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Monday, March 01, 2021

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 3-1-2021

Toledo News-Bee, March 1, 1921:

A baby daughter was born to the widow of Ray Chapman, former Cleveland shortstop, killed when hit by a pitched ball last summer.

The Ray Chapman story just kept getting sadder and sadder. Ray’s wife Katie died in 1928 and their daughter Rae passed away in 1929.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: March 01, 2021 at 11:02 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Sunday, February 28, 2021

‘Baseball Bugs’ at 75: How a Looney Tunes classic left its mark on America’s pastime

Sometimes you will hear people talk about a “Bugs Bunny curveball,” which is less accurate because Bugs throws nothing but fastballs and change-ups. In 1996, Boston Red Sox pitcher Vaughn Eshelman described his pitch this way to the Boston Herald: “We call it the Bugs Bunny curveball. It’s the one where they swing three times before it even gets [to home plate].”

Less remembered is Bugs’s fastball. Winding up to the same sound effect as the arrival of the Tasmanian Devil cartoon character, Bugs throws a heater that not only overmatches the hitter but also slams Bugs Bunny the catcher several feet into the backstop, momentarily knocking him out.

Even though the Gorillas are nominally named after the Gashouse Gang, the raucous ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 28, 2021 at 07:06 PM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: looney tunes, pop culture

Royals sign Hunter Dozier to four-year, $25M deal

The Royals have agreed to a four-year, $25 million deal with third baseman Hunter Dozier, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan. The deal begins this year, and would buy out at least two years of free agency. He also reports the deal includes a $10 million option, and that Dozier can make up to $49 million with bonuses and escalators.

The 29-year old Dozier was due to become eligible for free agency after the 2023 season. but this deal will now keep him under contract through 2024, and possibly through 2025 with the option. Dozier had signed a one-year contract worth $2.72 million for the 2021 season, but that deal will be replaced by this one.

Dozier was originally a first-round pick by the Royals in 2013. His career faced some setbacks in ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 28, 2021 at 11:52 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: hunter dozier, royals

Saturday, February 27, 2021

Blue Jays become first MLB team without a dedicated radio feed, with Rogers simulcasting TV feed and blaming pandemic

Canada’s Rogers Sports and Media owns MLB’s Toronto Blue Jays and the TV (Sportsnet) and radio (Sportsnet The Fan 590 in Toronto, plus many of the stations in the Blue Jays Radio Network across Canada) that carry their games. That’s now led to the Jays being the only MLB team to not have a distinct radio broadcast. (That can be confirmed via this list of the current broadcasters for each team.) Rogers announced Friday that they’re “streamlining” their Jays broadcasts for 2021 (read: killing the radio feed and replacing it with a simulcast of their TV feed). And, amazingly enough, they’re trying to blame the COVID-19 pandemic for this, citing travel and production issues. Here’s that announcement:

“In an effort to ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 27, 2021 at 04:23 PM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: blue jays, radio

Friday, February 26, 2021

Oakland A’s outline ballpark plans in environmental impact report

The city released a crucial environmental report outlining the potential impacts and specific details of the proposed 35,000-seat waterfront ballpark the Oakland A’s want to build.

In addition to 3,000 residences, up to 1.5 million square feet of commercial office space and 270,000 square feet of retail or dining, the proposed project from the A’s would include an indoor performance venue that could fit 3,500 people, up to 400 hotel rooms and more than 18 acres of open space.

The project would be developed in multiple phases, according to the plans listed in the report. Construction of the first phase would include building the ballpark, up to 540 housing units, small portions of the retail and commercial space, and the hotels rooms. ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 26, 2021 at 12:58 PM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics

Kris Bryant Open to New Deal, Knows Time as Cub Could Wind Down

Bryant said he is open to signing a long-term contract to remain with the Cubs before his deal expires at the end of the World Series.

“I’ve always said I’ve been open and willing to hear whatever Jed now has to say and would take it with open arms and consider everything that is thrown my way,” he said. “I think I’ve communicated that well with them. They know where I stand.”

But there is plenty of uncertainty surrounding the Cubs, particularly when it comes to some of their biggest stars.

Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Javier Báez have expiring contracts. All three struggled during the pandemic-shortened season. But they all have played huge roles in transforming the long-suffering franchise into a championship organization.

They ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 26, 2021 at 11:18 AM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, kris bryant

Atlanta Braves extend contract of manager Brian Snitker

Coming off a third straight NL East title and getting to within one win of a spot in the World Series, the Atlanta Braves have extended the contract of manager Brian Snitker through the 2023 season.

