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Friday, July 28, 2023

Site Outage Postponed

I have way too many things that still need to be accomplished before migrating the server. I’m going to keep plugging and will update when I’m ready to move the site.

UPDATE: Sorry, I have to push back the update until next Monday. Home was far too busy this past week. Things get back to normal tomorrow. Hopefully the extra time will help shorten the outage. will be offline starting Tuesday, August 8th at 9 AM EDT for a much-needed server migration and backend updates. The ETA to be back online is TBD. I will provide updates on Twitter

Thanks for your patience.

jimfurtado Posted: July 28, 2023 at 09:23 AM | 107 comment(s)
  Beats: site news

Saturday, September 30, 2023

Marlins clinch playoff berth: Miami headed to postseason in full season for first time since 2003 title

The Miami Marlins are heading back to the postseason. The Marlins clinched a wild-card spot with their win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Saturday night (MIA 6, PIT 3). This is Miami’s first postseason appearance since 2020 and the franchise’s first in a 162-game season since 2003, when they won the World Series.

Here is the updated NL postseason bracket:

BYE: No. 1 Atlanta Braves and No. 2 Los Angeles Dodgers
WC1: No. 6 Arizona Diamondbacks at No. 3 Milwaukee Brewers
WC2: No. 5 Miami Marlins at No. 4 Philadelphia Phillies
The D-Backs have not yet clinched a postseason berth, though they will do so with their next win or the next losses by both the Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds. The Marlins have the same record as Arizona (84-76) with ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 30, 2023 at 09:56 PM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: marlins

Yankees address Carlos Rodon’s clash with coach Matt Blake

Yankees manager Aaron Boone was still smoothing over some clubhouse discord with two games left in a lost season Saturday after Carlos Rodón and pitching coach Matt Blake clashed on the mound the previous night.

Rodón was in the midst of allowing all eight batters he faced to reach base and eventually score in a 12-5 loss to the Kansas City Royals when Blake came out the dugout in an attempt to get him on track. The two exchanged a few words before Rodón turned his back on Blake and gestured for him to return to the dugout, even though the coach was still talking.

“Obviously we don’t want that happening,” said Boone, whose team needed to win one of its last two games against the Royals to extend its streak of winning seasons to 31. ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 30, 2023 at 09:34 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: carlos rodon, yankees

Witt becomes first Royal in 30-30 club: ‘No one like him’

Witt became the first Royal with a 30-30 season, but his 49 steals this season make him just the fifth player in Major League history to have 30-plus homers and 49 or more stolen bases in a season, joining Eric Davis (1987), Barry Bonds (‘90), Mike Trout (‘12) and Ronald Acuña Jr. this year.

“Pretty special,” Witt said. “It was great. First inning was fun to get things going. Nine-run lead, I haven’t seen that ever really. … Special anytime you get to be the first.”

Witt is just the second player in Major League history with 30 home runs and 49 steals at age 23 or younger, joining Trout in 2012, who did it at age 20.

The closest call for a Royal to join the 30-30 club actually did achieve the feat, but he was traded ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 30, 2023 at 09:33 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: bobby witt jr., royals

Rockies extend outfielder Charlie Blackmon through 2024

Charlie Blackmon and the Colorado Rockies agreed Friday to a $13 million, one-year contract for 2024 that prevents the outfielder from becoming a free agent.

The 37-year-old is in the final season of a six-year contract guaranteeing $108 million, a deal Blackmon agreed to after winning the NL batting title with a .331 average.

A four-time All-Star, Blackmon has spent his entire 13-season big league career with Colorado. Only Todd Helton at 17 seasons played longer for the Rockies.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 30, 2023 at 09:31 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: charlie blackmon, rockies

Friday, September 29, 2023

Gabe Kapler fired: Giants dismiss manager after four years; San Francisco made playoffs just once

The San Francisco Giants are firing manager Gabe Kapler after missing the postseason for a third time in four tries, the team announced Friday.

Executive Farhan Zaidi issued the following statement:

“After making this recommendation to ownership and receiving their approval, I met with Gabe today to inform him of our decision. In his tenure as Giants manager, Gabe led our team through an unprecedented pandemic in 2020 and a franchise-record 107 wins and postseason berth in 2021. He has been dedicated and passionate in his efforts to improve the on-field performance of the San Francisco Giants and I have tremendous respect for him as a colleague and friend.”

