Category Archives: A1 Baseball

Nothing New about the “New Slide Rule”.

The basic premise of this rule has always been in effect.  They just didn’t use it.  It was always up to the umpires, but rather than getting out of their comfort zone, they chose to ignore it.  Really, just the name “Takeout Slides” defines the action.   It doesn’t always have to do with Chinese food or pizza.   Takeout in this context meaning;  “To cause to die; kill or destroy”.

umpire im thinking cartoon image

“I’m Thinking, I’m Thinking”

I don’t know.  I’m just saying the umpire is supposed to have total charge of the game.  In the Buster Posey-Darrell Cousins home plate slide, the umpire, who was standing directly over the play at the time it happened, even had the gall to rule the runner safe (which he was not).  Replay photos showed that Cousins plowed out of the baseline directly at Posey, who was standing out of the baseline and not on home plate, attempting to dislodge the ball from Posey, who never had the ball in the first place.  Posey was injured and out for the rest of the season, and this game was in April so it was a big deal!

This happened a lot.  Sure would be nice if some of these umpires would have stepped up to the plate (no pun intended) and said something like “No More! This ain’t gonna happen on my watch,” like the NFL did when they made it illegal to spear with their helmets, with no intentional blows to the head.

And now they’re calling it the Chase Utley Rule.  Yah – let’s keep Utley’s name alive and well for the glorious honor of breaking a guy’s leg with an illegal play. How about naming it the  “Ruben Tejada Rule, Marco Scutaro, Buster Posey, Ray Fosse  or the Willie Randolph Rule for the injured player instead of naming it for the guy who intentionally and maliciously attacked and injured a fellow ballplayer who was just trying to do his job?

The rule’s always been there.  The only thing that’s changed is the  instant replay part and a penalty that the runner and hitter are both out.  Here’s an idea!  Let’s leave the penalty in and add another …. like, automatically throwing the perpetrator out of the game.  Twice, and he’s out for the rest of the season.

scales of justiceBack in 2006, the Supreme Court of California ruled that baseball players in California  assume the risk of being hit by baseballs, even if the balls were intentionally thrown so as to cause injury.  The powers-that-be over at Major League Baseball must not have heard about this one, or we’d have to wait for another broken leg or two to get some action.

While writing this, I borrowed some excerpts from my post back  in February, 2014, “Revisiting the Posey Play – OR – Getting the Umpire out of his Comfort Zone.”   

 

 

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“BACK TO BASEBALL!”

BACK TO BASEBALL SPRIG EDITION

Here’s something new from our Sounds of Baseball partner.  It was  contributed by Alan Babbitt.  Just in time for spring training, the song evokes the sublime feelings of the sights, sounds and feelings of childhood baseball memories. And, like Alan says, “Kinda gets you hankering for a good hot dog”.

 

To whet your appetite, here’s what he says about the original “Back to Baseball”:

“This song tells the true story of a boy growing up in Brooklyn in the 1950’s. It’s about the joy of 1st love and the heartbreak of losing it. And it’s about reflection, renewal and redemption. It’s even got a humorous, surprise ending!

Oh, yeah, it’s also about Baseball.”

Want more?  Go to Alan’s website:  https://alanbabbittmusic.bandcamp.com/track/back-to-baseball

Broken Bats, Barry Bonds and The Easy Way Out.

broken bat image

John Bowker, Giants vs Cardinals, April 18, 2008.

It takes a lot to get me back into blogging mode these days.  And it’s not because I don’t want to but, like everyone else, I’m busy.  So when I read an article in this morning’s Wall Street Journal I couldn’t contain myself.

The article was written by Jo Craven McGinty,  “Behind Broken Baseball Bats, Broken Records.”  Blame Barry, she says, and that got my attention.  Evidently the year that Bonds hit his record 73 home runs, he was using a maple wood bat, unlike the ash bats that were commonplace in the majors at the time.

Today the use of maple wood bats has increased to nearly 75% of all bats used in broken bat 2the major leagues.  There’s controversy about whether maple vs ash bats contribute to more home runs.    The problem is that maple is more likely to split into multiple pieces when it breaks, while ash “flakes”.   In other words, it can hurt people.  Like it did on June 5 at Fenway Park, when it smashed into the stands and into the face of a fan.