The extension announced Friday includes a club option for 2024.

The 65-year-old Snitker took over the Braves on an interim basis in 2016 when the club was in the midst of a massive rebuilding job.

After going 72-90 in his first full season, Atlanta won the first of its three straight division titles in 2018.

Last season, the Braves won a postseason series for the first time since 2001, beating Cincinnati in the wild-card round and Miami in the division series before losing to the eventual World Series champion Los Angeles Dodgers in an NL ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 26, 2021 at 10:29 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, brian snitker

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Detroit Tigers top prospect Spencer Torkelson cuts finger, will miss spring training games

AJ Hinch and his coaching staff had just finalized lineup plans Wednesday for the first couple of exhibition games, which start Sunday, with Tigers’ top prospect Spencer Torkelson to make an early start at third base.

Then came the phone call Wednesday night: Torkelson cut his right index finger at his house in Lakeland. The cut required stitches to close….

According to two sources familiar with the incident, Torkelson was making dinner at a house he shares with Jake Rogers and Riley Greene. They didn’t have a can opener in the house so he tried to improvise with a wine opener that had a serrated, half-inch knife on the other end.

The knife folded up on him, making a half-inch cut in the index finger. He took three stitches to close ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 25, 2021 at 08:37 PM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: spencer turnbull, tigers

TD Garden, Fenway Park Can Open At 12% Capacity For Fans Starting March 22

Governor Charlie Baker announced Thursday that fans will be allowed at Massachusetts stadiums and arenas beginning March 22.

Starting March 1, Massachusetts will move back into Phase 3, Step 2 of its reopening plan, then on March 22 to Step 4, Phase 1. That is when stadiums will be allowed to have crowds with a capacity restriction of 12%.

“These large venues employ a lot of people and many of them have been out of work for a very long time,” Baker said. “We’ve been watching how these venues perform in other states, and believe with the right safety measures in place they can operate responsibly and safely here in the Commonwealth as well.”

The Bruins would be the first team eligible to host fans with a home game scheduled ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 25, 2021 at 03:09 PM | 24 comment(s)
  Beats: coronavirus, fenway park

Who is the MLB logo?

The rumor for decades has been that it was based on Twins slugger Harmon Killebrew. But is that true? As always, the truth around these things gets kind of murky.

The logo was designed by Jerry Dior in 1968, as MLB was getting ready to celebrate the centennial of professional baseball the next year. It would make sense if Killebrew was the inspiration for the logo at this time: “Killer” was coming off a 44-home run season when he finished second in the American League in MVP voting in 1967. (Unfortunately, his 1968 season was a disappointment as he hit just .210 with 17 home runs in 100 games.)

The issue isn’t complicated for Killebrew. The slugger, who passed away in 2011, is pretty sure it was him. Killebrew told Paul Lukas a story ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 25, 2021 at 12:00 PM | 42 comment(s)
  Beats: harmon killebrew

The Negro League Stars That MLB Kept Out — And Is Finally Recognizing

Let’s start with pitchers. Tall right-hander Satchel Paige is probably the most famous Negro Leagues player of all time, and with good reason: According to Seamheads, he was their all-time leader in pitching WAR with 39.3 in his career — or an average of 7.1 over a 162-game season.4 Paige was a true strikeout artist, whiffing 8.5 batters for every nine innings he pitched, easily making him the best of his era in that regard. He also had the best fielding-independent pitching (FIP) mark of any Negro League pitcher, which is why he compares well to the great Pedro Martínez and to Corey Kluber, Chris Sale and Jacob deGrom (among active pitchers).

On a per-game basis, however, there were some other pitchers who were close to (or even ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 25, 2021 at 09:43 AM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: negro leagues

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Jose Abreu, the reigning AL MVP, tests positive for COVID-19, keeping him away from Chicago White Sox spring training

American League MVP Jose Abreu will remain away from the Chicago White Sox for the “next several days” because of a positive COVID-19 test, general manager Rick Hahn announced Wednesday.

The move, Hahn said in a statement, is in compliance with Major League Baseball intake protocols.

“Jose, who is completely asymptomatic, believes he contracted a mild case of the disease in January, which is reinforced by the presence of COVID antibodies in additional testing,” Hahn said in a statement.

