Friday, December 31, 2010

Hall of Fame candidates.

Originally posted Friday, December 31, 2010.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/leaders/mvp_cya.shtml

This is kind of interesting for modern players. It may say something about how well regarded they were when they played.

Pitchers Cy Young award career rank:
Kevin Brown #40
Jack Morris #71
Bert Blyleven #104

MVP award career rank:
Dave Parker #28
Jeff Bagwell #35
Dale Murphy #69
Don Mattingly #76
Mark McGwire #93
Roberto Alomar #100
Rafael Palmeiro #194

Barry Larkin (214), Edgar Martinez (234) & Tim Raines (242): not in top 200.
__________________________________

Election rules:

http://baseballhall.org/hall-famers/rules-election/bbwaa

Any candidate receiving votes on seventy-five percent (75%) of the ballots cast shall be elected to membership in the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

What happens if only four people vote and a player gets three votes?

Voting: Voting shall be based upon the player's record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played.

There are six criteria: two about how well he played and four about the type of person he was.

A baseball player must have been active as a player in the Major Leagues at some time during a period beginning twenty (20) years before and ending five (5) years prior to election.

Players are eligible for 15 years, years 6 through 20 following retirement.

Electors: Only active and honorary members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America, who have been active baseball writers for at least ten (10) years, shall be eligible to vote. They must have been active as baseball writers and members of the Association for a period beginning at least ten (10) years prior to the date of election in which they are voting.

So those voting may never have seen a candidate play.
_________________________________

Blyleven will probably get elected, not because he should be but for some odd reason his Hall of Fame vote percentage has increased in recent years as memory of his accomplishments fades. Blyleven's best CY finishes: 3,3,4,7.

http://baseballhall.org/hall-famers/bbwaa-voting/player?player=Blyleven,++Bert.

Blyleven has gone from a low of 14.1% in year two (1999) of his 15 years of eligibility to a high of 74.2% in year 12 (2010). Why? Did his performance improve? Writers who voted for the CY award didn't think he was so great while he was pitching. Blyleven's ERA+ rank: #118. Those who knew him best had him well below 20% for his first three years of eligibility. Those who know him least have him above 60% in years ten, eleven and twelve. That disconnect should be explained. Maybe players should be eligible for only five years. That might mitigate the memory factor. I don't think any player has received 70% without eventually being elected. I think voters feel guilty if a player misses by one or two votes and don't want to feel that he/she personally prevented that individual's election.

Roberto Alomar has decent credentials among second basemen (OPS+ #10, WAR #14) but his MVP rank suggests that during his playing days writers had some of the reservations that I had: he dogged it both at bat and in the field for the SEVEN teams for which he played. Alomar lasted five seasons with Toronto, three for San Diego, Cleveland and Baltimore, two with the Mets and White Sox and 38 games with Arizona.

Alomar's infamous spitting in the face of an umpire does not help but that's not why I would not vote for him. Alomar often seemed indifferent while playing.

I see Tim Raines (242) as the poor man's Rickey Henderson (56).

I'd vote for McGwire after he has clearly come clean about his use of performance enhancing stuff. I don't mind his using. I object to his deception and obfuscation.

I would vote for Jeff Bagwell and Barry Larkin.

Bagwell may suffer from having played in the steroid era. At least one writer has indicated that he will not vote for Bagwell simply because of when he played. Guilt by association. Seems ugly. Bagwell's numbers easily put him among the top ten first basemen of all time: OPS+ #7, WAR #4.

Larkin is the anti-Alomar. Larkin played his entire career with the Cincinnati Reds, was NL MVP, team leader, solid citizen and among the top ten SS of all time: OPS+ #9, WAR #8. I'd vote for Larkin 10 times before I'd vote for Alomar.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Increase active roster.

Each MLB team has a 40 man roster with 25 players eligible to play a particular game subject to other rules.

Why not increase the active roster from 25 to 30 but only dress 25 per game?

This could remove staring pitchers who are not starting that game. They almost never play anyway.

It would also remove relief pitchers who would not be used. And position players with minor injuries or whom for some other reason would not be used.

Teams could easily carry three catchers.

The quality of the game would improve: healthier, better rested players, more specialists, more flexibility for manager moves.

The immediate reaction is probably: cost! Maybe cost would be higher. Maybe not.

Five more players would be paid the MLB minimum: $375,000? That's $1,875,000. Let's round it up to two million dollars. A hidden cost down the road would be many more players eligible for a pension but that could be negotiated.

Two million dollars sounds like very little for what could be a big benefit: fewer injuries to REALLY well paid players. Plus, I've long thought that MLB could get major concessions from the players association by increasing the roster from 25 to 26. One extra roster spot impacts many players, maybe most. Players who are trying to make it. Players who are trying to hang on.

Adding FIVE roster spots impacts 90% of players, all but the elite. MLB could get MAJOR concessions for sure.

Oh, and eliminate that stupid September roster increase. Why should the roster rule be so different for one of the six months? Watching Texas manager Ron Washington make a travesty of that in September 2010 staring me thinking about this.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Bob Costas sucks!

1960 World Series game 7: why didn't Stengel use Duren?  FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 2010

I can only hope that Bob Costas reads this and does more than his usual sloppy job of repeating myths and mistakes. For instance, I expect Costas to mention that the Yanks could have won the WS if Stengel had started Whitey Ford in games 1, 4, 7. WRONG. I debunked that years ago. Bob, read the 1960 part of this:

https://docs.google.com/Doc?id=dcqxf6mr_52f5smrvcq

___________________________________________

Casey Stengel
Baseball Digest cover, October 1953
Public domain via Wikimedia Commons
Bob Costas really sucks. During the long awaited re-broadcast of game seven 1960 WS not only did Costas repeat all the usual drivel about Ford but he actually asked Bobby Richardson why Casey Stengel didn't have Ford relieve after pitching nine innings the previous day. However, neither the word Ryne nor the word Duren passed his lips. Dunderhead never speculated about why Duren did not pitch in game 7.

Costas also repeated the junk about Jim Coates not covering first base right after Coates is seen covering first base. Wake the heck up! I'd contact Costas directly but he displayed no e-mail, twitter, etc. on his MLB network profile.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Yankees beware: Jeter's production is likely to decline.

Note: ESPN reports that the Yankees are caving and increasing their three year offer to Derek Jeter by one or two million dollars per year.

Derived from www.baseball-reference.com

For single seasons, From 1901 to 2010, Played 50% of games at SS, (requiring Qualified for league batting title):

Jeter’s 2010 season is one of 60 for old shortstops out of 1,677 for all shortstops since 1901. 60 / 1,677 = 0.0357781753. That puts Jeter’s 2010 season in the top 3.5% based on age.

Based on OPS+, Jeter, among the twenty-one 36 year old SS, is number 27 out of 60 SS seasons 36 or older.

OPS+ since 1950 for SS 36 or older: 25 seasons, 11 SS

Derek Jeter (36) 90
Omar Vizquel (37,38,39,40) 99,82,93,61
Royce Clayton (36) 69
Barry Larkin (38) 74
Ozzie Smith (36,37,38,39) 112,105,88,78
Dave Concepcion (36,37) 74,78
Larry Bowa (36,37) 69,78
Luis Aparicio (36,37,39) 114,62,75
Maury Wills (36,37) 94,80
Pee Wee Reese (36,37) 103,74
Eddie Joost (36) 118

Most dropped significantly or did not have enough PA to qualify for leading the league in batting average.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Yanks can replace Jeter for MUCH less with MUCH better shortstops:

http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/t/tulowtr01.shtml

- Troy Tulowitzki

Position: Shortstop
Bats: Right, Throws: Right
Height: 6' 3", Weight: 215 lb.
Born: October 10, 1984

2011 Contract Status: Signed thru 2013, 6 yrs/$31M (08-13) & 14 team option (details) [*]
Service Time (01/2010): 3.033, Free Agent: 2014 [*], Agents: Paul Cohen [*]

2007 22 Colorado Rockies $381,000
2008 23 Colorado Rockies $750,000
2009 24 Colorado Rockies $1,000,000
2010 25 Colorado Rockies $3,500,000
2011 26 Colorado Rockies $5,500,000
2012 27 Colorado Rockies $8,250,000
2013 28 Colorado Rockies $10,000,000
2014 29 Colorado Rockies *$15,000,000 $15M Team Option, $2M Buyout

or

http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/r/ramirha01.shtml

Hanley Ramirez

Position: Shortstop
Bats: Right, Throws: Right
Height: 6' 3", Weight: 230 lb.
Born: December 23, 1983

