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Tuesday, April 07, 2020

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 4-7-2020

Toledo News-Bee, April 7, 1920:

[Pitcher] Tommy Long joined the Louisville club at the beginning of last season and performed so well that the scouts began bidding for “that kid southpaw.” They are still bidding, but Long wants to stay in the minors another year. Here’s his logic:

“Last season was my first real year in baseball. No one is more alive to my greenness, to my shortcomings, to my lack of polish, than I. Nearly anyone can get a trial with the majors, but only a comparative few can stick. Those who are not fit can’t survive. I don’t want to go up until I feel sure I can stick, and I know it will be much easier for me to make good in 1921 than in 1920.”

That’s remarkably self-aware and admirable of him. I wish I could tell you ...

Read More...
Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: April 07, 2020 at 10:25 AM | 25 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Let’s Construct the MLB Season We Actually Want to See

The only thing we know for sure about the 2020 MLB schedule (brought to you by COVID-19) is that it won’t be 162 games. Whatever truncated mutant of a year baseball ends up with will likely be the shortest on record since at least 1994, when most teams got about 70% of the way through the calendar before the strike happened and canceled the rest. Given the current state of things in the United States — with coronavirus still rampant and several states and cities already issuing stay-at-home orders that will run through most of May — it’s unlikely we’ll get even that much of the season played. But no one knows for sure: MLB, like the rest of us, is at the mercy of a virus and its containment measures. Rumors of a 100-game season ...

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QLE Posted: April 07, 2020 at 01:15 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: march madness, match-ups, seasons, tanking

Todd Helton served 48 hours in jail after DUI guilty plea

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Former All-Star first baseman Todd Helton pleaded guilty to driving under the influence as a first offense and has served 48 hours in jail as part of his sentence.

Helton crashed his vehicle on March 18, 2019, in Knox County and required emergency medical care. No other cars were involved and one else was hurt. Helton was given a misdemeanor citation for DUI.

Knox County assistant district attorney Sean F. McDermott confirmed Monday to The Associated Press that Helton also received unsupervised probation for 11 months, 29 days, with his license suspended for a year. Helton also had to pay a $350 fine and attend a Victim Impact Panel.

TMZ first reported Helton had settled his case.

 

QLE Posted: April 07, 2020 at 01:10 AM | 31 comment(s)
  Beats: dui, todd helton

Home Run Derby, Anyone? Eight Ideas to Shorten Extra Innings

The start of spring without baseball has left many of us with ample time to obsess over the game we don’t have. While we devote our attention to watching classic games, reading great baseball books and rewatching favorite films, getting our baseball fix also involves pondering the state of our game.

Revamping extra innings is among the structural changes the league is considering to improve pace of play. Some ideas, like beginning the inning with a runner on second base, have already been implemented at certain levels of baseball. Others, like Justin Turner proposing a home run derby to decide games in extras, are much more drastic.

Below is a list of eight possible changes–tiered by their invasiveness–baseball can make to its ...

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QLE Posted: April 07, 2020 at 01:04 AM | 20 comment(s)
  Beats: bad ideas, extra innings, home run derby

Today in Baseball History: Opening Day canceled due to the first-ever players strike

Moving forward somewhat:

To understand what led to the 1972 strike — the first ever players strike in baseball history — you have to go back a few years.

From the advent of baseball until the 1960s there were multiple efforts to organize players in an effort to get a better deal from the owners, including players even forming their own league one time. Nothing ever really came of those efforts, however, and the status quo held: the owners controlled basically everything, whatever the players got was given to them by the owners pursuant to the owners’ whim, and players were expected to simply be thankful to have jobs playing baseball. The only matter that players and owners talked about back in the day that we would currently ...

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QLE Posted: April 07, 2020 at 12:58 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: history, opening day, strike

Study reveals why the baseballs behaved differently in 2019 MLB postseason

An MLB-record 6,776 home runs were hit during the 2019 regular season, up from 5,585 in 2018, with many fly balls that had been fly outs in the past (or extra-base hits) instead sailing out of ballparks.

In addition to the baseballs during the 2019 regular season flying differently once they were hit was the fact that lower seams and a slicker surface hindered pitchers from being able to grip and/or control the baseball like they were used to.

Then came the 2019 postseason, when the balls were seemingly de-juiced.

So what happened?

A return to what the big story was before we discovered the chicanery of the Astros…...

