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Happy Holidays! Regularly Scheduled Articles Will Resume Monday, December 29

Jim Baker 

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03-29

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1

The BP Wayback Machine: Opening Day Goodbyes
by
Jim Baker

02-21

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2

The BP Wayback Machine: Your Guide to Spring Training
by
Jim Baker

07-21

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5

The BP Wayback Machine: The Dos and Don'ts of Trade Rumor Mongering
by
Jim Baker

06-02

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4

The BP Wayback Machine: Baseball's Exciting Plays
by
Jim Baker

08-01

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Prospectus Matchups: The Knee-Jerk All-Stars Revisited
by
Jim Baker

07-25

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Prospectus Matchups: I'll Get 'Em Next Time
by
Jim Baker

07-18

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Prospectus Matchups: Braking and Breaking at the Break
by
Jim Baker

07-11

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Prospectus Matchups: Exiting Stage Left
by
Jim Baker

06-27

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Prospectus Matchups: Learning to Cheer Correctly
by
Jim Baker

06-20

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Prospectus Matchups: Late Standing Starts
by
Jim Baker

06-13

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Prospectus Matchups: The American League Rumsfeld Numbers
by
Jim Baker

06-10

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Prospectus Matchups: Four In a Row
by
Jim Baker

06-06

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Prospectus Matchups: Hall Jones
by
Jim Baker

05-30

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Prospectus Matchups: Sacrificial Lions
by
Jim Baker

05-16

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Prospectus Matchups: The 2008 Baseball Psychological Workout
by
Jim Baker

05-09

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Prospectus Matchups: Outlier Outpost
by
Jim Baker

05-02

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Prospectus Matchups: Fun with Playoff Odds
by
Jim Baker

04-25

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Prospectus Matchups: Here's What I Think
by
Jim Baker

04-18

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Prospectus Matchups: The Multi-Stretch
by
Jim Baker

04-11

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Prospectus Matchups: The Second Annual Knee-Jerk All Stars
by
Jim Baker

04-04

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Prospectus Matchups: Early-Season Miscellany
by
Jim Baker

03-28

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Prospectus Matchups: Opening Day Goodbyes
by
Jim Baker

03-21

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Prospectus Matchups: The One-Man Affair
by
Jim Baker

03-14

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Prospectus Matchups: The 2008 Prospectus Matchups Contest
by
Jim Baker

03-07

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Prospectus Matchups: Stocks, Cactus, Grapefruit & Jones
by
Jim Baker

02-29

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Prospectus Matchups: The 2008 Transient All-Star Team
by
Jim Baker

02-22

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Prospectus Matchups: The Best of the Newest, 2008 edition
by
Jim Baker

02-15

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Prospectus Matchups: The Dawn of the Rays
by
Jim Baker

02-08

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Prospectus Matchups: The All-Time Matchup Record Book
by
Jim Baker

02-01

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Prospectus Matchups: Putting Cys in Motion
by
Jim Baker

01-25

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Prospectus Matchups: Baseball on the Bookshelf
by
Jim Baker

01-18

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Prospectus Matchups: The Random Baedeker
by
Jim Baker

01-11

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Prospectus Matchups: Here's a Thought: Stop Thinking
by
Jim Baker

01-04

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Prospectus Matchups: Dead Horses and Fifth Starters
by
Jim Baker

12-28

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Prospectus Matchups: The Worst Seasons On Record
by
Jim Baker

12-21

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Prospectus Matchups: The Mismatches
by
Jim Baker

12-14

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Prospectus Matchups: Inside the Mitchell Report
by
Jim Baker

12-07

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Prospectus Matchups: Topic Hopping
by
Jim Baker

11-30

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Prospectus Matchups: The Freshmen
by
Jim Baker

11-16

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Prospectus Matchups: Rookie Spoilers
by
Jim Baker

11-09

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Prospectus Matchups: A First for the Ages
by
Jim Baker

11-02

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Prospectus Matchups: Offseason's Bidding
by
Jim Baker

10-30

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Prospectus Matchups: Fighting the Impossible Battle
by
Jim Baker

10-26

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Prospectus Matchups: Fight the Powers That Be!
by
Jim Baker

10-23

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Prospectus Matchups: Series Firsts
by
Jim Baker

10-19

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Prospectus Matchups: The (Elimination) Gamers
by
Jim Baker

10-16

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Prospectus Matchups: Starting Well is Two-Thirds of Half the Battle
by
Jim Baker

10-12

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Prospectus Matchups: Lets Get Loaded and See What Happens
by
Jim Baker

10-09

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Prospectus Matchups: Me So Worthy, or Unworthy
by
Jim Baker

10-05

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Prospectus Matchups: Getting Right Back on the Horse
by
Jim Baker

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When Opening Day is an ending, not a beginning.