2011 Contract Status: Signed thru 2014, 6 yrs/$70M (09-14) (details) [*]
Service Time (01/2010): 4.014, Free Agent: 2015 [*], Agents: Adam Katz [*]

2006 22 Florida Marlins $327,000
2007 23 Florida Marlins $402,000
2008 24 Florida Marlins $439,000
2009 25 Florida Marlins $5,500,000
2010 26 Florida Marlins $7,000,000
2011 27 Florida Marlins $11,000,000
2012 28 Florida Marlins $15,000,000
2013 29 Florida Marlins $15,500,000
2014 30 Florida Marlins $16,000,000

_____________________________________

http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/j/jeterde01.shtml

Derek Jeter

Position: Shortstop
Bats: Right, Throws: Right
Height: 6' 3", Weight: 195 lb.
Born: June 26, 1974

2011 Contract Status: Free Agent, 10 yrs/$189M (01-10) (details) [*]
Service Time (01/2010): 14.043, Free Agent: 2011 [*], Agents: Casey Close [*]

1996 22 New York Yankees $130,000 1997 Joint Exhibit 1 Includes $10,000 earned bonus
1997 23 New York Yankees $550,000 1997 postseason AP survey Includes $10,000 earned bonus
1998 24 New York Yankees $750,000 4/3/98 USA Today
1999 25 New York Yankees $5,000,000 4/6/99 USA Today
2000 26 New York Yankees $10,000,000 4/5/00 AP
2001 27 New York Yankees $12,600,000 4/6/01 USA Today
2002 28 New York Yankees $14,600,000 4/3/02 AP
2003 29 New York Yankees $15,600,000 4/3/03 AP
2004 30 New York Yankees $18,600,000 4/7/04 AP
2005 31 New York Yankees $19,600,000
2006 32 New York Yankees $20,600,000
2007 33 New York Yankees $21,600,000
2008 34 New York Yankees $21,600,000
2009 35 New York Yankees $21,600,000
2010 36 New York Yankees $22,600,000


2010 OPS+, WAR,:

Tulowitzki 138 5.6
Ramirez 124 3.5
Jeter 90 1.3

2011 salary:

Tulowitzki $5,500,000
Ramirez $11,000,000
Jeter:
- $15,000,000 offered by Yankees for 2011, 2012, 2013
- $25,000,000 asked by Jeter for 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016

Any Yankee fan who asks why the Yankees are being so petty and/or asks why don't the Yankees just pay Jeter $20,000,000 per season is an idiot. Overpaying Jeter and Rivera ($250,000 per inning in 2010; WAR 3.0) reduces Yankee resources to acquire players who can provide much more to help the Yankees continue winning.

Yankee GM Cashman should let Jeter sit by his phone waiting for offers ... well into January. None will come close to what the Yankees have foolishly already offered. Cashman should sign Cliff Lee using money he saves by not overpaying Jeter and Rivera and let other teams pay them.

Both Jeter and Rivera should receive the same offer form the Yankees: one year, $10,000,000.

If they don't like it: see Johnny Damon for advice.

Tulowitzki's salary in 2014 will be almost three times that in 2011. Colorado may want to dump Tulowitzki before that and before Tulowitzki becomes a free agent in 2014.

Ramirez's salary in 2014 will be more than 50% higher than that in 2011. Florida may want to dump Ramirez before that and before Ramirez becomes a free agent in 2015.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Jeter is getting worse.

NY Times reports Jeter wants $25,000,000 for each of SIX seasons.

The problem is that the Yankees offered too much to begin with, both in time and money. Jeter's position is silly.

What's the best offer he can get from another team, a specific team? Max time two years. Max money $10,000,000 and I doubt that.

Cashman should forget Jeter and concentrate on Cliff Lee. Let Jeter see how many other teams are rushing to sign him. I never thought I'd side with a team like this but Jeter has me pissed off. I'm really shocked at his behavior.

As far as negotiating positions, all Jeter needs to do is tell his agent to bring him a contract. That's what Paul O'Neill did. Paul wanted to remain a Yankee and didn't worry about the money.

And all this junk about rewarding Jeter for past contributions: I thought that's what he got with $189,000,000 over ten years.

In this economy very few fans will look at $15,000,000 for each of three seasons as a bad offer for a guy who is old and fading.

We want Troy!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Derek Jeter is greedy and selfish.

NY Daily News writer Bill Madden reports that Derek Jeter, born June 26, 1974, is asking for $150 million for six years. Wow! Jeter is really nuts.

I don't see any significant number of fans attending Yankee games in 2011 because Jeter is playing for them.

If Jeter signed with Boston:

Would season ticket subscribers not renew?

Would casual fans go to fewer Yankee games?

Would I watch fewer games on TV?

No. No. No.

Other than Boston trying to tweak the Yankees, I don't see any other team offering Jeter $10M for 2011. Probably not even $8M. Jeter should talk to Damon and see how that worked out.

Plus, A-Rod will be playing for the Yanks after Jeter is gone and will be the next captain. Yanks have much more invested in A-Rod and A-Rod will be paying off long after Jeter gets hit 3,000 in June 2011 about the time Jeter turns 37. A-Rod will be approaching 700 HOMERS in 3-4 years!

Hasn't Jeter been paid the second most money in MLB history?

And as for Jeter's agent and that announcer on CNBC today who stupidly compare Jeter to Ruth: check the damn facts! Ruth's final salaries with the Yankees:

1931 $80,000
1932 $75,000
1933 $52,000
1934 $36,696

Maybe Jeter thinks he has a shot at 4,000 hits. If so, then he's putting his personal stats ahead of the team.

Jeter is ruining his image by being greedy and selfish. The Yanks offered Jeter $45,000,000 for three seasons (way too much money and time). The Yanks look like they being more than reasonable and practicing good business.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Dollar limit during the game.

For those concerned about some teams actually spending a lot of money on players, ...

Maximum dollar limit of the nine players on the field. Let's say $100,000,000 in annual pay.

Suppose the Yankees have $95M out there with a marginal pitcher who makes very little. If the Yanks want to bring in Mariano Rivera, who makes $15M, the Yanks must remove at least $10M from the field.

Nick Swisher makes only $7M, so he won't do. How about removing Yankee captain Derek Jeter? Jeter makes $22M. Heck that should provide flexibility for the rest of the game.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

How about starting each inning with the top of the order?

Hey, why not? Just because they didn't think of it over 100 years ago? That could just as easily have been the rule as what we've been stuck with all this time.

Those lousy batters at the bottom of the order would have many fewer PA (plate appearances).

The best batters would need to be among the first three to ensure that they get max PA.

Cool.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Reading lips: whose are worth reading?

Supposedly former pitcher Greg Maddux had his lips read while speaking to his catcher resulting in the batter hitting a homer.

So, ...

Now you see pitchers speak to their catchers with their gloves covering their faces. The catchers keep their masks on for the same reason, to prevent the opposition from reading their lips.

However, have you ever seen a pitching coach or manager cover his face? I have not. Aren't they the authority people, giving the final word, making the decision?

MLB continues to baffle.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Radical Baseball basics

1. start count at 3-2; batter gets max three swings to put ball in play then is out.

2. runners may not take lead

3. replace catcher with a round physical target 20 inches in diameter, like a bull's eye; if ball hits target it's a strike; batter may adjust height between knees and shoulder; catcher may play anywhere in fair territory; plate ump moves behind pitcher

4. side boards (glass or net) on foul line starting no further down the line than the beginning of the outfield grass 50 feet high

5. three time outs per team; no meetings

6. no extra innings in regular season

7. eliminate mound; pitcher must release ball no closer than rubber

8. extend foul territory 45 feet from home plate into what is now fair territory

9. set home run distance (380 seems good) and extend into existing stands; anything in stands closer is a double

10. fly ball caught on warning track is not an out; safety issue; prevents players from running into fences; also eliminates fan interference

11. foul fly caught is not an out

12. runners may over run bases

13. bring stands to within ten feet near infield; outfield fences may be on foul line (see #4).

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Lazy media: check the facts!

Today I heard a prominent media personality on ESPN disparage the credentials of Seattle pitcher Felix Hernandez to win the AL Cy Young award, mostly because Hernandez has a 13-12 record. Despite the fact that Hernandez leads AL in innings, strike outs and ERA, media guy said that Hernandez did not pitch in the tough AL east. The implication was that Hernandez pitched more against weaker hitting AL west teams.

