Tag Archives: sport

Baseball in Heaven?

Baseball in Heaven

Baseball in Heaven

Okay, you say, what’s this got to do with baseball? Well, this little ditty was sent to me by my Chicago White Sox friend, Dan Quintell, and perfect for a quiet Sunday afternoon, on a rare day when the Giants miraculously shut out the Pirates. Here goes ~

Two 90-year-old women, Rose and Barb, had been friends all of their lives. When it became clear that Rose was dying, Barb visited her every day.

One day Barb said, “Rose, we both loved playing women’s softball all our lives, and we played all through High School. Please do me one favor: when you get to Heaven, somehow you must let me know if there’s women’s softball there.” Rose looked up at Barb from her deathbed and said, “Barb, you’ve been my best friend for many years. If it’s at all possible, I’ll do this favor for you.” Shortly after that, Rose passed on.

A few nights later, Barb was awakened from a sound sleep by a blinding flash of white light and a voice calling out to her, “Barb, Barb.”

“Who is it?”, asked Barb, sitting up suddenly. “Who is it?”

“Barb — it’s me, Rose.” ‘You’re not Rose. Rose just died.” “Well,I’m telling you, it’s me, Rose,” insisted the voice.

“Rose! Where are you?” “In Heaven,” replied Rose. “I have some really good news and a little bad news.”

“Tell me the good news first,” said Barb. “The good news,’ Rose said, “is that there’s softball in Heaven. Better yet all of our old buddies who died before us are here, too. Better than that, we’re all young again. Better still, it’s always springtime, and it never rains or snows. And best of all, we can play softball all we want, and we never get tired.”

‘”That’s fantastic,” said Barb. “It’s beyond my wildest dreams! So what’s the bad news?”

“You’re pitching Tuesday.”

Life is uncertain – eat dessert first.

We Have a Winner!

Congratulations to David Wing from Three Rivers, Michigan.  Dave has won an  autographed copy of my book “Garlic Fries and Baseball: The Book” which is being mailed to him today.  This is our second contest in less than a year and both winners have been Detroit Tigers fans!  What are the odds?

Here’s the response I received from David this morning:

“I’m thrilled to have been selected as the recipient of your new book. My name is David Wing and am a big fan of the Detroit Tigers. My address is (……….) Three Rivers, Michigan 49093. Please feel free to use my name in any way needed.  Thanks again from an avid reader of your blog. Dave”

The contest was a drawing to celebrate this blog’s 50,000th view which occurred yesterday. The blog started only two years ago and we appreciate the response we’ve received.  Baseball fans are awesome and you Detroit Tigers fans are among the best.  Look back at our June 3, 2010, post “The Umpire ….. Toughest Job in Baseball” where I fell over backwards loving those Tiger fans.   And now with Justin Verlander the raves just keep coming.

So thanks again to all our subscribers and especially to David Wing.  We’ll do this again when we reach another milestone!

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.)

“See Ball. Hit Ball.” You Kidding Me?

Oakland A's Gio Gonzalez

There was a seminar held at Harvard University recently that included an in-depth discussion on sabermetrics, scouting and the science of baseball.   Michael Richmond, from the Physics Department at Rochester Institute of Technology, was one of the speakers and something he said has changed my mind forever about that super hero of a man (or not) standing alone on a regular basis in the batter’s box.   Here’s what he said:

“The average fastball travels at 2,200 rpm, as opposed to 1,300 for a curve-ball or change-up.  And the only way the player can tell which pitch it is and how much it will move is an immediate judgment call.

The batter has to see the difference and say, ‘Oh, that’s a change-up’.  I find it amazing the batters can pick up the difference in spin when they only have five or six revolutions before they have to make that decision.”

Whoa!  I promise to never criticize another batter’s wild and crazy swing at a pitch unless, of course, he chooses not to swing.   And not even then, because based on what Richmond says, you almost have to make up your mind during the wind-up whether you’re going to swing or not.  Who knew?  I’m still having trouble wrapping my little mind around sabermetrics and now I find the ABC’s of baseball, you know,  the “see ball, hit ball, run theory” is a bunch of hooey folks. Probably most of you already know this stuff, but I’m just saying there’s a reason baseball fans are the most knowledgeable and opinionated of all sports fans.  They have to be.  Who can possibly know all this stuff?  Who even wants to know it all?

