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Tuesday, May 18, 2021


Twins broadcasters miffed at White Sox for swinging at 3-0 eephus pitch in blowout

On Monday night, the Chicago White Sox did what they’ve been doing all season long…beating up the Minnesota Twins. Trailing 15-4 in the top of the 9th inning, the Twins sent catcher Willians Astudillo to the mound. Their fifth pitcher on the evening, the team clearly decided to consider this game a lost cause and go with a position player instead of wasting an inning from someone on their staff. Fair enough. With two outs, Astudillo was facing Yermin Mercedes when he got behind 3-0 on the count. Assuming that Mercedes would let the next pitch go, Astudillo effectively threw an eephus pitch, which Mercedes promptly clocked into centerfield for a solo home run.

After a little bit of bemused chuckling, the Twins broadcast went silent as ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 18, 2021 at 02:28 PM | 72 comment(s)
  Beats: twins, unwritten rules, yermin mercedes

Spike Lee to Executive Produce Derek Jeter Docuseries for ESPN


ESPN Films is teaming up with Spike Lee and Derek Jeter for an upcoming docuseries about the former Major League Baseball star’s career with the New York Yankees.

The multi-part series, titled “The Captain,” is set to debut on ESPN and the streaming service ESPN+ in 2022. Here is the network’s full description:

Derek Jeter’s arrival with the New York Yankees helped transform a struggling franchise into a storied dynasty, all within a time of great change in New York City. As Jeter forged a Hall of Fame career, he established himself as the model Yankee both on- and off-the field, with his style, class, and charisma. Jeter’s commitment to winning came with a rare combination of competiveness and cool, traits he has taken ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 18, 2021 at 02:12 PM | 57 comment(s)
  Beats: derek jeter

Bucs ‘70s star Rennie Stennett dies

Rennie Stennett, who set a Major League record that still stands by going 7-for-7 in a nine-inning game and played nine of his 11 seasons as a second baseman for the Pirates, died Tuesday after a battle with cancer. He was 72.

Stennett played for the Pirates from 1971-79, including for the World Series champions in ‘79. He did not play in the ‘71 postseason as Pittsburgh won the World Series that year.

“We are saddened by the loss of such a beloved member of the Pirates family. Rennie was a great player on the field, and an even better person off of it,” Pirates president Travis Williams said. “A member of our World Series championships in both 1971 and 1979 who remained a very active and cherished member of our Alumni Association, ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 18, 2021 at 01:10 PM | 25 comment(s)
  Beats: obituaries, pirates, rennie stennett

A 27-strikeout no-hitter? ‘No big deal’

Ron Necciai, now 88 years old and living in Florida, almost seemed amused that I, and others, still want to talk about an unreal game he pitched back in 1952.

“I still get cards, letters and pictures to sign,” Necciai told me over a recent phone call. “Yeah, surprisingly. It’s unbelievable. I haven’t played in 70 years.”

I mean, Necciai really can’t blame anybody for reaching out. 69 years ago, he pitched one of the more ridiculous games in organized baseball history.

The Pirates Minor Leaguer, at just 19 years old, struck out 27 batters, while giving up no hits, in a regulation nine innings. It’s the only time that’s ever been done at the professional level.

Necciai was as shocked as anybody that he pulled it off, always thinking he ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 18, 2021 at 10:17 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: history

Oakland A’s officials plan to tour Las Vegas next week

Oakland Athletics officials will visit Southern Nevada next week to explore moving the Major League Baseball club to Las Vegas.

A group headed by A’s president and co-owner Dave Kaval will meet with area government officials over several days, sources confirmed.

The A’s also are said to be lining up a prominent government relations firm to assist in the fact-finding mission.

Las Vegas is one of six cities that have been mentioned as possible suitors for the A’s, who have failed to make satisfactory progress in getting a new ballpark built in Oakland or its surrounding area.

That was the same scenario that resulted in the NFL’s Raiders relocating from Oakland to Las Vegas.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 18, 2021 at 09:59 AM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, las vegas

Monday, May 17, 2021

Jameson Taillon’s road to recovery took him down baseball’s new path

As he went through it, Boddy read about what Tezuka called the “elbow spiral” motion, or, in essence, a shorter arm path. It was a common throwing motion seen in professional pitchers in Japan, which Boddy theorized was caused by the great volume of throwing they did. In the text, Tezuka advocated for the shorter arm path, in which the initial, back-side part of the motion does not extend the arm toward second base as Taillon did; rather, it kept the arm nearer the body. It was more like how a quarterback threw.

