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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?

Friday, July 10, 2020

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 | 2 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 | 0 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 | 0 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 | 0 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 | 8 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 | 22 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 | 1 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 | 0 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 | 8 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 | 16 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 | 26 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

MLB umpire Joe West says U.S. coronavirus deaths aren’t actually from coronavirus

In an interview with The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, West somewhat irresponsibly says he believes that many of the nation’s COVID-19 deaths — of which there are roughly 130,000 — actually don’t have anything to do with the coronavirus.

“I said, ‘Look, most of these people that they’re reporting are dying are not healthy to begin with. I’ve lost 25 pounds over the winter. I’m playing golf every day in the heat. I’m fine. I’m not going to back down now.’

“I don’t believe in my heart that all these deaths have been from the coronavirus,” West continued. “I believe it may have contributed to some of the deaths. I said, ‘I’m not going to opt out. I’m going to work. And I’m going to work until you take me off the field or I ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 07, 2020 at 11:26 AM | 55 comment(s)
  Beats: joe west

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

Pittsburgh Press, July 7, 1920:

Many fans were unable to understand the recent announcement that Benny Kauff had been released by the New York Giants to the Toronto club of the International league. There seemed to be something mysterious about New York’s desire to be rid of a player of Kauff’s ability when the Giants are down in the race, but there was also considerable of a mystery about the willingness of all the other clubs in the league to waive claim to him.
Kauff got himself into trouble last winter, and he is soon to be placed on trial. Evidently the New York club is none too confident of his acquittal, and did not wish to be saddled with him at such a time.

Memphis News Scimitar, July 7, 1920:

Benny Kauff must go on trial in a ...

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: July 07, 2020 at 10:16 AM | 33 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Rob Manfred thinks Mike Rizzo was insubordinate with comments

After canceling Monday’s workout, Nationals GM Mike Rizzo said, “We will not sacrifice the health and safety of our players, staff, and their families. Without accurate and timely testing it is simply not safe for us to continue with Summer Camp. Major League Baseball needs to work quickly to resolve issues with their process and their lab. Otherwise, Summer Camp and the 2020 Season are at risk.”

Per Barry Svrluga of The Washington Post, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred considered Rizzo’s statement to be insubordination. The anonymous source Svrluga quoted said, “The commissioner jumped on him for that.”

Rizzo isn’t the only member of the Nationals to criticize MLB’s testing implementation. Reliever Sean Doolittle pointed out ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 07, 2020 at 09:47 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: mike rizzo, rob manfred

Monday, July 06, 2020

Former Red Sox executive Dave Dombrowski joins Nashville MLB initiative

A group devoted to bringing Major League Baseball to Nashville has enlisted one of the league’s most prominent executives to help its effort.

Music City Baseball LLC has added Dave Dombrowski, who built the Boston Red Sox and Florida Marlins into World Series winners, as a consultant and adviser.

Dombrowski has played a key role in leading clubs that have won more than 2,000 games with nine playoff appearances, four pennants and a pair of World Series championships. Dombrowski, who will turn 64 this month, most recently served as president of baseball operations for the Red Sox….

Dombrowski will be joining a Music City Baseball leadership team that includes former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, MLB All-Star and former general ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 06, 2020 at 05:25 PM | 28 comment(s)
  Beats: dave dombrowski, expansion, nashville

Phillies’ Andrew McCutchen disses Yankees’ hair policy

Andrew McCutchen thinks the Yankees should cut their hair policy.

“I definitely do think it takes away from our individualism as players and as people,” McCutchen told Jensen Karp on “The Sports Bubble” podcast. “We express ourselves in different ways.”....

“I feel like maybe there should be some change there in the future — who knows when — but it’s just one of the many things in this game that I feel that there just needs ... it needs to be talked about, and to be addressed,” said McCutchen, who took a three-year, $50-million deal from Philadelphia following his stint with the Yankees.

Of course, McCutchen’s stay with the Yankees wasn’t all bad. In fact, he called the organization “great.” He said he felt ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 06, 2020 at 11:19 AM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: andrew mccutchen, hair policies, yankees

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 7-6-2020

Toledo News-Bee, July 6, 1920:

Wild Excitement Caused By Illegal Pitching of Dave Danforth of Columbus Develops A Near-Riot, Pop Bottle Throwing And Delays The Game For Two Hours and 35 Minutes
Danforth was pitching sailers all morning, and the Umpire Murray threw out two dozen balls and warned the southpaw several times…During one of the many arguments at the plate, somebody in the lower section of the stand hurled a pop bottle on the field that rolled over the pan at the feet of the arbiter.

There wasn’t much harm in this, but there was a possible death in another bottle that was thrown with great force from the top entrance to the upper deck.

Things went downhill quickly, the fans rioted, more cops showed up, and eventually everyone ...

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: July 06, 2020 at 10:20 AM | 26 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history, riots

How the Rays Became MLB’s Outliers by Finding MLB’s Outliers

The Rays are the Antiques Roadshow of baseball. They find Picassos in attics, Tiffany lamps in basements and pitchers with outlier stuff in the dumpsters of other organizations.

In Fairbanks they saw not just velocity but also near-perfect backspin on his four-seamer, which they and other smart clubs know is the proven antidote against the launch-angle hitting revolution. To get Fairbanks they traded Nick Solak, a promising hitter without great defensive value.

Since joining the Rays, Fairbanks has improved his stuff even more, thanks to the wizardry of pitching coach Kyle Snyder and process and analytics coach Jonathan Erlichman, a former math major and club hockey player at Princeton.

“Our guys do a tremendous job looking for the ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 06, 2020 at 09:44 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: peter fairbanks, rays

Covid-19 test delays impacting multiple teams

Alex Coffey of The Athletic reported overnight that the Oakland Athletics have yet to have a full squad workout because of COVID-19 test delays. They were supposed to begin such workouts yesterday, but delayed them until today. They have since been delayed again until tonight, and even those may not happen.

Why? Because the initial team tests that are required before allowing the team’s full complement of players and coaches into the facility had not even arrived at MLB’s testing center in Utah as of last night. Indeed, they sat in the San Francisco airport all weekend because no one with MLB or the league’s testing company bothered to account for the Fourth of July holiday and expedite shipping.

Coffey obtained the text message ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 06, 2020 at 09:37 AM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: coronavirus

The legend of the Astros’ free beer ‘Foamer Nights’

On “Foamer Night,” there was a rectangular orange light next to the scoreboard clock in right field. When the digital clock was on an even-numbered minute while the Astros were hitting, the light was illuminated. If an Astros player hit a homer – err, “foamer” – while the light was glowing, fans got free beer the rest of the night through the eighth inning.
Cliff] Johnson became a hit by paying particularly keen attention to that orange light.
The San Antonio native, who led the 1975 Astros with 20 home runs, would take intentionally laborious strolls to the plate if his turn at bat came upon an odd-numbered minute. He’d stop to adjust his batting gloves. He’d call for time as he dug into the dirt with his cleats, keeping ...

Mayor Blomberg Posted: July 06, 2020 at 06:23 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, beer

OT - Catch-All Pop Culture Extravaganza (July 2020)

With Hollywood production being sideswiped by the coronavirus pandemic, it was a wild spring for the TV world. And there’s still not much clarity as we swing into the summer season. But the shows must go on — most of them, anyway — so here is our annual list of summer premiere dates for new series and new seasons of returning shows. It covers more than 150 broadcast, cable and streaming series bowing through August 31 in various dayparts but does not include specials or movies.

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