Baseball Toaster The Griddle
Monthly archives: March 2008


Braves will give Spiezio another shot
2008-03-31 21:57
by Bob Timmermann

Scott Spiezio, who was cut by the St. Louis Cardinals in spring training after news of a December 30 arrest in Irvine, California for DUI, hit and run, and aggravated assault, has signed a minor league deal with the Atlanta Braves.

“There’s been a change in personality, a change in attitude,” Braves general manager Frank Wren said. “He is sincerely sorry for everything that happened. I think he’s committed to making amends and making a change.”


Spiezio, in a statement released by the Braves, expressed remorse for his actions.

“I am very embarrassed and sorry for what happened in the offseason,” he said. “I have taken steps, including treatment, to ensure it will not happen again. I have taken full responsibility and I am making restitution to the people I have hurt. I am very appreciative of the second chance I’ve been given. The Braves have made no promises to me, except to give me the opportunity to prove that I have made amends and that I can still perform at this level.”


They smile in your face, but all the time they worry about the pennant race
2008-03-31 19:23
by Bob Timmermann

Alan Schwartz of the New York Times introduces us to mathematician Steve C. Wang who has used a method of graphical representation of data called Chernoff faces to show what tendencies major league managers have.

While reams of categorical data can be imposing and hard to parse, translating the differences among them into facial characteristics can communicate distinctions with striking clarity. By turning rates of bunting, stealing and pinch-hitting into hair sizes, nose shapes and smile widths, Dr. Wang used a kind of statistical Mr. Potato Head to portray the spectrum of managerial characteristics in a way that intrigued even the skippers themselves.

“It’s easy for people to think that all managers are the same, that we all pull the levers the same way,” said Willie Randolph of the New York Mets, surveying his own Chernoff face alongside those of his 29 contemporaries. “Looking at this, I really never thought of it this way, but we all have our own characteristics.”

There is a popup with a graphic of all the managers. The Jim Tracy representation is very scary.

Opening Day, the rest of the story
2008-03-31 09:39
by Bob Timmermann

The Red Sox, Athletics, Braves, and Nationals all have at least one game under their belts. Weather permitting, the other 26 teams start their seasons today. And this writer has the day off as it's a holiday (Cesar Chavez Day) in the state of California. And you work for the government.

So here's what's on tap for today (and do you need to ask which time zone?):

10:05 am - Kansas City (Gil Meche) at Detroit (Justin Verlander). Jim Leyland finds himself on the other end of a Florida fire sale. Will it work out for him?

10:05 am - Toronto (Roy Halladay) at New York (Chien-Ming Wang). Go visit Bronx Banter for the give and take. Try again tomorrow.

11:10 am - Arizona (Brandon Webb) at Cincinnati (Aaron Harang). At long last, our long national nightmare is over. There will be baseball played in the Queen City. I think I'm going to cry...

11:20 am - Milwaukee (Ben Sheets) at Chicago (Carlos Zambrano). Baseball's most "interesting" division has its top two teams square off.

12:05 pm - Washington (Matt Chico) at Philadelphia (Brett Myers). The NL East champs start the season against the team they played in Game 162. The Phillies already are down by 1/2 game in the standings, but they're even in the AILC.

12:05 pm - Tampa Bay (James Shields) at Baltimore (Jeremy Guthrie). At least one of the teams playing in this one has hope.

12:05 pm - Chicago (Mark Buehrle) at Cleveland (C.C. Sabathia). Ozzie Guillen claims that the White Sox are going to contend for the AL Central this year. Sabathia is 14-3 in his career against the White Sox.

1:10 pm - San Francisco (Barry Zito) at Los Angeles (Brad Penny). I believe there will be discussion over here.

1:10 pm - New York (Johan Santana) at Florida (Mark Hendrickson). The Mets finished up last year against the Marlins. It didn't go so well.

1:15 pm - Colorado (Jeff Francis) at St. Louis (Adam Wainwright). The Cardinals won the World Series in 2006. The Rockies played in the 2007 World Series. Just a reminder. At least they tried.

3:40 pm - Texas (Kevin Millwood) at Seattle (Erik Bedard). The AL West motto this year "Everybody's got a 1 in 4 chance of winning the division."

4:05 pm - Los Angeles (Jered Weaver) at Minnesota (Livan Hernandez). The Angels are taking applications for healthy pitchers. Livan Hernandez is not Johan Santana.

4:10 pm - Pittsburgh (Ian Snell) at Atlanta (Tom Glavine). There are just two active players in the majors who have played on a winning Pirates team: Tim Wakefield and Miguel Batista. One player from that team, Dennis Lamp, turns 56 later this year.

7:05 pm - Houston (Roy Oswalt) at San Diego (Jake Peavy). The scoreboard operator plans on pressing the "0" button on his keyboard a lot.


The Breaking In of Nationals Park
2008-03-30 23:01
by Bob Timmermann

Reader Sam DC graciously wrote up a summary of his trip to the Washington Nationals first regular season game in their new stadium. The Nats beat the Braves 3-2.

Opening Night (US, Non-State Division)

Just walked home from the game to find an email from our host offering to post my thoughts on tonight’s Nationals season opener at [corporate name TBD] Park.

In some ways, I’m a bad person to comment because I belong to the small, weird clan of folks who miss RFK Stadium. It is easy to get to for people in the District (I could walk there or drive and park free close by) , or for people in most Maryland and Northern Virginia suburbs (it is right off the main arteries from both). It has wide, comfy seats, and lots of legroom. No luxury boxes means a great view from the really cheap upper deck. Concessions are limited, but I’m a sausage and a cheap beer guy, and they do those just fine. I like that it is named after RFK and had his bust outside. And in my limited time in DC, I’d already laid in some great memories at RFK. My older son became a baseball fan there; my younger went to his first game ever there. In 2005, the Nationals had an amazing first half run that captured the imagination of the City (40K crowds were near routine in June 2005) and provided me, a lifelong Dodger fan who has known more than one World Championship, with some of the best baseball times I’ve ever known. So while I understand that the District was compelled to build a new stadium in order to win the Expos, and while I get that the team will be much richer and (theoretically) better able to compete as a result, my needs were already met by the old ballpark.

So with all that throat clearing out of the way , what a wonderful night at the ballpark it was. (Washington Post take here. For one thing, just being in a sold out and buzzing ballpark was a special treat – there have only a few big crowds like that in DC since June 2005. Hopefully, the crowds will stay big, because that energy really does change the experience from enjoying a ball game to sharing one. It was also a fun night because, like many other fans, I went down very early to walk around the park. It might seem retty frivolous, but there was something special about being part of this big milling crowd all pointing out the same stuff at the same time. I even had a fine brush with greatness (famous for DC edition) entering the park and chatting with this guy and this guy. And the game itself sure didn’t disappoint, what with the emotional and basically triumphant return of Nick Johnson after his 18-month recovery from his broken leg and Ryan Zimmerman’s game-winning home run (which would not have been a home run at RFK stadium). If nothing else, the Nationals can rejoice that their ballpark opening didn’t get Kevin Elstered.

As for the park, it’s shiny and new, but I don’t really see anything too compelling about it. Certainly no defining visual feature like the Splash Cove at Phone Company Park or the Yellow Bridge at PNC or the Camden Yards Warehouse. There are apparently cherry trees in place, but they hadn’t bloomed yet and seem unlikely to make a major impact when they do given the shortness of their flower. No real sense of history at the stadium, despite some superficial efforts to include “Hall of Fame” banner around the main concourse (Why exactly does Nationals Park have a banner for Harmon Kilbrew?) The most interesting spot for me was the large outfield plaza, which ends in a railing where you can watch the game from over center. That plaza drops down into a low set of outfield seats, which makes those outfield seats seem somehow special and makes the overall entrance from that side somewhat arresting. Overall, the outfield seats are low and close compared to what my fuzzy recollection places at other parks. It also seems like the ballpark has a lot of different spots you can be when not in your seat and still see the game. Those options are nice for someone bringing kids who often need a change of scenery, and also work well for meeting up with friends – no more hunkering in the aisle talking to someone and trying to keep from blocking other’s views. In the same vein, there is a bar high up in center field (up on top of the full service restaurant out there) which is open to all ticket holders – you can see the game in front and (poking between the new development) the Capitol behind. Overall, these things are all well done, but again, there’s nothing really distinctive or special about them. This is what new ballparks have. (I failed to take any pictures, but some are here.

I expected to be overloaded with sponsors/ads and bells and whistles designed to attract the elusive “casual fan” but those features really were not overwhelming. In fact, it looks like there is a good deal of potential ad space unsold and the team’s production staff has not overdone the entertainment stuff to the point where it intrudes on the game. Of course there is plenty of time (and financial incentive I am sure) for that to change. Concessions (run by Centerplate which also handles San Francisco) have a lot of options, including some beloved locals (Five Guys, Ben’s Chili Bowl), but prices are (I’m shocked!) steep -- $7.50 was the cheapest draft beer I saw, $4.50 the cheapest hot dog. The menu is here.

For folks not familiar with DC, the ballpark is planned to anchor a major redevelopment of the Near Southeast section of the city. That work is ongoing, but the stadium was completed before most of the related development, including a new waterfront, a new “Canal Park” linking the ballpark zone to nearby residential neighborhoods, and a new entertainment district. I think the park will take on more character and develop a bit more of an identity once it is part of a built out neighborhood. It is, after all, an urban park designed to be part of a larger whole and so it is no great surprise that it seems incomplete still.

At this point though, the Nationals have a very serviceable and no-doubt extremely profitable new stadium, but one that to my mind doesn’t have a lot of oomph. Unlike Ryan Zimmerman, who has plenty.

