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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?

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Report: Blue Jays Exploring Possibility of Home Games in Buffalo

The Toronto Blue Jays have reached out to their Triple-A affiliate, the Buffalo Bisons, about possibly playing their home games in Buffalo this summer, according to the Buffalo News’ Mike Harrington.

The Blue Jays are currently holding their workouts in Toronto, but while Canadian health officials provided the club for clearance for summer camp, the team is yet to obtain approval for regular-season games.

Toronto players are currently being quarantined at a Marriott hotel that is connected to the Rogers Centre.

The team’s spring training facility in Dunedin, Fla., appears to be another option for the club if it is unable to obtain clearance and play games in Toronto, though with COVID-19 cases spiking in Florida, that provides its own ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 12, 2020 at 03:40 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: blue jays

White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper concerned about Michael Kopech

Michael Kopech’s decision to not play baseball this season remains a mystery because Kopech hasn’t spoken — not to teammates and not to his pitching coach, who knows the prized right-hander is healthy.

But Don Cooper says he is concerned.

“I don’t know what is going on with Michael, but I know he deals with some anxiety and depression, and my thought is, I sure hope he’s OK,” Cooper told the Chicago Sun-Times on Saturday. “And I hope he gets to where he needs to be, where he’s feeling good and wants to come back, because we will welcome him back with open arms.”

Knowing Kopech, 24, has openly discussed his anxiety and depression issues makes Cooper a bit uneasy. On an encouraging note, Kopech talked about being on ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 12, 2020 at 03:26 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: michael kopech

Padres Release Brian Dozier

The Padres have released second baseman Brian Dozier, as per the team’s official Twitter feed.  Dozier signed a minor league deal with the organization back in February, and wasn’t included on San Diego’s initial 60-man player pool at the start of Summer Camp.  As per’s AJ Cassavell, Dozier could opt out of his deal on July 18 if he hadn’t been added to the roster.

It seemed like the Padres had simply decided to move on from Dozier, particularly after acquiring Jorge Mateo from the A’s to further bolster the second base position (though Mateo is currently in isolation after a positive coronavirus test).  Even with Mateo recovering, San Diego still has a fair amount of second base depth, with Jurickson Profar slated to ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 12, 2020 at 03:10 PM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: brian dozier

Jay Jackson arrested for marijuana

There’s a lot to unpack here.

According to the NHK story, Jackson was arrested in the predawn hours of Friday in a parking lot in Hiroshima’s Minami Ward. Operating on an anonymous tip, the Hiroshima police on Tuesday searched his apartment in Chiba, just east of Tokyo on Tuesday, when they found bottles containing liquid cannabis.

Considering the situation, one of the following seems likely to have happened:

Jackson was breaking the law by possessing illegal substances, and someone in Hiroshima who wanted to shut him up about the child custody case ratted him out.
Jackson willingly purchased the illegal substances from someone who then ratted him out in order to shut him up abut the child custody case.
Jackson unwillingly received ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 12, 2020 at 11:33 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: japan

A Conversation with Cincinnati Reds Pitching Coordinator Kyle Boddy

Laurila: What was your role in the amateur draft?

Boddy: “I was more involved in the non-drafted process. By the nature of only having five rounds, there was only so much work to do. But I helped with mechanical breakdowns and video work, as well as character references.

“On the non-drafted side, I was extremely involved in recruiting. There were a lot of Zoom calls. A lot of these kids have 10-plus options — teams are trying to sign everyone — so I was explaining to them why the Reds are a good fit. We prepared a 25-page recruiting pamphlet, with a ton of GIFs. It was what we do and how we do it, who works here. I prepared all that documentation. We probably talked to 25 or so kids, answering questions and providing ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 12, 2020 at 11:29 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: kyle boddy

Former catcher, longtime coach Mike Ryan dies at 78

Mike Ryan, the backup catcher on the Boston Red Sox’s 1967 “Impossible Dream” team during a 35-year career in professional baseball, has died. He was 78.

The Red Sox said Ryan died in his sleep on Tuesday in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire.