“Other than being frustrated, Jose feels great and, like the rest of us, is looking forward to when he rejoins the club in the not too distant future.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 24, 2021 at 10:14 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: coronavirus, jose abreu

Sinclair readies new sports video app, pushes on gamification

Sinclair Broadcast Group is nearing completion on a reconstructed new mobile application that will support its sports streaming efforts, particularly those from its portfolio of 21 regional sports networks, and broader gamification strategy, representing a key effort in the company’s stated goal to “make watching sports similar to playing a video game.”

The new streaming app, to replace the existing Fox Sports Go, will carry new Bally’s branding as part of Sinclair’s large-scale naming rights deal with the gaming operator for the RSNs that is reportedly worth $85m. The app is set to debut around the start of the Major League Baseball season in April.

More broadly, the new digital product will also represent a key touchpoint in ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 24, 2021 at 10:11 PM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: sinclair, television rights

New book tells the story of Glenn Burke, the first openly gay player in MLB

Baker thought about the times he’d tried to set up Glenn with one of his wife’s cousins. “They were fine, and they all liked Glenn,” Baker recalled. “Glenn would say, ‘She’s too fat’ or, ‘She’s too ugly.’ Something was always wrong with them. I was like, ‘Come on, man. You can tell me something else.’ I know what cute is. And I know what pretty is. And I know what fine is. And they were fine, cute and pretty.”

He thought back to the nights the Dodger players went out partying at discos in National League cities. The ballplayers who were single, Baker said, “had their choice of girls,” one of the perks of being fit, famous and well-paid. And the Dodger the women wanted most was Glenn Burke. “He was the ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 24, 2021 at 09:57 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: glenn burke, lgbt

Slimmer Vlad a sight to see: ‘I feel quicker’

Best Shape of His Life.

Last July, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. arrived for Summer Camp in Toronto out of shape. He knew it, and his teammates knew it.

Not far removed from being baseball’s brightest prospect with generational potential, this was an early threat to the 21-year-old’s long-term success. Guerrero knew something had to change, so that’s when this all started.

From then to now, Guerrero has lost 42 pounds and transformed his body. His fitness has been the talk of camp through the early days in Dunedin, Fla., and Guerrero was introspective on Wednesday when he thought back to the summer of 2020.

“For the last couple years, they knew I was coming here out of shape. I didn’t prepare myself very well,” Guerrero said through a team ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 24, 2021 at 09:52 PM | 35 comment(s)
  Beats: blue jays, vladimir guerrero jr.

With M.L.B.’s Help, Baseball Returns at an H.B.C.U.

But when XULA, as it is also known, announced in 2019 that it was resurrecting a baseball program that had been dormant since 1960, Cousin said he was “really shocked.” And when the newly hired XULA head coach, Adrian Holloway, invited Cousin to an athletic event on campus, gave him a tour, explained his vision and made him a generous scholarship offer, Cousin was sold.

“It’s a good school for putting people in medical school that look like me, and that’s what I want to do, actually,” Cousin, a freshman pitcher and first baseman, said in a phone interview. “I want to become a sports medicine doctor, so Xavier was really a perfect fit.”

While the baseball industry in the United States continues wrestling with persistent ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 24, 2021 at 09:46 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: college baseball, historically black universities

This Book Is Not About Baseball. But Baseball Teams Swear by It.

Kahneman, a professor emeritus at Princeton University and a winner of the Nobel Prize in economics in 2002, later wrote “Thinking, Fast and Slow,” a book that has become essential among many of baseball’s front offices and coaching staffs.

There aren’t many explicit references to baseball in “Thinking, Fast and Slow,” yet many executives swear by it. It has circulated heavily in the front offices of the Oakland Athletics, the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Baltimore Orioles and the Astros, among others. But there is no more ardent a disciple of the tome than Mejdal, a former biomathematician at NASA who earned master’s degrees in both cognitive psychology and operations research.

“Pretty much wherever I go, I’m bothering ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 24, 2021 at 12:30 PM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: analytics

Twins prospect Royce Lewis, the No. 1 pick in 2017 draft, tears ACL and will likely miss 2021 season

Shortstop Royce Lewis, one of the Twins’ top prospects, has torn his ACL and will likely miss the entire 2021 season, Twins president Derek Falvey told reporters, including Betsy Helfand of the of the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Wednesday. Lewis, 21, was the first overall pick in the 2017 draft out of JSerra Catholic High School in San Juan Capistrano, California. Thanks to the pandemic, we didn’t get to see his progress at the minor-league level last season, but Lewis played 127 games between Class A-Advanced and Double-A in 2019, hitting .236/.290/.371 with 26 doubles, four triples, 12 homers, 49 RBI, 73 runs and 22 steals.

