About Me

My photo

Nice guy.  Have some blogs.  Do baseball research.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Red Sox nation, the Evil Empire.

David Ortiz was the best hitter and Jon Lester the best pitcher in the 2013 Major Baseball League (MBL) tournament.  In a general sense the best hitter/pitcher combination on a single team is Miguel Cabrera and Justin Verlander of  Detroit but the Boston Red Sox vanquished the Tigers in the American Conference (AC) championship series, the semi-finals.

MBL commissioner Allen Huber "Bud" Selig provided the circumstance of games 6 and 7 being scheduled in Fenway Park Boston with his idiotic policy of having home field/rule being determined by which team won the All Star game between the two conferences.  If Selig had any sense, the advantage in the finals would go to the team with the best regular season record.  In 2013 both Boston and their finals opponent, the St. Louis Cardinals, tied for most wins (97) and did not play each other in the regular season, so some other form of tie breaker would have been needed.  Selig eliminated team merit.

The media is all over the fact that this is the first time since 1918 that Boston can celebrate at home.  Actually, that circumstance was enjoyed by only 38,447 members of Red Sox nation, one more than in game 2 and two more than in game 1.  Presumably this would be the usual tight knit group of white people.  See this post:

Wednesday, October 30, 2013  Boston Whiteskins

Red Sox nation is insulated and isolated geographically, culturally and racially.
______________________________________

And lest we forget the Ryan Dempster and Alex Rodriguez incident:

Monday, August 19, 2013  Coward Ryan Dempster should be suspended 211 games for deliberately hitting Alex Rodriguez.

To their disgrace nearly all the Red Sox fans in Fenway Park cheered this vigilante act.  A pitcher deliberately hitting a batter is much worse than a batter using steroids.  And these Boston hypocrites ignore the fact that the best player on the two Boston championship teams this millennium was Manny Ramirez, the only Hall of Fame caliber player to serve suspensions for using banned performance enhancing drugs (PED).  Not to mention David Ortiz who is still a member of the Red Sox.  All of Boston should be ashamed.  Last night a representative sample of its population became the ugly mob.  I've long thought that the two baseball teams combined, including coaches, had more black people than were in the stands for a typical baseball game at Fenway Park.  Check for yourself the next time you watch a game there on TV.  When the Red Sox took the field last night the closest player to a person of color was Shane Victorino.  That must have been comforting to the most parochial narrow minded fans among the 28 cities that have MBL teams.
____________________________________________

Concerning the 1918 World Series:

Wednesday, October 30, 2013  Red Sox and Cardinal precedents.

The season was short because of World War I.  The first three games against the Cubs were played in Chicago at Comiskey Park, home of the White Sox.  I don't know why Wrigley Field was not used.  War time travel restrictions would account for there being only one change of venue.  There was one off day for travel then the final four games were scheduled to be played in Boston.  Because of that the final game could only be in Boston.

The Red Sox won game six at Fenway Park before 15,238 fans.  Carl Mays beat Lefty Tyler 2-1; both pitched complete games.
__________________________________

There's more on Babe Ruth pitching and winning two games.  Apparently the Cubs used a diabolical plan to prevent Ruth from playing the games in which Ruth did not pitch.  The Cubs started two lefties, Tyler and Hippo Vaughn, in all six games played, four on one day of rest.  Because there was no game Sunday, September 8, 1918 because of "blue laws", Tyler got two days rest before game four, which his relief pitcher lost; Ruth won for Boston.  The strategy worked.  From my post:

Ruth did not start any other games as a non-pitcher but entered the 6th and final game in Fenway Park to play left field replacing clean up hitter (George) Whiteman in the 8th with two out, no runners, Red Sox up 2-1; Ruth did not bat.
__________________________________

Friday, October 11, 2013  Final Four: traditional teams. Coincidence?

Let's look at the 30 MBL teams in order of estimated payroll...

Top four:
Los Angeles Dodgers
New York Yankees
Boston Red Sox
Detroit Tigers

St. Louis Cardinals are number 11 among the 30 teams.
__________________________________

With the Yankees determined to get their team payroll under the $189 million cap in 2014, Boston may well have the highest AC payroll next season.  Red Sox nation, the destroyer of worlds in three of the last ten seasons, will truly be the Evil Empire.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Red Sox and Cardinal precedents.

Boston leads St. Louis in games 3-2 in the Major Baseball League (MBL) tournament finals.  Boston has something this year that it did have not in previous years when it played games 6 and/or 7 at home: home rule advantage, i.e., the designated hitter (DH).  American Conference team rosters are built for that.  National Conference teams are not.

Do the same people attend each game in Fenway Park?  See figures below for 2013, 1975, 1967 and my previous post: Boston Whiteskins.

2013 World Series (3-2): Boston Red Sox (97-65) leads St. Louis Cardinals (97-65)

Attendance in Fenway Park for games:
1. 38,345
2. 38,346
__________________________

1975 World Series (4-3): Cincinnati Reds (108-54) over Boston Red Sox (95-65)

Boston won game 6 but lost game 7 at home.

Interestingly, Boston had the exact same attendance in all four games in Fenway Park: 35,205.  Maybe it was just an accounting thing.  In Cincinnati the attendance was different for each of the three games.
__________________________

1967 World Series (4-3): St. Louis Cardinals (101-60) over Boston Red Sox (92-70)

Boston won game 6 but lost game 7 at home.  Bob Gibson won games 1, 4, 7, the only pitcher to do that.  All three Gibson wins were nine inning complete games.

