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The Last Act of the Notorious Howie Spira

The Last Act of the Notorious Howie Spira. The conventional shorthand for what George Steinbrenner did wrong, in press accounts of the mudslinging-and-extortion scandal, is this: The Yankees owner had an "association with Howard Spira." It made Spira sound menacing—this known gambler, this criminal element. He was the embodiment of the Yankees owner's dark side: Steinbrenner the Nixon bagman, the convicted-and-pardoned felon. Under questioning in court, Steinbrenner described their relationship in ominous terms. Did Spira "destroy" him? "As far as baseball is concerned, yes," Steinbrenner said. "He did a very good job."
posted by auto-correct on Oct 29, 2011 - 2 comments

There's No "We" in Fan

Here's the deal: If you don't play for, or you are not an employee of, the team in question, "we" is not the pronoun you're looking for. "They" is the word you want.
Why "We" is the most overused term in sports.
posted by The Gooch on Oct 20, 2011 - 154 comments

The science of baseball's magical necklaces

This is the background needed to begin to understand why tonight, as the World Series begins between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Texas Rangers, the field will probably be full of men who are wearing what can best be perhaps described as magical necklaces. Or, if you're the geeky type, call them +5 Amulets of Baseball Enhancement.
posted by veedubya on Oct 20, 2011 - 61 comments

The Strategy? "Pitch Swift."

The Invisible Fastball. "Six decades ago, a minor league pitcher accomplished something we'll never see again." (Single page version)
posted by zarq on Oct 15, 2011 - 14 comments

It's all Moneyball now.

It's all 'Moneyball' Now
"You didn’t have to spend the day dancing around the drum circle in Zuccotti Park to see Game 5 of the Yankees-Tigers division series in New York — with its constant cutaways to those slick-suited men hunched over their BlackBerrys in the Legends Suites — as more than just a baseball game."
posted by mecran01 on Oct 15, 2011 - 28 comments

Inside The Collapse

The Boston Globe's Bob Hohler gets to the bottom of the Red Sox's epic collapse: Inside are tales of alienated potential MVP candidates, pitchers playing video games and eating take out chicken and biscuits instead of being in the dugout, and older players chasing statistical glory.
posted by reenum on Oct 12, 2011 - 61 comments

Michael Cuddyer: OF/IF/Photography

Baseball fans might know Michael Cuddyer as the versatile right fielder for the Minnesota Twins, but he's recently taken up photography and posted beautiful photos of ballparks (and their hidden corners) where he's played on his Flickr photostream.
posted by MegoSteve on Oct 11, 2011 - 17 comments

The Lost Yankee

Kei Igawa arrived in the US with a lot of fanfare in 2007. After failing miserably with the Yankees, he was sent to the minor leagues. Since then, he has existed in an uncomfortable limbo, not completely part of either world.
posted by reenum on Oct 5, 2011 - 33 comments

Wake Me Up When September Ends

After beating the Texas Rangers on Sept. 3, the Boston Red Sox were 84-54. Although half a game behind the Yankees in the American League East, the Red Sox had a nine-game lead over the Tampa Bay Rays for the wild card and roughly a 99.6 percent chance of making the playoffs. Fast forward one excruciating month to a dead heat with Tampa coming into tonight's bitter imbroglio. Boston struggles ahead of laughingstock Baltimore by a single run until a rain delay clears the field, leaving them in the surreal position of rooting for the hated Yankees playing down in Florida. They can only watch from the sidelines as the rival Rays, tied with Boston in the pennant race but down 7-0 against New York, roar back to life with six runs in the eighth inning and a tie run on the final pitch at the bottom of the ninth. And then, after blowing two different strikes that would have salvaged the game, Boston loses to Baltimore, completing what is arguably the worst late-breaking collapse in the history of major league baseball.
posted by Rhaomi on Sep 28, 2011 - 196 comments

It's time for Dodger baseball

If you are an East Coast baseball fan, there are two reasons to stay up past your bed time: 1) Your local nine are on a West Coast road swing 2) To indulge in one of the true joys of baseball: Listening to Vin Scully call a baseball game. In the October edition of GQ, Scully looks back on some of his most memorable calls, in a career that started in 1950 when the Dodgers called Brooklyn home. If reading Scully's recollections isn't enough for you, The website includes audio of the calls in question. [more inside]
posted by dry white toast on Sep 10, 2011 - 27 comments

