Tag Archives: Major League Baseball

How Do You Solve a Problem Like . . . Melky?

Melky Cabrera

Melky Cabrera’s front and center everywhere in the media, but not in the SF Giants front office.  Matthew Pouliot on NBC’s HardballTalk wrote a convincing piece recently about the organization not allowing Melky to join the team after his 50 game suspension.  The suspension would be lifted about five games into the playoffs, assuming the Giants get there, and it’s looking pretty good they will.  

I wrote a testy piece a few weeks ago and the title pretty much sums up my frustration with the mess, “Melky Who?  Who Needs Him?  Who Cares?”  But the fact is, Melky’s record prior to his suspension was  .346/.390/.516 in 459 at-bats.  The real question is what would his record be after the suspension?  There’s only one way to find out.  This would be a rest test for the argument that PED’s do or do not allow players to hit better.  

If Melky were allowed to play in postseason and kept hitting like before, it could present a convincing argument that PED’s are not responsible for making a batter hit better as many have alleged.  Barry Bond’s argument was if 80% of the ball players were using steroids in the 90’s, why weren’t 80% of the ball players hitting better ~ a lot better?  Personally, I’d like to see this tested.  What could it hurt?  Bring Melky back and, if nothing else,  use him as a DH when appropriate.   I mean, the Giants had no qualms about bringing Guillermo Moto back a few weeks ago and that was after a “100 game suspension”, for a second offense, no less.

This blog has a sophisticated database ~ I found out the hard way   😦   So what do you think?  Should the SF Giants bring Melky Cabrera back to the roster after the 50 game suspension is lifted?   Your “vote below” means absolutely nothing.  I mean it’s not going to change the minds of the powers-that-be.  I’m just curious and I’m happy to share the results with you here.

2012 MLB Team and Player Salaries

2012 All Star Game Photo

Here’s the 2012 update to our 2011 listing published August 27, 2011.  This comes to us compliments of USA Today.  If you’ll click the individual teams, you can access the individual players salaries.  It will be interesting to note the annual salaries of the teams that make the playoffs;  in other words, did they get what they paid for?  For example; the Washington Nationals have the best record in the Majors this year, but have the 11th Lowest Salary out of 30 Teams.   Salary Chart Linked Here

2012 MLB Salaries  
 

TEAM

TOTAL PAYROLL
New York Yankees $ 197,962,289
Philadelphia Phillies $ 174,538,938
Boston Red Sox $ 173,186,617
Los Angeles Angels $ 154,485,166
Detroit Tigers $ 132,300,000
Texas Rangers $ 120,510,974
Miami Marlins $ 118,078,000
San Francisco Giants $ 117,620,683
St. Louis Cardinals $ 110,300,862
Milwaukee Brewers $ 97,653,944
Chicago White Sox $ 96,919,500
Los Angeles Dodgers $ 95,143,575
Minnesota Twins $ 94,085,000
New York Mets $ 93,353,983
Chicago Cubs $ 88,197,033
Atlanta Braves $ 83,309,942
Cincinnati Reds $ 82,203,616
Seattle Mariners $ 81,978,100
Baltimore Orioles $ 81,428,999
Washington Nationals $ 81,336,143
Cleveland Indians $ 78,430,300
Colorado Rockies $ 78,069,571
Toronto Blue Jays $ 75,489,200
Arizona Diamondbacks $ 74,284,833
Tampa Bay Rays $ 64,173,500
Pittsburgh Pirates $ 63,431,999
Kansas City Royals $ 60,916,225
Houston Astros $ 60,651,000
Oakland Athletics $ 55,372,500
San Diego Padres $ 55,244,700

               

“Melky Who”? Who Needs Him ~ Who Cares.

Melky Cabrera. Photo Courtesy Jason O. Watson/Getty Images

The Melky Cabrera’s 50 game suspension for testing positive for performance enhancing drugs occurred on August 15, the day I left for vacation.  I had no access to the internet for three days and wanted to wait until I returned home to figure it all out.  My response was and is “Shame on You Melky!”

