Monthly archives: November 2008
Red Sox pick up the 'cheapest' reliever
The Boston Red Sox traded a player to be named later or cash (which will presumably still be called cash at the time) to the Texas Rangers for reliever Wes Littleton.
Littleton is most famous (at least to me) for picking up the cheapest save (as defined by the margin of victory) in big league history. Back on August 22, 2007, Littleton pitched the final three innings of the Rangers 30-3 win at Baltimore.
Here is an earlier post of mine on the evolution of the cheap save.
Randy Gumpert, 1918-2008
Gumpert broke into the majors in 1936 at the age of 18 with the Philadelphia A's just a few weeks after graduating from high school. After three seasons, the minor leagues and World War II kept him out of the majors until 1946 when he resurfaced with the Yankees. Gumpert was named to the 1951 AL All-Star team as a White Sox representative, but did not play in the game.
He would go on to serve as a minor league manager, coach, and a scout for several organizations.
On September 13, 1936, the 18-year old Gumpert pitched for the White Sox against the 17-year old Bob Feller. Feller struck out 17 and pitched a 2-hitter as the Indians won the game 5-2.
Heading west. Way west.
In fact, these guys are going so far west that they're going east.
Jamie D'Antona is going to play for the Tokyo Yakult Swallows.
Ryan Wing will be a Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighter.
Les Walrond is headed for Yokohama.
Darrell Rasner will be pitching in Kleenex Stadium in Sendai for the Eagles.
Roger Clemens begs your pardon?
AP reports that Roger Clemens, along with a lot of other people, MAY have petitioned President George W. Bush for a pardon. The names of actual petitioners are kept confidential.
Whether or not Clemens goes in the front of the line ahead of people like Michael Milken, Alberto Gonzales, or John Walker Lindh is not yet known.
If you want a pardon, go visit this link.
Link via BTF.
Retrosheet adds more years
Retrosheet has added much of the 1922 and 1923 NL seasons to their website. And, of course, 2008 is now available for both leagues.
Not every game has a play-by-play, but there are boxscores. You can check out the carnage in this Phillies-Cubs game back on August 25, 1922. (There is a formatting error though and the Batters Facing Pitcher column is unknown and the HRs allowed got shifted into it.)
Also, if you are so inclined you can download event files for the All-Star Game and the postseason.
The offseason is so slow...
That I found this article about how the Modern Pentathlon event in the Olympics is being shortened to four events (but not changing its name) interesting.
The five events had been: equestrian, swimming, fencing, shooting, and running. Now the running and shooting event will be combined in an event like its winter cousin, the biathlon.
Or possibly the centathlon:
Angels again prevail in legal battle over tote bag giveaway
Back in 2006, a man named Michael Cohn sued the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim because they had a giveaway on Mother's Day where all women in attendance received a free tote bag.
Cohn felt that the giveaway was discriminatory based on age and gender. Last year, an Orange County Superior Court dismissed the case, but it ended up in the State Court of Appeals.
And Cohn's claim was rejected again. From Bill Shaikin's story in the Los Angeles Times:
A pdf of the opinion is available through this link. The case is titled Cohn v. Corinthian Colleges. (Corinthian Colleges was the sponsor of the giveaway and were listed before the Angels as a defendant.)
Four (or three) charges against Bonds dropped
A.J. Perez of USA Today reports that Federal District Judge Susan Illotson dismissed four of the 15 counts against Barry Bonds. However, the charges Illotson dismissed were on the grounds that they were redundant. Bonds is still facing 10 charges of making false statements and one charge of obstruction of justice.
Live from Federal Bailout Field
Maury Brown in his Biz of Baseball blog relays a story that Citigroup will maintain its 20-year, $400 million sponsorship of the Mets new stadium opening this April.
Citigroup is laying off over 53,000 employees.
You can follow Citigroup's stock price here.
In the news today ....
The top three stories on my Google news feed, which, presumably, is personalized.
One of those is not like the other.
Cuba tosses two stars off of its national team
Pitcher Yadel Marti and outfielder Yasser Gomez were thrown off the Cuban national baseball team for "a grave act of indiscipline." In other words, both players tried to defect.
