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Friday, September 25, 2020

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 9-25-2020

New York Evening World, September 25, 1920:

Interest in the Grand Jury investigation of alleged crookedness in baseball centres to-day in the identity of the man whose name has been given by witnesses as the person who fixed the 1919 World’s Series for Cincinnati to win. H.H. Brigham, foreman of the jury, says that he has the name.

While reticent as to the matter, Mr. Brigham said that evidence thus far introduced had brought about a decision to call as witnesses Arnold Rothstein of New York, millionaire turfman and controlling owner of the Havre de Grace race track; William Burns, former Chicago (American) and Cincinnati (National League) pitcher; Abe Attell, former featherweight boxing champion, and several other well known sportsmen.

“I ...

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: September 25, 2020 at 10:09 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: black sox, dugout, history

Thursday, September 24, 2020

WaPo: If baseball keeps these grotesque expanded playoffs, it will have lost its soul

I suppose it’s a sin to submit one’s own piece to the site, but what’s done is done.

With the three gradual expansions of the playoffs over the past half century, postseason outcomes have become more unpredictable due to the unique nature of the game: Your most critical players (starting pitchers) are only available once in a short series, or may be off their game, or maybe the opposing team is using an elaborate series of buzzers and trash cans to steal their signs. In fact, if history is any guide, the Dodgers will probably lose the NL wild-card series when Clayton Kershaw is abducted by aliens during the seventh-inning stretch of Game 3, because it always happens the way you expect it to.

That’s why the regular season, the 162-game ...

Esoteric Posted: September 24, 2020 at 05:29 PM | 37 comment(s)
  Beats: aliens abduct clayton kershaw, business, history

Blue Jays part ways with staff members Hentgen, Quantrill, Huckaby

The Toronto Blue Jays have parted ways with franchise icon Pat Hentgen, fellow special assistant Paul Quantrill and triple-A manager Ken Huckaby, according to multiple industry sources.

The reasons for the changes weren’t immediately clear.

Hentgen, the club’s first homegrown 20-game winner and a beloved part of the 1992-93 World Series winning teams, was in his eighth season as a special assistant to the club, having also served as the Blue Jays’ bullpen coach in 2011 and ’13.

Quantrill spent six seasons with the Blue Jays, earning an all-star nod in 2001, and joined the team as a consultant in 2013 before serving as a special assistant.

Huckaby was promoted to manager at triple-A Buffalo this past off-season after spending ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 24, 2020 at 05:19 PM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: blue jays

Trevor Bauer Should Just Admit It

Trevor Bauer, Reds ace and heavy-brained edgelord, told reporters after another pristine start Wednesday night that he has done enough this season to deserve the National League Cy Young award. And unlike the time he mangled his hand by carelessly handling a drone, he’s not wrong. By the standard metrics, Bauer should be the frontrunner: he leads NL pitchers in ERA and strikeouts, and is third in innings, and has nine quality starts in 11 appearances. But there is another metric that says that Bauer, long a critic of dirty rotten cheaters, may now be a dirty rotten cheater. Bauer, in his ninth major league season, is suddenly the God of Spin.

Bauer’s sudden jump in spin rate was noted by Fangraphs at the end of last season, when he ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 24, 2020 at 03:40 PM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: trevor bauer

Longtime Royals star Alex Gordon to retire

I’m still his #1 fan.

Longtime Royals star Alex Gordon has decided to retire following the 2020 season, the team announced on Thursday.

Gordon, 36, played 14 seasons, all for Kansas City, starring for the 2015 squad that won the World Series.

Gordon was an All-Star three times and has won seven Gold Glove Awards for his excellent defense in left field, including each of the past three seasons.


RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 24, 2020 at 12:19 PM | 28 comment(s)
  Beats: alex gordon

MLB’s new $3.75 billion deal with Turner includes big changes

Major League Baseball’s new seven-year deal with Turner Sports is for nearly $3.745 billion at $535 million per season, according to sources.

