Monthly archives: April 2006
In honor of the NBA and NHL playoffs, here are the MLB standings presented as you would see it in those sports. Playoff teams are in bold.
Looks to me like the National League has become highly "Centralized". The AL is not quite as "Centralized".
Which is the biggest surprise?
The NL Central is 54-28 at home in April.
The Colorado Rockies have won 10 of 13 road games this year.
The Kansas City Royals are 0-9 on the road.
The Washington Nationals are 1-7 at home.
The Mets are the only NL East team with a winning record at home.
San Francisco is the only NL West team with a winning record at home.
Braves sale on its way through
From what I can tell from this story from Cox News Service is that:
1. Liberty Media owns some Time Warner stock, but doesn't want to keep it.
Commissioner Bud is worried that there are too many home runs. Players are obviously not juiced now. So it must be that the ball is juiced!
Better pitching through chemistry?
Amy Shipley of the Washington Post examines why pitchers may be wanting to experiment with PEDs. And why it may not be a great idea.
"It's a question in everybody's head: Has it helped anybody in terms of performance?" said Robert Donatelli, a physical therapist who has consulted for the Milwaukee Brewers and Philadelphia Phillies and tennis player Andy Roddick. "With pitchers, I don't really see how that would help them in terms of improving velocity. The velocity is mostly dependent upon how far the arm goes back . . . [and] how much time the hand has to develop speed to throw the ball.
Random Game Callback, April 30, 1971
It was not an atypical April 30 night in Southern California, when Vernon Timmermann and his wife Jeanne, packed their four sons, ranging in ages from 12 to 5, into the family car (which I believe was an Oldsmobile at the time), brought along some coats, and started out on the long drive from their home in the San Fernando Valley down to Anaheim. There was a baseball game to go see and it would be cool at night and Mom didn't want the kids to be cold. It was going to be Alex Johnson Bat Night at Anaheim Stadium as the California Angels would face the Detroit Tigers. Joe Coleman would start for Billy Martin's Tigers while Rudy May would get the call for Lefty Phillips's Angels.
And before everyone had settled into their seats. the first four Tigers had reached and scored, the last three on a Willie Horton home run and the Tigers were on their way to a 7-4 win. Despite the cacophony created by over 42,000 bat-pounding fans in Anaheim (the ability of fans to beat other fans up with a bat was apparently not a concern yet), Coleman wasn't fazed and he kept the Angels off the board until the eighth when California scored four times, but reliever Bill Zepp worked out of trouble and picked up his second save of the year (which turned out to be the last one of his career.) Syd O'Brien had a 2-run double.
This was the first major league game I attended (I would go to Dodger Stadium later in the year) and I believe that my family was given free tickets to the game by Detroit relief pitcher Tom Timmermann who grew up in the same hometown as my dad, Breese, Illinois. After the game, Tom Timmermann met the family and we went out for dessert at an Anaheim restaurant. I'm still waiting for a player to take me out to eat after a game I attend. The lasting memory I have of this meeting was that Tom Timmermann was the largest human being I had seen at that time. He was listed at 6'4", 215 lbs in his playing days, which actually makes him a little smaller than I am now. And he had a really loud voice, which must be a Breese, Illinois thing as my father had a voice that could be heard three counties away, even after he moved out to Los Angeles. And we have very large counties in California. The Tigers pitcher also gave us an autographed ball with a nice message on it wishing us well.
My clearest memory of that dessert was ordering a sundae but then finding out that there were nuts in the topping. At the time, I hated nuts in my food and wouldn't touch anything. And I remember Tom Timmermann kidding me "You don't like nuts? Everybody likes nuts!" I think ate the nuts because I was too afraid that the large man in glasses was going to get angry. He wasn't.
Some reference sources spelled Tom Timmermann's surname with just one n. And I think a few Topps cards used the "Timmerman" spelling. But if you look at his entire career, you can see that with the amount of time he spent in the minors, he wasn't going to complain too much about his name being misspelled.
The 1971 Angels were supposed to be a contender. They had finished a surprising 86-76 in 1970. Alex Johnson led the AL in batting average. Tony Conigliaro had been acquired from Boston to add power. And everything went wrong, much of it starting with the troubled Alex Johnson. Mark Armour has an excellent biography of Johnson at the SABR Bioproject. The Angels finished 1971 at 76-86 and would wander in the wilderness for seven more seasons before finally winning a divisional title in 1979. As a five-year old, I had little idea just what the internal problems were that were facing the Angels in 1971 and I think I'm glad I didn't know at the time. That was one screwed up team.
The Tigers had won the World Series in 1968, but had a losing record in 1970 and replaced manager Mayo Smith with the mercurial Martin, who had led the Twins to an NL West title in 1969. Martin and the Tigers improved greatly in 1971, finishing 91-71, but they were still 12 games behind the eventual AL champs, Baltimore. Martin would lead the Tigers to a divisional title in the strike-shortened 1972 season by 1/2 game over Boston. And then was fired in the middle of the 1973 season. He'd find work again.
Sources: SABR Bioproject, Retrosheet, Baseball-Reference, Los Angeles Times
Rabble rousing for May 1
Dave Zirin in an op-ed piece for the Los Angeles Times argues that Latinos should refuse to play baseball on May 1.
Although Zirin raises some interesting points, I would be pretty surprised to see any big leaguers sit out May 1 for political reasons.
I would also bring up an objection to this point Zirin makes:
The new reality was laid bare at this spring's World Baseball Classic: The U.S. team couldn't compete with its Latin American rivals, failing to even make it out of pool play.
In the WBC, the USA lost to Canada, Korea, and Mexico, so that team demonstrated that it could lose to pretty much any ethnicity.
It would be interesting to see if attendance is affected at any game however. The only team owned by a Latino, Arte Moreno's Angels are at home on May 1. Barry Zito is scheduled to start for Oakland against Hector Carrasco of the Angels.
There is one scheduled pitching matchup of Latino pitchers on May 1. That will be in New York, where Washington's Ramon Ortiz will be facing the Mets' Victor Zambrano.
The last time I can remember any players refusing to play over a political matter was back on April 25, 2000. That day, Cuban-American leaders in the Miami area called for a boycott that day to protest the Federal Government's handling of the Elian Gonzalez case. The Marlins drew 9,072 fans for their game that night, although they didn't draw well much of that season to begin with.
As for me, I might be spending my May Day here. I'm the guy on the right in the army uniform.
Is a walk as good as a hit?
Alan Schwarz in the New York Times writes about David Neft's "on base advantage", a measurement where a walk is valued by subtracting a player's slugging percentage from 1.
Walking a player with a .000 slugging percentage is sometimes referred to by those of us on the West Coast as "The Grabowski Principle." You can get something of an explanation of it here.
Random Game Callback, April 29, 2004
A pair of teams with bad starting pitching and even worse middle and long relief got together and the result was not a surprise on this night in Kansas City. The Texas Rangers got home runs from Michael Young and Brad Fullmer in the ninth inning to rally to a 9-7 win over the Royals.
Kansas City which had started the 2003 season 16-4, dropped to 7-13, while the Rangers were 13-9 and tied with the Angels for first place in the AL West. When the season ended, the Royals were 58-104 and the Rangers were 89-73 and three games out of first in the AL West, but in third place.
Chan Ho Park started for Texas and Dennys Reyes went for the Royals. Park was a free agent bust in 2003 for Texas and he stared off 2004 1-3 with a 5.19 ERA. Reyes was bouncing back between the bullpen and rotation for the Royals and had a 1.93 ERA early in the year.
Neither pitcher was good. Park gave up a home run to Carlos Beltran in the first and Reyes gave up three in the second on a Laynce Nix triple and a Rod Barajas home run. The Royals tied the game in the third with a pair of runs.
The middle innings saw the teams go back and forth with both teams scoring runs in the fourth through sixth innings. After six, the Royals led 7-6 and Park and Reyes were long gone.
Royals manager Tony Pena turned to rookie Justin Huisman in the seventh and he restored order, retiring all six batters he faced on just 13 pitches in the seventh and eighth innings. But in the ninth, Pena decided to entrust the game to his experienced relief "ace", Curtis Leskanic. The veteran was filling in for alleged closer Mike MacDougal, who was unavailable for the game according to Pena. Leskanic already had an ERA of 7.94 on the young season.
The ninth started out well enough for Leskanic as he struck out David Delluci, but Young followed with a homer to tie the game at 7-7. Hank Blalock followed with a triple to center. Alfonso Soriano then struck out. Fullmer, who had been 4 for his last 34, followed with a home run to give the Rangers a 9-7 lead. Francisco Cordero came in to close it out in the ninth and gave up a single to Joe Randa, but nothing else.
As bad as Leskanic was, he ended up pitching for the World Series champion Red Sox and was halfway decent with Boston. Carlos Beltran was traded to Houston in midseason as part of a 3-way deal that saw Octavio Dotel going to Oakland. That ended up working out OK for Beltran financially at the end of the year. Meanwhile, the Royals have remained the Royals.
Sources: Houston Chronicle, Retrosheet.
Steve Howe, 1958-2006 (updated)
Former major league pitcher Steve Howe died in a motor vehicle accident in Coachella, California at age 48.
The career record of Steve Howe does not begin to tell even a small fraction of what was going in his much troubled life.
Thanks to Gold Star for Robot Boy for the pointer.
Rob Neyer wrote an ESPN Insider piece about Howe. I'd like to excerpt this small part at the end.
"Some will say that Steve Howe was destined to die early, because of the way he lived. But the world's not nearly that easy to figure out. Sometimes the good die young, and the bad live forever. And the rest of us, somewhere in the middle, simply go when our luck runs out."
I know that may sound simplistic to some, but it's so true. I've given up trying to figure out how and when people die. We just do.
Mench X 7
Kevin Mench of the Texas Rangers has homered in his seventh straight game, a solo shot off of Guillermo Mota of Cleveland.
Mench is one short of the major league record of eight held by Dale Long, Don Mattingly, and Ken Griffey, Jr.
Today's notable disablings
Catfish Stew has already mentioned Rich Harden's problem, but I will also note that:
Some familiar voices will be heard less
The Atlanta Braves have announced that with the purchase of the Turner South sports network by Fox, that all games previously scheduled to be shown on Turner South will be announced by the illustrious team of Bob Rathbrun and Jeff Torborg. The usual Braves gang of Skip Caray, Chip Caray, Pete Van Wieren, Don Sutton and Joe Simpson will only be heard on the radio or on TBS.
TBS will broadcast just 58 more Braves games this year. TBS is contracted for 75 Braves game next year, but just 45 per year from 2008 through 2012.
The Braves seven different announcers still pales in comparison to the mighty army of the YES network. The linked page lists people who are just in the studio or work basketball, but it also doesn't include Al Leiter and John Flaherty who joined up with YES this year. And also omits Suzyn Waldman.
Giants find taker for Walker
The San Francisco Giants managed to unload reliever Tyler Walker, who had been designated for assignment, on the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in exchange for minor league pitcher Carlos Hines.
Walker was 0-1 with a 15.19 ERA for the Giants in 2006.
Cheers of joy arise from fans of the other 28 teams in MLB who have dodged the Tyler Walker bullet.
Iriki suspended for 50 games
Yes, Yusaku Iriki, a pitcher in the Mets system, is, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, is going to be the first player to be suspended for 50 games under the terms of the Major League PED testing regime. The other players suspended this year were found out by Minor League Baseball.
Time to head to the polls
All-Star ballots are available now on MLB.com.
I cast my first ballot
Vote early, vote often. It's the one time in your life you can pretend that you're voting for mayor of Chicago!
Elsewhere on the collective bargaining front
Rob McMillin of 6-4-2 excerpts part of a Wall Street Journal article about how the big money franchises want to prevent further expansion of revenue sharing in baseball.
The whole article can't be read unless you wish to subscribe. Which costs money.
Minor league umpires to return
The brief strike by the minor league umpires has ended.
Financial terms of the deal were as of yet unknown, but a source close to the AMLU believed there would be a bump in salary as well as the per diem for all Minor League umpires, two of the key issues that led to the strike. The union will vote on the deal on Sunday, and the source was confident it would pass.
Delmon Young was unavailable for comment.
Random Game Callback, April 28, 1932
The Chicago Cubs ran their winning streak to six games and boosted their record to 10-3 with a 12-7 rout of the defending World Series champion Cardinals at Wrigley Field. The Cubs scored six times in the seventh to break open a 6-6 tie. Charlie Root, pitching in relief for Bob Smith, got credit for the win and Benny Frey took the loss for the Cardinals. Frey pitched in only two games for the Cardinals in his career and lost both of them. He spent most of his career with Cincinnati (and killed himself in 1937 after being sent to the minors in the offseason).
The starting pitcher for the Cardinals this day was much heralded rookie Dizzy Dean. Dean had pitched in one game the previous season and St. Louis manager Gabby Street finally gave him the ball to start. But Dean lasted just five innings, giving up six runs including five in the fifth, highlighted by a Riggs Stephenson home run.