Cuba's World Baseball Classic team will now be without one of its best pitchers (Marti gave up no earned runs in 12 2/3 IP). Gomez and Marti were both left off the Olympic team for Cuba as well, although there was no announcement why at the time.
MLB's frustrating blackout policies to remain in place for a while
The problem ballots finally found?
Unfortunately, this link from Minnesota Public Radio still doesn't tell us who were the three people who voted Edinson Volquez for NL Rookie of the Year.
Changes in store for maple bats in 2009?
According to a USA Today report by Ray Glier, Major League Baseball is likely to take steps to modify the dimensions of maple bats, but not ban them.
Mariners name new manager, wire service story brings up irrelevant fact
Don Wakamatsu, formerly the bench coach for the Oakland A's, was formally named as the new manager of the Seattle Mariners. Wakamatsu is the first Asian-American to be named as a manager.
This is not the irrelevant fact that I allude to in my headline.
So did Lou Piniella, Mike Hargrove, John McLaren, and Jim Riggleman all take intensive Japanese language immersion classes? Did they all sit through extensive interviews with the Japanese media that follows Ichiro and give the interviews in Japanese?
Did the writer realize that a Japanese-American has about as much in common culturally with someone from Japan as I do with Torsten Frings?
Now, if the Mariners had gone and hired Seibu Lions manager Hisanobu Watanabe (his team won the Japan Series), then it would be a little different.
According to the last linked article, the favorite candidate of the fans was actually Joey Cora.
A new definition of 'city' from the NCAA
From the AP (emphasis mine):
However, in this case, "North Texas" refers to Arlington, Texas and the stadium that will be used will be the new stadium for the Dallas Cowboys. And that facility presently goes by the name of "Dallas Cowboys new stadium."
This is how I used to spend the offseason in baseball
I would wait around for trash sports like "Battle of the PBS Stars"
Replay review review
Retrosheet has gathered together the results of all the instances when umpires used instant replay last year. In all, replay was used seven times and two calls were reversed, both of which resulted in a home run.
Writers vote for Pedro(ia) for AL MVP
Dustin Pedroia of the Red Sox won his first MVP, just one year after winning AL Rookie of the Year, besting Justin Morneau of the Twins by 60 points. Pedroia was named first on 16 of the 28 ballots. Morneau got 7 first place votes, Kevin Youkilis and Joe Mauer got 2 each, and Francisco Rodriguez got the other one.
Perdoia is the first Boston player to win the MVP since Mo Vaughn in 1995.
The man who voted Pujols #007
1. Ryan Howard, Phil
2. CC Sabathia, Mil
3. Manny Ramirez, LA
4. Carlos Delgado, NY
5. Aramis Ramirez, Chi
6. Prince Fielder, Mil
7. Albert Pujols, Stl
8. Ryan Ludwick, Stl
9. Ryan Braun, Mil
10. David Wright, NY
Free agent #1 signs
The first free agent on the market signed a contract today.
It's Jeremy Affeldt. And he's now a San Francisco Giant.
Hall of Fame Game goes Classic
The Hall of Fame Game, the last in-season exhibition game in the big leagues, is no more (as was announced last year). In its place will be the Hall of Fame Classic, which will be played on Fathers Day and feature former players, presumably Hall of Famers.
It is still to be seen if the Hall of Fame Classic will get better reviews than Klassic Krusty.
You better not call the NL MVP AL
But Paul Simon can. Albert Pujols of the Cardinals won his second NL MVP award, beating out Ryan Howard by 61 points in the voting and earning 18 of 32 first place votes. Howard received 12 and teammate Brad Lidge got the other two.
Pujols was the only player to appear on all 32 ballots.
Baseball pleads its case to the IOC for 2016
MLB and the International Baseball Federation made their initial plea to the International Olympic Committee to try to get baseball reinstated as a sport for the 2016 games.
IBAF head Harvey Schiller was the primary speaker, but MLB representative Paul Archey read a statement from Commissioner Bud Selig and Detroit outfielder Curtis Granderson spoke too.
Granderson needs to learn a lot about how to bribe an IOC member. He should talk to some of the good people who helped put together the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.