Attendance in Fenway Park for games:
1. 34,796
2. 35,188
6. 35,188
7. 35,188
__________________________

1946 World Series (4-3): St. Louis Cardinals (98-58) over Boston Red Sox (104-50)

St. Louis won games six and seven at home.  Different attendance for each of the three games in Fenway Park.

Harry Brecheen pitched complete game Cardinals victories in games 2 and 6, then two days later won game 7 pitching innings 8 and 9.  In the 8th Brecheen entered with the Cardinals up 3-1, 2 on, no outs.  Brecheen retired the first two batters but allowed a double to Dom DiMaggio to tie the game 3-3.  In the bottom of the 8th Harry Walker doubled in Enos Slaughter for a 4-3 Cardinal lead.  That's the famous two out Slaughter dash from first.  In the top of the 9th Brecheen allowed singles to Rudy York and Bobby Doerr but pitched out of it for the win.
__________________________

1934 World Series (4-3): St. Louis Cardinals (95-58) over Detroit Tigers (101-53)

St. Louis won games six and seven in Detroit.  In game seven St. Louis scored 7 runs in the third inning to break it open.  Starting the bottom of the 6th with St. Louis leading 9-0 Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis removed St. Louis left fielder Joe Medwick for his own protection when Detroit fans threw things at him because of his hard slide into third base,
__________________________

1918 World Series (4-2): Boston Red Sox (75-51) over Chicago Cubs (84-45)

The season was short because of World War I.  The first three games against the Cubs were played in Chicago at Comiskey Park, home of the White Sox.  I don't know why Wrigley Field was not used.  War time travel restrictions would account for there being only one change of venue.  There was one off day for travel then the final four games were scheduled to be played in Boston.  Because of that the final game could only be in Boston.

The Red Sox won game six at Fenway Park before 15,238 fans.  Carl Mays beat Lefty Tyler 2-1; both pitched complete games.

Babe Ruth pitching with Boston Red Sox,
Cominsky Park, 1914
(SDN-059778,
Chicago Daily News negatives collection,
 Chicago Historical Society)
Babe Ruth was the starting pitcher in games 1 and 4; Ruth won both.  Ruth's record of 29 consecutive scoreless World Series innings ended in the 8th inning of game four.  Boston led 2-0 but Ruth allowed the Cubs to tie the game.  In the bottom of the 8th Cubs starter Lefty Tyler was relieved by Phil Douglas who made a throwing error on a sacrifice bunt to allow the lead run to score.  Red Sox up 3-2.  In the 9th Ruth allowed a single and walk and was relieved: Bullet Joe Bush replaced George Whiteman (LF) pitching and batting 4th Babe Ruth moved from P to LF.  Ruth was batting 6th.  Bush retired two batters, the second on a game ending double play.

Ruth did not start any other games as a non-pitcher but entered the 6th and final game in Fenway Park to play left field replacing clean up hitter Whiteman in the 8th with two out, no runners, Red Sox up 2-1; Ruth did not bat.  Ruth had tied for the American League home run lead with Tillie Walker; each had 11.  Ruth would set single season home run records in each of the next three seasons:
1919 29 Red Sox home park: Fenway Park
1920 54 Yankees home park: Polo Grounds
1921 59 Yankees home park: Polo Grounds.

Thus was born the "Curse of the Bambino", the transfer of Babe Ruth from the Red Sox to the Yankees.  In 1927 Ruth broke his own record for the final time with 60 home runs playing his home games in Yankee Stadium.

Boston Whiteskins

I have long maintained that there are probably more black people on the teams than in the stands at a Red Sox game in Fenway Park in Boston, MA.

Each team has 25 players, a manager and about six coaches.  Combined that's about 64 people.  Some of those 64 people are black, that is too dark skinned to have been permitted to play before general integration began in 1947.  Boston was the last of the 16 major league teams to have a black player: Pumpsie Green July 21, 1959.

Boston will start David Ortiz tonight, so that's one black person.  The starting pitchers will, of course, be white.  The 2013 St. Louis Cardinals are a pretty white team, too, but I'm still guessing that the blacks on the baseball teams will outnumber the black fans.

In games one and two of the Major Baseball League (MBL) finals in Fenway Park there were 38,435 and 38,436 fans.  Among them there may have been some black people but I did not see them.  Did you?  Do you ever at Fenway Park?  Check for yourself tonight on television when you watch/monitor game six.

Red Sox nation is insulated and isolated geographically, culturally and racially.  Maybe former Boston Celtic Bill Russell, an NBA legend, will show up but I doubt it.

The National Football League (NFL) is under some pressure to change the name of the Washington Redskins, which inspired the title of this post.  Maybe the MBL should go in the opposite direction and rename its Boston team as a reflection of the Boston fans.

Should the Cardinals throw at David Ortiz?

No, of course not.  David Ortiz is really hot but it's unconscionable to try to intimidate him by throwing 90 miles per hour fastballs at him.

I'm hearing it a lot.  After game five former pitcher Al Leiter said as much on the MLB Network and the next day non-players were saying it.  It's couched in baseball speak as "making him uncomfortable" and "make him move his feet".   Leiter prefaced his comments with the standard baseball disclaimer: "I'm not saying they should hit him".  Yeah, right.

