Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Why do you oppose safety for the players?

You say you do but you really don't.  Yankee fans want their pitchers to make David Ortiz uncomfortable.  No, not throw at him, just pitch inside.  Yeah, right.  Ortiz would only become uncomfortable if he is terrified of serious injury, possible death.  Make penalties for hitting batters flush, especially in the head, such that pitchers simply won't do it.

I've advocated eliminating the catching position.  No one supports that.  Why?  It's part of the game, the universal excuse for doing nothing.  At least now catchers are examined for concussion.  What, you thought all those years that getting belted in the head by foul balls multiple times a game did no damage?

60 years ago when batting helmets were being introduced, players resisted but so did fans.  Why change things?  After all only one player, Ray Chapman, had been killed by being hit in the head with a pitch.

No pitchers have been killed, so why should changes be made to protect pitchers?

The Top Priority: Safety or Vanity?
Alex Torres Stands Alone Wearing Safer Isoblox Hat
By BILLY WITZJULY 22, 2014  The New York Times

Since Torres began wearing the cap in a June 21 game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, he has been laughed at by opponents, razzed by teammates and mocked by fans. But he is resolute about wearing it...

Mets pitcher Dillon Gee is glad there is an option to wear a more protective cap, but he views the danger of being hit as an unlikely occupational hazard, reasoning that there are millions of pitches thrown during the course of a baseball season.

“Yes, it’s dangerous and can be life-threatening, but unless you’re out there pitching with a hockey mask, you’re not going to be totally protected,” he said.

I can remember when hockey goalies did not wear a mask.  At one time baseball catchers did not wear masks.

I've advocated padding the walls with the stuff in the bottom of the pole vault pit.  Failing that, make catching a fly on the warning path not an out; this reduces the chances of a fielder running into a wall.  But most fans prefer for their amusement that players run full speed into a wall while looking in the opposite direction.  Amazing that's not an Olympic sport.

Randy Johnson August 27, 2008
by SD Dirk via Wikimedia Commons
If pitchers are not required to wear a hockey mask, then they must be moved back or placed behind the protective screen used in batting practice.  Basic fairness dictates that pitches should be released from the same distance, not that the pitchers start their motions from the same distance.  Yankee relief pitcher David Robertson is 5'11" but has one of the longest strides.  He essentially leaps off the mound and releases the ball much closer than he would without a mound.  That simulates more speed and less reaction time for the batter, both to hit and to duck.  Eliminate the mound.  It's just a groundskeeping oddity.

Two Hall of Fame pitchers demonstrate how silly the 60'6" rule is.  By the way, that distance is measured to the BACK of home plate, not the FRONT, so the pitcher 17 inches closer than you probably think.  Whitey Ford is 5'10", Randy Johnson is 6'10".  With that extra foot in height, Johnson must have released his pitches much closer to home plate than Ford.  How is that fair?  It's an advantage that probably dwarfs that of performance enhancing drugs (PED).

The ball could also be made less lively.

So, why do you oppose safety for the players?

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Could Mickey Mantle still hit in his final season? Only in "Casino".

Why take a chance?  That's the conclusion reached in the 1995 movie Casino when the Mafia leaders are deciding the fate of Andy Stone played by Alan King.  They go around the table stating what a stand-up guy Stone is until they get to the final leader, Remo, who says "Why take a chance?".  They all nod in agreement and there's a quick switch to the next scene with Andy Stone being shot in a parking lot.

By 1968 the main attribute of Mickey Mantle's batting was that he was the only player other than Carl Yastrzemski with at least 100 walks in the American League (AL).  AL batting average, still including pitchers in those days, was .230, so The Mick's career low .237 was still three percent higher.  But Mick also had career lows in:
SLG .398
OPS .784
BA righty at home: .190
SLG lefty road: .326

Click this link for excruciating detail on Mickey Mantle's Righty/Lefty Home/Road splits not found elsewhere.

OK, back in 1968 On Base plus Slugging averages (OPS) wasn't considered and walks were largely viewed as nothing, a free pass as they were called.  But people knew that Yaz was the only AL batter with a .300 BA: .301.  So, Mick's .237 got a little sympathy in the year of the pitcher but not much.

