Baseball Toaster The Griddle
Monthly archives: April 2007


At least I got a free blanket!
2007-04-30 23:43
by Bob Timmermann

After dutifully sitting through the entire 9-1 win by Arizona over Los Angeles at Dodger Stadium, I got to see the exquisite sight of the Diamondbacks leaving 16 runners on base and the Dodgers leaving 9.

The DBacks set a team record for runners left on base in a nine-inning game, which had been 15, last done on July 28, 2005.

The 25 total runners left on base broke another Arizona record, which was previously 24 back on May 21, 2002.

Arizona left the bases loaded three times (9), left two on twice (13), and left one person on three times (16). Joe Beimel of the Dodgers pitched a 1-2-3 ninth to spoil the fun.

The NL record for most runners left on in a nine-inning game is 18 and has been done several times, most recently by the Braves against Dodgers on June 23, 1986. The New York Yankees left 20 runners on base on September 21, 1956, a game the Yankees lost to the Red Sox at Fenway, 13-7.  There were a lot of hits in that game.

Random Record of the Week #5
2007-04-30 04:00
by Bob Timmermann

Random Record of the Week #5

Page 245 – Pittsburgh Pirates, Most Singles, One Season – Lloyd Waner, 198, 1927

Lloyd Waner wasted little time in his rookie year in trying to get out of the shadow of his already renowned older brother Paul. And at the age of 21, he slapped out singles with the best of them, racking up 198 singles in his 223 attempts while batting .355, good for third in the National League behind brother Paul (.380) and Rogers Hornsby (.361).

But all those singles meant that Lloyd Waner: 1) had little power and he hit just 2 home runs and only 6 triples for a slugging percentage of .396 and 2) he didn't walk much (only 37). Of course, Lloyd Waner didn't strike out much in 1927 either, fanning just 23 times.

Continue reading...

Tulowitzki for the three! BINGO!
2007-04-29 14:51
by Bob Timmermann

Troy Tulowitzki turned the 13th unassisted triple play in major league history today in the seventh inning in a game against the Braves at Coors Field.

With no outs (obviously) and Kelly Johnson on second and Edgar Renteria on first, Chipper Jones lined a ball to Tulowitzki near the second base bag (#1), then he stepped on second to catch Johnson (#2), and then tagged out Renteria (#3) as he was running toward second.

Rafael Furcal had turned the last UTP back on September 10, 2003 for the Braves against the Cardinals. The Rockies only other triple play was on April 10, 2003 when Orlando Palmeiro of the Cardinals lined into a 3-6 (Todd Helton to Jose Hernandez) triple play.

Thanks to ToyCannon for the heads up.

The unassisted triple play roll call.

Josh Hancock, 1978-2007
2007-04-29 09:45
by Bob Timmermann

St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Josh Hancock died early Sunday morning in an automobile accident in St. Louis.

The Cardinals game tonight against the Cubs has been postponed.

Orioles score late, but while the game is still going on
2007-04-28 21:24
by Bob Timmermann

At Jacobs Field tonight, the Orioles had Nick Markakis at third and Miguel Tejada at first with Ramon Hernandez at the plate. (Left out originally the relevant fact that it was the top of the third with Baltimore leading 2-1.)

Hernandez hits a line drive to left which Cleveland center fielder Grady Sizemore ran in for and made the catch. Markakis tagged up and headed home, but Tejada misread the play and was doubled off of first. Home plate umpire Marvin Hudson ruled that Tejada was out before Markakis scored, nullifying the run.

By the time the sixth inning rolled around, the umpires had changed their mind and put the run back on the board for Baltimore giving them a 3-2 lead in a game which they ulimately won 7-4.

Cleveland manager Eric Wedge protested the game.

(All of this is taken from Jeff Zrebiec's story in the Baltimore Sun.)

You can pull up video of the play at Although the announcers at the time, say that no run counted, it looked to me that Markakis scored before Cleveland first baseman Ryan Garko stepped on first.

From the story:

"Well, they said the run should have been on the scoreboard all along," said Wedge, explaining his perspective. "But the fact of the matter is the plate umpire did wave the run off. And it happened. When that happened and nothing was done prior to the next pitch being thrown, in my opinion, all bets are off."

"There's no time frame because it was an umpire's error -- not a team error or a manager's error," Montague said to a pool reporter, explaining how the run could be added later in the game. "It was my screw-up. We can't go off an umpire's error. What's right is right [and] we have to score the run."

Baseball's official rulebook clarified the play under Rule 2.0, the definition of terms. There, under the listing for force play, lies the following example.

"One out. Runner on first and third. Batter flies out. Two out. Runner on third tags up and scores. Runner on first tries to retouch before throw from fielder reaches first baseman, but does not get back in time and is out. Three outs. If, in umpire's judgment, the runner from third touched home before the ball was held at first base, the run counts."

I think Wedge will lose his protest. His point about not being able to correct a mistake after a pitch is thrown to the next batter applies to appeal plays. The umpires made a mistake and they fixed it.

Slightly related to this was an incident from a Dodgers-Expos game in Montreal back on August 22, 1989. In the second inning, Tim Wallach walked and moved to second on a balk by Fernando Valenzuela. With Mike Fitzgerald up, Valenzuela was called for a balk but still got the pitch off and Fitzgerald flied out. Wallach, knowing that a balk had been called, strolled off the bag at third, knowing he could go back. But Dodgers catcher Mike Scioscia threw the ball down to third baseman Jeff Hamilton, who tagged Wallach, and, surprisingly, Wallach was called out. The umpires ruled at the time that the Expos had essentially declined the balk by Wallach's actions (you can do this, but a team explicitly has to say so.) Wallach stopped running because he knew he was supposed to go to third. The Expos ultimately won the game 4-2, so the Expos protest of the play didn't go through

After the game, crew chief Frank Pulli admitted on the Dodgers postgame show that his crew had screwed up and that Wallach should have been safe at third and if the Expos had protested, it would have been upheld.

OK, that's not related at all, but I was surprised at how fast I found the game on Retrosheet.


The catcher's interference epidemic continues
2007-04-28 19:12
by Bob Timmermann

Dave Roberts of the Giants became, I believe, the fifth sixth seventh player to reach first on catcher's interference this year. Roberts was awarded first by home plate umpire Chuck Meriwether in the second inning at Arizona tonight. Miguel Montero was the guilty party and it was the second time he was called for it this year. Montero earlier was called for catcher's interference against Andre Ethier of the Dodgers.

So far, I have the following instances of catcher's interference:

April 4: Edwin Encarnacion of the Reds batting, Michael Barrett of the Cubs catching. (thanks to Tom.)

April 15: Rafael Furcal of the Dodgers batting, Rob Bowen of San Diego catching

April 16: Andre Ethier of the Dodgers batting, Miguel Montero of Arizona catching

April 24: Darin Erstad of the White Sox batting, John Buck of Kansas City catching

April 25: Miguel Tejada of Baltimore batting, Jason Varitek of Boston catching

April 27: Eric Byrnes of Arizona batting, Rob Bowen of San Diego catching (thanks to benberg09)

April 28: Dave Roberts of San Franciso batting, Miguel Montero of Arizona catching.

Erstad has reached on catcher's interference 12 times, Roberts did it for the second time (he got one last year against Yadier Molina of St. Louis). Byrnes, then of Oakland, had reached previously in 2003 against Einar Diaz of Texas. Encarnacion led the NL with four CIs last year. Furcal, Ethier, and Tejada were newcomers to this aspect of baseball's miscellany.

Minor league brawl, but major league injuries
2007-04-28 17:23
by Bob Timmermann

Two players on the Potomac Nationals, Washington's Class-A affiliate in the Carolina League, were injured and hospitalized overnight Thursday, after a bench-clearing brawl with the Winston-Salem Warthogs, a White Sox affiliate.

Potomac catcher Brian Peacock suffered hairline fractures to verterbrae in his lower back and pitcher Clint Everts suffered a concussion.

The brawl came at the end of the game Thursday after Potomac's Brian Rogelstad tried to take out Winston-Salem's second baseman Victor Mercedes with a hard slide to avoid a game-ending double play. Rogelstad ended up getting called out for interference and beaten up in the process.

More on this from the Winston-Salem Journal.

Australia wins Cricket World Cup
2007-04-28 15:35
by Bob Timmermann

Or keeping in the spirit of our British brethren, should the headline be "Australia win Cricket World Cup?"

Regardless, Australia won the Cricket World Cup for the third straight time defeating Sri Lanka by 53 runs. Australia was 281 for 4 with 38.0 overs and Sri Lanka was 215 for 8 with 36.0 overs. Adam Gilchrist of Australia had 149 runs on 104 balls, a record for Cricket World Cup play.

Cuban baseball championship roundup
2007-04-28 08:02
by Bob Timmermann

Eric Enders passes along this link from Circles Robinson, a man who lives in Havana and has a nice English language summary of the recent Cuban baseball championship series, which was won by Sanitago in six games.

Santiago's both losses were by shutout, but won its four games by margins of 19-6, 8-6, 6-4, and 8-2.

Keep in mind also that the author lives in Cuba so some of the other posts on the blog may or may not be to your particular liking.

Nats score in the first inning for the first time this year
2007-04-27 21:06
by Bob Timmermann

The Washington Nationals scored in the first inning for the first time this year, ending a stretch of 22 games to start the season without doing so. The Nationals also failed to score in the first inning in the last five games of the 2006 season and had not scored a first inning run since September 26, 2006 in a 4-3 win over Philadelphia.

Austin Kearns hit a 3-run homer off of Oliver Perez of the Mets tonight in a 4-3 win for the Nats at RFK.

The 1948 Chicago White Sox went 28 games into the season before scoring a first inning run, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Note: The 1948 White Sox were 51-101 overall. That team's best player was 41-year old Luke Appling, a Hall of Famer, who moved from shortstop to third base to make way for youngster Cass Michaels. The next year, the 42-year old old Appling moved back to short and Michaels went to second.

Chad Cordero picked up his third save for Washington tonight, putting him three ahead of Mariano Rivera on the season.

Next up on the Ken Griffey injury list
2007-04-27 17:42
by Bob Timmermann

If you had pleurisy in the "next type of injury or illness Ken Griffey gets" pool, you are the winner.

Pleurisy has now supplanted diverticulitis.

Winning tickets can be cashed in at all participating locations.

Up next: Borborygmus!


Former (very former) Mets employee pleads guilty to distribution of illegal steroids
2007-04-27 14:04
by Bob Timmermann, in the persons of Luis Fernando Llosa and L. Jon Wertheim, reports that Kirk J. Radomski, who reportedly worked in the Mets clubouse from 1985 to 1995, has pleaded guilty to distribution of a controlled substance, as well as money laundering, in U.S. Federal Court in San Francisco. What makes this significant?