St. Louis scored five times in the sixth off of Smith to tie the game, but the Cubs roared back for six runs off of Frey and Jesse Haines in relief in the seventh. The Cardinals added a run in the ninth.
The Cubs were able to get off to a fast start despite not having player-manager Rogers Hornsby available. Injuries limited Hornsby to just 19 games and eventually the Cubs fired him on August 2 and replaced him with first baseman Charlie Grimm. Rookie Billy Herman took over Hornsby's spot in the lineup and he was more than adequate, batting .314 and playing in every game as he started a Hall of Fame career. Rookie Stan Hack batted leadoff this day and played third, but veteran Woody English would play most of the time for the Cubs in 1932. Nevertheless, Hack would be a fixture at third base for the Cubs until he retired after the 1947 season. The Cubs were also missing two of their starting outfielders, Kiki Cuyler and Johnny Moore.
The Cardinals, after winning 101 games in 1931 and winning the World Series, fell victim to injuries in 1932 and won just 72 games and finished in sixth place. After scoring 815 runs in 1931, the Cardinals dropped all the way to 684 runs.
The Cubs were able to rally to win the NL pennant with a 90-64 record, but ending up facing a New York Yankees squad that won 107 games and scored 1002 runs. The Yankees squashed the Cubs like a bug in the World Series in four games.
Sources: Retrosheet, Baseball-Reference, Chicago Tribune.
Shinjo picks a career after baseball
Well, I think this story pretty much speaks for itself.
I'm really glad that Bobby Jenks or C.C. Sabathia aren't considering the same career after baseball.
Another guilty plea reported in BALCO case
Patrick Arnold, the scientist who purportedly developed "the clear" for BALCO, is reported to have pled guilty to charges in connection with the case.
Details were not yet available as Federal prosecutors were still working out details of the plea agreement.
Otsuka replaces Cordero as Texas closer
Apparently a 3-2 record, 11.70 ERA and five blown saves wasn't good enough for Francisco Cordero to keep his job as the Rangers closer. Akinori Otsuka gets the privilege of striding out to the mound in the 9th with a 3-run lead now.
The Joe Maddon 3-4 Defense
Murray Chass of the New York Times details the "3-4" defense used by Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon when Tampa Bay faced Boston's David Ortiz.
There is a graphic in the story. Basically, the third baseman plays left field while the shortstop moves to the second base side. The left fielder moves over to center.
For our more mathematically inclined readers
You can download the pdf of the latest issue of "By The Numbers", the quarterly publication of the SABR Statistical Analysis Committee here.
There is an article explaining the basis for the Pythagorean Theorem of Wins and Losses. It invloves Weibull distributions.
So long to the man who gave us the Big Uglies
Keith Jackson, best known as ABC's college football announcer, but he also covered baseball for ABC in the 1970s, is retiring.
Appparently for good, according to the New York Times.
I'm finished with play-by-play forever," Jackson said yesterday by telephone from his home in Sherman Oaks, Calif. "I'm going out to learn to be a senior citizen and find a president I can vote for and believe in." He added, "I'm not angry, I'm just going off like an old man and sitting by the creek."
Jackson is 77 and last year age-related issues, such as his artificial knees as well as eyesight probems, seemed to make him quite cranky on broadcasts. His final game, the 2006 Rose Bowl epic between USC and Texas, was good enough of a game to disguise some gaffes with misidentified players and getting the score wrong.
Aside from that, we should remember the extensive body of Jackson's work, which almost of all it was high quality.
And I have a feeling that Jackson will still be on the air in Gatorade commercials.
D-Rays prospect Young facing likely suspension
Tampa Bay prospect Delmon Young, the first pick in the 2003 draft, is in some trouble after flipping his bat in disgust after being ejected and hitting the umpire in the chest in a game at Pawtucket while playing for Durha. With regular minor league umpires being on strike, the name of the replacement umpire who got hit was not released. News accounts don't indicate that he was hurt.
Replacement umpires have been working all minor league games this season because the regular umpires are on strike. Bill Wanless, a spokesman for the Pawtucket Red Sox, said minor league teams are not releasing the names of umpires while the regulars are on strike.
Additional coverage from MILB.com.
There should be a link to video of the incident here.
Random Game Callback, April 27, 1893
The 1893 National League season, its second straight year with no competing major league, got underway with four games on this date. And the hometown Washington Senators downed their local rivals, the Baltimore Orioles, 7-5 at National Park in a game shortened to 8 innings because of darkness. The game didn't start until 4:30 pm.
This was the first season that the pitching distance had been moved to its present distance of 60' 6" and the batters enjoyed it, rapping out 24 hits, including nine doubles. Nevertheless, both starting pitchers, Jouett Meekin for Washington and Sadie McMahon of Baltimore, would go the distance as was the practice of the time.
Washington was managed by left fielder Jim O'Rourke, who started his major league career in 1872 and would catch one game in 1904 at age 54 for the Giants and eventually end up in the Hall of Fame. Baltimore was led by Ned Hanlon who had led the team to a last place finish in 1892 and would only improve to 8th in 1893, but would soon start the Orioles on a famous romp through baseball's rough and tumble era. Hanlon too would end up in Cooperstown.
Despite being the home team, Washington opted to bat first, an option available at the time. Presumably O'Rourke wanted to take advantage of a clean ball and good light. The strategy paid off as the Senators scored a run to take the lead. The Orioles pushed across three in the third to take a 3-1 lead. But Washington answered with three of their own in the fourth and went back ahead 4-3. A single run in the fifth and two more in the sixth stretched the lead to 7-3, before Baltimore narrowed the gap to 7-5 in the sixth.
Opening Day would be the highlight of the season for the Senators. They would finish in last place with a 40-89 record. From July 1 to the end of the season, Washington went 16-61. The team scored 722 runs, while giving up 1032, easily the highest total in the league.
Baltimore would finish in 8th place at 60-70, 26 1/2 games behind pennant winning Boston. The Orioles had the nucleus of one of the NL's greatest teams starting on Opening Day. John McGraw, who was just 20, would bat leadoff most of the year and play shortstop. He put up an OBP of .454. Future Hall of Famer Joe Kelley played center field and batted .305 with a .401 OBP. Wilbert Robinson started at catcher (he was 30) and he had an OBP of .382 in 95 games. Hanlon would acquire Hughie Jennings in the middle of the year and he would be a starter for the 1894 squad that won the NL pennant.
The NL would have a Washington team until 1899 when the league cut back to 8 teams. Baltimore would stay in the NL until 1899 as well before it was swallowed up by Brooklyn. The Orioles would win three pennants and finish second twice during their NL stint. The Senators never finished better than seventh.
Sources: Washington Post, Baseball-reference, Retrosheet.
The Pirates 49 years ago
As of April 26, the Pittsburgh Pirates have the worst record in the majors at 5-18. The last time the Pirates started out 5-18 (the only time since 1901) was in 1957.
Back then the Pirates were outscored 116-77 in those first 23 games. This year's version has been outscored 133-94.
The 1957 squad would finish the season tied for seventh place (aka last) in the National League at 62-92 with the Cubs. Some of the players on the 1957 Pirates were players like Roberto Clemente, Bill Mazeroski, Dick Groat, Bob Skinner, Bill Virdon, Frank Thomas (the guy who got into the fight with Dick Allen, not the present one), Bob Friend, Vern Law, and Roy Face.
In August of 1957, Bobby Bragan was let go as manager and replaced by Danny Murtaugh, who led the Pirates to a 26-25 record to finish the season. And in 1958, the Pirates improved to 84-70. They slipped to 78-76 in 1959 and in 1960 the Pirates went 95-59 and won the World Series.
Is anyone holding out similar hopes for the 2006 Pirates to improve that much in the next three years?
The 1952 Pirates had an even worse start at 4-19 and they finished 42-112.
Pakistan, the new hot spot for baseball scouts
Pakistan wrapped up the title in the Asian Baseball Cup with an easy 14-3 win over Thailand at Rawalpindi's Pindi Cricket Stadium.
This quote sounds like something out of the 19th century.
"We played in the tournament by adopting different strategies against different teams. We read our opponents before the start of the match. Boys worked really hard and showed their best in the whole event," captain Nabeel Ahmed said in his post match comments. He said Pakistan would display better game in the coming international events.
The Daily Times of Pakistan's story claims that Pakistan is assured a berth in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, but I have to think that it's just a spot in the qualifying tournament. I would have liked to have watched this tournament just to find out who Pakistani baseball fans are. Or Iranian ones.
White smoke coming out of Bud Selig's face? Or not (UPDATE)
According to WUSA-TV (via tips from Capitol Punishment and Federal Baseball and a bunch of people on Dodger Thoughts), it seems that FINALLY Commissioner Bud Selig has decided to award the Washington franchise to the Ted Lerner/Stan Kasten bid.
Nationals fans will be gathering on the Mall tomorrow to see if Selig comes out on to the balcony to announce the name of the new pope of Washington D.C. baseball.
Church bells will toll! Heads of state will gather to watch!
And Jim Bowden will probably be fired.
MLB people have issued strong denials of the report.
"There has been unfortunate speculation rampant in the media in Washington, D.C., [Wednesday] that Commissioner Selig has selected one particular group to acquire the Washington Nationals and that a press announcement would be made this Friday," said Bob DuPuy, MLB's president and chief operating officer.
It's officially going to be a long year in Florida
This is the lead paragraph in the MLB.com story on the Marlins 7-5 win over the Cubs today.
In need of some relief, the Marlins found some from Ricky Nolasco and Matt Herges. And the offense received a boost from pinch-hitter Wes Helms.
There are so many things that scare me in that sentence, I don't know where to begin.
Another Baseball Hall of Fame inducts its first class
Did you know there is now a College Baseball Hall of Fame?
And do you know where it is?
It's in the city you instantly associate with college baseball: Lubbock, Texas!
The initial class of 10 was named today:
More subpoenas in Bonds case
Barry Bonds's personal trainer, Greg Anderson, has been subpoenaed to testify before a U.S. Grand Jury in San Francisco according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Obermueller goes east
Wes Obermueller who pitched parts of three seasons for Milwaukee and broke in with Kansas City, has been signed by the Orix Buffaloes of Japan's Pacific League.
Obermueller had been pitching for Richmond and had a 2.46 ERA in the early going. The PA announcer at the Osaka Dome is going to be working overtime to learn how to say "Obermueller".
Maybe I should tell them it's pronounced "ober-miller", similar to the Dodgers third baseman.
(Run)elvys is in the building
The Royals have brought back Runelvys Hernandez from the minors. Kansas City had sent him down after spring training mainly because he was overweight.
In three starts at Omaha, Hernandez was 1-2 with a 10.67 ERA.
Random Game Callback, April 26, 1948
In a game that would be more evocative of a game from 50 years in the future, the Cleveland Indians won their fifth straight game to start the 1948 season with a 14-inning, 12-11 win over the Chicago White Sox at Comiskey Park. Eddie Robinson hit two home runs for Cleveland, one of them in the 14th inning off of losing pitcher Earl Caldwell. Russ Christopher picked up the win, although Bob Feller had to relieve in the bottom of the 14th and work out of a 2-on, no out situation. Feller then started two days later for Cleveland.
Cleveland had scored in each of the first five innings and piled up 9 runs, but trailed anyway 11-9. Cleveland starter Don Black lasted just 2 2/3 innings and Chicago starter Howard Judson went just 3 1/3 innings. Cleveland used seven pitchers in the game.
The Indians got four home runs in the game, two by Robinson as well as one each from Ken Keltner and Larry Doby. Chicago had home runs from Tony Lupien, Cass Michaels, and Dave Philley. The White Sox would hit just 48 home runs in the entire 1948 season, in which they finished in last place with a 51-101 record.
Cleveland trailed 11-9 going to the ninth, but got their first two hitters on base. Doby couldn't bring them around, but player-manager Lou Boudreau doubled home both runners to tie the game. Boudreau would go 5 for 6 in the game with a pair of doubles and a pair of triples. Overall, Cleveland had 22 hits and received 11 walks. The game lasted 4 hours and 32 minutes, an eternity in that era.
Two of Cleveland's pitchers were in their final seasons, although they didn't know it. Black, one of the first major leaguers to openly admit that he was an alcoholic and a member of AA, suffered a cerebral hemorrhage on September 13, 1948 and had to quit baseball. He passed away in 1959. Russ Christopher suffered from a heart ailment that kept him from playing after the season (or pitching much during the season) and would pass away at age 37 in 1954.
1948 was the last season that Cleveland would win the World Series. The Indians would finish the 1948 regular season tied with Boston for first place, but won the playoff at Fenway and then went on to beat the Boston Braves in six games in the World Series. Sources: Chicago Tribune, Baseball-reference, NY Times, Retrosheet.
Almost over in Rawalpindi
If you were betting on Pakistan in the Asian Baseball Cup, you may be in luck.