Mantle's OPS+, boosted almost exclusively by his 106 walks, was his third worst:
1968 143
1965 137
1951 117
career 172

Mantle was one for his final 18 at bats.  One for ten bunting with five strike outs in 1968.  Career bunting: .527.  Bunting in the World Series: 7 for 8 (.875).  Batting righty on the road in 1968: .230 BA.  Mantle couldn't hit righty and he couldn't even bunt.  He must have been frustrated and humiliated.  That's why he retired.

But who would suggest that The Mick could still hit in his final season?  This clown:

Misremembering Mantle’s Final Season
By Jason Epstein
July 21, 2014 11:00 AM

Mantle was the most productive Yankee on the 1968 roster. Only Roy White’s 137 OPS+ was in the neighborhood of his 143...

Mantle’s on-base percentage was a robust .385, second in the Junior Circuit to Yaz’s .426 and fourth-best overall...

Tom Tresh Baseball Digest
front cover, October 1962 via Wiki Commons
Tom Tresh, 29, had sunk to a .195 BA; 90 OPS+.  Joe Pepitone, 27, was surprisingly good: 120 OPS+ but with only 421 plate appearances to The Mick's 547.  Andy Kosco, 26: 100 OPS+.  Heck, Bobby Cox played third base.

This is the Eddie Gaedel effect.

Send in the midgets!  Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Eddie Gaedel pinch hit for the St. Louis Browns. Gaedel was 3 feet 7 inches tall. He walked.

Is Walking Hitting?  Wednesday, May 2, 2012

We can dig up Babe Ruth's remains, place it in the batters box and eventually the Babe will get credit for yet another walk.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Bean and boot mean head and foot, not body and bobble.

Yankee announcer Micheal Kay is not alone in mangling baseball lexicon.  Many modern media people get these terms wrong.  But I hear Kay do it most often, including yesterday when an infielder let a routine grounder skip off his glove and Kay immediately exclaimed that the fielder booted it.

Bean: a term referring to the head, especially concerning common sense.  As a verb: being hit in the head.

Boot: obviously, something worn on the foot.  Verb: to boot a ground ball means to kick it with a foot.

In Micheal Kay Land, despite his being a graduate of Fordham University in the Bronx, these two simple terms have come to mean:

bean: hit by pitch on any part of the body;

boot: any infield error on a ground ball.

Maybe this confusion is what leads Kay to describe a batter being smashed with a fastball travelling in excess of 90 miles per hour as being plunked, which hardly connotes the potential damage.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

42, the movie, revisited.

By now you're probably sick of it.  Movie reviews by people who never review movies.  During the All Star break I happened upon an HBO showing of the 2013 movie 42, which I had already seen multiple times on TV.  I picked it up shortly before the Ben Chapman scene, when the Philadelphia manager taunts protagonist Jackie Robinson.  Here are some things I noticed in the remainder of the movie.

SABR bio
1. Enos Slaughter supposedly intentionally spiked Robinson who was playing first base in his rookie season.  The movie indicates that this occurred in Brooklyn in August.

Why Brooklyn?  Why wouldn't Slaughter do it in St. Louis?

Why August?  Robinson played from 1947 through 1956.  In the old 154 game schedule, which was used in both of the two independent major leagues through 1960, each team played its seven opponents 22 times, eleven home, eleven road.  Slaughter already had plenty of opportunity to vent any racial animosity well before August.  Maybe it was the fever of the pennant race.  St. Louis had won the World Series in 1946, the previous season.  Slaughter might have felt threatened by the Brooklyn team.  Still, the timing seems odd.  Here's the first game between the teams in 1947:

Tuesday, May 6, 1947, , Ebbets Field
Attendance: 18,971, Time of Game: 2:55
Dodgers 7 (10-3, 1st), Cardinals 6 (3-12, 8th, 8 GB)

Slaughter and Robinson were both was 2 for 5.  Where was Slaughter's ire?

The Dodgers swept a doubleheader against St. Louis in Brooklyn Aug. 18: 7-5, 12-3, then lost individual games each of the next two days: 11-3, 3-2.  The teams played next in St. Louis Sept. 11, 12, 13.  So, I'm guessing that the spiking occurred in game one August 18; Dodgers won 7-5.  In the movie the game was in Brooklyn and Robinson was spiked late in a close game.  By then the teams would have already played 15 games in 1947.