Opening Day, North American style, open thread
2008-03-30 16:23
by Bob Timmermann

Coming to you from Nationals (this space for rent) Park in Washington, DC, it's the Atlanta Braves facing the Washington Nationals. Tim Hudson will be twirling for the men from Georgia, while happy go lucky Odalis Perez will be flinging it for the Nats.

But first MLB decides to have its first games played in Japan. And now the next Opening Day game is played in a place that ISN'T EVEN A STATE! Oh Bud Selig, you've sold out baseball's historic past. You keep heaping indignities upon the good people of Cincinnati. Doesn't anyone ever think of Cincinnati?

You can follow on Gameday if you don't have access to ESPN. But it's more fun to guess at what point in the game Joe Morgan will say something that will make you want to throw something at the TV screen.

NCAA Tournament, Regional Finals, Day 8 open thread
2008-03-30 10:09
by Bob Timmermann

Two more games today and then no basketball (except for the NIT and CBI) until Saturday. And I'll be in Kauai then. But there will still be a thread.

Today's action:

11:20 am - #2 Texas (31-6) vs #1 Memphis (36-1) at Houston (South) - The winner of this game faces UCLA Saturday. Both teams had easy first round games, tough second round games because of poor foul shooting, and then easily won their regional semifinals.

Memphis has lost in regionals the last two years: in 2006 to UCLA and in 2007 to Ohio State. Texas last went to the Final Four in 2003 when they won a regional final against Michigan State in San Antonio. Texas lost a regional final to LSU in 2006. Memphis was a national runnerup in 1973 and also made the Final Four in 1985. The Tigers lost in a regional final in 1992 to Cincinnati.

If the game gets close, I think Texas is behind in the final seconds, Longhorns coach Rick Barnes should run this play.

2:05 pm - #10 Davidson (29-6) vs #1 Kansas (34-3) at Detroit (Midwest) - The Wildcats, behind the superhuman shooting of Stephen Curry are the tournament's last Cinderella team, but they have to face a #1 seed in Kansas that appears to be playing its best basketball of the year. The winner of this game faces North Carolina.

The Wildcats are the first team from the Southern Conference to play in a regional final since VMI in 1976. VMI beat Tennessee and DePaul before losing to Rutgers in the East final that year. Davidson played in a regional final in 1969, losing to North Carolina.

Kansas is playing in its 18th regional final. They are 12-5 in these games, but have lost the last two, in 2004 to Georgia Tech and in 2007 to UCLA.

If the games today get dull, there is always this montage of big shots in the NCAA tournament, most of which are called by Gus Johnson.

Ham Fighter Nation leads the bracket contest, but if Texas beats Memphis today, Sesame Chicken takes over the lead. No one in the contest has Davidson going to the Final Four.

Coming to you from Tunnel 14, Row 52 of the L.A. Memorial Coliseum
2008-03-30 00:21
by Bob Timmermann

For those not scoring at home, James Loney is playing first, Jeff Kent is at second, Andruw Jones has moved from center to behind second base, Rafael Furcal is playing shortstop, Blake Dewitt is at third. Andre Ethier, the left fielder, is actually standing in center and Matt Kemp is in right field. Esteban Loiaza is pitching to Russell Martin. Mike Lowell is batting and David Ortiz is the runner on second.

NCAA Tournament, Regional Finals, Day 7 open thread
2008-03-29 12:00
by Bob Timmermann

It's time for a couple of teams to book a trip to beautiful San Antonio. I've never been to San Antonio so I can't say for sure that it's beautiful, but it seems like the polite thing to say.

After suffering through four blowouts Friday, let's hope we get a pair of close games. Then again, I'm not going to be watching them as I'll be heading off to the Coliseum for the Dodgers-Red Sox exhibition. But I'm sure my radio or BlackBerry will provide me with everything I need to know.

The schedule (as always in PT):
3:40 pm - #3 Xavier (30-6) vs #1 UCLA (34-3) at Phoenix (West) - Both schools have set school records for wins in a season. UCLA has been to the Final Four. A lot. 17 times, although the NCAA will tell you that it's just 16 because the 1980 appearance didn't happen on account of Sam Gilbert. Xavier played in the 2004 Atlanta Regional final, but lost to Duke by 3. The Bruins and Musketeers met once before, back in the second round in 1997 in the Midwest Regional in a game played in Auburn Hills, Michigan. UCLA won that day 96-83 behind 28 points from Charles O'Bannon. UCLA went on to lose in the regional final to Minnesota 80-72, which is the last time UCLA has lost a regional final. UCLA has lost only two other regional finals: 1979 to DePaul and 1992 to Indiana. I couldn't find Xavier's fight song, so this will have to take its place.

6:05 pm - #3 Louisville (27-8) vs #1 North Carolina (35-2) at Charlotte (East) - These schools have NCAA pedigrees longer than a Best in Show at Westminster. Louisville has been to the Final Four eight times and has won twice. North Carolina has been to the Final Four 16 times. So if the Tar Heels win, they will set an NCAA record with 17 Final Fours, which is one more than what UCLA officially has. Unless of course, UCLA wins earlier in the day. In which case, both teams will officially have 17 Final Four appearances. Remember 1980's Final Four really had just three teams in it. And one of them was Louisville. But perhaps the NCAA has a point. The 1980 Final Four was played here.

North Carolina has played 25 NCAA tournament games in its home state and has lost just one, a 73-69 loss to Penn in Raleigh in 1979.

Ham Fighter Nation leads the Griddle's bracket contest and will still lead at the end of the day unless BOTH Xavier and Louisville win. However, Ham Fighter Nation's wagon is hitched to the Kansas Jayhawks and it will be nearly impossible for him to win without Bill Self hoisting the trophy in San Antonio.

Houston sends Woody Williams packing
2008-03-29 09:34
by Bob Timmermann

After 15 major league seasons, the Houston Astros may have put an end to the career of 41-year old Woody Williams. The veteran was released today as the team opted to give Chris Sampson the last starting job.

“If you flip over the baseball card you’ll see what I’ve done in the past and what I’m capable of doing,” Williams said. “If there’s guys that are better suited for the position, I’m not going to say anything negative toward my teammates.”

The back of my Woody Williams card reads:

2007 Houston 8-15, 5.27 ERA, 188 IP, 216 H, 35 HR, 53 BB, 101 K

Billy Consolo, 1934-2008
2008-03-28 22:34
by Bob Timmermann

Billy Consolo, who played 10 seasons in the majors after making his debut straight from high school in 1953, passed away Thursday in Westlake Village, California.

Consolo was a two-time LA City High School Player of the Year while starring at Dorsey High, where he played alongside Sparky Anderson. Consolo worked alongside Anderson in Detroit for several seasons as a coach. Only two others have been named the top high school player in L.A. in consecutive seasons: Randy Wolf in 1993-94 and Mike Moustakas in 2006-07.

White House weighs in on first pitch situation in DC
2008-03-28 22:25
by Bob Timmermann

The Washington Nationals decided to have manager Manny Acta catch the first pitch in their new ballpark Sunday night, instead of catcher Paul Lo Duca.

The White House insisted that President George Bush would have thrown the ball to whomever was catching and the Nationals insist that Lo Duca was not omitted because he was mentioned in the Mitchell Report.

“It was a decision that was made by the Nationals,” White House spokesman Scott Stanzel said.

Asked if the president would have any objection to throwing to Lo Duca, Stanzel said: “The president was happy to throw out the first pitch to whoever the Nationals selected.”

I was holding out for Elijah Dukes.

NCAA Tournament, Regional Semifinals, Day 6 open thread
2008-03-28 15:00
by Bob Timmermann

The Sweet Sixteen has been pared down to a Tremendous Twelve and after tonight it will be an Elite Eight.

Ham Fighter Nation continues his stranglehold on first place of the Griddle contest. However, Monterey Chris is breathing down his neck.

Friday night's action, all times PT

4:10 pm - #10 Davidson (28-6) vs #3 Wisconsin (31-4) at Detroit (Midwest). Davidson seems to be most people's choice to be the upstart that can win a game in this round. A lot of that is because Wisconsin doesn't excite a lot of people. But the Badgers certainly do win a lot of games. The Badgers last lost on Feb. 9 to Purdue. The Wildcats last lost on December 21 to North Carolina State. This game will be played at Ford Field where the Detroit Lions play. And judging by the lyrics to Wisconsin's famous fight song, the Badgers should be at home on a football field. Davidson hasn't made it to a regional final since 1969. Wisconsin last made a regional final in 2005.

4:27 pm - #3 Stanford (28-7) vs #2 Texas (30-6) at Houston (South) - Texas has done something Stanford couldn't do in three tries, i.e. beat UCLA. The Longhorns are expected to have a homecourt advantage although it's hard to think of Reliant Stadium as a court. Stanford's last regional final appearance was in 2001. Texas did so in 2006. The Stanford fight song, for your listening and viewing pleasure.

6:40 pm - #12 Villanova (22-12) vs #1 Kansas (33-3) at Detroit (Midwest) - Another upstart Wildcats in the Midwest, although Villanova isn't given as much of a shot as Davidson. This could possibly be because I don't know the name of any player on Villanova. Both schools have been in regional finals recently. Villanova was in one in 2006 and Kansas was last year. I believe Villanova may have the youngest cheerleader. Can this girl really be 3 and sing that well?

6:57 pm - #5 Michigan State (27-8) vs #1 Memphis (35-1) at Houston (South) - Memphis has made it this far despite shooting just 59.2% from the free throw line. But the Tigers have won by an average of 18 points per game, so it's usually not an issue. Michigan State has lost twice to Wisconsin and once to UCLA. But the Spartans also lost games to Iowa, Penn State, Purdue, Indiana, and Ohio State. Michigan State may have the least inspiring fight song of all.