According to the Daily Times of Pakistan and their ace baseball correspondent, Kasim Ali, Pakistan has the edge with one game left.
Pakistan is a +31 in runs scored with one game left to play (against Thailand).
Of course, the overall records of the five participants can't be found.
Thailand beat Iran in its last game 16-12. This further cements Rawalpindi's reputation as the Coors Field of the Indian Peninsula.
Eldred out with broken thumb
Pirates prospect Brad Eldred, who was at AAA Indianapolis suffered a broken thumb and will likely miss the rest of the 2006 season.
Last season, Eldred hit 12 home runs in 190 at bats with the Pirates.
It's ileitis for Helton
The Rockies issued a press release stating that Todd Helton has been diagnosed with acute terminal ileitis.
HOWEVER, the terminal refers to the problem being at the end of the small intestine.
This source says you might know the disease better as Crohn's disease.
Not being a medical professional (although I am quite a hypochondriac), I will stop here.
The inability to count pays off for this team
Leigh High of San Jose pitcher Tyler Derby helped to pull of a rare K-2-1-5-1 triple play in a a game against Oak Grove High.
The San Jose Mercury News has an account of the play. You have to read it to fully appreciate how bizarre this play must have been.
Random Game Callback, April 25, 1995
After seeing the season end prematurely in 1994 and the World Series cancelled, baseball fans almost got to see the 1995 season played with replacement players before a settlement in the labor dispute between MLB and the Players Association happened early in the spring. With the players reporting later, the start of the season was pushed backed to April 25 and each team was slated to play 144 games.
This put Opening Day (in this case Opening Night) on a Tuesday in Miami as the Dodgers squared off against the Marlins. The Dodgers were hoping to build on their success in 1994, when they were leading the NL West when the season ended. The Marlins, in just their third season, were looking for respectability.
Each team started their aces on Opening Day. Dodger manager Tommy Lasorda called on Ramon Martinez and Marlins manager Rene Lachemann sent John Burkett to the hill. Lasorda was experimenting with his outfield and sent the 1994 Rookie of the Year Raul Mondesi from right field to center so he could start Henry Rodriguez in right field and Billy Ashley in left. Eric Karros, Delino DeShields, Jose Offerman and Dave Hansen (filling in for the injured Tim Wallach) filled out the infield. And, of course, Mike Piazza was behind the plate.
Lachemann had fewer stars to work with. Jeff Conine and Gary Sheffield provided good offense in the outfield, but Chuck Carr was in centerfield. Greg Colbrunn, Quilvio Veras, Alex Arias, and Terry Pendleton started in the infield and rookie Charles Johnson was behind the plate.
As both teams went out to the base lines for the Opening Day festivities, they were asked to tip the caps to thank the fans for their patience. 42,125 Floridians booed lustily. And not all the personnel were back as the umpires were on strike.
The Dodgers got to Burkett early when Mondesi hit a 2-run homer in the first, although the Marlins got a run in the first and a solo home run from Pendleton in the second to tie the game. The Dodgers scored three more times in the fifth to knock out Burkett in favor of Terry Mathews.
In the seventh, the Dodgers scored three more times off of Matt Dunbar and John Johnstone with Mondesi hitting his second home run of the game. The Dodgers would have eight extra-base hits out of their total of 13 for the game.
Conine homered off of Dodger reliever Antonio Osuna in the eighth, but Lasorda sent him back out for a third inning of work in the ninth, despite having a roster of 30 players for a few weeks. After a strikeout of Andre Dawson, Osuna walked three batters and gave up a single and a wild pitch and it was 8-4. Lasorda turned to his closer Todd Worrell, who led the NL in blown saves in 1994 with 8. And Worrell almost blew it again giving up two RBI singles to Pendleton and Colbrunn that made it 8-7. So Lasorda pulled Worrell and brought in Rudy Seanez who struck out Johnson to end the game.
The Dodgers would go on to win the NL West in 1995 by one game over Colorado, who won the wild card. Despite his shaky first day, Worrell would save 32 games for the Dodgers with a 2.02 ERA. Piazza would slug 32 home runs and bat .346, but the real story for the Dodgers was Japanese sensation Hideo Nomo, who led the NL in strikeouts with 236 and jump started attendance in Los Angeles. The Dodgers would be swept by Cincinnati in the Division Series however.
As for the Marlins, they escaped the cellar by a game and a half over Montreal. Injuries limited Sheffield to just 63 games. Veras would lead the NL in steals in his rookie year with 56, but also lead in caught stealing with 21.
Sources: Los Angeles Times, Retrosheet, Baseball-Reference.
Izturis to the DL, Kendrick up
The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim placed Maicer Izturis on the disabled list with a strained hamstring.
Superprospect Howie Kendrick has been recalled from AAA.
Milton's knee sends him to DL
Eric (five home runs allowed in three starts) Milton has had arthroscopic knee surgery and will miss three weeks for the Reds.
Elizardo Ramirez was called up to replace him and will pitch tonight against Washington.
Random Game Callback, April 24, 1886
The National League was not going to start its season until April 29, but the rival American Association was finishing up its first week of games this Saturday in 1886 (and would even play games on Sunday!) with three games. The marquee battle was between the Brooklyn squad and the Metropolitan squad as the New York entry was often called that season. The Metropolitans played their home games at the St. George Cricket Grounds on Staten Island. Staten Island, like Brooklyn, would not become part of New York City until 1898.
Although the Metropolitans had won the 1884 AA flag, they had hit hard times in 1885, finishing 44-64. Meanwhile Brooklyn was working its way up improving from .385 to .473 in its first two years in the AA.
On this day in 1886, the teams would meet at Brooklyn's home ground, Washington Park. and about 7,000 fans would watch ("almost one-half of them ladies" according to the New York Times.) And the home team would pull out a 4-3 win.
Metropolitans manager Jim Gifford started Ed Cushman at pitcher while Brooklyn manager Charlie Byrne countered with Henry Porter. The Metropolitans used just four pitchers all season while Brooklyn used only five, with one pitcher appearing in only one game.
Brooklyn scored first thanks to some Metropolitan mistakes. Right fielder Steve Brady dropped a fly ball off the bat of Brooklyn's Bill McClellan. A passed ball by Jim Donahue moved McClellan over a base and he scored on a base hit by Ed Swartwood.
The Metropolitans did all their scoring in the second. Left fielder Steve Behl drew a walk (reduced to just five balls that season). Then singles by Brady, Tom McLaughlin, and Cushman, capped off by a double by Frank Hankinson scored three runs.
In the third, Brooklyn got a run back. George Pinkney had a one-out double and came around on singles by McClellan and Swartwood. McClellan tried to steal third and appeared to be out, but the lone umpire, Bob "Death to Flying Things" Ferguson, called him safe. Ernie Burch sacrificed McClellan home to tie the game at 3-3.
There was no more scoring until the seventh. Catcher Jimmy Peoples singled with one out and then advanced two bases on a passed ball by Donohue. Porter then hit a slow grounder that allowed Peoples to score with what proved to be the winning run.
Brooklyn and the Metropolitans would play a close season series. In 20 games, Brooklyn won 10, the Metropolitans won 9 and there was one tie. Overall, Brooklyn fared better, finishing in third at 76-61, although that was still 16 games behind pennant winner St. Louis. The Metropolitans finished 53-82 and would get rid of Gifford as manager and replace him with the umpire for this game, Ferguson. Neither team featured any players who would make much of a mark in baseball history, although Metropolitan first baseman Dave Orr would finish with a career .342 batting average in eight seasons.
The Metropolitans would last one more season in the American Association before eventually ceding control of New York to the NL Giants. Brooklyn would regress in 1887, but bounce back in 1888 to finish second and then win its first pennant in 1889. The next year, Brooklyn switched leagues to the NL and won the pennant there too. And the longstanding Dodgers-Giants rivalry would be born.
Sources: New York Times, Retrosheet, Baseball-Reference
Update from Rawalpindi
My new favorite baseball writer, Kasim Ali, of the Daily Times of Pakistan, reports on the latest scores from the Asia Baseball Cup.
I have a feeling that Mr. Ali is a cricket writer most of the time. This line was telling.
Kamran Junior hit only one homerun during his stay at the batting base.
I haven't been able to find a complete listing of the scores, but I have a feeling that Hong Kong is the team to bet on this competition.
MLB.com and Macs, not a happy marriage
Frank Ahrens who writes "The Web Watch" column for the Washington Post writes about the Mac users have with MLB.com streaming media.
But the absence of Real essentially alienated Mac users (among them, the sprawling Web Watch staff) who preferred watching the streaming games on that player. MLB said that the stream would work fine on the Mac version of the Microsoft player.
So, if you have a Mac, it's not just you.
Cameron returns to stadium where his 2005 season ended
The San Diego Padres activated Mike Cameron from the disabled list and sent Jon Adkins back to Portland.
Cameron, while with the Mets, was involved in a horrific collision at PETCO Park on August 11, 2005 with teammate Carlos Beltran that left him with several facial fractures. Cameron was traded to San Diego in the offseason, but had been out with a strained left oblique.
Cameron played Sunday and went 0 for 3 with two walks and two strikeouts.
I've started to add a few more things to the sidebar. I'm making the totals of who has the best record, worst record, most runs, fewest runs, and what the playoff matchups are at the time a part of the sidebar and I'll try to update it more or less every day. And eventually, I'll format it better.
Starting in May, I'll have an archive of the Random Game Callbacks.
Random Game Callback, April 23, 1982
The Montreal Expos, who came within one game of going to the World Series the year before, faced off against the young New York Mets at Stade Olympique and the Expos were able to push across a run in the ninth for a 5-4 that sent the 15,470 fans home happy.
Bill Gullickson started for the Expos while Randy Jones started for the Mets. They were two pitchers on different career paths. Jones, who had won the Cy Young award in 1976, was pitching in his last season in the majors. Meanwhile, Gullickson was starting his third full season and would pitch until 1994. New York was managed by George Bamberger, who would see his former team, the Milwaukee Brewers make it to the World Series in 1982. Jim Fanning skippered the Expos.
The Expos tied it up in the bottom of the fourth when Al Oliver followed Andre Dawson's double with a home run to tie the game. The teams each scored a run in the fifth to make it 3-3.
In the bottom of the sixth, Warren Cromartie homered off of Jones to put the Expos ahead 4-3 and chase Jones from the game in favor of Craig Swan. Ed Lynch came in to pitch the seventh and eighth to keep the Mets down just by one run.
Rusty Staub batted for Ron Gardenhire to lead off the ninth and drew a walk. Bob Bailor ran for Staub and Jeff Reardon came into relieve Gullickson. Pinch hitter Mike Jorgensen sacrificed Bailor to second. Mookie Wilson then tripled to right to score Bailor and tie the game at 4-4. But Reardon was able to retire Wally Backman and George Foster to preserve the tie.
Jesse Orosco came in to pitch the ninth for the Mets. Orosco had celebrated his 25th birthday just two days earlier. With one out, Rodney Scott singled and stole second. Terry Francona drew a walk and Bamberger opted to bring in Neil Allen to face Andre Dawson, who singled to load the bases. Now with one out and the bases loaded, Allen had to face Oliver, probably Montreal's best hitter. Oliver singled to center to score Scott with the winning run.
After the game, Bamberger bemoaned his relief corps' inability to get out lefties. Of Orosco, Bamberger said, "The kid has been spotty, but if I can't use him against left- handed batters, what's the use of having him." This game was Orosco's 32nd career appearance in the majors. He would go on to pitch in 1220 more games. Apparently, he was able to get out lefties.
The Expos were not able to return to the playoffs in 1982 as they finished third with an 86-76 record, six games behind St. Louis. The Mets finished last with a 65-97 record. The biggest event for the Mets in 1982 was the amateur draft on June 7. With the 5th pick, the Mets took a righthanded pitcher from Tampa named Dwight Gooden.
Sources: New York Times, Retrosheet, Baseball-Reference.
The loneliest sportswriter in the world
Is the guy (I'm assuming it's a guy) who is covering the Asian Baseball Cup for the Daily Times of Pakistan. There is a non-bylined "staff report" about Sri Lanka's 15-7 win over Iran in Rawalpindi.
Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Iran, Thailand, and Hong Kong are competing for one spot to play in the Asian Games in Doha, Qatar from December 1-15. Five teams have already qualified, although I can't find them listed. I'm guessing that Japan, Korea, China, and Taiwan are four of them. The Philippines could be the fifth.
Innings eaters or just eaters?
Benjamin Hoffman of the New York Times examines really fat pitchers. There seems to be a tendency for the big guys to throw more innings per start than the skinny or normal guys.
Another great problem of baseball solved
Doug Mientkiewicz has agreed to donate the baseball that was used in the final out of the 2004 World Series to the Hall of Fame.
The case against asterisks
Gary Gillette penned this essay about why there is no need for asterisks over the records of the "Steroid Era".
News from Dave Smith of Retrosheet.
Here are the highlights.