A native of Haverhill, Massachusetts, Ryan appeared in 636 games with the Red Sox, Philadelphia Phillies and Pittsburgh Pirates from 1964 to 1974. He was Boston’s backup catcher for the American League championship team in 1967, going hitless in his only two World Series at-bats when the Red Sox lost to the St. Louis Cardinals in seven games.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 12, 2020 at 11:26 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: mike ryan, obituatries, red sox

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Aroldis Chapman tests positive with mild symptoms

Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman will not be with the team “for the foreseeable future” after testing positive for COVID-19, manager Aaron Boone said on Saturday.

Boone said that the six-time All-Star is experiencing “mild symptoms but overall is doing well.” The 32-year-old Chapman will have to receive two negative tests over a 24-hour period before he can rejoin the Yankees.

Chapman has been working out at Yankee Stadium since Sunday, having tossed twice in the bullpen following a delayed arrival. He had not yet participated in the club’s intrasquad games, and Boone said that he does not believe that the situation will lead to more positive tests on the roster.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 11, 2020 at 04:02 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: aroldis chapman, coronavirus

Will MLB’s Testing Plan Sink Its Season?

“The biggest issue is a delay in getting results back,” says Andrew Pekosz, a professor of immunology and microbiology at Johns Hopkins. “Obviously, shipping samples, having them analyzed and then having the data sent back is all going to put extra time in between a test and telling someone the results.”

But the need to build in shipping time and the potential for delays are not the only obstacles. By relying on a single lab, MLB has streamlined its system, but it’s also centralized its risk: If there’s a problem that causes a backlog, it will affect all teams’ tests. And SMRTL, as a drug-testing laboratory, is now getting accustomed with new instruments and test methods, which can increase the chances of those problems.


RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 11, 2020 at 04:01 PM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: coronavirus

Friday, July 10, 2020

How quickly did San Francisco realize that Candlestick Park was a debacle?

Subscription required, but this is fantastic.

In the Chronicle on May 15, 1960, a Giants official anonymously conceded the heating system’s uselessness, but it was in an article about a much different problem. The article appears to be the first instance of the phrase “Cardiac Hill,” which was used to describe the brutal climb that was required to enter the ballpark at all. Just a month after Candlestick opened, columnist Art Rosenbaum coined the phrase while writing about a rumor that the Giants were going to be forced to consider a $1 million “traveling sidewalk,” among other improvements.

If you think the term “Cardiac Hill” was a cutesy, playful moniker, consider this headline from the very next day:

6th Cardiac At ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 10, 2020 at 06:23 PM | 26 comment(s)
  Beats: candlestick park

Giants catcher Buster Posey opts out of 2020 MLB season

an Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey became Major League Baseball’s most celebrated position player to opt out of the 2020 season, formally announced his decision Friday morning after deliberating the past three days.

Making his announcement Friday, Posey said that he and his wife had recently adopted twin girls who were born prematurely.

Posey, a member of the Giants’ three World Series championship teams and the 2012 National League MVP, was unsure he’d play this season when he arrived to camp last week. The 33-year-old missed three of the team’s 10 workouts as he weighed his decision.

“It would be a little bit maybe naive or silly not to gauge what’s going on around you,’’ Posey said on a conference call Saturday. ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 10, 2020 at 12:12 PM | 39 comment(s)
  Beats: buster posey, coronavirus

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-10-2020

[Indianapolis] Indiana Daily Times, July 10, 1920:

Pitcher Art Smith of the Rockford Three-I league team assaulted Umpire (Scully) Jones in Friday’s game, breaking Jones’ nose. Bleacher spectators threw pop bottles at Smith when he was ejected from the park. Smith had announced his intention of quitting the Rockford club to join a semi-professional team at Kansas City.

You’d think he would pretty much have to leave organized baseball after violently booping an umpire’s snoot, but Smith was back in 1921. He spent 1921-1924 as a first baseman in the International and Pacific Coast Leagues. As Scully Jones could tell you, Art Smith was a pretty good hitter, but his statistics don’t scream “guy who was unjustly held back from the majors.” ...Read More...

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: July 10, 2020 at 10:29 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, screw you guys i'm going home

MLB Is Trying to Get a Grip on Foreign Substances. What Does That Mean for Pitchers?

No players I surveyed seem to disagree with Bauer’s estimate that 70 percent of pitchers are using foreign substances that are technically disallowed—unless it’s to say that 70 percent seems low. “If they start to crack down on it there will be so many suspensions, unfortunately,” says one MLB pitcher. “We all know the number of players who use it is easily above 70 percent. After the Astros scandal this would just make MLB look even worse, in my opinion.”