Llosa/Wertheim: A few things. First, though Radomski hasn't worked for the Mets for more than a decade, this is a baseball "insider," someone with access to clubhouses, being implicated. According to investigators, Radomski developed his network of contacts while employed with the Mets. (A Mets official confirmed that Radomski worked for the team in a "clubhouse capacity.") They believe he began distributing the performing-enhancing drugs after his employment.

Also, we're told that Radomski, as part of the plea agreement, is cooperating with former Senator George Mitchell's investigation into steroid use in Major League Baseball. This investigation -- at least until now -- suffered from a lack of cooperation. "This individual was a major dealer of anabolic steroids and performance enhancing drugs including human growth hormone," says Matt Parrella, a federal prosecutor working on the case . "[His] clientele was focused almost exclusively on Major League Baseball players and [his] work spanned a decade.

I'm eagerly awaiting the list of retired players and last pitchers out of the bullpen who will be named in connection with this conviction.


The show goes on in Tokorazawa for Seibu
2007-04-27 11:05
by Bob Timmermann

While most of Japan will be more concerned with Daisuke Matsuzaka starting tonight for the Red Sox in New York, his former team, the Seibu Lions, have started out the season in a virtual three-way tie for first in the Pacific League.

Presently, Lotte leads by percentage points at 13-9 and Seibu is .008 behind at 14-10. The Softbank Hawks are 15-11. All three teams have at least one tie, but they don't figure into the winning percentage.

Despite the absence of Matsuzaka and beset by a scandal involving bribing amateur players and coaches to induce them to sign with Seibu, the Lions still have strong pitching. 20-year old Hideaki Wakui is 4-1 with a 2.31 ERA in the early going. He has 32 strikeouts in 39 innings and just six walks. He's thrown three complete games and is putting up some high pitch counts (148 in one game.) Wakui lasted just 4 1/3 IP in his last start. 23-year old rookie Takayuki Kishi is 2-1 with a 3.03 ERA in 32 1/3 IP and he has 33 strikeouts.

Alex Cabrera has seven home runs and an OPS of .969 in the early going.

Last year's champ, the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters have gotten off to a slow start and are 9-16-3 although they got a boost recently from 20-year old Yu Darvish who tossed a 2-hit shutout against Lotte for a 1-0 win.

I'm picking up my info from Michael Westbay's, the Japan Ball site (where you can buy a nice and easy to use English language media guide to Japanese  baseball), and Yahoo Sports Japan, which requires you to know some Japanese or just be really lucky in your clicking.


Mr. Schilling likely hates your local sports columnist
2007-04-27 10:05
by Bob Timmermann

On his own blog, 38 Pitches, Curt Schilling weighed in on the case of Gary Thorne v. The Bloody Sock of 2004.

Take Gary Thorne, John, Jack Joe or whatever his first name is, Heyman, Karen Vescey, Woody Paige, CHB, Jay Marriotti, Bill Plaschke, and a host of other people that litter the media landscape, and put them all on an island somewhere.

Does anyone stop reading their newspapers? Watching the shows they appear on? The answer to that is no. Instead of using the forums they participate in to do something truly different, change lives, inspire people, you have an entire subset of media whose sole purpose in life is to actually be the news, instead of report it. They have little to no talent at what they do and other than a mastery of the English language their skill sets are non-existent.

Watching Woody Paige or the plastered made up face of Jay Marriotti spew absolutely nothing of merit on sports, day after day, makes it easy to understand how Gary Thorne could say something as stupid, ignorant, and uninformed as he did the other night.

Wow, Schilling goes after at least one columnist in each of the four time zones. You've got to appreciate the thoroughness.

King Kaufman in (you might have to watch a brief ad) wonders how come he can't just go and report a second-hand rumor and report it as fact. Oh, that's because he's not on TV.

Fortunately, I live in Southern California and my biggest complaints about TV and radio coverage are wondering if Vin Scully really likes mooning over all the little kids in the stands, if Charlie Steiner can judge a fly ball, if Rick Monday will tell me the score, if Rex Hudler will say "dude" fewer than 75 times during a broadcast, and if Terry Smith and Rory Markas won't make me doze off and drive my car over a drawbridge that's up.

Selig backs Marvin Miller for Hall of Fame
2007-04-26 18:19
by Bob Timmermann

Not that his vote counts for anything and the Baseball Hall of Fame Veterans Committee isn't scheduled to vote again on non-players for two years, but Commissioner Bud Selig said today that he believes former Players Association chief Marvin Miller deserves a plaque in Cooperstown.

"The criteria for non-playing personnel is the impact they made on the sport. Therefore Marvin Miller should be in the Hall of Fame on that basis," Selig said Thursday at a meeting of the Associated Press Sports Editors. "Maybe there are not a lot of my predecessors who would agree with that, but if you're looking for people who make an impact on the sport, yes, you would have to say that."

Selig also said he hasn't determined if he will be present if or when Barry Bonds passes Hank Aaron's career home run record and that he does anticipate any changes being made to baseball's record books because of the use of performance enhancing drugs.



Waving the bloody sock of debunking? **
2007-04-26 17:20
by Bob Timmermann

Gary Thorne on a MASN broadcast for the Orioles claimed that Curt Schilling's bloody sock from the 2004 postseason was actually a fraud, and nothing more than a painted piece of hosiery.

"The great story we were talking about the other night was that famous red stocking that he wore when they finally won, the blood on his stocking," Thorne said to broadcast partner Jim Palmer, the Hall of Fame pitcher, in a conversation that had begun with a discussion of Schilling's blog.

"Nah," Thorne said. "It was painted. Doug Mirabelli confessed up to it after. It was all for PR. Two-ball, two-strike count.

Palmer: "Yeah, that was the 2004 World Series [sic]." Thorne: "Yeah."

During a break two innings later, Thorne confirmed that's what he said, and that Mirabelli had told him so in a conversation "a couple of years ago."

"Go ask him [Mirabelli]," Thorne said.

Mirabelli denied the report after the game.

Baltimore Sun story.

Link via BTF

Update - David Pinto is skeptical of Thorne's story and he doesn't like Thorne either.

The doctor who worked on Schilling says it's real.

As does the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Thorne fell on his sock today and said he was wrong.


Book Review: 'The Cheater's Guide to Baseball' by Derek Zumsteg
2007-04-26 04:00
by Bob Timmermann

In his Cheater’s Guide To Baseball, Derek Zumsteg, of Baseball Prospectus and U.S.S. Mariner, takes a stab at examining the various forms of cheating, chicanery, gamesmanship, and downright fraud that make up baseball. The book is a quick and somewhat lighthearted look at cheating in baseball, yet does take the time in spots to examine some of the bigger problems that fall under the fairly broad scope of “cheating.”

Continue reading...

Catcher's interference - Act II
2007-04-25 17:04
by Bob Timmermann

Miguel Tejada of Baltimore reached first on catcher's interference tonight against Boston (Jason Varitek drawing the error) in the first inning tonight. This is Tejada's first time to reach on catcher's interference.

I have noticed four catcher's interference calls. Twice the home plate umpire was Angel Hernandez. Last night, Darin Erstad of the White Sox reached on CI, but Larry Young was the home plate umpire. But.... Angel Hernandez was the first base ump.

The Dodgers had two batters reach first on catcher's interference, and they happened in consecutive games. Rafael Furcal had it happen to him on April 15 with Rob Bowen as the catcher and ... Angel Hernandez ... as the umpire. Then Andre Ethier did it the next day with Miguel Montero of Arizona as the catcher and the umpire was ... Brian Gorman.

So maybe there isn't a pattern. But maybe if I study the boxscores long enough, I will detect a pattern. I can do it. I will ask my friend, who looks a lot like Paul Bettany, for help.

What do you mean you can't see him?


Making up is hard to do
2007-04-25 11:17
by Bob Timmermann

The Pirates and Giants agreed to make up their rain/snow/really freakin' cold postponed pair of games with a doubleheader in Pittsburgh on Monday, August 13. The Pirates and Giants will have just finished a three-game set in San Francisco on August 12, before they fly back out to Pittsburgh for the doubleheader.

The Mariners and Indians have still not settled on how to make up their four rain/snow/really freakin' cold postponed games from earlier in the month. The Mariners don't visit Cleveland again. The Indians aren't too keen on making up the games in Seattle. The Mariners aren't all that happy about the situation either. The Mariners were also rained/tornado warninged out in Texas yesterday. That game will be made up in July on the Mariners' next trip to Texas. The Mariners are making a trip to Boston on May 3 (aka next Thursday) to make up a rainout there.




CI - E2 mania!
2007-04-24 20:39
by Bob Timmermann

Darin Erstad of the White Sox reached first on catcher's interference to lead off the game in Kansas City. John Buck was the catcher who drew the error. According to his Retrosheet record, that was the 12th time Erstad has reached first on catcher's interference in his career.

Erstad in his 12th season, but has only reached on catcher's interference in three seasons before this one as he seems to like to bunch these up. Erstad had two CI in 1998, five in 2001, and four in 2005.

Roberto Kelly holds the major league record for most times reaching on CI in a season with 8 in 1992. Kelly reached on CI 17 times in his career. Pete Rose reached on CI 29 times. Dale Berra reached 18 times on CI. Bob Stinson reached on CI 16 times.

Edwin Encarnacion of the Reds led the majors last year by reaching on CI four times.

What do all these names tell us? I have absolutely no idea.

And what does this have to do with Paul Foytack?

Raise the Jolly Roger!
2007-04-24 20:21
by Bob Timmermann

Thanks to Paul Maholm's 3-hit shutout win over the Astros 3-0, the Pittsburgh Pirates avoided their first 5-game home losing streak to start the season since 1898.

Back in 1898, the Pirates opened the season with 10 games on the road and went 6-4. Then they finally dropped anchor at Exposition Park on April 29 and dropped two games to Cincinnati. Then the two teams switched parks for one game on May 1 and Pittsburgh. Then they went back to Pittsburgh for two more games and Cincinnati won both of those. Then Chicago came to town on May 4 and Pittsburgh lost that game. The Pirates and Cubs tied the next day.

Finally on May 9, the Pirates won a home game, beating Louisville 9-5. The 1898 Louisville squad featured two players: Honus Wagner and Fred Clarke, who would become cornerstones of the Pirates franchise at the beginning of the 20th century.



Ungifting, perhaps leading to regifting
2007-04-24 08:26
by Bob Timmermann

Twins outfielder Torii Hunter turned out to have violated one of baseball's more serious rules when he sent four bottles of Dom Perignon champagne to the Kansas City Royals clubhouse to thank the Royals for sweeping the Tigers at the end of last season, which gave the Twins the division title.

Turns out that such gifts are prohibited by Rule 21 in baseball's code of conduct and is considered similar to bribing another player to perform well. So, instead of a three-year suspension, the Twins are sheepishly asking for the champagne back, according to a report in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

The incident was first reported in the Kansas City Star and remarked on by Derek Zumsteg in his Cheater's Guide to Baseball Blog.