I checked how Hernandez did against AL teams.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/split.cgi?n1=hernafe02&year=2010&t=p

I sorted by OPS allowed by Hernandez. The only AL teams with OPS lower than .500:

Yankees .495
Boston .494
Toronto .440

Three best OPS against Hernandez:

Angels .738
Texas .727
Oakland .648

The Yanks and Red Sox lead AL in runs scored.

In other words if Hernandez had pitched in the AL east he might have even better numbers.

Rather than run his mouth this high profile media guy could have checked. It took me about two minutes.

Friday, September 24, 2010

1960 World Series game 7: why didn't Stengel use Duren?

Despite my Yankees losing, I have long thought that this is the greatest game of all time given its importance, the high score, dramatic ending, constant shifting of fortunes, quickness of play (2 hours 36 minutes) for so much action AND ... there were NO strike outs! Pure action!

I am not one of those baseball fans who pathologically looks for some little event to blame my team's loss on a managerial decision. You know, like Confederate States of America supporters and post World War I Germans who blame their defeats on their generals.

However, I am curious about something. 1960 World Series game 7: why didn't Yankee manager Casey Stengel use relief specialist Ryne Duren?

Who was Ryne Duren?

Duren led the Yankees in relief appearances in 1958 and 1959 and was second by one in 1960. His innings were 75, 76, 49. His SO%: 38.3, 41.7, 45.6. For reasons that remain unknown Duren did not even warm up in the famous game seven of the 1960 WS. By spring 1961 Duren was gone and so was Stengel. After pitching in four games Duren was traded by the Yankees at age 32 May 8, 1961 with Johnny James and Lee Thomas to the Los Angeles Angels for Bob Cerv and Tex Clevenger. Only one Yankee relief pitcher ever exceeded Duren's 1960 SO%: Edwar Ramirez in 2007 - 49.2 SO%. Mariano Rivera's best: 1996 when he pitched his most innings (107) ... as a setup man - 40.2 SO%. In SO% Duren has three of the nine best all time for Yankee relief pitchers.

Duren also had a drinking problem.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ryne_Duren

In 1983, Duren was presented with the Yankee Family Award for his conquering alcoholism, and for service as an alcohol abuse educator.

So why ask this question now?

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/24/sports/baseball/24crosby.html?_r=1&th=&adxnnl=1&emc=th&adxnnlx=1285329811-NpUPWuh5NrKNtRborMiCgg

By RICHARD SANDOMIR
Published: September 23, 2010

a near pristine black-and-white reel of the entire television broadcast of the deciding game of the 1960 World Series — long believed to be lost forever — came to rest in the dry and cool wine cellar of Bing Crosby’s home ... unseen on TV since its original broadcast

he hired a company to record Game 7 by kinescope, an early relative of the DVR, filming off a television monitor. The five-reel set, found in December in Crosby’s home, is the only known complete copy of the game

Great games like Game 7 in 1960 are often recalled with just a few newsreel clips ... Game 7, called by the Yankees’ Mel Allen and the Pirates’ Bob Prince — the complete NBC broadcast.

an agreement allowing the MLB Network to televise the game in December, and to wrap interviews and other programming around it, with Bob Costas as the host. M.L.B. also plans to sell DVDs of the game.

________________________________________

I would much prefer that the game be shown as is but I'll take what I can get. I can only hope that Bob Costas reads this and does more than his usual sloppy job of repeating myths and mistakes. For instance, I expect Costas to mention that the Yanks could have won the WS if Stengel had started Whitey Ford in games 1, 4, 7. WRONG. I debunked that years ago. Bob, read the 1960 part of this: World Series.

But what of Duren? Was he fit to pitch? If not, why not? As far as I know Duren has never been asked that question. Nor have his teammates who drone on about the Ford myth. Duren was born February 22, 1929. He'll be almost 82 when this game is shown for the second time. Given his age and alcohol abuse, Costas should get to him ASAP.

In the 1960 WS Duren pitched in two games: 4 innings, 2 hits, one run (earned), 2.25 ERA, 1 BB, 5 SO. Duren had thrown only 49 innings (67 SO) in the regular season.

Wednesday, October 5, 1960 at Forbes Field game one Duren pitched the 7th and 8th innings in a 6-4 Pirate win. One HBP, one BB (Hoak caught stealing), one SO, no runs. The score was 6-2 Pirates when he entered. Yanks scored two in the top of the ninth. Duren faced seven batters:

Skinner HBP
Stuart SO
Clemente Foul Flyball: 2B
Burgess Groundout: 2B-1B

Hoak BB
Mazeroski Foul Flyball: 1B
Face (pitcher) Hoak Caught Stealing 2B (C-SS); Groundout: P-1B

Not bad. Got a little help. Faced only lefty: Burgess.

Monday, October 10, 1960 at Yankee Stadium game five Duren pitched the 8th and 9th innings in a 5-2 Pirate win. Two hits, one run (earned), 4 SO. The score was 4-2 Pirates when he entered. Duren faced eight batters:

Clemente SO
Stuart Flyball: LF
Cimoli SO looking

Burgess Single to LF; Burgess to 2B/Adv on E7; Christopher pinch runs for Smoky Burgess
Hoak Wild Pitch; Christopher to 3B; Single to CF; Christopher Scores
Mazeroski SO
Face (pitcher) SO
Virdon Groundout: P-1B

Somewhat of an adventure but not terrible.

Which brings us to game 7 played Thursday, October 13, 1960. Remember, game 6, played the previous afternoon, was Ford's second complete game shutout, so all the other pitchers were well rested. So who did Stengel use in game 7?

pitcher innings runs (all earned)
Turley 1 3
Stafford 1 1
Shantz 5 3
Coates .66 2
Terry .33 1

Bobby Shantz actually pitched well, however, Stengel left him in too long. More grist for the pathological second guessers.

The Yankees scored two runs in the top of the 8th off Face, who was pitching in his third inning, to extend their lead to 7-4. Stengel let Shantz make the final out with runners on second and third following Clete Boyer's double. Boyer was such a light hitter that Stengel had humiliated him by having Dale Long PH for Boyer in what would have been Boyer's first WS PA: second inning, game one. Long made out.

In the bottom of the 7th Shantz was a little rocky: single, line out LF, Ground Ball Double Play: SS-2B-1B.

In the top of the 7th Shantz singled to LF (Ground Ball) off Face.

Did Stengel think that Shantz would get another hit?

Did Stengel think that Shantz was pitching so well that he dare not remove Shantz?

Either way it was a fatal mistake. All hell broke loose in the bottom of the 8th. Shantz allowed singles to Cimoli, Virdon and Groat. Virdon's was the infamous DP grounder that bounced up and hit SS Tony Kubek in the throat causing Kubek to leave the game. Jim Coates (18 starts, 17 relief) replaced Shantz with one run in, two runners on, Yanks leading 7-5.

Skinner sac runners to second and third
Nelson Flyball: RF

Clemente Single to 1B (Coates failed to cover first as he and Skowron both went for the slow roller) (Ground Ball); Virdon Scores; Groat to 3B; 7-6 Yanks

Hal Smith Home Run (Deep LF); Groat Scores; Clemente Scores; 9-7 Pirates

Most people think Ralph Terry entered the game to start the ninth inning. However, Terry replaced Coates and retired Hoak to end the 8th: Flyball: LF. In 1960 Terry had started 23 games and relieved in 12.

Stengel could have used Duren instead of Coates. Duren couldn't have done much worse. Stengel could also have used Arroyo (no starts, 23 relief), Mass (1, 34), both relief specialists. He could have also used starter Ditmar (28, 6).

1960 WS games, ERA:

Arroyo 1 13.50
Ditmar 2 21.60
Duren 2 2.25
Maas 1 4.50
Terry one start: lost game 4 Sunday, October 9, 1960 at Yankee Stadium; 6.33 innings, 3 runs (earned); first four innings - no runs

Coates pitched in two games before game 7.

Game one: relieved Ditmar in first inning, Yanks down 3-1, retired both batters: Burgess, Hoak; 3.33 innings, 2 ER, one HR: B Mazeroski (1, off J Coates; 4th inn, 1 on, 1 out to Deep LF)

Game four: pitched 8th and 9th; one hit, no runs.