While looking toward the future with our comprehensive slate of current content, we'd also like to recognize our rich past by drawing upon our extensive (and mostly free) online archive of work dating back to 1997. In an effort to highlight the best of what's gone before, we'll be bringing you a weekly blast from BP's past, introducing or re-introducing you to some of the most informative and entertaining authors who have passed through our virtual halls. If you have fond recollections of a BP piece that you'd like to nominate for re-exposure to a wider audience, send us your suggestion.

Jim Baker dug up all the players who appeared in an Opening Day game and were never seen again in the piece reprinted below, which was originally published as a "Prospectus Matchups" column on March 28th, 2008.
 


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Whether it's your first trip to spring training or you're an old hand, Jim's travel tips are sure to point out things you'll need to know.

While looking toward the future with our comprehensive slate of current content, we'd also like to recognize our rich past by drawing upon our extensive (and mostly free) online archive of work dating back to 1997. In an effort to highlight the best of what's gone before, we'll be bringing you a weekly blast from BP's past, introducing or re-introducing you to some of the most informative and entertaining authors who have passed through our virtual halls. If you have fond recollections of a BP piece that you'd like to nominate for re-exposure to a wider audience, send us your suggestion.

Jim Baker offered an offbeat spring training tutorial in the piece reprinted below, which was originally published as a "Prospectus Matchups" column on March 1, 2005.
 


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How to start, spread, and maintain your very own trade rumor.

While looking toward the future with our comprehensive slate of current content, we'd also like to recognize our rich past by drawing upon our extensive (and mostly free) online archive of work dating back to 1997. In an effort to highlight the best of what's gone before, we'll be bringing you a weekly blast from BP's past, introducing or re-introducing you to some of the most informative and entertaining authors who have passed through our virtual halls. If you have fond recollections of a BP piece that you'd like to nominate for re-exposure to a wider audiencesend us your suggestion.

Read the full article...

Some of baseball's most exciting moments are reserved for its most inconsequential plays.

While looking toward the future with our comprehensive slate of current content, we'd also like to recognize our rich past by drawing upon our extensive (and mostly free) online archive of work dating back to 1997. In an effort to highlight the best of what's gone before, we'll be bringing you a weekly blast from BP's past, introducing or re-introducing you to some of the most informative and entertaining authors who have passed through our virtual halls. If you have fond recollections of a BP piece that you'd like to nominate for re-exposure to a wider audience, send us your suggestion.

Revisit Jim Baker's humorous look at plays whose prominence outstrips their impact, which originally ran on June 18, 2004.


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August 1, 2008 12:00 am

Prospectus Matchups: The Knee-Jerk All-Stars Revisited

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Jim Baker

There are some spring flowers that remain in bloom, but others have gone very weedy.

Ah, April—remember it? The world seemed so much more innocent back then. Little did we know what was to come and how it would change us all forever. Or something like that. Back on April 11, I trotted out my annual Knee-Jerk All-Star Team for the very purpose we see here today: so that we might look back and shake our heads in regret over the exultations and naivet of that earlier time—except in the cases in which a superstar was the early favorite at a position, of which there were more than a few.

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July 25, 2008 12:00 am

Prospectus Matchups: I'll Get 'Em Next Time

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Jim Baker

The luckless Greg Maddux's winless streak nears historic territory.

On Wednesday, Greg Maddux started his 14th consecutive game without being credited with-if you'll pardon the expression-a win. Normally, I pay very little attention to a pitcher's won-loss record. I actually hope that at some point down the road the practice of counting pitcher wins and losses will have reached a level of irrelevance such that they will only be tracked for the benefit of fantasy team owners. When that point in time is due to arrive, I have no idea, but many of us and those like us have expended a million words or so about why it's futile to set too much store in the institution.