Jackie Robinson: By the numbers
2007-04-24 07:35
by Bob Timmermann

Retrosheet put together a detailed page of Jackie Robinson's career here. Although most of Retrosheet's full seasons begin after Robinson's career ended, there is still a wealth of information thanks to the detailed statistical work of Allan Roth.

What spot in the batting order did Robinson hit in most frequently? (Fourth, 2483 ABs)

Did he hit well in close game, late inning situations? (Yes, an OPS of .991, in his MVP season his figure in this situation was 1.225.)

Who did he the most home runs against? (Robin Roberts, 9)

Which team did he hit the best against? (Pittsburgh, OPS of .990)

Big platoon split? (OPS of .900 against lefties and .877 against righties)

In memoriam book review: October 1964
2007-04-23 20:37
by Bob Timmermann

I picked up a copy of David Halberstam's October 1964 in the Oakland Airport back in 1994 soon after it came out. I had just flown up to visit my friends who lived in Oakland and it was an eventful trip. My friends Beth and Phil were about to have a baby. As it turned out, that "about to" ended up being the weekend I visited. So while they were off at the hospital getting ready to bring a new life into the world, I was sitting outside on their lawn. That was because I accidentally locked myself out of their house.

Anyway, through the help of a friendly neighbor, I was able to get to the hospital, get keys to the house, get my stuff, and get back on a flight back home.

What does this have to do with October 1964? Well nothing really, but that's what came to mind first when I saw the book.

Is October 1964 a great baseball book? To be honest, no. It is a good one. Halberstam paints the 1964 season as a contest between the predominantly black Cardinals and the predominantly white Yankees. A battle between the future of baseball and its past.

Continue reading...

More Foytack please
2007-04-23 18:10
by Bob Timmermann

In the Griddle's attempt to be your source for all things Paul Foytack, I present you with this entry from the NY Times "Bats" blog where Jack Curry expands on his phone interview with Paul Foytack.

Foytack tells Curry that if he pitched today, he would never give Barry Bonds anything to hit, and that he was supposedly good friends with Fred Astaire and was embarrassed at a race track by not recognizing Audie Murphy.

“Let me tell you about the most embarrassing day of my life,” Foytack said. “I had pitched a good game for us, retired like 17 or 19 in a row, and I was at the track the next day. I was sitting with Fred Astaire and someone asked me for my autograph. I turned around, signed an autograph and I couldn’t believe who it was. Do you know who it was?”

I had no guess so Foytack told me it was Audie Murphy,....

I believe the game Foytack remembers is this one. The race track was most likely Hollywood Park, which was racing in July of 1963.

But if Fred Astaire was hanging out with Paul Foytack, then who was hanging out with Ed Sadowski? Walter Brennan? Arnold Stang? Randolph Scott?


La vida misteriosa de Luis Castro
2007-04-23 09:45
by Bob Timmermann

In an story, Jesse Sanchez recaps the mysterious background of Luis Castro, who may or may not have been one of the first MLB players born in Latin America.

Most sources say that Castro was born in Medellin, Colombia in 1867 or 1876 or 1877 and debuted with the Philadelphia Athletics in 1902. Some historians think that Castro was actually born in the U.S.

And then there is the case of Esteban Bellan, who was born in Cuba, and played for the Troy Haymakers in 1871-72 and the New York Mutuals in 1873 in the National Association, which MLB does not recognize as a major league.

Sandy Nava, a catcher for Providence of the NL and Baltimore of the American Association, is believed to be the first player of Latin American descent to play in the majors after their "official" start in 1876. Nava, according to most historians, had at least one Mexican parent. However, he was born in San Francisco in 1850, when the city's population boomed because of the Gold Rush and recording births was not exactly a high priority.

Random Record of the Week #4
2007-04-23 04:00
by Bob Timmermann

Random Record of the Week #4

Page 178 – Oakland A's, most sacrifice hits, single season, Dwayne Murphy, 22, 1980

The random world leads me to steal a page from the world of Catfish Stew, although it seems that the gang over there all finds 1980 to be a time before their memories. So I will try to evoke memories of the arrival of "Billyball" in Oakland and how it brought a brief, almost mirage-like resurgence, to a franchise that appeared to be dead.

Continue reading...
Mr. Foytack meet Mr. Wright, Chase meet Paul (UPDATE)
2007-04-22 19:47
by Bob Timmermann

July 31, 1963 at Cleveland Stadium, Game 2 of a doubleheader

INDIANS 6TH: Azcue struck out; Luplow flied out to right; Held
homered; Ramos homered; Francona homered; Brown homered;
REPLACED FOYTACK (PITCHING); Kirkland singled to center; Kindall
singled to right [Kirkland to third]; Whitfield grounded out
(first unassisted); 4 R, 6 H, 0 E, 2 LOB. Angels 1, Indians 9.


Common threads to that game and tonight's game in Fenway Park, a man named Francona.

UPDATE - Jack Curry of the New York Times tracked down Foytack at his home in Tennessee to tell him that he had company.

While Foytack, now 76, said he was never bothered by giving up four homers in a row, he expressed concern for Wright. Foytack, who was nicked in the second-to-last year of his career, said he planned to write a letter to Wright and mail it Monday.

“I kind of feel bad for the kid because he’s young,” Foytack said. “I’m going to tell him that these things happen and that he shouldn’t let it get to him.”


The K Kings of the D-Rays
2007-04-22 12:55
by Bob Timmermann

James Shields of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays struck out 12 Cleveland batters in eight innings of work today. That tied the franchise record for most strikeouts in a game.

The other player to do it was Dan Wheeler, back in his rookie season on September 12, 1999 against Oakland.

Starting this season, D-Rays pitchers had hit double digits in strikeouts 17 times with Scott Kazmir accounting for eight of them. Kazmir is already the franchise leader in career strikeouts.

News flash: American League now considered superior to National League
2007-04-21 20:49
by Bob Timmermann

In the latest "Keeping Score" column of the New York Times, Dan Rosenheck compares the relative quality of the American and National Leagues and it's official: the AL is better. A lot  better.

....The gap between the American League and the National League has grown larger in the past two years than at any point since the 1950s, when the N.L. integrated black players much faster than the A.L. did. According to Nate Silver of Baseball Prospectus, a typical A.L. hitter moving to the N.L. can expect to gain about 10 points of batting average and on-base percentage and 20 points of slugging percentage. A.L. pitchers switching leagues will usually have their earned run averages decrease because of the absence of the designated hitter in the N.L., but Silver calculates that the E.R.A. of an A.L. pitcher switching leagues is likely to drop by 0.25 runs more than can be accounted for by the D.H.

At a team level, an average A.L. squad would probably improve its record by about 10 games if it could face N.L. competition, meaning that last year’s Yankees probably would have been a 107-win juggernaut if they had played the Mets’ schedule. The same is true in reverse: if the 2006 Mets had played in the A.L., they would have won only 87 games and missed the playoffs. This is about the same difference in league strength as the gap between today’s N.L. and Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball.

Rosenheck points fingers at NL owners for not spending as much as AL owners and a playoff system that discourages NL owners from having to create a team that can compete with the Yankees and Red Sox for 162 games, when they only would have to compete with them for no more than seven games.

Aybar's problems mount
2007-04-21 20:37
by Bob Timmermann

Troubled Atlanta Braves infielder Willy Aybar, who has a substance abuse problem, failed to show for a scheduled meeting with MLB officials and now his brother Erick, along with family friend Vladimir Guerrero are very concerned, according to an Atlanta Journal-Constitution story.

Willy's agent, Luis Valdez, and older brother tried to persuade Aybar to travel to New York on Friday to meet with MLB officials, including a doctor who would evaluate him and determine a course for treatment.

But he never showed up or called the MLB office Friday. Erik [sic] Aybar said both he and Guerrero, a Dominican star, tried calling Willy repeatedly last week.


Why I haven't seen that since last century!
2007-04-21 18:57
by Bob Timmermann

Jason Wood of the Marlins hit his first major league home run since July 23, 1999 (when he was on the Tigers) in the seventh inning at Dolphins Stadium against Ryan Wagner of the Nationals.

David Ross of the Reds grounded into a 5-4-3 triple play (Nuñez to Utley to Helms) against the Phillies in Cincinnati. It was the first triple play turned by the Phillies since May 15, 1999 when Mike Piazza of the Mets lined into a 6-4 triple play (Alex Arias to Kevin Jordan) and the first hit into by a Reds batter since Eddie Taubensee lined into a 1-6-3 (Andy Ashby to Chris Gomez to Archi Cianfrocco) against the Padres at home on May 19, 1997.

With Cole Hamels striking out 15 Reds hitters tonight, the triple play was just a bit of overkill.

Mets fan arrested and charged with breaking the Calvin Klein Law
2007-04-21 14:35
by Bob Timmermann

Frank Martinez, a 40-year old Mets fan, was arrested Friday night and charged with interfering with a professional sporting event and second-degree reckless endangerment, after he tried to shine a high-powered flashlight in the eyes of Atlanta pitcher Tim Hudson and shortstop Edgar Renteria, according to a Queens D.A., as reported in the Associated Press.

Calvin Klein Law?

A law making it expressly illegal to interfere with a professional sporting event was passed by the city in 2003 following a disruptive incident involving fashion designer Calvin Klein.

Klein stepped onto the basketball court at Madison Square Garden in March 2003 to speak with player Latrell Sprewell while a Knicks game was in progress.

Martinez could face a year in jail and a $5,000 fine. I'm assuming that Martinez would face a punishment slightly less severe if convicted. Maybe he'll only be allowed to go to day games. Or only be able to watch games involving the Washington Nationals.

El Final del béisbol Cubano, gratis por la red
2007-04-20 19:06
by Bob Timmermann

Aka Cuban baseball final, free through the internet.

Eric Enders passed on to me a note from Cuban baseball expert Peter Bjarkman that for the first time, Americans can watch free streaming video of the Cuban baseball finals, live from Havana, on Saturday night at 5 pm PT.

The final is between Santiago and Havana Industriales, the two powerhouses of Cuban baseball. Santiago won the first two games and Game 3 is Saturday.

Go to Radio COCO and click on "PLAY" and the streaming broadcast should open in Windows Media Player. Obviously, the broadcast will be in Spanish and there won't be commercials, although there will be some propaganda. I've heard that Cuba and the U.S. don't get along well.

Arleys Sánchez is scheduled to start for Industriales and Osmel Cintra will be el abriador por Santiago.

Book review: The SABR Baseball List & Record Book (non-objective edition)
2007-04-19 22:15
by Bob Timmermann

Since I'm a member of SABR and I participate (although mainly to sit in the meeting at the convention and listen to guys who really know a lot about baseball records), I can't give an entirely objective review of the new book The SABR Baseball List & Record Book. It's subtitled "Baseball's Most Fascinating Records and Unusual Statistics*" and then "*not available online or in any other book."