1. Several new seasons with play by play detail have been added. In addition to posting the 2005 data, we have expanded our string of "recent" seasons back to 1957. Furthermore, it is very gratifying that, due to the generosity of Major League Baseball Advanced Media (MLBAM), we are also able to present the data for 1993-1998. That leaves only 1999 without this level of detail from 1957-2005 and we hope very much to have that information available later this season. The proofing of these new seasons was done by Clem Comly, Tom Ruane and Dave Smith.
2. Old seasons with play by play detail. The previous release had this information for the 1911 NL and we add the same for the 1922 NL. Also, the 1921 NL games are presented in detailed expanded box score format, but without play by play. These earlier seasons were proofed entirely by Tom Ruane
3. Data for umpires has been greatly expanded and gaps filled in. We are missing the identities of a handful of substitute umpires who officiated during the strike in 1979, but other than that, the website now has every umpire assignment for every game from 1939-2005 as well as the data for several earlier years. For 1957-2005, these are accessed most easily from the game log page for a team in a season (e.g. http://www.retrosheet.org/boxesetc/VCHN01988.htm as a purely random example). For seasons prior to 1957, the umpire assignments may be found by going to the "ML Umpires" portion of the season summary. For example, again randomly chosen: http://www.retrosheet.org/boxesetc/YPU_1942X.htm (these follow the standings for the year). Of course, it is always possible to go to the umpire page for any specific arbiter and click on his name to get what we have for his career. See http://www.retrosheet.org/boxesetc/Pmcgob901.htm for Bill McGowan's totals, which include many pre-1939 seasons. David Vincent was the overall coordinator for this enormous effort with significant help from Bob Boynton, Rich Carletti, and John Schwartz.
4. The "event files" are the primary data format for the games we have. These are available for all the above seasons through the link on the front page. There are details there on file format, software we post, and other details on downloading and using these files. These files are the basis for the many detailed analyses that various users perform and post on-line. See note 5 for an important additional note.
5. For each season prior to 1974, there are games for which we have not been able to find play by play information. Rather than waiting, possibly in vain, for accounts to complete these seasons, we created the "box score event file" which has all the information necessary to generate a complete box score that is indistinguishable from those derived from full play by play data. We are continually getting new data and in fact some games that were only in box score format last time have now been converted to full play by play. These box score event files are linked on the relevant event file page where there is also a detailed description of the contents.
6. Modifications have been made to some aspects of biographical data on the player pages. For example, birth and death locations are now presented when they are known, even if the dates of those events are not.
7. Some format corrections have been made to our posted box scores, including more complete usage of the data in the box score event files.
8. Other changes include the addition of game number of each series to the box score. Standings prior to 1893 are now based on games won instead of winning percentage, as was the standard of the time.
The Retrosheet website has about 400,000 html files which are interlinked and cross-referenced in many ways that enhance their usefulness. These are all generated by Tom Ruane and the legion of fans who enjoy these pages owe him a huge thank you.
Burnett going to Alabama ... and the DL
"Going to Alabama" is not a good thing to hear about a pitcher like A.J. Burnett. But he is on his way to visit Dr. James Andrews after leaving Friday's game against Boston after four innning because of elbow pain.
Canada starts holding its breath.
Although that's more likely because the NHL playoffs have started.
Toronto Star coverage.
Eventually, Burnett went on the DL and Shawn Marcum was called up.
The 300-500 club
On April 18, Luis Gonzalez doubled and became the 21st player to reach 500 doubles and 300 home runs in his career. I present to you the list of players who have done this.
Primarily to see if I can make a table in HTML. Players are listed by number of doubles.
The next most likely player to join this group would be Jeff Kent, who presently has 476 doubles and 332 homers. That includes Kent's two doubles this season and he's had over 26 doubles in every season from 1996 through 2005.
Random Game Callback, April 22, 1942
World War II was now an unavoidable fact for Americans, but for major league baseball, its effects had not been felt too strongly yet as most of the biggest stars were able to play the 1942 season. And for the Boston Red Sox, that meant that players like Ted Williams, Bobby Doerr, Johnny Pesky, and Dominic DiMaggio were around to help Boston pound Washington 13-4 before 5500 (3500 paid and 2000 soldiers) at Griffith Stadium.
Canadian righthander Oscar Judd started for Boston and was staked to an 8-0 lead after three innings as the Red Sox pounded Washington starter Early Wynn (in the first full season of a long Hall of Fame career) and reliever Alex Carrasquel (uncle of Chico Carrasquel). Wynn lasted just 2/3 of an inning.
DiMaggio had four hits in six at bats for Boston and Doerr went 2 for 5 with a double and an inside-the-park home run. The Red Sox had 17 hits for the afternoon and even got a stolen base from cleanup hitter Tony Lupien. Why Lupien, who hit three home runs in 1942, was batting cleanup remains a question whose answer is known only to Boston manager Joe Cronin.
Washington's lineup in 1942 was the usual collection of guys cobbled together on the cheap by Washington owner Clark Griffith. First baseman Mickey Vernon was playing his first full year of his wildly inconsistent career. Left fielder George Case was one of the few players left proficient in stolen bases and stole safely 44 out of 50 attempts in 1942. Manager Bucky Harris started Al Evans behind the plate this day instead of regular starter Jake Early preventing a battery that would have been very early: Early Wynn and Jake Early.
The 1942 Red Sox would finish 93-59, the most wins of any Red Sox team since 1915. But the Yankees were still nine games better. A 14-17 July ended the Red Sox pennant chances as the Yankees went 21-9 in July. And even though Williams won the Triple Crown with a .356 average, 36 home runs and 137 RBI, he didn't win the MVP. Instead the award went to New York second baseman Joe Gordon.
Sources: Washington Post, Retrosheet, Baseball-reference.
MLB: We're not as rich as Forbes says
"They make these numbers up," [Rob] Manfred said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. "However close and lucky they may get in aggregate, there are individual instances that materially misstate the situations. From our perspective, we just think it's important that people understand and realize these are not in real in any sense of the word."
Baseball needs organ donors
Scott Merkin of MLB.com examines the reduced roles of organists at major league parks.
If you want to keep organs at the ballpark, please contact your state's DMV and get the sticker placed on your driver's license, so doctor's can pry a 500-pound Wurlitzer out of you before you die.
Pirates and Gerut agree to peace accord
Maybe I'm overstating the matter, but Jody Gerut decided not to get knee surgery after all and will report to the Pirates extended spring training. The Pirates had threatened to withhold Gerut's salary if he went ahead with the surgery.
If Gerut gets healthy, Pirates manager Jim Tracy will have a valuable weapon to use in his potent offense that scores almost at will!
Apparently they couldn't hire anyone who knew how to make a spreadsheet
This link is from the Richmond Braves website:
Where have all the M's fans gone?
Long time passing....
Jim Moore of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer has a column about the declining attendance at Seattle.
Hmm, let's see
The recent three game series with Texas drew an average of 17,822 fans per games.
But it was midweek. In April. Against the Rangers.
Advice to former players: Stay out of Tampa
No this isn't about the Devil Rays (who are in St. Petersburg), but rather about the actual city of Tampa.
Former big leaguer Derek Bell was arrested in Tampa and charged with felony possession of cocaine. Dwight Gooden is now serving jail time on drug charges that he committed in Tampa.
Random Game Callback, April 21, 1936
After not winning the AL pennant for three whole years, the New York Yankees were eager to get back to their winning ways in 1936. But they had gotten off to a slow start and were just 3-4 heading into a Tuesday afternoon game with the Philadelphia Athletics at Shibe Park. But Joe McCarthy's bunch had just enough to eke out a win over the woebegone A's 7-6.
McCarthy started right hander Johnny Broaca while Connie Mack countered with former Yankee Henry Johnson. The Yankees were not kind to their former teammate, chasing him after three innings after Bill Dickey slammed a 3-run homer to give New York a 4-1 lead. Reliever Charles Lieber didn't fare much better in the fourth giving up two runs after Yankees center fielder Dixie Walker tripled and Frankie Crosetti singled and Red Rolfe doubled.
Philadelphia pushed across a run in the eighth and New York countered in the top of the ninth with another to take a 7-2 lead to the bottom of the ninth. Skeeter Newsome opened the inning with a single over Tony Lazzeri's head. Frankie Hayes popped out to first, but Broaca walked pinch-hitter Emil Mailho. (Mailho's MLB career consisted of 18 at bats and had one hit, but he did walk five times.) Lou Finney walked to load the bases. This brought up Wally Moses, one of two offensive threats on Philadelphia. And Moses cleared the bases with a triple to make it 7-5 and send Broaca out of the game in favor of Johnny Murphy.
Murphy faced Bob Johnson, the other offensive threat, and walked him on four pitches to put the tying run on base. And McCarthy didn't waste any time and he pulled Murphy in favor of lefty Pat Malone. George Puccinelli greeted Malone with a single to make it 7-6 and send Johnson to third. But Pinky Higgins fouled out to Dickey and Rabbit Warstler grounded into a force out to end the game.
The Yankees, who already had a power-filled lineup with Gehrig, Lazzeri, and Dickey would soon be getting some help from the West Coast. On May 3, Joe DiMaggio would join the Yankees (Walker would be sent to the White Sox.) The Yankees turned into an incredible offensive machine, scoring 1065 runs with a team batting average of .300 and OPS of 864. Five Yankees would drive in over 100 runs and Gehrig would be named MVP. The Yankees would win the AL with a 102-51 record, 19 1/2 games ahead of Detroit. And the Yankees would win the World Series over the Giants in six games.
Meanwhile, Philadelphia would be a near mirror image of the Yankees, going 53-100 and giving up 1045 runs. The Athletics were in the midst of a stretch of 13 consecutive losing seasons.
Pat Malone, who got the final outs, would pitch one more year for the Yankees in 1937 before retiring. He would pass away at age 41 in 1943 of pancreatitis.
Sources: New York Times, Retrosheet, Baseball-Reference
Julio Franco exiles Jack Quinn to the dustbin of history
Julio Franco aged 47 years, 7 months and 27 days (give or take a day as I'm doing the math in my head) hit a pinch-hit two run homer off of Scott Linebrink in San Diego.
This makes Franco the oldest player in MLB history to hit a home run. The former record holder was Jack Quinn who was 8 days shy of his 47th birthday when he homered off of Chad Kimsey on June 27, 1930.
MLB gets passing grade on minority hiring
The University of Central Florida's Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport gave MLB generally good marks in the area of minority hiring.
The grade was B+ for minority hiring and D+ for gender. So that looks like a C+ to me.
The full report can be downloaded here.
Along these lines, Ted Lerner has added two African-American investors in an attempt to strengthen his bid to gain ownership of the Washington Nationals.
The owner of the Nationals will be named "soon."
Comings and Goings, April 20 edition
Armando Benitez is back from the DL to anchor the Giants bullpen. You may interpret the meaning of "anchor" any way you choose. Jack Taschner, with a 34.71 ERA, was sent back to the minors. Also Lance Niekro returned from bereavement leave and Travis Ishikawa was sent to AA Connecticut.
Also, the Orioles called up Luis Terrero and Raul Chavez and disabled Luis Matos and optioned Val Majewski back to Ottawa. Sadly, this means that the Baltimore-DC area will no longer have two Majewskis playing in it. Majewski had just been called up to replace David Newhan, who had broken his leg.
Cleveland put Matt Miller on the DL and called up Rafael Perez. Rafael Betancourt might be headed to the DL soon pending more tests on his arm.
And finally, the Mets drive to clinch the NL East early has been ramped up as Kazuo Matsui has been reactivated from the DL and Anderson Hernandez has been put on it with a back injury.
Yankees minor league manager and team official die in car crash
Oscar Acosta, manager of the Yankees team in the Gulf Coast League, and Humerto Trejo, who worked in the Yankees front office dealing with Caribbean matters, died Wednesday night in automobile accident outside Santo Domingo.
According to news accounts, Acosta was 49 and Trejo was 38.
Random Game Callback, April 20, 1988
A franchise on the way up and one on the way down got together on a Wednesday afternoon in the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum and the rising Athletics finished off a three-game sweep of their neighbors to the south, the California Angels, with a seesaw 9-8 win before a crowd of 14,299.
The Angels had come agonizingly close to the World Series in 1986, but slumped to a last place 75-87 record in 1987 and manager Gene Mauch retired for good and Cookie Rojas took over. Meanwhile, Oakland, trying to recover from the dark days of Charlie Finley, had managed an 81-81 record in 1987 and featured a powerful lineup with the "Bash Brothers": Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire, who had combined for 80 homers in 1987.
In the early going, Oakland was 8-6 and California was 6-7. Oakland had taken the first two games of the series with rallies in the eighth inning against a beleaguered Angels bullpen. Oakland closer Dennis Eckersley had picked up saves in both games and was unavailable for this game.
Oakland jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first. Third baseman Carney Lansford led off with a triple to left. After Canseco walked, designated hitter Dave Parker singled home Lansford. McGwire followed with a single to score Canseco and make it 2-0.