Hall Smith had 8 AB in three games. None against Coates before game 7. In 1960 Smith had 11 HR in 286 AB, all against starters (off righties 4 in 128 AB; off lefties 7 in 130 AB); slugged .508, career best. Prior to game 7 Smith played catcher and batted only against Ford:

game 3: 0 for 3; DP
game 6: 2 for 4

Smith against Ford the previous day:

single LF
single CF
Groundout: SS-2B/Forceout at 2B
Ground Ball Double Play: 3B-2B-1B to end the game

When a team gives up 10 runs on 24 outs it's silly to blame one play or one player. Could Duren have helped the Yankees win? Who knows? But I want to know if Duren was an option.

Was Ryne Duren fit to pitch in game seven of the 1960 World Series?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

16 months after I implored MLB commissioner Bud Selig to DO something, a base runner was impaled in the chest.

http://www.thestar.com/sports/baseball/mlb/article/863483--cubs-baserunner-stable-after-broken-bat-pierces-chest

Cubs outfielder Tyler Colvin was impaled in the left upper chest with a broken bat and taken to a local (Miami) hospital ... Colvin was listed in stable condition ... A tube was inserted into his chest to prevent a collapsed lung. He’ll remain hospitalized for two or three days, and his promising rookie season is over. The Cubs said he was fortunate to elude a much more serious injury ...

Marlins catcher Mike Rivera said it looked like Colvin was “being stabbed.” Cubs manager Mike Quade said he’s “amazed” it hasn’t happened more often with the proliferation of maple bats, which split in half with relative ease.

“We’ve seen guys get hit by pieces, but to actually get stabbed by one . . . ” Quade said. “I’m glad he’s okay. If it would’ve been more velocity, or the bat was sharper, I don’t know (what would’ve happened). He’s a strong guy, so maybe that had something to do with it. He dodged a bullet.”


________________________________________________

http://radicalbaseball.blogspot.com/2009/05/mlb-switch-to-aluminum-bats-before.html

MONDAY, MAY 18, 2009

MLB: switch to aluminum bats before someone gets killed.

It is obvious that MLB commissioner Bud Selig has neither the imagination nor the inclination to actually do something about the alarming tendency for wood bats to splinter into javelins and fly at people, both players and fans. Before one of these leathal projectiles embeds itself into the neck or chest of someone, outlaw the ancient wooden bats and replace them with bats made of alloys such as aluminum.

I know, I know, aluminum bats are supposed to be even more dangerous because the ball flies off them at faster speeds. However, the properties of aluminum that cause this can be managed to produce bats that are comparable to those made of wood.

Make the switch before someone is killed.

Friday, September 17, 2010

How about limiting the number of pitchers in Hall of Fame to 50?

First dump some of those already in. Start by deducting the stupid relief pitchers. The Babe, of course, stays as a batter. Then, once you get down to 50, ...

If you add a pitcher, you subtract a pitcher.

66 HoF pitchers with at least 500 Innings Pitched:

Rk Player ERA+ ▾ IP From To
1 Lefty Grove 148 3940.2 1925 1941
2 Walter Johnson 147 5914.1 1907 1927
3 Hoyt Wilhelm 147 2254.1 1952 1972
4 Ed Walsh 146 2964.1 1904 1917
5 Addie Joss 142 2327.0 1902 1910
6 Kid Nichols 140 5067.1 1890 1906
7 Mordecai Brown 139 3172.1 1903 1916
8 Cy Young 138 7356.0 1890 1911
9 Bruce Sutter 136 1042.0 1976 1988
10 Christy Mathewson 136 4788.2 1900 1916
11 Pete Alexander 135 5190.0 1911 1930
12 Rube Waddell 135 2961.1 1897 1910
13 John Clarkson 134 4536.1 1882 1894
14 Whitey Ford 133 3170.1 1950 1967
15 Al Spalding 132 2886.1 1871 1877
16 Sandy Koufax 131 2324.1 1955 1966
17 Dizzy Dean 131 1967.1 1930 1947
18 Carl Hubbell 130 3590.1 1928 1943
19 Hal Newhouser 130 2993.0 1939 1955
20 Amos Rusie 129 3778.2 1889 1901
21 Stan Coveleski 128 3082.0 1912 1928
22 Bob Gibson 128 3884.1 1959 1975
23 Tom Seaver 128 4783.0 1967 1986
24 Tim Keefe 127 5049.2 1880 1893
25 Rich Gossage 126 1809.1 1972 1994
26 Jim Palmer 126 3948.0 1965 1984
27 Dazzy Vance 125 2966.2 1915 1935
28 Lefty Gomez 125 2503.0 1930 1943
29 Juan Marichal 123 3507.0 1960 1975
30 Babe Ruth 122 1221.1 1914 1933
31 Bob Feller 122 3827.0 1936 1956
32 Clark Griffith 122 3385.2 1891 1914
33 Eddie Plank 122 4495.2 1901 1917
34 Don Drysdale 121 3432.0 1956 1969
35 Rollie Fingers 120 1701.1 1968 1985
36 Old Hoss Radbourn 120 4527.1 1881 1891
37 Joe McGinnity 120 3441.1 1899 1908
38 Red Faber 119 4086.2 1914 1933
39 Monte Ward 119 2469.2 1878 1884
40 Warren Spahn 119 5243.2 1942 1965
41 Bob Lemon 119 2850.0 1946 1958
42 Ted Lyons 118 4161.0 1923 1946
43 Vic Willis 118 3996.0 1898 1910
44 Gaylord Perry 117 5350.0 1962 1983
45 Dennis Eckersley 116 3285.2 1975 1998
46 Phil Niekro 115 5404.0 1964 1987
47 Steve Carlton 115 5217.2 1965 1988
48 Candy Cummings 115 2149.2 1872 1877
49 Fergie Jenkins 115 4500.2 1965 1983
50 Eppa Rixey 115 4494.2 1912 1933
51 Jim Bunning 114 3760.1 1955 1971
52 Mickey Welch 114 4802.0 1880 1892
53 Robin Roberts 113 4688.2 1948 1966
54 Nolan Ryan 112 5386.0 1966 1993
55 Chief Bender 112 3017.0 1903 1925
56 Waite Hoyt 112 3762.1 1918 1938
57 Jack Chesbro 111 2896.2 1899 1909
58 Jesse Haines 109 3208.2 1918 1937
59 Red Ruffing 109 4344.0 1924 1947
60 Don Sutton 108 5282.1 1966 1988
61 Pud Galvin 108 6003.1 1875 1892
62 Burleigh Grimes 108 4180.0 1916 1934
63 Early Wynn 107 4564.0 1939 1963
64 Herb Pennock 106 3571.2 1912 1934
65 Catfish Hunter 105 3449.1 1965 1979
66 Rube Marquard 103 3306.2 1908 1925

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Derek Jeter behaved badly and should apologize.

Jeter should apologize for faking HBP. What if A-Rod had done it?

In last night's Yankee game in St. Petersburg, FL a pitch to Jeter was inside. Jeter spun away and grabbed his left elbow and acted as if he was in pain. The Yankee manager and trainer came out to attend to their "injured" player. The plate umpire reacted to Jeter's actions and awarded Jeter first base for being hit by a pitch.

TV replays showed that the pitch hit the bottom of Jeter's bat, not Jeter. One angle even showed Jeter peeking at the umpire to determine if his acting had worked. I was shocked. It makes me question the many times I have seen Jeter behave as if hit. This cannot be the first time Jeter has attempted deceit.

Most professional comments early this morning support Jeter faking injury to get a free base. The next batter, Curtis Granderson, homered to give the Yankees a 3-2 lead. Tampa eventually won 4-3.

What if the Yankees had won?

What if it had been the last WS game?

What if A-Rod had done it?

Would you teach a kid to do this?

At what age does such behavior become acceptable?

Baseball players are not supposed to make their own calls. Country club sports golf and tennis have players make calls as amateurs. Even pro golfers make calls against themselves. The PGA has an honor rule.

No, what Jeter did is not cheating. As far as I know there is no rule against it. There should be. There is such a rule in the NHL. It is faking. Jeter took action to deceive the umpire. Jeter was not passive.

What would be the reaction if a player corrected an umpire on one of the few plays where the player actually knows what happened as opposed to plays like trapped fly balls in which the player really does not know? What if a batter was awarded first for HBP and told the umpire that he had not been hit? Would MLB break into the PGA?

That would be refreshing. That would show integrity. That's what I expect from a player with the status of Derek Jeter, the Yankee captain, whom I will never view again as a person of integrity.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Those 1973 Atlanta Braves: was there something in the water?

At age 30, Baltimore second baseman Davey Johnson joined the Atlanta Braves and hit 43 home runs. His previous high had been 18 at age 28.