 

QLE Posted: April 07, 2020 at 12:57 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: juiced baseballs, postseason

Baseball Question of the Day: Challenge of the Baseball Immortals!

Pop quiz, hotshot!

A man with omnipotent powers appears in your living room, puts his hands on you and you are immediately teleported to a postcard-perfect baseball diamond in the middle of a clearing in a magical meadow. You almost cry due to sensory overload. “Is this heaven?” you ask to no one in particular.

The moment those words escape your lips, the man who teleported you morphs into a villainous archetype chosen by your subconscious and particularized to your own memory, experience and, perhaps, your fears. Maybe it’s Dracula. Maybe it’s Jason from the “Friday the 13th Movies.” In my case it is, of course, Tomax and Xamot, the twin commanders of the Crimson Guard and the co-CEOs of the international conglomerate ...

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QLE Posted: April 07, 2020 at 12:53 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: pedro martinez, questions, rickey henderson, tony gwynn

One reason why a quarantined baseball season could be a big win for MLB

Jumping to the most relevant points in the argument:

There’s another potential win here, and it could be huge for baseball: For a sport that’s been slowly losing its grip on a once-loyal audience, a captive and hungry group of sports fans could be what baseball needs to become America’s Pastime again.

....

From here on in this hypothetical, let’s just assume that everything in America is going well enough that playing baseball doesn’t pose a large public health risk. In that case, baseball has a chance to reclaim some of the glory it has lost to football, basketball and other sports. At least until fans start flooding back into stadiums and the NFL is king again.

Imagine a sports world where baseball is the only thing ...

Read More...
QLE Posted: April 07, 2020 at 12:45 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: national pastime

Monday, April 06, 2020

Al Kaline, Detroit Tigers legend, dies at age 85

Al Kaline, who in a long and unique Detroit Tigers lifetime grew from youthful batting champion to Hall of Famer to distinguished elder statesman, died Monday afternoon at his home in Bloomfield Hills. He was 85.

A cause of death was not immediately available. John Morad, a close friend of the family, confirmed the news to the Free Press after speaking with Kaline’s younger son, Mike.

Kaline is survived by another son, Mark, and his wife, Madge Louise Hamilton.

In 22 seasons with the Tigers, most of them as a marvelous right fielder, Kaline played in more games and hit more homers than anyone else in club history, and he compiled a batting résumé second only to Ty Cobb’s.

 

QLE Posted: April 06, 2020 at 06:28 PM | 20 comment(s)
  Beats: al kaline, obituaries, rip

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 4-6-2020

Rock Island Argus, April 6, 1920:

The White Sox goofs were scheduled to play at Okmulgee, Okla., today and left [Oklahoma City] with a defeat of 11 to 5 handed to then by the local club yesterday. The game was a free hitting affair. Recruit Pitchers Stewart and Tesar did the hurling for the big leaguers and were hit hard.

I don’t know which would be more embarrassing: Being a member of the White Sox Goofs or trying to earn a big league job and getting whomped by a local amateur team.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: April 06, 2020 at 10:11 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, goofs, history

These 10 legends’ careers ended with a reunion

It’s always nice to see a homecoming for a franchise icon, and throughout MLB history, plenty of players have returned to the teams where they became stars.

It was 11 years ago on April 6, for instance, that Ken Griffey Jr. homered in his first game back with the Mariners after a decade away from Seattle. So, with that game in mind, MLB.com is taking a look back at these reunions, highlighting some of the most prominent players who were, in fact, able to go home again.

Only players who returned to an old team for the final stage of their careers are included here. There are others who, after their homecomings, went on to play for other teams. Those players—Rickey Henderson with the A’s, Greg Maddux with the Cubs, Tim Raines with the ...

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QLE Posted: April 06, 2020 at 01:20 AM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: homecomings

Sunday Notes: Keston Hiura Can Hit, But The Book He’d Write Would Be Boring

The first time I interviewed Keston Hiura was over the phone. This was a few months after he’d been taken ninth overall by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 2017 draft. Kiura was playing for the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, and he called at the assigned time from a Midwest League ballpark after batting practice. I don’t recall which ballpark.

I was in Lowell, Massachusetts at a New York-Penn League game that had already started. It was loud at LeLacheur Park, so I talked to Hiura from the relative quiet of a stairwell down the left-field line. The interview went well. I found the former UC Irvine Anteater to be both forthcoming and articulate.

The second time I interviewed Kiura was at the Brewers spring training complex, four weeks ago. ...