In technical terms, the core concept married external, or outward, shoulder rotation to supination of the arm, meaning the forearm was in a forward-facing, more relaxed position. Supination is the opposite of pronation, the ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 17, 2021 at 11:10 PM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: jameson taillon, kyle boddy

That was fast: Cole snaps week-old record

Gerrit Cole claimed a remarkable Major League record early in Monday’s start against the Rangers at Globe Life Field.

The Yankees’ ace ran his strikeout tally to 61 batters between walks, marking the longest single-season streak since the mound was moved to its current distance in 1893.

Cole equaled, then surpassed a mark of 58 strikeouts between walks that was set last Thursday by the Brewers’ Corbin Burnes. Cole struck out three in the first inning, tying Burnes with a punchout of Nate Lowe and then breaking the record by fanning Joey Gallo to end the frame.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 17, 2021 at 11:03 PM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: gerrit cole

The San Francisco Giants’ 2010s Dynasty Didn’t Follow The Rules. Neither Has Their Rebuild.

A team rising from No. 23 to No. 1 in rotation strength is pretty unprecedented. Since the dawn of the expansion era in 1961, the biggest year-over-year improvement for a team who ranked first in starting pitching WAR came from the 1980 Philadelphia Phillies, who had ranked 21st in 1979. (They and the 1971 Chicago White Sox are the only teams in the era to go from outside the top 16 in rotation WAR to No. 1 overall the following season.) Even if the Giants’ rotation fell to second place, they would join the 2009 Atlanta Braves, 1989 California Angels and 2020 Philadelphia Phillies as the only teams to rise to No. 2 in rotation WAR from No. 23 or worse the season before.

Either way, it’s been a significant turnaround. And what’s ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 17, 2021 at 11:00 PM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: giants

Huascar Ynoa breaks hand, will miss at least two months

Huascar Ynoa dealt a blow to the dugout bench in Milwaukee Sunday, and in doing so, dealt a bigger blow to himself and his team.


Ynoa, frustrated following one of his few uninspiring outings, punched a dugout bench and broke his right hand, manager Brian Snitker said Monday. Ynoa will miss at least two months. He was officially placed on the 10-day injured list with a fractured right hand before Monday’s series opener against the Mets.

“That’s a tough one,” Snitker said. “He got frustrated after his outing yesterday and punched the seat in the dugout and broke his hand. It’s going to be a couple months that he’ll be down, then we’ll have to get him built back up. I hate to see that. The young guy was doing so well. ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 17, 2021 at 04:38 PM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, huascar ynoa

Baseball America [$]: ‘It’s Awful’: Sloppy Play Rampant Across Minors After Unprecedented Layoff

Hitters are working to get their timing back. Pitchers are struggling with command and control issues. As of mid May, 41% of all plate appearances in the minors are resulting in a walk, strikeout or hit-by pitch (the MLB rate is 34 %). Both the current walk rate (12% of all plate appearances) and the current strikeout rate (28% of all plate appearances) are far beyond the rate ever seen before at any time in the minor leagues. In 2019, the minors set previous highs with a 24% strikeout rate and a 9% walk rate. So this year, another 9% of plate appearances are resulting in walks or strikeouts.

Put in different terms, if a minor league pitcher is walking 4.5 batters per nine innings and striking out 11 per nine innings, he’s right on the ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 17, 2021 at 03:02 PM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: minor leagues


Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 5-17-2021

Rock Island Argus, May 17, 1921:

When Everett Scott, captain of the Red Sox, takes the field against the Browns at St. Louis today, he will have participated in 700 consecutive American league games…Scott started his record June 20, 1916, and has not been out of the Red Sox lineup at shortstop since.
...
Fred Luderus of the Philadelphia Nationals, who in 1919 completed 533 consecutive games, held the previous modern record for continuous play…

Meanwhile, Henry Louis Gehrig was on the verge of graduating from Commerce High School and heading off to Columbia University.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: May 17, 2021 at 01:47 PM | 73 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Manny Machado completed a dangerous and unnecessary slide, and MLB fans were incensed

Manny Machado’s base running is in question, again. The San Diego Padres slugger put an opposing player, Cardinals second baseman Tommy Edman, in harm’s way during a game on Sunday.

With Edman fielding a grounder, he went for a tag on Machado, who was headed to second. After that, Edman likely would’ve gone for the double play with a throw to first. Thing is, Edman couldn’t make the throw because Machado slid into Edman’s legs — in the middle of the base path. At least, Machado checked on Edman afterward.