Everyone assumed this was due to Johnson playing his home games in Atlanta's Fulton County Stadium, which was supposed to be conducive to home run hitting. However, Johnson hit 26 at home and 17 on the road. 17 is only one fewer than Johnson's previous high for a season. Why did Johnson have such a big power surge?

Teammate Darrell Evans played his first 7 seasons with Atlanta. In 1972 at age 25, Evans hit 19 home runs. In 1973 Evans hit 41 home runs: 24 home, 17 road. Very similar to Johnson. Unlike Johnson who faded quickly, Evans did hit 40 homers 12 years later at age 38. His next highest were: 34 at age 40 with Detroit, 30 at age 36 with San Fransisco.

Use this link to view details about Hank Aaron's home runs including graphs.

The great Hank Aaron hit 40 homers in 1973 in only 392 at bats at age 39. 1973 was Aaron's personal best in AB/HR: 9.8. Second best: age 37, 10.5 AB per HR. Aaron entered the 1973 season with 713 career home runs, one short of Babe Ruth's record. Aaron hit his career high for a single season at age 37, the same as Barry Bonds, in 1971 with 47 in only 495 at bats.

Aaron's best seasons for home runs:
1971 age 37: 47
1962 age 28: 45
1957 age 23: 44
1963 age 29: 44
1966 age 32: 44
1969 age 35: 44

Aaron's best seasons for AB/HR:
1973 age 39: 9.8
1971 age 37: 10.5
1969 age 35: 12.4
1962 age 28: 13.155
1972 age 38: 13.205
1970 age 36: 13.6

Aaron's best seasons home runs at home:
1971 age 37: 31
1973 age 39: 24
1967 age 33: 23
1970 age 36: 23

Aaron's best seasons for AB/HR at home:
1971 age 37: 7.84
1973 age 39: 8.66
1970 age 36: 10.96
1972 age 38: 11.6

Aaron's best seasons home runs on road:
1962 age 28: 27
1957 age 23: 26
1963 age 29: 25
1966 age 32: 23
1969 age 35: 23

Aaron's best seasons for AB/HR on road:

1962 age 28: 11.33
1973 age 39: 11.5
1957 age 23: 11.96
1969 age 35: 12.2

Aaron's total HR by team:
team HR AB AB/HR
MLN 398 7,080 17.789
ATL 335 4,548 13.576
MIL 22 736 33.454

Aaron's home HR by team:
team HR AB AB/HR
MLN 185 3,390 18.324
ATL 190 2,226 11.716
MIL 10 352 35.2

Aaron's road HR by team:
team HR AB AB/HR
MLN 213 3,690 17.324
ATL 145 2,322 16.014
MIL 12 384 32

Clearly Aaron benefited from playing his home games in Atlanta from 1966 through 1974. In 7 of those 9 seasons his AB/HR was better at home and in the other two seasons the road advantage was very small.

Just as clearly Aaron if not actually improving with age certainly performed very well late in his career.

Nolan Ryan: more on possible steroid use.

Roger Clemens has been indicted and arraigned for lieing under oath about using steroids or human growth hormones. His role model was Nolan Ryan.  See my post:



Tiger Stadium 1990
Chuck Andersen derivative work
via Wikimedia Commons

SATURDAY, MAY 9, 2009

MLB should allow performance enhancing stuff.

Plus, pitchers have been shown to be as inclined to use banned stuff as batters. No one seems concerned about strike out records. Roger Clemens (4,672) and Randy Johnson (4,819) have been implicated. Their career strike out records are exceeded only by Nolan Ryan's unreachable total of 5,714. How come no one challenges Nolan Ryan? He played long enough to have used steroids. His longevity is suspicious. Jose Canseco has admitted using steriods during his MVP season of 1988. Ryan played from 1966 through 1993 (age 46). Ryan and Canseco were even teammates in Texas for 22 games in 1992 and for 60 games in 1993. Ryan's final seasons leading the league in strike outs were at the ages of 40, 41, 42, 43. His previous age as league strike out leader was 32. Ryan went seven years without being strike out king until he recovered the touch in 1987 at age 40. Ryan pitched a record seven no hitters at these ages: 26, 26, 27, 28, 34, 43, 44. This anecdotal evidence is completely ignored. Did Nolan Ryan use banned and/or illegal stuff to enhance his performance? I have no idea but I find it odd that the steroid zealots have such narrow vision.

300 SO, sorted by age. 20 of 33 under age 30. Only three guys over age 31: Nolan Ryan, Randy Johnson, Curt Schilling. Ryan was 42!

Ryan last had 10 SO per 9 innings in 1978 at age 31 in AL. Then at 40 in NL Ryan had his career high: 11.5! 270 SO in 211 innings. Second best in Ryan's career: 11.3 at age 42 with 301 SO ... in the AL with a DH!

And after all these years I'm the only one who has noticed?

Rk Player SO SO/9 Year Age ▾ Tm
1 Nolan Ryan 301 11.32 1989 42 TEX
2 Randy Johnson 334 11.56 2002 38 ARI
3 Randy Johnson 372 13.41 2001 37 ARI
4 Randy Johnson 347 12.56 2000 36 ARI
5 Curt Schilling 316 10.97 2002 35 ARI
6 Randy Johnson 364 12.06 1999 35 ARI
7 Randy Johnson 329 12.12 1998 34 TOT
8 Curt Schilling 300 10.05 1998 31 PHI
9 Mike Scott 306 10.00 1986 31 HOU
10 Curt Schilling 319 11.29 1997 30 PHI
11 Mickey Lolich 308 7.37 1971 30 DET
12 Nolan Ryan 341 10.26 1977 30 CAL
13 Sandy Koufax 317 8.83 1966 30 LAD
14 Randy Johnson 308 10.86 1993 29 SEA
15 Sandy Koufax 382 10.24 1965 29 LAD
16 Nolan Ryan 327 10.35 1976 29 CAL
17 J.R. Richard 313 9.64 1979 29 HOU
18 J.R. Richard 303 9.90 1978 28 HOU
19 Nolan Ryan 367 9.93 1974 27 CAL
20 Rube Waddell 349 8.20 1904 27 PHA
21 Steve Carlton 310 8.06 1972 27 PHI
22 Sam McDowell 304 8.97 1970 27 CLE
23 Bob Feller 348 8.43 1946 27 CLE
24 Sandy Koufax 306 8.86 1963 27 LAD
25 Pedro Martinez 313 13.20 1999 27 BOS
26 Nolan Ryan 383 10.57 1973 26 CAL
27 Rube Waddell 302 8.39 1903 26 PHA
28 Pedro Martinez 305 11.37 1997 25 MON
29 Nolan Ryan 329 10.43 1972 25 CAL
30 Walter Johnson 303 7.39 1912 24 WSH
31 Walter Johnson 313 7.61 1910 22 WSH
32 Sam McDowell 325 10.71 1965 22 CLE
33 Vida Blue 301 8.68 1971 21 OAK

Nolan Ryan, power pitcher into his 40s. Did he use steroids?  Saturday, August 9, 2014

Nolan Ryan, Tom House and steroids.  Monday, August 11, 2014

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Stats: how about checking the stuff that's easy to check?

The Yankees played Detroit recently. Yankee announcer Michael Kay mentioned for the umpteenths time that current Tiger, former Yankee Johnny Damon had only 7 homers because he now played his home games in Detroit, not in Yankee Stadium.

An obvious reaction: even if all 7 homers had been hit on the road, doubling his total to 14 still left Damon with a home run slump. I did not bother to check until I started reading today's NY Times article about the possible return of Damon to Boston, where Damon played immediately before his Yankee seasons. I knew his home run production would again be brought up, so I checked. It took about a minute.

Damon has 6 home runs at home in Detroit and one on the road - in Tampa.

Now how difficult would it have been for Michael Kay or one of the other Yankee announcers, all former ball players, to have checked that before or even during the games? I am amazed that the baseball announcers still rely on stats boys to feed them this type of stuff. They should have a computer running during games and they should look up stuff as it pops into their heads. It's not as if the game is so fast paced that they don't have the time: between pitches, between innings, during meetings, during arguments, during pitching changes etc.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Speed limit for pitchers.

Pitchers are not allowed to throw a pitch more than 90 miles per hour.

And get rid of that stupid mound. Talk about leveling the playing field.

Currently tall pitchers have an advantage because they can release the ball closer to home plate. I've already suggested forcing the pitchers to release the ball from within a pitchers box but that rule has not been enacted.