Ahh, MLB Gameday, my old nemesis
2008-03-28 07:43
by Bob Timmermann

Last year, changed its Gameday application and I didn't like it. But the current format turned out to be a big hit with people such as Joe P. Sheehan of Baseball Analysts who actually able to figure out all the BrX and fX and Z and Y on the screen and distill it into something usable. is promising that we'll like it even more in 2008. They even claim it's like an open source program.

The only addition that I am looking forward to is:

In addition to expanding this technology to include all games, will be the first provider ever to offer real-time pitch identification (fastball, curveball . . . even knuckleballs) for every pitch thrown in every game. We have worked closely with several MLB clubs to develop this feature and believe it will provide an entirely new way to enjoy the game and appreciate the incredible ability of Major League pitchers.

Sunday's home opener for the Nationals against the Braves will be the debut. I, of course, remain skeptical, but at least I have a computer with a lot more RAM now.

NCAA Tournament, Regional Semifinals, Day 5 open thread
2008-03-27 15:57
by Bob Timmermann

For the next two days, there are just four games a day and two at a time. So at least one of them better be interesting or else I'll be cross.

Your schedule for today, all times PT

4:10 pm - #7 West Virginia (26-10) vs #3 Xavier (29-6) in Phoenix (West). To steal somebody else's joke "Number Seven? West Virginia?" Xavier is the lone holdout of the Atlantic 10. The Musketeers last played in a regional final in 2004 when they lost to Duke. The Mountaineers made it to a regional final in 2005 when they lost to Louisville.

4:27 pm - #4 Washington State (26-8) vs #1 North Carolina (34-2) in Charlotte (East). Did you know that Washington State University makes canned cheese? Canned cheese is not to be confused with these guys. The Cougars have only made it to the Elite Eight once and that was in 1941 when only eight teams played in the tournament. North Carolina hasn't played in a regional final since ... last year.

6:40 pm - #12 Western Kentucky (29-6) vs #1 UCLA (33-3) in Phoenix (West). Western Kentucky is in Bowling Green. Bowling Green University however is in Ohio. But I think the Everly Brothers were singing about the city in Kentucky. I think the presence of the word "Kentucky" in the lyrics is a tipoff. The Hilltoppers last made it to a regional final in 1971, although the school had to vacate that appearance. WKU also made it to the Elite Eight in 1940, but there were only eight teams playing in the tournament that year also. They lost to Duquesne. UCLA last played in a regional final ... last year.

6:57 pm - #3 Louisville (26-8) vs #2 Tennessee (31-4) in Charlotte (East). The Cardinals have a long and storied NCAA tournament history. The Volunteers don't. Louisville last made it to a regional final in 2005 (see above near "West Virginia). Tennessee has never played in a regional final and didn't even win an NCAA tournament game of any kind until 1979. Obligatory musical reference.

There's got to be a better way of figuring out which pitcher is best (1910 edition)
2008-03-26 22:55
by Bob Timmermann

Courtesy of the Library of Congress' American Memory site is the 1910 Spalding Guide:

The big topic for debate in this year was figuring out whether or not there was a better way to determine the quality of a pitcher aside from won-loss records. And this was in an era when the winner and loser were usually the starting pitchers, although on occasions relievers (who didn't get used much by today's standards) would get decisions.

You will need to read the jpegs of the pages here.

Here's a sample:

. 25 J. ED. GRILLO, Washington Post. "No change in the present system of crediting pitchers with victories or charging them with defeats when two or more are used in a game has suggested itself to me which will eliminate the injustices which frequently result under the present system. It is my judgment that when such matters are determined by competent officials the pitchers get a square deal on the whole, and a fairly good idea of their actual performances is to be gained. There is no system which will ever give figures showing the actual value of a pitcher." PAUL W. EATON, Washington Correspondent Sporting Life. "I think that either runs earned by opponents, or base hits by opponents, would be the best measure of pitcher efficiency. Probably the first named is preferable." STEPHEN 0. GRAULEY, Philadelphia Inquirer. "In summary of game give each pitcher's name, the number of men to whom he pitches, the hits and runs made off him, the inning in which he was taken out of the box or entered the game. The mere mentioning of the inning the pitcher either left the game, or entered it, would enable the public by a glance to tell just which pitcher was entitled to the victory and which pitcher should be charged with a defeat." GEORGE E. McLINN, Philadelphia Press. "I most certainly think that Base Ball pitchers are not receiving the proper credit for their work under the present system. I would suggest * that a twirler's work be averaged on the number of strike-outs he has, the number of bases on balls he allows, the number of hits the oppo- nents make off his delivery and the winning or losing of the game be made a secondary consideration. A batter who can hit .300, even though he is on a tail-end club, is not kept down to a .200 average because his * fellow players don't help him win games. Why should a pitcher be made to suffer, in the eyes of the "fans" who peruse the averages, simply because his pitching, no matter how good, cannot win alone? Averages based on the individual work of the twirler would encourage him and he would work twice as hard to win, no matter how bad his support was."

The more interesting parts are emphasized by me.
A tradition like none other?
2008-03-26 17:29
by Bob Timmermann

No, it's not The Masters. It's the way Pirates reliever Masumi Kuwata announced his retirement today.

To honor Japanese tradition, Kuwata carefully walked to the McKechnie Field mound about an hour after the Tigers-Pirates exhibition game ended and, without stepping on the white-painted pitching rubber, carefully placed a ball atop it.

More than 50 Japanese reporters and photographers watched the ceremony, some with visible emotion. Kuwata is a beloved baseball figure back home after spending his career with the country’s signature team, the Yomiuri Giants.


Kuwata was 173-141 with a 3.55 ERA in 442 career games with the Yomiuri Giants and was chosen the league’s pitcher of the year in 1987.

Weekly Puzzle #15
2008-03-26 09:00
by Bob Timmermann

Weekly Puzzle #14 never appeared because I forgot about it with the NCAA tournament going on.


Clutch or not when it comes to personal goals
2008-03-26 07:13
by Bob Timmermann

Phil Birnbaum looks at a Bill James study called "The Targeting Phenomenon," where James tried to find out why there are more hitters who finish a season with a batting average between .300 and .304 than there are ones who finish between .296 and .299.

These are very interesting findings, and I wouldn't have expected as much targeting as seems to have actually occurred. But I'm a bit skeptical about clutchness, and whether players really can boost their performance in target-near situations. I wondered if, instead of clutch performance, it might be something else. Maybe, if a player is close to his goal, he is given additional playing time in support of reaching the target.

That is, if a pitcher has 19 wins late in the season, perhaps the manager will squeeze in an extra start for him. Or if a player is hitting .298, maybe they'll let him play every day until he gets to .300, instead of resting him in favor of the September callup. If and when he reaches .300, then they could sit him (as, I think I remember reading, Bobby Mattick did for Alvis Woods in 1980).




The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Home of the Grouchy Old Man
2008-03-25 20:45
by Bob Timmermann

First it was Jeff Schultz, channeling Roger Kahn, complaining about the first game of the major league season being played in Japan, but now the Atlanta Journal-Constitution ups the ante: Furman Bisher is against it too!

Bisher, the author of one of my favorite childhood books, Strange But True Baseball Stories, is also in love with Cincinnati and its home opener tradition:


About Cincinnati and its dibs on opening day, that went on for years. Then the major leagues expanded from coast to coast, cramping the schedule. Television came in spreading money around like fertilizer, and things began to change. The Reds no longer had a monopoly on opening day. So they were allowed to throw the first pitch before anybody else. That privilege is gone now, but one priority remains — the Reds are always allowed to open the season at home. So much for tradition, of which about all that remains is that the baseball hides are actually sewed together by hand by ladies in some Latin American country.

Was Cincinnati always THE first city to host a major league game? We can check on this now you know.


I just picked a year in the past more or less at random, so we'll use 1930 and look at April 15, the first day of the NL season.

There were seven games played in the majors that day. The Reds were at home. So were the Dodgers, Giants, and Cardinals. Three AL teams were hosting their first games of the season that day: the Red Sox, Tigers, and Athletics. But the Red Sox were playing Washington. Washington had already played a game THE DAY BEFORE on April 14, 1930. And that was against the Red Sox. Then the teams took a train back to Boston to play again.

So why doesn't anyone weep for Washington? It's the nation's capital! Instead we get all weepy for Cincinnati? Cincinnati! Please. I say again, Cincinnati? Who cares about Cincinnati?

(Go West Virginia! Beat Xavier!)

Also - Jay Mariotti is angry too!

Petroskey out as HOF President
2008-03-25 18:21
by Bob Timmermann

Dale Petroskey stepped down today as president of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, as reported in the Oneonta Daily Star.

“The resignation is the result of our finding that Dale Petroskey failed to exercise proper fiduciary responsibility and it follows other business judgments that were not in the best interest of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

“As a result of this announcement, we are pleased to announce the promotion of Jeff Idelson to the position of acting-President. We will begin a search for a new President and while it is ongoing, we have full confidence that Jeff Idelson will be a strong and effective leader of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.”

Thanks to Eric Enders.

Headlines, headlines
2008-03-25 16:00
by Bob Timmermann

11:43 am PDT headline from the AP:

Ordonez and Tigers finalize $152.3 million, 8-year deal

11:45 am PDT headline from AP:

Cabrera and Tigers finalize $152.3 million, 8-year deal

One of those guys.
Shocked! I'm shocked to find out that Opening Day is in Japan
2008-03-24 21:37
by Bob Timmermann

Jeff Schultz of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution apparently has just realized that baseball's Opening Day is in Japan. My God! Wasn't there a memo about this?