Is it illegal, by rules? No. Machado can do what he wants within the lines of the base path to avoid getting tagged. Is it unethical and sketchy? Absolutely. If it were any other player, we might not be talking about the ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 17, 2021 at 01:21 PM | 64 comment(s)
  Beats: manny machado

Reds fan helped Nick Castellanos troll Rob Manfred in TV interview

The Cincinnati Reds outfielder offered a fist-bump to a fan seated next to the visiting dugout after blasting a game-tying home run in the third inning of Saturday’s 12-inning win over the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field.

During his post-game interview on the field, Castellanos, who was suspended two games in April by MLB for inciting a benches-clearing incident, handed the headset to the same fan for an explanation of their celebration.

“So, I told Nick when he got up there that he should imagine that [MLB commissioner] Rob Manfred’s face was on the baseball,” the unidentified fan – who was wearing a Reds jersey — told Bally Sports Ohio. “And the next pitch, he lit it up over the fence, baby… Whatever it takes.”

...
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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 17, 2021 at 08:50 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: nick castellanos

Sunday, May 16, 2021

Joe Girardi, Jean Segura have confrontation as Philadelphia Phillies lose to Toronto Blue Jays

The injury-depleted Philadelphia Phillies lost a game, another player and their temper.

Television cameras showed a confrontation in the dugout between Phillies manager Joe Girardi and second baseman Jean Segura during Sunday’s 10-8 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays.

Segura committed two errors. One miscue came in the first inning when Segura misplayed a soft one-hopper by Randal Grichuk.

“That’s a bench conversation, meant for the bench,” said Girardi, who was asked about a half-dozen times about the incident. “You can ask all you want; you got everything you’re going to get about it. I’m done with it.”

At one point, Segura had to be restrained by coach Dusty Wathan.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 16, 2021 at 09:54 PM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: jean segura, joe girardi, phillies

The Detroit Tigers Should Be Better Than This By Now

The one thing we can say with certainty right now is that the Tigers are approaching a point where something’s gotta give. Whether you view the rebuild as starting in 2015 or ’17, we’re far enough in that we should be seeing glimmers of hope for the future, but instead the Tigers seem to be on track for another historically bad season, in a line of dismal, disheartening seasons. Were the franchise still under Mike Ilitch, it would be a good bet that there would be a midseason leadership change. In 2017, Dave Dombrowski was fired in early August as the team struggled through the latter part of summer. Al Avila has been given ample opportunity to prove himself at this juncture, and his job seems the likeliest to be in jeopardy.

What ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 16, 2021 at 09:52 PM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: detroit tigers

Free agent Albert Pujols, Los Angeles Dodgers agree to major-league contract

Future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols has a new home, agreeing to a major-league contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers on Saturday, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.

The person spoke to USA TODAY Sports on the condition of anonymity because the team had not yet announced the deal.

Pujols, 41, was designated for assignment by the Los Angeles Angels earlier in May and became a free agent after clearing waivers.  Pujols was in the final year of a 10-year deal he signed with the Angels prior to the 2012 season and the team is still on the hook for his $30 million 2021 salary – while the Dodgers will only pay Pujols a prorated league minimum.

The Dodgers, who were hitting just .217 against left-handed pitchers this ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 16, 2021 at 09:50 PM | 57 comment(s)
  Beats: albert pujols, dodgers

Saturday, May 15, 2021


Friday, May 14, 2021


Developing MLB’s Automated Ball/Strike System (ABS)

The single most important requirement for ABS implementation is the accuracy of the pitch arc being generated. To this end, MLB performs ground-truth testing at every ballpark to evaluate the accuracy and precision of in-stadia tracking systems; the methodology for this was well-covered in an MLB Technology Blog post by Clay Nunnally in December 2019.

Just as important as accuracy for ABS is latency. Currently, there is some intentional delay between when the pitch is received and when the umpire makes their call, which allows the umpire to take a brief moment to make their decision. That brief moment is the window in which ABS must consistently deliver a call to the umpire; anything longer than that and the umpire has to make the call ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 14, 2021 at 11:06 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: robot umpires

Milwaukee Brewers ace Corbin Burnes sets record for strikeouts without a walk to start season

Milwaukee Brewers right-hander Corbin Burnes set the record for strikeouts without a walk to start the season Thursday, extending the mark to 58 before issuing his first pass of the season in the fifth inning of a 2-0 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals.

Burnes, 26, needed three strikeouts to pass the previous record of 51 strikeouts without a walk held by Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Kenley Jansen, set in 2017. Burnes struck out Dylan Carlson in the first inning and then Tyler O’Neill and Harrison Bader in the second inning to set the record.