Just throw close enough so that the batter needs to use his world class reflexes to save himself by diving out of the way.  Put the onus on the batter.  Wash your hands of it.  What a crock.

Whitey Ford didn't throw at batters.

Sandy Koufax didn't throw at batters.

Mike Mussina didn't throw at batters.

If Cardinal pitchers want to make Ortiz uncomfortable, make better pitches.  Do not stoop to the baseball thuggery that has been accepted by the power structure and media for too long.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Albert Pujols, the Cardinals need you!

Albert Pujols, are you still injured?  Do your skills continue to erode?  Are you aging even more rapidly than we suspected?  No matter.  Saddle up and head to Boston.

Maybe Major Baseball League (MBL) commissioner Allen Huber "Bud"Selig needs to give the St. Louis Cardinals a temporary stay of execution and let the Cardinals use Pujols, their one time great and the best first baseman in National League/Conference history, to play the final two games in Boston against the evil empire of the Boston Red Sox.  In exchange the Cardinals would deactivate rookie pitching sensation Michael Wacha, whom they chose in the annual free agent draft with the number 19 first round pick they received as compensation when Pujols signed that ridiculous ten year contract with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, CA.

Boston has gone from not getting hits in the first several innings of this season's tournament games to getting game winning blasts not only from David Ortiz (Fat Pappi) but also from former switch hitter Shane Victorino and ... eeck ... Jonny Gomes.  OPS for Cardinal first baseman Matt (Fat) Adams is barely above his weight.

Obviously the universe as we know it is spinning out of control and a cosmic adjustment must be made immediately.  Unfortunately, the fate of our galaxy rests with Bud Selig who still does not know that he presides over the merger of two leagues.  The only thing between us and the abyss of a third Boston Red Sox championship in ten years is Albert Pujols.  Albert needs to shrug off the effects of Kryptonite, regain his super human powers for a couple of days and save the baseball world.

Once done, the Yankees can return and a calm will settle over the land.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Pitchers hitting: an oxymoron. Go to the SIX man batting order!

Pitchers will be required to bat in the next three games.  It's the middle three games of the Major Baseball League (MBL) finals and starting tonight the games will be played in St. Louis, which is in the National Conference, the last entity with such a requirement.

Over 100 years ago managers had already reconciled themselves to the fact that pitching was so dominant and therefore so important that good eyesight and an ability to hit were no longer qualities that they sought in their pitchers.  Pitchers needed to pitch.  When their turn in the batting order came along, the manager simply accepted the fact that they would make out much more often than the other players.

Forty years ago the old American League (AL) led the way with a stupid rule that allowed a hitter to be designated to bat for the pitcher.  But it was better than having the pitcher continue to bat.  What was needed was a designated fielder, not a designated hitter.

In 1999 the AL and NL merged but still did not bother to resolve the rule difference.  A few years later this was compounded by commissioner Allen Huber "Bud" Selig who thought it would be neat idea to spice up the All Star game between the two conferences by having the game determine which conference winner would get an extra game at home in the tournament finals, formerly the World Series.  This is really embarrassing.

In 2013 Boston has that extra game, which includes not only home field advantage but also home rule advantage: the designated hitter DH.  That's a big plus in game seven.  Home field advantage is big because baseball allows non-uniform playing areas and teams can form their rosters to take advantage of their home park, in this case Fenway Park, probably the most oddly shaped of all current parks and also with a 37 foot wall in left.  That really enhances also having the DH.  David Ortiz is possibly the last big time DH as teams seemed to have drifted to rotating players through the DH spot.

National Conference proponents emphasize that their rule has more strategy, which seems to boil down to these alternatives:
1. remove the pitcher while he is pitching;
2. wait for the pitcher's spot in the batting order and pinch hit for the pitcher.

Doesn't seem like much, certainly not nearly enough to allow players with limited batting skills to waste plate appearances.  If the bottom of the order is due up next inning, you can run down to the store and get more refreshments and return without missing much.  The bottom of the order is BORING.  Nobody wants to see the bottom of the order.  Get rid of it.

Six players should both bat and play the field.  No golfers out there who only swing.  All batters must play the field.  However, why have all fielders bat?  If it's a good idea, and it is, to not have a bad hitting pitcher bat, then why have a bad hitting catcher bat or a bad hitting shortstop.  Skip them.  Eliminate the bottom of the order.

Six is the minimum number of batters so that a batter does not come up with himself on base.  Batters would then have about as many plate appearances as batters faced by starting pitchers.  There's some symmetry in that and it makes for better comparisons such as how many home runs hit/allowed by individuals.

So while you're monitoring tonight's game and the next two consider this proposal.  I'm assuming that most people outside of Boston and St. Louis do not have enough interest to actually spend four hours watching the game and will be doing pretty much anything else at the same time to stay awake.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Jon Lester: how did white resin turn green on your glove?

Gaylord Perry By twm1340 via Wikimedia Commons
Boston Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester insists that the green stuff clearly visible to all but Major Baseball League (MBL) officials during his start in game one of the finals is resin, not a "foreign substance".

Saturday, August 17, 2013  Cheaters, Weasels, Whiners.

I forgot to mention former Red Sox player Manny Ramirez, the only great player prior to Ryan Braun who recently copped a plea, to actually serve a suspension.  Ramirez was instrumental in the Red Sox winning the MBL tournament in 2004 and 2007.  Along with David Ortiz.

My interpretation of The Times article would have all the current Red Sox added to the list of weasels, including those named specifically: John Lackey, Jonny Gomes, Jon Lester.