Then again, not suspending players involved in the sign-stealing scheme was part of what made the league look so bad. One important purpose of the memo appears to be covering MLB’s ass in the event of a foreign-substance scandal. The last paragraph makes it clear that ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 10, 2020 at 09:27 AM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: foreign substances, wet rag

Steve Cohen puts in $2B bid on Mets, Alex Rodriguez-Jennifer Lopez still in hunt

The first round of bids for the Mets are in — and for starters Steve Cohen appears to have made the highest offer.

Cohen, the hedge-fund billionaire who had previously offered $2.6 billion only to see the deal fall apart at the 11th hour, delivered the Wilpons an offer for $2 billion this time, according to a Fox Business report. That report stated Cohen is also willing to offer an additional $2 billion to also acquire SNY.

Cohen’s bid wasn’t the only one to come in before Thursday’s deadline.

Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez have their necessary funding and made a bid that is likely good enough to keep them in the game, sources told The Post.

The former Yankee slugger’s bidding group offered around $1.7 billion, two sources ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 10, 2020 at 09:03 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: alex rodriguez, mets, steve cohen

Report: MLB didn’t test players for COVID-19 coming back from D.R.

Jesse Dougherty of The Washington Post reports that Major League Baseball didn’t test players or staff for COVID-19 on two chartered flights from the Dominican Republic. In the time since, multiple players have tested positive for COVID-19. Other players on those flights are isolating.

Twins first baseman Miguel Sanó and several members of the Nationals were among the players on those flights. Sanó as well as an unknown player tested positive during intake testing last week. Juan Soto, Victor Robles, Wander Suero, Fernando Abad, Luis Garcia and Joan Adon are currently isolating in Washington, D.C.

An MLB spokesman said that there were obstacles to overcome, namely that tests are more scarce in the D.R. and governmental restrictions ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 10, 2020 at 09:02 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: coronavirus

Nick Markakis has opted out of 2020 season

In announcing his decision, Markakis said, “with everything that’s going on not just in baseball but in the world, it makes you open your eyes. I’ve got three kids that I’ve missed for 11 years now.” He added that he recently spoke with teammate Freddie Freeman — who has COVID-19 and has been quite sick — calling it “tough and eye opening . . . he didn’t sound good.” Markakis said that “the decision I’m making to sit out this year is the right one for me and my family.”

Mayor Blomberg Posted: July 10, 2020 at 06:27 AM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: atlanta braves, covid-19,

Thursday, July 09, 2020

MLB Owners Will Look For Ways To Recover Millions In Lost Revenue

First, expansion would bring a minimum of $1 billion to be split among the existing owners. That would be the floor of what expansion owners would have to pay to become members of one of the most private clubs in the world. After all, there are currently only 30 team membership groups owning major league franchises.

Secondly, expansion would offer the opportunity to balance baseball’s two leagues to an even number of 16 teams per league. That would make scheduling and travel easier….

Baseball will no longer be shy or reticent about partnerships with legalized gambling. More and more states are permitting sports wagering through both online and in-person methods. Casinos abound and are thriving. Betting sites can be easily found and ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 09, 2020 at 02:20 PM | 33 comment(s)
  Beats: expansion, gambling

MLB announces 2021 regular season schedule

Opening Day will feature 10 divisional match-ups among the 15 games in addition to three Interleague contests, featuring the Tampa Bay Rays at the Miami Marlins, the Minnesota Twins visiting the Milwaukee Brewers and the San Francisco Giants at the Seattle Mariners. Six games are scheduled for Friday, April 2nd, a full slate of 15 games will be played on Saturday, April 3rd, and Sunday April 4th will include 13 contests.

Interleague Play throughout the season will feature the AL East vs. NL East, AL Central vs. NL Central and AL West vs. NL West. The New York Mets will host the New York Yankees at Citi Field from September 10th-12th, marking the first time the New York franchises will play each other on September 11th as MLB observes its ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 09, 2020 at 01:50 PM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: schedule

There’s a multi-part 30 for 30 on the 1986 Mets coming to ESPN, with Jimmy Kimmel and Cousin Sal involved as executive producers

Here’s more from ESPN’s release:

ESPN Films today announced the group is in production on an upcoming project centered on the 1986 Mets, one of baseball’s most dominant and iconoclastic teams, whose legendary World Series comeback was merely the climax of an epic tale of ambition and swagger set in a city that was synonymous with excess.

