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05-23

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26

Out of Left Field: Watching Baseball with a 4-Year-Old
by
Matthew Kory

05-15

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15

Out of Left Field: Did the Dodgers Make Suckers of the Red Sox?
by
Matthew Kory

05-08

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5

Out of Left Field: Your Summer Baseball Gift Guide
by
Matthew Kory

05-02

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1

Out of Left Field: Will Middlebrooks, and Beating Oneself
by
Matthew Kory

04-23

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4

Out of Left Field: Boston Uncommon
by
Matthew Kory

04-04

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11

Out of Left Field: The Way of the Gun
by
Matthew Kory

03-26

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6

Out of Left Field: Wrongs of Spring
by
Matthew Kory

03-19

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10

Out of Left Field: The More You Know
by
Matthew Kory

03-12

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12

Out of Left Field: The Letting Go
by
Matthew Kory

03-05

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16

Out of Left Field: Cabrera, Trout, and the Baserunning Portion of WARP
by
Matthew Kory

02-28

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15

Out of Left Field: Revisiting a Blockbuster
by
Matthew Kory

02-19

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17

Out of Left Field: The 10,786 Miles Not Technically Traveled By Sandy Rosario
by
Matthew Kory

02-07

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6

Out of Left Field: Shorting the Red Sox
by
Matthew Kory

01-29

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8

Out of Left Field: Teaching Myself to Hit
by
Matthew Kory

01-22

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32

Out of Left Field: Why You Should Quit Caring About Salaries
by
Matthew Kory

01-15

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5

Out of Left Field: Giving Miami the Silent Treatment
by
Matthew Kory

01-09

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12

Out of Left Field: Jumping the Gun on 2013 Predictions
by
Matthew Kory

12-18

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4

Out of Left Field: What the Internet Can Teach Us About Koji Uehara
by
Matthew Kory

12-04

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12

Out of Left Field: Josh Hamilton and Talking
by
Matthew Kory

11-27

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25

Out of Left Field: The Least Valuable Player
by
Matthew Kory

11-20

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7

Out of Left Field: Fish Out Of Contention
by
Matthew Kory

11-13

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34

Out of Left Field: What $205 Million Buys on the Free Agent Market
by
Matthew Kory

11-06

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12

Out of Left Field: Can We Make Adrian Beltre the MVP?
by
Matthew Kory

10-29

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7

Out of Left Field: Postseason Celebrations: A Celebration
by
Matthew Kory

10-16

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30

Out of Left Field: Trading A-Rod: How, Where, and Why
by
Matthew Kory

10-09

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23

Out of Left Field: It's a Trap!
by
Matthew Kory

09-25

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12

Out of Left Field: Rooting for Roger
by
Matthew Kory

09-18

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5

Out of Left Field: The Slowest Pitches Thrown This Year
by
Matthew Kory

09-11

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17

Out of Left Field: Case Study: What Makes a Bad Baseball Game
by
Matthew Kory

08-27

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25

Out of Left Field: Boston Translation
by
Matthew Kory

08-20

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11

Out of Left Field: Bobby Valentine's Communications Problem
by
Matthew Kory

08-13

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9

Out of Left Field: The Choices of Riggleman
by
Matthew Kory

08-03

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10

Out of Left Field: The Four Strikeouts of Aaron Cook
by
Matthew Kory

08-02

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2

Out of Left Field: Tween Town
by
Matthew Kory

07-23

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9

Out of Left Field: The Conundrum of Pitcher Roles
by
Matthew Kory

07-16

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32

Out of Left Field: Not Fixing the All-Star Game
by
Matthew Kory

07-09

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26

Out of Left Field: Ending the Empire
by
Matthew Kory

07-02

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6

Out of Left Field: Williams, Yastrzemski, Nava
by
Matthew Kory

06-25

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11

Out of Left Field: Curt Schilling's Blood Runs Deep
by
Matthew Kory

06-11

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7

Out of Left Field: Matt Barnes and Why We Never Learn
by
Matthew Kory

06-04

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15

Out of Left Field: The Red Sox Roster Crunch
by
Matthew Kory

05-21

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8

Out of Left Field: When You Can't Buy a Loss
by
Matthew Kory

05-14

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6

Out of Left Field: On Hitting .400
by
Matthew Kory

05-07

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11

Out of Left Field: Scouting the Scout
by
Matthew Kory

04-30

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5

Out of Left Field: The Walking Dead
by
Matthew Kory

04-23

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18

Out of Left Field: Designing a Nervous Breakdown
by
Matthew Kory

04-16

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27

Out of Left Field: The Worst Baseball Discussions We Have
by
Matthew Kory

04-09

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19

Out of Left Field: How to Stop a Baseball Game in its Tracks
by
Matthew Kory

04-02

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15

Out of Left Field: Predictions That, God Help Us, Are Wrong
by
Matthew Kory

03-27

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7

Out of Left Field: Spring Training With No Sleep
by
Matthew Kory

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February 7, 2013 5:00 am

Out of Left Field: Shorting the Red Sox

6

Matthew Kory

After 2012, what should we unlearn about the Red Sox?