Kapler, 48, led the Giants to the playoffs in 2021 on the heels of a 107-win ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 29, 2023 at 05:27 PM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: gabe kapler, giants

Curve honor ‘worst baseball player of all time’

Throughout MLB history, over 20,000 players have taken the diamond. A common debate among fans is who is the best of this group, Babe Ruth? Barry Bonds? Willie Mays? The list goes on.

However, a rarely explored topic is who is the worst player of all time? Never fear, we have the answer: John Gochnaur. He played in 264 Major League games over the course of the 1901-03 seasons, hitting .187 without any home runs and committing 146 errors. Of particular note was Gochnaur’s season with the Cleveland Napoleons in 1903, when he was charged with 98 errors.

In January 2021,’s Matt Monagan outlined Gochnaur’s career and his life after baseball. Since Gochnaur was a native of Altoona, Pa. and returned there after retiring, the story ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 29, 2023 at 04:02 PM | 26 comment(s)
  Beats: history, minor league promotions

Appreciating 4 all-time legends as they play their (potential) final games

This could be it for Miguel Cabrera, Zack Greinke, Joey Votto, and Adam Wainwright.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 29, 2023 at 02:19 PM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: adam wainrwright, joey votto, miguel cabrera, zack greinke

Baltimore Orioles agree to 30-year lease extension at Camden Yards

The Orioles will take over operations and maintenance at Camden Yards as part of a non-binding agreement reached with Maryland leaders over a lease extension that would keep the team in Baltimore for decades to come.

The Orioles announced during Thursday night’s game that the team, the state of Maryland, Gov. Wes Moore and the Maryland Stadium Authority reached an agreement that will keep the club at Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore for the next 30 years…

As part of the MOU, officials said operations and maintenance will shift from the MSA to the Orioles, saving the state more than $3 million a year. Officials said MSA will retain strict controls and oversight. As such, the team will not pay rent but will assume the costs of ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 29, 2023 at 11:46 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: orioles

Major League Baseball draws highest attendance since 2017

More than 70 million fans will attend Major League Baseball games for the first time in six years, a post-pandemic rebound for a sport that instituted its biggest on-field changes in decades.

A pitch clock to speed play—game times are down 24 minutes to 2:40 for nine innings this season—limits on defensive shifts to increase offense, new social spaces at ballparks and technology innovations to speed entry have factored into a 9.2% rise in average attendance to 29,176. Expanding the playoffs to 12 teams, which began last year, led to more than half the teams remaining in mathematical contention.

“Getting back above 70 million is an accomplishment for us,” baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said Wednesday. “I think it’s the playoff format, ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 29, 2023 at 11:02 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: attendance

The Athletic: How did Angels squander Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani? It starts with the owner’s frugality

At a time when other large-market teams had already moved aggressively to aid technological training and evaluation aids to their organization, the Angels were lagging behind. In 2019, the team brought in advanced pitching and hitting equipment such as Edgertronic cameras, Rapsodo machines and K-Vests, multiple former coaches said.

“Before 2019, we didn’t have anything at all,” said a longtime former coach in the Angels system. “No technology. Bullpens were thrown without any technology. … We were very outdated as an organization. We were years behind other organizations.”

Roughly half of MLB’s 30 teams have established dedicated pitching or hitting labs, according to published reports, and these kinds of advanced ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 29, 2023 at 10:57 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: angels, arte moreno

Marlins-Mets ends night with rainout, frustration and a massive question mark in NL wild-card race

9:41 p.m.: After a couple of minutes of strong rains, the umpires suspend the game with men on first and second and two outs in the top of the ninth, with the Marlins leading 2-1.

It was at this point that a wild scenario was in play, as rule 7.02 (b)(4)(A) dictates that if a game is called due to rain and unable to be completed, the score is reverted to the last completed inning, which would give the Mets a 1-0 win.

Fortunately, MLB very much did not want that to happen. The league proceeded to wait 2 hours and 40 minutes, hoping for a break in the rain.

12:21 a.m.: The Mets grounds crew starts moving the infield tarp, inspiring hope that the game might finally finish before the break of dawn. That tarp was moved to left field, where ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 29, 2023 at 10:18 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: marlins, mets

Kid gets ultimate souvenir after angry Bryce tosses helmet into stands

Harper said he hadn’t seen a replay of his check swing. He said he didn’t need to.