I mean haven’t these guys learned anything?  Are they so desperate and stupid that after all the grief baseball players, and for that matter the entire game of baseball, have gone through with PEDS, suspensions and hall of fame concerns,  do they think they’re the one lone infallible soul that won’t get caught?  Good grief.   Major League Baseball took much too long to finally take a stand and, now that they have, the rules are written and they need to be followed.  The thing that really stuck in my craw was the nonchalance with which basically Melky answered, “I did it” and then didn’t have the guts to face his teammates.  Nothing, nada, zilch, not a word.

“Uh…. Duh….”

The San Francisco Giants have had this albatross around their neck for a long time beginning with Barry Bonds (though he’s never admitted it) and several in-between dandies ending with Guillermo Moto’s 100 game suspension that ends this week.  Is Barry Bonds guilty?  Probably.  But at this point does it matter?  Baseball has to get past this and it starts with the players.   It’s called personal responsibility and it’s something that’s sadly lacking in our new- age culture.  Don’t like your boss?  Sue him.  Made a bad investment?  Sue your broker.  Your doctor didn’t quite fix your hangnail the way you wanted?  Sue him.  Nobody takes responsibility for anything anymore.  It’s always somebody else’s fault.  The players are paid huge sums of money to play the game and to play by the rules and it’s their personal responsibility to see that they do.

But here’s the crux of the matter, the redeeming feature of the story.   The SF Giants are doing just fine without Melky Cabrera, thank you very much.  Since his suspension the Giants have won 7 of 10 games and now lead the National League West by 3.5 games.  They were tied with the LA Dodgers when Melky left.  It’s possible Melky might end up winning the batting crown this year, but you know what?  Who cares?  Nobody remembers a batting crown champion ten years down the road, but for sure they’ll remember a 50 game suspension.

So you go Giants!  And that goes for any other team who has to put up with this type of embarrassment.   If you have a player who doesn’t play by the rules, who needs him?   Who cares?  Not this fan ~

“Is There Something Wrong with This Picture?” Probably Not ~

I found a great post this morning that talks about the who, why and what of the no-hitters and perfect games that seem to be happening with regularity this season, more than in seasons past.

Keith Olbermann

Last month I posted an article from Keith Olbermann wherein his supposed innuendo was that Cain may have taken PED’s  when he threw his perfect game and that his ” there’s something wrong with this picture” theme was just a little offensive to this writer.

So it was very refreshing to read this article from Bay Area Sports Talk on the subject this morning.  It presents an actual analysis and discussion on the subject instead of a knee-jerk reaction to something the Giants have accomplished as a team, again.  Here’s a few excerpts:

  • With the strict punishments looming over PED users, the playing field has been seemingly leveled — and pitchers are reaping the benefits.
  • With pitching evolving to its maximum potential and PED’s seemingly eliminated, Major League pitchers will be the superstars of The Big Show in the future.

Thanks to Brian Evans for the article, With Steroid Use Halted – the MLB is Getting a Little More Perfect.   Good stuff Brian!

Umpire Accountability ~ Doing Nothing about Something!

“I’m thinking, I’m thinking!”

I responded  to a poll this morning.  Nothing unusual about that.   Usually my baseball thinking is right in there with the others, but this one surprised me.     This  one asked what to do about umpires who consistently made bad calls

Here’s the preface to the poll:

“Should umpires be subject to performance-based punishment? Should a high-profile missed call subject an umpire to suspension, fines or even demotion? Or, perhaps, should MLB raise the league minimum for umpires to $480,000, to match their player minimum, so that umpires do have a financial incentive for such scrutiny?”

The responses were overwhelmingly in favor of, you guessed it, doing nothing!  The article, written by Curtis Granderson in the New York Times,  was posted in Close Call Sports,  linked here.    It’s a good read.  Take a look and see what you think.

 

Baseball’s Official Rule 1.01 and the Designated Hitter

The official rules of Major League Baseball, Rule 1.01, states clearly:

Baseball is a game between two teams of nine players each …..”

I’ve been trying to wrap my arms around the designated hitter since it was first introduced by the American League back in 1973, but Official Rule, 1.01, that first rule of baseball, keeps getting in the way.    The Designated Hitter Rule got thrown into MLB Miscellany as an official rule which states that a hitter may be designated to bat for the starting pitcher  in any game.   This came about in 1973 and the “any game” thing meant not only the American League but also the National League.

