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Nice guy.  Have some blogs.  Do baseball research.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Halls of Fame: inconsistent criteria of writers.

Baseball writers are inconsistent.

They won't vote into the Baseball Hall of Fame some who played in the steroid era, however the era is defined, but also think that the federal government is wasting money prosecuting Barry Bonds for lying to a grand jury and Roger Clemens for lying to Congress about their use of performance enhancing stuff like steroids.

Some of those same writers also vote for Halls of Fame for football and/or basketball, yet never withhold their approval based on a football or basketball player's use of performance enhancing stuff like steroids.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Cobb 4,000: known at the time?

Yankee announcers said that Ty Cobb got hit # 4,000 on this date in 1927.

Would that have been known at the time?

Cobb broke Cap Anson's career record for hits (3,435) on September 22, 1923 in the first game of a doubleheader in Boston.  Cobb needed two hits to tie; he went 4 for 5 including a home run and double.  In game 2 Cobb went 1 for 5.  Cobb was 37, same age as Jeter.

Cobb had 3,900 hits with Detroit but only 79 in 79 games in 1926.  Cobb turned 40 December 18, 1926.  Would Detroit have known that Cobb had a chance for the 4,000 hit milestone?  Would it have been a big deal?  Was it known that Cobb already had the career hit record?

Cobb played for the Philadelphia Athletics in 1927 and 1928, his final seasons.  Cobb got his final 289 hits with Philadelphia.

With all the fuss about Derek Jeter becoming the 28th player and first Yankee to get 3,000 hits, I wondered about Cobb's situation.

I wonder if it is analogous to Hank Aaron going to the Milwaukee Brewers in his final two seasons after setting the career home run record in his last season with the Braves.  Aaron hit 733 home runs with the Braves and 22 with the Brewers,

Thursday, July 14, 2011

No trades during the season!

I've made this point in previous years.  There should be no trades during the season!

After finally getting their record above .500 the Mets rewarded their fans by dumping the season and trading their best relief pitcher: Francisco Rodriguez.  The regular right fielder, Carlos Beltran who once tied the team record for HR in a season, is likely next.

The annual travesty has begun.  Season ticket holders should file class action law suits.  They ponied up to see a team of certain players and now they are deprived of that, not by injury, but by deliberate corporate greed.

This is one of many things that undermine the integrity of the game far more than steroids and other performance enhancing drugs.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Why can't fielders stand in foul territory?

Maybe the origins and evolution of baseball in the 1800s contain something to explain this but I don't know of any.

Did it have to do with the old fair foul rule?  If so, you'd think that fielders would be allowed to play in foul territory.

Was it because they didn't want another fielder backing up the catcher?  That eliminates the spectacle of the pathetic catcher chasing after a ball that goes to the physical backstop and farther away from most fans.

More on why there is all that space behind the catcher in a subsequent post.  I have a theory.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

The unique absurdities of MLB.

Major League Baseball (MLB) traces its roots to 1869 or 1876 or whatever.  It's been around in some form of professional baseball leagues for a very long time.

For perspective consider the origins of the two other major North American professional leagues:
National Football League (NFL) 1920
National Basketball Association (NBA) 1947.

MLB's antiquity is probably part of the reason that it is antiquated.

Here is a partial list of unique MLB absurdities:

1. Different rules in its two conferences (NL & AL).  Currently this is only the DH rule but such disparity existed in other forms for decades.  Other NL & AL differences in the past: NL umpires at second base stood in front of the bag, in AL behind; number of visits to mound, number of players allowed on mound; strike zone (AL high, NL low) because of chest protectors (AL - outside balloon, NL - inside shirt).

Imagine the old AFL maintaining its two point option after touchdowns when it merged into the NFL becoming the AFC and the NFC staying with one point only.  Imagine the old ABA keeping its three point line after merging into the NBA and the original teams not adopting it.

