcome along the way.

“Some of our players have to go to a neighbor’s house just to get on their wifi and take their online class,” she said. “Many of our players prefer having a one-on-one interaction via Zoom and then studying on their own. The fact of trying to reach diverse learners with diverse learning skill sets and trying to bring that in through Zoom is difficult, but not impossible.

“As the weeks have passed, they feel much more comfortable. They are able to create their own Zoom calls and use online tools to create projects for their classes. We have to recognize those guys with their effort. At the end of the day they did it because they understood that it was good for their language ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 20, 2020 at 10:52 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: latino players, orioles

Rockies designate veteran reliever Wade Davis for assignment

The last member of the Rockies’ overpriced and underperforming relief pitching triumvirate signed before the 2018 season is out the door.

Veteran right-hander Wade Davis was designated for assignment Saturday, the team announced, in a move that signals the end of his time in Colorado. Davis began the season with a pair of saves at the Texas Rangers, but a strained right shoulder derailed his year and comeback attempt with the Rockies.

“He was a great presence on our team and a great mentor for a lot of our younger pitchers. He was one of our leaders,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “The shoulder woes started happening and he just really couldn’t recover totally.”

Davis, 35, was reinstated from the injured list in ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 20, 2020 at 10:49 PM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: rockies, wade davis

Theo Epstein would be perfect for Steve Cohen’s Mets

There usually is a new-owner syndrome to spend money immediately to make a mark, so do you — for example — think the agents for J.T. Realmuto, George Springer and other high-end players will wait to see what Cohen wants to do with his $14 billion even if a GM is not hired until, say, mid-November or not?

So the only question is: Does Cohen want Van Wagenen? If not, he could look into New York or New York-area-raised Mets fans like him, such as Indians GM Mike Chernoff (his first baseball job was as a $50-a-week Mets intern), Rangers GM Jon Daniels and Brewers GM David Stearns. All are qualified, with Stearns (who previously worked for the Mets) particularly intriguing and attractive.

Cohen’s hedge fund is facing a ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 20, 2020 at 10:46 PM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: mets, theo epstein

Why losing Justin Verlander marks beginning of the end of Astros’ sad legacy

In the big picture, I do wonder whether this is the end of the era, this run that started in 2015 and included the now-controversial 2017 World Series title and three straight 100-win seasons from 2017 to 2019. They will now be without Verlander for 2021, and George Springer, Michael Brantley, Yuli Gurriel and Josh Reddick are all free agents. Given the current stink hovering over the entire organization, what are the odds any of those players are wearing an Astros uniform in 2021? These guys are all 30-something, so the Astros would possibly go in another direction anyway.

Springer would be the one guy you would most want to bring back, but there’s a longstanding grudge between him and the organization after it tried to sign him to a ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 20, 2020 at 04:09 PM | 41 comment(s)
  Beats: astros

Verlander to undergo Tommy John surgery

Verlander, the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner, announced via his Instagram account on Saturday that he has decided to undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery—the first time in his long and accomplished career that he has needed the procedure. Verlander, who has not pitched since Opening Day in July, said he consulted with several doctors before reaching his decision.

“I was hopeful that I would be able to return to competition in 2020,” wrote Verlander, “however, during my simulated game, unfortunately the injury worsened. Obviously, I’m extremely disappointed, but I will not let this slow down my aspirations for my career. I will approach this rehab the only way I know, attack and don’t look back.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 20, 2020 at 04:07 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, justin verlander, tommy john surgery

Detroit Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire retires to immediately to focus on health

Ron Gardenhire mostly maintained his jovial demeanor this season. As recently as Friday night, he was needling a reporter while discussing a strategic decision from the late innings of a game.

Less than 24 hours later, Gardenhire announced his retirement. This year was taking more of a toll on the 62-year-old Detroit Tigers manager than he had let on.

As much as he enjoyed managing, Gardenhire said, he values his health more.

