Monthly Archives: February 2012

“Homer at the Bat” Video

I never saw this “Simpson” segment when it first appeared on the telly.  Thanks to Deadspin for recreating it for us.   I really like most of the “Deadspin” blogs but this is  only one of a handful I’ve been able to share with you, ours being lily-white and theirs being, well, um, colorful.   This Deadspin blog’s titled, “The Making of Homer at the Bat. The Episode that Conquered Prime Time 20 years Ago Tonight” (February 20).   I found the article totally entertaining.

Consider this little fluff-post a jump start as we head into spring training ~ I mean a gal’s gotta do something.  Can’t just sit around and twiddle our thumbs waiting for opening day you know …

Baseball Stats 101~ Scoring the Four Strike-out Inning.

MLB Pitchers and Catchers report to Spring Training today and it seems like as good a time as any to get those score books out of the closet and settle in for a refresher course. Last spring I wrote an article about the 4 Strike-Out Inning and asked you if anyone knew how to score it. No one did, at least no one responded. Robert Bulka to the rescue! Robert’s written a book and several articles on how to go about scoring a ballgame and he’s generously offered to give us a lesson on the subject.  I love this stuff!

How To Score Baseball - The Four Strikeout Inning

It’s one of the most peculiar situations in all of baseball, a pitcher striking out four players in one inning. Not only is it an odd situation, it’s one of the rarer baseball situations you would record in a baseball scorebook.

The four strikeout inning occurs when a batter swings and misses on strike three but the catcher misses the ball. The batter then runs and reaches first base before being tagged out.

Two conditions must be met for a pitcher to strike out 4 batters in one innings: 1) with less than two outs there cannot be a runner on first base and 2) the catcher makes an error catching the third strike and the batter reaches base safely. Technically, a 4 strikeout inning could occur if a batter swings at a wild pitch on the third strike, and reaches base safely.

When scoring the 4 strikeout inning in a baseball scorebook, the pitcher is still credited with a strikeout, and an error is charged to the catcher (if the catcher missed the third strike “E2″) or the pitcher (if the third strike was a wild pitch “E1″).

This at-bat would be recorded as a “K” (swinging strikeout) and E2 (error on the catcher) in the scorebox of the batter.

So let’s take the situation where the first two batters in the inning strikeout swinging and the third batter strikes out swinging but reaches first base and the fourth batter strikes out swinging to retire the side.

1st batter: Jones strikes out swinging on 1 ball 2 strike pitch.

Write a “K” on the baseball scorecard to denote a strikeout swinging. In the top right hand corner enter “1” and circle it to denote the first out. The dots in the boxes represent the count on the batter at the end result of his at-bat.

2nd batter: Adams strikes out swinging. Write a “K” in the box to denote a strikeout swinging. At the top right had corner enter “2” and circle it, to denote the second out of the evening. Again, the dots represent the count when the batter struck out.

3rd batter: Smith swings at third strike but the catcher misses the ball and the he reaches first base safely. Write a “K” in the scorebook AND “E2″ to denote that the ball passed the catcher; hence the reason for batter reaching 1st base safely. Draw a diagonal line from Home to First “/” to denote the batter reached first base. The dots represent the fact that he swung and missed on a full count (3 balls 2 strikes).

4th batter: Odom strikes out swinging: Write a “K” on the baseball scorecard to denote a strikeout swinging. Draw a diagonal the under the player at-bat box to denote he made the last out of the inning. The dots represent he struck out on an 0-2 pitch.

A Little History About the Four Strikeout Inning

The first Major League player to be credited with this rare feat was Ed “Cannonball” Crane of the New York Giants on October 4, 1888.

The last player to achieve this feat was Yovani Gallardo of the Milwaukee Brewers, who struck out four batters in the fifth inning of a game against the Cincinnati Reds on September 17, 2011.

There have been a total of 57 4 out innings recorded in MLB history, 24 in the American League and 33 in the National League.

A five strikeout inning has never been recorded in MLB. However, it has happened in the minor leagues 3 times; and you can even begin to count how many times it has happened in amateur baseball.

Written by: Robert Bulka, author of How To Score Baseball – Advanced Edition

Loving Baseball … And No, Not Just Because it’s Valentine’s Day.

It’s Valentine’s Day and I found the perfect little ditty to share with you.  I found it in all places in a teen magazine called,  “Teen Ink”.  Here’s an excerpt from the article:

For the Love of Baseball”  by Joyce, Monterey Park, CA.

We don’t just love baseball, don’t just watch baseball, don’t just talk about baseball – we live baseball and our team’s every season, every game, every inning, and every pitch. We cheer on the rookies and bow down to the retiring heroes. We drive home anxiously from work or school to catch the first pitch and stay up late to savor the closing of a great game. We feel the agony of errors, wild pitches, and blown saves. We argue balls, strikes, and close plays.

We understand and can distinguish between double plays such as the 6-4-3 and the 5-4-3. We appreciate a sacrifice bunt/hit to advance runners, a cycle, a perfect game, a no-hitter, and base-by-base scoring more than a home run. We question the manager’s decision to go to the bull pen, call up a pinch runner, and give an intentional walk. We marvel at the eye-popping, breathtaking defensive plays. Baseball may seem to be a slow, boring game, but it is really an artwork of strategies, gambles, and patience.