The book is not the same as the Sporting News Complete Baseball Record Book, which is only available online now, (as well as the basis for the Random Record of the Week).

It's a fairly simple and unadorned collection of lists, like:

  • Most shutouts in a season by a left-handed pitcher - Sandy Koufax had 11 in 1963 and there are about 20 more listed.
  • Most RBI in a season by a switch-hitter - Mark Texeira had 144 in 2005, Lance Berkman had 136 in 2006.
  • Worst fielding average by a catcher in a season since 1946 (min. 125 games) - Thurman Munson in 1975 at .9719.

The book is fun to skim through, although it's going to have the problem of being outdated soon after the season is over.

But some of the records listed are real head-scratchers. Do you know the answer to these?


  1. Who was the last player to hit a leadoff home run to win a 1-0 game?
  2. Who was the last player to lead his league in both hits and walks in the same season?
  3. Which two pitchers allowed the most grand slams?
  4. Who had the most at-bats in a season without a hit by a non-pitcher?
  5. Which two batters had the greatest disparity between home runs hit on the road and hit at home in one season? (I.e. Road homers > home homers)?

Click here for the answers

Forbes says the Yankees are worth a lot, the Marlins not so much
2007-04-19 18:12
by Bob Timmermann

Forbes magazine had its annual ranking of MLB franchises by value. Not surprisingly, the New York Yankees topped their list with a value of $1.2 billion. The magazine estimates that the new Yankee Stadium will expand the team's revenue by $50 million per year.

The Mets were second at $736 million. The Red Sox were third at $724 million and the Dodgers fourth at $632 million. The Marlins are 30th at $244 million.

According to Forbes, the Kansas City Royals have lost 659 games in the last seven years and TRIPLED in value.

The Marlins did not like being last:

"As usual, the franchise valuations and operating income numbers are pure fantasy and based on no correct information," Marlins president David Samson said. "To comment on such irresponsible journalism would only give it more credit than it deserves."

The Yankees didn't mind being first:

"I am gratified at the Forbes valuation of the Yankees," New York owner George Steinbrenner said in a statement. "We are continuing to build a worldwide brand for the people of New York and Yankee fans everywhere."



Howie, the King, the absent Aybar, and Tris
2007-04-19 06:50
by Bob Timmermann

Howie Kendrick of the Angels was put on the DL with a broken finger. Kendry Morales or Brandon Wood will probably take his spot on the roster.

Felix Hernandez of Seattle left his start yesterday against Minnesota after recording just one out. He will be examined to see what is causing his "elbow tightness."

And where in the world is Willy Aybar? ... still!

Tristan and Isolde. If you can find another 5-hour opera (if you count the intermissions) that provides more high quality value for your entertainment dollar, then buy it!


Book Review: The Baseball Economist (special guest reviewer!)
2007-04-18 04:00
by Bob Timmermann

Note: I'll be running some book reviews here from time to time (mostly after I read the books, but I thought I'd start with a review of a book by someone who knows a lot more about the subject matter than I do) so here we go.

By Phil Birnbaum

Books like The Baseball Economist are rare these days. Most sabermetrically-oriented baseball books out there are concerned with player predictions and such. This book, on the other hand, is interested in all kinds of subjects over its many chapters, and throws lots of interesting ideas at us. You could probably best compare it to last year's Baseball Between the Numbers.

Its author, economist J. C. Bradbury, writes pretty well, too, and the book is a entertaining read. I finished it within 24 hours of it arriving in the mail. I can't say I agree with everything Bradbury says, but I still wish there were more books like this, which suggest new ways of approaching some of the most interesting baseball questions.

The Baseball Economist walks a line between economics and sabermetrics (in fact, the author's website is called ""). Bradbury's brand of sabermetrics is pretty much indistinguishable from the regular stuff – the difference is more in the subject matter than the methods. Economics deals with the choices and behavior of human beings, and how they respond to incentives. And so Bradbury concentrates on those kinds of topics: how much should a team decide to pay a player? Are NL pitchers more afraid to hit batters knowing they'll later be coming up to bat themselves? Are some managers better at influencing umpires? And so forth.

Continue reading...

The umpiest ump who ever umpired
2007-04-17 18:00
by Bob Timmermann

Yes, I stole that line from Dodger Thoughts commenter Andrew Shimmin, but I thought it would be appropriate to honor umpire Bruce Froemming. Froemming was given an award by Bud Selig in honor of his 37th consecutive season as an umpire, the longest such stretch in major league history, surpassing Bill Klem's 36 (1905-1940). Actually, Klem umpired 11 games in 1941 before hanging up his chest protector or whatever umpires hang up metaphorically when they retire. And all the games were at the end of the year and none were behind the plate.

Froemming made his debut as a big league umpire on April 6, 1971 as the third base umpire in a game at Shea Stadium between the Mets and Expos. The game lasted just five innings before rain halted it. The play-by-play doesn't indicate any safe/out calls that Froemming might have had to have made, but maybe he made an appeal call on a check swing.

Because umpires today get vacation time off, Froemming is still behind Klem in total games. Klem also umpired 18 World Series and Froemming has umpired just five, although there is a much bigger pool of umpires now.


A good piece of writing by a professional scribe who can go the other way with a cliche
2007-04-17 10:10
by Bob Timmermann

Tim Marchman of the New York Sun describes "baseball's worst cliché", aka "a good piece of hitting."

If you think about it at all, for instance, you immediately recognize that Derek Jeter is capable of a good piece of hitting, while Alex Rodriguez is not. David Wright rips off good pieces of hitting like a neighborhood godfather peeling $20 bills off his bankroll to hand to kids making bodega runs for him, but Carlos Delgado has rarely, if ever, been accused of having committed a good piece of hitting. It's probably possible to work backward from the sort of player capable of a good piece of hitting to arrive at a definition of the thing itself, but it might be better to work forward — difficult as it is to extricate the player from the act.

A good piece of hitting cannot be a home run or a solidly hit double down the line. It cannot be a bouncer, bleeder, trickler, or any other sort of hit that has eyes or relies on the misadventures of the defense. It must be hit well, but not too well, and preferably it should go the opposite field.

It isn't just the character of the hit itself that defines a good piece of hitting, though, as the game situation plays its role as well. No hitting done by someone whose team is up by 10 runs will ever be said to be a good piece; the game should ideally be tight in order for the piece of hitting to be good. On the other hand, it's possible to imagine a piece hit by someone whose team is down by 10 runs being hit well, although probably only if there are no outs and he's at the front end of a rally. "That was a good piece of hitting," the announcer will say, while we watch the player taking off his gloves at first, clapping his hands, and exhorting his teammates to keep on with the charge.


I bet Marchman doesn't like sacrifice flies either. 

If this were only the worst life could get
2007-04-17 09:18
by Bob Timmermann
Will the last Blue Jay to go on the DL turn out the light?
2007-04-16 19:51
by Bob Timmermann

In addition to closer B.J. Ryan going on the DL, outfielder Reed Johnson is going to have back surgery and miss at least two months and third baseman Troy Glaus has a sore heel and is also on the DL for Toronto.

Ryan will supposedly be out just 4-6 weeks with an elbow sprain. Johnson's spot will be taken by Adam Lind. Glaus' roster spot goes to Ryan Roberts although Jason Smith and John McDonald are supposed to get most of the playing time at third.

E is for everybody
2007-04-16 18:53
by Bob Timmermann

The Baltimore Orioles picked up three errors on one play in their game against Tampa Bay in St. Petersburg.

With Brendan Harris on first, B.J. Upton hit a grounder to first baseman Aubrey Huff who booted it (#1), then threw it past pitcher Adam Loewen (#2). Catcher Paul Bako chased down the errant throw and tried to catch Harris at the plate, but his throw was wild and Harris scored and Upton ended at third (#3).

Officially, the Griddle is opposed to the double error, but sometimes you have to give credit where credit is due.


Random Record of the Week #3
2007-04-16 04:00
by Bob Timmermann

Random Record of the Week #3

Page 376 – World Series, Most Sacrifice Flies, Both Teams, One Game – 5 – New York AL 3, Pittsburgh 2 NL, Oct. 6, 1927

When the 1927 Yankees are thought of, one thing that doesn't come to mind is sacrifice flies. The 1927 Yankees were Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig slamming home run after home run. The 1927 World Series is generally considered to be one of the biggest mismatches of all time. A lot of people probably forget the Yankees opponent in the World Series.

But let's first look back at the game of October 6, 1927, which was Game 2 of the World Series and played at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh. George Pipgras started for the Yankees and Vic Aldridge started for Pittsburgh. Although the Pirates scored a run in the first, the Yankees scored three times in the third and three times in the eighth for a 6-2 win and a 2-0 lead in a series that they would sweep.

Continue reading...

Where in the world is Willy Aybar?
2007-04-15 22:48
by Bob Timmermann

The Atlanta Braves want to know where Willy Aybar, presently on the disabled list with a hand injury, is. He's not with the Braves and he hasn't been heard from since Friday. The Braves have suspended Aybar without pay for three days.

Just one hit is all we ask
2007-04-15 15:23
by Bob Timmermann

Cleveland beat Chicago today at home, 2-1, despite getting just one hit against Jose Contreras and three White Sox relievers. Grady Sizemore led off the first with a double and came around to score on a Trot Nixon ground out. Sizemore drove in a second run with a bases-loaded walk in the fourth. The White Sox made three errors and walked six Cleveland batters.

C.C. Sabathia and Joe Borowski combined to allow just six hits.

The Indians have experience with winning low-hit games. They won a game despite getting no hits against Matt Young of the Red Sox on April 12, 1992 in the first game of a doubleheader. Cleveland got seven walks in that game and they also stole six bases against Young, who had a mental block about making pickoff throws. Even Cleveland catcher Junior Ortiz had a stolen base, and he was 8 for 26 in steals for his career. In the nightcap, the Indians got two hits off of Roger Clemens, but lost that one.

One game, six outs made, and that's it
2007-04-15 10:30
by Bob Timmermann

Lee Jenkins of the New York Times profiles Ron Wright, whose big league career consisted of one game for the Seattle Mariners on April 14, 2002.

Wright batted three times against Kenny Rogers of Texas and struck out, grounded into a triple play, and then grounded into a double play. Mark McLemore pinch hit for Wright in the seventh inning. The Mariners won the game 9-7.

He never played in the majors again. Wright is studying for a pharmacy degree in Idaho now and has no regrets about his baseball career.


2007-04-15 09:02
by Bob Timmermann

Cold and rainy weather has already washed out the game between the Mets and the Nationals at Shea Stadium as well as a doubleheader between the Giants and Pirates in Pittsburgh.