The batter and the hitter.  Not necessarily the same and there’s a reason for that!  Baseball ~ don’t you just love it?

Here’s a link to the article written by Spencer Fordin.  It’s  worth the time. “Harvard Hosts in-depth Baseball Seminar.”

Most Valuable Player? ….. You Decide!

I watched a TV Special recently about Juan Marichal, the former SF Giants pitcher, and I was surprised to learn that he  had never won the Cy Young Award.

Justin Verlander

And then again last week a discussion was had on whether an MVP could, or should, also be named a Cy Young winner.  This was concerning Justin Verlander of the Detroit Tigers who holds most of the AL pitching records this season.  The reasoning was that the MVP should be awarded to a field player who’s generally on the field every day, compared to the pitcher who pitches every four or five days on a rotation.  Supposedly that’s the reason the Cy Young Award came about ~ to be able to honor the pitchers who are not visible on a daily basis.

Juan Marichal

The Marichal program was still very much in my mind when I came across an article (referenced below) about the worst MVP “snubs” in baseball history.  I found it very interesting that so many of the most popular players were slighted as MVP’s back then.  Maybe they weren’t as popular in their day as they’ve become later on, and posterity has been kind to them.   But probably not.  The MVP selections always seem to provoke some sort of controversy each year and its understandable.  Those pesky statistics always seem to get in the way of those you and I consider to be the most valuable.  Not always of course, but sometimes.

Here’s a link to the article, submitted by Tim Handorf,  10 Worst MVP Snubs in Baseball History  published at bestonlinecolleges.com .  Take a look and see what you think!

An Overdose of “Philly-Itis”…….

Hank Aaron, Wikipedia Image

Philly Schmilly …….Don’t you just love it when someone in the know has the guts to speak what’s on his mind instead of jumping on the eternal pundit bandwagon?   That’s just exactly what Hank Aaron did yesterday.   Hank’s predicting a 2011 World Series between the Giants and Red Sox.   Whew ~ where did that come from?  Hasn’t he been listening to the pundits and bloggers and baseball experts? Could it be that Henry knows something the rest of the baseball world doesn’t?   Could it be these so-called experts have fallen into the same trap they did last year and have totally overlooked the obvious?  In other words, they didn’t learn a thing.  I’m not talking about the regular season.   I mean, for pete’s sake, I’m a Giant’s fan and there’s no way I would have imagined, say, in August,  the Giants would end up taking their Division.  So what do you think Hank Aaron might possibly be thinking?  

For one thing, Aaron’s predicting 2011’s going to be  a hitters year, unlike the pitcher’s year of 2010.   Well if that’s true  it sure takes the wind out of the sails for that $120 Million contract the Phillies signed Clifton Phifer “Cliff” Lee to in the off-season.   I’ve never understood the reasoning that  the Phillies are now unbeatable, invincible, the next undisputable World Champions, just by virtue  of having Cliff Lee on their roster.    Uhhh, seems to me the unbeaten Cliff Lee was beaten TWICE by the Giants in this year’s World Series.   So please tell me what Cliff Lee has done recently that would make him now “unbeatable”?   It just doesn’t make sense.     He was unbeatable last season and the Giants whooped the stuffing out of him, not once, but twice,and now he’s wearing a Phillies uniform, and he’s once again unbeatable?  

Is it possible the Phillies might be able to pull it off and win the Division?  Oh sure.  Is it possible they might go on and win the World Series?  Maybe.  But it’s not a foregone conclusion.  Thank you,   Hank Aaron,  for bringing some good old fashioned  common sense to the subject.   It’s a lot more fun letting the teams play out the season instead of  letting the self-proclaimed pundits and experts crown the Philadelphia Phillies  the anointed ones in February.   It’s obvious the only reason Cliff Lee signed with the Phillies is he sees it as his only chance to vindicate himself from the embarrassment he obviously felt (or should have felt) of not only being outpitched in the World Series, but of being so “mouthy” about it before hand.  