The Times said this about Lester:

Starter Jon Lester said Friday that union members should understand the process, but added that the Red Sox did not want Rodriguez on the field.

“I would imagine pretty much everybody in baseball feels that way,” Lester said.


What a weasel.  Understand the process but get the guy off the field.  What a weasel.
____________________________________________

A resin bag is provided for pitchers.  It is conveniently placed on the back side of the mound.  Lester supposedly does not want to interrupt his pace to bend down and touch the resin bag.  He wants his resin on his glove and nice and green.  Maybe a little Vaseline to make the resin stick to the glove?  How else would it stay in place?  It's powdery.  Ever see a pitcher fire a resin bag down onto the ground in disgust?  That produces a puff of white particles into the air, like body powder.

Boston manager John Farrell stuck up for Lester saying that Lester sweats like a pig.  Nice touch.  Except that Farrell had supported his coward pitcher Ryan Dempster after Dempster deliberately committed the vigilante act of hitting Alex Rodriguez with a 90 mile per hour fastball.  Even the MBL didn't buy Dempster's denial and  slapped his wrist with a minimal suspension.

1. Why is a minor league pitcher the only member of the entire St. Louis Cardinals organization from the general manager on down the only one who seems to think that Lester might be cheating?  That's how the story broke, the guy posted a message, which I refuse to call a tweet, on twitter.com along with an image with the incriminating evidence.  Everybody wants to look the other way, maybe because this rule violation is common.

2. When did placing resin on a glove become legal?

3. Is this on field violation worse than an off field violation like using performance enhancing drugs (PED), including steroids?

4. Isn't this performance enhancing?

It stinks.  There's the stench of mendacity permeating Fenway Park.

Maybe Jon Lester should take Alex Rodriguez to dinner and talk it over.  After Lester washes his hands.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Choking in the field. What could be more obvious?

Pete Kozma choked playing shortstop.  There's no other interpretation.  In game one of the Major Baseball League (MBL) finals, a.k.a., the World Series, the St. Louis shortstop missed two balls, both several feet above the ground, one a throw from the second baseman in the first inning, the other a soft bouncer to his backhand in the second inning.  Both could have been double plays.  They would have been bad errors for a 12 year old.  5-0 Boston after two innings.

So, how many idiots will deny that there is such a thing as choke, the opposite of clutch?

Saturday, October 19, 2013  Choke

People who are in denial about clutch and choke depend exclusively on the numbers, not what we can actually see on the field.  This is where the players know stuff the rest of us do not...

Ups and downs are attributed by some to ups and downs, without considering that a reason for fluctuations may be choking all along.  All players choke.  All players are clutch.  The difference is how much and when...

We all have good days and bad.  We all choke, no matter what we do.  To deny or ignore that is silly.  In baseball, listen to the players.  They don't know the numbers but they know each other in a way that the rest of us cannot.  When it comes to choking, players know and they know themselves the best.  A player knows when he choked.  He may not want to admit it, not even to himself, but he knows.  Way down deep, he knows.
_____________________________________

Wednesday, October 23, 2013, 7:30pm, Fenway Park
Attendance: 38,345, Time of Game: 3:17
Boston 8, St. Louis 1

In baseball choking is least obvious in batting because batters fail most of the time.  But it's still noticeable.  It's inescapable in the field where even lousy fielders succeed 90% of the time.  The choking by Kozma was so obvious that even in Boston he was charged with errors on both plays rather than provide a cookie hit to one of the home town batters.  Does the league provide non-local official scorers in the tournament?  Anyone know?

The batter after the second Kozma error singled past third baseman David Freese who missed a bouncer that looked difficult but playable.  Then on the next batter Cardinal right fielder Carlos Beltran made a clutch fielding play, robbing David Ortiz of a second four run home run in this tournament.  In the previous round Tiger Torii Hunter just missed a slightly more difficult catch on Ortiz in almost the same spot and also with the bases loaded.  Beltran watched the ball all the way.  Hunter did not.  A Boston cop in the bullpen jumped for joy when Hunter went head over heals and landed on his head in the pen.  I did not see the cop air born when Beltran robbed Fat Pappi.  Beltran was forced from the game with an injury to his torso from banging into the top of the low fence making the catch.

Maybe Cardinal manager Mike Matheny should have been demonstrative when he went to the mound to speak to his players.  Matheny did not seem to have much to say to starting pitcher Adam Wainwright.   Matheny should have stuck his finger into the chest of Kozma and asked him if he wanted to be out there.

You rarely see a manager embarrass a player by removing him from the field.  Billy Martin did it to Reggie Jackson in a 1978 Saturday afternoon game on national TV ... in Fenway Park.  Billy thought that Reggie had dogged it on a short fly to right and immediately sent Paul Blair out to replace Reggie.  When Reggie got into the dugout the two had to be separated, mostly Billy who I think wanted no part of Reggie without the advantage of a surprise sucker punch for which Billy was noted.  It cost Billy his job.  Martin was replaced by Bob Lemon who led the Yankees in their big comeback against Boston and the World Series win over the Dodgers.

Met manager Gil Hodges once thought the same thing about his left fielder Cleon Jones in Shea Stadium.  Hodges walked toward the mound but then continued out to left.  He asked Jones if he was hurt.  When Jones said that he was not, Hodges had Jones accompany him back to the dugout and replaced him.

