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Monday, March 09, 2020

8th? BBTF Central Park Softball Game: SEPT 18, 2021

Let’s start planning for this year’s game. First questions:

1. Who is submitting the permit request? (Answer: Hysterical & Useless)

2. What dates should we aim for? (Answer: July 25 October 3 Saturday, September 18, 2021)

3. Where is the post-game destination?

Sunday, June 20, 2021

Rays call up top prospect Wander Franco

The Rays have decided the future is now and are calling up top prospect Wander Franco for Tuesday’s game.

Franco, 20, has been playing for Triple-A Durham, where he is hitting .315 with seven homers, 35 RBIs and a .954 OPS in 39 games. He was told the news as the Bulls were busing from Norfolk, Va., to Jacksonville for their next series.

Franco, the multi-talented switch-hitting infielder, will instead be heading to Tropicana Field for the opener of a three-game series against the Red Sox on Tuesday night.

Moves to add Franco to the 40-man roster and the 25-man active roster still have to be finalized.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 20, 2021 at 08:15 PM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: rays, wander franco

College baseball pitcher Sang Ho Baek dies after complications from Tommy John surgery

Sang Ho Baek, a college pitcher at George Mason University, died after complications due to ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction, otherwise known as Tommy John surgery. That’s according to a GoFundMe page created for Baek by one of his teammates.

“After battling through injuries throughout the season, Sang required Tommy John surgery,” the page stated. “He suddenly passed away due to complications with his surgery. As a team, we are all mourning his passing.”

Baek’s father, Seong Han Baek, said that his son went in for the fairly common surgery for baseball pitchers on June 8. Baek died on Saturday, June 12. He had recently completed his freshman year of college.

“Our family is devastated and we want answers to why our ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 20, 2021 at 06:04 PM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: tommy john surgery

I Am Breaking My Silence About the Baseball Player Who Raped Me

I spent the 2002 M.L.B. season working on a significant story about foreign-born players and how they navigate life in the United States. It was nearly two decades ago, but I remember how much work went into it, the prominent play it received, and how proud of it I was. Looking back, I now wonder how I managed to finish it.

I sat down in a hotel room with my interview subject. We spoke for a few minutes as I asked some questions and he answered. Then he moved suddenly to kiss me. I said, no, no, I don’t want that, but he pushed me over to the bed. I tried to shove him. I said no, stop, no, stop, over and over. He pushed further, getting on top of me, pulling off my skirt, and having sex with me against my will.

While it was happening, ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 20, 2021 at 05:55 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: sexual harassment

Saturday, June 19, 2021

The story of honoring Negro League history and a search for buried treasure

Months earlier, Ray listened to Rob Neyer interview Scott Simkus, an author and researcher for, a site where a small group of hobbyists came together to try to pull off the impossible: find every existing Negro League box score from the top leagues. The result of their work means there are no longer thousands of missing box scores, but hundreds.

On the podcast, Simkus told Neyer they were certain there were missing games in places like Memphis; Zanesville, Ohio; and Erie. The missing puzzle pieces are mostly, now, in towns and cities where Negro League teams played during their lengthy tours. Seamheads was looking for volunteers willing to visit the libraries in these places and search the newspaper archives.

Erie? That’s ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 19, 2021 at 06:06 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: negro leagues

From the spitball to Spider Tack: A brief history of foreign substance use by pitchers in baseball

If Corridon was the author of the spitter, then Elmer Stricklett may have been its leading evangelist. The diminutive right-hander had a fairly middling big-league career across parts of four seasons with the White Sox and Brooklyn Superbas, but in the early 1900s he bent the arc of baseball history. Future Hall of Famer Jack Chesbro observed Stricklett throwing the spitter during a west coast barnstorming tour in the winter of 1902, and he was sufficiently titillated by the offering.

One of Stricklett’s teammates on the White Sox in the spring of 1904 was Ed Walsh, himself a future Hall of Fame moundsman. During that spring, Walsh encountered Stricklett once again. This time, he learned the finer points, and by that point Stricklett ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 19, 2021 at 01:29 PM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: foreign substances

2021 NCAA College World Series schedule, live stream, time: Vanderbilt eyes repeat as eight-team field is set

Now let’s have a look at the teams who will be a part of the 2021 College World Series in Omaha—i.e., the last eight teams left standing. Below you’ll find each team listed with their conference, their 2021 record, their pre-tournament ranking in the poll, the number of College World Series appearances in program history (counting 2021), and the number of national championships in program history. Now for college baseball’s version of the Elite Eight:

Conference: SEC
Record: 50-16
Pre-tournament ranking: No. 2
Men’s College World Series appearances: 5
National Championships: 0

Conference: Big 12
Record: 47-15
Pre-tournament ranking: No. 3
Men’s College World Series appearances: 37
National Championships: 6 ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 19, 2021 at 01:29 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: college world series

The Padres Need a First Base Upgrade

In other words, starting Hosmer nearly cancels out the positive effect of being able to start Manny Machado every night. Wil Myers is a problem as well, but first base is currently the team’s biggest issue and one that is projected to persist for the rest of the year.