Both teams tallied in the third. Butch Wynegar doubled for the Angels and moved to third on a Gus Polidor sacrifice and scored on a sacrifice fly from Johnny Ray. But Oakland answered in the bottom half with another RBI single from McGwire to score Canseco to make it 3-1 Oakland. Lansford had an RBI single in the fourth to make it 4-1.
The Angels tried to get back in to the game in the fifth. Devon White led off with a double and scored when McGwire couldn't handle Wynegar's grounder. After Welch balked Wynegar over, a ground out by Polidor and another sacrifice fly by Ray made it 4- 3 Oakland. But Oakland got the run back in the bottom of the fifth on an RBI single from Lansford.
In the sixth, the Angels put their offense into high gear. With one out, designated hitter Bill Buckner singled. Jack Howell grounded into a force play. But the third out would take a while. White singled Howell to second and Wynegar walked to load the bases. Mark McLemore batted for Polidor and drew a walk to make it 5-4. Ray singled to score White and it appeared that Doug Jennings' throw caught Wynegar at the plate, but Ron Hassey couldn't hold on to it and the Angels lead 6-5. Dick Schofield singled home McLemore to make it 7-5 and Oakland manager Tony La Russa brought in Greg Cadaret to relieve Welch. But Chili Davis singled in Ray and it was 8-5 before Wally Joyner made the last out.
Stewart Cliburn, who had missed the 1986 and 1987 seasons, came in to relieve Witt in the sixth and was able to use double plays to get out of minor jams in the sixth and seventh.
In the eighth, Lansford led off with his fourth hit of the game, this one a single to center. Cliburn walked Jennings and then gave up an RBI single to Canseco to make it 8-6 Angels. Rojas came to the mound and called for his nominal closer, Donnie Moore.
The first batter up was Parker and Moore was able to strike him out. McGwire followed and he struck out too. As Wynegar would say after the game, "Moore was throwing the [bleep] out of the ball." Up came Hassey, batting .120 at the time. Moore threw a 1-0 pitch right over the heart of the plate and Hassey crushed it over the right-field fence to put Oakland ahead 9-8. Gene Nelson, who entered the game in the eighth, set the Angels down 1-2-3 in the ninth to get the win.
Rojas was upset, to put it mildly, after the game. He and Angels GM Mike Port started looking for bullpen help after seeing it blow three straight late inning leads to Oakland. The Angels would turn to rookie Bryan Harvey, who would finish with 17 saves to lead the team and turn in several more good seasons in Anaheim. But the season was a disaster otherwise for the Angels. They would finish 75-87, losing their last 12 games of the season, nine of them with interim manager Moose Stubing in charge after Rojas was fired late in the year.
As for Oakland, it was a happier ending than the Angels. The Athletics went 104-58 and won the division by 13 games. Canseco was named the MVP of the American League with the first ever 40-40 season. Dave Stewart would win 21 games and Eckersley would save 45 games. It would have been a perfect year for Oakland if not for the pesky World Series.
Sources: Orange County Register, Los Angeles Times, Retrosheet
Bonds on Bonds review
When watching ESPN's Bonds on Bonds reality show, you are reminded several time that the show is "ESPN Original Entertainment." And as I watched an episode of it, I thought to myself, "Is this entertaining?" Do I want to listen to what Barry Bonds has to say about how he didn't lie to a grand jury? How he didn't start any trouble with Jeff Kent? How he loves his family?
I don't really know. I can say that I didn't find the show to be completely without merit. But is listening to Barry Bonds talk compelling? Is listening to other people talk about Barry Bonds interesting? I'll put it this way, it's better than "Yes, Dear".
The episode I watched started with a sequence Bonds and how he works with two of his non-BALCO trainers. This was shown against the backdrop of the news about Bonds being investigated by a grand jury as well as heavy rain falling in San Francisco. So it's possible the director was showing the actual rain falling as metaphorical rain falling on Bonds as well. Or else I'm just trying to show off some pretentious understanding of filmmaking. I would bet on the latter.
There is also a sequence where Bonds is shown at home in Southern California with his family as the Giants were visiting L.A. for a 3-game series. Bonds is shown as a caring and doting father. Whether that is the case or he is just edited that way is for the viewer to ponder.
Various Dodgers fans are interviewed about their attitude about the Giants and Bonds. Needless to say, the people interviewed did not like the Giants or Bonds. Bonds also gave his opinion on how the rivalry between the Dodgers and Giants is perceived in each city and he thinks that L.A. fans take the rivalry more seriously. This may be because since 1993 Bonds has been receiving abuse from Dodgers fans in the left field pavilions at Dodger Stadium. I've always thought there was plenty of hatred to go around between both teams, but it's likely that the Dodgers draw a rougher crowd now than the Giants since AT&T Park has a much different type of crowd than Candlestick. Los Angeles has now become more of the blue collar crowd park than the fans in San Francisco. Ultimately, if you're looking for keen insights into the Dodgers-Giants rivalry over time, don't watch this show.
Finally, Bonds talks about his fight in the dugout in San Diego with Jeff Kent back in 2002. Bonds claimed to have no troubles with Kent prior to that time. Bonds' account of the event almost appears to be taken verbatim from Henry Schulman's story in the San Francisco Chronicle on June 26, 2002.
"David Bell and Jeff Kent started throwing F-bombs back and forth. Barry stuck up for David Bell. Jeff Kent then started going 'F-- you' to Bonds," according to a fan who provided only his first name, Scott. He was sitting in a small section of field-level seats that are practically inside the Giants' dugout. There is a clear view of the entire dugout from those seats.
Change that quote to the first person and you've pretty much got Bonds's statement on the matter.
At the end, we are given a preview of the next installment of the show, which will be highlighted by a fan throwing a tube of toothpaste (or sports gel, accounts vary) toward Bonds at Chase Field in Phoenix. And you can see Bonds meet players on the Arizona State baseball team. Ooh, compelling viewing....
Overall, what this show really needs is Bonds to hit some home runs. It might provide a bit more drama. A story of a man, hated by seemingly everybody, going after one of baseball's most cherished records. (Personally, I think baseball's most cherished record is F.P. Santangelo's record for most HBPs in a season by a switch-hitter, 25 in 1997.)
The show could be a lot more than it is. But it's pretty much just listening to Barry Bonds talking for 22 minutes or so about how rough he has it. And how he's misunderstood. Somehow, I don't see how that concept can hold up for how many weeks ESPN has this scheduled for.
Colon to the DL
Last year's AL Cy Young Award winner, Bartolo Colon went on the disabled list with inflammation in his right shoulder. Kevin Gregg was recalled to take his spot on the roster. Hector Carrasco will move in to the rotation.
Greinke on his way back
For reasons I don't understand, "Zack Greinke" has been the most popular search term to reach this site. And I haven't posted anything about him this month I believe.
But now I will.
Greinke won't say exactly what his problem was, but he does mention working with a sports psychologist to deal with anxiety. I don't know if coming back to the Royals will relieve his anxiety.
Draft day approaches
No, not April 29 for the NFL. Who cares about that except Chris Berman and Mel Kiper Jr.'s hairstyling squadron?
No, it's the MLB First Year Player Draft for 2006.
The always exciting conference call will be held June 6-7.
The official order of the draft is found in the linked pdf.
You can "watch" live on MLB.com. I'll pass.
Who owns the Nats?
MLB says it will name the Nationals new owner soon. Maybe next week.
First thing I remember was askin' papa, why? ,
Well, I'm here to tell you now each and ev'ry mother's son
The Chicago Sun-Times batting order
Taken from postings on the SABR-L listserv, check out how the Chicago Sun-Times runs boxscores online.
Good thing for the Cubs that their pitcher's last name started with a Z. But when David Aardsma appears, I suppose he becomes the leadoff man.
Should MLB be like the NFL?
Tom Van Riper of Forbes states his case that baseball should have complete NFL-style revenue sharing.
The players don't see that a 50-50 split without laying out any capital is a great deal that will help ensure the future of their business. That's because, short-term, they already have it even better.
Random Game Callback, April 19, 1900
Note: Although I covered these teams earlier, this game had to be the choice for this day.
In the last year of the National League monopoly of major league baseball (the American League was playing in 1900, but wasn't claiming "major league" status), Philadelphia and Boston opened the season at the South End Grounds and rolled around for nearly three hours over 10 innings of baseball before the Phillies prevailed by a 19-17 margin in front of 10,000 spectators.
Vic Willis started for Boston and Al Orth for Philadelphia. And it was quickly apparent that it wasn't Willis's day. The first batter, Roy Thomas, reached on a fly ball to right that Billy Hamilton couldn't get to (or run for) and reached second. Jimmy Slaigle followed with a single to right to score Thomas. Ed Delahanty got hit by a pitch and Nap Lajoie singled to load the bases. A wild pitch scored the second run of the inning. Two more walks by Orth led to three more runs scoring and Philadelphia was quickly ahead 5-0. Boston got a run back in the bottom half of the inning on consecutive two-out singles by Herman Long, Chick Stahl, and Jimmy Collins.
Orth's second inning was much like the first. With one out, Slaigle walked and Lajoie and Elmer Flick followed with singles to score Slaigle. Flick tried to go to second, but was thrown out with Lajoie scoring. Catcher Ed McFarland walked and third baseman Bert Myers singled. Shortstop Monte Cross then slammed a three-run homer to make it 10-1 Philadelphia.
But Boston was not deterred as RBI singles from Willis and Hamilton cut the lead to 10-3 after two innings. And Willis managed not to give up any more runs in the third.
In the fourth, the Phillies resumed their scoring. Myers singled and Herman Long made two errors and Willis had a wild pitch and two runs had scored. With the score, 12-3 Philadelphia after three and a half, Boston manager Frank Selee decided to get a new pitcher warming, 24-year old Harvey Bailey. Bailey managed to retire Philadelphia without anyone scoring in the fifth and Boston added a run to make it 12-4. Bailey was not lucky in the sixth.
Five more minor leaguers suspended for PED use
Five minor leaguers drew suspensions between 50 and 100 games for testing postive for performance-enhancing drugs.
50 game supsensions for:
Jorge Reyes (NY Mets system)
100 game suspension for:
SHINJO to retire at end of the year
In a player who symbolized style over substance his entire career on two continents, Tsuyoshi Shinjo announced that he will retire from professional baseball at the end of the 2006 season.
SHINJO (using the name he officially goes by on scoreboards in Japan, please use all caps), has never been particularly good on either side of the Pacific. Nevertheless, he was very popular in Japan and when the Nippon Ham Fighters moved to Sapporo and became the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters, they made SHINJO the focus of their marketing campaign.
Shinjo was the first Japanese player to participate in a World Series game, going 1 for 6 for the Giants in the 2002 World Series. Hideki Irabu was on the Yankees roster for the postseason for parts of 1998 and 1999, but did not appear in the World Series either time.
New York writers get wind of lack of complete games! Film at 11
King Kaufman writes in his Salon.com column about Bill Madden of the New York Daily News and Phil Pepe of the New York Post both writing in recent days columns bemoaning the lack of complete games now.
It's like shooting fish in a barrel when guys like Madden and Pepe write columns like that.
Bowden arrested for DUI
No further comment by me except to say that explains acquiring Alfonso Soriano.
Thanks to Steve for the pointer.
Fan arrested for throwing tube at Bonds
Ahh, yes a drive-by tubing.
Actually, a fan at Chase Field threw a tube, initially identified as being filled with toothpaste, but later identified as "sports gel" toward Barry Bonds. Police arrested a suspect, Mark Greggersen, a 23-year old from Show Low, Arizona.
Greggersen was quoted as saying he had a longtime grudge against Bonds.
"My problems with Barry Bonds started long before steroids," Greggersen told a reporter from the East Valley Tribune, who found the Mesa Community College student in the left-field bleachers. "It was the lack of an autograph for a 7-year-old."
So Greggersen was the 7-year old in question? He has a beef that goes back to 1990 or 1991? If so, that's some high quality grudge holding for a young kid.
I've held a grudge against Frank Robinson since 1972, but I have yet to throw anything at him. I've decided to retroactively hold a grudge against Jim Ray Hart since 1968.
They could have played all night
And in fact they did.
Dave Sheinin of the Washington Post recounts the 33-inning epic between Rochester and Pawtucket played 25 years ago. At least about the first 32 innings of it.
Thanks to loyal reader Sam DC (he swore an oath on a stack of Joey Eischen baseball cards).
My personal best (in person) for innings is a measly 16-inning game in Milwaukee.
I saw most of this one on TV and convinced my parents to stay up until the end. They wanted to go to bed around the 17th and I badgered them by saying, "You're giving up now!" They stuck it out to the end.
Later that year, my grandmother and I listened to this game together on the radio.
And when I was 19, I went out with some friends to try to see some fireworks on July 4, but we could never get to the show in Santa Monica because the traffic was impenetrable. So I went back home and found out that this game was still going on at 11:00 pm PT. And still had a ways to go.