Kurt Ainsworth, Marucci Sports, puts it this way.  “When you have future Hall of Famers putting up crazy numbers, it’s hard for MLB to take those bats out of their hands.”  Really.  Is that what it means?  You mean Barry Bonds record home runs was due to his “bat” and had nothing to do with steroids?   According to Lloyd Smith, Director of the Sports Science Lab at Washington State University, “The speed of the ball coming off maple is no different from the speed of the ball coming off ash.”

But here’s the kicker.  According to McGinty’s article, which also deals with the diameter, density and slope of grain of the bats, regulations have reduced the number of broken bats.  “Since 2013 the minimum density of the barrel of the bat is 0.0245 pounds per cubic inch.  The Regulations have reduced the number of broken bats.”  But, as she notes, there are exceptions to the rules:

“Players who used low-density bats before the rules took effect are grandfathered in and at least 15% of maple bats used in MLB today have densities below 0.0245.”

Are you kidding me?  If there’s any substance to this regulation at all, why would you take the easy way out and let any of the players keep using the maple bats?

I’ll bet money on the fact someone out there has the answer.  And I hope it’s not because the guys who are hitting the homers are the ones who are still using those bats and drawing the fans through the gates.  I mean it can’t always be about the money, can it?

THE SOUNDS OF BASEBALL

sob

SOUNDSOFBASEBALL.COM

There’s a new kid on the block, the result of a terrific website that literally outgrew itself.  Jam-packed with over 400 audio clips and several thousand photo’s its popularity as an online baseball library continues to grow.

Sounds of Baseball” is the dream of Steve Contursi, a teacher and non-apologetic baseball aficionado from Catskill, New York, and is the culmination of years of work on an archaic system of programming known as “coding”.   It involved the ideas around what it could, should, and would be, and eventually ended up as an informative website that was like no other.

Most of the data on the website could be found somewhere else in the blogosphere, but it would have been a real challenge to find a website that contained all of this specific type of data in the same place.

This was and this is exactly what he did. Over time and with much patience, “Sounds” reached the level of top-rated baseball websites by the top search engines.

However, change was occurring fast in the internet world and with that came many challenges.  A call was put out to the baseball community for someone to help with a transition to a more user-friendly website.

Along came Ronni Redmond of Santa Cruz, CA, a baseball blogger with a small amount of baseball knowledge, and not a lot of computer experience.  But she wrote a decent blog, had an insatiable appetite for anything baseball and lots of chutzpah and opinions.

This is the new “Sounds of Baseball”.  Its foundation is the original “Sounds” with a few little ditties thrown in and published in a Word Press format that’s much easier to maintain.  The Site will be evolving as new material becomes available.  Goodbye to coding and hello to the formation of an unlikely pairing of a fan of the New 39. Morning CoffeeYork Yankees and a fan of the SF Giants and all teams in-between.

We hope you’ll visit the site.  So please grab a cup of coffee, pull up a chair, and turn up the volume.  

This one’s for you!

                                        “SOUNDSOFBASEBALL.COM

 Sounds of Baseball, Inc., is a 501(c)(3) Non Profit Corporation.

T

Baltimore Follies Forgiven ….. For Now

An Empty Oriole Stadium

An Empty Oriole Stadium

It took a  Seamheads.Com post by Terry Keshner this morning to get me back in the saddle.  I really miss posting, but have a lot on my plate for at least another week and my favorite thing to do has had to take a backseat.

Seamheads is a great baseball site, one of my favorites, so I sat up and took notice when the Baltimore Orioles/Chicago White Sox games took center stage when the games were closed to the fans these past few days.  “It had to be that way” the article said.

“It had to be that way”?  When the Europeans closed their stadiums it was directly related to the players and the fans. They were getting killed on game day at those stadiums.

This didn’t have to be that way. What did the attempt of some high school kids and community organizers trying to usurp the authority of legally empowered law enforcement officers have to do with closing the stadium?  Does the system need to be overhauled? Probably.  But by closing the stadium they denied workers, vendors, and fans their legal rights so now you don’t just have the kids and their enablers affected you’re also affecting 40,000 individuals who had nothing to do with the mess.