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This Day in Transaction History: Yankees acquire Bucky Dent

Bucky F***ing Dent. For decades, that’s how fans of the Boston Red Sox referred to the shortstop who spent six of his 12 seasons with the Yankees. Dent posted an unimpressive .618 OPS over his career but hit one of the more important and memorable home runs in the Yankees’ storied history. None of it would have happened if the Yankees didn’t acquire him from the White Sox 43 years ago.

In his first four seasons in the majors with the White Sox, Dent earned a reputation as a good defender, finishing second in AL Rookie of the Year balloting in 1974 and making the AL All-Star squad the following year despite uninspiring offense numbers. Heading into the 1977 season, Dent and the White Sox weren’t able to come to an agreement on a ...

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QLE Posted: April 06, 2020 at 12:48 AM | 22 comment(s)
  Beats: bucky dent, history, transactions

D-Backs Minority Owners Suing Managing Partner Ken Kendrick over Buyouts

Three minority owners of the Arizona Diamondbacks—Alfredo Molina, Jim Weber and limited liability company Carlise Investments—are suing managing general partner Ken Kendrick, per Zach Buchanan of The Athletic.

According to that report, they are claiming Kendrick and the Diamondbacks ownership group “acted unlawfully when it told them either to increase their investment in the team to at least a one-percent stake of ownership or sell each of their ‘ownership units’ back to the team at a price of $60 per unit.”

The attorney for the minority owners, Roger Cohen, said his clients weren’t legally required to increase their investment and believed Kendrick’s leveraging “had to do with consolidating and increasing the ownership stake of the ...

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QLE Posted: April 06, 2020 at 12:43 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: diamondbacks, ken kendrick, lawsuits, ownership

Justin Turner is somehow responsible for breaking the latest ‘Tiger King’ news

For those of you who thought the article yesterday about grass growing was strange:

Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner added a new title to his list of accomplishments Saturday. On top of being an All-Star and an NLCS MVP, Turner is now also a ... breaker of “Tiger King” news.

This is a weird one, so stick with us. With baseball’s regular season delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, Turner and his wife, Kourtney Pogue, started a podcast. On the second episode, the two discuss the Netflix documentary “Tiger King,” which has become everyone’s favorite binge watch during quarantine.

Two members of the show — Jeff and Lauren Lowe — heard about that podcast, and recorded a video stating there would be one more ...

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QLE Posted: April 06, 2020 at 12:37 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: justin turner, podcasts, television, tiger king

Sunday, April 05, 2020

On this date: The Nationals played their first game ever

It seems like eons ago that the Washington Nationals played in their first game after departing from Montreal.

Saturday marks the 15th anniversary of their inaugural game as they brought professional baseball back to the District of Columbia.

The Nationals opened up the 2005 season on the road at Citizens Bank Park with a matchup against their future rival in the Phillies.

 

QLE Posted: April 05, 2020 at 01:02 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: history, nationals

Fields of green: Mild winter, no games aid ballpark grass

Nicole Sherry poked some holes in the turf at Camden Yards, cut the grass and then left the ballpark about the same time the Baltimore Orioles should have been wrapping up their season opener.

“What a beautiful day it would have been for a ballgame,” said Sherry, the head groundskeeper for the Orioles. “It was kind of surreal because I was thinking, ‘Technically, this is opening day.’”

Camden Yards was all green and would have been ready for what was going to be Major League Baseball’s earliest start, March 26. Then the season was put on hold indefinitely because of the coronavirus pandemic.

A mild winter was beneficial to Oriole Park, and many other ballparks often battered by brutally cold temperatures, snow and ice. Now ...

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QLE Posted: April 05, 2020 at 12:45 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: ballparks, grass

Pirates pitcher Steven Brault releases showtunes album ‘A Pitch at Broadway’

First and foremost, let it be clear that I am no theater buff. I also didn’t major in vocal performance like Steven Brault did. I certainly don’t have the necessary blessings from the heavens to both have a good voice and a major league arm. Brault has both. Some guys have everything.

As if the mere act of reaching the big leagues wasn’t enough, Brault decided to flex on all of us yesterday by dropping an album of him performing songs from a variety of musicals, including “Hamilton,” “Wicked,” and “The Phantom of the Opera.” The Pirates left-hander is no stranger to putting his vocal talents to use during his baseball career, having performed the national anthem at Pirates games on multiple occasions. The dude’s got ...