Monday, August 18, 1947, , Ebbets Field
Attendance: 33,723, Time of Game: 2:33
First game of doubleheader
Dodgers 7 (72-45, 1st), Cardinals 5 (64-49, 2nd, 7 GB)

Slaughter hit a triple in four at bats; scored one, one RBI.  Robinson hit a home run in three at bats, plus a walk; scored 2, one RBI.  Batting second in the first inning Robinson homered; Brooklyn scored another run and led 2-0 after one inning.  I don't recall the movie showing Robinson homering, which would be odd if this is the game.  In the top of the second Slaughter tripled and scored the first of two Cardinal runs.  Tie game 2-2.  With the Cardinals trailing 7-4 Slaughter grounded out in the 6th and 8th.  In the 8th after Slaughter  made the second out advancing Stan Musial to second, Terry Moore doubled in Musial making it 7-5, the final score.  Dodger starter Vic Lombardi pitched into the 9th when Hugh Casey relieved him after a single and a walk.

However, that's not the game according to the SABR bio of Slaughter:

The Redbirds faced off against the Dodgers on August 20, 1947 at Ebbets Field, in another battle of first- and second-place teams. With the score tied at two in the top of the 11th inning, Musial was on first base. Slaughter hit a Hugh Casey offering to first base, which was fielded by Jackie Robinson, who looked to second, thought better of it, and ran to first base to record the out. As Robinson turned toward the field of play to ensure that Musial did not take off for third base, Slaughter was coming hard down the line and spiked Robinson’s right ankle, causing Robinson to clutch his ankle in tremendous pain. He was able to remain in the game after receiving treatment.

The Dodgers lost that game 3-2 in 12 innings.  St. Louis pulled within five games of Brooklyn, only three back in the loss column.  The movie suggests that Brooklyn won the game.  And isn't Robinson shown taking a throw?

2. The banishment of two Dodger players, Kirby Higbe and Dixie Walker, to Pittsburgh by Dodger general manager Branch Rickey seems timed more for the benefit of the team than to remove a thorn in Robinson's side.  Both deals greatly improved the Dodgers on the field.  But the movie makes both seem part of the morality play.  Let's take a look.

Kirby Higbe is shown in the movie complaining in the Dodger clubhouse about being traded to Pittsburgh.  But Higbe is 32 years old and though he was 22-9 on the previous Dodger pennant winner in 1941 by 1947 his ERA in 15 innings is 5.17.

May 3, 1947: Traded by the Brooklyn Dodgers with Hank Behrman, Dixie Howell, Gene Mauch and Cal McLish to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Al Gionfriddo and $100,000.

Gionfriddo, of course, is famous for making a possible home run saving catch against Joe DiMaggio at Yankee Stadium in the World Series, prompting DiMaggio to display annoyance by kicking dirt as he approached second base.

Maybe not such a smart trade but Rickey got a cut of the money received in trades.  Pitcher Cal McLish was 21 and threw over 1,500 innings for other teams through 1964.

Dixie Walker was a starting outfielder on the 1947 Dodgers.  Whatever problem Walker caused regarding Robinson, Rickey kept Walker on the team the entire season.  Why?
BA: .306
OBP: .415
SLG: .427
OPS: .842
OPS+: 121

Then why trade him after the season?  Walker was already 36 years old.

December 8, 1947: Traded by the Brooklyn Dodgers with Hal Gregg and Vic Lombardi to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Billy Cox, Gene Mauch and Preacher Roe.
October 1, 1949: Released by the Pittsburgh Pirates.

These two players helped Brooklyn win during their years there (1948-1954):

Billy Cox became the Dodger third baseman for most of his years in Brooklyn: .

Preacher Roe was a starting pitcher: 93-37, ERA 3.26, ERA+ 124; 22-3 in 1951.

3. Eddie Stanky, second baseman, is portrayed in the movie as a good guy, even defending Robinson against the primary antagonist, Ben Chapman.  But before the 1948 season Rickey also traded Stanky.  That's not mentioned in the movie epilogue.

March 6, 1948: Traded by the Brooklyn Dodgers with a player to be named later to the Boston Braves for a player to be named later, Bama Rowell, Ray Sanders and $40,000. The Boston Braves sent $60,000 (April 18, 1948) to the Brooklyn Dodgers to complete the trade. The Brooklyn Dodgers sent Ray Sanders (April 18, 1948) to the Boston Braves to complete the trade.