Maybe the regular security measures that accompany most stadiums on game day, along with National Guardsmen strategically placed around the stadium, inside and out, might have been a better alternative. Just one suggestion. And I’m sure there are many others that are better than the decision to close the stadium on game day.

But this is something we’ve not had to deal with in our country before and hopefully it will be the last, but don’t count on it.  The times-they-are-a-changing folks  and now’s the time to get our smarts in order so that decisions  for better strategies can be made in the future.

In my humble opinion, of course.

OPENING DAY and THE REASON FOR RAINBOWS

kids playing baseball imageOne of my clients last week casually mentioned  about opening day being so special this year because of the new kids, the rookies.  Such an abundant resource the team has never seen, he said.  I think he’s probably right.

But you could probably say that about any team, in any year, on opening day.  I love the rookies.  I love that first hit, that first home run, that first steal, that first great defensive play ….. whenever, wherever it might happen.  Joe Panik comes to mind for the Giants last season.

And it also brought to mind one of my favorite poems.  I wrote the author a few years ago and asked for permission to reprint his poem in my book “Garlic Fries and Baseball“.  I received his permission with a most wonderful and supportive letter.  It’s about a kid, and about the person who takes the time to teach that kid about baseball.   I love this poem.

The Reason for Rainbows
A Song to Baseball by J. Patrick Lewis
Published: Baseball Almanac
There was an Old Man of Late Summer
Met a Winter Boy out of the blue,
And he whisked him away
From the city one day
Just to show him what country boys do.
He taught him three whys of a rooster,
And he showed him two hows of a hen.
Then he’d try to bewitch him
With curve balls he’d pitch him
Again and again and again.
He taught him the reason for rainbows,
And he showed him why lightning was king,
Then he fingered the last ball—
A wicked hop fastball—
He threw to the plate on a string.

Oh, the Old Summer Man and the Young Winter Lad
Spent the light of each day—every moment they had—
In the wind and the rain, or the late summer sun,
Where he taught him to pitch and he taught him to run
In the wind and rain and the late summer sun.

But when that Old Man of Late Summer
Met the Winter Boy out of the blue,
He said to him, “Son,
You can pitch, you can run,
But to hit here is what you must do:
Just pretend that the stick on your shoulder
Is as wide as a bald eagle’s wing.
You’re a bird on a wire
And your hands are on fire—
But you’re never too eager to swing.
Stand as still as a rabbit in danger,
Watch the pitch with the eyes of a cat.
What will fly past the mound—
Unforgettable sound—
Is the ball as it cracks off the bat.

Oh, the Old Summer Man and the Young Winter Lad
Spent the light of each day—every moment they had—
In the wind and the rain, or the late summer sun,
Where he taught him to pitch and he taught him to run
In the wind and rain and the late summer sun.

J. Patrick Lewis

Ballpark Food Everywhere …. This time from Calcaterra!

bacon flight baconApril 2nd and it’s still all about the food folks.  These morsels can be found at U. S. Cellular field, Home of the Chicago White Sox.   Hang in there.  Only a few more days. But in the meantime just looking at these little mouthwatering tasties can’t hurt and they give us something else to look forward to!

Personally?  I’m still trying to get that “Diamondback Churro Dog”  out of my head.

HardballTalk

The “Singularity” refers to a notion that, eventually, our technology will push so far that it will lead to a point where artificial intelligence will exceed human intellectual capacity, thereby radically changing civilization. We will lose complete control, life will become unpredictable and possibly even terrifying. Our creations may bring about our very own destruction.

A related phenomenon: the Ballpark Concessions Singularity, when we lose control over the insanely over-the-top terrible-for-you novelty food they trot out each spring. I mean, it was nice and life-enhancing when we moved beyond mere hot dogs and peanuts and into things like nachos. But we’re entering into a chain reaction of concessions escalation from which we’re unlikely to emerge unscathed on the other side.

The latest example: what the White Sox will be serving at U.S. Cellular Field this year:

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