Saturday's fleece blanket giveaway in Pittsburgh was postponed as well, although parkas, balaclavas, and mukluks are available. The entire Pirate team was going to wear #42 today as was Barry Bonds for the Giants. I suppose they can wear it around in the clubhouse.

Update - Add the Angels and Red Sox to the list of postponements. They are scheduled to play Monday in a Patriots Day matinee that would start at 7 am PT. And you can also add Houston at Philadelphia and Kansas City at Baltimore to the list of game postponed.


Blue Jays put Ryan on DL
2007-04-15 08:51
by Bob Timmermann

In a somewhat ominous development for the Toronto Blue Jays, closer B.J. Ryan has gone on the disabled list with a sore elbow and is headed for Alabama and an appointment with Dr. James Andrews.

Jason Frasor is slated to take over Ryan's bullpen role.

Doubling into a double play
2007-04-14 19:29
by Bob Timmermann

In Thursday's game between Tampa Bay and Minnesota, Carl Crawford of the Devil Rays batted with Ben Zobrist on first and nobody out in a 2-2 game.

Crawford lined a Joe Nathan pitch to right that was going for extra bases. However, with no one out, Tampa Bay third base coach Tom Foley stopped Zobrist on third. That didn't dissuade Crawford who kept on chugging and suddenly the area around third base got crowded.

The Twins realized this as did Zobrist, who broke for home, where he was caught in a rundown and tagged out. Crawford, apparently not content with staying at third, headed back to second where he was tagged out for a double-double play, 9-4-2-6.

Ted Turocy of Retrosheet found other instances of players doubling into a double play. The most recent occurrence was on June 23, 2004 when David Eckstein and Vladimir Guerrero of the Anaheim Angels were the culprits. In the sixth inning of a game in Anaheim, Eckstein was at first with one out and Guerrero was batting against Mark Redman of Oakland.

Guerrero hit a ball over the head of Mark Kotsay in center and Eckstein tried to score, but Kotsay threw to Bobby Crosby to Damian Miller to nab Eckstein at the plate. But Guerrero wandered too far off of second on the play and was caught in a rundown for an 8-6-2-5-6 DP. Oakland won the game 7-1.

And if you're flashing back to the NL Division Series between the Dodgers and Mets last year when two Dodgers (Jeff Kent and JD Drew) were tagged out at home on a hit, that was scored as a singled for Russell Martin.

The last double into a double play in the NL was on July 31, 2003 when Russell Branyan did it for the Reds. Jason LaRue was thrown at home and Branyan was eventually retired in a rundown with Preston Wilson of Colorado making the final tag. Wilson also made the initial throw in and the DP was scored 8-4-2-5-2-8. says this is our Gameday product and you're going to like it!
2007-04-13 20:02
by Bob Timmermann

While the people at seem to think that they are listening to feedback about their "enhanced" Gameday (similar to how cancer is "enhanced" cell growth), I don't think they are.

Q: Can I still use the "classic" version of Gameday?

A: Games from 2006 and earlier are still available in the version of Gameday that was current when they were played. However, all games in 2007 and beyond will be provided solely in the 2007 version of Gameday.

Hmm, I think Rob McMillin begs to disagree.

But one mystery is solved, I guess.

Q: What is the PFX value?

A: The "Pitch-f/x" value is currently defined as the measurement of the distance between the location of the actual pitch thrown over the plate, and the calculated location of a ball thrown by the pitcher in the same way, with no spin; this is the value we provided in Enhanced Gameday last season as "Break". The new Break value, which we feel is more appropriate for the common understanding of the term, is defined as the measurement of the greatest distance between the trajectory of the pitch at any point between the release point and the front of home plate, and the straight line path from the release point and the front of home plate. By this definition, a Barry Zito curveball will have a much greater Break value than a Brad Penny fastball.

(By the way, the "camera control" in the 3D batter area allows you to view each pitch from any of six different viewpoints, so you can see the trajectory and location of each pitch from multiple angles.)

So why do I want to see the trajectory and locattion of each pitch from multiple angles. Don't I just want to know if, say, Bobby Kielty can reach base against Kei Igawa.


I think there a group of baseball fans who want to know all of this detailed pitch data. I'm not one of them. 


Another way to think about this is with the NFL. ESPN once a week runs a show "Monday Night Matchup: where the upcoming Monday night game is dissected to within an inch of its life. Ron Jaworski would break down film and explain complicated offensive and defensive schemes. I didn't watch it, partly because I live on the wrong side of the country and partly because I don't care to know that much. Maybe I would sometimes, but there is no requirement that I watch the show to enjoy the football game.


But wants you to look at a dizzying array of information that makes very little sense in real time when viewed on a computer in my opinion.


Kielty popped out by the way on a pitch that had a break of 12" and a pFX of 2". Woo hoo! That means... something.



Is it really closer by committee?
2007-04-13 15:33
by Bob Timmermann

Because of the struggles of Jorge Julio, Florida Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez said he would be going with a closer by committee.

But is it a committee? I think it's more of an anarcho-syndicalist commune with each relief pitcher taking turns each week to act as closer. But all saves by that closer have to be ratified bi-weekly at a special meeting. Mopup roles are chosen by a simple majority vote, but to change the closer you need a 2/3 majority.

Make your own Random Record of the Week!
2007-04-13 13:05
by Bob Timmermann

The Sporting News is making its baseball record book available for free through the web!

Just head on over to here, and you can learn who the career saves leader is for the Arizona Diamondbacks.

60 years ago on April 11
2007-04-12 22:30
by Bob Timmermann

I would have run this earlier in the day, but:

1. I was busy.

2. I didn't even know the story existed.

3. It may not even be important or interesting to anyone but me. But has that ever stopped me before?

Toward the end of the New York Times story about an exhibition game between the Yankees and Dodgers at Ebbets Field on April 11, 1947 which was Jackie Robinson's first appearance in a major league uniform was this note:

Robinson wore No. 42 on the back of his Dodgers uniform.

Amazing that how a uniform number which seems to have so much written and talked about it now was just an afterthought when it happened. I don't know for sure, but I think Robinson got number 42 because that uniform was available and he was one of the last players to make the 1947 Dodgers out of spring training. The Dodgers would later use a #43 for pitcher Johnny Van Cuyk when he was called up in September.



Are American managers ruining MLB? And does it matter?
2007-04-12 21:52
by Bob Timmermann

Robert Whiting continues his series in the Japan Times about the problems of Japanese pro baseball (NPB). In this article, he discusses the influence of American managers on the game in Japan.

Presently, 1/3 of the managers in Japan (i.e. four) are Americans: Trey Collins of Nippon Ham, Bobby Valentine of Lotte, Terry Collins of Orix, and Marty Brown of Hiroshima.

At the end of the season, an NHK news announcer lauded Hillman for understanding the Japanese way, saying, "Hillman-san is the first American manager ever to make the switch from besuboru to yakyu."

Given the viewing audience, it was praise of the highest sort.

The signing of the gaijin kantoku Collins meant that one-third of Japan's pro managers were born in the United States, and not everyone in Japan was elated with this state of affairs.

Former pitching great Yutaka Enatsu, in a scathing interview in the Shukan Asahi last October, felt the limits had been reached.

He charged that gaijin managers do not understand the treasured Japanese concepts of giri (duty) and ninjo (humanity), in deciding which players to keep and which ones to cast aside.

Continually using gaijin kantoku, he moaned, means you cannot raise Japanese kantoku, adding that, "Just because Valentine kantoku won a Japan Series, doesn't mean he was without his faults. If you ask behind the scenes, you will hear lots of criticism."

Sounds like Yutaka Enatsu is Japanese for "Bill Plaschke."

Is MLB kiling NPB? Or does it matter?
2007-04-12 07:10
by Bob Timmermann

Robert Whiting, author of The Chrysanthemum and the Bat, You Gotta Have Wa, and The Meaning of Ichiro, writes in the Japan Times with the latest forecast of doom for Japanese baseball because of raids from MLB. Whiting also does cite the poor management of the sport in Japan, which I think is a much bigger reason.

Then again, I don't think that NPB is in any danger of going under and at worse, would just get bought out by MLB.

Whiting cites, without any support, that water consumption in Japan increased by 25% during commercial breaks of the WBC final. It's good to know that American urban legends can make their way around the world.

Link via BTF.


He is the King!
2007-04-11 18:33
by Bob Timmermann

Felix Hernandez of Seattle went to Fenway Park to face the Red Sox and Daisuke Matsuzaka's much ballyhooed debut and tossed a one-hitter as the Mariners won 3-0.

JD Drew led off the eighth with a single for Boston's only hit. Hernandez was the first Mariner to throw a nine inning one-hitter since Randy Johnson did so on July 16, 1998 against Minnesota. Brent Gates broke up that no-hitter with one out in the eighth inning with a single.

Unrelated note: Dear SRI Mortgage telemarketer, I have caller ID. I don't need to talk to you. And I rent. So I can't mortgage anything. So stop calling my home.

Suspended animation!
2007-04-10 21:52
by Bob Timmermann

This year, MLB changed its rules so that a game that was tied after becoming a regulation game and was halted by rain would be a suspended game and not a tie game. Tie games have to be replayed in their entirety.

And we have our first suspended game of the season! The Brewers and Marlins waited out three rain delays before the umpires suspended the game with the score tied 2-2 with the Brewers getting ready to bat in the top of the 11th at Dolphins Stadium. The game will start at 7:05 pm ET and then the regularly scheduled game will start about 30 minutes later.

Tony Graffanino of the Breweres was kicked out of the game and, presumably, the umpires will make him sit in the clubhouse until the regularly scheduled game start.

From checking Retrosheet, it appears that this is the first time the Marlins have had a suspended game. The Brewers last had one on June 15, 2001 at home against Kansas City when a bank of lights went out at Miller Park.



Bridgewater State puts the hammer down on Newbury and then some
2007-04-10 21:04
by Bob Timmermann

Final score from Bridgewater, Mass.

Bridgewater State 57, Newbury 1 (7 innings)

The Bears set a bunch of Division III records for offense in this one. Newbury College, which is in Brookline, Mass., doesn't strike me as an athletic powerhouse for some reason. However, the men's basketball team went 15-12, but the women's basketball team went 0-25.

It's the Newbury Nighthawks by the way.

Of the 57 runs allowed, only 44 of them were earned. If you had Steve Smith or Andrew Dillon in your D-III Massachusetts school roto league, you're really happy now.

Link via BTF.


Aaron plans to give Bonds the Bowie Kuhn Treatment
2007-04-10 18:30
by Bob Timmermann

Current career home run leader Henry Aaron said today that he won't be around to watch Barry Bonds try to break his record.

Aaron told Terence Moore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he wouldn't even attend the games when the Giants play in Atlanta (August 14-16).