“It’s just bad, just all around,” Harper said. “You’re grinding in that at-bat, facing a guy I’ve never faced before. I got to a 3-2 count, I took a slider down and in, obviously didn’t go. Wasn’t even thinking about [strike three] in that situation. I was taking my stuff off and I heard the crowd’s reaction, and I was just like, ‘There’s no way.’”

Asked what Hernández told him when he went out to third base, Harper said, “He just told me that if I saw the replay, that I would know that I was wrong. I mean, yeah, so.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 29, 2023 at 09:45 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: angel hernandez, bryce harper

Orioles clinch AL East title with 100th win of season

“It was the AL Beast again this year, and we knew it,” outfielder Austin Hays said. “We had to battle ... but here we are. We did it.”

Dean Kremer (13-5) allowed two hits and a walk in 5⅓ innings, striking out eight, and the Orioles reached 100 wins for the sixth time in team history and first since 1980. Baltimore prevailed in a brutally tough division that relegated the Red Sox and New York Yankees to afterthoughts.

Now the Orioles—two years after losing 110 games—will enter the postseason as the top seed in the American League.

“There were so many rough nights in ‘19 and ‘21,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “There’s a lot of guys that were in that clubhouse that are celebrating right now.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 29, 2023 at 09:37 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: orioles

Thursday, September 28, 2023

Benches clear as Astros-Mariners battle for a Wild Card spot gets heated

With Houston clinging to a 4-3 lead in the game and a half-game edge in the AL Wild Card standings, Neris struck out Rodríguez on three pitches, after which the right-hander pointed and shouted at the reigning AL Rookie of the Year Award winner while pacing in his direction.

Neris aggressively taunted Rodríguez after the strikeout, and it appeared he used derogatory words in Spanish during the exchange, which was what Mariners third baseman Eugenio Suárez, who was in the on-deck circle during the incident, said he heard.

“I heard that and that pissed me off,” Suárez said. “I was mad and I let him know, like, ‘Why did you do that? Why did you do that to us? If you want to enjoy your strikeout, you enjoy the strikeout and go to ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 28, 2023 at 05:20 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, mariners

Ex-Red Sox knuckleballer Tim Wakefield and wife have cancer, Curt Schilling reveals ‘without permission’

Former Red Sox pitcher Tim Wakefield has been diagnosed with brain cancer, according to former teammate Curt Schilling.

The diagnosis was announced Tuesday by Schilling on his podcast, “The Curt Schilling Baseball Show.”

In doing so, Schilling admitted he didn’t know if Wakefield wanted the diagnosis shared.

Schilling also revealed that Wakefield’s wife, Stacy, is “very sick with pancreatic cancer.”

Saying he’s seen the “power of prayer work,” Schilling put the Wakefields’ private lives on public display.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 28, 2023 at 03:51 PM | 67 comment(s)
  Beats: curt schilling, tim wakefield

Three Reasons Why MLB Teams Are Quickening Player Progression Timelines

The high quality of data on amateur hitters
The level of data and detail that MLB organizations gather on amateur hitters today far outstrips what was available even 10 years ago. Teams can buy more confidently based on the wealth of batted-ball data and video that exists in Division I and in wood-bat summer leagues and high school showcases.

Training methods also have improved, and many college programs now employ former pro coaches.

The professional landscape has changed dramatically
Today’s minor league structure is not directly comparable to the pre-pandemic version. The entire minor league development apparatus has changed.

When MLB assumed control of the minor leagues in 2021—one year after the lost 2020 season—it ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 28, 2023 at 02:12 PM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: minor leaguers

Jed Hoyer Speaks: Being Good Enough, Bunting, Evaluating Managers, Suzuki, Bullpen, More

Hoyer is careful not to throw David Ross under the bus, and I still get the sense that he overall believes his manager has done a good job, but it’s not hard to read between these lines (The Score):

“When you call for (bunts) and it works, everyone looks smart. When you call for bunts and it doesn’t work, everyone gets mad. Generally, I’m not a huge fan of bunting in general. But there are certainly late-game situation that it makes sense. Obviously, unfortunately, it didn’t work out (Tuesday) night ….

“I’m not going to second-guess those decisions. It’s so hard, right? Because if Seiya (Suzuki) catches that ball and we hold the lead in the ninth, no one is really talking about those things. And it gets magnified in ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 28, 2023 at 12:26 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, david ross, jed hoyer

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred calls eliminating local blackouts ‘business objective number one’

“I believe that one of the fundamental goals that we have as the media landscape is reworked is that whatever exclusivity we give to a particular cable provider, we oughta have the ability to go side-by-side with a digital product so that people are not blacked out,” Manfred said. “That is business objective number one at Major League Baseball right now.”