2. Non-uniform playing areas with barriers of different composition and height.  Imagine ... oh, you get it.  Only baseball does something this absurd.

3. Non-player managers (head coaches) and assistant coaches wearing player uniforms.  How about some fat old NFL and NBA coaches suiting up to ... coach. Yes, they look absurd wearing suits and ties with huge players sweating all over them but this blog is radical baseball, not radical sports.

4. Coaches on the field.  Foul territory is part of the playing field.  How about NFL coaches on the ends of the offensive line waving their ball carrier around a closing linebacker?  Or an NBA coach on the floor waving for a pass to be made?

5. Players allowed to lean and even jump into the stands to make a play.  And fans allowed to interfere with players who do.

6. Foul territory: what the heck is that?  In the other sports when the ball and/or players go out of bounds the play is over.  In baseball, some plays are over, some are not.

7. Unlimited meetings of unlimited length.

8. No "free" substitution.  It would be easy to implement: just maintain the batting order and allow players to substitute for teammates in their original batting order position.  Geez, is that so difficult to imagine?

9. Players allowed to warm up when entering the game.  The backup quarterback does not get to take unlimited time to replace an injured starter.  MLB has an entire replacement ritual for replacing a pitcher, including a coach waddling out to the mound to initiate the change.  Can you see Tom Coughlin taking his sweet time walking to the middle of the field to speak to Eli Manning and decide whether he wants to replace Eli?  Then signalling for the backup who must warm up while the other 21 players wait.  Yeah, right!

10, The fan selected all stars playing an exhibition game, that in 2011 already has Yankees Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez and Mariano Rivera opting to not play, deciding home field advantage in the MLB playoff finals.  Oddly, both the NFL and NBA home teams gain an advantage solely because of fan support and familiarity with the surroundings.  MLB home teams also have a completely different playing area and their players have been selected to take advantage of that.  How bush league is that?

11. Head coaches (managers) allowed to walk onto the field and argue with umpires for as long as they behave themselves.  Play actually stops for this nonsense.  NFL and NBA would never tolerate this.  It's dumb and not entertaining.

That's enough.  I have written about these things in previous posts in more detail.  This was just a summary taking a different form.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Derek Jeter v. the big boys.

Derek Jeter has 2,997 hits, 28th most in MLB history.  How does he match up with those with more hits?


Rank:
BA: 13 (.312)
OBP: 13 (.383)
SLG: 17 (.449)
OPS: 19 (.832)
Runs: 13 (1,725)
RBI: 23 (1,157)
2B: 25 (479)
3B: 22 (62)
HR: 15 (236)
SO: 5 (1,605)
GDP: 12 of 22 (241)
SB: 12 (330)

Outs: 45 (7,058) among all batters

Mickey Mantle 1966: lightning back in his bat ... for 11 days.

I stumbled onto something that I long recalled: the Mick getting his old power back after he had declined.

In 1966 from June 28 through July 8, the Mick hit 11 home runs in 11 days, 14 games, raising his total to 18.

He hit his first homer in 1966 on May 9, his 21st game (four as a PH), and his 23rd and last homer on August 26.  But for those 11 days Mickey Mantle had the lightning back in his bat.

He hit two home runs in one day four times, the final day a doubleheader, the others individual games.  He started with four homers in Boston, two off Jose Santiago and two off former teammate Rollie Sheldon the next day.  Mickey played left field in Boston, so he must have been hurting.

Then in Washington back in CF: July 1 off Phil Ortega, July 2 two off Mike McCormick (L) , July 3 off Pete Rickert (L) .

No homers in  the next five games, 14 AB: July 4 doubleheader, July 5, July 6 doubleheader, PH in game 2.

The final three at Yankee Stadium: July 7 walk-off against Boston's Don McMahon, July 8 doubleheader against Washington - game 1 off Dick Bosman, game 2 off Jim Hannan.