"I'd probably fly to West Palm Beach to play golf," Aaron was quoted as saying in Moore's column. "Again, it has nothing to do with anybody, other than I had enough of it. I don't want to be around that sort of thing anymore. I just want to be at peace with myself. I don't want to answer questions. It's going to be a no-win situation for me anyway. If I go, people are going to say, `Well, he went because of this.' If I don't go, they'll say whatever. I'll just let them make their own mind up."

Commissioner Bowie Kuhn was not in Atlanta when Aaron broke Babe Ruth's record on April 8, 1974. Kuhn felt that it was undignified for a man of his importance to be going around the country to follow a player break a record.

The difference between Aaron and Kuhn is that Aaron seems to not want the hassle of having to answer questions about Bonds' alleged use of PEDs and Kuhn was just really an arrogant idiot.

So will be wondering in about a dozen years from now if Barry Bonds will be following Alex Rodriguez around the country to watch his record get broken?

Marlins callup from minors says 'Alstublieft'
2007-04-10 08:45
by Bob Timmermann

The Florida Marlins put pitcher Ricky Nolasco on the disabled list with elbow tenderness and called up 22-year old Dutch righthander Henricus (Rick) Vanden Hurk. Vanden Hurk is a converted catcher and a native of Eindhoven, Netherlands, which is in the southeastern part of the country.

Back in the Netherlands, they're saying Van den Hurk start dinsdag in Major League,which isn't particularly hard to translate if you think about it. Except the Dutch are putting a space in his name in a different place.

According to, Vanden Hurk will be the seventh major leaguer to come out of the Netherlands.

There have also been three major leaguers who were born in Holland, Michigan and two who were born in Zeeland, Michigan, most notably Jim Kaat.



Just two hits please
2007-04-10 07:37
by Bob Timmermann

The San Diego Padres recorded just two hits in their 1-0 win over the San Francisco Giants at PETCO Park last night. The Padres got a seventh inning double from Khalil Greene, who would score the game's only run on a sacrifice fly, and an eighth inning single by Adrian Gonzalez. Matt Cain started for the Giants and Jonathan Sanchez pitched the eighth.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Giants hadn't lost a two-hitter since September 20, 1998 when the Dodgers beat the Giants 1-0 at Candlestick Park thanks to a first inning home run by the immortal Trenidad Hubbard.

The Giants won a game on September 7, 1986 when they had just one hit, a first inning RBI double by Mike Aldrete, and Mike Krukow pitched a 2-hitter against the Expos to win 1-0.

Come on down and support a team that may or may not be yours
2007-04-09 20:43
by Bob Timmermann

For the three games at Miller Field in Milwaukee between the Angels and Indians, there have been about 10,000 tickets sold already. All tickets for the series are $10 and they are all good seats as the Brewers want to fill up the field level first and then only sell the loge if necessary. I would expect the fans there to be young and probably drunk.

When the Marlins had to play the Expos for two games in Chicago on September 13 and 14, 2004, the crowds were 4,003 and 5,457 at U.S. Cellular Field.

There is no truth to rumors that Arte Moreno is trying to figure out a way to add Milwaukee to his team's name.

2007-04-09 18:56
by Bob Timmermann

Mike Hampton (nominally of Atlanta) will miss another season with elbow surgery. Hampton earlier had tendon replacement surgery. Now he will have a torn elbow tendon repaired.

Chris Carpenter has arthritis in his right elbow and has been put on the disabled list. Randy Keisler will replace him on the roster for the Cardinals.

Right now, both of my elbows are feeling OK.



Chey Boyardee's Senate-O's
2007-04-09 17:07
by Bob Timmermann

Comcast cable systems in the Baltimore area (along with DC and parts of Delaware and Virginia), scrambling to find room for MASN (Mid Atlantic Sports Network), which carries Orioles and Nationals games, have decided to bump C-SPAN2 from their systems when there is a conflict.

If you complain enough, Comcast gives subscribers in the area a digital cable box that allows them access to C-SPAN2. Then you can watch BookTV! Gavel-to-gavel coverage of the Senate!

Thanks to Jon Weisman for the tip.

Cleveland may lose home series to Angels (now Milwaukee)
2007-04-09 07:44
by Bob Timmermann

And I don't mean getting outscored by the Angels, the Cleveland Indians could literally be forced to give up their upcoming home series against the Los Angeles Angels (Tues-Thur) and have it played in Anaheim if MLB deems that there will be too many delays from cold weather and snow.

Cleveland and Seattle are going to attempt to get in at least two of their scheduled three game series today, although snow flurries are still forecast for Cleveland today with temperatures in the 30s. (Update: Today's doubleheader was snowed out.)

Moving the Angels series was considered "unlikely" because the teams could not swap series as Cleveland is slated to play four seven games in Anaheim while the Angels would play just three in Cleveland and all the games in Anaheim are nearly sold out. So the Angels could end up with 84 home games and the Indians with 78. The decision should be made soon, presumably before the Angels fly to Cleveland. If there were an extra three games in Anaheim, the tickets would have to be sold on a walkup basis as season ticket holders would not have paid for such games already.

Play ball!

Update: The series will now be played in Milwaukee. This will be the first "neutral" field series since the Florida Marlins had to play two games against Montreal at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago on Sept. 13-14, 2004. That series was moved because of the threat of a hurricane in South Florida earlier in the month.

Random Record of the Week #2
2007-04-09 07:44
by Bob Timmermann

Random Record of the Week #2

Page 60

Team Pitching

Most Balks, Game NL – 6 – Milwaukee vs Chicago, May 4, 1963

The 1963 season could have gone down as "The Year of the Balk," but instead it represented one of the few times in baseball's long history when league officials realized that a rule interpretation needed to be changed and didn't wait until the end of the year to do it.


Continue reading...

Mariners and Indians frozen out again
2007-04-08 08:14
by Bob Timmermann

The doubleheader between the Mariners and Indians at Jacobs Field today was postponed again because of cold weather and snow.

The forecasted high for Cleveland today is 33 (by the Weather Channel, Accuweather says it will hit 35!) with a 60% chance of snow.

The teams will try for another doubleheader tomorrow when the forecast calls for temperatures to reach 37 with just a 30% of snow.

On Tuesday the Mariners head to Boston where the temperatures should be in the 40s and 50s most of the time with no chance of snow.

If you can't make it on Broadway, then it's back to Fullerton
2007-04-07 09:51
by Bob Timmermann

Jill Painter of the Daily News profiles Cal State Fullerton volunteer assistant coach, Bill Kernen, who left his job as the head coach of Cal State Northridge's baseball team in 1995 after he feared the program would be cut and instead headed to New York to try to make it as a playwright.

Kernen led the Matadors to within three outs of a berth in the College World Series before host Fresno State rallied for two runs in the bottom of the ninth in an elimination game to sew up a spot in Omaha.

With no previous experience as a playwright, he moved to New York with $15,000 and studied dramatic writing at Columbia University for two years.

He worked at a real-estate firm to pay his bills, but still found time to write and produce two full-length plays by 1997. In all, he wrote seven plays that were performed at small theaters in New York. He directed three of them.

"I've always had a strong interest in other things, the arts in particular," Kernan said. "So it was difficult from the standpoint that I didn't know how I was going to live, because I didn't have a job or know anybody. But it wasn't difficult leaving baseball."

Kernen's writing has been put on hold while he and his wife, Betty, settle in their new surroundings, but he remains connected to the industry. His 1998 play "Galleria degli Angeli," the one set in an Italian art gallery and loosely based on one of his own vacations to Italy, is in early stages of film production, as is his 1997 script, "And other Fairytales."

[Fullerton coach George] Horton, who knew Kernen as a rival coach, is enjoying broadening his own horizons with an assistant "unlike the rest of us, watches something other than ESPN and reads something other than the sports page."

Kernen was an intense coach at CSUN. This was from the Los Angeles Times on March 31, 1994 by Steve Elling:

The Cal State Northridge players wore black, though certainly not by choice. The mood was funereal.

Players elected to fly the American flag at half-staff over the clubhouse at Matador Field. Fitting, in light of the circumstances.

"It was definitely appropriate," Northridge Coach Bill Kernen said. "Because they're dead."

Incensed by what he called the team's habitual inability to play with heart, Kernen threw down the gauntlet before Wednesday's 2-1 nonconference loss to Cal Lutheran and threatened to finish the season with reserves unless a sweeping change of attitude takes place.

Kernen barred players from the clubhouse and forbade them from wearing team jerseys. Many players were forced to wear black T-shirts or undershirts devoid of names or numerals, a violation of an NCAA rule regarding game uniforms.

Kernen donned a different team cap out of disgust, just so he wasn't wearing the same hat as his troops. He also dumped the players' gear onto the clubhouse floor.

In other articles by actors who appeared in Kernen's play, his work was described as "a bit dark."

Will the Cardinals' decision settle one of baseball's long-standing mysteries?
2007-04-06 20:20
by Bob Timmermann

The St. Louis Cardinals, like the L.A. Dodgers, have opted to have all members of its team wear 42 in honor of Jackie Robinson on April 15.

The Cardinals' decision will inevitably lead to discussions of an incident that may or may not have happened and is still a sore spot when brought up in St. Louis. That is, did the St. Louis Cardinals team threaten to boycott its first series in Brooklyn in 1947 (May 6-8)?

Many histories of Jackie Robinson state that the Cardinals threatened a strike or boycott, but were talked out of it after NL President Ford Frick threatened serious repercussions against the team for doing so. However, how serious were the Cardinals about such a boycott?

Continue reading...

42 X .3333
2007-04-06 14:24
by Bob Timmermann

The Cleveland Indians are trying to get permission from the Commissioner's Office to have some or all of their players wear #14 on July 5 to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the day when Larry Doby became the first African-American to play in the American League, the Canton Repository reports.

No word yet if all the members of the San Francisco Giants are going to wear #37 on September 1.

Gameday tweaks
2007-04-06 12:50
by Bob Timmermann has tweaked its Gameday application a bit. If you go to the Boston-Texas game, you will see a button in the upper right that says "Options". You can turn off the pitch trajectories, although you will still get the readings on speed and the mysterious pFX figure in the upper right. You can also change from 3D to 2D animation and you get an easier to follow picture in my opinion.

The big ad in the lower right is still there and it can't be resized, but at least the application doesn't seem to be as much of a CPU hog.


Left is right, right is left
2007-04-05 22:45
by Bob Timmermann

Alan Schwarz of the New York Times reports about Pat Venditte, an ambidextrous relief pitcher for the Creighton Blue Jays. Venditte has a specially-made glove that enables him to switch pitching arms depending upon the batter.

Greg Harris, normally a righthander, was the last major leaguer to switch pitching arms during a game, back on September 28, 1995 in a meaningless game.

According to Peter Morris' book A Game of Inches: The Stories Behind the Innovations That Shaped Baseball, there were three pitchers in the 19th century who were confirmed to have "switch-pitched" during a major league game.