ZiPS was never optimistic about Hosmer, but at the start of his San Diego tenure, it projected him to be a two-win player for the first half of the deal. Instead, thanks to Hosmer’s 2021, he’s once again back down to replacement level. With the chances that 2020 reflected a meaningful comeback fading, so too have his projections for the rest of the contract:

If the projections hold true, Hosmer would be smart to not exercise his opt-out clause after the 2022 season, ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 19, 2021 at 01:27 PM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: eric hosmer, padres

Friday, June 18, 2021

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-17-2021

Toledo News-Bee, June 17, 1921:

Babe Ruth has met his match—but it isn’t human. Ruth failed yesterday at balls pitched by a pitching machine operated by compressed air. Slow balls, high balls, low balls, fast and curved balls floated from the nozzle of the machine and Babe couldn’t touch them.

He declared the difficulty was that the batter cannot tell when the ball will be let loose.

Excuses, excuses. Next he’ll want to be allowed to keep his eyes open when the pitch comes.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: June 17, 2021 at 08:12 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: babe ruth, dugout, history

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

How a $7K laptop got on a ‘90 baseball card

In 1990, Murphy—then with the Red Sox—had become renowned for his work on the PC. He adopted one of the earliest personal digital assistants on the market, kept it in his jacket pocket in the bullpen and used it to input information on every batter he faced. It may seem simple now when players have tablets with video footage of every plate appearance available in the dugout, but this was pretty much unheard of for a Major Leaguer at the time.

“I was able to track the hitter, the team, left, right or switch,” Murphy said. “And I was able to put all the at-bats in—whether it was a key situation or not, the first pitch—if they swing or not—what the first pitch was, what the action pitch was, what the result was and how I felt that day. ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 16, 2021 at 10:20 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: baseball cards

Baseball’s Most Disrespectful Home Runs

Did Mercedes really violate baseball’s non-rules? If so, how severe an imaginary crime did he commit? How rare was his transgression? And have past aggressors against the sport’s unspoken honor code faced the same firestorm Mercedes did? To answer these questions, let’s start where all fruitful hunts begin: in’s Stathead search tool.

According to Stathead, major league hitters have hit at least 14 home runs that meet the following criteria: They were hit on a 3-0 count, in the seventh inning or later, while the batter’s team led by six or more runs. (Six is an arbitrary number right on the edge of blowout territory, which suits the arbitrary nature of rules that aren’t written anywhere.) Stathead’s ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 16, 2021 at 12:12 AM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: unwritten rules of the game

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Baseball Reference Adds Negro Leagues Statistics, Rewriting Its Record Book

On Monday, Baseball Reference, the go-to source on the internet for such matters, would have told you that Stan Musial led the major leagues with a .357 batting average in 1943. It also would have said numerous pitchers took a turn leading the majors in strikeouts per nine innings between 1927 and 1945, and that the top three batters in career adjusted on-base-plus-slugging percentage were Babe Ruth, Ted Williams and Barry Bonds.

A day later, all of that looks much different. Now, Tetelo Vargas of the New York Cubans (.471) and Josh Gibson of the Homestead Grays (.466) have both surpassed Musial in 1943. Satchel Paige, a dominant pitcher for more than 20 seasons, has taken over eight of those strikeout titles. And Oscar Charleston, ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 15, 2021 at 04:51 PM | 151 comment(s)
  Beats: baseball reference, negro leagues

Is MLB’s Crackdown on Spider Tack Already Exposing the Red Sox’ Pitching Staff?

On the day the SI piece came out,  Red Sox starter Nathan Eovaldi pitched at Yankee Stadium and allowed one earned run over six innings while striking out seven batters in a 5-2 victory. Though Eovaldi threw the ball well and got the win, the spin rate on the majority of his pitches was down substantially, with his cutter down 26 revolutions per minute compared to his yearly average, his slider down 30 RPM, his fastball down 51 RPM and his splitter down 166 RPM, according to The Boston Herald. In the 10 days after Eovaldi pitched, three other Red Sox starters (Rodriguez, Nick Pivetta and Martin Perez) also saw the spin rates on their off-speed pitches drop.