Limiting the speed of the pitch has advantages:

- pitchers cannot rely on over powering batters
- pitchers may be more likely to throw more strikes
- arm trouble may be reduced.

It's not the number of pitches that injure a pitcher's arm, it's the type of pitches. Limiting speed may help. The catcher makes 150 throws a game and rarely suffers an arm injury. Whitey Ford (1950-1967) is the only Hall of Fame pitcher since 1946 under six feet tall: 70 inches, i.e., 5'10". Recently retired Randy Johnson is 6'10". Johnson probably released the ball at least a foot closer to the batter than Ford, increasing the speed of his fastball as it crossed the plate.

One of the rationals for banning performance enhancing stuff is to protect the player from himself. Limiting pitch speed does just that. Plus, how is it fair to a pitcher like Ford? Isn't that another issue with steroid zealots?

Monday, August 9, 2010

Hand covers for base runners.

1. Bags. Padded. No need to have fingers and thumbs exposed when runners slide hands first, which they should not.

2. Wear BLACK bags! Geez! I saw Derek Jeter slide hands first into second base today and even on the slow mo HD replay it was difficult to tell whether he was safe, in part, because his gloves were the same color as the bag. How much imagination and brains does it take to figure out that you want to help the umpires who are increasingly exposed as merely guessing on many, if not most, calls.

Monday, August 2, 2010

MLB integrity: trades during the season.

Saturday, July 31, 2010, the annual MLB orgy ended. That was the trading deadline. Trading players during the season is possibly the thing that undermines the integrity of MLB more than anything, maybe even more than the non-uniform playing areas. Nah, not more than that but it's pretty bad.

So instead of reveling in it MLB fans should come to their senses and oppose it. Will they? Nah.

See previous post on this last year:

http://radicalbaseball.blogspot.com/2009/07/trades-during-season-should-not-be.html

THURSDAY, JULY 30, 2009

Trades during the season should not be allowed.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Lessons from Wiffle Ball.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Esw4fhoBySs

Check out the strike zone. No stealing. No catcher. No plate ump. Cool.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Make all infields the same: entirely dirt.

That eliminates one of the differences among ball parks.

Friday, July 16, 2010

George Steinbrenner did NOT ruin MLB competitive balance!

My research on this was finished June 2, 2010:

Team Competitive Analysis Based on Runs: 1903 - 2009

http://docs.google.com/View?id=dcqxf6mr_99cbft6bgk

It contains supporting data and graphs.

For those of you not inclined to read such a document, here is the final conclusion:

"In EVERY case, the records are closer in the last ten seasons than in the five most disparate seasons."

So why do baseball people like Bob Costas continue to repeat incorrect and unsupportable positions? I guess it's a baseball heritage: never let facts interfere with bias, superstition, legend and general purpose stupidity.

George Steinbrenner died three days ago, the morning of the MLB All Star game. All day there was commentary about George Steinbrenner, much of it lame attempts to not state criticisms that some had long repeated. They wanted to find something nice to say about George Steinbrenner, usually retreating to some sappy story of George's philanthropy.

George was called a patriot, leader, innovator, blah, blah, blah. What a bunch of junk. However, the one thing that they could not resist dredging up was the incorrect idea that Steinbrenner had ruined MLB competitive balance. He did not.

Steinbrenner was a buffoon. His only positive attribute was that he would spend, almost unconditionally, to improve the team. The other owners would not. Steinbrenner spent more and for a longer time than any owner. That is why Steinbrenner is the best owner of all time: MLB, NFL, NBA.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

MLB finals home field advantage

That feeble minded commissioner Bud Selig must change MLB finals to give home field advantage to the team with the better regular season record, like a modern professional league would do it.

Having the result of the all star game determine MLB finals home field advantage is a stupid travesty.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Start the count at 3-2: a refinement.

Original post:

http://radicalbaseball.blogspot.com/2008/04/start-at-bats-with-count-3-2.html

THURSDAY, APRIL 24, 2008

Start at bats with the count 3-2.
Another great idea from slow pitch softball.


_____________________________________

The idea is to SPEED up the game.

I'll bet that 3-2 plate appearances are at least FIVE minutes long. That's nuts. The idea is to put the ball in play, not jerk around. Baseball is a game of batting, fielding and base running. Pitching dominated MLB is a perversion.

Refinement:

http://radicalbaseball.blogspot.com/2009/10/if-i-could-change-only-one-rule.html

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 13, 2009

If I could change only one rule ...
Start the count on 3-2 and limit the batter to three swings.

If you think it through you will see that it fixes much of what causes MLB to be so uneventful and boring. Dull baseball fans could keep all the rest of the lousy rules and procedures for which they lack the imagination to improve.

The initial reaction to my rule change is that the burden would be on the pitcher. Think it through. The batter must put the ball in play, not merely stay alive by fouling off pitches. As soon as the batter takes a strike he is out. As soon as the batter misses a pitch he is out. If the batter fouls off three pitches, he is out.

1. Each AB would be a maximum of three pitches.
2. There would be fewer pitching changes.
3. Pitchers would probably throw mostly fastballs not those silly Bugs Bunny pitches that are often out of the strike zone.
4. There would be fewer meetings. What's there to discuss?
5. Batters would have much less reason to step out of the box.
6. Bunting would decrease.

There is no downside. Watching the pitcher work to set up the batter is boring and silly since there is so much dead time between pitches. Each pitch is a separate event with no flow from pitch to pitch. How do you get a batter leaning when the batter can barely remember what the previous pitch was?


I am open to to this: eliminate the two fouls for the batter. ANYTHING to speed up the damn game!

3-2 count.

Start the count at 3-2. And limit the batter to three swings maximum.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

How about a time limit?

MLB is so unimaginative that it has no plan to streamline the game and pack more action into less time. Here's something simple enough for MLB to implement. Limit the length of the games. Two scenarios: 1. Make the length three hours. Trailing teams will speed up ... a lot. Leading teams will need to be prevented by umps from needless delay. Yeah, I guess that should happen anyway. 2. End a game at a certain time. For a 7PM start, end it at 10PM. That would also eliminate the type of travesty that happens often such as in Thursday's Yankee-Oakland game. It was scheduled to start at 7PM. Because of rain, it started about 9:40PM. This makes a lot of sense for a four hour event that has at most 30 minutes of action.

What counts in pitch count?

MLB teams count the pitches thrown during a game for each individual pitcher so that the pitcher does not throw too many. This is to avoid injury. But what about other throws that day including: - pregame warm ups - between inning warm ups - throws to first to hold runners - fielding throws? Eight warm up pitches are allowed between innings. If a starting pitcher begins the sixth inning that is 5 * 8 = 40. Forty would be a lot relative to the normal pitch count, let's say 80 through five innings. If a pitcher takes fewer warm ups, shouldn't that be a factor in when he is removed? Pregame warm ups may vary a lot from pitcher to pitcher and even for an individual from start to start. Shouldn't that be a factor in when he is removed?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Why the strike zone is a different shape but not smaller.

From my previous post: Note: The diagram also shows that the top of the strike zone is NOT the "midpoint between the top of the shoulders and the top of the uniform pants". The top horizontal line is clearly lower than the "midpoint", which helps explain the fattened but not smaller strike zone of recent seasons. Rule 2.00 (b): "if any part of the ball passes through any part of the strike zone" See the diagram of the batter's boxes:

http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/downloads/y2008/official_rules/01_objectives_of_the_game.pdf 

This diagram shows that the two batter's boxes are six inches from the 17 inch wide home base. The ball diameter is about 2.75 inches. If the edge of the ball forms a tangent with the edge of the strike zone then twice the ball diameter must be added to home base width to determine the true width of the strike zone: 17 + 2.75 + 2.75 = 22.5 inches. Note: Also deceptive about the geometry of baseball is that the 60 feet six inches from the pitcher's rubber to home is measured to the back of home base. Most people would judge the distance to the front, which is 60 feet six inches minus 17 inches = 59 feet one inch. I often see pitches called strikes that are tangent with the line of the batter's box, which makes them six inches outside the strike zone. I think this lower wider strike zone of recent seasons is what causes batters to "dive out over the plate". One solution is to bring back the old American League chest protectors for the umpire behind home so that the ump could stay directly behind home. This also provides more protection so that the ump does not need to hide behind the catcher, drifting back and forth at the catcher's whim, and not get a good view of pitches away.