Philly Phanatic

 To say the Phillies might be my least favorite team is probably a huge understatement.  Go ahead, ask the teams and  players who’ve had to endure the wrath, anger and profanity of the Phillie phanatics on and off the field.  I’m just saying, when it comes to baseball, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is definitely NOT the city of brotherly love. 

Seattle Mariner Fans ….. This One’s for You!

In Memory of  Dave Niehaus 

 Everytime I hear Dave’s voice I tear up. I get chills until no end. Not so much because I miss Dave the person, but Dave the spirit. I grew up watching baseball, knowing every night when I turned on the television I could hear Dave. I knew that when no one was positive about the Mariner’s chances, Dave would always have a hopeful attitude. I am going to miss the “My Oh My‘s” and the “Grand Salami‘s”. Even the simple hello, welcome to beautiful Safeco Field, with his signature grin. FLY FLY AWAY! ”   Taken from Comments on YouTube

Dave Niehaus, Throwing out the First Pitch

To be honest, I didn’t know much about Dave Niehaus except that he was a former announcer for the Mariners.  When I was researching about who he was Continue reading

SF GIANTS! 2010 WORLD SERIES CHAMPIONS! YEE HAW!

THE SF GIANTS ARE FOR REAL ……. THE TORTURE’S OVER!

SF Giants 2010 World Series Champions!

I had to play this great song one more time!  It’s much more appropriate to hear it as the World Series Champions!   The SF Giants won the 2010 World Series in 5 games, in grand fashion tonight,  beating the Texas Rangers 3-1, behind the outstanding pitching of  Tim Lincecum .   Here’s some possible headlines I considered:

  • Thank you Giants
  • Thanks for the ride!
  • Believe!
  • Torture to Rapture!
  • Diamonds in the Rough!
  • Beginning of a Dynasty?
  • Say Hey!
  • I left my heart in San Francisco!
  • The Texas who?
  • The eyes of  Texas are upon us!
  • Oh it’s good to be back home again!

Six months ago I booked a 2 week vacation that begins tomorrow!  Can you believe this?  I mean who in their right mind would have thought the Giants could possibly be playing in the World Series in November?   I’ve been on pins and needles all week thinking the Series would go to 7 games, putting it into Wednesday and Thursday of this week, at which time I’d be on the road and in the air enroute to Panama!  But the Giants had other plans, (to accommodate me I’m sure), and decided to call an end to this ordeal in Arlington, TX, and come home tomorrow as World Series Champions!   The only problem is that the parade is going to be Wednesday 11AM in San Francisco, for those of you who’ll be lucky enough to attend.  Unfortunately I won’t be one of them.    So hats off to the SF Giants who’ve played their hearts out all season, and have been rewarded mightily with the Championship Trophy!   The details of this final game are outlined in related articles below so I won’t get into the nitty gritty but I do want to mention that Edgar Renteria who was mentioned in an earlier blog, and is considering retiring after this season, (say it isn’t so Edgar!) was named MVP of the Series. 

A note to the Giants:  Whew what a ride and I enjoyed every minute of it.  But would you mind next year  maybe averaging more than 3 runs per game?  I’m getting too old for this stuff! 🙂

 

This day in Baseball History ……fans at Fenway. Where’d they go??

“1965.   At Fenway Park in front of only 1,247 fans, Boston right-hander Dave Morehead no-hits the visiting Indians 2-1.  On the same day, the 100 loss bound ninth place Red Sox fire their GM, Pinky Higgins.” 

I found this statistic fascinating!   This day in history, 1965, your couldn’t GIVE away tickets to watch the Red Sox play at Fenway.   Only 1,247 showed up for the game!  Wow!   Times have changed and so has baseball.   I was in Boston in June and talked with a cabbie there, exuberant about the fact I got to see the game that day.  It’s  hard to get tickets to a game at Fenway Park these days.  On June 17, 2009, Red Sox fans were celebrating their 500th consecutive sellout at Fenway Park!  And this is a park with 33,871 night time seating capacity that had an average attendance of 37,811 in 2009!   Go figure. 

But on September 16, 1965, seating capacity for Fenway Park was 33,524.   Imagine going to a professional baseball game and you’re one of 1,247 fans.  That means there are 32,277 empty seats.  Whew!  You could even hear yourself holler, if there was anything to holler about.  I mean that season they ended up losing 100 games. 