4.  Fritz Ostermueller is another villain.  Ostermueller is a 39 year old left handed starting pitcher for Pittsburgh.  Early in the season Ostermueller hits Robinson in the head with a pitch in Robinson's first plate appearance against him.  Later in the movie Robinson gets the ultimate revenge by hitting the pennant winning home run off Ostermueller Sept. 17, 1947.  Except that the game is in Pittsburgh so the implication that it's a walk off homer is obviously incorrect.  Plus, it gave the Dodgers a 1-0 lead ... in the fourth inning.  Robinson was the only batter hit by Ostermueller in 1947 but the movie implies that after Robinson is hit his next opportunity is that late season game.  Actually, Robinson had 25 plate appearances against Ostermueller in 1947.  In the second game Ostermueller pitched against the Dodgers in 1947 Robinson hit a home run and two singles off Ostermueller.  For the 1947 season Robinson against Ostermueller:
BA: .429
OBP: .500
SLG: .762
OPS: 1.262

In 1948 Robinson had a double and walk in three PA against Ostermueller.

Finally, the music at the end reminded me of the 1968 movie 2001: A Space Odyssey.  In other words, a bit over the top.  The movie skips the part about the Dodgers losing the World Series to the Yankees in 1947 ... and 1949, 1952, 1953, 1956.  It zooms to 1955 and states that Robinson stole home in game one and that the Dodgers won that World Series, omitting the fact that Robinson was benched in game seven because he was not hitting:
BA: .182
OBP: .250
SLG: .318
OPS: .568

For 160 PA in 38 WS games in 6 WS, all against the New York Yankees:
BA: .234
OBP: .335
SLG: .343
OPS: .679

Wednesday, September 28, 1955, , Yankee Stadium I
Attendance: 63,869, Time of Game: 2:31
Yankees 6, Dodgers 5
SB: J. Robinson (1, Home off Whitey Ford/Yogi Berra)

The movie got that right but neglected to mention that Robinson's team still lost the game.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Home field/rule advantage in finals (World Series) even if it does not go seven games? And what about the integrity of grooving pitches in the All Star game? If you're not playing to win, then don't keep score.

For some time I've been pointing out that the real advantage of getting that extra home game in the tournament finals, also known as the World Series, is that there is also the advantage of the designated hitter (DH) rule since the dopey Major Baseball League (MBL) over which feeble minded commissioner Allan Huber "Bud" Selig presides has that rule only in the American Conference but not in the National Conference and the home team determines whether the DH rule applies.

I've maintained that this double advantage applies only in the unlikely case that the finals does the maximum seven games, figuring that before that the games are spit evenly.  However, I just read an article that suggests that starting at home with the rule advantage is an advantage itself and that it gives the home team a big advantage for the series even if it goes fewer than seven games.

2014 MLB All-Star Game has more meaning than you would think for playoff aspirants

By Thomas Boswell  July 16, 2014  Washington Post

... the past five years, the team with home field also won the title...

In those five World Series, three were closed out on a home field in a Game 6 or Game 7. And in the other two series, the winner took a two-games-to-none lead at home and won the title with a one-sided stomping. Ambush ’em at your home yard to start or else close out before your howlin’ mob...

the all-star winners holding an 8-3 World Series advantage so far ...

What wasn’t cool was Wainwright’s in-game interview with pool reporters when he said he had deliberately grooved two pitches to Jeter — his first and third pitches — to help him get a hit.

Adam Wainwright September 14, 2013
by Johnmaxmena2
via Wikimedia Commons
Say what?  Adam Wainwright grooved pitches for Derek Jeter?  In a game that counts?  Is Jeter going to write a book about that to inspire kids?  Where is Selig's sense of justice?  Where is his protection of the integrity of the game?  Did Selig even reprimand Wainwright?  Alex Rodriguez is approaching 100 games served of his full season PED suspension and Selig allows a player to do something substantive to lose the All Star game?  What the heck?