Ah, the elusive strike zone

MLB website:

 The STRIKE ZONE is that area over home plate the upper limit of which is a horizontal line at the midpoint between the top of the shoulders and the top of the uniform pants, and the lower level is a line at the hollow beneath the kneecap. The Strike Zone shall be determined from the batter’s stance as the batter is prepared to swing at a pitched ball. (For diagram of STRIKE ZONE see page 25.)
____________________________________________

See my basic take on the absurdity of the strike zone:
SATURDAY, AUGUST 8, 2009 Imaginary strike zone.

However, even the basic definition is ambiguous. Which knee? Try to get an answer to that. It's like asking a basketball person what part of the rim is used as the target, the front or the back. All you get is a blank stare. Two general concepts that I think are backward:

1. Some pitches curve around home base. In the history of baseball I do not think any pitch has curved around home base. Yet, you hear this often.
2. That people in the dugout can judge whether a pitch is high or low. How can they if they do not know which knee is used?

The overhead TV camera shot proves my point number one, that pitches do not curve around home base. The side angle shot appears to show that some pitches pass the batter's front knee high enough to be strikes but that they drop below his back knee. So which knee is used to judge? The rule implies singular, not both knees. My common sense suggests the front knee, the knee facing the center field camera, which provides most TV images of pitched balls. However, the poor umpire behind home has the opposite view and sees the back knee, not the front knee. The diagram of the STRIKE ZONE on page 25 of the MLB document shows a horizontal line running through the bottom of both knees. If both knees are used then the back knee controls as pitches are almost always lower the further they are from the pitcher. Note: The diagram also shows that the top of the strike zone is NOT the "midpoint between the top of the shoulders and the top of the uniform pants". The top horizontal line is clearly lower than the "midpoint", which helps explain the fattened but not smaller strike zone of recent seasons.

Is the catcher optional?

Maybe it's in the MLB rules but I did not notice that a player is required to play catcher. Let's say there are two outs, no runners, two strikes on the batter. May the catcher move into fair territory to add a fielder? The pitch may hit the umpire behind home base but even if it does not, the third baseman can probably retrieve it before the batter can run to first if the batter intentionally swings and misses for strike three. Just asking.

Uniform

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uniform A uniform is a set of standard clothing worn by members of an organization while participating in that organization's activity. http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/downloads/y2008/official_rules/01_objectives_of_the_game.pdf No player whose uniform does not conform to that of his teammates shall be permitted to participate in a game. Seems pretty simple to me but with MLB it must be a joke. Here are just a few common deviations on players on the same team: 1. pants: - worn to the knee - worn to the ankle - worn below the shoe 2. socks: - none - traditional baseball knickers with little of any white sanitary hose showing - traditional baseball knickers with lots of white sanitary hose showing - traditional baseball knickers worn mid calf - traditional baseball knickers worn from the knee 3. caps: - straight brim - curved brim - worn to the side - filthy/clean 4. random stuff written on the uniform by individuals 5. shoes: random in the extreme. And shouldn't teams with names that define part of the uniform be required to adhere to that? Shouldn't the Red Sox wear red socks? Shouldn't the White Sox wear white socks? Shouldn't the Reds wear red?

Why is home base such an odd shape?

http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/downloads/y2008/official_rules/01_objectives_of_the_game.pdf 1.05 Home base shall be marked by a five-sided slab of whitened rubber. It shall be a 17-inch square with two of the corners removed so that one edge is 17 inches long, two adjacent sides are 8½ inches and the remaining two sides are 12 inches and set at an angle to make a point. It shall be set in the ground with the point at the intersection of the lines extending from home base to first base and to third base; with the 17-inch edge facing the pitcher’s plate, and the two 12-inch edges coinciding with the first and third base lines. The top edges of home base shall be beveled and the base shall be fixed in the ground level with the ground surface. 1. Notice that it is defined as home base, not home plate. 2. Why not simply make it a square? The other bases are 15 inch squares. Home base could be a 17 inch inch square positioned like second base. Or 15 inch. Why is it a different size than the other bases as well as a different shape?

Friday, May 14, 2010

Home run as victory lap.

The over the fence home run is a team sport oddity. It is the only example in which a play is essentially over but the player is required to perform what can only be described as a victory lap. Why? The most cherished event in baseball is devoid of action once it has been defined. As I have written previously, all home runs should be inside the park.

Home Runs must be inside the park!  Sunday, May 24, 2009

Arena Baseball

Occasionally there is a derogatory comment about some of my ideas: arena baseball. It is intended as a play on words for arena football, a hybrid version of the NFL played with hockey style side boards. Using this pejorative is especially odd in that arena baseball was created the first time a barrier was used to limit and define the playing area, something that only hockey does. In basketball and football, when the ball goes out of bounds the play is over. In baseball it varies. Baseballs banging off fences in fair territory are in play. Isn't that arena baseball? Baseballs bouncing around in foul territory are usually in play. Isn't that arena baseball? Fair fly balls that carry over the outfield fences, which vary in distance from home plate and height, are home runs. Isn't that arena baseball?

Sunday, May 9, 2010

One month seasons!

That's it. Six 30 game, one month seasons! Why not? It makes as much sense as a playoff system. It makes a lot more sense than the silly MLB playoff system. A lot more sense. Each one month season could have separate MVP, home run leader, BA leader, etc. Cool.

Why are there playoffs in the other pro team sports?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Season_structure_of_the_NHL

 The National Hockey League has always used a playoff tournament to determine its champion, generally opening up its playoff games to a much larger number of teams, including those with a losing regular season record in some years. From the NHL's inception to 1920, when ownership of the Stanley Cup was shared between the NHL and the Pacific Coast Hockey Association the regular season was divided into two halves, with the top team from each half moving on to the league finals, which was a two-game total goals series in 1918 and a best-of-seven series in 1919. With the merger of the PCHA and WCHL in 1925 and its collapse in 1926, the NHL took sole control of the Stanley Cup, and from this point the NHL playoffs and the Stanley Cup playoffs are considered synonymous.

The newer NBA has had playoffs since 1950.
http://www.basketball-reference.com/playoffs/NBA_1950.html
__________________________________________________

I could find no indication of why playoff systems were used. Hockey had the Stanley Cup between rival leagues. The NBA may have simply copied the hockey model. The NFL had a single championship game from 1933 through 1964 between the eastern and western conferences, similar to baseball's World Series structure.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Why are there playoffs?

Yesterday I heard Met announcer Keith Hernandez talking about Phillie Hall of Fame pitcher Robin Roberts who had just died at 83. Almost as amazing as my listening to Met announcers was what Hernandez, the 1979 co-MVP in the NL said: that Roberts pitched in big games down the stretch in 1950 to get the Phillies into the playoffs.

The PLAYOFFS! And none of the other Met announcers corrected Hernandez. We're talking playoffs!? It was the late, great WORLD SERIES, Keith! The WORLD SERIES! The World Series has morphed into the MLB finals. Once upon a time there were two distinct leagues: National and American. They each had eight teams who played a 154 game schedule at the end of which the team with the most wins was awarded a symbolic flag or pennant. That was it. Then they decided to settle which league pennant winner was better. They played a best of seven games series (four seasons it was best of nine). That series became known as the World Series.

Then came franchise movement followed by expansion in 1961 and 1962. More expansion in 1969 to twelve teams in each league and the creation of the first divisions, east and west. Six teams in each division. Not bad. Initially, they played unbalanced schedules. In English that meant the common sense idea of playing more games against teams in their division than against the teams in the other division in the same league. Later came more expansion, then more and the creation in 1994 of the perversion that currently exists in MLB, Inc.: three mini divisions of four to six teams, a wild card and unbalanced inter-league play. It's difficult to imagine a more convoluted, unfair system. The NFL followed a similar path.

It is unclear why the NBA and NHL originally pioneered playoffs after the regular season. Here is the basic question. Other than the obvious greed factor, why are there playoffs? Determining the best team is best done over the most games. The fewer games played, the more likely that an inferior team will get lucky and win. Over a regular season of 162 games it becomes pretty clear which team is best. In 2009 it was the Yankees who co-incidentally also won the MLB finals. Here were the 2009 AL leaders in wins after 162 games and their division:

Yankees 103 East
Angels 97 West
Boston 95 East wildcard
Texas 87 West did not qualify for playoff
Minnesota 86 Central
Detroit 86 Central

Since Minnesota and Detroit were in the same division, they had a one game play-in to determine the Central division winner. Minnesota won and played the Yankees in a best of five first round series. Say what? The Yankees won 17 more of the 162 scheduled games and yet the Yankees had to risk their entire season on a best of five crap shoot in which the Yankees only reward was that game five, if necessary, would be played in Yankee Stadium. In the 2009 NL the Dodgers lead with 95 wins but lost to the 93 win Phillies in round two. Again, I ask: why have playoffs? Other than making more money for MLB, Inc., what purpose is served? Either:

1. Limit a playoff to the old World Series and match the NL win leader against the AL win leader.

OR

2. Follow my previous suggestion and put all teams into the playoff with HEAVY weighting to favor teams the higher they are seeded.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Why all that room behind home plate?

