Down by three runs with runners at first and second and one out in last night's first-ever NL Wildcard Playoff Game, Braves' shortstop Andrelton Simmons hit a pop fly to left field. Cardinals' shortstop Pete Kozma went back to make the catch but broke off at the last second, and the ball dropped. The runners advanced, and almost everyone thought it was bases loaded with one out. But left-field umpire Sam Holbrook invoked the infield fly rule, and so, Simmons was out on the play. Video of the whole thing here. Braves fans were not happy. [more inside]
Their last winning season came in 1997. Only one member of their Opening Day starting rotation remains, a 27-year-old from Taiwan who hadn't pitched in the majors before this year. The others have been replaced by a Red Sox cast-off picked up from the Mexican League, an ex-prospect with a career ERA of 5.5 in his first three years, and the son of one of their former pitchers, a throw-in in a 2009 trade with the Dodgers. They have only one regular hitting over .270, they're missing two-thirds of their Opening Day outfield, and their 20-year-old third baseman started the year at AA. Nate Silver's PECOTA projection system reckoned they'd finish in last place, 24 games behind the Yankees. And tomorrow night, the Baltimore Orioles will play their first postseason game in 15 years. [more inside]
Miguel Cabrera has won the Triple Crown. The list of Triple Crown winners is quite short (considering that Major League Baseball is 136 years old). [more inside]
The Long, Strange Trip of Dock Ellis. ESPN's Outside the Lines has created a digital reading experience worthy of its subject matter. [more inside]
"For each inch a player grows above 5'6", announcers are 2 percent less likely to praise him with intangibles."
The product of a successful Kickstarter project, a study has been released focusing on subconscious racism in baseball announcing. [more inside]
Bill "Spaceman" Lee wins a professional baseball game at 65. The former Red Sox pitcher and co-author of "The Wrong Stuff" went all nine innings for the San Rafael Pacifics of the North American League, beating the Maui Na Koa Ikaika by a score of 9-4. He also batted for himself and singled in a run. Take that, Roger Clemens!
"Facing a 50-game suspension for doping, San Francisco Giants outfielder Melky Cabrera created a phony website and a fake product in an attempt to dodge the ban by proving he inadvertently ingested a banned substance, according to a report."
As you know, Bob, Bill James revolutionised baseball with sabermetrics, statistical analyisis of how the game is actually played. In football (soccer that is) this revolution is long overdue, as it has largely lagged behind American sports in its use of data analysis. Now however there's a chance for somebody clever to become football's Bill James, as Manchester City is going to release all player data and analysises from the 2011-12 season.
Felix Hernandez of the Seattle Mariners has pitched the Major League's
24th 23rd perfect game, in a 12-strikeout, 1-0 win over the Tampa Bay Rays. You can watch an abbreviated video showing all 27 outs in succession at mlb.com here (6:08). [more inside]
Who is the world's greatest athlete? Is it Kelly Slater? Is it Jesse Owens? Maybe. If you ask Josh Wilker, proprietor of Cardboard Gods, one thing is certain, it will be a player from his childhood baseball card collection [more inside]
Johhny Pesky, longtime member of the Boston Red Sox has passed away at the young age of 92. More famous for the right field foul pole named after he hit one of his only 6 Fenway Park home runs as it swung around the pole, the erstwhile manager spent nearly his entire 73 year baseball career with the Boston Red Sox. Much like teammate Ted Williams Johhny left baseball during his prime to fight in World War Two
Tonight, for only the third time in Major League Baseball history, a player (Kendrys Morales of the Los Angeles Angels) hit two home runs in the same inning, one from each side of the plate. Morales' second home run of the inning was a grand slam, his first since the ill-fated events of 5/29/10, when he suffered a freak ankle injury jumping onto home plate in celebration of his game-winning hit, just as his career was really beginning to take off. Morales subsequently missed nearly two full seasons of baseball, returning just this year.