In the nine games since that win, the Red Sox have given up at least three runs in ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 15, 2021 at 04:50 PM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: foreign substances, red sox

Glasnow sidelined with flexor strain, UCL tear

Tyler Glasnow has a flexor tendon strain and a partially torn UCL, causing the Tampa Bay Rays to put him on the injured list, per multiple reports. Glasnow will attempt rest and rehab rather than surgical intervention at this time.

Glasnow, 27, has had a breakout year for the Rays, putting up a 2.66 ERA and 2.75 FIP in 88 innings over 14 starts so far this year. His 123 strikeouts on the year are second in the American League. His performance has been a significant factor in the Rays having the best record in baseball currently.

Glasnow left his start yesterday due to what was described at the time as elbow inflammation. An MRI today revealed the damage to his elbow.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 15, 2021 at 03:30 PM | 31 comment(s)
  Beats: tyler glasnow

MLB players caught with any foreign substance to face 10-day suspension, sources say

Major League Baseball is expected to announce Tuesday that it will suspend players caught with any foreign substance for 10 days with pay to help curtail the widespread use of grip enhancers by pitchers around the league, sources familiar with the plans told ESPN.

The league is expected to distribute a memo to teams—which have been briefed on the broad strokes of the policy change—that outlines its plans to penalize all players caught by umpires with any foreign substance on their person, from the widely used sunscreen-and-rosin combination to Spider Tack, an industrial glue that has become a favorite among pitchers who want to generate more spin on the ball.

The liberal interpretation of Rules 3.01 and 6.02(c), which ban the use of ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 15, 2021 at 09:01 AM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: foreign substances

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-15-2021

New York Evening World, June 15, 1921:

George Herman Ruth has nothing to do now but break his own batting records. He has broken all others, including his own.

The Babe started in yesterday by smashing the long-distance home run mark he had set the day before by clouting the third ball George Dauss pitched him in the third inning…for a distance of 450 feet, a truly tremendous wallop and said to be the longest hit ever made in major league baseball.

The Babe hit two home runs on June 14, 1921, giving him seven dingers in five days. From June 10-14, 1921, Ruth hit .625/.750/2.063. That seems good.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: June 15, 2021 at 08:14 AM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: babe ruth, dugout, history

Monday, June 14, 2021

He Made Sticky Stuff for MLB Pitchers for 15 Years. Now He’s Speaking Out.

Harkins remains stunned at his status as the first—and so far only—casualty of MLB’s recent war on pitch doctoring. He does not deny the allegations; he readily admits that he’d been supplying both Angels and opposing pitchers for more than a decade with his home-cooked mixture of liquid pine tar, solid pine tar (often called Mota stick) and rosin. He claims he’d done special orders for some of the biggest names in the game, including Nationals ace Max Scherzer and Yankees ace Gerrit Cole, then with the Astros. Harkins shared with SI screenshots of text messages that support his claims, including an exchange with a contact who identified himself as Cole, the hurler who has been at the center of much of the recent controversy ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 14, 2021 at 11:08 PM | 22 comment(s)
  Beats: foreign substances

Here are the All-Star Ballot standings so far

1. Vladimir Guerrero Jr., TOR, 51%
2. José Abreu, CWS, 9%
3. Yuli Gurriel, HOU, 8%
Next up: Jared Walsh, LAA, 7%; Trey Mancini, BAL, 5%

In the midst of an exceptional breakout season, Guerrero has garnered more than 50% of the votes cast for AL first basemen and is the leading vote getter overall. The 22-year-old may have a huge lead, but the AL first-base field is far from decided, with Abreu, Gurriel and Walsh all grouped closely together.

1. Max Muncy, LAD, 23%
2. Freddie Freeman, ATL, 16%
3. Anthony Rizzo, CHC, 12%
Next up: Eric Hosmer, SD, 10%; Jesús Aguilar, MIA, 7%

Muncy went on the 10-day injured list with a strained right oblique on Saturday, but he’s built an impressive résumé over the first two-plus months of this ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 14, 2021 at 01:49 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: all-star voting

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 6-14-2021

Toledo News-Bee, June 14, 1921:

Babe Ruth didn’t star as a pitcher on Monday, but he did as a batsman. The Babe started the game on the mound for the Yanks and worked five innings against the Tigers.