It’s true that those numbers aren’t very impressive, but Lewis also tore it up in the Arizona Fall League following ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 24, 2021 at 11:55 AM | 21 comment(s)
  Beats: royce lewis, twins

When peak Aaron faced the ageless Paige

The matchup came to fruition because of a roster technicality. As most baseball fans know, Paige became a legend in the Negro Leagues and while barnstorming during the 1930s and 40s, but he didn’t make his Major League debut until 1948, a year after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier for the Brooklyn Dodgers. Paige was 41 when he debuted with the Cleveland Indians, going 6-1 with a 2.48 ERA in 72 2/3 innings. He appeared in parts of six MLB seasons over the next 17 years, and made his last big league appearance in 1965 for the Kansas City Athletics. He was 58 that season with the A’s and pitched three innings in one game, giving up zero runs and one hit.

But before he could officially retire, the ageless wonder still needed 158 ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 24, 2021 at 09:54 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: hank aaron, satchel paige

Francisco Lindor concerned analytics are ‘taking over’ baseball

The Mets’ new shortstop, who was elected to the executive subcommittee of the MLB Players Association over the offseason, voiced his concerns on Monday that analytics were “taking over the game too much” and diminishing the product.

“Analytics are great, they’re good. But they don’t need to take over the game,” Lindor said after the Mets’ first full-squad workout of spring training. “That’s something that’s just — it’s not right. Let the players play the game.”

Lindor, who also pointed to MLB’s revenue sharing program as “rewarding teams for losing,” was most passionate when asked about the parts of analytics he hated the most.

The four-time All-Star said he was not a fan of the shift and prefers to let ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 24, 2021 at 09:52 AM | 51 comment(s)
  Beats: analytics, francisco lindor

Giants, Scott Kazmir Agree To Minor League Deal

Kazmir was in the Moneyball draft! He was teammates with Fred McGriff!

Comeback season is upon us, it seems. The Giants have agreed to a minor league contract with left-hander Scott Kazmir, reports ESPN’s Buster Olney. He’ll be invited to Major League Spring Training.

It’s been nearly five years since Kazmir, now 37, pitched in the Majors with the Dodgers. Current San Francisco president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi was serving as general manager under president Andrew Friedman in Los Angeles at that point, and he was also an assistant GM in the Athletics’ front office in 2013 when Oakland inked Kazmir to a two-year deal.

There’s some obvious history between Zaidi and Kazmir, who at one point was one of the game’s ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 24, 2021 at 09:51 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: giants, scott kazmir

Seattle Mariners prospect Jarred Kelenic says team is punishing him for refusing to sign contract extension

Prized outfield prospect Jarred Kelenic told USA TODAY Sports Tuesday that he is a victim of service-time manipulation by the Seattle Mariners, and is being punished for refusing to sign a contract proposal nearly 14 months ago.

Kelenic, one of the top five prospects in baseball according to, said he was offered a guaranteed contract, but says that declining the deal has kept him off the Mariners’ big-league roster.

“It was communicated to Jarred that had he signed that contract, he would have debuted last year,’’ said Brodie Scoffield, who represents Kelenic. “It was made crystal clear to Jarred — then and now — that his decision not to call him up is based on service time.

“There’s no question that if he ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 24, 2021 at 09:47 AM | 60 comment(s)
  Beats: jarred kelenic, mariners

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Shin-Soo Choo heads to KBO for ‘21

Shin-Soo Choo is expected to join the SK Wyverns of the Korean Baseball Organization in 2021, according to multiple reports, including Tae Woo Kim of SPOTV.

Choo, 38, was a free agent this offseason after spending the past seven seasons with the Rangers. He posted a .236/.323/.400 slash line over 33 games in 2020.

An All-Star in 2018, Choo has racked up 218 homers and 157 stolen bases over a 16-year career. After beginning his career by appearing in 14 games over two seasons with the Mariners from 2005-06, Choo was traded to the Indians, where he spent the next seven years.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 23, 2021 at 09:55 AM | 20 comment(s)
  Beats: kbo, shin-soo choo

Monday, February 22, 2021

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-22-2021

South Bend News-Times, February 22, 1921:

The Yankees’ new two-million dollar park will be tailor-made for Babe Ruth and his home run swing. It will be a home run manufacturing plant.

When the switch is made in two years Babe will find his new home run home all set for him to manufacture homers in. The right field of the new establishment will be an exact duplicate of the one at the Polo Grounds, where Babe has learned so well to measure the distance for his home run aim.
[Yankees co-owner Huston:] “Babe wants to hit 75 home runs this year. The 54 he got last season has only made him keen. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him do it.”