The Yanks record was 36-45, 6-8 during Mickey's hot streak.  It was a dismal time for the Mick and for his fans.  But the Mick had pulled within two homers of Frank Robinson who would finish 1966 with 49, the AL MVP and the first triple crown since Mickey's ten years before.

The home run streak was over because Mickey didn't play again until July 18, ten days later, when he pinch hit a double in Minnesota.

He went homerless in his next three games but then homered in consecutive games July 23 & 24.  That gave him 20 in his 80th game played.  Mickey hit 20 homers in his 59 games played (including four as a PH: no HR) from May 9 when he hit his first.  July 23 Frank Robinson hit his 28th home run.

Mick's final home run on August 26 was a PH walk-off against Hank Aguirre (L) with Clete Boyer on base and Yanks trailing 5-4.  Mickey played only eight more games in 1966, two as a PH.

In 1966 Mickey hit 14 HR in 192 AB batting right handed, 9 HR in 141 AB batting left handed.  192/14 = 13.7.  141/9 = 15.66.

The Mick could not sustain it.  He did what aging sluggers do: rise up for a time then fade back, waiting for their inevitable extinction.

Note: In 1967 Mickey failed to homer in his first 11 games, then homered in two consecutive games April 29-30.  May 17 through May 21 he homered in four consecutive games played, 5 of 6.  Consecutive games again May 27-28, 3 of 4.  Two HR in game 1, July 4.  Only one HR July 26 through August 31, 31 games played.  Then homered in two consecutive games Sept. 2-3.  Then no HR in his final 22 games played.  He did hit number 500 Sunday May 14, 1967 off Stu Miller before 18,872 fans at Yankee Stadium.  It was Mickey Mantle's last hurrah.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

MLB BCS finals should be at a neutral site.

I have suggested this previously.  However, now it fits with my new suggestion that MLB pattern its playoff on the absurd NCAA college model:

1. select teams by poll
2. consider strength of schedule
3. play the MLB finals between the American and National conference champs at a neutral site.

In football, both NCAA and NFL, the championship game is played at a neutral site to mitigate the impact of one team's fans.  MLB needs to do it because its teams play in non-uniform playing areas, which no other self respecting team sport does.

It's difficult to imagine that what MLB currently does is legal, that it is not fraud to pretend that there is honest competition between and among teams when the regular season has different schedules even within a division and games are played in non-uniform playing areas with different rules in each conference.

And let's not forget that MLB has fans select players for the MLB All Star game and the All Star game decides home field advantage in the MLB finals.  Could MLB be more amateurish?  Hardly.  So why not go all the way and copy the so called amateurs, the NCAA.

MLB could really debase itself by emulating the NCAA and have post season division tournaments that impact the voting of the selection committees.

Friday, July 1, 2011

2 outfielders, 5 infielders

Yesterday afternoon was a bright sunny day at Yankee Stadium.  A Yankee hit a fly ball to left and the Brewer was fighting the sun.  When he caught the ball his teammate from center field was standing beside him exhibiting extreme hustle or a Nick Swisher like narcissism to be on camera.  It reminded me of my suggestion that MLB managers break out of their mental straight jackets occasionally and try something different:  2 outfielders and 5 infielders.  That CF got to LF with ease.

The Yankees have just the right players to try 2 outfielders and 5 infielders when game conditions permit blah, blah, blah.

RF Swisher also plays first base.  LF Gardner is a natural CF.  Yanks could move left throwing Swisher to 1B, 1B Teixeira to 2B, spread Gardner and CF Granderson into the power alleys and move 2B Cano, who has a powerful arm, behind second base where he would make all plays at the bag.

NL managers could do this even more often because the NL has that archaic rule requiring the pitcher to bat. When a really weak hitting pitcher is trying to execute a sacrifice bunt, blitz!  Make the shift.

I think this defensive alignment can be used a fair amount.  Try it, at least in the minor leagues.  Try it in spring training instead of just going through the motions.

Try something different.  ANYTHING!