Tag Archives: Sports

Baseball Memorabilia …..Is it Really? How Can You Tell?

Right off let me tell you I’m a collector.  I collect anything baseball mostly for my personal enjoyment and for posterity and  I’ve never sold anything from my  collection.

I subscribe to periodicals that give me a rough idea of what the value of a particular card or item might be, but the only way you can really determine FMV is to sell it which I have no intention of doing.  Occasionally, when I feel I have a special card I’ll send it to Beckett to have it graded, only to find it’s not as special as I thought it was.

One such card was actually a Hockey card ~ a  1979 O-Pee-Chee #18Wayne Gretzky card that had recently sold for over $60,000 on Ebay.   I planned on selling this item and I’d already mentally taken a world cruise with the proceeds from this special Gretzky prize, the best card in my collection of over 75,000 cards.  Imagine my surprise when Beckett returned the card to me not only ungraded but with a notation of “Questionable Authenticity”.  In other words, it was a fake!

I’d paid good money for the card which was purchased from another collector I knew personally.  My first inclination was to contact the guy and ask for my money back.  In reality, I’m sure he bought it with the same expectations I had, totally unaware.   I had no idea what I was buying, no experience and no knowledge in the area of collectibles, and neither did he.  Continue reading

Baseball Stats ….. Traditional vs Sabermetrics.

A few months ago I signed up for the Annual SABR conference in Long Beach.  I wanted to learn about Sabermetrics,  the science of analyzing baseball  in unorthodox ways,  at least when compared with traditional “see ball, hit ball, run” stats. The term is derived from  SABR, which stands for the Society for American Baseball Research.

After reading everything I could get my hands on about the subject, I found this great  Sully video (what would we do without him?) and discovered everything I need to know about Sabermetrics, which is, I don’t need to know anything.

A few days ago a fellow BBA Blogger, Bryan O’Connor, wrote a post that relates to this very subject.  I had to save and read later, because I couldn’t understand it.  Here, see how you do with it ~ Bumgarnering Around …..

Wow!  How confusing is this stuff?  I jotted down a few abbreviations; WAR, OPS, VORP, OBP, OPS Plus, bWAR.  Good grief!  This game is confusing enough.  Don’t confuse me with facts and details.  Just give me a score card and a pencil and let the games begin!

Casey at the Bat …… “The Response”

On August 16, 2010, I posted a blog about “Buster at the Bat ….” talking about Buster Posey, but referencing that wonderful old poem, Casey at the Bat.   It’s as popular now as it was when it was  first published in The San Francisco Examiner on June 3, 1888.   A friend thoughtfully supposed the reason the poem is still so loved is because the same emotions, rivalries and competitive spirit are as relevant today as when it was first written.    I found this wonderful sequel to “Casey” at the Baseball Almanac .   “Casey’s Revenge” , written 18 years after Casey at the Bat, is an answer to the rivalry between the legendary pitcher who started all the trouble and Casey.   Believe it or not, it’s almost as fun as the original.  Here, see what you think  ~

Casey’s Revenge by Grantland Rice ©
Published: The Speaker (06-1907)
There were saddened hearts in Mudville for a week or even more;
There were muttered oaths and curses- every fan in town was sore.
“Just think,” said one, “how soft it looked with Casey at the bat,
And then to think he’d go and spring a bush league trick like that!”
All his past fame was forgotten- he was now a hopeless “shine.”
They called him “Strike-Out Casey,” from the mayor down the line; Continue reading

December 10th! Happy BBA Day, Fellow Bloggers!

Talking With Baseball Bloggers Alliance Founder Daniel Shoptaw

This blog is a member of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance, an organization that started in April of 2009, and began robust growth that September, with about 230 members as of December 10, 2010. The BBA has chapters covering every MLB team, along with a handful of other chapters covering topics such as history (this blog’s chapter) and fantasy baseball. Baseball Bloggers Alliance Day, on Dec. 10, is an occasion for BBA members to talk a bit about the Alliance, its mission, and how its members are involved with the BBA. Continue reading

Bobby Cox Going on a Cruise! …….. A Player’s Manager Retires.

I never knew much about Bobby Cox.  Oh sure, I heard a lot about him through the years.  After all he’s been managing the Braves since 1986 and it seems his name was always out there, usually for arguing with the umps or being ejected from a game, not necessarily what you want to be known for.  But during this last playoff series and especially during his last interview, I was struck by one comment he made.  It referred to a controversial call by an umpire at 2nd base.   The play was a head-first slide by Giants’ Buster Posey into 2nd and a safe call by the ump.   Replay shows Posey was clearly out, and it ended up being a deciding factor in the 1 run win by the Giants over Atlanta and eventually eliminated Atlanta from the series, ending Cox’s career.  Yet Bobby Cox didn’t utter a peep! Why?