Good morning. You just missed Opening Day.

The Boston Red Sox and the Oakland Athletics played the first game of the major league season Tuesday morning (normal baseball earth time) in Tokyo. I imagine Japan will reciprocate this breach of tradition by opening the sumo season at Fenway Park.

“You’re taking something many consider like a national folk festival and moving it overseas,” said Roger Kahn, baseball purist and author of several books, including the classic, “The Boys of Summer.”

“They just dumped it.”

Oooh, you got Roger Kahn to get all upset! That's so hard to do! Don't tell Kahn that the Dodgers moved out of Brooklyn either.

The first pitch for A’s fans was scheduled for 3:05 a.m. Pacific time. Advantages?

“There are a lot of bars that’ll still be open in Oakland,” Kahn said. “Jack London used to drink there all the time.”

I don't know where Roger Kahn drinks in Oakland, but California law prohibits the sale of alcohol between 2 and 6 am. Perhaps people in Oakland will just be drinking shots in the privacy of their own home at 3 am. Sounds a lot like something Jack London would have done.

Look, it's not great that I'm not going to see the first two games of the major league season. But you know what? I'll live with it. I won't get all pissed off about it like idiots such as Jeff Schultz and Roger Freakin' Kahn.

You know what pisses me off? Roger Kahn! And dopes like Jeff Schultz.


The Braves open Sunday night in Washington, a made-for-ESPN event in the Nationals’ new stadium. They return home after one game. As unconventional as that is, at least they’re in the same time zone. And continent.

The fact that for many years the major league season would open with a game in Washington is apparently lost on Schultz. You know they would do things like get the President to throw out the first pitch. Stuff like that. But instead Schultz goes on and on about Cincinnati. Does anyone really miss seeing Opening Day in Cincinnati?


And there was even one year when the first game of the year was in ... MEXICO!


This wasn't specific enough for me
2008-03-24 13:48
by Bob Timmermann


New York Yankees’ Andy Pettitte makes 47 throws on level ground

In other news today, I climbed 23 27 steps up to my office today. I also walked in an elevator and pushed a button marked "PL" when leaving the parking garage.

Coming to a TV near you Tuesday at 3 am PT
2008-03-24 07:30
by Bob Timmermann

It will be Opening Day from the Tokyo Dome.

I'll read about it when I get up.

Here are a couple of clips of the Red Sox and Athletics playing in Tokyo.


And Oakland, not quite as popular with the Japanese fans or with YouTube clips.

The hottest catching prospect in MY book
2008-03-24 06:58
by Bob Timmermann

Like most of you, I like to catch up on matters that appear in the Northwest Arkansas Times.  I especially like to read the high school sports sections.

Behold the story of Fayetteville High, the Purple Dogs, and their senior catcher Dan Hollenbeck.

"His on-base percentage is astronomical," [coach Vance] Arnold said. "He gets hit by pitches a lot, walks and has had his share of catcher's interference on his swing so he helps us in a number of ways. Every time you look up he's on base doing something great."

Emphasis mine, of course.

For those scoring at home, catcher's interference calls are not included in either the numerator or denominator to figure out on-base percentage.

First round WBC sites finalized
2008-03-23 19:31
by Bob Timmermann

MLB finally announced the first round sites for next year's World Baseball Classic.

  • Tokyo - China, Taiwan, Korea, and Japan will play at the Tokyo Dome starting on March 5, 2009
  • Mexico City - Australia, Cuba, Mexico, and South Africa will play from March 8-12 at Foro Sol Stadium.
  • Toronto - Canada, Italy, United States, and Venezuela will play from March 8-12 at Rogers Centre.
  • San Juan - Dominican Republic, Netherlands, Puerto Rico, and Panama will play from March 7-11 at Hiram Bithorn Stadium.

The Dominican Republic federation earlier had threatened to boycott the tournament if not given the right to host first round games. I haven't found reaction from the Dominican Republic yet.

According to Wikipedia, the stadium in Mexico City is 417 ft to center and 326 ft and 333 ft down each line.

NCAA Tournament, Second Round, Day 4 thread
2008-03-23 04:00
by Bob Timmermann

It's Easter Sunday. At least if you're in a Western Christian religion. Did you know this is the earliest Easter has fallen on in your lifetime? Unless you were born before March 23, 1913 that is. If you are that old and reading this blog, good for you!

Easter won't be on March 23 again until 2160. And if we're still alive then, you can all come over to my place to watch the NCAA Tournament. Bring your own Soylent Green. And some dip.

The gory details about the debate to settle the date for Easter can be found here. (It involves St. Polycarp, often described as the patron saint of "The Far Side.") And there is an easy to use formula here.

Now that I've whetted your appetite with those exciting links, here's what's on tap for Sunday, all times PT.

9:10 am - #13 Siena vs #12 Villanova in Tampa (Midwest) - The Saints and the Wildcats get the spotlight to themselves early in the morning. Siena is a Franciscan school and Villanova is an Augustinian school. The winner gets Kansas.

11:15 am - #7 Miami (FL) vs #2 Texas in North Little Rock (South) - Longhorns looking for revenge for 1991 Cotton Bowl humiliation. The winner faces Stanford.

11:30 am - #7 Butler vs #2 Tennessee in Birmingham (East) - The Bulldogs are the last hope for the state of Indiana. Tennessee is not the last hope for the Volunteer State. The winner faces the other winner from Birmingham.

about 11:40 am - #13 San Diego vs #12 Western Kentucky in Tampa (West) - These two teams have actually played each other twice before. The Hilltoppers have the 15th most wins in NCAA history. San Diego is one of those schools you don't think is Catholic, but it is. The winner faces UCLA.

11:50 am - #10 Davidson vs #2 Georgetown in Raleigh (Midwest) - The Wildcats put the nation's longest winning streak up against a team that went to the Final Four last year. Billy Packer will mention the fact that Lefty Driesell used to coach Davidson about 15 times. Georgetown is a Jesuit school and also the only one of the 16 schools playing today that I've visited. The winner faces Wisconsin.

about 1:45 pm - #8 Mississippi State vs #1 Memphis in North Little Rock (South) - Will Mississippi State be the last Bulldog team to fall? Or will Memphis be the last Tiger team? The winner plays Michigan State.

about 2:00 pm - #6 Oklahoma vs #3 Louisville in Birmingham (East) - There is a Louisville High in Los Angeles which is a Catholic school. The University of Louisville is not a Catholic school. But just be prepared in case the school switches allegiances. The winner plays the winner of the other game that I couldn't say who the winner would play after they won.

about 2:20 pm - #9 Arkansas vs #1 North Carolina in Raleigh (East) - Rematch from the 1995 Final Four. Billy Packer will call Roy Williams "Roy" most of the game, but John Pelphrey will never be called "John." The winner plays Washington State.

There is a three-way tie for first in the Griddle's bracket's contest. Four entries are one point behind. Ham Fighter Nation has the highest number of possible points left.

Cabrera reportedly cashes in with Detroit
2008-03-22 21:32
by Bob Timmermann

According to and, Detroit third baseman Miguel Cabrera has signed an 8-year, $153 million contract extension.

NCAA tournament second round, Day 3 thread (plus totally unrelated Japan update)
2008-03-22 04:00
by Bob Timmermann

For those wondering, the opening round game was Day 0.

Happy birthday to gpellamjr, Daniel Zappala, and my niece Genny!

The games dwindle down to just eight. All times PT.

11:10 am - #7 West Virginia vs #2 Duke in Washington (West). The early game on Saturday traditionally runs without any other games going on. So everybody gets to see loveable underdog Duke take on West Virginia coached by the warm and cuddly Bob Huggins.

1:20 pm - #11 Kansas State vs #3 Wisconsin in Omaha (Midwest). The Wildcats have a lot of young talent that you may never see in college basketball. Wisconsin has a lot of guys who will likely be back, and yet you will never remember their names.

about 1:40 pm - #6 Purdue vs #3 Xavier in Washington (West) - Did you know Purdue went 15-3 in the Big 10? Did you know Xavier won the Atlantic 10 regular season title? If you didn't, now you do. Purdue is in West Lafayette, Indiana, but does anyone care about Lafayette, Indiana? The latter has more people in it. I want respect for Lafayette.

3:40 pm - #5 Notre Dame vs #4 Washington State in Denver (East) - Expect to hear the words "underrated" and "overachievers" to be used a lot during this game.

3:45 pm - #6 Marquette vs #3 Stanford in Anaheim (South) - A matchup between two schools that I have visited in person! What are the odds?

about 3:50 pm - #8 UNLV vs #1 Kansas in Omaha (Midwest) - Why is UNLV called the Runnin' Rebels when the state of Nevada was created during the Civil War to give the Republicans two more votes in the Senate? Then again, why is my mom's high school in St. Louis, an all girls Catholic school called Notre Dame, called the Rebels as well?

about 6:10 pm - #5 Michigan State vs #4 Pittsburgh in Denver (South) - Expect lots of fouls to be called in this game. If not, expect a lot of guys to be on the floor with injuries. Another matchup between two schools that I have visited in person. What are the odds? For today, I guess it's one in four.

about 6:15 pm - #9 Texas A&M vs #1 UCLA in Anaheim (West) - The last time these two teams met was last season. And it was in Anaheim. UCLA has played a team from Texas three times in the NCAA tournament, beating Houston twice and losing to Texas Tech. A&M has never played a team from California in the NCAA tournament.

Los Longhorns leads the bracket contest with 25 winners out of the first 32, but his forecasted runnerup, Connecticut, is out, so he's likely not going to win. 12 entries are one point behind.

In the world of baseball, at the Tokyo Dome, Boston beat Hanshin 6-5 and Oakland beat Yomiuri 4-3.