It wouldn’t have been a surprise at all; Babe completely broke baseball in a way that nobody else has ...

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: February 22, 2021 at 12:43 PM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Dorktown: Two-strike strikeouts, three-ball walks, and other counting failures

Have you ever tried counting to four? It’s a skill that’s almost impossible to master, and baseball players and umpires find it as difficult as the rest of us do. In this episode of Dorktown, we’re examining the dozens of times that everyone on the baseball diamond has gotten the count wrong.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 21, 2021 at 11:03 PM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: umpires

Boston Red Sox will discuss contract extensions during spring training; Rafael Devers, Eduardo Rodriguez among top candidates for long-term deals

The Red Sox are likely to discuss long-term contract extensions with some of their young players during spring training, chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom said Sunday. The club has already discussed some possibilities internally and plans to hold talks with players before Opening Day.

“I expect, as we get into that spring, that those conversations will pick up,” Bloom said. “Don’t know what it will lead to, obviously. If and when they do pick up, it’s not something we’re going to speak publicly about unless there’s something to report. This is a time when a lot of those things often happen so I would expect we’d at least have some conversations about it with some guys.”

Boston has plenty of extension candidates on its ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 21, 2021 at 08:36 PM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: eduardo rodriguez, rafael devers, red sox

Former Dodger All-Star Stan Williams passes away at 84

Former Dodger two-time All-Star and World Series champion Stan Williams passed away Saturday morning at the age of 84 after battling a cardiopulmonary illness.
Williams, one of the original members of the Dodger team that moved to Los Angeles in 1958, spent the first five years of his 14-year Major League career with the Dodgers. He won a World Series as a player with the Dodgers in 1959 and as a pitching coach with the Reds in 1990.

In 1959, Williams pitched three scoreless innings in the tiebreaker series against the Milwaukee Braves to help send the Dodgers to the World Series, where he pitched two scoreless innings. Williams, nicknamed “The Big Hurt,” was part of an early 60s Dodger rotation that included Don Drysdale, Sandy ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 21, 2021 at 06:46 PM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: dodgers, stan williams

Full Transcript of Mariners President Kevin Mather’s Remarks to Bellevue Breakfast Rotary Club

Some very candid remarks from the Mariners president on everything from free agents, when we will see fans, minor league shuffling, and paying for interpreters.

Kyle Seager, this is probably his last season as a Mariner. He will, and I’ve already told him, he’ll be a Mariners Hall of Famer when he’s done playing. Last year he seemed to find the Fountain of Youth, had a fantastic year, and we expect the same in 2021…..

On the minor league side, Jarred Kelenic, we’ve been talking about him for a year and a half now. He’ll be in left field in April. He’s a 21-year-old player who, um, is quite confident. We offered him a long-term deal, six-year deal for substantial money with options to go farther. After pondering it for ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 21, 2021 at 04:18 PM | 192 comment(s)
  Beats: mariners

Rockies’ Desmond opts out of 2021 to spend time with family

Colorado Rockies outfielder Ian Desmond is opting out of the 2021 MLB season to spend time with his family, he announced Sunday on Instagram.

“Over the last few months, I’ve had tough conversations,” Desmond wrote. “I’ve asked a lot of questions and done a lot of thinking. For now, I’ve decided to opt out of the 2021 season. My desire to be with my family is greater than my desire to go back and play baseball under these circumstances. I’m going to continue to train and watch how things unfold.”

The 35-year-old was one of several players who opted out of the 2020 campaign due to the COVID-19 pandemic and a wide range of systemic issues within MLB. He’s now the first player to opt out in 2021.

  ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 21, 2021 at 10:45 AM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: ian desmond, rockies

Dr. Anthony Fauci cautiously optimistic about return of fans for 2021 MLB season

Dr. Anthony Fauci is cautiously optimistic about the prospect of fans returning to the stands for the 2021 MLB season, telling ESPN’s Buster Olney there’s a “pretty good chance” of it happening if the rate of COVID-19 infections continues to drop.

“We could have a pretty good chance of having a baseball season that’s a full season,” Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said on ESPN’s Baseball Tonight Podcast. “That we could have people in the stands, maybe not right next to each other; there are going to be public health restrictions like mask wearing and things like that.”

Fauci cautioned that fan attendance would be dependent on current trends holding and that the full impact of certain coronavirus variants remains to be ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 21, 2021 at 10:37 AM | 81 comment(s)
  Beats: coronavirus

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