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QLE Posted: April 05, 2020 at 12:42 AM | 66 comment(s)
  Beats: music, showtunes, steven brault

Astros’ Justin Verlander to donate paychecks to help people impacted by coronavirus

Astros ace Justin Verlander announced on Saturday he will donate all of his paychecks during baseball’s shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Verlander and his wife, Kate Upton, revealed their plan via an Instagram video. The couple said they’ll choose an organization each week to donate an entire week’s paycheck. They plan to highlight the group’s contributions to the coronavirus pandemic, too.

“Obviously this is an extremely difficult time for the entire world,” Verlander said. “There’s so many people that are in need, whether it’s the people on the front lines battling this disease head-on or someone who is at home and has lost their job and needs to provide basic necessities.”

 

QLE Posted: April 05, 2020 at 12:39 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: charity, justin verlander

Coronavirus: MLB debating playing games at spring training ballparks without fans, per report

Major League Baseball, like many sports leagues around the world, has been shut down indefinitely because of the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Spring training was canceled altogether and 2020 Opening Day has been pushed back to at least mid-May, and that remains subject to change as the situation develops.

MLB, along with the MLBPA, has discussed a variety of scenarios for the 2020 regular and postseason, including doubleheaders and extending the season into October. Now, MLB is considering playing in empty spring training ballparks in Florida and Arizona, with no fans and all while quarantining players. From Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic:

“MLB is prioritizing public health as it examines all possibilities, sources say. The ...

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QLE Posted: April 05, 2020 at 12:33 AM | 43 comment(s)
  Beats: ballparks, behind closed doors, neutral site games, spring training

Saturday, April 04, 2020

Ringer:The Strangest, Funniest, and Most Fascinating Baseball-Reference Pages

Baseball-Reference is the eighth wonder of the world, and frankly, it’s superior to some of the better-known seven, too. Who needs the Colossus of Rhodes, after all, when you have the player page for Tuffy Rhodes, onetime home run king of Japan?

One of the qualities that defines baseball’s corner of the internet is the quirkiness inherent in appreciating its history. Much of that joy is tied in with browsing Baseball-Reference pages, which expose bizarre stats and fun names and fantastic accomplishments and all of those quirky histories. Baseball-Reference is already a year-round treat, but in a time absent of actual games—Opening Day was originally slated for Thursday—it becomes counterintuitively even more central for fans: Only ...

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Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: April 04, 2020 at 09:30 AM | 38 comment(s)
  Beats: born at sea, bref, sean foreman

Who Would You Build an MLB Team Around in the 2020s?

As we’ve written in this space before, baseball is a young man’s game more than ever. Players are coming up from the minors sooner and they’re coming up as better players than the twentysomething (or teenagers) of eras past.

So with a new decade in front of us, which major league player would you want to build you team of the 2020s around?

Note to self: Review the nominees in 2030, to see how the decade went for them.


Today in Baseball History: Tom Seaver goes from the Braves to the Mets

Jumping ahead to the meat of this:

But did you know that he was originally drafted by the Atlanta Braves? And that he signed with them and everything? He did. But then that deal got voided and, on April 3, 1966 — 54 years ago today — he signed with the New York Mets, where he would make his name and his fame.

Actually, the Braves weren’t even the first team to draft Seaver. The Dodgers drafted him out of USC in the 10th round of baseball’s first-ever draft in June of 1965. Seaver had just completed his sophomore year at the University of Southern California then and, probably realizing he was better than a 10th round pick, he did not come to an agreement with Los Angeles. This kind of thing still happens today. It happens all the ...

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QLE Posted: April 04, 2020 at 01:18 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, tom seaver

Rich Paul’s Klutch Sports Acquires Tidal Sports; Agency Represents Bregman, More

Rich Paul’s Klutch Sports agency announced the acquisition of Tidal Sports on Friday

...

Tidal Sports’ clients include Houston Astros superstar Alex Bregman, New York Mets pitcher Marcus Stroman, Milwaukee Brewers second baseman Keston Hiura and Seattle Mariners prospect Jarred Kelenic.

The big players in the baseball agency game to this point have been The Boras Corporation (run by the eponymous Scott Boras) and CAA, but Klutch Sports has been a rising power throughout sports, namely in the NBA, where Paul represents LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Ben Simmons, Draymond Green, John Wall and Eric Bledsoe, among others.

So, what impact do you suppose this will have?