It is a 65-percent increase over MLB/TBS’ previous contract.

When the extension kicks in during the 2022 season, the league and the network are going to try to make their setup more like the one Turner Sports rode to prominence with the NBA, as it will feature a prime-time weeknight game and a new studio show.

Over Zoom, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred and Warner Media News & Sports chairman Jeff Zucker discussed the new deal with The Post.

Besides continuing its extensive postseason package that includes an annual league championship series, TBS will create a Tuesday game of the week that will ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 24, 2020 at 11:42 AM | 26 comment(s)
  Beats: television

MLB Pipeline’s 2020 All-Rookie Team

OF: Kyle Lewis, Mariners
.272/.376/.461, 54 G, 11 HR, 36 R, 28 RBIs

While he’s come back down to Earth a bit after a scorching start, Lewis is still very much at the forefront of AL Rookie of the Year talk as he’s tied among all rookies with 11 homers and tops all of them with 88 total bases, all while playing a solid center field.

OF: Luis Robert, White Sox
.225/.297/.444, 52 G, 11 HR, 30 R, 30 RBIs

The tools have been on display all year – he’s swiped eight bases and played an outstanding defensive center field – while tying with Lewis for the rookie home run lead, leading AL rookies in XBH (19) and trailing only Lewis among all rookies in total bases (83).

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 24, 2020 at 11:41 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: rookies

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 9-24-2020

Pittsburgh Press, September 24, 1920:

Rube Benton Says Pittsburg Betting Syndicate “Fixed” American Leaguers—Gleason’s Men Threatened

Ban Johnson, president of the American league, will be recalled today, it is expected, to tell the grand jury what he knows about an alleged plot to “blackmail” the Chicago Whitesox into losing the American league pennant this year. George M. Cohan, noted actor, and Mont Tennes, a well-known Chicago gambler, probably will be subpoenaed for questioning regarding reports that between them they lost $110,000 betting on the Whitesox in the 1919 world’s series.
The statement by [Ban] Johnson declares that he has been informed that the “Whitesox will not dare to win the pennant in 1920,” and alleges that the ...

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: September 24, 2020 at 10:00 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: black sox, dugout, history

How empty ballparks would have changed MLB history—and could alter games this October

A baseball hit at a typical home run trajectory travels farther in warmer air, physicist Alan Nathan has shown. A change in temperature of one degree Fahrenheit affects the distance of a batted ball by about four inches, which means a half-degree would matter for two inches, a quarter of a degree for one inch—and baseball, we all know, is a game of inches. In the biggest moments, it’s often a game of even less than that.

Would 2,500 space heaters running nonstop for 3 hours, 46 minutes and 13 seconds have a collective effect on air temperature in a partially enclosed outdoor stadium by one degree Fahrenheit? “It seems plausible to me,” Nathan tells us. “I can’t say that I know with any authori-”

Let’s stop you right there, Nathan. ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 24, 2020 at 08:58 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: coronavirus

Steve Cohen hiring Sandy Alderson as Mets team president

Steve Cohen went back to the future by announcing his intentions to hire Sandy Alderson as team president if he is approved as Mets owner. That could help Cohen’s ownership candidacy and bode poorly for Brodie Van Wagenen’s job security.

If I am fortunate enough to be approved by Major League Baseball as the next owner of this iconic franchise, Sandy Alderson will become president of the New York Mets and will oversee all Mets baseball and business operations,” Cohen said in a statement.

“Sandy is an accomplished and respected baseball executive who shares my philosophy of building an organization and a team the right way. I am excited to have Sandy in a key leadership role with the Mets if my purchase of the team is approved. ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 24, 2020 at 08:57 AM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: mets, sandy alderson

Rosenthal: Royals’ GM Moore seething over union’s stance on 40-man roster camps [$]

Royals catcher Salvador Peréz missed the entire 2019 season while recovering from Tommy John surgery, about half of spring training 2.0 after testing positive for COVID-19 and nearly four weeks during the season because of a fluid-filled particle in his left eye.