Also today, the Division III men's final tip off at 1 pm and it will feature Amherst and Washington. That game will be played in Salem, VA.  Messiah will play Howard Payne in the D-III women's final in Holland, MI at 3 pm.

Messiah has been known to have good comeback qualities this time of year.


NCAA tournament first round, Day 2 thread
2008-03-21 04:00
by Bob Timmermann

After having Thursday off and a chance to watch a lot of games, most of which weren't interesting until later in the day, when I would have been home anyway, I go back to work Friday after a three-day hiatus. This guarantees that:

The games early in the day will be exciting

I won't know what's going on because I have three days of backlog to catch up on

But for your Good Friday viewing pleasure (all times PT):

  • 9:15 am - #15 American vs #2 Tennessee in Birmingham (East)
  • 9:25 am - #10 Davidson vs #7 Gonzaga in Raleigh (Midwest)
  • 9:30 am - #12 Western Kentucky vs #5 Drake in Tampa (West)
  • 9:30 am - #10 St. Mary's vs #7 Miami (FL) in North Little Rock (South)
  • about 11:45 am - #10 South Alabama vs #7 Butler in Birmingham (East)
  • about 11:55 am - #15 Maryland-Baltimore County vs #2 Georgetown in Raleigh (Midwest)
  • about noon - #13 San Diego vs #4 Connecticut in Tampa (West)
  • about noon - #15 Austin Peay vs #2 Texas in North Little Rock (South)
  • 4:10 pm - #11 St. Joseph's vs #6 Oklahoma in Birmingham (East)
  • 4:10 pm - #16 Mount St. Mary's vs #1 North Carolina in Raleigh (East)
  • 4:20 pm - #13 Siena vs #4 Vanderbilt in Tampa (Midwest)
  • 4:25 pm - #9 Oregon vs #8 Mississippi State in North Little Rock (South)
  • about 6:40 pm - #14 Boise State vs #3 Louisville in Birmingham (East)
  • about 6:40 pm - #9 Arkansas vs #8 Indiana in Raleigh (East)
  • about 6:50 pm - #12 Vanderbilt Villanova vs #5 Clemson in Tampa (Midwest)
  • about 6:55 pm - #16 Texas Arlington vs #1 Memphis in North Little Rock (South)

No one had a perfect record in the Bracket contest. 11 people had 15 of 16 right. I got 11 right, which put me in a tie for 70th.

My links to all the schools were the victim of a browser crash. You can use Google.

It's the first trip to the NCAA tournament for the Retrievers, Eagles, and, Mavericks. You can try to match them up to their respective schools.



Opening Day in Japan, but in Japanese
2008-03-20 22:30
by Bob Timmermann

Japan's Pacific League started its regular season Thursday with three games.

Defending PL champ Nippon Ham got a 1-0 shutout from ace Yu Darvish to beat the Chiba Lotte Marines in Sapporo. Darvish gave up four hits, walked one, and struck out 10.

The Fukuoka Softbank Hawks got a 3-run pinch homer in the ninth from Hiroshi Shibahara to beat the Rakuten Golden Eagles 4-3.

The Orix Buffaloes edged the Saitama Seibu Lions 2-1.

Chiba manager Bobby Valentine is not happy that there are MLB games competing with NPB regular season games.

NCAA tournament first round, Day 1 thread
2008-03-20 04:00
by Bob Timmermann

Starting about 9:20 am PT, the NCAA men's basketball tournament starts its first round with a game between #14 Georgia and #3 Xavier in Washington DC. That will be a West regional game.

The rest of your schedule (all times PT):

9:25 am - #16 Portland State vs #1 Kansas in Omaha (Midwest)

9:30 am - #12 Temple vs #5 Michigan State in Denver (South)

11:30 am - #11 Kentucky vs #6 Marquette in Anaheim (South)

about 11:50 am - #11 Baylor vs #6 Purdue in Washington (West)

about 11:55 am - #9 Kent State vs #8 UNLV in Omaha (Midwest)

about noon - #13 Oral Roberts vs #4 Pittsburgh in Denver (South)

about 2:00 pm - #14 Cornell vs #3 Stanford in Anaheim (South) [You can watch this game on TV in the Bay Area and greater metropolitan Ithaca area. Or online.]

4:10 pm - #11 Kansas State vs #6 Southern California in Omaha (South)

4:10 pm - #15 Belmont vs #2 Duke in Washington (West)

4:20 pm - #13 Winthrop vs #4 Washington State in Denver (East)

4:25 pm - #9 Texas A&M vs #8 Brigham Young in Anaheim (West)

about 6:40 pm - #14 Cal State Fullerton vs #3 Wisconsin in Omaha (South)

about 6:40 pm - #10 School located in Tucson vs #7 West Virginia in Washington (West)

about 6:50 pm - #12 George Mason vs #5 Notre Dame in Denver (East)

about 6:55 pm - #16 Mississippi Valley State vs #1 UCLA in Anaheim (West)

If you're hear before tipoff of the Georgia-Xavier game, you can still join the Griddle's contest here. It's group 38980 and password "griddle"

Because of an odd workweek, I have today off and get to experience the long day of basketball. I have loaded up on yogurt and bananas to give me something to snack on during the day.

I haven't attended an NCAA men's basketball tournament game in person since 1986 when I saw two first round games of the West Regional at the Long Beach Arena. In the first game, #1 seed St. John's, led by Walter Berry beat #16 seed Montana State, which had upset Montana and Larry Krystkowiak in the Big Sky Conference tournament (that season the Big Sky Conference used a three point line that is shorter than the present line). In the second game, #8 seed Auburn, led by Chuck Person, beat the #9 seed school from Tucson, 73-63. Auburn would beat St. John's in the next round and UNLV in the Sweet Sixteen, before losing to eventual champion Louisville in the West Final.

The Tucson school's fans were quite annoying and I've probably been irritated for 22 years by that night.

I was still a student at UCLA and when I got back to my dorm, I had missed dinner and I didn't really have the energy or wherewithal to go find food. So I ate the only food I had in my room, Oreos. If you are familiar with Oreo packaging, let's just say that "I did a line" of Oreos. I spent much of the next day in the bathroom.

I have not eaten an Oreo since then.

And I should have posted this earlier to set the tone:

Empty seats
2008-03-19 23:59
by Bob Timmermann

The man who named names
2008-03-19 23:31
by Bob Timmermann

Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports interviews Larry Bigbie, who will be starting this season with the Yokohama BayStars.

Larry Bigbie’s name appeared 93 times in the Mitchell Report. Seven full pages were devoted to him, one fewer than Roger Clemens. Mitchell attributed much of the information accusing Baltimore Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts of steroid use to Bigbie, his former roommate, and did the same with Jack Cust, the slugging outfielder now with Oakland.

In news reports, Bigbie was placed alongside Brian McNamee and Kirk Radomski as Mitchell’s informants. He stewed. He had talked, yeah, but says he brought up neither Roberts’ nor Cust’s name and only confirmed information with which Mitchell’s investigators confronted him.

“They had everything,” he says. “They knew. It wasn’t like I had to sit there and spit names to them.”


“I’d also like someday to be able to talk to Brian and Jack,” Bigbie says. “I’m not going to be able to change the opinion of the public. I’m not going to change the views of others.

“I would tell them about how things worked. I’d tell them how things came out. I’d want to try and smooth my end over so they didn’t feel that way. Chances are, I’ll probably never see them again in my life, but I don’t want someone to feel that way about me.”

Roberts is finishing spring training with the Orioles this week. Cust, however, arrives in Tokyo on Thursday with the A’s for their series against the Red Sox later in the week.

Bigbie is quiet for a few seconds.

“Tell him I said hi.”


The Griddle NCAA Tournament contest returns (the drive for 100!)
2008-03-19 13:30
by Bob Timmermann

For the second straight year, an eternity for most people, I will be hosting an NCAA Tournament contest here on the Griddle through Yahoo! The group will be called "The Griddle" and will be group #38980 and the password to join will be "griddle". I like simplicity.

There will be prizes, including:

Having your name on the sidebar (unless it's something obscene or profane) until the next tournament. Right now, last year's champ Suffering Bruin has his name on the sidebar. Suffering Bruin's key to victory last year, of course, was picking UCLA to lose to Florida. Remember, pick winners with your head, not your heart.

Also, you can win a copy of Sayonara Home Run! : The Art of the Japanese Baseball Card by John Gall and Gary Engel.

I'll bump up this thread as we get closer to the start of the tournament next Thursday.


Added prize! The winner can also opt to receive an OFFICIAL Pac-10 Tournament Oregon State t-shirt, XXL only. You may cover over the k and t in basketball if you wish.

The server will likely be busy the first few hours. But you have until right before the first game tips off Thursday morning to fill out a bracket.

UPDATE - There are 66 entries in the contest as of 1:30 pm today. There were over 100 last year and it came down to the final game. Time to go find your favorite algorithm to pick winners. Is there wisdom in crowds? What counts for more: RPI, SOS, W-L?

UPDATE 2 - There are 78 entries as of 7:30. Let's make it 100! That way if you have a C in your name, you can make it a different color.

Red Sox players threaten to pull out of Japan trip
2008-03-19 09:24
by Bob Timmermann

The Boston Red Sox players have not taken the field yet for their Grapefruit League game against Toronto and are threatening not to go to Japan unless coaches and other staff receive extra payments for the trip. There is also a debate over whether families could come along the trip, which would also involve a stop in Los Angeles upon returning from Tokyo.

ESPN is supposed to televise the game today from Fort Myers.

AP Summary

ESPN is also reporting that the Oakland team is considering similar action.