Pitcher Wainwright could have been the sheriff last night and made it clear for all to see that he cannot both pitch and play shortstop at the same time.  Except that Wainwright put the leadoff runner on in the second when he called to catch an easy pop up and then let it drop, looking like a doofus.

That seems a little tough, right, by today's standards of behavior?  Don't show up or embarrass a teammate on the field, right?  What about the teammate failing to perform the easiest of baseball functions: fielding.  The culprit was batting 9th.  He was playing only because of what he could contribute with his fielding.  Hey, do your damn job!  Is that so bad, especially in the heat of battle?  Wake the the heck up or get the heck off the field.  That's how it would be handled in football or basketball.

Kozma missed balls that he can play in his sleep, plays that kids and old people can make.  He missed them because it was a big game on a world stage.  The pressure got to him.  He choked.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Sparky Lyle finished four 1977 playoff games in five days: 9 innings, 2 wins.

Sparky Lyle won the American League Cy Young award in 1977, pitching 137 innings, about twice what Mariano Rivera typically pitched.

Game log:

Lyle finished three games in 1977 pitching at least five innings: 6.66, 5.66, 5.  In those Lyle entered in innings 9,7,7.

1977 League Championship Series (3-2): New York Yankees (100-62) over Kansas City Royals (102-60)

Lyle finished 4 of 5 games in 5 days.
1. Entered in 9th down 7-2.  What the heck?  Faced and retired only one batter in New York.
2. Ron Guidry pitched a complete game victory 6-2 in New York.
3. 2.33 innings.  Yanks down 6-1.  Yanks lost 6-2 in Kansas City.  What the heck?
4. 5.33.  Yanks up 5-4.  Yanks won 6-4 in Kansas City.
5. 1.33.  Yanks down 3-2.  Yanks won on 5-3 in Kansas City.

Lyle pitched 9.33 innings in five days and won games 4 and 5.

Yankee manager Billy Martin used and abused Lyle in a way that is unimaginable today.

This series against Kansas City is a forgotten gem even among Yankee fans.  Game five featured heroics by Reggie Jackson, Roy White and Paul Blair.  Martin had benched Jackson in game five because Reggie was not hitting.  Martin knew that move would get him fired if the Yankees lost game five.

With the Yanks trailing 3-1 in the 8th Jackson pinch hit for DH Cliff Johnson and singled in Willie Randolph.

Down 3-2 the Yanks rallied in the top of the ninth and scored three runs.

Blair singled having started in place of Jackson in right field.
White walked.
Mickey Rivers singled in Blair.  Tie game.
Randolph lined a sacrifice fly to center scoring White.  Yanks lead.
Thurman Munson gounded out to short.
Lou Piniella reached on an error by George Brett scoring Rivers with an insurance run.
Jackson grounded out to third.

Then Lyle held one last time.  Yanks won 5-3.

The Yankees went on to defeat the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series.

1977 World Series (4-2): New York Yankees (100-62) over Los Angeles Dodgers (98-64)

Two days after the end of the Kansas City series Lyle relieved starter Don Gullett in Yankee Stadium in game one in the 9th inning with one out and runners on first and second, Yanks leading 3-2.  Lyle allowed a single to Lee Lacey that drove in Dusty Baker with the tieing run.  Lyle then held the Dodgers through the top of the 12th.  In the Yankee 12th Randolph doubled, Munson was walked intentionally and Blair, who had replaced Jackson in right in the ninth, singled in Randolph.  Lyle was the winning pitcher going another 3.66 innings.

That made it 13 innings finishing five games in seven days.

Lyle made his final appearance of 1977 in game two the next day.  With the Yanks trailing 5-1 Billy Martin brought in Lyle to start the 9th.  Steve Garvey was the first Dodger up and he homered.  Lyle then retired the next three but the Yankees lost 6-1.

What the heck was Martin thinking?  Lyle had 14 innings finishing six games in eight days.

In Los Angeles:
3. Yankees won 5-3; Mike Torres pitched a complete game victory
4. Yankees won 4-2; Guidry pitched a complete game victory
5. Dodgers won 10-4; Don Sutton pitched a complete game victory; Munson and Jackson homered back-to-back in their final times up.

Yankee Stadium:
6. Yankees won 8-4; Mike Torres pitched a complete game victory; Jackson walked then homered in his final three times up.  I attended.

Billy Martin never liked Reggie Jackson more than he did after that game.

Billy didn't seem to need Lyle after game two.  We can only wonder if Lyle had anything more to give.

World Series: historical stuff presented a little differently.

These two links contain information that is readily available but the presentation here is a bit different and provides some different perspectives.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1gWLxFLDXkbCsJiLLbmtXBf-qdScPIhP3USH0jHo510s/pub

https://spreadsheets.google.com/spreadsheet/pub?key=0Ai3KONa1HbjDcFVhQm53MXZqRThRN0hfMmVramNTTFE&gid=0

The first link is to a document that I created in 2008, so it's a little bit out of date.  Here is the intro and the sections:

This material covers series starting in 1903 between the National League and the American League champions.  The purpose is to present data in a different form, which results in new observations.  In other words to find things hidden in plain sight.