Babe was a bit wild and when Detroit got to him for four runs in the fifth he retired in favor of Mays.

But Babe was there when it came to clouting ‘em and he poled his twentieth and twenty-first home runs of the season.

This was Ruth’s last appearance as a starting pitcher until 1930. I wonder what he was doing the rest of that time.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: June 14, 2021 at 08:22 AM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: babe ruth, dugout, history

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Evaluating Two-Pitch Pitchers

. After my initial study into the viability of two-pitch starting pitchers centered around Jack Flaherty, I concluded that two-pitch pitchers were just as effective on a per pitch basis and that they suffer no additional TTO penalty. Therefore, I surmised, rostering these types of starting pitchers should have no detrimental effects on how you build your roster and are not a reason to be skeptical of a pitcher as a viable option to churn through an opposing lineup. The issue I found was that my definition of a two-pitch pitcher was flawed, based on an arbitrary cutoff to try to diagnose Flaherty’s lack of strikeouts in the early going.

When I eliminated the arbitrary cutoff and used a more continuous definition of how much a pitcher ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 13, 2021 at 11:25 PM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: pitches

Yankees are a broken team, so why is Brian Cashman doing nothing?

Something drastic is going to happen soon. Can’t you feel it? Will it be Aaron Boone getting banged? Have you noticed the manager hasn’t received a recent vote of confidence after getting one after the Yankees started 5-10?


If Boone survives, and you can argue he shouldn’t be the No. 1 fall guy, then Cashman has to at least try for a quick fix even if it means overpaying for immediate help by selling the farm while making Jasson Dominguez the only untouchable.

Everything you hear coming out of Yankees land is how they’re built to win championships, yet it’s obvious from the outside looking in that Cashman has put together a flawed team that has a flawed blueprint. Sooner or later, you’ll get eaten up for loading ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 13, 2021 at 09:16 PM | 38 comment(s)
  Beats: yankees

Error in 10th aids wild Indians walk-off win

It was an ending no one saw coming except for Indians manager Terry Francona.

“I actually called down to the bullpen in the first and I told [bullpen coach] Brian [Sweeney], ‘Put on your seatbelts. Tell them guys to put on their seatbelts. We’re gonna figure it out.’”

The Indians were down to their final out. Baseball Savant already listed Cleveland having a 0% chance of winning the game. But Bobby Bradley and René Rivera had other plans.

After being held scoreless through the first seven frames, a two-out RBI pinch-hit single from Bradley and a two-run double from Rivera in the bottom of the ninth inning on Saturday set up an uncharacteristic walk-off error to hand the Indians a 5-4 extra-inning victory over the Mariners at ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 13, 2021 at 09:12 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: mariners

Barry Bonds is back on the field — with a dog in the 145th Westminster Dog Show

From “The Show” to Best of Show?

(Should be) Hall of Famer Barry Bonds is back in a competitive sports field, kind of: Bonds and his dog Rocky are part of the 145th Westminster Dog Show, with the miniature schnauzer participating in the terrier group during the event.

Bonds, making an appearance on FS1 extolling the virtues of his pup, was glowing when discussing his dog on the broadcast:

“About 25 years, my sister bought a miniature schnauzer, and I got one with her,” Bonds said on the broadcast. … “She does all the work. I’m not gonna sit there and say I do — I don’t do much. My sister does it all. I support her to death. She’s my best friend in the whole wide world.

“This is just amazing,” Bonds continued. “Just to be here, to ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 13, 2021 at 09:06 PM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: barry bonds

Saturday, June 12, 2021

Former All-Star pitcher Jim ‘Mudcat’ Grant, who spent 14 seasons in the majors, dies at 85

Jim ‘Mudcat’ Grant, the first Black pitcher in American League history to win 20 games, has died at the age of 85. The Minnesota Twins, for whom Grant pitched for four of his 14 major league seasons, announced his passing on Saturday.

Across those 14 seasons, Grant went 145-119 with an ERA of 3.63 in 293 starts and 278 relief appearances. Along the way, Grant made two All-Star teams and in 1965 with Minnesota authored that history-making 21-win season. That same year, he also finished sixth in the AL MVP balloting. As well, Grant had strong numbers across two postseasons, with the Twins in 1965 and with the Oakland A’s in 1971, the final year of his MLB career.

Grant was born in 1935 in Lacoochee, Florida. He went on to become a ...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 12, 2021 at 08:07 PM | 45 comment(s)
  Beats: mudcat grant, obituaries

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