On August 14, 2010, Bobby Cox broke the  MLB ejections record with 131 career ejections.   He’s a player’s manager.  Just getting ejected certainly doesn’t make one great, but when Bobby Cox got ejected he was doing it for the right reason.  He wasn’t just arguing a call to get the ump to change his mind, or to grandstand, or slow up the game.  He was always arguing in defense of his players.  Always!   He was out there every game defending his players, trying to even up the playing field making sure the other team wasn’t getting an unfair advantage.    When he felt his players had been treated unfairly by a call, he never, ever backed down.  That is his legacy. 

In an interview after this last game Cox was asked about that call at 2nd base.  He was told the replay clearly showed the runner was out and was asked why he didn’t challenge the call.  After all, his career and reputation was built on challenging umpire calls these past 32 years.  His response surprised me.   The reason he didn’t challenge the call was simple.   He was watching his 2nd baseman and outfielders and they showed no reaction.  Had any of them reacted as though they thought the runner was out, he would have been out on that field immediately in protest of the call.  Cox said it’s impossible to see what’s going on from the manager’s viewpoint so he’s always trusted his player’s reactions on how the play should have been called.  That’ s how he managed his entire career and his players loved him for it.   Of course, some players could easily have taken advantage of Bobby’s trust in them and I’m sure they did, but they always knew he had their back and that’s how loyalties are made.

I could write pages and pages about the career of this man.  It might surprise you that he only played in the major leagues for two years, as a 3rd baseman for the New York Yankees.   And did you know he ranks 4th on the Baseball All-time Managerial “Wins”  list?    It goes on and on.  Check out the  Related Articles below.  They’ll keep you reading for days.  

The team got together and gave Bobby and his wife a going away gift.  It’s a cruise and they’re leaving next April!   April?   That’s the beginning of another baseball season!   You don’t retire from baseball.   No one retires from baseball.   Welcome to Baseball Fandom Bobby Cox.   The only thing that’s changed is the players!

Derek Jeter – Emmy Award for Best Actor?……Absolutely!

Derek Jeter

Image via Wikipedia

Take a look at this video.  Be patient.  It takes a minute to load.  I had a devil of a time finding a copy that was not locked out with a “security violation”, but once again WordPress to the rescue.  Anyhow this goes in line with my last two posts , “Hit by a Pitch” – well, not really, but you’ll see what I mean. 

Click link below to view  vdeo:

http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=12117903&topic_id=8879976&c_id=mlb   

Geez,  I kinda liked Derek Jeter.  He’s like the last of the old time heroes.  I always thought it was because he was still single and could get away with indiscretions because he wasn’t hurting his sweet little wife who sat patiently at home waiting for him, because he didn’t have a wife.    But now this puts a bit of a different swing on things don’t you think?  I mean I’m sure a lot of  Yankee fans will think this is great, probably even funny, but this pathetic lie of an acting job probably cost the Rays the game.  Hero?  I don’t think so.  As far as I’m concerned Derek Jeter has dropped a notch,  a lot of notches, probably to the bottom of the belt, in my mind. 

This brings the Hall of Fame to mind once again.  So they don’t want gamblers and substance abusers in the HOF, but will they draw the line when it comes to a big fake?  I didn’t realize it had happened before.  Derek was a hero in my mind and I didn’t really look very hard to prove him otherwise.  See the “Related Articles” below. 

Hey, it’s okay!  We have a few heroes on the horizon.  Buster Posey and Madison Bumgarner come to mind,  because I’m a Giants fan probably, but I’m sure you have others on your team you would nominate.  I’d like to hear about them.  It would make for a great blog sometime in the winter while I’m having to sit through one of those goddawful Monday night football games. 

Good grief!   I thought I’d seen it all folks.  But this one really takes the cake!  Is Jeter so stupid he didn’t realize there’s such a thing as “replays” and better yet, “replays in slow motion”?   I guess when you’re making those kind of bucks all bets are off and you do whatever you have to do to get that win.  Ethics, honesty and morality?  We’ll have to look to our young heroes and cross our hearts, hope to die, stick a needle …… and say a prayer once in awhile.   They’re sure gonna need it. 

Making the Error that Loses the Game……Oh Really?

Sergio Romo

Sergio Romo

Update April 20, 2013.  This was the headline written by Alex Pavlovic, Bay Area News Group,  after the Giants 4-3  loss to the Cubs last week-end.

 “ROMO’S BLOWN SAVE DOOMS SF”

  And right next to the ridiculous headline is a photo of Giants center fielder Angel Pagan missing Starlin Castro’s “game-winning double “.   I wrote a blog September 1, 2010 that talks about this notion of one bad play losing the game.  It just don’t work that way folks.  Take a look and see what you think. 