So when the Royals offered players the chance to remain in Kansas City for a training camp at Kauffman Stadium after the conclusion of the 2020 season, Peréz was eager for the extra work, according to a source with knowledge of the thinking. In fact, 24 of the players on the Royals’ 40-man roster said they wanted to participate, general manager Dayton Moore said.

But two memos from the Players Association, both of which were obtained by The Athletic, said the union was ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 24, 2020 at 08:55 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: mlbpa

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Five broadcast tweaks we’d like to see in the MLB Postseason

Make the most of empty seats
I’ve already railed against virtual fans. I’m assuming that since the final three rounds of the playoffs will be held at neutral sites, there won’t be any fan cutouts in the seats (just what we don’t need: cutouts of Astros fans at a potential Cubs-Braves playoff series). That would lead to a perfect opportunity for the networks to make the most of these empty seats and experiment with new camera angles. I feel like only a few RSNs have taken advantage of the opportunity this year, and if there’s any time to take advantage of it, it’s during the playoffs at neutral site venues.

Even though teams and networks have all this technology at their disposal, the core broadcast itself doesn’t feel like ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 23, 2020 at 06:07 PM | 24 comment(s)
  Beats: broadcasting

MLB makes independent Atlantic League its first ‘partner league’

Major League Baseball is making the independent Atlantic League its first “partner league,” a distinction awarded as the expiration nears for MLB’s agreement with the affiliated National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues.

On Wednesday, MLB said it will meet regularly with the Atlantic League to discuss joint marketing and promotional opportunities. The sides extended their agreement through 2023 to stage experiments in the Atlantic League, which tested an automated ball-strike system to call pitches in 2019 and has used other innovations such as limits on defensive shifts and mound visits, larger bases and shorter breaks between half-innings.

“The Atlantic League clubs and players have been great partners to us as we jointly ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 23, 2020 at 05:46 PM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: atlantic league

The AL MVP Battle Could Come Down to Philosophy

Absent an incredible final week that eliminates any doubts about who the MVP ought to be, there are a bunch of philosophical choices that voters will have to make. How much does it matter that Anderson and LeMahieu missed time? If we look at the White Sox candidates, Anderson has been the better player when he’s played, but Abreu has 20% more playing time and that’s tough to ignore. LeMahieu’s case is similar to Anderson’s given the time missed from injury….

There’s a decent possibility that the two best players in the AL this year are playing on a 24-31 Angels team, which some will opt to hold against them. It doesn’t take much to convince me that Mike Trout is having the best season of any player in the AL, and his track ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 23, 2020 at 11:40 AM | 20 comment(s)
  Beats: mvp

Police: Pittsburgh Pirates prospect, 21, under influence of alcohol during crash that killed 3

Pittsburgh Pirates No. 3 prospect and Gigantes del Cibao shortstop Oneil Cruz was under the influence of alcohol when he hit a motorcycle on Monday night in a crash that killed three people, according to a police report and authorities in the Dominican Republic.

Cruz, 21, was arrested at the scene and is currently in police custody at the prosecutor’s office in the Peravia province.

The prosecution presented a formal accusation against Cruz and requested a hearing for Wednesday.

According to the report from the Department of Transit Safety and Ground Transportation, or DIGESETT, by its Spanish acronym, Cruz was driving east on Sanchez highway between Baní and San Cristóbal, near the community of Los Mercaditos de Paya in Bani, when he ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 23, 2020 at 10:00 AM | 25 comment(s)
  Beats: pirates

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Multiple Reports Link Angels To Dave Dombrowski

Angels general manager Billy Eppler is in the final season of his contract, and with the Angels assured of a fifth straight losing season, multiple reports have linked the team to veteran executive Dave Dombrowski as a potential replacement. The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal calls the Halos the “most likely” team to make a switch at GM, adding that Dombrowski is the most frequently mentioned replacement option. Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times writes that the “widely held belief” is that the Angels are in for yet another front-office regime change and that the “industry consensus” is that owner Arte Moreno will pursue Dombrowski.