“It’s been wonderful here, but I also know I have to take care of myself,” said Gardenhire, who was nearing the end of his third season with the Tigers. “When you come to the ballpark and you’re stressed out all day and your hands are shaking, that’s not fun. I’ve got grandbabies. I’ve got kids that I need to take ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 20, 2020 at 04:07 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: ron gardenhire

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Friday, September 18, 2020

Expanded playoffs beyond 2020? Inside the MLB push — and the pushback

But, in a post-pandemic era, the prospect of additional MLB revenue from an expanded postseason has gone from “we’d like it” to “we need it.” As a high-profile example, the New York Yankees’ ticket revenue next year could be down 33% from last year, and ticket sales might not fully recover until 2024, according to Fitch, the credit rating agency, which this week evaluated a Yankee Stadium bond refinancing.

That provides the players with some rare clout in labor talks. The players union must approve any playoff expansion, and it is no secret how badly the owners want that money. The league included an expanded postseason in each of the four offers it made the union in return-to-play negotiations. After negotiations failed and ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 18, 2020 at 04:52 PM | 32 comment(s)
  Beats: expanded playoffs

White Sox Promote Garrett Crochet

In an eye-opening promotion, the White Sox have selected the contract of left-hander Garrett Crochet, general manager Rick Hahn announced to reporters today (Twitter link via Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times). Chicago drafted the 21-year-old lefty out of Tennessee with the 11th overall pick of the 2020 draft. Righty Evan Marshall is going on the 10-day injured list with shoulder inflammation, which opens an active roster spot. Right-hander Ian Hamilton was designated for assignment to open a spot on the 40-man roster.

It’s obviously of the utmost rarity for a prospect to skip the minor leagues entirely, which Crochet will be doing in the absence of a conventional minor league season.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 18, 2020 at 03:45 PM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: garrett crochet, white sox

Roger Angell Turns One Hundred

Above all, Roger Angell is best known as the bard of baseball; he was honored by the Baseball Hall of Fame, in Cooperstown, in 2014—alongside his pal and source, Joe Torre. He had a long career in the press box. Around the time the Beatles were still playing the Cavern Club, Roger set off for Florida to cover his first spring training. In those days, the players and managers were willing to spend hours explaining the intricacies of the game to a sympathetic listener. And that is what Roger did—at Fenway and Shea, in the Bronx and Chavez Ravine: he listened. And Roger, a person as complicated as any other, created a fan’s voice, a joyous voice, full of exclamation and wonder. He has always been an ace describer who could portray the ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 18, 2020 at 03:42 PM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: roger angell

Clint Frazier’s Patience Pays Off For the Yankees

As you can see, Frazier spread his hits around the field. Though his pull percentage through Wednesday (42.0%) is close to his career mark (40.3%), he’s doing a better job of taking advantage of Yankee Stadium’s short right field porch than ever. Three of this year’s seven homers have come that way, though all of them had estimated distances of at least 374 feet. He’s as likely if not more so to go deep to his pull side; three of this year’s homers have gone to left or left center in the Bronx, and from among his 23 career homers, the balance is 12 to the pull side and seven to the opposite side.

And lest you worry too much that Frazier is merely loading up in garbage time — as was admittedly the case on Tuesday given the ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 18, 2020 at 03:41 PM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: clint frazier, yankees

Minnesota Twins’ Josh Donaldson ejected for kicking dirt at plate after homer

The Minnesota Twins’ Josh Donaldson managed to get ejected while hitting a home run.

Donaldson barked at plate umpire Dan Bellino for the second time in the sixth inning of a 4-3 loss to the Chicago White Sox on Thursday. With Minnesota trailing 3-2, Bellino called a strike when the 2015 American League MVP checked his swing on a 2-0 pitch from Reynaldo Lopez.

Twins manager Rocco Baldelli came out to speak with Bellino, and Donaldson homered down the left-field line on the next offering. After rounding the bases, Donaldson kicked dirt at home plate as he crossed it.

Bellino ejected him immediately, and Donaldson, realizing he had missed home plate, returned to the plate to touch it and then argued as he kicked more dirt on it.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 18, 2020 at 03:39 PM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: josh donaldson

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