Maybe they built the original stands far back from home plate to protect fans and because they didn't have the brains to invent the screen that all parks have had for that purpose for ... 80 years? But why continue that practice. The new Yankee Stadium has 60 feet behind home plate. It's immediate predecessor had 80 feet. Why not build the stands 15 feet away? Is there something entertaining about watching the ball roll away from players? Or could it be that baseball people (fans, players, management) have less than zero imagination? Yeah, I think that's it.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Pitching machine ... Yes!

I can't believe it took me this long to think of it. Replace the pitcher with a machine. Same machine for both teams. That would result it a true contest. Base runners would not be allowed to take leads and the catcher and pitcher can be deployed in the field where they can do some good. This is the essence of the game: batted balls, fielding and base running.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Send in the midgets!

How many pitches are there in a nine inning MLB game? Maybe 300 by both teams? How many of them result in hits or non strike outs? Maybe 60? That would be about 20%. In other words, MLB has devolved into two guys playing catch occasionally interrupted by something actually happening. It would be as if an NBA game was 80% free throw shooting. I have written on this theme previously:

- advocating starting the count on 3-2;
- the imaginary strike zone, one floating in the air, unlike anything in NBA or NFL;
- making the strike zone circular and the same size for all batters, only raised or lowered a little bit at the batter's request; to avoid abuse this could be restricted so that the bottom of the strike zone must be no lower than the batter's knees and the top no higher than the batter's shoulders.

Note: the current strike zone only varies vertically but not horizontally. Why is that? Oh, because the plate is a fixed size? What has the size of the plate got to do with the width of the strike zone? Nothing if you really think about it except that it's a mistake made 150 years ago that no one has considered since. If the strike zone varies in size to accommodate each batter, then why restrict the variation to vertical change and not horizontal? MLB cannot even get that right.

 - eliminating walks completely: if the pitcher can not throw strikes let the opposing team throw the ball to the batter or hand the ball to the batter and let him hit it fungo style; just get the damn thing in play.

This stuff would require another improvement: make base runners stay on the bag until the ball is hit. The game originally was probably one of hitting, fielding and base running, like modern slow pitch softball. MLB is now not just devoid of much action it also lacks pace, flow, continuity. It stops after each pitch. It succumbs to an endless series of delaying rituals: taking the sign, checking the runner, stepping out, stepping off, etc. MLB has become unwatchable.

Here is a reasonable way to attack the stupid walk rule: send in the midgets! Dwarfs if you prefer. Small human beings. Eddie Gaedel rides again! It is a tribute to the constipation of thought of the brain dead MLB management that no one has tried this again since Sunday, August 19, 1951 when Eddie Gaedel pinch hit for the St. Louis Browns. Gaedel was 3 feet 7 inches tall. He walked. The event was dismissed as a mere publicity stunt by the Browns owner Bill Veeck. Actually, Veeck had stumbled onto a way to expose the stupidity of the MLB walk rule, which should have been changed radically after Babe Ruth walked 170 times in 1923. Make a mockery of it until they change it ... hopefully for the better but with MLB you never know. Current AL teams in particular can do this by having the midget be the DH, designated hitter, someone who does not play the field. Wouldn't the midget be a slow runner? Not necessarily but he/she would probably be faster than David Ortiz, the Boston DH. Plus, it would provide an opportunity for women to play MLB. The requirement is not that the player be able to hit, but to be small and run fast. Why not women? How could MLB legislate against it? Can you say Americans with Disabilities Act? Good luck trying to ban midgets, women, dwarfs, even children in 2010.

Send in the midgets!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Is radical catching on?

http://digg.com/baseball/Radical_Baseball_Realignment Radical Baseball Realignment This points to: http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/rosenthal-realignment-proposal-022510#tb Break up the (AL) East by Ken Rosenthal I tried to post a comment. First I had to become a member of FoxSports.com, which is affiliated with MSN. It took a while, requiring verification from both Microsoft and Fox. I posted links to this blog with appropriate references but so far my comment has not appeared. I am amazed at how many people posted comments, meaning that they went through all this nonsense. http://radicalbaseball.blogspot.com/2008/02/radical-baseball.html My original post on this blog contains from my document dated June 9, 2006: 3 Four leagues, no divisions. Also see: http://radicalbaseball.blogspot.com/2009/12/put-all-teams-in-mlb-playoffs.html MONDAY, DECEMBER 21, 2009 Put all teams in the MLB playoffs. Now that's RADICAL!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Pitchers and Catchers: Humbug!

Am I the only one who is sick of hearing the lame phrase "pitchers and catchers" thrown around this time of year as some sort of identifier: hey, we know baseball? We, the morons who haven't had an original thought in decades. We know the "pitchers and catchers" tend to report before other players and that it signifies the long awaited start of baseball spring training. Hey! Grow the heck up! Who the heck cares? This reminds me of some jerk on a Fox TV series who is showing what a baseball genius he is by explaining to some bimbo that the box score is the perfect form, telling one everything there is to know about a particular baseball game. Yeah, if you're a moron! I bet this guy uses the phrase "pitchers and catchers" enough to make his victims vomit. I'll bet he even says "old School" and "back in the day". Plus, once the long awaited first game of spring training finally starts how long is it before you are bored out of your mind? Is there an NBA game to watch? When?

Friday, February 12, 2010

Twitter

Radical Baseball is now also on twitter, though I don't know why.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Steroids are only an issue for home runs.

Those people who care about performance enhancing stuff, steroids for short, are almost exclusively concerned about baseball and, specifically, home runs. That's it.

Since 2000 the NFL record for touch downs scored in a season has been broken FOUR times. I'm a pretty good football fan but I could not have told you that without looking it up.

The NFL record for points scored in a season was broken in 2006 after standing since 1960 when Paul Hornung of the Green Bay Packers scored 176 points: 15 touch downs for 90 points and the rest as the Packers place kicker (15 of 28 field goals and all 41 points after TD).

Does anyone think that Paul Hornung was using steroids? Maybe, but probably not. Does anyone think that the guy who broke his record in 2006 was using steroids? Almost definitely? Where is the outrage? Let's look just at baseball. I have already written that circumstantially Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan almost definitely used something to enhance his performance starting at least as early as 1987.

Ryan holds the MLB career record for strike outs: 5,714, 839 (17%) more than the recently retired Randy Johnson.  Johnson leads in Strikeouts per 9 IP, Ryan is fourth.

What about the MLB record for most hits in a season? It's been challenged in recent seasons twice, same as the home run record.

1998: Mark McGwire broke the MLB record for home runs in a season (Roger Maris 61 in 1961) by hitting 70 home runs. This was the most followed record breaking attempt in team sports since Maris and Mickey Mantle chased Babe Ruth's record of sixty homers in 1961.

2000: Darin Erstad took a run at the MLB record for most hits in a season (George Sisler 257 in 1920); Erstad drew very little interest and fell short with 240.

2001: Barry Bonds broke McGwire's record by hitting 73 home runs with about as much attention even though the record was only three year old.

2004: Ichiro Suzuki broke the 84 year old MLB record for most hits in a season with 262 hits. He received more attention than Erstad, in part, because of the Japanese media. However, media and fan interest paled in comparison to that in 1998 and 2001 for the assaults on the home run record. When you factor in the unique absurdity of MLB having non-uniform playing areas the home run record is the last thing about which people should get upset. And yet they do. They get very upset.

Baseball fans are at once the best and worst. Baseball fans are more likely to know the records. Baseball fans are the least likely to break with tradition, modern metrics not withstanding. There is still too much attention given to batting average. If Ichiro Suzuki was attempting to bat .400 for a season that would get far more attention than his 262 hits. .400 would not be a record, merely an interesting number. It would be the 29th best.

So if batting average is more important than hits, why isn't home run average more important than home runs? How about home run average+, weighted by park and seasons? Thinking about this is where the performance needs to be enhanced.