Executive produced by Jimmy Kimmel, Sal “Cousin Sal” Iacono, Kimmelot’s Scott Lonker, ITV’s Jordana Hochman and MLB’s Nick Trotta, and directed by Nick Davis (“Ted Williams: ‘The Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived’”), the multi-part documentary will feature hours of never-before-seen footage of the ‘86 Mets team, a team of larger-than-life characters whose exploits on and off the ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 09, 2020 at 01:48 PM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: 30 for 30

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-9-2020

Water Valley [Mississippi] Progress-Itemizer, July 9, 1920:

Carl Mays tells a story of how the Cleveland team stole signs to their own detriment against the Boston Red Sox. The Indians sent a couple of “sign hawks” out on the lines and grabbed off what they believed to be the right signs.

The Red Sox, however, switched their signs and the Cleveland batters stepping in to meet fast balls were beaned by curves until several had been hit.

At last one Cleveland batter stepped in and, never looking at the coaches, yelled: “Don’t tell me what they’re throwing; I don’t want to know, I don’t want to get hit.”

I’m not saying Mays was making this up. I’m just saying that Cleveland hadn’t had multiple hit-by-pitches in the same regular season game ...

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: July 09, 2020 at 10:19 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: beanballs, carl mays, dugout, history, llamas with hats

To bunt, or not? How to handle new rule in extras

2. For the hitting team: Is a sacrifice bunt a good idea?
Well, that depends. Is a runner on third with one out better than a runner on second with no outs? Who’s hitting and pitching? And, most importantly, are you the home team or the road team?

If you’re the home team in a tied extra-inning game, one run is enough to win, no matter how you get it. But if you’re the road team, you can’t simply assume one run will be all you’ll need—you still need to defend that lead in the bottom of the inning, and larger leads are obviously better. And if you’re the home team down by multiple runs, you really don’t want to give up one of your three outs.

All of this makes home vs. road an important difference; think of this like how it works in ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 09, 2020 at 10:18 AM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: extra innings rule

MLB.TV costs $59.99 for the 60-game season

Major League Baseball will feature a shortened 60-game season in 2020, as well as empty (or at least mostly empty) stadiums, if they’re even able to complete the season amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

You may have thought that this situation would lead to MLB.TV the being a bargain for the 2020 season (and that would certainly be a way to attract fans in these difficult times), but that’s not the case.

MLB.TV has set its price at $59.99 for its main package, featuring every team’s out-of-market games. Before everything was shut down in March, the streaming service was listed at $121.99 for the 162-game season (there was a monthly option for $24.99/month).

So, do the per-game math, and the new MLB.TV price is actually a worse value. ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 09, 2020 at 09:56 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: mlbtv

Wednesday, July 08, 2020

Trump wants tax breaks to lure baseball fans back, but the incentive could misfire with attendance still barred

Senior White House economic official Larry Kudlow told reporters last week that the administration wants to approve new tax breaks for baseball games to encourage Americans to return to the ballpark.

The next day, Minor League Baseball announced it would play no additional games this year because of the coronavirus pandemic. The future of Major League Baseball looks up in the air, too, with several league stars opting out of the season recently over fears of spreading the virus and the Washington Nationals and the Houston Astros canceling workouts on Monday due to problems with testing. Fans won’t even be allowed to attend the truncated baseball season when it starts later this month, at least initially.

“It’s a little weird to see the ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 08, 2020 at 03:34 PM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: coronavirus

Marcus Hayes: Zack Wheeler, Mike Trout consider opting out, abandoning their teams and the game

None of the players who have chosen to extend their vacation has been deemed high-risk, but most cite protecting people with whom they live. There’s a solution to that.

Move out.

You might miss a birth, or the first few weeks of your kid’s life, or back-to-school 2020. But you will be protected, and you will be tested, and you will be doing your job.

Because that’s what it is. A job. Players were hired to comprise a team with the goal of winning a championship, no matter how asterisked the season becomes. These players were hired to display their skills and drive an industry.