It’s different now.  If you’ve ever been to Fenway you’ll get this.   Once you get nestled into your wood seat you don’t 

Fenway Park

dare move.   This is a small stadium and I’d estimate maybe 12,000 fans are mulling through the concessions stands and restrooms at any given time.  So once you leave your seat, figure about 45 minutes before you’ll get back again.  Best advice……do all your stuff before you sit!     So right now, today, Boston’s in 3rd place in their division, up and down this year.  But it really doesn’t matter.   Boston Red Sox fans are no longer fair weather fans.  They’ve had  winning seasons and  losing seasons since  1965 .  Not to worry.  They manage to sell those seats game after game, year after year.   And it’s one of the best stadiums in Major League Baseball!   I love Fenway Park.  I love the fans, the food, the team.  

Where’d the fans go?   They went right back to the park and that’s where they’ve been ever since, God love em! 

Best Players in Past 58 Years ……. A Mathematical Study!

I came upon an interesting study a few months ago.  It was written by Don Davis, Mathematics Professor at Lehigh University, Bethleham, PA.   There’s a lot of criteria used in determining different aspects of this study, but for the most part the players names are all recognizable and only a few to make the list are surprises.   The following table lists the top five All Star Teams, using 4 pitchers per team.    It also lists the overall rating percentage by player.   Take a look:

Pos’n First team Second team Third team Fourth team Fifth team
P1 Roger Clemens, 266.2 Tom Seaver, 166.9 Bob Gibson, 129.2 Jim Palmer, 106.4 Johan Santana, 85.4
P2 Greg Maddux, 203.9 Warren Spahn, 160.5 Robin Roberts, 128.3 Gaylord Perry, 96.1 Tom Glavine, 84.8
P3 Randy Johnson, 202.4 Bob Feller, 143.7 Sandy Koufax, 126.0 Phil Niekro, 96.1 Curt Schilling, 80.7
P4 Pedro Martinez, 185.7 Steve Carlton, 140.7 Juan Marichal, 109.5 Fergie Jenkins, 91.7 Bob Lemon, 79.9
C Johnny Bench, 115.5 Yogi Berra, 97.2 Mike Piazza, 82.2 Ivan Rodriguez, 77.7 Gary Carter, 75.5
1B Albert Pujols, 145.4 Jeff Bagwell, 103.2 Eddie Murray, 95.2 Willie McCovey, 92.1 Harmon Killebrew, 86.4
2B Joe Morgan, 140.3 Rod Carew, 94.5 Ryne Sandberg, 92.4 Jackie Robinson, 82.4 Roberto Alomar, 81.1
3B Mike Schmidt, 173.2 George Brett, 119.2 Eddie Mathews, 111.7 Wade Boggs, 108.0 Brooks Robinson, 88.4
SS Alex Rodriguez, 145.4 Cal Ripken, 113.6 Robin Yount, 93.0 Ernie Banks, 90.7 Derek Jeter, 81.6
OF1 Barry Bonds, 270.7 Stan Musial, 205.2 Frank Robinson, 145.3 Ken Griffey, 114.2 Tony Gwynn, 100.3
OF2 Willie Mays, 226.8 Mickey Mantle, 198.3 Rickey Henderson, 141.5 Al Kaline, 110.1 Pete Rose, 99.7
OF3 Ted Williams, 213.4 Hank Aaron, 195.6 Carl Yazstremski, 127.5 Reggie Jackson, 108.9 Roberto Clemente, 99.3
DH Frank Thomas, 115.0 Edgar Martinez, 64.4 Paul Molitor, 62.4 David Ortiz, 43.4  

Are you kidding me?  Can you even begin to imagine a game with all of these guys on the same team?  What was particularly interesting to me is  that mathematically Roger Clemens is the highest rated pitcher and Barry Bonds is the highest rated batter.   These  ratings are through the 2009 season,  and personalities and private lives are not taken into account.   This is just  using good old fashioned baseball statistics.  

I found the study intriguing and spent a lot of time viewing the criteria used in coming up with the lists.  Rather than go into all the particulars here, you can view the study yourself @ Lehigh University   http://www.lehigh.edu/~dmd1/baseball.html  

 This information is being used with the permission of Professor Davis.