“The reason it has taken a long time to get at this blackout issue is that when clubs make long-term RSN agreements, they historically grant exclusivity that covers both sides of the house to that cable provider. If the cable provider doesn’t get distribution in a particular area, you have a blackout, right? And that’s beyond our control. That’s a product of a contractual ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 28, 2023 at 12:21 PM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: blackouts, rob manfred

12 lessons from the first season under new rules

1) Obviously, game times shortened.

There is no bigger takeaway from the timer, of course. As of this writing, the average nine-inning game time is 2 hours, 40 minutes—a decrease of 24 minutes when compared to the same number of games in 2022 and the lowest such average since 1985 (2:39).

If we control for the run environment and events that typically increase game time (such as mid-inning pitching changes), then the year-over-year decline in nine-inning game times is 26 minutes.

And if you go back to 2021, which was an all-time high of 3:10 per game, we are down a half-hour compared to two seasons ago.

2) Game times did lengthen slightly in the second half.

Digging deeper, we do see a rise in game times within 2023 as players became ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 28, 2023 at 09:23 AM | 26 comment(s)
  Beats: pitch clock

Wednesday, September 27, 2023

‘Thank you, Tito’: Francona leaves lasting mark ahead of impending retirement

That same intuition is once again sounding off in Francona’s head 33 years later. After transitioning from player to coach to Minor League manager to Major League manager of three different MLB clubs, Francona is ready to put his baseball cap in his closet and shut the door.

“I know how I feel about doing the job a certain way and I don’t think that I can necessarily do that anymore,” Francona said. “And that bothers me.”

No, Francona has not officially announced his retirement just yet, simply because he doesn’t want the spotlight in the final week of the regular season. But because he wants to be fair to the media and anyone else who’s wondering about his future, he’s been candid in his answers, alluding to the fact ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 27, 2023 at 06:21 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: terry francona

Disappointing Padres expected to cut payroll by about 20% to around $200 million for 2024, per report

This offseason also promises to be interesting in San Diego. GM A.J. Preller’s seat figures to be at least a little warm with the team likely to miss the postseason, and changes to the roster are coming. So too, apparently, it a payroll reduction. According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, the Padres are expected to reduce player payroll by about 20%, to around $200 million in 2024.

Here are more details from the San Diego Union-Tribune:

How much the team is bringing in is not a known number, though one highly placed source says the team has doubled revenue since 2018 and others around baseball marvel at the impressive gains. However, the size of the payroll is known, and it has jumped from $104 million in 2018 to the season-ending figure ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 27, 2023 at 03:16 PM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: padres

Cubs’ Seiya Suzuki commits brutal error as Chicago blows six-run lead in crucial loss vs. Braves

The Milwaukee Brewers clinched the National League Central on Tuesday night, albeit not because they were able to beat the St. Louis Cardinals. Rather, the Brewers clinched the division crown after the Chicago Cubs blew a six-run lead against the Atlanta Braves in painful fashion.

The Cubs’ meltdown was capped by an error committed on a routine fly ball by outfielder Seiya Suzuki. It allowed two runs to score in the bottom of the eighth and turned a one-run Chicago lead into a one-run deficit.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 27, 2023 at 03:14 PM | 28 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs

The Atlanta Braves are hitting like the 1927 Yankees - really

Consider slugging percentage. No NL or AL team has ever slugged .500 for a season. The Braves are slugging .501 as a team entering play Wednesday. Only 21 players who qualify for the batting title are slugging .500 or better this season. Five of them are Braves, and three of them are in the top nine. The next closest team by slugging percentage is the Texas Rangers (.457). There are 11 clubs slugging below .400.

It’s a level of team dominance similar to the 1927 Yankees, who featured the only two players - Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig - to hit more than 30 home runs that season. Fourteen players slugged over .500 in 1927 and four were Yankees, topped by the astronomical marks by Ruth (.772) and Gehrig (.765).

The Braves might not have Ruth ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 27, 2023 at 03:13 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: braves

Cooper: Ever-Climbing Velocity Pushes Hitters to the Brink

When pitchers dot the edges of the strike zone with an 88-92 mph fastball in 2023, hitters hit .267/.346/.464. Those same hitters hit .261/.261/.348 against four-seam fastballs of 98 mph or faster in the heart of the strike zone.