Random Game Callback, April 18, 1895
One year after the biggest offensive year in the history of baseball, the Chicago Colts opened the 1895 season at St. Louis's Robison Field and kept up the scoring, winning 10- 7 before a crowd of over 8,000.
Chicago, captained and managed by first baseman Cap Anson, who had turned 43 the day before, hoped that he had put together a team that could compete with the NL's powerhouse team of the day, the Baltimore Orioles. Anson sent Clark Griffith, who would later go on to manage and own the Washington Senators before making it into the Hall of Fame, off to be his starting pitcher. St. Louis started workhorse Ted Breitenstein, who would pitch in 54 games, 50 as a starter and finish 46 of them. Breitenstein would also play 16 games in the outfield.
Breitenstein did not have his best control to start the game. He hit Jimmy Ryan to start the game and then walked Bill Dahlen. Anson, then used the strategy of the day and had his #3 hitter, Walt Wilmot, bunt the runners over. Anson then followed with a squeeze to score Ryan and Chicago grabbed an early 1-0 lead. Breitenstein would walk 10 Chicago batters in the game.
In the third, Wilmot, allowed to swing away with two outs and no one on, homered. Anson followed with a walk and scored on a double by Bill Lange. In the bottom half of the inning, third baseman Doggie Miller tripled and scored on a single by Denny Lyons and it was 3-1 Chicago after three.
The Browns manufactured a run in the fourth. Bones Ely bunted for single. Ely then stole second, went to third on a wild pitch and scored when Chicago catcher Malachi Kittridge threw wildly trying to catch him at third. It was now 3-2 Chicago.
The Colts expanded their lead in the fifth. Anson walked and Bill Everitt followed with a single. Ace Stewart walked to load the bases. Kittridge and Griffith followed with RBI singles to make it 6-2 Chicago. Ryan hit a deep fly to score Kittridge to make it 7-2.
The Browns came back with three unearned runs in the seventh. With two outs and no one on, Dahlen dropped a popup off the bat of Miller. Roger Connor doubled home Miller. Lyons singled home Connor and Quinn doubled home Lyons to make the score 7- 5. After Dahlen misplayed a grounder off the bat of Ely, Marty Hogan appeared to hit a home run, but Wilmot chased down the fly ball a few feet from the fence to preserve the lead.
In the ninth, Stewart clubbed a one-out homer to make it 8-5 Chicago. Kittridge got a single and then scored on an inside-the-park homer off the bat of Ryan to make it 10-5 going to the bottom of the ninth.
The Browns put up a bit of a fight in the bottom of the ninth, scoring twice thanks to a couple of errors. There were two on with two out when Griffith got pinch hitter Duff Cooley to fly out to left to end the game.
1895 would end up like 1894 with Baltimore winning the pennant. Chicago finished in fourth, 15 games out. The Browns ended up 39-92 and in eleventh place, 48 1/2 games out and St. Louis owner Chris Von Der Ahe would go through four managers (including himself). Von Der Ahe would use five different managers in 1896 and four in 1897 as his once powerful team became the laughingstock of the National League.
As for Anson, his Chicago team would never return to the level of success it experienced in the 1880s when it won five NL pennants. After the 1897 season, Chicago and Anson ended their 22-year relationship.
Sources: Retrosheet, Chicago Tribune.
Red alert! - Griffey goes to the DL
In an event that should surprise no one, Ken Griffey, Jr. was placed on the 15-day DL by the Cincinnati Reds with inflammation in his right knee. Most likely, Jason LaRue will be activated to take his spot.
Watch six baseball games at once!
Soon you will be able to open up six different MLB.TV video feeds on your screen at the same time. At least that's what this press release claims.
Will this mean that people will have to call tech support six separate times now? And find themselves blacked out of games in San Diego, San Francisco, and Chicago simultaneously? I know that MLB.TV is aiming for a level of tech support that can only be matched by a BMW mechanic or a Russian patent clerk.
Pujols homers in fourth straight at bat
Albert Pujols homered in the first inning in Pittsburgh tonight against Paul Maholm. It was his fourth homer in four consecutive at bats. In his next at bat, he doubled. The next time up, Maholm walked him.
The last player to have four consecutive home runs over two games was Troy Glaus who did it on September 15-16, 2002.
With his five consecutive extra base hits, Pujols is one short of the NL record of six by Larry Walker from May 21-22, 1996. Elmer Smith of Cleveland from September 4-5 (with a doubleheader on the fifth) had seven straight. Earl Sheely of the White Sox also had seven straight extra base hits on May 20-21, 1926.
Update -- Pujols popped out to left against Salomon Torres of Pittsburgh in the seventh to end his extra base hit streak.
The Disabled List of Randy Messenger
An incredibly unimportant set of transactions by Florida allow me to use that joke. I promise that it won't return.
But Florida did but Jeremy Hermida and Carlos Martinez on the DL and brought up Matt Cepicky and Randy Messenger to take their places.
The Washington Post and its new boxscores
Loyal reader Sam DC (he took a loyalty oath while placing his hand on a stack of autographed photos of Jim Bowden) has pointed out the new look for boxscores of the Washington Nationals in the Washington Post.
While the new way of looking at the game is great, the downside is that you have to read about the Washington Nationals.
Breakfast at Fenway
Don't the people in Boston know that this game starts way too early?
This game traditionally is the earliest start of any game in the regular season.
And file your income tax return too! They're due today.
Unless you live in Massachusetts, Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont, and the District of Columbia. Then you have until Tuesday.
Random Game Callback, April 17, 1923
The two-time defending National League and World Series champion New York Giants opened the season on the road as their neighbors in The Bronx were set to open their new stadium the next day. But the hubbub over the "House That Ruth Built" took a back seat to the Opening Day festivities at Braves Field in Boston as 20,000 fans packed in to see John McGraw's team battle the Braves, who were now run by former Giant hero Christy Mathewson, although illness kept "Big Six" from ever having much of an active role in the management of the club. And the hero on the day was Giants starter Hugh McQuillan who pitched a four-hitter in a 4-1 Giants win.
Commissioner Kenesaw Landis caught the ceremonial first pitch of the game, tossed by Massachusetts governor Channing Cox. Boston mayor James Curley stood at the plate and took a playful swing at the ball.
In the second, Ross Youngs drew a walk and scored on a long double by George Kelly. Kelly tried to advance on a grounder by Jimmy O'Connell, but Boston first baseman Stuffy McInnis made a good play and Kelly was retired in a 3-5-6-5-3 rundown at third base. The Braves got a run in the third on two Giants errors and it was 2-1 New York after three.
In the seventh, McQuillan singled and Groh slammed a 2-run home run to right center to put the Giants up 4-1. McQuillan went the final three innings to pick up the complete game win.
The Giants lineup featured four future Hall of Famers in the first six positions: Davey Bancroft, Frisch, Youngs, and Kelly. Boston countered with just one Hall of Famer that day, 36-year old Rube Marquard, who pitched in relief in the ninth.
1923 would be a good year for McGraw's men. They would win their third straight NL pennant with a 95-58 record. The Braves would finish in seventh at 54-100. But in the World Series, the team from the Bronx with the rotund slugger would prevail and the game would be much different from then on.
Source: New York Times, Retrosheet
MLB Week Two
My weeks run Monday through Sunday since the regular season will end on a Sunday. So the first week had one extra day in it. You can live with that can't you?
If the playoffs started today:
Do batters learn during the game?
Smith's study of batters from 1960 through 2005, showed that the first time a batter faced a pitcher, the average OPS was .721. The second plate appearance was .747. The third was .763. Plate appearance #4 was .753.
Random Game Callback, April 16, 1896
There was a festive air at Philadelphia's Baker Bowl as the Phillies and the Beaneaters got together before a crowd of 23,000 to kick off the 1896 National League season. Boston manager Frank Selee sent his ace, Kid Nichols, to start against Philadelphia's Jack Taylor.
The leadoff hitter for Boston was Billy Hamilton, who had been acquired from Philadelphia in the offseason for Billy Nash, who served as Philadelphia's player manager in 1896, and he got off to a fast start, drawing a walk to start the game. One out later, Bobby Lowe lined a ground rule double into the overflow crowd that spilled on to the field sending Hamilton to third. Hugh Duffy then powered a double to score Hamilton and Lowe and give Boston a 2-0 lead. With two outs, right fielder Jimmy Bannon hit a grounder that shortstop Lave Cross couldn't handle and Duffy scored the third run of the inning.
Boston kept the pressure on in the second. With one out, Hamilton reached on a bunt single and one out later, Lowe was hit by the pitch. Hamilton and Lowe then worked a double steal. Duffy then grounded to Cross, who again failed to make the play to let Hamtilton score and make it 4-0 Boston. Lowe tried to score, but Dan Brouthers tracked down the errant ball in right field and gunned out Lowe at third base as he tried to get back.
Philadelphia got on the board in the third. Bill Hallman singled and Nash followed with a walk. A sacrifice by Taylor moved the runners up 90 feet. Joe Sullivan grounded out to score Hallman and Ed Delahanty singled to score Nash and it was 4-2 Boston after three.
Boston got the runs back in the top of the fourth. Nichols reached on an error by Nash. Hamilton followed with a single and one out later, Lowe singled to load the bases. Duffy then doubled in two runs. It was 6-2 Boston after four.
The teams exchanged runs in the 8th. Catcher Charlie Ganzel reached on a single. Nichols tried to sacrifice him over, but Taylor threw wild and Ganzel scored. In the bottom half of the inning, Delahanty singled and Sam Thompson singled him to third and Ganzel allowed a passed ball to make it 7-3, which was the final score.
Despite the auspicious beginning, Boston would finish in fourth place in the 12-team National League with a 74-57 record. Philadelphia would finish eighth with a 62-68 record. Hamilton would have a stellar year, drawing 110 walks and stealing 83 bases and finishing with a league-leading .477 OBP. But Duffy, who had batted .440 and slugged .694 in 1894, slumped to a .300 average with a meager .389 slugging percentage.
The game featured seven future Hall of Famers in Hamilton, Duffy, Boston third baseman Jimmy Collins, Nichols, Delahanty, Thompson, and Brouthers. And Philadelphia would bring in rookie Nap Lajoie in August to fill in for Brouthers at first base.
Sources: Boston Globe, Retrosheet
How Game 6 came back to life
As you may remember from earlier this week, Game 6 of the 1986 World Series came back to life in RBI Baseball version.
Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports talks to the creator, Conor Lastowka, about how it was done.
Apparently there was a lot of trial and error.
MLB Extra Innings Center Ice
A call to customer service at Time-Warner Cable inquiring why all my MLB Extra Innings channels (except one) were showing hockey.
"You're wondering why we're showing hockey aren't you?"
"Yes, I am."
"Well, MLB has to share the channels with the NHL."
"But you're showing the same NHL games on two different channels. And I didn't pay for any of them."
"But hockey is not baseball."
"So when will this end?"
"I don't know. Maybe when baseball season gets started."
"Baseball season has started."
"Maybe when hockey season ends."
"Hockey season goes until June."
"That's a problem I guess."
Just a regular day in baseball
Stealing a bit of Catfish Stew's thunder, but this has been the recent stream of events in Oakland for the game between Texas and Oakland.
Two outs in the top of sixth:
Frank Thomas homers on the first pitch. Game tied 4-4
Milton Bradley homers on the first pitch. Oakland 5, Texas 4
Buck Showalter brought in a relief pitcher after that.
Update, according to the AP story:
The last time a team homered on three straight pitches was Sept. 29, 2001, when Fred McGriff, Rondell White and Todd Hundley did it for the Cubs against Houston's Dave Mlicki at Wrigley Field, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
I checked newspaper accounts of that day and that appears to be true.
The not-so-mighty Casey is out
Sean Casey is out to 6-8 weeks with two fractures in his back. Mike Edwards takes his roster spot and Craig Wilson will be the likely starter at first now.
Boomer, we hardly knew ye
David Wells is back on the DL after one start with the Red Sox. Jermaine Van Buren is taking his place.
Jermaine is battling with this guy for the title of Greatest Van Buren to play in the big leagues.
Presidents who don't have matching surnamed players in the big leagues:
You mean there was a Reagan in the majors? Yep, this guy.
So does Frank Robinson bribe these guys?
I really hope that Mike Wise doesn't have solitaire on his computer.
Is there something in Robinson's managerial record I've been missing?
Random Game Callback, April 15, 1908
The 1908 major league season got off to a soggy start. Seven of the eight season openers were able to be played on April 14, but Pittsburg's game in St. Louis was rained out. But on April 15, rain washed out every game except the one in St. Louis and the Cardinals and Pirates were finally able to start the season. Why "Pittsburg"? Read this.
It was not a great day for the 7600 spectators at St. Louis's Robison Field as a cold light rain fell throughout the game. Yet, the teams were able to slog through 10 innings with the Pirates finishing on top 3-1, thanks to six errors by the Cardinals.