Dr. Strangegloves

Who was the worst defender in the history of baseball? A commenter in a baseball-fever thread compiles a list of the bottom 100 career dWAR figures of all time -- in other words, the 100 players who cost their teams the most wins with the glove. (Joe Posnanski on the WAR metric, for those unfamiliar with it.) The list is an interesting mix of players whose bats allowed them to stay in the game for years despite terrible glovework (Bernie Williams, Manny Ramirez, Dave Winfield) and players who were so bad in the field that they managed to rack up a lot of negative dWAR in shorter careers (Chris Gomez, Dean Palmer.) Toby "Stone Fingers" Harrah is #14 with a -10.9 dWAR. Dick "Dr. Strangeglove" Stuart just misses at -6.1. Some active players have a chance to finish high on the list: Ty Wigginton is only 33 and has already bumbled away enough balls in 2011 to "improve" his ranking from 24th to 15th. Worst of all time? No, it's not the Captain -- Derek Jeter is #2 on the all time list with -13.4 dWAR. Can you guess the "winner"?
posted by escabeche on Aug 30, 2011 - 85 comments

Why is baseball's appeal fading?

Behold! The worst at-bat in the history of Major League Baseball! Or is it actually the greatest at-bat in the history of Major League Baseball? Sunday afternoon, [San Francisco] Giants reliever Santiago Casilla batted against [Florida] Marlins reliever Jose Ceda, and they were both really terrible. (via SportsFilter)
posted by NoMich on Aug 15, 2011 - 155 comments

An Asterisk of a Different Kind

Ralph Branca's story now manages to combine baseball, tragedy, genealogy, Judaism and the Nazis
posted by xowie on Aug 15, 2011 - 14 comments

Fun While It Lasted

Fun While It Lasted is a blog that details the histories of long-dead sports franchises, including the Hawaii Leis/Sea-Port Cascades/Seattle Cascades, the Portland Lumberjax, the Columbus Minks, the Denver Comets, and the Phoenix Fire -- a professional soccer team that never actually played a game. [more inside]
posted by mudpuppie on Aug 10, 2011 - 21 comments

Welcome to Oakland

Baseball's shifting strategies & the upcoming Moneyball - already a period piece? (previously)
posted by mannequito on Aug 7, 2011 - 97 comments

The Worst call in the history of baseball

Nineteen innings. Nearly seven hours of play. The "Worst call in the history of baseball" ends Pirates/Braves game. [more inside]
posted by misha on Jul 27, 2011 - 158 comments

Someone I Never Met

The Grandy Man: the story of Yankees All-Star Curtis Granderson's bond with the family of Brian Bluhm, a Detroit Tigers fan and blogger, gunned down in the Virginia Tech shootings in 2007. [more inside]
posted by Potomac Avenue on Jul 20, 2011 - 6 comments

No, not that one...

More recently, Wilson has drawn fan and media attention for his thick, black beard and eccentric behavior. There's a relatively strange baseball player called Brian Wilson. [more inside]
posted by SomaSoda on Jul 14, 2011 - 63 comments

A League Of Its Own

SI has written an oral history about the making of the movie "Major League". Charlie Sheen was also interviewed for this piece.
posted by reenum on Jul 5, 2011 - 41 comments

There's no place like home

Even if you calculate that on average away teams only ever had a 10 per cent chance of beating one of Mourinho’s sides (for some, like Gijón, it might be a lot less, but for others, like Sporting Lisbon, AC Milan, Manchester United or Barcelona, it would be a lot more), the odds against going unbeaten for 150 matches are more than seven million to one. The London Review Of Books on the home advantage in sports.
posted by veedubya on Jul 5, 2011 - 39 comments