Yes, those are similar batting averages, but hitters are doing much more damage against a fastball with modest velocity on the black versus a harder fastball thrown straight down the middle.

We’ve seen a generation of hitters who have adapted as best they can to ever-increasing velocity. But at the end of the day, the faster a pitch is thrown, the less time a hitter has to react. That’s always to the pitcher’s advantage.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 27, 2023 at 12:40 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: velocity

‘It’s an art’: MLB catchers seek balance between framing, robot umps

But what about those fans - likely very many - who want to see more objectivity from officials in all sports?

“They can write a letter or something,” Trevino responded wryly. “But, I mean, for guys that love doing it, the guys that enjoy catching and love pitch framing and any kind of defensive stuff, it means a lot. It means a lot to us.”

In reality, though, the automated strike zone is most likely coming, one way or another. And many catchers, including Texas Rangers tandem Jonah Heim and Austin Hedges - two of the best pitch framers in the league who’ve combined to save 22 runs this season - seem ready to welcome the appeal system.

“I think the best starting point would be the appeal system,” said All-Star Heim, the rare catcher ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 27, 2023 at 12:29 PM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: automated strike zone, pitch framing

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Hall of Fame 3B, Orioles legend Brooks Robinson dies at 86

Hall of Fame third baseman Brooks Robinson, whose deft glovework and folksy manner made him one of the most beloved and accomplished athletes in Baltimore history, has died. He was 86….

Coming of age before the free agent era, Robinson spent his entire 23-year career with the Orioles. He almost single-handedly helped Baltimore defeat Cincinnati in the 1970 World Series and homered in Game 1 of the Orioles’ 1966 sweep of the Los Angeles Dodgers for their first crown.

Robinson participated in 18 All-Star Games and earned the 1964 AL Most Valuable Player award after batting .318 with 28 home runs and a league-leading 118 RBIs. He finished his career with 268 homers, 1,357 RBIs and a respectable .267 batting average in 2,896 career games.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 26, 2023 at 08:46 PM | 43 comment(s)
  Beats: brooks robinson, obituaries, orioles

Josh Hader discusses reluctance to pitch four outs

Asked for his thinking behind not making himself available for four outs on Monday, or really, at any point down the stretch, Hader said: “It’s the situation that we were at.”

That comment required some clarification and context. Earlier in the season, after the Padres had lost games in which Hader was unavailable, both Hader and manager Bob Melvin indicated that those decisions were made with the big-picture view in mind. They needed a healthy Hader for the stretch run.

And yet, in the season’s final week, in a spot that called for his dominant left arm, Hader wasn’t used. So why not now? What happened to that plan?

“Are we in the playoff race?” Hader asked, rhetorically.

Hader is a pending free agent, set to be the ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 26, 2023 at 04:39 PM | 42 comment(s)
  Beats: josh hader, padres

Monday, September 25, 2023

How to Save an Aging Ballpark

Led by the architecture firm Populous, the first phase of this $300 million CAD ($222 million USD) facelift debuted this season. The team trimmed capacity by 7% by removing about 8,000 seats, reconfigured the dimensions of the field, and added a host of gathering spaces to the 34-year-old facility.

“We’re in the business of competing for people’s time and money, and we’re competing with a broadcast experience that’s vastly different and better than when Rogers Centre was built,” says Blue Jays Executive Vice President Anuk Karunaratne. “We have to create reasons for people to want to come down here, and in doing so we need to create an experience that is reflective of what people expect when they go out in the city.”

The ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 25, 2023 at 07:17 PM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: blue jays, rogers centre

Joey Votto and the city of Cincinnati say ‘Thank you’ in a potential goodbye

As Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto tipped his cap, spun around and acknowledged the crowd on Sunday, he thought about how many familiar faces there were at Great American Ball Park.

Votto guessed that he had met the majority of the 31,191. Over his 17-year big league career, Votto has signed a lot of autographs. He has taken a lot of photos, met a lot of Reds fans around the city and thrown thousands of foul balls into the stands.

“I know so many people in the crowd,” Votto said. “I’m in this community in lots of different ways.”

Sunday’s 4-2 Reds win over the Pittsburgh Pirates in the regular season home finale wasn’t a planned celebration for Votto. But since it might have been his final home game in ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 25, 2023 at 07:11 PM | 41 comment(s)
  Beats: joey votto, reds

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