________________________________________________________

“Making the Error that Loses the Game” Original Post 9/1/10 By: Garlic Fries and Baseball”

I’m thinking of  Cody Ross in the SF Giants loss to Colorado on Monday.  You can place blame and point a finger to a specific play and/or player in any game, especially if it’s in the last couple innings.  But think about it.    What about that last swing in a strikeout that should have been a hit in any inning (this applies to both teams).  Or how about all the runners left on base, in any inning?   What if?   If only!   Take a look at one of the innings in this game.  I chose the 2nd inning but it could have been any.  Colorado Top of 2nd Jonathan Sanchez pitching for San Francisco COL SFO M Mora grounded out to shortstop. T Helton walked.R Spilborghs grounded into double play, third to second to first, T Helton out at second. 0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors  San Francisco – Bottom of 2nd Jorge De La Rosa pitching for Colorado COL SFO C Ross struck out swinging. P Sandoval singled to left. J Uribe grounded into double play, shortstop to second to first, P Sandoval out at second. 0 Runs, 1 Hits, 0 Errors 

“Before he was a Giant!”

  So let’s assume Helton hit a home run instead of walked. Then Cody’s “error” in the 9th doesn’t have the significance it would have had if the game hadn’t been tied. Or suppose Uribe, instead of hitting into a double play, slammed that hit right between 3rd base and the SS and now they have a runner on 1st and 2nd and Sanchez gets to bat and hits a line drive single. This brings the guy on 2nd home and bingo!  That error out in right field in the top of the 9th isn’t quite so significant either.   MLB.com has some great shots of the game and also the play by play if you’re interested.  What’s important to note here is the only error in the 9th inning is given to Sanchez on his throw to 3rd and not to Ross on the flyball to right field that caught some miracle of flight after a broken bat went sailing along with the hit. I woke up thinking about all this as I reflected on the unusually low attendance of 31,000 fans at the game yesterday, the night after the Cody Ross incident. Giants fans are not known to be fair weather fans so it caught my attention. But I’ll bet you odds there will be another big crowd tonight at AT&T Park, because even after the incredibly disappointing loss to Arizona on Monday, the SF Giants won and the San Diego Padres lost last night! Hope is alive and the fans will return again and again to watch their beloved Giants and all it will take is one great play from Cody Ross (Sanchez already provided his) and all is forgiven and forgotten. It’s kinda like hitting a 150 yard drive off the 1st tee at Pasatiempo. Nothing else really matters the rest of the day.   It only takes one play folks……and that’s what’s so great about baseball!   Don’t you just love it? “

GFBB Note:  Cody Ross went on to be instrumental in post season play and the Giants World Series win in 2010.  Just goes to show you …..

Guess who’s following us on Twitter !

This is great!  I just received an email that Major League Baseball is now following this blog on Twitter!   It’s just pretty exciting to know our little blog is recognized to have at least some merit.  MLB follows less than 1% of the Blogs that follow them so I feel very lucky to have been chosen.  GFBB was started on May 10, 2010, and in it’s short life has received over 3,200 hits.   It has a regular following of baseball fans and for that I truly thank you!   It’s just a lot of fun and I hope it can go on for years.  Okay.  It’s midnight and I’m going to bed now.  Totally exhausted from watching the Giants and their 16-5 victory, and now this news from MLB ~  it’s just too much excitement for one night!   Thanks again.  Baseball fans are the greatest!   We’ll talk again soon :))

Gimme a Break! ……Is this Baseball Season or Not??

Boy, I’m telling you, this time of year it gets really frustrating trying to read the sports section in the morning newspaper.    I went to a game this week-end and couldn’t wait to get up in the  morning and read all about it in the paper from  a  local sportswriter’s perspective.   This was a game of monumental importance!   This was a game between two teams vying for first place in their division and where do you think I finally found it?   Bottom of Page Three!   The front page of the sports section was dominated by, you guessed it,  “f o o t b a l l “,  and the 2nd page was all about “g o l f”,  and not even professional golf, but high school golf!   And the top of Page Three wasn’t about other baseball teams either.  It was about Lance Armstrong and cycling.   Is baseball not America’s favorite pasttime?   I understand some might find the season a little long.  Okay, maybe really long, but when  ESPN starts showing daily doubles and NFL rookie interviews  before they show  highlights of today’s actual division games that have a significant meaning in the league standings, something has to give.  And this happens every year.  

So today I finally broke down and bought an annual subscription to MLB Magazine and set up the  Online Edition of the  Mercury News so I can get my morning “fix”.   I really hate giving up my newspaper.  There’s something very enlightening and peaceful about settling down each morning with my coffee and newspaper  in hand, chuckling at the play-by-plays reported by another sports fan/writer with a really great sense of humor.  But so be it.   This entire scenario reminded me of a George Carlin routine I’d heard about the differences between football and baseball.  I finally found it and posted it here for you to see.   Unfortunately, you can’t watch it in bed with your morning cup of coffee, but hope you enjoy it anyhow.