If that sounds insensitive, consider the battleship cruises that separate people from their husbands and wives and parents and children for months, with ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 08, 2020 at 02:01 PM | 27 comment(s)
  Beats: coronavirus

2020 MLB schedule: The 10 matchups, games and series we want to watch most

There are so many subplots just waiting to be revealed as the new season gets underway, but here are the dates we have circled in red on our baseball-watching calendar:

1. New York Yankees at Washington Nationals (July 23): The official season opener couldn’t be any better. The Yankees get to show off their $324 million ace Gerrit Cole against (most likely) three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer and the defending World Series champions.

2. Los Angeles Dodgers at Houston Astros (July 28-29). There will be more trash cans than fans in Minute Maid Park for the long-awaited World Series rematch from 2017. Will the Dodgers feel they have some unfinished business to settle after the Astros sign-stealing scandal may have cost them a ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 08, 2020 at 12:46 PM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: schedule

Indians keep Franmil Reyes away from summer camp for not wearing mask at party

The Cleveland Indians are keeping outfielder Franmil Reyes away from training camp after they spotted him on social media attending a weekend holiday party without wearing a mask.

Manager Terry Francona said Reyes is not in any trouble with the team. But by not practicing social distancing or wearing a mask he exposed himself—and his teammates—to infection, and the team is being overly cautious.

Francona said Reyes, who was traded to Cleveland last season from San Diego, will have to be retested for the virus “when it’s appropriate.”

“He’s not in the penalty box,” Francona said. “It’s just the way we have to operate right now. So, hopefully we’ll see him soon.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 08, 2020 at 12:45 PM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: franmil reyes

Trevor Bauer wants to start every fourth day in 60-game season, and the Reds might let him

Reds right-hander Trevor Bauer has in the past stumped to be part of a four-man rotation, or least start every fourth day himself. That wish is unlikely to be granted during a normal 162-game season, but the 2020 regular season will span just 60 games because of the COVID-19 pandemic. That means the time may be nigh for Bauer to take the bump every fourth day.

As Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports, that might be just what happens. Via Nightengale:

The question looming throughout preseason camp is how much is enough for Bauer in the starting rotation. Pitching coach Derek Johnson said he was considering using Bauer as a starter every fourth day, something Bauer has advocated for, instead of the typical five days.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 08, 2020 at 12:44 PM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: trevor bauer

Five things MLB can do right now to confront systemic racism

But when we ask organizations about the lack of diversity in certain positions or why there persists a culture impacted by significant bias both overt and in the shadows, there are few answers. Yes, it’s an emotional issue, rooted in long-established systemic biases that can be tough to quantify, but we have developed many social models for a whole host of other circumstances. Why not turn those analytical minds toward this goal of diversity? Or use analytics to understand how the system can perpetuate disparity? After all, there are aspects to it that are indeed equations. Bias is measurable when it comes to outcomes. We have statistical data points. We spend so much time on economic value and on outcome value on the field that we tend to ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 08, 2020 at 10:46 AM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: racism

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-8-2020

Sacramento Union, July 8, 1920:

“Babe” Ruth, champion home run hitter of the New York American League baseball team, was slightly injured in an automobile accident near Wawa, Pa., early [yesterday].
Ruth was at the wheel of his big touring car. In rounding a sharp curve near Wawa the car overturned. The occupants were thrown out in a lonely section at 2 a.m. Making their way to a farm house they had their injuries dressed and were brought to Philadelphia in another motor car. Later they took a train for New York.
Ruth told Mrs. Coates Coleman, wife of the farmer to whose house the party was taken, that he had turned out of the road to make way for a car approaching rapidly and his car went into the ditch. It overturned and the ...

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: July 08, 2020 at 10:31 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, dui, history

Tuesday, July 07, 2020

Braves could ditch ‘Tomahawk Chop,’ but won’t change name

The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports that the Braves are internally discussing whether or not to continue encouraging the use of the “Tomahawk Chop,” a rallying cry used by Braves fans at Truist Park. To do the “Tomahawk Chop,” fans imitate a Native American chant and wave a foam tomahawk or an empty hand back and forth. It is usually prompted by music played over the public address system.

MLB’s Braves and Indians, as well as the NFL’s Redskins and Chiefs and the NHL’s Blackhawks have received criticism in recent years for the use of Indian names and iconography. Last week, due to pressure from FedEx which holds the naming rights to their stadium, the Washington football team said it “will undergo a thorough review of ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 07, 2020 at 05:39 PM | 57 comment(s)
  Beats: braves

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