What if Verlander grooved one for Jeter as McLain did for Mantle?  Sunday, April 20, 2014

Suppose ... Justin Verlander, former Cy Young award winner, is about to face the Yankees iconic captain Derek Jeter in what everyone assumes will his final time at bat.  Verlander calls his catcher out to the mound and tells him that he is going to groove a pitch, throw a real meatball, and let Jeter get a hit, hopefully a home run...

on Sept. 19, 1968 ... Denny McLain indicated to Mickey Mantle and delivered a meatball intended for The Mick to hit out in what was understood to be his final plate appearance in Detroit...

Allan Huber "Bud" Selig, commissioner of the Major Baseball League (MBL) and zealous protector of what is righteous, might be faced with a real dilemma.

If you're not playing to win, then don't keep score.  I associate that with 1960 Cy Young award winner Vern Law.  It always made sense to me.  Pulling players just to get other players into the All Star game is bad enough but grooving pitches is unacceptable.  Even a dullard like Selig should understand that.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Bud Selig, do the right thing: free Alex Rodriguez! He's been suspended 94 games!

The issue is basic fairness, not whether you like Alex Rodriguez or Bud Selig or the Yankees.  It's the good old American sense of fair play.

I've written several appeals to the Major Baseball League (MBL) commissioner Allan Huber "Bud" Selig to bring back suspended player Alex Rodriguez who has now served 94 of his 162 game regular season sentence for PED use, which also includes possible playoff games for his team, currently the New York Yankees.  I mention the team because Yankee management seems to have no interest in interceding in this matter even though they need A-Rod both for his bat and to make the team less boring, something the original Steinbrenner (George) would never have allowed.  His kids share none of George's more dynamic, if petulant, qualities.

Alex Rodriguez July 15, 2008
by Rubenstein via Wikimedia Commons
Now that Selig has experienced more accolades during the All Star break than even his mammoth ego could possibly have anticipated, maybe he can finally consider the fate of his biggest failure.  If Selig can take credit for Derek Jeter, A-Rod's once best friend and teammate, Selig should also be held responsible for the bizarre fate of Rodriguez, made all the more puzzling because Selig's MBL doctor gave Rodriguez permission to use performance enhancing drugs (PED), including steroids, in 2007 and 2008.  The only things possibly more bizarre are:
1. the fact that Rodriguez did not mention this as a mitigating factor during his appeal of his suspension;
2. the mainstream media all but ignored this story after reporting it once.

Nelson Cruz started the All Star game at DH for the American Conference.  Cruz was one of the twelve players suspended for 50 games in 2013 at the same time as Rodriguez.  Ryan Braun was also suspended but for 65 games.  Why Rodriguez received a much harsher penalty of 211 games is still unclear.  Rodriguez was the only player to appeal. As such he played out he 2013 season after he returned from off season hip surgery.  Selig rushed to judgement in an obvious effort to preclude Rodriguez from playing any games in 2013 before the suspensions could be handed down.

Here are some of my posts in this:

The quality of mercy is not strained: commute the sentence of Alex Rodriguez.  Monday, March 10, 2014

Alex Rodriguez: make it 100 games, 35 more than any of the others served in 2013. Bring back A-Rod!  Monday, June 23, 2014

Bud Selig's doctor allowed Alex Rodriguez to use steroids. Is that enough mitigation to commute A-Rod's sentence?  Friday, July 4, 2014

Sunday, July 13, 2014

50 homers in last ten years: bet you can't name the sluggers.

Today I asked three knowledgeable baseball fans to name some of the batters who hit at least 50 home runs in the last ten years, 2004-2013.  None could name more than a couple.  They couldn't get Jose Bautista even when I gave the clue: Joey Bats.

I don't think I could have named very many had I not just looked at the list of home run leaders.  What's surprising is that between the explosion by Bonds, McGwire and Sosa and the recent decrease in which the National Conference leaders were below 40 homers in 2013 and 2011 and the American in 2009 and 2008, is that 50 homers were reached SEVEN times since 2004.  All but one of those seven was a franchise record, plus some non-fifty homer leaders set team records since 2004.  See this post:

Season Home Run record by team progressive.  Saturday, December 14, 2013

Andruw Jones May 13, 2007 by User Chrisjnelson via Wikimedia Commons

Friday, July 11, 2014

Sayonara, Yankees.