Here There Be Dayton Dragons

Who holds the longest home sell-out streak in professional sports? The Red Sox have the longest streak in major league baseball, just under 700 games (and counting.) The Washington Redskins have sold out 348 straight home games, a streak dating back to 1968. But the longest streak belongs to the Portland Trail Blazers, who sold out 814 straight home dates between 1977 and 1995. Yesterday, they were joined by the Dayton Dragons of the Class A Midwest League, whose victory over the Bowling Green Hot Rods marked their 814th straight sellout. The Dragons, despite playing in an economically troubled mid-sized city, have sold out every home game the team has ever played, drawing over 8,000 fans a game, better than most AAA clubs. Dragons manager Delino DeShields was last seen on MetaFilter as a hitting coach in the independent Pioneer League. General manager Gary Mayse explains how the Dragons have found success in hard economic times.
posted by escabeche on Jul 3, 2011 - 35 comments

Stiff Sock

The Amarillo Sox are an American Association (independent) baseball team in the panhandle of Texas. They recently commissioned a new mascot costume. The results were unsatisfactory.
posted by hippybear on Jul 2, 2011 - 52 comments

Diary of a Summer League Ballplayer

70 games in 75 days in the Northwoods League. Andrew Barna, a varsity baseball player at Davidson College during the school year, is spending the summer playing first base for the Madison Mallards. The Mallards are currently a half game back of the Eau Claire Express in the Northwoods League, a summer developmental league where NCAA athletes play for room, board, the adulation of devoted Upper Midwest fans, and the slim hope of making it to the bigs. (Northwoods alums in the majors include Ian Kinsler (Mallards), Ben Zobrist (Wisconsin Woodchucks), and Juan Pierre (Manitowoc Skunks.) Barna's blog offers a look inside the real life of very-minor-league baseball: The best way to sleep on the team bus. Getting caught picking your nose on the field. Welcome back Jumpy Garcia. Signing your first breast.
posted by escabeche on Jun 23, 2011 - 16 comments

More Fucking Limber Than Water Itself

This next pitching stance is only attempted by the bravest of souls... SLYT - It starts a little slow, but hang in there until the 3:05 mark.
posted by figment of my conation on Jun 20, 2011 - 36 comments

2011 LeBron Championship Ring Replica Night

The Peoria Chiefs, the Class A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs, are hosting a 2011 Lebron Championship Ring giveaway at their ballpark tomorrow night.
posted by drewski on Jun 15, 2011 - 85 comments

Dressed to the #9's

Dressed to the Nines: A History of the Baseball Uniform. Explore the different parts of the uniform, or browse a timeline. Features a fully searchable Uniform Database. Thanks to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. Reload the front page for two fresh quotes.
posted by not_on_display on Jun 3, 2011 - 32 comments

Collision at the Plate

Last night, in a 7-6 loss to the Florida Marlins, the San Francisco Giants suffered what could potentially be a devastating loss when their prized catcher, 24-year old Buster Posey, in an attempt to block the plate and prevent a run from scoring, injured his leg in a gruesome collision (somewhat graphic mlb.com video). Following the game, his agent is questioning MLB rules surrounding home plate collisions. Analysts across the game are (ESPN Insider, subscription required) also wondering...is it time for a change? Some historical context on collisions at home plate. It's also just recently been reported that Posey has broken his leg and torn ligaments, which is a shame for such a promising and exciting player.
posted by arm426 on May 26, 2011 - 93 comments

Time In A Bottle

Before his death, Mickey Mantle spoke to Sports Illustrated about the effect that alcoholism had on his life and career. [more inside]
posted by reenum on May 25, 2011 - 25 comments

The official blog of notorious former African dictator Mobutu Sese Seko

Et tu, Mr. Destructo? is a funny, insightful blog that covers everything from politics to film to sports and mystery novels.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn on May 23, 2011 - 20 comments

Rain Delay Antics

Clemson Baseball vs. Davidson Rain Delay Antics Moose hunting? Curling? Bowling? How this university's baseball team entertained during a rain delay. (SLYTHilarity)
posted by jillithd on May 19, 2011 - 19 comments

Long Live The Killer

"The Killer," Harmon Killebrew, a slugger for the Minnesota Twins (formerly Washington Senators) has died today at 74. [more inside]
posted by Clinging to the Wreckage on May 17, 2011 - 33 comments

Pitcher’s Treatment Draws Scrutiny

Bartolo Colon, now of the New York Yankees, underwent a controversial stem-cell treatment in the Dominican Republic to regain his old form.
posted by reenum on May 12, 2011 - 23 comments