It’s been five years since Eppler took over for Jerry Dipoto, who resigned from his post in the wake ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 22, 2020 at 11:23 PM | 20 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, dave dombrowski

Angels’ Andrelton Simmons opts out as Los Angeles’ season draws to a close

Los Angeles Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons has decided to opt out of the remainder of the season, with only five games left in the regular season and his team all but eliminated from postseason contention.

In a statement released through his agency, ISE, Simmons said, “Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association developed an environment and system that empowered players and provided us the opportunity to decide on whether to play or opt out of the season. At this moment, I feel this is the best decision for me and for my family. We don’t know what the future holds, but we would like to sincerely thank the Angels organization and Angels fans for welcoming and making us feel at home.”

Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: September 22, 2020 at 08:06 PM | 49 comment(s)
  Beats: andrelton simmons, angels

Rob Manfred exclusive: Commissioner says MLB plans to have fans at NLCS, World Series

And now, with the postseason beginning Sept. 29, with an expanded 16-team format that Manfred has no interest in continuing under its current structure, there will be fans to provide authentic crowd noise, beginning with the NLCS on Oct. 12 at 40,300-seat Globe Life Field.

“We are pressing ahead to have fans in Texas,’’ said Manfred, with a ticket sales announcement expected soon. “One of the most important things to our game is the presence of fans. Starting down the path of having fans in stadiums, and in a safe and risk-free environment, is very, very important to our game.’’

Manfred would like the postseason to be expanded from 10 teams in the past to 14 in the future, which was discussed last winter, but not 16. The ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 22, 2020 at 03:32 PM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: coronavirus, expanded playoffs, rob manfred

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 9-22-2020

Seattle Star, September 22, 1920:

The chastity of baseball went on trial [in Chicago] today when the Cook county grand jury opened an active investigation of charges of “fixed games.”
Rube Benton, New York Giant pitcher, said to have been offered $750 by a Chicago player to throw a game; Heinie Zimmerman, Lee Magee and Hal Chase, former players, were also expected to be quizzed.
[Charles] Comiskey was expected to explain why bonus checks of eight White Sox players were held up last season and what his investigation of the world’s series scandal in 1919 produced.

Concerned Puppet dot JPEG.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: September 22, 2020 at 10:19 AM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

The Athletic: ‘You can’t own an idea’: Attempt to patent a baseball stat surprises community [$]

Sub required.

The first claim on the QOP patent is a long one, but you can read the whole thing if you like. You might notice that the claim begins with the mention of a ton of hardware, hardware that would be familiar to anyone who has followed along as Major League Baseball’s Advanced Media (MLBAM) arm has installed PITCHf/x, TrackMan, and then Hawk-Eye systems in order to improve the quality of their data. SportVision’s PITCHf/x is a video-based system, TrackMan is a doppler radar system, and Hawk-Eye is an “imaging system.”

The QOP patent describes a process that goes all the way from hardware to a display system, much like baseball’s statistics on BaseballSavant come all the way from the Hawk-Eye sensors to a ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 22, 2020 at 09:52 AM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: patent law, statistics

Passan: Inside a final week like MLB has never seen before

What happens if there’s a tie?

Are you sure you want to do this?

Should I not be?

Take a deep breath. This is gonna get a little messy.