Masahiro Tanaka will pitch again for the New York Yankees either in September 2014 or in 2016.  If Tanaka needs Tommy John surgery on his right pitching elbow it will be 2016.  If rest and rehab are sufficient, Tanaka may return in September.  However, by then the Yankees may be out of contention.

This could be a blessing in disguise.  It could force the Yankees to rebuild rather than patch the sinking ship of aging players who don't even deserve to be called a team.  The Yankees started the season with no regular younger than 30.  Patching that is as silly as assembling the group in the first place.

Yankee management lacks both the intelligence and imagination to compete in the current environment.  During the early years of the Steinbrenner era, the Yankees could bludgeon the opposition by spending wildly on free agents.  There were so many that the Yankees could make mistakes but still succeed.  Starting with Reggie Jackson in 1977, the Yankees had many successes and failures but the net impact was generally positive.  Dave Winfield did not provide any championships as Jackson had but he was a success.  Not so for Steve Kemp, Dave Collins, Ruppert Jones, Jerry Mumfrey.  You get the idea.  Just spend, baby.  That was George's way and his kids are trying the same thing but times have changed.

1. The Yankees are no longer the only team with lots of TV money streaming in.
2. Other teams are using their new line of credit to lock up their own talented players when they are young and before they become free agents.  See Mike Trout, Clayton Kershaw.
3. The result in recent years has been less talented older free agents.  See Jacoby Ellsbury, Brain McCann, both of whom were gobbled up by the Yankees in the recent off season even though both filled spots that did not need filling nearly as much as gaping holes at several other positions.  The Yankees simply signed the players they thought were the best available and paid them like stars, which neither is.
4. More teams are getting smart, which the Yankees never were.  That only increases the Yankee problem.

The Yankees are dumb and unimaginative.  They're currently descending into the realm of the NBA Knicks, a team going through its second consecutive implosion in a decade.  The NBA has a pretty hard salary cap.  The Major Baseball League (MBL) has a soft cap.  From 2003 through 2012 the Yankees were the top spending team each year; the Dodgers in 2013 and 2014.  The Yankees exceeded the cap in every season, winning the championship in 2009.  Boston exceeded three times and won three championships.  Texas once.  Angels once.  That's it.  All other teams stayed under the cap.  St. Louis and San Francisco each won two championships.

Get the picture?  And it gets worse.  The Yankees have decent talent in the minors but no stars to either bring up or trade for veterans.  Tampa southpaw David Price, 2012 Cy Young award winner, may become available before the July 31 trading deadline but the Yankees do not have the top prospects to tempt Tampa into trading Price to the Yanks.

And the Yankees stubbornly insist on trying to qualify for the tournament every season, thinking their fans are as dumb as they are.  With the extra wild card spot introduced in 2012 it's much easier to slip into the tournament.  But do Yankee fans want their baseball team to be like the Knicks: qualify but be eliminated early?  After a couple of seasons of that few Yankees fans would find it acceptable.

Fans can tell the difference between this bunch and Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle.  And next season Derek Jeter will be gone.  No one wants to root for monument park.  The Yankees cannot cover up their failures with more uniform numbers retired or more plaques awarded to former players.
Red Buttons won the Acadamy Award for supporting actor in the 1957 film Sayonara
photo by Born Newborn Assoc. - PR agency via Wikimedia Commons

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

When will batters who insist on hitting into the teeth of the shift suffer financially?

At some point dumb batters will start being paid less because they refuse to adapt.  But how long will that take.  In my previous post I asked:

Shift fear up the chain of command: why are general managers afraid to order their managers to order their batters to bunt against the shift?

So when?  There's no sign of it.  General managers and managers are complicit.  We fans, too, for not realizing that any major league batter has the innate ability to bunt into a large unoccupied part of the playing area and that is much easier than waiting for the batter to change his style.  All I hear are dumb comments from fans to that suggestion:

1. Well, the batter could try hitting the other way.
2. Some batters cannot bunt.
3. Bunting requires more skill than you think.

Responses to dumb comments:

1. Bunting is much easier than changing a pull hitter into a spray hitter.
2. If a player can swing and hit the ball, the player can much more easily NOT swing, hold the bat still and hit the ball.
3. Yes, bunting against a regular alignment of fielders requires skill but not dumping the ball into the ocean of empty territory available due to the extreme shift.

Maybe fans should also suffer financially.