UPDATE - The Red Sox will play the Blue Jays today at 10:10 am PT.

NPB modifies playoff format again
2008-03-19 00:09
by Bob Timmermann

For what I believe is the fifth straight year, the Japanese major leagues (NPB) have modified the format for their playoffs. The top three teams in each league will make the playoffs. The second and third place teams will play a best of three series as they did last year.

However, in the Japanese equivalent to the LCS, called the Climax Series in Japan, the first place team will be given a one-win head start and the series will last no more than six games.

From 2004 through 2006, only the Pacific League had playoffs and each year the league changed which teams would get homefield advantage for how many games. The Central League added a postseason last year.

Bob Purkey, 1929-2008
2008-03-18 23:23
by Bob Timmermann

Bob Purkey, who pitched for the Pirates, Reds, and Cardinals from 1954-1966, passed away Sunday in Bethel Park, Pennsylvania. Purkey made the NL All-Star team three times and he got a Cy Young vote in 1963 (back when there were 16 votes overall and one award per league) when he put up a 23-5 season with a 2.81 ERA.

Purkey started Game 3 of the 1961 World Series for the Reds against the Yankees and took a 2-1 lead into the eighth, but gave up a home run to John Blanchard to tie the game and then Roger Maris won the game with a homer in the top of the ninth.

NCAA tournament opening round open thread
2008-03-18 16:00
by Bob Timmermann

From Dayton! It's the Mid-Eastern Champion Coppin State facing Northeast Conference champion Mount St. Mary's.

Coppin State, coached by veteran Ron "Fang" Mitchell is 16-20, the most losses of any team to make the NCAA tournament ever. The Eagles, from Baltimore, started the season 4-19.

Mount St. Mary's is 18-14. The Mountaineers play in Emmitsburg, MD and are coached by Milan Brown.

Don't forget the Griddle's NCAA Tournament contests. Win nominal prizes! Go here and look for group 38980 and password "griddle"

Play baseball faster, it's good for the environment?
2008-03-18 06:16
by Bob Timmermann

The Japanese major league (NPB) is aiming to cut the playing time of its games by 6 percent (12 minutes) in effort to reduce carbon emissions used for lighting and other things. Setting aside the idea that I can't figure out what stopping 12 minutes earlier will accomplish, here is what NPB plans to do to shorten games:

  1. Teams will have just 2 minutes and 15 seconds to change sides at the end of each half inning.
  2. Pitchers will have just 15 seconds to make a pitch when the bases are empty.

Nowhere included is the greatest frustration of watching Japanese baseball, i.e., getting the pitchers to throw the ball over the plate. Also changing pitchers like Tony La Russa in a September game is the norm.


MLB Opening Day starters set
2008-03-17 19:51
by Bob Timmermann

With his new baby apparently safe at home (the third base coach told the baby to slide), Boston's Daisuke Matsuzaka was named the Opening Day starter for the Red Sox game at the Tokyo Dome on March 25 against the Athletics. Jon Lester will pitch the second game. Joe Blanton is scheduled to start the first game for Oakland, followed by Rich Harden.

I'm betting that the Japanese media will be a tad more interested in Mr. Matsuzaka than Mr. Blanton.

Both teams will be allowed to have a 28-player roster for the first two games, but three players will be ineligible. Each team will also play exhibition games against the Hanshin Tigers and Yomiuri Giants.

Save the date: April 3
2008-03-17 04:00
by Bob Timmermann

Just as a reminder again, on Thursday, April 3 (see I even remembered the right date this time!), I'll be giving a talk at the Los Angeles Central Library from 12:15 to 1 pm on the controversy about how the city of L.A. got from this:

to this:

Photos from the Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection.

Puerto Rico to restart winter baseball league
2008-03-16 08:41
by Bob Timmermann

After suspending operations this winter because of a lack of funding (to do stuff like pay people), the Puerto Rican Winter League will resume in the next offseason. The AP report states that various Puerto Rican municipalities have agreed to help out on stadium rental fees.

Matsuzakas welcome new arrival
2008-03-15 09:32
by Bob Timmermann

Tomoyo Matsuzaka and Daisuke Matsuzaka welcomed a new baby boy in to the world Saturday morning (6 lbs, 10 oz for those of you not weighing at home).

This means that Papa Matsuzaka would be able to start the MLB opener for the Red Sox in Tokyo against Oakland on March 25. The Red Sox head to Japan on Wednesday.

Weekly Puzzle #13
2008-03-14 07:40
by Bob Timmermann
Note: don't try to do this all phonetically.
The stadium that never was?
2008-03-13 18:00
by Bob Timmermann

Back on February 28, 1957, the Los Angeles Examiner ran this artists rendering of what a 60,000 seat version of Wrigley Field (West Coast Edition) would have looked like:


Photo courtesy of the Los Angeles Public Library

So, did anyone remember where we parked the Buick in the world's largest undifferentiated parking lot?

This link will show you what Wrigley Field of L.A. really looked like. And a link to a satellite image from Google of what the area looks like today.


Red Sox release single task catcher
2008-03-13 13:31
by Bob Timmermann

My father once said to me, "Find something you're good at in life, and then make a career out of that."

Actually, he never said anything like that. But if had given out career advice to me, it might have sounded like that. In reality, our talks about careers tended to be things like "Don't be late on your first day" or "You get paid to stay home on Columbus Day?"

But I digress.

The Red Sox released Tim Wakefield's personal catcher, Doug Mirabelli, today. Kevin Cash has apparently figured out how to catch a knuckleball.

I like him better with a tonsure
2008-03-13 07:35
by Bob Timmermann

From the AP via Yahoo.

Also from the AP story: The star was the Padres mascot—“The Swinging Friar.” Hundreds mugged for photos. Some thought it was a promotion for McDonald’s restaurants.

From the same source, Trevor Hoffman plays ball on the Great Wall:




Canada, Taiwan earn final two Olympic baseball berths
2008-03-13 06:54
by Bob Timmermann

Canada and Taiwan clinched the final two spots in the Olympic baseball tournament during the qualifying tournament in Taiwan.

Canada beat Korea, who had already clinched a spot, 4-3. Taiwan defeated South Africa, 4-0. This gave Korea, Canada, and Taiwan 5-1 records and two games up on the other five nations participating with just one game left.

The field in Beijing for the Olympics will be: China (host), USA, Cuba, Netherlands, Japan, Korea, Canada, and Taiwan.

Australia's coach, John Deeble, let loose on the qualifying tournament setup to Australian paper, The Age. Deeble felt that the tournament was scheduled at a poor time (during spring training in the US and Japan) that kept Australia, the silver medalist in Athens in 2000, from using its best players and that the Asian teams and Canada would benefit.

Smart man, John Deeble.

The IBAF (International Baseball Federation) tiebreaker won't have to be used:

The ranking of the teams after the round robin shall be according to the win-loss record of all the games played.

All ties after the round robin, Semi-finals and Finals shall be settled as follows (in order):

  • a) The team that won the game(s) between the teams tied shall be given the higher position.
  • b) Fewest runs allowed divided by the number of innings played in defense in the games between teams tied.
  • c) Fewest earned runs allowed divided by the number of innings played in defense in the games between the teams tied.
  • d) Highest team batting average in games between the teams tied.
  • e) Highest team on base percentage in games between the teams tied.
  • f) Highest team slugging percentage in games between the teams tied.


How high can I be?
2008-03-12 18:12
by Bob Timmermann
Presently, as I type this I am at Staples Center, Section 301, Row 14, Seat 25. How many rows does the top section go to? Well, looking behind me, I will tell you that there are 15 rows. However, I am too law abiding to move down into a better seat. Others may choose a different adjective for me.
Nothing ever is where you thought it was
2008-03-12 13:54
by Bob Timmermann

The above is a detail from the USGS topographical map for the Los Angeles quadrangle. It's interesting to note that while Dodger Stadium is synonymous with Chavez Ravine, the actually geographic feature that is Chavez Ravine is not now nor has it ever been part of Dodger Stadium. As you can see it's on the other side of Stadium Way, one of the main entrances to the park.

Baldelli still on the shelf for Tampa Bay
2008-03-12 10:45
by Bob Timmermann

Rocco Baldelli was placed on the DL for Tampa Bay with fatigue. And it sounds rather vague, but at least Baldelli seems to have been paying attention in biology class.

Baldelli said he had some type of "metabolic, and/or mitochondrial abnormalities, basically along the lines my body isn't making or producing ATP the right way, and therefore not allowing my muscles to work as they should and recover like they're supposed to on a day-to-day basis."

Jays lose Janssen
2008-03-12 08:39
by Bob Timmermann

Casey Janssen of Toronto will miss the 2008 season after being diagnosed with a torn labrum in his right shoulder.

Will Armando Benitez be providing relief for the good people of Toronto instead?

Day 5 of Olympic Qualifying
2008-03-12 07:00
by Bob Timmermann

After one day off, the Olympic qualifying tournament in Taiwan resumed:

  • Canada showed no mercy on Spain and won in 6 1/2 innings, 11-0.
  • Korea had no mercy on the Germans and won 12-1.
  • Taiwan got a crucial win against Australia, 5-0.
  • Mexico stayed alive in the tournament with a 5-0 win over South Africa.

Korea has clinched a spot in the 2008 Olympics with their 5-0 record. The next two spots seem to be ready for Canada and Taiwan, who are both 4-1. Germany, Australia, and Mexico are 2-3. Spain (1-4) and South Africa (0-5) are just playing out the string.

Taiwan's next game is against South Africa, so with the expected win in that game, Taiwan will wrap up a spot in the Olympics. Canada plays Korea in its next game, but finishes with Germany. A 5-2 record for both Taiwan and Canada will get them a ticket to Beijing.