Content:
- Sunday in the park
- Nine game series, eight games and tie
- Home sweet home
- Travel
- Best of Seven WS
- Sweeps
- Regular Season
- Yankees
- Yanks 1960

It also has a link to the second document, which is a spreadsheet with these tabs, which are at the upper left:
- WS Calendar
- No off days
- Best of seven that went seven
- All WS
- Regular season run difference
- Yankees

WS Calendar is very cool.  It is a matrix for all WS dates.  For more recent years you will need to page down to the dates when the WS was played.  To keep it as compact as possible I omitted scores but used the following to indicate the winning team and where the game was played:
- road team is in lower case, home team upper case (all caps)
- road win also has a gray background
- significant event has a yellow background: three homers, perfect game
- final game has bold text

Here is part of the data in the tab for "No off days", something we are not likely to see again:

YearWinnerLoser
1906Chicago White SoxChicago Cubs
1907Chicago CubsDetroit Tigers
1908Chicago CubsDetroit Tigers
1912Boston Red SoxNew York Giants
1913Philadelphia AthleticsNew York Giants
1922New York GiantsNew York Yankees
1923New York YankeesNew York Giants
1924Washington SenatorsNew York Giants
1927New York YankeesPittsburgh Pirates
1933New York GiantsWashington Senators
1934St. Louis CardinalsDetroit Tigers
1935Detroit TigersChicago Cubs
1937New York YankeesNew York Giants
1940Cincinnati RedsDetroit Tigers
1944St. Louis CardinalsSt. Louis Browns
1947New York YankeesBrooklyn Dodgers
1948Cleveland IndiansBoston Braves
1949New York YankeesBrooklyn Dodgers
1950New York YankeesPhiladelphia Phillies
1952New York YankeesBrooklyn Dodgers
1953New York YankeesBrooklyn Dodgers
1954New York GiantsCleveland Indians
1955Brooklyn DodgersNew York Yankees

I think there was a rain out in 1956 between the Yankees and Brooklyn otherwise that would not have had any off days either.  In 1957 the Milwaukee Braves played the Yankees and this started the modern pattern of travel days.

Note: I now refer to this series as the Major Baseball League (MBL) finals.  I use the term MBL to emphasize the fact that the two leagues merged in 1999 and I now refer to them as conferences.  However, for historical continuity I continue to use the old name, World Series.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Baseball v. Football: salary.

Football has both a team salary cap and floor.  Baseball needs a floor.

bleacherreport.com
How Does the Salary Cap Work in the NFL?
BY TYLER BROOKE JUNE 10, 2013

The cap was introduced to the NFL back in 1994, with the cap set at $34.6 million. This number is determined each year and adjusted based off of the revenues of the league...

For the 2013 season, the cap for each team is set at $123 million. This means that no team can spend more than that amount of money against the cap (although we will talk later about what counts against the cap and what doesn’t). Teams must be in compliance with the cap by no later than the first day of the league year.

There is also a minimum salary under the new CBA. The salary floor for each team is 89 percent of the cap. For 2013, this means that each team must be over $109.47 million.

Along with a team minimum salary, the league itself must spend 95 percent of the cap in 2013. This means that all teams combined must average 95 percent of the cap or higher. If the league fails to meet this mark, they must pay the remaining amount needed directly to players.
___________________________

The articles goes on to discuss things like signing bonuses.

The NFL $123 million cap is almost exactly half the estimated $246 million spent in 2013 by the Yankees according to baseball-reference.com.  The Dodgers spent the most: $256 million, the Red Sox the third most: $177 million.

The Major Baseball League (MBL) has a roster limit of 25 players before September when teams can expand.  The National Football League (NFL) has a roster limit of 53 but only 46 players may dress to play in a game.  But 46 is still almost double the 25 baseball players.

So the New York Yankees spent about twice as much on salary as the NFL New York Giants even though the Yankees had about half as many players.  And NFL salaries are generally not guaranteed although bonuses are.

Giant quarterback Eli Manning is paid about 17 percent of the Giants salary, about $21 million.  No other Giant football player makes as much as $10 million.  The Yankees paid three players over $20 million:

Alex Rodriguez $28 million
CC Sabathia $23 million
Mark Teixeira $22.5 million

Vernon Wells $21 million (salary adjusted so it will be lower in 2014)
Alfonso Soriano $18 million (acquired at mid-season)
Derek Jeter $17 million
Robinson Cano $15 million
Curtis Granderson $15 million
Hiroki Kuroda $15 million
Kevin Youkilis $12 million
Andy Pettitte $12 million
Mariano Rivera $10 million

Football has 22 starters on offense and defense plus two kicking specialists: 24.  Baseball has 8 regular players plus five starting pitchers.  If you want to throw in the closer who pitches fewer than 70 innings but is paid way too much, that's 14 baseball starters.

Friday, October 11, 2013
Final Four: traditional teams. Coincidence?

Houston had the worst record and the lowest payroll.  14 of the 30 teams spent at least $100 million and the Dodgers and Yankees well over $200 million...

Cleveland: 18 in payroll, 29 in attendance
Tampa: 23 in payroll, 30 in attendance
____________________________________

Houston Astors had a team payroll of $14.7 million.  Even if compared against the 2014 soft cap of $189 million, Houston paid well under ten percent.  The floor in the NFL is 89% of the cap.  The only other MBL team under $60 million: Miami Marlins at $24.8 million.  For the complete list:

http://www.baseball-reference.com/leagues/MLB/2013-misc.shtml

To me it clearly makes sense for the Yankees to reach their goal of getting their team payroll under the MBL mandated limit of $189 million for 2014.  Doing so would reduce any luxury tax (extortion paid to small market, a.k.a., minor league teams for spending more) to 17%.  Otherwise it would be 50%.  Even at $180 million, a reduction of $66 million, the Yankees would be $3 million higher than the Boston Red Sox were in 2013.