Bill Gallo joins General Von Steingrabber in the bleachers

Bill Gallo, longtime NY Daily News Sports Cartoonist, is dead at age 88. If you grew up in the NYC area anytime from the the 50s until this April, you've probably seen one of Gallo's cartoons in the Daily News. Although he covered all sports and their fans, blue collar sports like boxing and baseball were his real love. Gallo was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota, NY as part of the Class of 2001 and some of his work hangs in the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY. [more inside]
posted by tommasz on May 11, 2011 - 12 comments

Is teacher evaluation statistical voodoo?

"Value-added modeling is promoted because it has the right pedigree -- because it is based on "sophisticated mathematics." As a consequence, mathematics that ought to be used to illuminate ends up being used to intimidate." John Ewing, president of Math for America and former executive director of the American Mathematical Society, criticizes the "value-added modeling" approach used as a proxy for teacher quality, most famously in a Los Angeles Times story that called out low-scoring teachers by name. A Brookings Institution paper says value-added modeling is flawed but the best measure we have of teacher value, arguing that the metric's wide fluctuations from year to year are no worse than those of batting averages in baseball. (Though the weakness of that correlation is mostly a BABIP issue.) Can we assign a numerical value to teacher quality? If so, how?
posted by escabeche on Apr 27, 2011 - 62 comments

My Mets Journal

"My NY Mets sketchbook. I create an entry after each Mets game or commentary on the crazy stuff going on around the team."
posted by clorox on Apr 20, 2011 - 9 comments

Oh, doctor!

Baseball fans: Curious how far that home run went? Try HitTracker. [more inside]
posted by starman on Apr 19, 2011 - 6 comments

Vicarious hirsutedness

Whiskerino is no more, Goatee Groundhog Day has come and gone and Moustache May is still a few weeks off. Whose fecund, feral, facial hair can sustain us in the meantime? None other than Brian Wilson, closing pitcher of the San Francisco Giants, and his virtual beard. Touch it!
posted by mostlymuppet on Apr 13, 2011 - 24 comments

Waiting For Manny

The recently retired Manny Ramirez was one of the most inscrutable players in recent history. Ben McGrath of the New Yorker attempted to figure out Ramirez's motivations in this 2007 piece.
posted by reenum on Apr 11, 2011 - 32 comments

Who's the kid?

Archived Baseball photos from 1917-1956 Today, the Boston Public Library will publish on the Internet the first 100 of a trove of nearly 3,000 rarely seen baseball photographs taken by Leslie Jones, who worked for the Boston Herald and the Boston Traveler from 1917 to 1956. Moments preserved by the shutter and squirreled away in his Dorchester basement, where he kept tens of thousands of images. The Boston Globe has a selection published here. The first batch of snapshots was released to coincide with today’s Opening Day at Fenway Park. Library staff plan to upload several dozen more images each week until all 2,881 photos are online. The project is part of a broader initiative by the library to give the public unfettered access to Jones’s entire archive of tens of thousands of images. He photographed car wrecks and ice-crusted fishing trawlers; shot luminaries like Albert Einstein and Amelia Earhart; and the people of Boston.
posted by Gungho on Apr 8, 2011 - 18 comments

Songs of Spring, Boys of Summer

Talkin' Baseball: Cali, Cardinals, Giants, Mets, Red Sox, Tigers, Twins, Yankees, The Simpsons softball. [more inside]
posted by IvoShandor on Apr 1, 2011 - 44 comments

The Outfielder Was a Poet

Chicago Cubs outfielder Fernando Perez has published his poems in Poetry and The Southern Review. He studied creative writing at Columbia, just like James Franco. He is into Robert Creeley. He has a twitter feed. His career batting average is .234 but he's hitting only .161 in the Cactus League and might not make the big league club. Spring Training is the cruelest month.
posted by escabeche on Mar 22, 2011 - 15 comments

Drawings of Players in the Baseball Hall of Fame

Every Hall of Famer is a blog where Summer Anne Burton is drawing pictures of all 295 members of the baseball Hall of Fame. She started in January and plans to finish by the end of the year. Here's an interview with her about the project. The drawings include telling bits of information and cool quotes. It's a fun way to learn about baseball history. Here are three of my favorites so far: Charles Radbourne, Dan Brouthers and Grover Cleveland Alexander.
posted by Kattullus on Mar 8, 2011 - 27 comments

Lack a soul? There's still a team for you!