MLB promised that its best players would participate, although the season would not be stopped. Also, MLB promised not to schedule any games the day of any gold medal game in Olympic baseball.
Griffey named to diplomatic post
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has made Ken Griffey, Jr. a "public diplomacy envoy."
Griffey joins Cal Ripken, Michelle Kwan, and Fran Drescher in the job of raising America's public image overseas.
The Senate does not have to advise and consent to this nomination.
AL Cy Young goes to Cliff, Natural-Lee
Cliff Lee of Cleveland picked up 24 of 28 first place votes to win the AL Cy Young Award. Roy Halladay of Toronto was second and Francisco Rodriguez of the Angels was third.
Lee is the second straight Cleveland pitcher to win the award. CC Sabathia won in 2007.
Maddon, Piniella win Manager of the Year honors
Joe Maddon of Tampa Bay won 27 of the 28 first place votes for the AL Manager of the Year award, while Lou Piniella of the Cubs garnered 15 first place votes to take NL Manager of the Year honors.
Ron Gardenhire of the Twins received the only other first place vote for the AL award. Charlie Manuel, Fredi Gonzalez, Joe Torre, and Tony La Russa received first place votes in the NL.
Dale Sveum got one third place vote for managing the Brewers for 12 games with a 7-5 record.
WBC manager positions starting to be filled
Many of the participants in the 2009 World Baseball Classic are setting their managers before settling on their squad.
Today, Mexico chose Vinny Castilla as its manager. Castilla said the team would be strong in pitching and would be looking at dual citizens, in particular Matt Garza.
Defending champion Japan chose Yomiuri Giants manager Tatsunori Hara to lead its squad. Hara has a slightly more dramatic view of the tournament than Castilla:
Stan Javier will be the skipper for the Dominican Republic and Luis Sojo has the job for Venezuela.
Korea, which won the gold medal at the Beijing Games, can't find a manager and likely won't have Seung-Yeop Lee or Chan Ho Park for the Classic.
No manager has been picked yet for the USA, Canada, Italy, Netherlands, Cuba, Australia, South Africa, Panama, and China. Or at least none that I could readily find.
Lincecum takes NL Cy Young Award easily
Tim Lincecum of the San Francisco Giants won the NL Cy Young Award by a comfortable margin over Arizona's Brandon Webb. Lincecum won 23 of the 32 first place votes with Webb and the Mets' Johan Santana getting four each. CC Sabathia of the Brewers picked up the other first place vote.
Lincecum is just the second Giants pitcher to win the Cy Young Award. Mike McCormick won the award in 1967.
Herb Score, 1933-2008
Score's career was derailed on May 7. 1957 when Gil McDougald of the Yankees hit a line drive back through the box, hitting score in the face. Score was unable to make both the physical and mental recovery completely after the accident, although he pitched through 1962.
From 1964 through 1997, Score was one of the radio voices for the Indians. The last game he worked was Game 7 of the 1997 World Series between the Indians and Marlins.
2009 MLB opener set
The World Series champion Philadelphia Phillies were tabbed by MLB and ESPN to play in the 2009 season opener. The Phillies will play Sunday night on April 5 against the Braves at Citizens Bank Park.
Presumably, Peter Gammons will have a warmer coat by this time.
Longoria, Soto win Rookie of the Year Awards
Evan Longoria of the AL champion Tampa Bay Rays won the Rookie of the Year Award, easily outdistancing Alexi Ramirez of the White Sox. Longoria was the first unanimous pick in the AL since Nomar Garciaparra won the award in 1997. Longoria is the first Ray to ever win a BBWAA award of any kind.
In the NL, Geovany Soto of the Cubs took ROY honors. Soto got all but one first place vote. Joey Votto of the Reds got the other one. Soto is the first catcher to win the award in the NL since Mike Piazza won it in 1993 and he's the first Cub to win the award since Kerry Wood in 1998.
Charlie Manuel didn't get this treatment
Via Yahoo comes this photo of Seibu Lions manager Hisanobu Watanabe receiving the traditional doage (loosely translated as "victory toss") after his team won the Japan Series Sunday night in Tokyo. What puzzles me is what the stuffed animal in the photo is. It looks like a duck of some kind.