The Pirates were playing the game without their star shortstop, Honus Wagner, who was holding out. Wagner would sign the next day and get back into the lineup on the 19th. In the interim, Pittsburg manager Fred Clarke used reserve infielder Charlie Starr. The difference between the two players was striking. Starr would play in just 20 games and bat .186, but he did finish the season with more walks (13) than hits (11). Wagner had his greatest season, playing in 151 games and leading the league in hits (201), doubles (39), triples (19), RBI (109), stolen bases (53), batting average (.354), on base percentage (.415), and slugging (.542). Wagner hit 10 home runs, but that was two fewer than Brooklyn's Tim Jordan and Wagner was denied the Triple Crown.
Cardinals manager John McCloskey started Art Hostetter at catcher. In his first two seasons, Hostetter played under his real last name Hoelskoetter, but switched to the easier to pronounce name in 1907. Regardless of how he spelled his name, Hostetter/Hoeslkoetter was out of the majors after the 1908 season.
The Pirates pitching staff finished the season with a 2.12 ERA, which sounds unbeatable in today's terms, but the NL ERA as a whole in 1908 was 2.35 and the worst pitching staff, Boston, had an ERA of 2.79.
The 1908 Pirates finished just one game behind the Cubs when the tumultuous season ended. The Pirates made a late run at the pennant winning eight of their last nine games, including six against the woeful Cardinals (49-105). But the Pirates lost an October 4 makeup game in Chicago, 5-2, which set up the fateful October 8 Merkle makeup game in New York.
Sources: Retrosheet, Boston Daily Globe
Fewer seats! Greater profits!
Chris Isidore of CNNMoney.com has a column about the trend in baseball to make stadiums smaller to lower the supply of available tickets and use the time honored techniques of supply and demand to charge more.
It's a devilishly clever plan.
Griffey not quite on the DL yet ...
But the Reds have recalled Quinton McCracken from Sarasota. McCracken had suffered an ankle injury in spring training and was finishing up rehab. Andy Abad was designated for assignment.
The Astros also put Brandon Backe on the DL with a sprained elbow ligament and called up Ezequiel Astacio from Round Rock.
Good Friday trumps baseball in Scranton/Wilkes Barre
WNEP-TV in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre has decided not to show the home opener of the local AAA team, the Red Barons because it is Good Friday.
"Good Friday is not an appropriate day for us to do that," C. Lou Kirchen, the station's president and general manager, said on a recent broadcast.
What if the people in the area who wanted to watch the game just promised to not enjoy it very much?
Random Game Callbacks start tomorrow
For those of you who weren't Dodger Thoughts readers, last year in the comments on Jon's game chats, I had a feature called Random Dodger Game callback. I took all the years of the Dodgers existence (1884-2004 at the time) ran them through a program that mixed up the dates and then assigned each day to a game from that year. If the Dodgers didn't play the day that it was matched to, I took the next one in line and swapped positions. I ran into problems in that I had a 1994 game due for September, so I had to really move that around. Eerily, the 2001 date randomly fell on 9/12.
This year, with my own blog, the Random Game Callbacks have a home of their own. They will start tomorrow and run consecutively through August 27. They will cover all teams and they will go from 1871 (the first year of the National Association) through 2005.
I waited until April 15 to start because the majority of baseball seasons didn't start as early as they do today. Nevertheless, you are going to encounter quite a few Opening Day stories for the next few weeks.
My principal sources for this are the invaluable resources of baseball history Retrosheet and Baseball-Reference. I also use newspapers of the day that I can get through the ProQuest subscription that I get as a perk of my membership in SABR. One of the side effects of this is that the papers that have the longest runs are the New York Times and Chicago Tribune, so there may be a disproportionate number of games involving teams from those cities. Washington, Chicago, Los Angeles, Boston, and Atlanta are also available to me, although the newspapers in those cities don't often have the depth I need. However, I intend to have all of the current 30 teams to get covered. However, if you're a big Diamondbacks or Devil Rays fan, you may end up disappointed.
I haven't had to write about a game from the NA years (1871-5) and some of the info from then could be a bit sketchy.
I hope you enjoy them. If you don't, you know it's something you can skip right off.
In case you get all your baseball news here...
Then you don't read much...
But a federal grand jury is reportedly investigating Barry Bonds for perjury.
From the CNN.com story, Bonds's attorney Mike Raines has this quote.
Cool, maybe Barry Bonds will be knitting a poncho too.
Safeway and the Washington Nationals
The Safeway grocery chain and the Washington Nationals have joined up on a promotion.
From now on, Safeway will be owned in part by all the other major grocery chains in the United States.
Each store will also have a manager who will tell each customer that in his day, people bought better food and knew how to shop "the right way".
"It's the fundamentals. You get produce, then you get some meat, then you get dairy. Kids today go buy ice cream first and then they get home and it's all melted. In the 1950s, we wouldn't have stood for this."
The Quality Start and its creator
Although it's an Insider item, Rob Neyer has a column where he discusses the Quality Start stat with the man who created it, John Lowe, a writer for the Detroit Free Press. Lowe created the stat in 1985 when he was working for the Philadelphia Inquirer.
In 1985, pitchers who had a quality start saw their teams win 67.3% of the time. In 2005, the figure was 67.4%.
The Harry Caray bandit strikes again
A man dubbed the "Harry Caray" bank robber, because he wears oversized glasses, has struck again, knocking off a bank in Palos Heights, Illinois.
Police warn that the suspect may be drunk and subject to mispronouncing Spanish surnames.
Huff out at least a month
Tampa Bay put third baseman Aubrey Huff on the 15-day DL with a left knee strain. Pitcher Mark Hendrickson was placed on the DL the day before.
Other players departing because of injury.
Words you don't see together often
"Baseball" and "social conscience".
Kevin Baxter of the Miami Herald writes about Rafael Perez who used to oversee the operations of MLB clubs in the Dominican Republic. Perez now works for the Mets.
Perez was instrumental in getting MLB teams to provide better food, training facilities, and getting additional education for the players, many of whom have not even finished elementary school.
There goes the worst hitter who ever played
Aaron Gleeman writes in the Hardball Times about Neifi Perez's chase to become the worst hitter (non-pitcher) in the history of baseball.
Gleeman is using Runs Created Above Average as his measuring tool.
Interestingly, both Melillo and Thevenow were starting in St. Louis at the same in the 1920s. Melillo played for the Browns and Thevenow for the Caridinals. Thevenow hit 2 home runs in 4,164 at bats. And one home run in 24 at bats during World Series play (it was inside-the-park at Yankee Stadium.)
Anybody want to own the Nats?
The Washington Post details the problems that the Ted Lerner bid is having to buy the Nationals. The Fred Malek-Jeffrey Zients group may be the leaders in the Nationals Derby. And Stan Kasten may hold a trump card. And Commissioner Bud Selig finally says what's really important.
"What I saw in St. Louis convinced me again that you need an owner who understands the importance of having a great ballpark. Don't skimp," Selig said. "But, in Washington, I think both [prospective] groups would do that."
If you don't want to build a stadium with concession stands that serve Grey Poupon mustard, offedr luxury boxes, and feature really good cupholders, then just don't bother.
Don't like your team's catcher? Try this.
The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has a publication called Prologue which has an about NARA resources about baseball.
Inside the article is a drawing for Patent #755,209, "Base Ball Catcher", a device which was supposed to keep a catcher from having to hurt his hands while catching the ball.
The expression on the catcher's face in the patent drawing is the best part.
Four minor leaguers suspended for failing drug tests
Ramon Ramirez and Justin Mallett (I believe that's the right spelling) of the Reds organization and Waner Mateo of the Mets organization (no Baseball Cube listing for him) and Ryan Rafferty of the Royals were suspended for 50 games each for failing drug tests.
Mallett was charged with failing a test for a "drug of abuse" and the others for PEDs.
I hope I have linked to the correct Ramon Ramirez. Please tell me if it's not the same guy. (It wasn't and I removed the link - 6:06 pm)
Red Sox keep Papi, disable Coco
Also, the Red Sox have placed outfielder Coco Crisp on the disabled list with a nondisplaced fracture of his left index finger. Dustan Mohr had his contract purchased from Pawtucket.
South Florida, it's all your fault
Dan Le Batard of the Miami Herald writes about Opening Day for the Marlins (later today against San Diego) and places the blame for the lack of support for the Marlins squarely on the shoulders of the residents of the area.
We build two basketball stadiums less than a mile apart for a Heat team that has never won anything. But we won't support in any meaningful way a baseball franchise that has given us as many champions in the past decade (two) as tradition-rich Boston and Chicago (with three teams) have had in the past 80 years. And that's why Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria, the third owner to try and fail here, insulted what little remains of his fan base while at a Marlins-Houston Astros game last week by hosting a San Antonio contingent of power players intent on stealing our team.
Sarah Talalay of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports that any move of the Marlins to San Antonio is unlikely in the near future.
Braves call up Aussie WBC pitcher
The Braves tweaked their roster further, sending down Joey "63.00 ERA" Devine, back down to Richmond and calling up Australian pitcher Peter Moylan.
Moylan is 27 and had been out of organized ball in North America since the Twins organization let him go in 1997. Moylan had a sharp performance against Venezuela in the WBC (but so did everybody else) and the Braves signed him and sent him to Richmond. He had given up four runs in two innings.
So the Braves obviously feel that 18.00 is still a lot better than 63.00.
Relive Game 6 of the 1986 World Series
A shocking new video courtesy of the good people of San Diego Serenade.
It's just how I remembered it!
Chipper Jones to the DL
Chipper Jones is going to go on the 15-day DL after spraining both his ankle and his knee in San Francisco Sunday.
It looks like the Braves aren't going to make any roster change until tomorrow. No replacement for Jones has been named. Wilson Betemit is starting at third base tonight for Atlanta.
MLB Week One
Billy Hitchcock, 1916-2006
Billy Hitchcock, former major league infielder for five different teams as well as the former manager of Detroit (for two games), Baltimore, and Atlanta, has passed away at age 89 at his home in Arkansas.
Hitchcock was a star in both baseball and football while attending Auburn University and the baseball stadium at Auburn is called Hitchcock Field in his honor.
In 1950, Hitchcock grounded into 30 double plays to lead the majors. And Hithcock had only 399 at bats that season. 30 GIDPs in one season has only been reached 14 times in big league history. It was first done by Ernie Lombardi in 1938. Bobby Doerr had 31 in 1949. Jackie Jensen hit into 32 in 1954 and that mark was unchallenged until 1984 when Jim Rice hit into 36 double plays, which is still the major league record.
The only NL players to ever ground into 30 DPs in a season were Lombardi and Brad Ausmus in 2002.
A double triple - update
This guy was the last player to do it.
Yeah, that Gil Coan!
Update - The date of Coan's two triple inning in the MLB.com story is wrong. It happened on April 21, 1951 in an 8-7 win by the Yankees over Washington at Griffith Stadium. It happened in the sixth inning when Washington scored all seven of its runs. The last triple Coan came with the bases loaded. The two triples were Coan's only hits of the game.
I'll trade you two Esteban Yans for a Pot of Greed
Don Steinberg of the Philadelphia Inquirer, reprinted here in the Lawrence Journal-World reports on the drop in sales of baseball cards, as kids are buying more and more Yu-Gi-Oh cards.
Another problem could be oversaturation of the market.
"Take a guess how many different Alex Rodriguez cards there were in 2004," said Colin Hagen, vice president of licensing at Major League Baseball. His unfathomable answer: There were 1,900 unique A-Rod cards in 2004.
Icing. Faceoff at the other end?
The Ottawa Lynx had a doublheader against Louisville postponed Saturday because of ice.
After an overnight rain, 3 centimeters (about 1.25 inches) of ice formed on top of the tarp and it could not be chopped off in time in order to roll the tarp up and take it off the field. Overnight temperatures in Ottawa dropped to -7 degrees Celsius (19 degrees Fahrenheit).
Coming into Sunday's games, there are two undefeated teams left in the majors:
Both teams are 5-0 and the 1972 Dolphins are still wondering when they get to drink their champagne.
Chris Shelton of the Tigers leads the majors in:
My suggestion for both teams. Declare victory now and get out.
Another Japanese iron man
Tomoaki Kanemoto of the Hanshin Tigers played in his 903rd consecutive game. Kanemoto has played every inning during his streak and Japanese wire services believe this tie's Cal Ripken's streak of doing the same thing.
The Japanese record for consecutive games played is 2,214 by Sachio Kinugasa of the Hiroshima Carp. Kinugasa's streak stretched from 1970 until his retirement in 1987.
Kanemoto is 38 years old, so he is unlikely to approach any other records by Ripken or Kinugasa.
Comings and goings of note for 4/7
There are laws against this I believe
Dressing like this is prohibited by several Illinois statutes and maybe some international treaties as well.
Tampa Bay name change draws nearer
Officials of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays have until May 31 to tell MLB what new nickname they want for their team.
Fans are being polled, but I think the name will likely be chosen by a focus group or somebody in the Tampa Bay front office erasing "Devil" from the name.