In the end, nothing brings more happiness and excitement than to relax after a long day and watch your team play. They’re down 1-0, at the bottom of the ninth, two outs, the rookie from the farm team gets a hit. A bunt to third base, and the kid is faster than the ball. He’s safe. It isn’t much, but there’s hope, because there’s always hope.

There’s always the next inning, the next game, the next season. Comebacks happen, because nothing is ever the same. And when you jump up in exhilaration rejoicing the walk-off home run and watching your team celebrate like kids around home plate, then you will truly understand what it means to love baseball.

Game Shows and Crossword Puzzles ~ Get Your Baseball Smarts in Order!

Baseball's Einstein

If you want to practice and/or test your knowledge of all things baseball, here are a few little ditties you might be interested in.

BASEBALL I.Q.”   MLB Network’s first-ever game show is hosted by MLB Network’s Matt Vasgersian and airs Tuesdays through Thursdays at 9:00 p.m. ET.  It’s a  30 minute trivia show featuring two participants from opposing teams, with a chance to win up to $45,000 for charity.    I found out quickly how much I don’t know, but it’s still a lot of fun to play along.

Rick Swain ~ Baseball Crossword Puzzles

A  BASEBALL CROSSWORD PUZZLE?   Who knew?  Rick Swain has a great website that includes a weekly crossword puzzle all about baseball .  If you’re one of those fans who like to keep their baseball IQ skills honed, this is for you!  You can even sign up for a notification of Rick’s weekly crossword puzzle delivered right to your inbox.  Sign up through Rick’s website, Rick Swain Author of  Books About Baseball’s Unsung Heroes.

A Few Baseball Oddities ~ Statistically Speaking

Nolan Ryan & Robin Ventura's friendly encounter after Ventura charged the mound. Photo Courtesy of Google Images.

Here’s a great post I found this morning from one of our GFBB’s Recommended Websites, William Miller’s “The On Deck Circle” .   Bill tends to write rather lengthy articles  so I’m posting a portion to peak your interest.  The complete article is linked  below.  It’s about the pitchers deemed the hardest to hit in all of baseball and includes some of the best and worst in other positions.  I think you’ll enjoy this.

February 6, 2012   William Miller’s  “On Deck Circle”

BASEBALL STATISTICAL ODDITIES

Every once in a while, as I’m doing some research for this blog, I’ll come across a baseball statistic that catches me off guard.

I’m not suggesting that no one else has ever noticed any of these odd items before, but if they are new to me, they might just be new to you, too.

To begin with, which particular pitchers in baseball history do you think were the toughest to hit against (Hits / 9 Innings)?

Did you say Walter Johnson?  Well, O.K., he is 33rd on the all-time list having given up 7.47 hits per nine innings in his career.  Randy Johnson?  You’re getting warmer.  He is 22nd on the list.

Remember, we are not talking about WHIP here.  Just hits per nine.

Yes, of course, it was Nolan Ryan.  He was the Number #1 toughest pitcher to hit, having given up just 6.55 hits per nine.  Not a surprise.  But keep reading.  (Click here to continue reading the complete article from Bill Miller’s The On Deck Circle.)

Braving the Fan Fest at AT&T Park!

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Photos courtesy of KNBR and Ronni Redmond

I made up my mind last year that no matter what happened, I was going to the Fan Fest this year!   And I did.  We, my husband and I, always take Cal-Train to Giants games at AT&T Park just to avoid the parking and we did the same today.  It’s a few blocks to the ballpark from the train station and it’s the perfect way to travel stress-free to the games.

All the stories about the crowds proved true again this year.  Rumor has it the crowd was around 35,000 but to tell you the truth we avoided all of that.  I leave the autograph-seeking to the youngsters  so we headed up to the club level and found a perfect spot, a little to the right of  home plate,  front row, seats 1 and 2.  And we settled in for the day with our perfect seats for some perfect photo’s and perfect weather.  I loved this.   And we had a fantastic view of the KNBR Broadcast Stage and could hear the interviews and conversations as though we were sitting right there with them.   We had a great time at the park today!

Baseball season is finally here.  Almost.  But it’s close enough you can reach out and touch it, feel it.  Tomorrow’s Super Bowl Sunday which is probably great if you’re a football fan.  Oh okay,  I have to admit I did get a little taken up with the Tebowing  thing this year, but honestly can you truly say there’s anything better than spring training and opening day of baseball?   I’ve been waiting for this since the 7th  game of the world series last year and it’s just as good as I’d hoped it would be.  Thank you God. Baseball, one of the many pleasures in life.

You might remember a Bill Cosby video many years ago that included a story about little Jeffrey.  “Little Jeffrey” on the airplane.   On the one and one-half hour ride home  we had a little Jeffrey on the train.  Little Jeffrey screamed all the way home finally de-training just one stop before we did.  I watched him as his poor drained parents stepped off the train and  carried him past our window, little Jeffrey all smiles.  Our children are all grown now and gone, with children of their own.   But I remember the days.  Thank you again God.  Retirement, one of the many pleasures in life!