If there is a tie, the first tiebreaker is head-to-head record and then runs allowed.


Vote No on B? Why? Looking back 50 years
2008-03-10 22:16
by Bob Timmermann

On Thursday, April 3 from 12:15-1 pm, I'll be giving a talk at the Los Angeles Central Library about the political battle of bringing the Dodgers to L.A. I won't be able to reproduce my entire presentation here for a variety of reasons, namely that there are a lot of photos I'm using that I can't guarantee I have copyright clearance for. But there is plenty of stuff in the public domain and I thought people might find it interesting to read a piece of campaign literature opposing Proposition B.

Proposition B was a referendum put on the June 3, 1958 ballot for voters in Los Angeles to approve or disapprove the deal the previous October when the Los Angeles City Council voted to let Dodgers owner Walter O'Malley trade his property at Wrigley Field for about 300 acres at Chavez Ravine as well as financial considerations to help build roads to the new park. O'Malley was also supposed to build a recreation center near the area.

You can read the piece and then decide for yourself if the arguments from 50 years ago still hold water today. There are numerous references to "Read the contract," but I don't have a copy of it. Actually I have a copy of the contract, but it's really long and came on a big piece of paper.

Continue reading...

Day 4 of Olympic qualifying
2008-03-10 10:48
by Bob Timmermann

Korea is just about in, but the last two spots are still up for grabs. And South Africa can wait for another year.

  • Germany edged South Africa, 4-3.
  • Korea routed Spain, 14-5.
  • Canada scored a run in the 9th and another in the 10th to beat Taiwan, 6-5.
  • Mexico set back Australia's chances with a 7-4 win.

Standings (with 3 games to go): Korea 4-0, Canada and Taiwan 3-1, Australia and Germany 2-2, Spain and Mexico 1-3, South Africa 0-4.

Finale episode of The Wire chat
2008-03-09 17:31
by Bob Timmermann

After five seasons, one of my favorite TV series ever, "The Wire", airs its final episode tonight.

Jon is the usual host for entertainment chat, but he's graciously allowed me to host tonight's chat. Remember that the episode airs at different times in different parts of the country, so not all people will get to see it at the same time. I'll be watching the East Coast feed, which comes on at 6 pm. So please be courteous toward West Coast residents who might not get to watch for three hours later. If you spoil the episode, you may hear this (not suitable for children).

Perhaps I should get some Honey Nut Cheerios to eat during the finale.

Day 3 of Olympic qualifying
2008-03-09 11:00
by Bob Timmermann

From Taiwan:

  • Australia beat Canada, 10-5, to give both teams a 2-1 record.
  • Taiwan remained undefeated with a 2-0 win over Germany.
  • Spain won its first game, 2-1 over South Africa.
  • Korea remained undefeated with a 6-1 win over Mexico.

Standings: Korea, Taiwan 3-0, Australia, Canada 2-1, Spain, Germany 1-2, Mexico, South Africa 0-3.

I haven't been able to determine what screwball tiebreaker the IBAF will use to break a tie for third.

Notes from the tournament: Germany's starting pitcher in Game 2 was Enorbel Marquez Ramirez. In Game 3, the Germans started Andre Hughes. Chin-Feng Chen is missing the tournament for Taiwan with an injury. Korean slugger Seung Yeop Lee is playing in the tournament.

Number 9, number 9....
2008-03-09 10:36
by Bob Timmermann

Ned Yost has decided for sure that he will be batting Jason Kendall in the #9 slot for the Brewers this year. Earlier, Yost had said he was just considering it.

"We've done studies on this," Yost said. "It's not just that we come up one day and say, 'You know, Jason Kendall's gonna hit ninth.'

"You've had a lot of smart people looking at it and crunching numbers and seeing if, numbers-wise, it made sense."

Those smart people decided that batting Kendall ninth, a departure from the conventional baseball wisdom of batting the pitcher in the final spot, did make sense. They thought it gave the Brewers an edge, which should translate into an opportunity to score more runs.

"More runs means more wins," Yost said. "Sometimes, you've gotta get outside the box a little bit."

Link via BTF.

The Revolution starts in Kansas City again
2008-03-08 18:45
by Bob Timmermann

Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports interviews Brian Bannister of the Kansas City Royals. Bannister is likely the first major league player to implement knowledge of sabermetrics in a way that can improve his own pitching.

Bannister finished 12-9 with a 3.87 earned-run average, and that was after his two final starts kicked up the ERA nearly a half-point. Otherwise, in his rookie season, Bannister would have finished among the top five in the American League with a record well above .500 in spite of playing for the moribund Royals.

To explain Bannister’s success in spite of his inability to overpower hitters is the crux of the scouts vs. stats debate that has raged for years but took root with the arrival of “Moneyball” five years ago. Scouts attribute Bannister’s success to intangibles – wiliness, toughness and other -nesses – as well as the ability to keep hitters off-balance with his slow curveball.

Statistical analysts? Well, they just think Bannister was lucky.


Then again, his good fortune may continue. In a late January interview with Tim Dierkes that outlined much of his sabermetric leanings, Bannister theorized that he could keep his BABIP down if he got to two-strike counts more often. It was a brilliant hypothesis that melded the practical – hitters are taught to, and thus tend to, take more defensive swings with two strikes – with numerical data.

Analysts tested Bannister’s idea, and he was right: there is a difference, though not terribly significant. Still, Bannister’s interest prompted Mike Fast to run a detailed series of analyses on Bannister with Pitch f/x, the two-camera system that tracks a ball from the pitcher’s hand to the catcher’s glove and details its speed to the tenth of a mile per hour and movement to the inch.

If anything convinces pitchers to become converts, as on-base percentage has done with a generation of hitters, it will be Pitch f/x. Its uses are manifold, and when Bannister learned about it in the middle of last season and figured out how to download and sort the data, it was as though he’d found religion.

“I find Pitch f/x to be more useful than video,” Bannister said, “because you’re actually seeing what the pitches are doing late in the zone, and that’s what it’s all about. Everybody can throw a fastball, but if one guy’s explodes in the last 10 feet and the other’s goes dead straight, there’s a huge difference, even if they’re both throwing 95 mph. That’s where the magic lies: in tweaking your pitches in order to get the most out of your ability.”


Army wins in Pakistan! Even in baseball!
2008-03-08 16:38
by Bob Timmermann

The Pakistan Army team won the 16th National Baseball Championship in Lahore defeating the WAPDA team, 11-10 in the championship game.

The game went into to extra innings, but the Daily Times story is a bit hard to follow.

Chapter 2 of Bad Days at the Copy Desk
2008-03-08 08:29
by Bob Timmermann


Correia Giants pitching staff much-needed good news in win over Nationals

First two paragraphs:

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP)—Kevin Correia gave the San Francisco Giants reason to believe he might be the answer to solving one of their pitching staff’s problems.

Correia worked four strong innings, allowing one run on two hits in a 3-2 win over Oakland on Friday and making a case to fill in for Noah Lowry, who had surgery on his left forearm earlier in the day.

Day 2 of Olympic qualifying
2008-03-08 08:19
by Bob Timmermann

From Taiwan:

So Canada, Taiwan, and Korea are 2-0, Germany and Australia are 1-1, South Africa, Mexico, and Spain are 0-2. The top three advance to Beijing.

Fox baseball schedule
2008-03-07 18:00
by Bob Timmermann

Awful Announcing has the poorly spelled list of Saturday afternoon games on Fox. So poorly spelled, that you will have to read it yourself.

The Mets make the most appearances, but Fox has multiple games and it's unlikely that everyone in the country will see New York play that many times.

Unless you live in New York.


Copy editor, please read lead of story
2008-03-07 17:00
by Bob Timmermann


Matsuzaka, awaiting birth of child, likely to follow Red Sox to Tokyo

Lead paragraph:

FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP)—Daisuke Matsuzaka probably won’t fly to Tokyo with his teammates because his wife’s due date is March 19, the date of the flight, but the Red Sox hope he can join them in his native country.

Day 1 of Olympic qualifying
2008-03-07 12:11
by Bob Timmermann

Korea, Canada, Australia, and Taiwan all won their opening games in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Taiwan.

  • Korea shut out South Africa, 5-0. Three pitchers combined on a 2-hitter for Korea.
  • Canada survived an 8-run third inning by Mexico and won 15-10.
  • Australia defeated Germany, 4-1.
  • Taiwan was able to use the mercy rule to beat Spain in 7 innings, 13-3.

The top three teams from the round robin event will advance to the Olympic tournament in Beijing this summer. Already qualified for that tournament are the USA, China, Cuba, Netherlands, and Japan.

Weekly Puzzle #12
2008-03-06 17:34
by Bob Timmermann
Bill James takes time to talk to Time
2008-03-06 13:10
by Bob Timmermann

Some excerpts from an interesting interview of Bill James by Sean Gregory of Time magazine.

You often show that conventional baseball statistics aren't as important as they appear. In the book, you write "every year that passes, the ERA (Earned Run Average) becomes a little more irrelevant." Why is that?

The reason the ERA is becoming a little more irrelevant every year is that pitchers don't pitch whole innings anymore. Relief pitchers anyway. If you go back to 1915, 1920, really, all pitchers pitched full innings 99% of the time. And you could measure a pitcher's effectiveness by how many runs he allowed in those whole innings. But modern pitchers, in particular modern relievers, pitch portions of an inning. And in a situation where each pitcher pitches a portion of an inning, who you charge the run to becomes critical. And the rule on whom we charge the run to is so careless and sloppy that it doesn't work. It often leads to pitchers having ERAs that do not reflect how they really pitch, either because the reliever allowed a bunch of runs to score that were charged to somebody else, or because the starting pitcher who left guys on base got hurt by it.