In 2009, Sports Illustrated investigated the strange and perilous financial lives of professional athletes. [more inside]
A group of Kenyan students re-enact Bill Buckner's error leading to the Mets winning run in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series. Here's the original play. Previously
Former major leaguer and current minor league manager Wally Backman says some very colorful things. The full censored episodes are online (starting with Episode 1: Where's Wally Backman?) Mostly NSFW. [more inside]
Mets pitcher Johan Santana has just thrown the first no-hitter in the fifty-year history of the New York Mets.
Of the 17,808 players (and counting) who’ve run up the dugout steps and onto a Major League field, only 974 have had one-game careers. [...] The Cup of Coffee club is filled exclusively with people who do not want to be members.
NYTimes: The Glory and Pain of Pitching. Bobby Ojeda, starting pitcher for one of the greatest games in the history of Major League Baseball, takes us into the mind of the career athlete and his relationship with a constant companion -- pain.
"I'm just looking for a second chance. Other people get second chances. Alcoholics. Drug addicts. Spousal beaters. Not gamblers, though. But, if you want to put something on my tombstone that was very important to me, it’s 1,972. That’s how many winning games I’ve played in. So that makes me the biggest winner in the history of sports. No one else can say that." Here, Now is a short documentary that looks at baseball legend Pete Rose, as he lives his life today. [more inside]
The Eephus League presents: a web magazine about baseball.
"A great ballclub, a beautiful demonstration of what talent can do when assembled with planning and guided by intelligence." - Bill James, on the 1986 New York Mets [more inside]
If you were watching the Orioles-A's game from Camden Yards tonight, you saw a guy playing the National Anthem on an electric violin made out of a baseball bat. This is how that looks and sounds. This is the guy talking about and showing off his Louisville Slugger violin. And this is the Washington Post profile of Glenn Donnellan, a violinist with the National Symphony Orchestra and the maker and player of the world's only electric baseball bat violin.
Phil Humber, pitcher for the Chicago White Sox, playing vs. the Seattle Mariners, today pitched the 20th regular season perfect game (and 21st overall) in Major League Baseball history.
Fenway Park, in Boston, is a lyric little bandbox of a ballpark. Everything is painted green and seems in curiously sharp focus, like the inside of an old-fashioned peeping-type Easter egg. It was built in 1912 and rebuilt in 1934, and offers, as do most Boston artifacts, a compromise between Man's Euclidean determinations and Nature's beguiling irregularities. So wrote John Updike in his moving tribute to Red Sox legend Ted Williams -- an appropriately pedigreed account for this oldest and most fabled of ballfields that saw its first major league game played one century ago today. As a team in flux hopes to recapture the magic with an old-school face-off against the New York
Highlanders Yankees, it's hard to imagine the soul of the Sox faced the specter of demolition not too long ago. Now legally preserved, in a sport crowded with corporate-branded superdome behemoths, Fenway abides, bursting with history, idiosyncrasy, record crowds, and occasional song. [more inside]
Bedridden, bored as all hell, and finally surrounded by a rare quiet, [John Burgeson] thought about the IBM 1620, and how its algorithmic alacrity bordered on self-learning, and realized, maybe deliriously, that the machine had the capability of making a little baseball simulator.The Lost Founder of Baseball Video Games
Opening Day is upon us once again. As always, there are a ton of predictions being made for the season. [more inside]
What do in-state college baseball rivals do when there's a rain delay? Two words: dance off. [more inside]
At the age of 49 years and 4 months, Jamie Moyer of the Colorado Rockies is the oldest baseball player to ever earn a regular roster spot on a Major League Baseball team (Satchel Paige pitched 3 innings in a 1965 game at age 59 as a publicity stunt). There are many current players, including some of the game's best, who weren't even born when Moyer made his MLB debut, making Moyer's feat all the more impressive.
This is a clip of Tim Kurkjian, a major league baseball analyst known for his citation of obscure statistics and unorthodox sources. These are clips of baseball players imitating Tim Kurkjian, plus ensuing hilarity. [via]
In 1990, the avenues of information we have today weren't around. So what was a baseball fan who wanted to know the score of a game elsewhere in the country to do? Compile a list of pay phone numbers at stadiums and get the score from passers by who picked up.