The baseball season in Japan started on March 20 (for the Pacific League, the Central League started a week later) and finished on November 9.
Seibu wins 13th Japan Series crown with 8th inning comeback
Hiroshi Hirao's two-out single to center scored Tayeka Nakamura with what proved to be the winning run as the Pacific League champion Seibu Lions rallied with two runs in the top of the 8th to beat the Central League champion Yomiuri Giants, 3-2, in Game 7 of the Japan Series.
And here is a link to the game story from the Kyodo News.
Five Seibu pitchers held the Giants to just two hits for the game. Fumiya Nishiguchi started and gave up both runs in two innings, and then Kaz Ishii, Hideaki Wakui, Tomoki Hoshino, and Alex Graman shut down Yomiuri the rest of the way. Hoshino got the win and Graman picked up the save. Daisuke Ochi was the losing pitcher.
Seibu forces Game 7 in Japan Series
Hiroshi Harao drove in all three runs with a bases-loaded double and a solo homer as the Seibu Lions beat the Yomiuri Giants 4-1 at the Tokyo Dome in Game 6 of the Japan Series. The series now heads for a Game 7 for the first time since 2004.
Takayuki Kishi, two days after pitching a complete game 147-pitch shutout, pitched 5 2/3 innings of relief to take the win for the Lions. Hisanori Takahashi took the loss for the Giants.
Yomiuri is looking for its 21st Japan Series title and Seibu is trying to pick up its 13th.
Giants head back home with 3-2 lead in Japan Series
A four-run seventh inning by the Yomiuri Giants propelled them to a 7-2 win over the Seibu Lions in Game 5 of the Japan Series at the Seibu Dome in Tokorazawa.
The rally came against Seibu's ace starter, Hideki Wakui, who took the loss. Reliever Kentaro Nishimura got the win in relief after Yomuri's ace, Koji Uehara, had a shaky outing as well.
The Giants lead the series 3-2 and will host Game 6 and 7 if necessary at the Tokyo Dome on the weekend.
After four games, no winner projected in Japan Series
On Tuesday night, Yomiuiri took Game 3 of the Japan Series against Seibu at its home park (the Seibu Dome) in Tokorazawa by a 6-4 margin. The Giants got homers from Takahiro Suzuki, Alex Ramirez, and Michihiro "Guts" Ogasawara. Tetsuya Utumi picked up the win and Mark Kroon got the save. Kazuhisa Ishii took the loss.
But on Wednesday night, while most of us were following other news events, Seibu tied the series at two wins apiece with a 5-0 win.
In Game 4, Takayuki Kishi threw a 4-hit shutout with 10 strikeouts for Seibu (147 pitches overall) and Takeya Nakamura blasted two homers. Seth Greisinger took the loss for Yomiuri.
Game 5 will be Thursday night (early in the morning in the U.S.) at the Seibu Dome. Game 6 will be Saturday back at the Tokyo Dome. Game 7, if necessary, will be played Sunday night.
Handy Election Info from your Federal Government
From the official home page of the Electoral College:
Know Your Key Dates:
Whew! I almost forgot!
If Buster Olney were a political pundit...
I saw a lot of long lines at the polls today and I thought to myself, "When I was a kid, we didn't have lines like these. People just didn't care as much."
So, I wondered how could I go and make Election Day as unimportant as it was when I was a kid and people voted for Richard Nixon overwhelmingly.
Then it hit me: move Election Day from people's own local neighborhoods to a warm weather neutral site. This would take away the advantage of any "state" and put the power of the people in the hands of those who deserve to have it: people who can afford to take time off to cavort in Phoenix or Miami for a week.
You could have a few people vote each day. You could start off the day with a celebrity golf tournament. Just think about waking up in the morning to play a round of golf with George Will and then the next day balancing it out by playing a round of golf with E.J. Dionne.
The possibilties are endless.
There would be no waiting up late at night to see if some state could finally figure out how to count its vote. There would be no Tim Russerts with greaseboards. No Dan Rathers making up metaphors that give the illusion of sounding homespun. Instead, you would just have Up With People sing the results to people.
Please make them stop!
In his blog yesterday (which you have to pay extra for), Buster Olney of ESPN.com had what had to be the lamest reasons for a neutral site World Series.