This was news to me.  I never realized the National League had a choice in the matter.  But for some reason I can’t explain I’ve always thought the National League to be just a little superior in that they played the game with nine players as the game was originally intended to be played,  not with the ten players the AL chose  to protect their prima donna  pitchers from getting a little ruffled.

There’s so much information on this subject it’s definitely good for a full-blown blog, but I’m rather limited with time constraints, being away on vacation this week, so will tickle this ahead for another day.  But basically here’s the gist of it:

1)  If your favorite team’s a member of the American League, you favor the DH.

2)  If your favorite team’s a member of the National League, you don’t!

And that my friends is about as scientific as this discussion is likely to get.

Now back to that Mai Tai …..

Opening Day 2012! Woo Hoo!

MLB All Star Game

Woo Hoo!   Today’s opening day for Major League Baseball and I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate than by re-posting this great blog by Bill Miller, “The On Deck Circle”.    Couldn’t have said it better myself Bill!

Take  a look at one of our previous blogs that shows  George Carlin expressing this same sentiment.

“Ten Reasons Why Baseball is Better Than Football”

Written by:  Bill Miller, April 4, 2012.  “The On Deck Circle”

I have to face the fact that football seems to have brazenly overtaken baseball as the de facto national pastime.  Even in its off-season, football news and gossip (usually the same thing), often intrudes itself into our lives with depressing regularity.  The bi-weekly drug arrests, revolving quarterback soap operas, and mind-numbing stories about which draft picks will break camp hold about as much interest for me as my aunt’s wilted cole slaw on Easter Sunday.

Still, I won’t go down without a fight.

So, for the record, here are ten reasons why baseball is better than football.

1)  Baseball is not constantly interrupted by little men throwing their dainty little yellow flags all over the field every time they have a conniption fit because they saw something that offended their hair-trigger sensibilities.

2)  Baseball players do not wear helmets that make them look like anonymous Terminators bent on the destruction of the universe.  They look like actual, you know, people.

3)  When a baseball player hits a home run, peer pressure causes him (generally) to put his head down while circling the bases, cross home plate, and quietly receive the accolades of his teammates.  When a football player scores a touchdown, he (generally) responds with an epileptic seizure in the end zone.  It’s not something I enjoy watching, and it makes me wonder why they don’t regulate their medication more effectively.

4)  Baseball fans embrace their sports history and mythology in a way that football fans are incapable of understanding.  Baseball’s lineage is practically Biblical.  To the average football fan, football history goes back to last weekend.

5)  A father playing catch with his son is an emotional bonding experience, passed down through the generations, an unspoken acknowledgement of love, mortality and hope.  A father throwing a football at his son is just a guy suffering from low self-esteem who needs to occasionally pretend that he is an N.F.L. quarterback so he can justify the ongoing emasculation he suffers every Monday morning at work.

6)  Baseball has induced tremendous social change in America.  Jackie Robinson is one of the most famous Americans who ever lived.  His personal bravery and talent greatly improved our civil society by challenging us to re-examine our personal values regarding fairness, race, and what it means to be an American.

Football teaches us that there is nothing bigger in life than immediate success and personal gratification.  Winners are loved, losers are vilified, and none of it means anything three days later.

7)  Baseball gave us Tommy John surgery so that young men with injured arms could rejuvenate their careers.  Football has given us Post-Concussion Syndrome in numbers so large that it is now becoming a virtual epidemic.

8)  A baseball diamond is a pastoral throwback to a time when most of America lived on or near farms and in the countryside, and understood man’s proper relationship to his world.  The football grid-iron, by contrast, resembles the endless modern suburban sprawl that disconnects us from our natural environment as well as from ourselves.

9)  Baseball has “Take Me Out to the Ball Game,” a fun, carnival-like song that kids and grownups alike can relate to.  Football has “Are You Ready for Some Football?” an unimaginative, annoying pseudo-country song written by a man who has forever been trying to simultaneously emerge from and cloak himself with the shadow of his much more talented father.

10)  Every baseball at bat boils down to one man facing another, and may the best man win.  It is Achilles vs. Hector, Burr vs. Hamilton, Doc Holliday vs. Johnny Ringo.  An N.F.L. quarterback, by contrast, has no correspondingly singular opponent.  The protagonist has no antagonist.  He wields his sword dubiously against the faceless masses before him, a Roman Legionnaire lost amidst the swirl of the barbarian horde.