They were: Tony Mullane in 1882, 1892, and 1893 (he was normally right-handed), Larry Corcoran (who tried it in 1884 for one game), and Elton "Icebox" Chamberlain, who was reported to have done it at least once in his career and may have thrown pitches to home right-handed and pickoff throws to first left-handed. This is of course easier in an era when pitchers did not wear gloves.

It's not know if the 19th century pitchers were seeking a platoon advantage or just a way to rest their better arm.

The NCAA's Official Rules of Baseball 9.02 (k) states

A pitcher may not pitch both right-handed and left-handed to the same batter in the same at-bat.

The penalties for this are a balk if runners are on or a ball. The pitcher has to declare first which hand he will throw with. Although this rule is not formally in the professional rules, it is what umpires are directed to do.

Thanks to Johnny Nucleo for the heads up.

The 42s
2007-04-04 23:13
by Bob Timmermann

After Ken Griffey asked permission to wear #42 on April 15, the 60th anniversary of Jackie Robinson's debut in the majors, there has been a rush to grab the number. (If you really like the idea, visit this guy's site.)

Other players will be announced in the coming days, but I'm not going to stay up late looking for the announcements. I'm guessing Mariano Rivera will wear #42 that day for the Yankees.

Players I'm guessing would also wear #42 would include Preston Wilson, Dontrelle Willis, and C.C. Sabathia, all of whom have been speaking out recently about opportunities for African-Americans in baseball. Sabathia later asked Barfield to wear #42 since he was not scheduled to pitch that day and Sabathia felt it should be displayed on the field, see the link above. Presently, the Braves, Rockies, and Astros have no African-American players on their 25-man roster.

(This will be updated as the comments will show.)

Seibu shown to be bribing amateur players and managers for decades
2007-04-04 21:50
by Bob Timmermann

A committee appointed by the Seibu Lions team under the direction of Japanese Professional Baseball (NPB) into allegations that the Seibu team had given an illegal bribe to an amateur player in order to entice him into signing with Seibu, has turned up evidence that the team has been engaged in such chicanery since the mid-1970s.

Nearly all of the under-the-table payments went to amateur team managers, at least 170 of them. Seibu was also shown to have given signing bonuses over the maximum amount to at least 15 players.

The Lions, without Daisuke Matsuzaka, whom I believe pitches for a team in the AL East, have started out with a 4-4-1 record in the Pacific League.

It would not surprise me too much that nearly all of the other teams engaged in such bribery, although some teams didn't have pockets as deep as Seibu.

Gwynn, Ripken to join TBS
2007-04-04 20:39
by Bob Timmermann

The newest members of the Baseball Hall of Fame, Tony Gwynn Sr. and Cal Ripken Jr., will be joining TBS this summer as part of their new baseball package.

Richard Deitsch of reports that Ripken will work in the studio alongside Ernie Johnson Jr.  and Gwynn will work in the booth alongside Chip Caray for Division Series games and the NLCS. Starting in 2008, TBS will televise a game nationally on Sunday afternoons.


Baseball's people of influence, the USA Today version
2007-04-04 19:37
by Bob Timmermann

USA Today asked a panel of its writers (such as Hal Bodley and Bob Nightengale) and others involved in baseball at some time (such as Fred Claire and Dennis Gilbert) and picked the 50 most influential people in baseball.

Unsurprisingly, #1 was Commissioner Bud Selig and #2 was Players Association head Donald Fehr. The most influential current player was #15 Barry Bonds. Lots of owners and GMs make the list, but only one manager, #42 Bobby Cox.

There is also a waiting list of 15 which includes SABR president Dick Beverage and creator Sean Forman.



MLB, INDemand sign Extra Innings contract
2007-04-04 18:41
by Bob Timmermann

The often rancorous dispute between INDemand and MLB over the rights to carry the MLB Extra Innings package was resolved today after the two sides came to an agreement over carrying the MLB Channel that is supposed to start in 2009. Extra Innings will not be exclusively on DirecTV.

INDemand is available on Comcast, Time Warner, and Cox Communications Systems. Local cable systems should be able to make the package available within a day or two.

Coming soon to a library possibly near you
2007-04-04 07:33
by Bob Timmermann

I'll put in a plug for a talk I'm giving at the Los Angeles Central Library tomorrow (Thursday) from 12:15 pm - 1 pm in the Library Board Room on baseball books as well as my coworker, Glen Creason, giving a talk on the history of Los Angeles' old baseball parks.

My part of the talk will just be about 15-20 minutes and I'm going to give another talk on the same subject (but longer) in October on the Thursday before the World Series starts.

The Central Library is at the corner of 5th St. and Flower St. in Downtown Los Angeles. The library gives partial validation for parking with a library card if you enter the lot at 524 S. Flower St., which will put you underneath the building. It would be $1 for the first hour and then $3 per hour for each of the next two hours.

You can also take the Metro Red Line and get off at either Pershing Square and walk west on 5th to the library or at the 7th St/Figueroa stop and leave through the Hope Street exit and walk north on Hope, which dead ends at the library.

The Board Room is not exactly the easiest place to find, but there should be signs directing you to the "magic" elevator that will take you to the library's fourth floor. The building has eight floors, but only seven of them are normally open to the public. Some floors have negative number signs in front of them. Don't go to those. Well, you can but I won't be there.

Pirates lose another pitching prospect to injury
2007-04-03 22:52
by Bob Timmermann

Brad Lincoln, the Pirates first round draft pick from last year, had reconstructive elbow surgery and will likely be out of action for a year.

From Dejan Kovacevic's story in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, we learn that six of the last seven pitchers the Pirates have drafted in the first round have had problems.

The development extended a remarkable -- and regrettable -- run for the Pirates. In the past decade, six of the seven pitchers they have drafted in the first round -- Clint Johnston, Bobby Bradley, Sean Burnett, John Van Benschoten and Bryan Bullington -- have needed major arm surgeries. The only exception is Paul Maholm, class of 2003.

This Veterans Committee isn't as tough
2007-04-03 20:32
by Bob Timmermann

While the Baseball Hall of Fame's Veterans Committee seems content to elect no one to Cooperstown, their poor cousins down the road in Oneonta, the US Soccer Hall of Fame, saw its Veterans Committee actually choose one player, Bobby Smith.

Smith was named on 26 of 52 ballots (50% was the required minimum), all of which belonged to living members of the Hall of Fame. Smith was a three-time NASL MVP and played as a defender on the U.S. National team.

Smith will be inducted along with Mia Hamm, Julie Foudy, and Alan Rothenberg.


These salaries are out of control
2007-04-03 13:15
by Bob Timmermann

For MLB's fiscal year 2005 (which went from November 1, 2004 to October 31, 2005) Commissioner Bud Selig earned $14.5 million.

There is no word if Alex Rodriguez's contract includes language that he has to be paid at least $10 million more per year than Selig.

The first disabling injury of the 2007 season!
2007-04-03 12:28
by Bob Timmermann

That proud award goes to Nook Logan of the Washington Nationals who strained his left foot while making a catch during the Nats' 9-2 loss to the Marlins.

Kory Castro Casto was called up from AAA Columbus and is likely enquiring about his security deposit on his apartment.

Extra Innings negotiations go well into extra innings
2007-04-03 09:29
by Bob Timmermann

Except this won't end up with any free baseball.

The negotiations between MLB and INDemand and Dish Network over the rights to carry the MLB Extra Innings package are proceeding despite the fact that the March 31 deadline has passed and no deadline exists now, Maury Brown reports on his Business of Baseball Blog.

According to Brown, the sticking point appears to be how much of an equity share INDemand and Dish Network would get in the MLB television channel.


Opening Day, Take Three
2007-04-03 04:00
by Bob Timmermann

To give everyone equal time, there is one more Opening Day in the majors.

1:35 pm - San Diego at San Francisco - Jake Peavy vs Barry Zito. When Zito tires, Bruce Bochy will tell his relievers to get up and think to himself, "Ah, dammit!"

Opening day roster oddities
2007-04-03 00:52
by Bob Timmermann
  • Arizona has a pitcher named Tony Peña. Kansas City has a shortstop named Tony Peña Jr. Needless to say, they aren't related. The Arizona Peña's real first name is Ramon while the Kansas City Peña's first name is Tony. Kansas City acquired their Peña from Atlanta, which still has its own Peña in catcher Brayan.
  • Arizona also has a Chris Young who is an outfielder, as opposed to San Diego's Chris Young who is a pitcher. Arizona has Christopher Brandon Young and San Diego has Christopher Ryan Young. I'm sure others can give you pointers on how to distinguish between the two.
  • The Chicago White Sox feature a player who went to my high school (John F. Kennedy High of Granada Hills, CA), Jon Garland, and a player who was born in the same hospital as me (Holy Cross Hospital, now called Providence Holy Cross, in Mission Hills, CA) in Bobby Jenks. I believe that fact is of even more limited interest than others I will be coming up with.
  • Detroit has pitcher Chad Durbin on the roster. Arizona has J.D. Durbin on the roster. They aren't related. And they don't seem to be related to the other Durbin who played in the majors Blaine Alphonsus "Kid" Durbin.
  • Bruce Chen made the Opening Day Roster for Texas. The Rangers are Chen's ninth different team in 10 major league season, and the first time he has played for a team in the West division of either league.



[ Day Ten of the NCAA tournament open thread ]
2007-04-02 13:59
by Bob Timmermann

At 6:18 pm (supposedly), Ohio State and Florida will tip off for the NCAA championship. For a game between the two best teams in college basketball this year, this doesn't seem to be an eagerly awaited matchup. The Gators are going for their second straight title and are favored over the Buckeyes. Neither team gives off a warm and fuzzy feeling and this final somewhat reminds me of the 1984 final when Georgetown played Houston.

There are idiot sportswriters who think that Florida could beat the worst teams in the NBA. That would be hard to believe, especially if the game were played under NBA rules. Actually, under NCAA rules an NBA team would likely bury the Gators under a barrage of 3-pointers. There's also the not insignificant matter of the NBA players being older, stronger, and generally better.

A tip of the cap to the new members of the Basketball Hall of Fame, which includes Phil Jackson, Roy Williams, and the 1966 Texas Western (UTEP) national championship team. And four people you may have never heard of: Mendy Rudolph, Van Chancellor, Pedro Ferrandiz, and Mirko Novosel.

The Griddle's contest comes down to two.

If Ohio State wins, current leader (by one point), Trojan Ron wins.

If Florida wins, Suffering Bruin takes the prize.

The winner gets:

1) his name on the sidebar until next year.

2) four tickets to a Dodgers game (since I believe both people live in Southern California) courtesy of ToyCannon.


MLB.TV and its not-so-rich Mosaic
2007-04-02 12:57
by Bob Timmermann is acknowledging some problems with Mosaic for MLB.TV and has some suggestions on how to watch games.

Cleveland putting points on the board
2007-04-02 12:14
by Bob Timmermann

In the fourth inning at Chicago, Cleveland leads the White Sox 11-3.