What Baseball Team Should I Root For? (image) Now you can establish a lasting emotional bond through the magic of pure logic.
posted by ardgedee on Mar 3, 2011 - 157 comments

Death of a Mentor

Harvey Dorfman, author of The Mental ABCs of Pitching and The Mental Game of Baseball, died on February 28th. A sports psychologist, Dorfman counseled hundreds of baseball players, mentoring some of the best players in the modern era. Mike Pelfrey called Dorfman after nearly every start. Roy Halladay, before he was "Doc," went to see the Dorfman and continues to give his book on pitching to all young pitchers. A 2009 profile of "Dr. Baseball" explained how Dorfman worked, "One week I’m Hamlet, the next week I'm Bozo. You come to me with a certain disposition; I better know who to play…. I am neither an asshole nor a saint, in totality. I am whatever is required at the moment."
posted by gladly on Mar 1, 2011 - 2 comments

Willie Lives

Edwin Donald "Duke" Snider, also known as "The Silver Fox," has passed away at the age of 84. Snider played for the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers for the bulk of his career, in which he hit 40 or more home runs in 5 consecutive seasons and hit the last home run in Ebbets Field. Inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1980, Snider was the least-known of the famed trio of New York center fielders from the 1950s, but enjoyed a resurgence in popularity after his induction and the release of "Willie, Mickey, & the Duke" in 1981. Mickey Mantle died in 1995, but Willie Mays is still going strong.
posted by waitingtoderail on Feb 27, 2011 - 14 comments

Coach Walt

Wake Forest University's slogan for their baseball team in 2011 is 'What are you willing to sacrifice to help make this team better?' "Head coach Tom Walter's intent was to have his players thinking about sacrifice bunts, moving runners over, and giving up personal glory to help the Demon Deacons improve as a team. But what Walter chose to sacrifice is greater than simply hanging in on a curve ball and taking one for the team. Walter gave up a kidney." [more inside]
posted by zarq on Feb 13, 2011 - 6 comments

Sabermetrician in exile

Sabermetrician in Exile. Voros McCracken's radical idea -- that pitchers have very little ability to induce batters to hit into outs, and succeed mostly insofar as they can strike out a lot of hitters and give up few home runs and walks -- has changed the way baseball teams are constructed. (Heard of BABIP? That's him.) Every major league team has employees who rely on McCracken's insights. McCracken, struggling to make his rent in suburban Phoenix, isn't one of them.
posted by escabeche on Feb 12, 2011 - 20 comments

Just a Game?

Donnie Moore was the California Angels' relief ace in 1986. After he gave up a home run that began the Angels' collapse in the ALCS, Moore's life and psyche steadily deteriorated, until he committed suicide in 1989. Steve Hofstetter wrote about Moore and the divergent paths taken by other athletes in similar situations.
posted by reenum on Feb 11, 2011 - 17 comments

Addictive as heck baseball game

The Baseball Club is a game by MetaFilter favorite Taro Ito, best known for Dice Wars. In The Baseball Club you take control of a high school baseball team and attemp to lead them to victory in The World Baseball Tournament. You keep each player for three seasons and train them in batting practice. Warning: Absurdly addictive.
posted by Kattullus on Feb 10, 2011 - 35 comments

Rusty Torres Was At Three Baseball Riots

In 1972, with two outs in the bottom of the 9th inning in the last game the Washington Senators played before moving to Texas, the crowd flooded onto the field, ruining a thrilling late-game comeback over the Yankees. In 1974, the Cleveland Indians tripled attendance by offering Ten Cent Beer Night, but ended up wielding bats against their own fans to protect the visiting Rangers. In 1979, the plan to blow up disco records on the field between the two games of a double-header in Chicago led to riots and fires. And Rusty Torres was on the field all three times.
posted by Plutor on Feb 9, 2011 - 19 comments

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