“It was pretty cool,” Burnes said of the ovation from the crowd after breaking Jansen’s record. “Whenever you get them standing behind you like that, cheering you on, it definitely gives you some ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 14, 2021 at 10:35 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: corbin burnes

MLB players union seeking $500 million in grievance against league

The MLB Players Association has officially filed a grievance stating that MLB did not act in good faith last year to play as many games as possible, and MLB has filed a counter-grievance, multiple sources told The Post. The players are seeking an estimated $500 million in damages, according to two sources.

The union grievance does not specify exactly how many games more than 60 the 2020 season should have been, which is why they seek about $500 million. That would roughly translate to an additional 20-25 games worth of pay for players.

The union would only confirm to The Post that the grievance has been officially filed. MLB declined comment.

MLB has asked the union to fast-track this grievance, according to multiple sources. The ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 14, 2021 at 10:33 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: labor issues

ESPN, MLB announce seven-year extension running through 2028

ESPN and Major League Baseball announced a seven-year contract extension Thursday that will see the network carry 30 regular-season games per year plus wild-card games.

The deal, which runs through 2028, allows ESPN to show 25 weeks of Sunday Night Baseball and the MLB Little League Classic. It will also have an Opening Night game and the Home Run Derby around the All-Star Game. ESPN can show alternate versions of each game, such as the popular StatCast broadcasts on ESPN2. All telecasts will be exclusive.

ESPN currently shows one of two wild-card games. In 2022, if MLB expands to eight series, as it did in 2020, ESPN would carry the entire schedule of games. If the wild-card playoffs don’t expand, ESPN would get eight more ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 14, 2021 at 09:22 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: tv rights

Thursday, May 13, 2021


Mayor says MLB has discussed A’s relocation to Las Vegas since 2019

One day after the A’s announced they had received permission from Major League Baseball to explore possible relocation options, the mayor of Las Vegas used social media to reveal that her city has been in talks to bring the team there since 2019.

“Las Vegas has always been open to conversations with major league sport franchises seeking new locations. For over 20 years these talks have included dialogue with league commissioners, and for the Oakland A’s these have been occurring since 2019,” Goodman said in a statement on Twitter on Wednesday. “Las Vegas is excited.”...

Wednesday morning, Oakland mayor Libby Schaaf said she intends to keep the A’s in Oakland, acknowledging that the only way forward is to proceed with the ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 13, 2021 at 01:29 PM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, las vegas

The Caray legacy revisited, 30 years later

MLB.com What did you know about your grandfather?
Chip Caray: He was an orphan. He didn’t know what family life was about. He didn’t prioritize that, in a lot of ways. You know, for Harry, it was beer, babes and baseball, in that order. Family at times really suffered. I think that as I got into the business, and I started doing games and started to make my way up the ranks, as it were, I think he came to understand me in a way that he wasn’t able to understand me, because I was doing something that he could relate to.

Very late in his life, I think he came to understand the importance of family and legacy and all that kind of stuff. Looking back, I wish we’d been able to share some of those moments together in Chicago when I was there, ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 13, 2021 at 12:44 PM | 33 comment(s)
  Beats: chip caray, harry caray

Max Scherzer and the Coming Wave of 3,000-Strikeout Pitchers

The strong start increases the likelihood that Scherzer will reach the 3,000 strikeout milestone this year. He entered 2021 needing 216 strikeouts to reach the mark, and with 61 so far, he’s at 2,845. Some quick back-of-the-envelope math suggests that at his current rates of 11.85 strikeouts per nine and 6.59 innings per start, he’ll need another 118 innings over 18 starts, which puts his date with destiny sometime in early to mid-August (calling my shot: August 10 at Citi Field). But whether it’s that date or another, Scherzer will become the 19th pitcher to reach the milestone, and the third in the past three seasons, after CC Sabathia (April 30, 2019) and Justin Verlander (September 28, 2019).

As for who’s next, Zack Greinke ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 13, 2021 at 10:49 AM | 33 comment(s)
  Beats: max scherzer

Miggy tops in MLB hits for Venezuelan player

The milestones keep piling up for Miguel Cabrera, but his latest feat hits close to home. His fifth-inning RBI single in the Tigers’ 4-2 win on Wednesday night was the 2,878th hit of his MLB career, moving him past Omar Vizquel for 43rd on the all-time Major League list and giving him the most by a Venezuelan-born Major Leaguer.

In a season when every hit seems to be approaching or reaching a milestone, Cabrera admitted this one had been weighing on him for a while.

“I feel like I’m relieved right now,” he said after the game, “because too many people had been talking to me in the offseason, in the past year, and today [that] I’m going to pass this record. That kept in my head. So right now I’m a little relieved I don’t ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 13, 2021 at 10:48 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: miguel cabrera, venezuela

Wednesday, May 12, 2021


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