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July 18, 2008 12:00 am

Prospectus Matchups: Braking and Breaking at the Break

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Jim Baker

It might not matter at all whether you're come stumbling or rolling into the break.

Here's the concept: the All-Star break disrupts the progress of teams riding high, and at the same time allows reeling teams to regroup. I heard something to that effect put forward during a game telecast on Sunday. I honestly don't remember who it was that said it, since I was surfing back and forth between several games at the time, and writing it down would have required actually rising up off the couch to find a pen and then sitting back down again, only to remember that I also needed paper and having to get back up to find that as well. Getting up that often in such a short period of time would set a dangerous precedent for activity; you see how it is. Take my word for it, though: something approximating the following exchange took place during a telecast on Sunday.

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July 11, 2008 12:00 am

Prospectus Matchups: Exiting Stage Left

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Jim Baker

Everybody remembers that first plate appearance, but what happened in the final trip for some of the game's iconic hitters?

One of the sad realities of life is that we rarely get to choreograph our exits. Things seldom end as we would have wished, and it is no different for most big league ballplayers. Every ex-ballplayer remembers his first big league plate appearance. Those who don't are either lying or probably self-anesthetized in some fashion. On the other hand, how many of them remember their final plate appearance?

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The Chinese effort to direct Olympic fan rooting would lead to humorous results in America's ballparks, plus a look at the most unique no-hitter of them all.

Many of you are probably aware that the Chinese are going to great lengths to organize fan cheering for the upcoming Olympics. The Peoples Republic of China can do flip card stunts with the best of them, but this is something different: a massed, coordinated infusion of pre-programmed good vibes.

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June 20, 2008 12:00 am

Prospectus Matchups: Late Standing Starts

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Jim Baker

Which teams have scored the most runs after breaking free from nearly being no-hit?

Yesterday afternoon, David Bush of the Brewers no-hit the Blue Jays through seven innings. He gave up a leadoff triple to Lyle Overbay to start the eighth, and Overbay scored on the very next play when Alex Rios singled. Bush finished the inning, leaving the game with an 8-1 lead. He then had to watch as Toronto tagged the Milwaukee bullpen for six runs in the top of the ninth, including a home run by Overbay and a grand slam by Joe Inglett. The game ended with the tying run on first.

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June 13, 2008 12:00 am

Prospectus Matchups: The American League Rumsfeld Numbers

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Jim Baker

When you have the team you have as opposed to the team you want, there's still a way for you to finish first in something.

About a year ago I concocted something that I call the Rumsfeld Number. It's named after former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, because he once said that you go to the war with the army you have, not the one you necessarily want. Applying that axiom to baseball, the Rumsfeld Number is an accounting of the percentage of a team's plate appearances given over to players who are below replacement level in VORP. To date, I have not heard from Mr. Rumsfeld as to his feelings on being attached to this accounting; I am going to assume his silence stands for approval. Who knows, perhaps this will be his greatest legacy. Former Secretaries of Defense can be assigned to three basic categories: The Obscure, the Famous and the Infamous. After his first stint under Gerald Ford, Rumsfeld probably would have fallen into the first category; unfortunately, history may place his second go-round in the third category. That is, unless the Rumsfeld Number really catches on and places him in the second camp. Only time will tell.

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The Padres recently won four in a row by the same score--how odd is that, and what does history offer in terms of comparable feats?

Over this past weekend, the San Diego Padres completed a run of four consecutive 2-1 victories. This was ballyhooed as the first time any team has ever done that, which isn't too surprising. In fact, I started to wonder how many times teams were involved in four consecutive games with the same score--2-1 or otherwise. I asked Bil Burke to check our database, which goes back to 1957. Not surprisingly, the examples are sparse. The Padres are the only team to win four straight games by the same score, period. I would be very surprised if research were done prior to '57 and it was discovered that any team ever won five in a row by the same score or if there were too many other examples of four straight. (Bil reports there were plenty of threepeats.) One could imagine the chances being greater in the Deadball Era, when low-scoring games limited the number of outcomes in ways not possible in higher-scoring eras. Even with that, though, I would guess that four is the upper limit.

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