And that’s why baseball is better than football.

Introducing Florida’s New “Marlins Park” ….. Finally!

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I say “finally” because it’s taken some serious negotiations to make this ballpark happen.   The organization has been fighting to build their own park since the mid-1990’s.  And after numerous financing problems, lawsuits,  SEC investigations  other challenges, the powers-that-be were able to overcome.

It’s hard to believe the new Marlins Park is the smallest stadium in Major League Baseball with an actual seating capacity of 37,000.  The photos in the slide show  indicate this is one humongous Star Wars state-of-the-art facility.

It’s also the sixth Major League Baseball stadium to have a retractable roof and will maintain an average temperature of 75°F when the roof is closed.   A welcome addition to anyone braving the heat on those hot and humid Florida game-days.

Some of the photos above have been generously loaned to us  from fellow blogger, Cecilia Tan.  Please check out her website “Why I like Baseball” featuring the new Marlins Park stadium in her most recent post.

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

Raining in St. Louis? Fiddley Diddley Dee.

I thought you might enjoy this little filler video while the rains come down in St. Louis,  postponing tonight’s game.  This one’s courtesy of Sooze over at Babes Love Baseball.  I especially got a little chuckle out of her last comment.   Oh to be young again with so much energy …..

“In case you somehow missed this video of an absolutely adorable member of the Rangers Ballpark grounds crew randomly busting a move between the sixth and seventh innings of Game 4… please do enjoy.  Ian Kinsler was not impressed, but we totally are.  (Call me when you turn 18!)

Update: We were just informed that this guy is 28. He just became like a billion times more attractive.”

As only Sooze can say it!

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A British Take on NLDS Game 5.

British Fife and Drum

I know, you probably think I’m being a little giddy, perhaps dwelling too much on the last Cardinal/Phillies game.   But I just couldn’t resist the urge to share this post.  For one thing it references a previous post with an outlandish video spoof “Too Much Money Ball” .  It includes a 7th Inning stretch video “Take Me out to the Ballgame – Old Skool” as only a Brit could do.

Written by Steve Busfield for “The Guardian” in the U.K.,  this gives a good argument that the British are not totally limited to knowledge of soccer and cricket.  Here are some excerpts from the post: 

Money ball Yankees Style:

“My hilarious colleague David Lengel, who was on live blogging duty last night, is now live tweeting this game to me. This is his description of Molina’s appearance in the top of the 4th:

‘God strolls to the plate.   Oh, God gets a base hit.  Surprise.  God steals a base.  God is let down by his people.   This happens.’

Did you see the squirrel interrupt play in game four? (“like a tiny streaker in a fur coat,”

Seventh inning stretch: Take Me Out To The Ballgame: old skool:

Proper.

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“Nine Innings From Ground Zero” ….. Remembering

“It’s not about winning. It’s about how the game was played.”   The 2001 World Series.

I remember every game of  the 2001 World Series.   I can remember what it was all about and how passionate I was about wanting the New York Yankees to win.   And I can remember how sad I was that they lost.    It wasn’t that I wanted  Arizona to lose.  It’s just that the people of New York had been through so much after September 11th, and I wanted this for them.  Actually, for all of us, well, maybe not the Arizona fans ) but you know what I mean.  One of my fellow bloggers put a bug in my ear about this movie a few weeks ago and I couldn’t wait to see it myself.  And he was right ~ it’s a keeper!  It was produced in 2004 in association with MLB Productions and yet  I don’t remember hearing anything about it before.   Something worthwhile sometimes takes time to get around, and this is one of those worthwhile things.   But a word of caution, better grab a kleenex.   It was emotional and at one point I found myself sobbing!   Maybe it’s because the day I watched it was also my granddaughter’s first birthday and I was feeling a little emotional anyhow.   Whatever.   I’m just saying.   If you still have some gifts to buy you might consider this ~ even for non-baseball fans.  Really, it’s that good.

“Nine Innings From Ground Zero” Available on DVD from Amazon.com

Note:  For me “Nine Innings From Ground Zero” is to September 11th, what “It’s A Wonderful Life” is to Christmas.   It’s becoming an annual thing.  This is the 3rd Post of this blog, the original was on 12/11, 2009.  GFBB