Your archrivals in the American League East, the New York Yankees, have a new manager, and with George Steinbrenner's sons taking over the day-to-day operations, new owners running the show. What's your gut reaction to what they've done, and where you see them going this year?

Well, the Yankees are kind of moving on to the future. There's something I call Sam's Law — after Sam Rich, an attorney from Pittsburgh who has been a friend of mine for many years. Sam's Law is that young pitchers will break your heart. I think that when teams go into a pennant race depending on young pitching, it very often it takes a year or two for that young pitching to be as good as you thought it would be. The Yankees have that problem, and we have that problem — we're depending on [Jon] Lester and [Clay] Buchholz and some other guys to be useful to us. It's going to be interesting to see how many of those young pitchers live up to those expectations.

ESPN Sunday Night games
2008-03-05 18:40
by Bob Timmermann

Via Awful Announcing is the schedule for the first half of the ESPN Sunday Night baseball schedule. And yes, Joe Morgan is back! And trust me, he's right. And he knows more than you.

March 30- Atlanta at Washington
April 6- Chicago White Sox at Detroit (ESPN2, ESPN2 HD)
April 13- New York Yankees at Boston
April 20- New York Mets at Philadelphia
April 27- Los Angeles Angels at Detroit
May 4- Chicago Cubs at St. Louis
May 11- Boston at Minnesota
May 18- New York Mets at New York Yankees
May 25- Los Angeles Angels at Chicago White Sox
June 1 - July 6- TBD
July 13- Colorado at New York Mets
July 20- Boston at Los Angeles Angels (3 p.m. PT)

Does anybody remember who won the NL West last year? I think it was a team from Arizona. Are they making an appearance? I guess the jury is still out on them. The Braves-Nats game is something of an outlier as it the only game without New York, Los Angeles, Boston, or Chicago involved.

What was the name of that team that won the AL Central? Wait, I'll think of it...

June 15 isn't scheduled but the Marlins are playing the Rays that day. I think the Rays should offer that as a night game. The Marlins wouldn't mind flying to their next game, at Seattle, right after that would they?

The British aren't coming! The British aren't coming!
2008-03-05 18:00
by Bob Timmermann

To Olympic baseball qualifying that is...

Team GB, the British international baseball squad, finally had to drop out of Olympic qualifying after the British Olympic Association decided against advancing the group £40,000 to compete in the final qualifier in Taiwan.

The BBC story goes in to greater detail.

The final three spots for the 2008 Olympics will come from an eight-team tournament involving Australia, Canada, Chinese Taipei (Taiwan to most of us), Korea, Mexico, South Africa, Spain, and Germany. The Germans are replacing the British.

The British baseball team will take on all-star squad of cricketers on October 4.

Also, in Lahore, Pakistan WAPDA defeated the Pakistani National Police team 7-6 in the National Baseball championships. The Army team routed Balochistan 17-2, but Balochistan, as we all know, is through to the second round.

Balochistan and NWFP move on to second round in Pakistan Classic!
2008-03-04 19:00
by Bob Timmermann

Balochistan and NWFP (Northwest Frontier Province) stormed into the second round of the 16th annual Pakistan national baseball championship at Lahore.

Balochistan beat Punjab 11-10 and then NWFP 8-7. But NWFP moved on after beating Sindh in its second game of the day "comprehensively."

My cable system doesn't pick up these games, so we have to rely on the Daily Times for info.

The final Olympic qualifying tournament starts on March 7 in Taichung, Taiwan. Pakistan is not among the nations competing for the final three slots.


Dominican Republic threatens to hold WBC hostage
2008-03-04 18:26
by Bob Timmermann

The Associated Press reports that the president of the Dominican Republic baseball federation has threatened to pull the nation out of the 2009 World Baseball Classic unless a Dominican city is picked to host first round games.

"If they do not give us the opportunity of being a host, like we have requested, the Dominican Republic will not participate," league president Leonardo Matos Berrido said at a news conference Monday.

The Dominican Republic made it to the semifinals in the 2006 WBC, losing to Cuba 3-1.

Do the Dominicans have much to gain by threatening to drop out?

The Buck stops in St. Louis, Stone goes back to Chicago
2008-03-04 08:45
by Bob Timmermann

Joe Buck said Monday night to Dan Caesar of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that he will no longer be calling any Cardinals local broadcasts, solely working national games for Fox. Buck's father, Jack, started broadcasting Cardinals games in 1954, missed the 1960 season, and then either Jack or Joe has been in the booth for the Cardinals since then.

Jack Buck passed away in 2002.

Link via BTF.

UPDATE - The Chicago White Sox have announced that they have hired Steve Stone for a fulltime analyst job for radio alongside Ed Farmer. Chris Singleton, who was the analyst last year, is moving to ESPN.

Is the disparity in quality between Farmer and Stone the greatest among any pair of broadcasters working together today?

Lowry's long first inning
2008-03-03 20:28
by Bob Timmermann

Giants lefthander Noah Lowry had a bad first inning at Scottsdale, walking seven Texas batters and allowing four runs, and then walking the first two batters in the second before being pulled.

Lowry allowed no hits in his one plus inning of work and the Rangers had no at bats in their first trip through the order, seven walks and two sacrifice flies. Lowry also made an error and threw two wild pitches.

The Giants pitchers walked 15 batters overall in the game, which the Rangers won 8-6 in 10 innings.

The Late Winter Classic in Lahore
2008-03-03 18:59
by Bob Timmermann

The 16th National Baseball Championships of Pakistan are underway in Lahore! Punjab beat the Pakistan Navy 5-0. Balochistan beat Sindh 1-0. However, Sindh beat Islamabad 10-1 in the third match.

Sadly, the Daily Times of Pakistan story is lacking in important details. No boxscores are available as far as I can tell.


Coaches all over weigh in on the great helmet debate of 2008
2008-03-02 14:02
by Bob Timmermann

At the risk of being the object of further ridicule, here is a link to Tom Singer's story in about coaches thought baseball giving their opinion about the mandatory helmet rule for base coaches.

First of all, MLB is going to enforce the rule:

"It's mandatory. No ifs, ands or buts about it," Bob Watson, MLB's vice president of rules and on-field operations, said Saturday night. "If you aren't wearing a helmet, you will be warned by the umpire.

"If you then still don't wear it, you will be ejected and fined -- and the fine is significant."

Second, some don't mind the helmet:

"It's no problem at all," said Dino Ebel, the Angels' third-base coach. "I wore it around the field and the clubhouse for a few days, and it felt perfectly normal. I'm good to go with it -- and you do get some line drives coming your way."

Third, some don't like the rule at all:

But Andy Van Slyke, the Tigers' first-base coach, said, "It's very odd, because it's leading to many headaches. It's uncomfortable. It's hot. It's unnecessary."

And finally, I can't figure out what the deal with Jose Oquendo is:

"It's hard, uncomfortable," Oquendo said. "You can't chew gum. Not happy with it."

I'm curious as to just how Mr. Oquendo chews gum
No wonder they have a lot of money left over
2008-03-02 11:50
by Bob Timmermann

The Florida Marlins today renewed the contracts of 16 players today. SIXTEEN. Lots of guys making the minimum or just above it out there. And that list includes Hanley Ramirez and Dan Uggla. It appears that the highest paid Marlin players this year will be Kevin Gregg ($2.5 million) and Luis Gonzalez ($2 million). Mark Hendrickson ($1.5 million) and Andrew Miller ($1.3 million) will be next. Source here.

The Royals and Brewers also renewed a few noticeable contracts, including Alex Gordon, Prince Fielder, and Ryan Braun.

Milton Bradley, the continually angry man
2008-03-01 10:51
by Bob Timmermann

In the New York Times, Alan Schwarz profiles Texas Rangers outfielder Milton Bradley, who has apparently given up on the idea of changing his image.

“ ‘Say Hello to the Bad Guy,’ ” said Bradley, now with the Texas Rangers. “That’s going to be my song — Jay-Z, on the ‘American Gangster’ soundtrack. I’m the angry guy. I’m the bad guy. I’m through fighting it.”


¶On the bottle incident in Los Angeles: “In Oakland I was telling guys about it, and it’s like they were afraid to ask. I was describing everything — everything about the fans, what they were wearing, the sounds I heard. They were like: ‘How do you remember? You were totally out of control.’ I said: ‘I’m always in control. I’m always paying attention. I was just angry.’ ”


¶On his temper off the field: “My everyday life? I’ve never had a fight in my life. Because I can take them down with words just as easy, and that’s how I’ve always fought my battles. But people don’t fight no more. They shoot.”

Spiezio's strange night detailed in police report
2008-03-01 10:15
by Bob Timmermann

Elizabethe Holland of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports on the details of the night of December 30, 2007, when Scott Spiezio fell off the wagon in a very big way.

According to the court documents, this is what authorities believe happened:

Spiezio and his wife, Jennifer Spiezio, went to dinner Dec. 30 at Ruth's Chris Steak House in Irvine. There, the player allegedly had six Grey Goose vodkas with cranberry juice while his wife drank champagne. After dinner, they went to Ten, a restaurant in Newport Beach, where together they ordered more vodka, food and an energy drink.

Spiezio left Ten alone in the couple's silver 2004 BMW 745 LI. A short time later, witnesses told police they saw the car speeding, cutting across lanes and crossing into oncoming traffic before driving over a curb and crashing into a fence at Campus Drive and Carlson Avenue.

Later a friend took Spiezio back to his home, but Spiezio allegedly then threw a punch at him. Spiezio and his agent did not mention the incident to the Cardinals front office in a February 17 meeting.

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