There also modifications being done to Tropicana Field.
Democracy in a small town
But there will be an election after all in Vernon next Tuesday. But as Hector Becerra writes in the Los Angeles Times
The last time there was an election in Vernon, in 1980, the town's retired police chief, Spence E. Hogan, declared himself a candidate. He was quickly evicted from his city-owned home.
Now you're sure this isn't some sort of movie or TV show?
And I thought Pottersville was a corrupt town!
The latest in mythical ballpark area development plans
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes about a plan to develop the site of the former Busch Stadium and turn it into Ballpark Village.
"Where am I?"
Oldtimers day for the Giants
And it just wasn't seeing Barry Bonds, Moises Alou, Omar Vizquel, and Jeff Fassero all playing.
The Giants opening day featured survivors of the 1906 earthquake throwing out cermonial first pitches. Nine different people were honored, ranging in age from 99 to 104.
But for me the creepy part was the name of the color guard:
And I thought the public library was the real center for information dominance!
Rollins stopped at 38
WARNING Bad use of meter in following parody. Apologies to all who originally wrote the song. Or sang it. Or liked it.
Hello Jim, whatta you know?
He tempted baseball's famous streak
Jim, Jimmy Rollins
He finished last year at thirty-six
Jim, Jimmy Rollins
From coast to coast that's all you'll hear
Jim, Jimmy Rollins
He won't be in baseball's Hall of Fame
We dream of Jimmy with the light brown bat
And now they speak in whispers low
At the risk of:
I was given a free ticket by reader coachjpark in the right field pavilion, which was very nice of him. The rain that had pelted Southern California the last two days had passed and it was clear and cool. The game time temperature was listed at 56, but there was some wind blowing most of the night. I opted not to go for the full Robert Peary look so as to not risk the ridicule of baseball fans from more northerly climes. But it was a fairly chilly night for a Dodgers game.
When I found my way to my spot in the right field bleachers for the game, I realized how rarely I had sat in the section. For starters, the Dodgers used to have a practice of not even opening the right field bleachers unless the crowd was large enough, but they seem to have changed that policy or they sell enough tickets to make it worthwhile. Also, the pavilion crowds don't have the greatest reputation for fan behavior. One shudders to think what that section would be like if beer was sold out there, but fortunately beer sales were stopped in that section back in the early 1970s, a time when the stadium had the same color scheme as it does now.
I believe the last time I had sat in right field was for Game 6 of the 1978 World Series. Not exactly a memorable experience for a Dodgers fan. I had forgotten how far away the bathrooms were from the seats. I also forgot that there are a lot of low-lying beams when you walk under the pavilions. Then again, when you're 12, they aren't so low-lying.
The crowd for the most part Wednesday was pretty well-behaved. The cold weather, combined with a game with a fair amount of action, kept most of the fans interested in on-field, instead of off-field actions. Of course there was some (insert profanity here) who threw a rubber ball at my throat as I was leaving, but I think I was an unintended target. If I was the intended target, then I really want to know why. And if the thrower is reading this, I can only hope that you have a life where your dreams go unfulfilled. What does motivate someone to throw an object at a random passerby? Saying "it makes me feel like a big man" is not an acceptable answer.
As for the action on the field, Odalis Perez pitched pretty poorly for Los Angeles. Horacio Ramirez was awful. Rookie James Loney and veteran Mike Remlinger had an interesting 10-pitch duel that resulted in a technical draw as Loney hit a ball that Edgar Renteria couldn't handle and a run scored on the play. Franquelis Osoria misplaced home plate and cost the Dodgers the game. And Ramon Martinez can't hit the ball very hard. My fight to nickname Ryan Langherhans "Pancreas Man" appears to be a losing battle.
I don't believe I'm heading out to Dodger Stadium again until mid-May. (Unless someone wants to give me a free ticket again.) In May, I will be seated in the loge. Time to get away from the hoi polloi and sit with the fans who buy Dodger Dogs, but also use linen napkins and use Dijon mustard as their favorite condiment.
UPDATE - Horacio Ramirez strained a hamstring in this game and was put on the DL. Blaine Boyer was sent down too and Joey Devine and Kenny Ray were called up.
Mets Stadium plans unveiled
The Mets have debuted more models for their new stadium, right now called Mets Stadium.
Will this new stadium replace the incredibly confusing seat numbering plan that Shea Stadium has? Will it have all the "charms" of Shea? Will you still get the joy of riding a #7 train all the way out to it? Will it still have Mets fans in it?
Mets fans and I have had a troubled history in the era of the Internet. At least I've never had a Yankee fan tell me that it was a good thing my father was dead.
Is this real or is it just fantasy?
King Kaufman of Salon.com writes about whether or not fantasy sports have made people more interersted in baseball or whether baseball fans are just more interested in the game to begin with.
It's worth watching a brief ad for an online stock trading company.
Bonds reality show reviews
You wanna try making a schedule?
Baseball executives like to complain about the schedule. Managers like to complain about the schedule. Players like to complain about the schedule. Fans like to complain about the schedule. Announcers like to complain about the schedule.
This article examines a little just how the current schedule is made.
The Dodgers opened at home with three games against Atlanta. Since it was going to the only trip to L.A. for Atlanta, the umpires were bound and determined to play all three games come hell or high water. And that was the case the first two games and last night's game was played in some of the foulest weather ever seen at a Dodgers game.
Many of the teams that opened in "cold weather" cities are back in action today after playing their home openers so they could have a makeup day available in case Opening Day is rained out.
Despite the bad weather last night, the Dodgers and Braves went the full nine innings. The last Dodgers home game that was shortened by rain was on August 10, 1955 when the Brooklyn Dodgers beat the New York Giants 5-4 in a game that went 6 1/2 innings at Ebbets Field. Since then, the Dodgers have had 21 different road games shortened by weather. But not a one at Dodger Stadium.
Interestingly, 40 years after the Dodgers had a game shortened by rain, the Dodgers had a game called with one out in the ninth inning at home, when umpire Bob Davidson ordered a forfeit because fans were throwing souvenir baseballs on the field. The Cardinals were ahead 2-1 at the time and that was the final score that went into the books.
The billboard near AT&T Park in San Francisco that read "Trade Barry" was actually part of a promotional campaign from Topps.
Meanwhile, the mysterious "syringe" tossed at Bonds in San Diego Monday is still a topic for discussion. Padres officials claim it was a "toy syringe".
Syringes always make good toys for kids. They're up there with dry cleaning bags.
A Padres official did explain, "It appeared to be of the size of something you would use to baste a turkey, and not a syringe per se," Padres chief executive officer Sandy Alderson said.
A sign that women's sports are gaining some credibility
Some students at the University of Maryland tried to tip over a bus celebrating the women's basketball team national championship win over Duke.
"This is my craziest riot," said a woman who identified herself as Shelley Avney. "Trying to knock over a bus, tearing down street signs, burning things -- it's crazy."
I never been able to rank my riots. Well, there was that one time I burned down an abandoned building to celebrate Jose Lima's win in Game 3 of the 2004 NLDS.
But the only things I hurt were a family of opossums.
Gooden's sad turn
Dwight Gooden was sentenced to prison for a year and a day by a judge in Tampa today for violating his probation after admitting to using cocaine.
Leave the miracles to God, Sweeney
Speaking in The New Vision, the official paper of the Tucson diocese, Royals DH Mike Sweeney is described as believing: Sweeney believes his team is talented enough to make the series but he knows that, win or lose, something special awaits him in November.
Sweeney is actually referring to a pilgrimage to Rome to meet Pope Benedict XVI.
If Sweeney though truly believes that the Royals have a chance of getting to the World Series, there is going to have be something more miraculuous than transubstantiation going on.
The story says that Jeff Suppan already met the Pope personally last November, but of course Suppan has to visit since he's a Cardinal.
Giants fighting City Hall over disclosure of finances
Because the San Francisco Giants received a favorable tax assessment on AT&T Park (alias SBC Park, alias Pac Bell Park, alias Maudie Mae Suggins), the team is trying to keep the public from seeing the justification for the assessment. Because if people saw it, then they could see some of the Giants profit/loss statements.
For those not from California, San Francisco is unique in California in that it is both a city and a county and many government tasks are handled by "city" officials, although in the rest of the state, they would be handled by "county" officials. Such as tax assessments, which are the domain of county governments in the other 57 counties of California.
Posing for FHM means never having to say you're sorry
But it seems that Anna Benson wants to reconcile with her husband Kris.
I'd write more, but I seem to have something in my eye.
I haven't been this happy since... since .... I just don't know.
Bet on Bonds
They are good hedge against possible declines in the stock market after all.
Actually, showing that people will be on just about anything, an online sports book has posted odds on whether or not Barry Bonds will be suspended, make the Hall of Fame on the first ballot, and how many home runs he will hit this season (34.5 is the over/under).
Good thing Bud Selig says he doesn't know how to work a computer. Or else I'd expect shenanigans.
Sabathia to the DL
C.C. Sabathia of Cleveland lasted until the third inning of Sunday night's game before he hurt an abdominal muscle and ended up on the DL. Jason Davis takes his spot.
Missed it by ..... that ..... much ......
The number of periods in the title tells the tale. Each period stands for a point that UCLA lost by to Florida Monday night. Such is the way the world goes. Weep not for the UCLA basketball fan I have said before. And on Monday, there was no doubt that Florida was a lot better than UCLA. The Gators were playing on a different level and UCLA was playing below the level had played before. But I did get to see the game in HDTV. And so while the result may not have been favorable, at least it looked really good.
I missed most of the Opening Day festivities (well, actually all of them except for a few innings of the Athletics-Yankees game) as I took my brother and my 7-year old niece to Disneyland. And it was a delightful day as the threat of rain seemed to keep away a lot of people. And it didn't rain except for a few drops.
So a sudden three-week fascination with the vagaries of UCLA basketball is over. I wasn't expecting to have one. But it was a lot of fun. It was nice to have to care again. I hope I get to care again more in the future.
As for tomorrow, we return to normal programming. Congratulations to Florida.
Another opening, another show ... chat
Since it's the only game in town tonight, you can chat about the White Sox-Cleveland game here if you'd like.
I don't intend on posting too many game chats except when there's just one game around. Or if it's the postseason and one of our sectarian blogs isn't covering it.
Random Game Callbacks, which were a feature of Dodger Thoughts last year, will return on April 15. They will be a little different this year as they will cover all teams available and they will go back to 1871.
A pair of Alan Schwarz pieces
Alan Schwarz of the New York Times opens the regular season with a doubleheader:
1) A profile of John Dewan and his work for the The Fielding Bible. Dewan thinks that the White Sox pitchers will greatly miss Aaron Rowand. Tune in tonight at 5 pm PT to find out.
2) There is also a shorter piece on the history of the box score. The accompanying slide show demonstrates what Game 6 of the 1975 World Series would look like in various incarnations of the boxscore through history.
Greinke out for at least 60 days and other stuff
The Kansas City Royals have placed right-handed pitcher Zack Greinke on the 60-day disabled list as he is still out with personal problems.
The Royals also traded Joe McEwing to Houston for a player to be named later.
As for Houston, they acquired Cody Ransom from Seattle and have named erstwhile third baseman Eric Munson as their backup catcher.
Rangers increase their number of Blalocks, plus other comings and goings
The Texas Rangers acquired minor league outfielder Jake Blalock and pitcher Robinson Tejeda in exchange for outfielder David Delucci.
Other transactions of note:
Can these guys save the Devil Rays?
The New York Times has a lenghthy profile of the new management team of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays: Matthew Silverman, Andrew Friedman, and Stuart Sternberg.
When asked about his young executives' slight baseball résumés, Mr. Sternberg makes no apologies and draws a comparison to his days as a trader. "On Wall Street, you want younger, hungry people out there," he said, going so far as to claim that Mr. Friedman's inexperience may even be an advantage. "If people feel there is a trade to be made, they will find your number in a hurry and they would probably rather call Andrew as opposed to John Schuerholz," he said, invoking the name of the veteran general manager of the Atlanta Braves, "so it may create opportunity."
Baseball film festival in New York
Terence Rafferty of the New York Times writes about the baseball film festival at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA).
Paragraphs like this must mean that it will be loaded with baseball fun!
What's striking about "The Natural" and "Field of Dreams" is how insistent they are on apotheosizing the national pastime, on treating the game as the stuff of a national mythology. They're less about baseball than they are about an idea of baseball, about a sport that is no longer itself but a theater in which the great American drama of aspiration is acted out over and over again in soft focus and slow motion, to the accompaniment of music triumphal enough to make Wagner (Richard, not Honus) blush.
I often drop the word "apotheosizing" into casual conversation.
Friend: Hey, do you want to go out to eat at Joe's! I hear the food is great!
A place where a man can slow down to a walk and live his life full measure, but he has to keep his watch on Pacific Time.
About the Toaster
Baseball Toaster was unplugged on February 4, 2009.
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