I will only excerpt small parts since this is special value-added content!
Along the way, MLB could arrange for Hall of Famers to attend daily fan-fest functions, panels and autograph-signing sessions and seminars. The general managers could hold their annual meetings during that week, and the GMs could break away from their hotel to hold town-hall-style talks with fans about their teams as their managers are in town. The baseball writers could announce, day by day, the winners of the major awards -- rookies of the year on the first day, managers of the year on the second day, Cy Young winners on the third day and the MVPs on the last day. The Hall of Fame could announce its induction class for the following summer. In a place like Phoenix or San Diego, there could be daily charity golf tournaments, and fans could be part of the scramble. MLB could feature the John Smoltz Desert Classic on the first day, the Jeff Francoeur Invitational the second day and so on.Woo hoo! Celebrity golf tournaments as part of the World Series! Count me in! That's what's been missing all these years. The best part of a Jeff Francouer golf tournament is that golf is the sport that he would be best at because you HAVE to swing at the ball in that sport. He'd be right at home. But seriously, am I going to spend a few thousand dollars to go to Phoenix so I can golf with Jeff Francouer by day and watch the World Series by night?
And I'm sure that the six Kansas City Royals fans who show up at this neutral site World Series will be waiting for Dayton Moore's musings on who will be the long man in the Royals bullpen in 2012.
Buster, you grew up in Vermont. You must own warm clothing. Put some on. You'll survive.
Giants even up Japan Series on Ramirez sayonara home run
Alex Ramirez of the Yomiuri Giants hit a game-ending home run off of Seibu's Daisuke Ochi to even the Japan Series at one win apiece, as the Giants won 3-2 at the Tokyo Dome.
Seibu lead 2-1 after four on a 2-run homer by Hiroyuki Nakajima, his second of the series. The Giants tied the game in the sixth on an RBI double by Yoshiyuki Kamei.
The series now shifts to the Seibu Dome in Tokorazawa for Games 3 through 5.
I was able to find a Korean broadcast of the game online through the same website that people used to watch some of the MLB playoffs online. Nothing like watching Japanese baseball broadcast in Korean with a flickering picture while lying awake wondering why you ordered such a big coffee so late at night.
Korean announcers are much more restrained than Japanese announcers.
Neutrality is not the solution
While this headline may sound like something written as a counterpoint to a Charles Lindbergh speech in 1940, it's actually about the World Series. In particular, it's about the idea, espoused by numerous sports columnists although few fans or baseball executives, to move the World Series to a warm weather, neutral site.
As I've thought more about this idea, I've come to the conclusion, that not only is it a bad idea. It's a horrible idea. It's an idea whose time has not come. It's an idea whose time will never come. It's a cure in search of a disease.
I normally would have dismissed the idea as one thought of by cranks, but this year even Peter Gammons thought the idea of neutral site World Series would be a good one. Is this the baseball equivalent of Walter Cronkite declaring the Vietnam War unwinnable? Or is it some other really tired analogy that I can drive into the ground? (I had started collecting links about this issue, but it got overwhelming and rereading the stories just got me mad.)
The "demand" for a neutral site World Series comes almost entirely from the media (Whitey Herzog likes it too, but, as most people know, Whitey is a cranky old man.) And this year, faced with sitting outside in a cold and wet Citizens Bank Park, the media got angrier. And colder. And wetter.
Here are some of the arguments that proponents of a neutral site use and I will follow with my disagreement.
Seibu takes Game 1 of Japan Series
The Seibu Lions, the Pacific League champs, took Game 1 of the Japan Series on the road at the Tokyo Dome against the Central League champion Yomiuri Giants by a 2-1 score.
The Lions got home runs from Takeoshi Goto and Hiroyuki Nakajima to give Hideaki Wakui the win. Alex Graman picked up the save. Koji Uehara took the loss for the Giants.
Game 2 will be Sunday night (early Sunday morning in the U.S.) at the Tokyo Dome.
A place where a man can slow down to a walk and live his life full measure, but he has to keep his watch on Pacific Time.
About the Toaster
Baseball Toaster was unplugged on February 4, 2009.
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