The AL record for most runs scored on opening day is held by Cleveland. Back on Opening Day in 1925 (April 14), the Indians scored 21 times against St. Louis at Sportsman's Park.

The Browns led 13-9 going to the eighth and gave up 12 runs. The Browns committed 10 errors in the game, four by first baseman George Sisler.


The first home run of 2007
2007-04-02 11:08
by Bob Timmermann

Belongs to Grady Sizemore of Cleveland. He hit the second pitch of the game from Jose Contreras of the White Sox for a home run. It was, according to Gameday, a 93 MPH pitch and it had a BRX of 4" and a PFX of 10"!

And it went to right field too.

Brian McCann of the Braves hit the first home run for the NL in Philadelphia off of Brett Myers.

Opening Day, Take Two
2007-04-02 04:00
by Bob Timmermann

The Mets are going to go 162-0 after their 6-1 win.

Everybody but the Mets and Cardinals (who have the day off) and the Giants and Padres (who start Tuesday), gets underway.

10:05 am - Tampa Bay at the Yankees - Scott Kazmir faces Carl Pavano. I think the Bronx Banter guys will have a fun time with this one. And ESPN will be showing this!

10:05 am - Atlanta at Philadelphia - John Smoltz vs Brett Myers. The Phillies begin their annual quest to frustrate their fans by continuing to be sort of good.

10:05 am - Florida at Washington - Dontrelle Wills vs John Patterson. A battle of aces!

10:05 am - Toronto at Detroit - Roy Halladay vs Jeremy Bonderman. The Tigers were in the World Series last year. In case you forgot about that.

11:05 am - Dodgers at Milwaukee - Derek Lowe vs Ben Sheets. Go visit Dodger Thoughts and react to Juan Pierre's first Dodgers AB.

11:05 am - Cleveland at White Sox - C.C. Sabathia vs. Jose Contreras. I picked the Indians to win the World Series last year. That was not wise.

11:10 am - Cubs at Cincinnati - Carlos Zambrano vs Aaron Harang. Harang led the NL in wins (with five others) and strikeouts last year. Harang received no Cy Young Award votes.

1:05 pm - Arizona at Colorado - Brandon Webb vs Aaron Cook. Webb received many more Cy Young votes than Harang.

1:10 pm - Boston at Kansas City - Curt Schilling vs Gil Meche. ESPN knows that Gil Meche's debut in K.C. will be a big draw.

3:35 pm - Oakland at Seattle - Dan Haren vs Felix Hernandez. Mariners fans breathe a sigh of relief as Rey Ordonez ends up as the last player cut.

4:05 pm - Pittsburgh at Houston - Zach Duke vs Roy Oswalt. Hope springs on an infrequent basis for the Pirates. 14 straight losing seasons for the Bucs, two short of the record 16 by the Phillies.

4:05 pm - Baltimore at Minnesota - Erik Bedard vs Johan Santana. The Orioles prepare to continue their quest for eternal irrelevancy.

7:10 pm - Texas at Angels - Kevin Millwood vs John Lackey. For our friends on the East Coast, I will give you a preview of tomorrow's newspaper "Texas at Angels, night"


The war on Gameday continues
2007-04-01 23:56
by Bob Timmermann

Apparently, the whizkids are listening to some complaints. (The link was taken down from over night but you can go here.)


Thank you for all the up-beat comments about the new release. We are simply trying to make our application as slow as the sport it covers.

Just kidding.

Some performance enhancement upgrades are on the way.


The comments underneath this blog post are mostly just people yelling at each other about not having team chat rooms available.

Checking the archive of the Mets-Cardinals games, it appears that the equipment to provide the always useful information on the "PFx" of pitches wasn't there. I hope people were able to do without it. Actually, the info on pitch speeds and breaks are useful for people after the game is over, but I don't see why you need to know it while the game was going on. Did you ever want to know about the amount of break a pitch had in inches while a baseball game was going on?

But you still can't see both lineups easily. And there is still a big ad in the lower right hand corner that serves to annoy people to such an extent that I would never want to buy the product.

One day, Gameday will have an audio ad that will just blare, "Apply directly to the forehead!" over and over.

My initial salvo against the heavily bloated Gameday.

Tomorrow, I'll just settle for watching games on TV.

Opening Day and Open Thread
2007-04-01 15:00
by Bob Timmermann

The 2007 regular season is scheduled to get underway at 5ish (look at the tagline in the upper right for time zone info) in the lovely Mound City, where the World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals will take on the team they beat in the NLCS, the New York Mets.

There will be three simultaneous "first" pitches each one being from the pitcher who got the last out from one of the last three World Series the Cardinals won (1967, 1982, and last year) to the manager of that team. So that will be Bob Gibson tossing to Red Schoendienst (the pride of Germantown, Illinois), Bruce Sutter to Whitey Herzog, and Adam Wainwright to Tony La Russa.

Then the Best Fans in Baseball® will get to hear the National Anthem performed by REO Speedwagon. And that can mean only one thing: the terrorists have won.

Finally, the Mets and Redbirds will get down to business with Chris Carpenter facing Tom Glavine.

The Mets and Cardinals won't play tomorrow, but just about every other team opens the season Monday. Except for the Padres and Giants who will start Tuesday.

More Mariners minor doings
2007-04-01 13:31
by Bob Timmermann

Seattle bolstered its run for the AL West crown by acquiring outfielder Jason Ellison from the Giants. The Giants got lefthanded pitcher Travis Blackley in return.

And according to this article, Rey Ordonez still isn't sure if he made the team.

The article about the Ellison trade mentions that the Giants put Brian Mark Sweeney on the disabled list with a "right toe contusion." Sweeney picked that up when Barry Bonds inadvertantly knocked over a bottle of amphetamines that weighed 10 pounds on to Sweeney's foot.

I've seen that happen so many times.

Herb Carneal, 1923-2007
2007-04-01 10:43
by Bob Timmermann

Herb Carneal, who worked the radio play-by-play for the Minnesota Twins from 1962 through last season, passed away Sunday at his home in Minnetonka, Minnesota at the age of 83.

Carneal, who had been working part-time the last few seasons, died of congestive heart failure. Prior to joining the Twins, Carneal had worked for the Baltimore Orioles and the Philadelphia A's and Phillies. Carneal received the Ford C. Frick Award from the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1996.

You can hear a tribute to Carneal on his 50th anniversary as a baseball broadcaster here with testimonials from Ernie Harwell (Carneal's mentor) and Vin Scully intercut with some of Carneal's calls.

It's unlikely that many of us ever got a chance to hear Carneal, but his passing is another reminder of how a great radio announcer can create a bond between the fans and a team. And how hard it is to find any radio announcer who can do that today.


A more or less random feature debuts
2007-04-01 04:00
by Bob Timmermann

Random record of the week

After two years, I feel the random game idea had been played out. And I just didn’t have access to the same resources to write them. And then there are the time issues. So I thought I would try something new.

I thought I would pick out a record from the Sporting News Complete Record & Fact Book, 2006 edition, which is apparently the last of its kind to appear in print. I put the pages that have the records (pages 10 through 419) and had a random number generator spit out a list of 27 integers (one for each week of the regular season) and pick out a record on that page and write about it.

The first page to turn up was #189. That put me in a section where the Seattle Pilots team records live. And mostly miscellaneous records to boot! Oh the joy! So which record will I examine? I opted for the largest crowd for any Seattle Pilots home day game, which was also the team’s largest home crowd ever. It was August 3, 1969 when the Pilots drew a crowd of 23,657 for Bat Day at Sick’s Stadium against the New York Yankees.

Seattle, despite a 43-61 record coming into the game, was actually in third place in the AL West, ½ game ahead of fellow expansion team Kansas City with the White Sox and Angels pulling up the rear. The Pilots were closer to first place (21 ½ games out) than the Yankees who were in fifth place at 51-56 and 23 games behind the Orioles.

The bats and the allure of the Yankee name must have been appealing to the fans of Seattle. It certainly wasn’t the play of the Pilots. They had lost five of their last six games, including a 20-inning affair on July 27 to the Red Sox. They had also lost a game to Minnesota on July 19 that took 18 innings and was actually completed the next day after it was suspended because of the AL curfew rule of the time. (The completion of the game was further delayed when play was stopped so the players and the crowd could watch the landing of Apollo 11 and see Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walk on the Moon.)

Stan Bahnsen started on the mound for New York and Steve Barber got the call for Seattle.

Barber got off to a bad start, walking Horace Clarke to start the game and then giving up a single to Ron Woods. Roy White drew a walk to load the bases. Joe Pepitone hit into a force out at the plate with Don Mincher making the play to Jerry McNertney.

But that just delayed the inevitable, as Frank Fernandez walked to force in a run and Bill Robinson followed with a double to score two more. Barber was sent to the showers and John Gelnar relieved. But Gene Michael singled in two more runs before Bobby Cox lined into a double play to end the inning.

That would be all the scoring for the Yankees, but the Mariners would score single runs in the sixth, eighth, and ninth, including a home run by Tommy Harper. Steve Hamilton and Lindy McDaniel finished up with McDaniel picking up his second save of the year. 1969 marked the first year that the save was an official statistic.

The bottom dropped out of the Pilots season starting on August 15 when they lost to the Orioles at home and went on to lose 16 of 17 games. They finished their season in last place in the AL West at 64-98. Their final home game, on October 2, drew 5,473 fans. Oakland won the game 3-1.

In the offseason, the Pilots ownership group went bankrupt and during spring training in 1970, the franchise was eventually awarded to an ownership group from Milwaukee headed by Bud Selig shortly before Opening Day.

The Pilots/Brewers franchise is the only one to play in both the American and National Leagues. The Dodgers, Reds, Cardinals, and Pirates all played in both the American Association and National League.

Give me back my Gameday!
2007-04-01 00:05
by Bob Timmermann

For the last few years, and I had an uneasy relationship. I liked listening to radio broadcasts. I could find interesting stories from time to time. I got to listen to the raw feed of Greg Papa and Steve Stone calling a World Baseball Classic game between Canada and South Africa from Scottsdale. I didn't want to embrace MLB.TV and still haven't.

But one thing I did love was the Gameday application. I loved how it was a new way for fans to enjoy baseball games like they did back in the days before radio and television. Prior to radio, if you wanted to follow an out of town game, you would hope that some local newspaper (or similar business) contracted with the local telegraph company to get play-by-play updates of a game. Then, the action would be put up on a display for a gathered crowd to follow along.


Continue reading...

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.
Frozen Toast
Google Search
The Griddle

02  01 

12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  02  01 

12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  02  01 

12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  02  01 

12  10  07 
06  05  04  03 
Suggestions, comments, ring the catcher's interference alarm?

Email me at

The stuff I keep track of
Random Game Callbacks

Select a date:

Personal favorites that I wrote