Let’s start with the tiebreakers. Unlike years past, there will be no Game 163 (or Game 61). If there is a tie within a division—Marlins and Phillies for second in the East, any of the three Central teams for second in the division or a wild-card spot—the first tiebreaker is head-to-head record. If teams from different divisions are tied, the team with the better record against its own division gets the nod.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 22, 2020 at 09:01 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: tiebreakers

Monday, September 21, 2020

Dorktown: Send Luis Castillo’s 2000 season to Hollywood

In 2000, the average Major League player drove in about 0.125 runs per plate appearance. Luis Castillo of the Florida Marlins drove in about 0.072 runs per … hit. That’s right — in a year where he broke Jeff Conine’s then-franchise record for single-season hits, Castillo parlayed 180 of ’em into just 13 RBI.

In other words, you can pick out of a hat any of MLB’s 189,635 plate appearances from that season not taken by Castillo, and it would be expected to generate nearly twice as much run production as the average hit by Florida’s second baseman in 2000.

Now, his RBI total was a bit higher than 13, as he did drive in four runs on groundouts, giving him 17 RBI overall for the season.

So. 180 hits. 17 RBI. Trust me when I ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 21, 2020 at 10:48 PM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: luis castillo

Judge Sends Baseball Fans’ Suit Against Ticketmaster, StubHub to Arbitration

Baseball fans unhappy about COVID-19 ticket refund policies who bought their seats on Ticketmaster or StubHub will have to arbitrate their claims, a California federal judge has ruled.

Fans in April sued the league itself; each individual team; StubHub; and Ticketmaster and its parent, Live Nation….

U.S. District Judge Dale Fischer on Sept. 14 sided with the sites finding that the click-through agreements users interact with while signing into the site and buying tickets are sufficient to provide notice of the policy and constitute mutual assent to an arbitration agreement. Citing an unpublished 9th Circuit decision in another dispute involving Ticketmaster, Fischer notes the site’s Terms of Use ‘provided sufficient notice for ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 21, 2020 at 10:43 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: lawsuit

MLB officially cancels 2020 Arizona Fall League

The novel coronavirus pandemic has cancelled a lot of sporting events around the world in 2020, and now MLB’s annual Arizona Fall League for prospects has met the same fate, per this Baseball America article:

Specifically, MLB did not believe the AFL’s traditional facilities—Salt River Fields, Scottsdale Stadium, Surprise Stadium, Peoria Sports Complex, Sloan Park and Camelback Ranch—were well-suited to deal with 40-plus players as well as coaches and other staff members while still maintaining proper physical distancing.

Beyond that, many of the players who would have been considered for the AFL are already at the teams’ alternate sites and either preparing to enter playoff bubbles or head to the fall instructional league.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 21, 2020 at 10:31 PM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: arizona fall league

Seeding, not record, will determine who bats last in this year’s neutral-site World Series

The higher seeded team reaching the World Series will have last at-bats in Games 1 and 2 and if needed Games 6 and 7, not necessarily the team with the best record.

The specification was contained in the July 23 agreement between Major League Baseball and the players’ association to expand the playoffs following a regular season shortened due to the novel coronavirus. A copy of the deal was obtained by The Associated Press.

This year’s change means a No. 1 seed from one league with fewer regular-season wins than a lower seed from the other league would have the ``home-field advantage’’ for the World Series should they both win pennants. In the event both pennant winners have the same seed, regular-season winning percentage would decide ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 21, 2020 at 10:29 PM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: world series

Ken Giles To Undergo Tommy John Surgery

Blue Jays closer Ken Giles, plagued by arm injuries throughout the season, is headed for Tommy John surgery that will quite likely wipe out the entirety of his 2021 campaign as well. Giles first announced the move via his wife’s Instagram account, and Toronto skipper Charlie Montoyo has confirmed as much, per ESPN’s Marly Rivera (Twitter link).

Giles’ arm problems date back to last season, when elbow issues prevented him from changing hands around the 2019 deadline in July. Giles looked like a prime candidate to move before then, as he was among the majors’ most dominant relievers. Toronto had to retain the hard-throwing right-hander as a result of his health woes, and the club could now lose him for nothing in the next couple ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 21, 2020 at 06:09 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: ken giles, tommy john surgery

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