Last October, the newly rebranded Miami Marlins released an artist's rendering of a tacky home run celebration structure that would be built in their new stadium, to widespread derision. With the offseason nearing its end, the structure has moved from concept sketch to reality. Initial reactions note that the structure is mind-bogglingly enormous, and maybe actually kind of awesome. Recently, stadium staff gave the structure a test run.
Happy birthday to Nancy Bea Hefley, the LA Dodgers stadium organist since 1988!
Not Guilty! Not exactly innocent... Ryan Braun, the left fielder for the Milwaukee Brewers, won the Most Valuable Player award in 2011. Through a test report that was leaked to the New York Times, it was learned that Braun had tested positive for performance enhancing drugs. He has repeated that he is innocent and rumors have swirled around what supplement he was taking that could have lead to a false positive. His suspension was overturned today because of a technicality. "There was improper protocol followed in the collection of Braun's urine, the persons said, noting the collection was stored and refrigerated at the home of one of the drug administers, but not sent immediately to the drug testing lab." The reaction to this is mixed.
Hard decision as to what link to provide, but Gary Carter, the Hall of Fame catcher whose single for the New York Mets in the 1986 World Series touched off one of the most improbable rallies in postseason history, died Thursday. He was 57. You'll be remembered, Kid.
Hu's on First - an update of the classic Abbott and Costello routine, using names of (real) modern baseball players. [more inside]
"To get something like that, something that belongs to you," Jones says of that monthly pension, "it makes a big difference in your life." And for that, the 84-year-old Jones has an accomplice to thank. For he would not have had evidence of the extent of his Negro League service time and his pension eligibility if the Center for Negro League Baseball Research's best gumshoe hadn't been assigned to the case.
The new weblog Collecting Candy hits it out of the park with their first post Big League Chew – Retrospective of an American Original.
You may not know who the Costacos Brothers are. But if you were a sports fan in the US during the 1980's, chances are that you had one of their posters up in your room.
Pictures are making the rounds of a younger Ron Paul in the 1975-1979 Houston Astros "rainbow" uniform. Why, you might ask? "An 1889 editorial in the New York Sun advised 'all statesmen of any aspirations for the future to consider that if they have not yet recorded themselves as lovers of our national game [baseball] or some other sporting interest, they should do so immediately.'" This isn't lost on the 21st-century GOP hopefuls, either (you have to see the Rick Santorum video). Since not long after that editorial--1909 actually--the "two parties" in the U.S. Congress have faced off in the Annual Congressional Baseball Game. [more inside]
In July 2011, Uganda's Little League baseball team became the first African team to qualify for the Little League World Series, which was held in Williamsport, Pa., in August 2011. After beating the the 22-time World League qualifying Arabian American Little League squad from Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, the Ugandan team couldn't take part in the world series after their visas were denied (NYT; alt: HuffPo), due to concerns about birth certificate validity, but that's not the end of their story. The Canadian team from Langley raised funds to travel to Uganda, giving the Ugandan team the match they were denied. [more inside]
Cleveland Indians pitcher Fausto Carmona was arrested today in the Dominican Republic and charged with using a false identity. [more inside]
a human being as plated with artisanal finesse at a Michelin-star restaurant, with a head as garnish
William Faulkner's ballot for the 2012 Baseball Hall of Fame election.
"The time has passed when the public will any longer swallow the palpable falsehood that a home run is no better than a scratch single." (PDF) Before Brad Pitt; before Michael Lewis, before Billy Beane; before Bill James; and long, long, before the Society for American Baseball Research, there was F.C. Lane. [more inside]
The votes are in, and former Chicago Cub, Ron Santo is this year's only inductee into the Baseball Hall of Fame, one year after his death. (previously discussed)
The Miami Marlins have a new logo. Reaction is less than favorable. But the new identity pales in comparison to the homerun feature that will play in the stadium. Reaction.
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."