In addition to Houston and Miami, that $66 million reduction would still be more than the 2013 payrolls of the Chicago Cubs, Minnesota and San Diego.  Next would be the Mets at $69 million.

Too many MBL teams are simply paying too little to their players.  If they get better players, they'll naturally be paying higher salaries.  Higher priced players are available between seasons but these cheap teams won't spend the money to improve their teams.  Then they whine about their fate and status.  Hey, it's the MAJOR Baseball League.  Pay up!  The MBL needs a MINIMUM team salary and no luxury tax.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Choke

I thought I saw Miguel Cabrera choke.  In game five of the Detroit - Boston semi final series Cabrera hit into a big double play late in the game but he seemed to choke.  He chased an outside pitch and got himself out.  He had done that in an earlier game, struck out chasing, getting himself out.  Nobody blames a batter when the pitcher gets him out but we tend to hold the batter responsible when the batter gets himself out.  Cabrera is a great hitter and probably doesn't choke often but he seemed to have choked at least some of the time this week.

Prince Fielder surprised some people when he pretty much said that he needs the pitcher to make a mistake for him to get a hit.  What, you think batters can hit pitches up and in or low and away?  It's that fat mistake pitch, the one that looks like a batting practice cookie that gets belted.

Keeping Score: Clutch Hitting Explained (It’s Not What You Think)
By BENJAMIN HOFFMAN
October 14, 2013  The New York Times

The Yankees have a pair of players at the opposite ends of the clutch spectrum in terms of how they are viewed...

They call Jeter Captain Clutch, and he certainly has delivered in a number of memorable situations with the game on the line to back up such a nickname. But over all, he is not a drastically different player in close or postseason games, either. In fact, a consistent approach to hitting, regardless of the situation, is often cited by coaches, teammates and opponents as a key to Jeter’s success.

Rodriguez, meanwhile, has dragged around his reputation as a player who cannot handle pressure in important situations...  despite Rodriguez’s on-base and slugging percentages being nearly identical to Jeter’s.
_____________________________________

In addition to the usual drivel, notice what the writer did.  He switched from comparing the batters to their regular season numbers to comparing Alex Rodriguez to Derek Jeter in the tournament.  Rodriguez in the tournament should be compared Rodriguez in the regular season.  But that would not support the writer's point.  Rodriguez is a better hitter than Jeter with a higher on base average and a much higher slugging average in the regular season.  Rodriguez should hit better than Jeter in the tournament.

He presents the usual homogenized numbers such as close and late, presumably in the regular season.  Such situations may be in early April or late September with extreme pressure to win, much more pressure than in April even though the games count the same.  Also, tournament numbers could be in non-clutch situations, such as a blowout.

David Ortiz is also mentioned.  As a Yankee fan I marvel at how often he seems to kill the Yankees when it means the most.  No, I haven't counted.

Among great hitters Rodriguez looks the worst.  Rodriguez gets himself out more than any great hitter I've seen.  When he does it in the regular season it's really annoying.  When he does it the tournament it's not acceptable, especially when accompanied by his "I'm too cool to let this bother me" attitude as he strolls back to the dugout after failing.  At least Cabrera looked embarrassed about his choke DP.

People who are in denial about clutch and choke depend exclusively on the numbers, not what we can actually see on the field.  This is where the players know stuff the rest of us do not.  You'd be hard pressed to find Yankee teammates who a few years ago would not have preferred having Jeter at bat in a clutch tournament situation over Rodriguez.  The Yankees know that Jeter is much more likely to provide his best effort and force the pitcher to do his best to retire Jeter.  They also know what I have described, that Rodriguez will do the opposite, that Rodriguez cannot be trusted in such situations.  Rodriguez is likely to let the pitcher off the hook.

Ups and downs are attributed by some to ups and downs, without considering that a reason for fluctuations may be choking all along.  All players choke.  All players are clutch.  The difference is how much and when.

I already did this in a previous post but try it on your own.  Compare a batter's regular season numbers with his numbers in the tournament and compute a percent difference.  Then compare those percent differences among teammates who generally faced the same pitching.  Batters will succeed or fail mostly on how good the opposing pitching is.  There's only so much batters can do, which is why they never get close to even, such as a .500 batting average.  The pitcher always has a big advantage.  Even the best batters fail most of the time so the successes are few and difficult to measure.

We all have good days and bad.  We all choke, no matter what we do.  To deny or ignore that is silly.  In baseball, listen to the players.  They don't know the numbers but they know each other in a way that the rest of us cannot.  When it comes to choking, players know and they know themselves the best.  A player knows when he choked.  He may not want to admit it, not even to himself, but he knows.  Way down deep, he knows.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Baseball v. Football: length of games.

Baseball apologists defend baseball by attacking other team sports.  All three American team sports take too long and should be restricted to two hours by constitutional amendment:

Sunday, August 18, 2013  Regular season games must end within two hours. Constitutional amendment 1.

One attack on football is that its games take longer than ever.  That's true but how does their length compare to the length of baseball games?  Let's look at the Major Baseball League (MBL) and the National Football League (NFL).