Shift fear up the chain of command: why are general managers afraid to order their managers to order their batters to bunt against the shift?

Maybe former players like Oakland GM Billy Beane should not be general managers any more than field managers should not be former players.  That's the next logical conclusion from the previous post:

Billy Beane, field managers should not be former players. Wake the heck up!  Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Billy Beane October 7, 2010 by Leaders Event from London, United Kingdom via Wikimedia Commons

Billy Beane, field managers should not be former players. Wake the heck up!

Billy Beane played in 148 big league games with 315 plate appearances over six years: 1984-1989.  He's been the Oakland general manager since 1997.  Beane has never been a field manager.

Terry Francona played in 708 big league games with 1,827 plate appearances over 10 years: 1981-1990. Francona has never been a general manager but has been a field manager for 14 years with Philadelphia, Boston (two championships) and currently Cleveland.

Managers should not be former players.  Sunday, July 19, 2009

MLB has moved beyond former players as general managers. Now teams hire business or statistics hot shots to implement the new concepts and search for even newer ones to provide their teams with a competitive advantage. However, even these new type GMs have not completed the transition. Teams continue to employ former players as field managers ... The common denominator is that they are all former players who are expected to behave within about one percent of conventional wisdom. That needs to change. Head coaches in the NFL and NBA are much more likely to have never played in those leagues.

Shift fear: why are managers afraid to order their batters to bunt against the shift?  Thursday, April 10, 2014

Managers are no longer afraid to deploy the shift on defense but they are afraid to order their batters to bunt against the shift.  What gives?

Billy Beane on the Future of Sports: A Tech-Driven Revolution
The A's General Manager Says New Systems Will Transform How We Play—and Watch—Sports

July 7, 2014 3:56 p.m. ET  The Wall Street Journal

Baseball ... has been at the forefront of the analytics revolution sweeping through sports...

Baseball ... has always been a game of insiders ... managed by those who played well enough to eventually earn the keys to the front office...

... the line between the "outsiders" and "insiders" will narrow...

Increased demand for the technical skills required to interpret the "big data" produced by 3-D tracking systems also will dramatically change the composition and demographics of front offices, which historically have drawn on former players.

... those who make the evaluations—will fundamentally change ...

... sport will no longer be the exclusive domain of "insiders,"

Terry Francona June 26, 2013
by Keith Allison
via Wikimedia Commons
Today on WFAN radio in New York Fat Mike was interviewing Terry Francona.  They discussed the shift.  Francona said that Cleveland has data that shows they are saving runs by shifting against opposing batters.  Francona did not indicate how many runs or anything like that.  More importantly, neither Francona nor the interviewer addressed what should have been the obvious issue of whether Francona's team has achieved a net benefit from shifting against opponents but not having the basic common sense and fortitude to have their own batters combat the shift when it is deployed against Cleveland by hitting the other way or, preferably, bunting the other way.

This is the most basic example of the ever increasing disconnect between the rapidly evolving changes in the front office and what is actually happening on the field.  Beane never even mentioned this in his article.  Beane is as clueless and old fashion as any in ignoring this fundamental change that will eventually happen.  And Beane runs one of the most advanced teams.  It's much worse with stuffy old fart teams like the Yankees who are in an inescapable downward spiral.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Can 2014 Yankee outfielders beat Maris: 61?

In 1961 Roger Maris hit 61 home runs.  He broke the season record of 60 set by Babe Ruth in 1927.  Can the 2014 Yankee outfielders hit at least as many homers as Maris hit by himself in 1961?  81 games would be half a season.

Maris made out in his only pinch hitting plate appearance in 1961.  He hit 56 homers playing right and 5 playing center.

Roger Maris and President John F. Kennedy
by Mglovesfun from Wikimedia Commons
Those six players have 19 homers after 86 Yankee games.  Ellsbury hit one in game 87 that is not included below.  But they have not played in the outfield exclusively.  Here are their numbers for the outfield.


That's one homer every 42 at bats.  I may be missing some AB for others but I don't think it would change this much.  It's pretty sad, especially for the Yankees.

In Yankee game 86 on July 15, 1961 the Yankees won 9-8 in ten innings in Chicago.  Maris hit a double, triple and homer (number 35).

Maris had 590 AB for the entire season.  How the mighty have fallen.