 

QLE Posted: April 04, 2020 at 01:14 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: agents, klutch sports, rich paul

MLBPA Approves Assistance Program For Non-Roster Players With Prior MLB Service

The Major League Baseball Players Association on Friday approved a program intended to provide supplemental income to non-roster players with prior Major League service time, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (Twitter links) and Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports (Twitter links).

Under the newly implemented program, players with at least a day of MLB service time who were in Major League camp on a non-roster deal as of March 13 will be eligible to receive anywhere from $5,000 (less than one year of service) to $50,000 (six-plus years) depending on their level of prior experience. The program, entitled the MLBPA Financial Assistance Program, is aimed at previous big leaguers who were not covered under last week’s $170MM settlement that would be ...

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QLE Posted: April 04, 2020 at 01:11 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: assistance, mlbpa, non-roster invitees

Baseball Question of the Day: Which historical game would you want to see?

This is a hard question insofar as it forces you to make a choice. I mean, there are probably dozens, scores — hundreds! — of games I’d love to be able to hop into a time machine and see live, and I have to pick just one? Jeez.

Of course there’s a problem here: I’ve spent much of the past couple of weeks talking about how I’d rather see a game that is new to me rather than one I already know the outcome to. Doesn’t this exercise negate that? Under that set of assumptions, am I not going to be happier seeing some random 1965 tilt between the Senators and the White Sox than I am to see one of baseball’s most memorable games? Probably!

Well, since we’re assuming the existence of time machines let’s set an additional ...

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QLE Posted: April 04, 2020 at 01:06 AM | 69 comment(s)
  Beats: games past, history, questions

Japanese pro baseball, football give up on April starts

TOKYO- Nippon Professional Baseball and the pro soccer J-League on Friday abandoned plans to play in April, while declining to say when their coronavirus pandemic-affected seasons could resume.

NPB is now hoping to open its regular season in late May, but for the first time decided not to announce a date following a meeting of representatives from its 12 teams.

The pro baseball establishment twice previously set dates, April 10 and April 24, that would allow the two leagues to complete a regular 143-game schedule, but Friday’s decision indicated new plans would be needed.

When speaking about the schedule, NPB Commissioner Atsushi Saito talked about the regular season and the season-ending Japan Series. He neglected to mention the Climax ...

Read More...
QLE Posted: April 04, 2020 at 01:05 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: japanese baseball, postponement

Coronavirus could cause $1 billion loss for NBA, NHL and MLB broadcasters, ad firm says

The coronavirus pandemic could cause roughly $1 billion in lost advertising for broadcasters of the top three U.S. pro sports leagues, according to ad firm MediaRadar.

The advertising information company released its findings showing how the virus would affect ad spend for the sports industry. The analysis found that combined, the National Basketball Association, National Hockey League and Major League Baseball would generate a roughly $1 billion for broadcasters.

And that number could significantly increase if the National Football League experiences any delays due to coronavirus. The NFL’s season isn’t scheduled to start until September.

Todd Krizelman is the co-founder and CEO of MediaRadar. He said viewership is usually at its ...

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QLE Posted: April 04, 2020 at 01:01 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: advertising, broadcasting, coronavirus, money

Judge nixes fantasy players’ lawsuit over sign-stealing scandal

A federal judge in New York has dismissed a class-action lawsuit brought against Major League Baseball by a group of daily fantasy sports players, who claimed to have been harmed by the Houston Astros and Boston Red Sox sign-stealing scandals.

In a 32-page opinion issued Friday, U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff lambasted the Astros and Red Sox for “shamelessly” breaking baseball’s rules and “the hearts of all true baseball fans,” but he denied the claim of the named plaintiffs: Kristopher Olson, Christopher Lopez, Warren Barber, Christopher Clifford and Erik Liptak.

Investigations by MLB found that the Astros and Red Sox used electronic devices as part of sign-sealing schemes during recent seasons. Former Houston manager AJ Hinch and an ...

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QLE Posted: April 04, 2020 at 12:46 AM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: dirty rotten cheaters, fantasy sports, lawsuits

Friday, April 03, 2020

Evan Gattis says his 2017 Astros ‘cheated baseball and cheated fans’

“ Not mad at people hating us — just mad, like kind of on the fans’ side,” Gattis continued. “Not everybody was super-happy about the cheating. … They were teammates, and maybe they didn’t feel like they were in a position to say anything. And they’re living with it right now. I could have said some [expletive], I could have done something, but I did not. Definitely not.”

majorflaw Posted: April 03, 2020 at 10:11 PM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: astros

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