Slate SEPT. 12 2012
How daytime football games became primetime football games.
By John Koblin

 ...  In Week 1 this year, games averaged 3 hours and 14 minutes. That was about six minutes longer than last year's opening-week games...

For all of last season, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, the average game lasted 3:07. That was a minute longer than 2010, which was a minute longer than 2009, which was two minutes longer than 2008...

According to Elias, it was a ponderous 3:10 in 2002, and a brisk 2:59 in 1992...

a football broadcast consists of 11 minutes of actual football, surrounded by nearly three hours of everything else. And that ratio of padding to action hasn't kept the games from being wildly popular television programs.
_________________________________________

The NFL championship game, aka Super Bowl, is not typical.  It is a bloated media event with an obscenely long half time interruption and flashy new TV commercials sprinkled throughout the game to attract non-football viewers.  Everyone knows that it is extra long.

Last season's game, played February 3, 2013, took 4:14 (including power failure interruption).  To me that's surprisingly shorter than I had expected.  The score was San Francisco 49ers 31 - Baltimore Ravens 34, so there was plenty of actual football action.  Game one of the current Boston - Detroit semi final series took 3:56 to produce one run for Detroit and one hit for Boston.

How about a few more recent NFL championship games:
New York Giants 21 vs. New England Patriots 17
Sunday, February 5, 2012
Duration 3:23

Pittsburgh Steelers 25 vs. Green Bay Packers 31
Sunday, February 6, 2011
No time given.

New Orleans Saints 31 vs. Indianapolis Colts 17
Sunday, February 7, 2010
Duration 3:14

Source: pro-football-reference.com

So the most recent NFL championship game time of 4:14 is an aberration because of the power failure that interrupted the game.  But even that is not so bad compared to the 1-0 four minutes short of four hours for that Boston - Detroit atrocity.

Game Changers: Picking up the game's pace
By Alden Gonzalez MLB.com 06/14/10

The average time to complete a nine-inning game in the 1970s -- not including on-field delays -- was two hours and 30 minutes. That increased to an average of 2:57 in the 10-year span from 2000-09. Through Thursday, this year's league average was 2:51, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

In the playoffs, game times have been longer. Last season, nine-inning regular-season games lasted an average of 2:52, while in the postseason, that number jumped to 3:30, according to STATS LLC...

But almost everyone is cautious about tinkering too much with a game that has been so relevant for so long.

While the overall average game time is down from 2000, the time of Red Sox-Yankees games and postseason games continue to be longer.*
YearMLBNYY-BOSPostseason
20002:583:053:25
20012:543:023:11
20022:523:083:25
20032:463:083:06
20042:473:123:15
20052:463:103:02
20062:483:283:08
20072:513:313:26
20082:503:183:13
20092:523:303:30
2010**2:513:38N/A
* All times are for nine-inning games
** Through June 10

Length:
NFL 2011: 3:07
MBL 2009: 2:52

Wall Street Journal
11 Minutes of Action
By DAVID BIDERMAN
Updated Jan. 15, 2010

According to a Wall Street Journal study of four recent broadcasts, and similar estimates by researchers, the average amount of time the ball is in play on the field during an NFL game is about 11 minutes...

The most surprising finding of The Journal's study—that the average game has just 10 minutes and 43 seconds of actual playing time—has been corroborated by other researchers. In November 1912, Indiana University's C.P. Hutchins, the school's director of physical training, observed a game, stopwatch in hand, between two independent teams. He counted 13 minutes, 16 seconds of play. During last week's Wild Card games, Mr. Crippen, the football researcher, dissected the broadcasts and found about 13 minutes, 30 seconds of action.
________________________________

Wall Street Journal
In America's Pastime, Baseball Players Pass A Lot of Time
By STEVE MOYER
Updated July 16, 2013

By WSJ calculations, a baseball fan will see 17 minutes and 58 seconds of action over the course of a three-hour game. This is roughly the equivalent of a TED Talk, a Broadway intermission or the missing section of the Watergate tapes. A similar WSJ study on NFL games in January 2010 found that the average action time for a football game was 11 minutes. So MLB does pack more punch in a battle of the two biggest stop-and-start sports. By seven minutes.

Baseball is remembered for its moments of action, and it is no secret that such moments are fleeting. But how much actual action takes place in a baseball game? Geoff Foster has the breakdown.

The WSJ reached this number by taking the stopwatch to three different games and timing everything that happened...  This may be generous. If we'd cut the action definition down to just the time when everyone on the field is running around looking for something to do (balls in play and runner advancement attempts), we'd be down to 5:47.
________________________________

Action:
NFL: 11
MBL: 6 or 18

Yippie for baseball!  Everything is A-OK!  Yeah, if you embrace the higher number (18) and ignore the lower (6).  But even with 18 minutes of action baseball is at a disadvantage compared to football.

The nature of the action in football is dramatically and violently different.  Ninety percent of what passes for action in baseball is two guys playing catch.  At most there are 13 players on the field at once, usually ten.  On most plays most players on the field do nothing.

In football 22 players are engaged in pretty much every play.  Almost all of that engagement is potentially violent and thus more compelling.  Americans express their preference for football by attending and watching on TV.  See recent posts:


The NFL and the National Basketball Association (NBA) are constantly tinkering with rules to improve the entertainment value of their product, usually by favoring scoring and improving officiating.  The MBL instead has launched an inquisition into performance enhancing drugs (PED), including steroids, and we are now enduring tournament games with too many strike outs, too few runs that take too long to play.