 

One of the difficult parts about fantasy baseball is dealing with perception. When a player hits a home run, it feels like that’s what they’ll always do. Put another way, do you take a guy who just homered out of your lineup? No, of course not. He just homered. Therefore he’ll continue to homer. That’s a good way to lose. I know because that’s what I do best in fantasy sports. The way to do it, so I’ve been told, is ignore that homer. Let your understanding of the player’s value over the course of the season dictate your decisions. A single event, in this case the homer, shouldn’t enter into it. Yet it always does and I always pay the price.

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January 29, 2013 5:00 am

Out of Left Field: Teaching Myself to Hit

8

Matthew Kory

Hitting comes naturally, or else it comes with a lot of practice. Matt shares lessons learned from a lot of practice.

[Disclaimer: This article may give the impression that I’m passing myself off as an expert on hitting. If I’m the hitting expert, it’s only by default as there is nobody else in this article. If this were called Teaching Myself And A Rabid Hyena To Hit then the hyena, despite its medical issues, would be the expert.]

I love baseball. Maybe that’s obvious, since I write about it all the time (Seriously, dude, like, get another topic!), but I don’t just love it as a writing subject. I love playing it, too. I’ve been fortunate enough to play baseball almost straight through my life, from Little League to high school, a smidge in college, and up to last year in an adult league here in Portland, Oregon. There were breaks for the normal things in life, like marriage, having children, that cannibalism phase everyone seems to go through*, and work, but most of my life I’ve been on a baseball team. During most of that time I’ve never been able to hit.

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January 22, 2013 5:00 am

Out of Left Field: Why You Should Quit Caring About Salaries

32

Matthew Kory

At some point, owners complaining about high salaries may start to lose credibility. Matt says that point is now.

I’m o-l-d-e old so I can remember when players made a few million dollars a year. I’m talking good players. The best. It’s a pittance compared to what they make today. Dave Winfield once signed a 10-year, $23 million contract. A Hall of Fame outfielder signed for $2.3 million a year. Infuriating! Rage! No way he’s worth that! But I can’t remember a time when players’ salaries were not a public discussion point.

For roughly the last three decades, salaries have been published, debated, and outraged over. Information on player salaries is ubiquitous nowadays but, if you think about it, that’s pretty weird. Baseball players and professional athletes in general are some of the only non-municipal workers in the world whose salaries are public information. Most people’s salaries aren’t made public. Front office executives don’t have their salaries appear in the papers, except occasionally.*

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For the price of a stadium, Miami won't even get a punching bag.

“It is better to be thought an idiot than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.”

Those words appeared like a flashlight in the dark when I heard that Marlins President David Samson and Owner Jeffrey Loria decided to stop talking to the media. It’s not often such a perfect microcosm appears in this, the doldrums of the baseball year. Selfish owner refuses to allow tone-deaf team to speak to the media. That’s the microcosm version of a warm homemade apple pie. We’d be fools to waste it.

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January 9, 2013 5:00 am

Out of Left Field: Jumping the Gun on 2013 Predictions

12

Matthew Kory

Why wait around to find out what's going to happen -- or even to find out what people think is going to happen? Matt's ready now.

Great thing about the internet: lowered barriers to entry for writers everywhere. This is good for people like me and at least debatable for people like you. But there’s a far less important side effect to all of this. It makes being the first to an idea next to impossible.

An example: some time ago I thought up a piece about the Worst Baseball Game of the Year. Proud of myself, I emailed my editor, who kindly informed me that 1) it was a wonderful idea, and 2) he had written it himself. Last year. Whoops.

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There is more to a man than his statistics. For instance, there is the woman who isn't his wife but shares a name with his wife. And more!

Last week the Red Sox signed Koji Uehara. The deal was for a year and $4.25 million. It seemed like a bargain considering how good Uehara has been. I had the privilege of writing the Transaction Analysis that, uh, analyzed that transaction. Ahem.

If you’ve read my work here at Baseball Prospectus, you know straight analysis isn’t always my thing. But with this piece I thought, this is the official BP take on this signing, so I’d better keep the silly stuff to a minimum. So I did. After submitting the piece, I received a helpful email from my editor stating, in part, “[TA] is really an opportunity to go deep on one part of his game or one part of the team's need.” In essence TA isn’t solely a vehicle for straight analysis. A bit of creativity is welcome as well.

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December 4, 2012 5:00 am

Out of Left Field: Josh Hamilton and Talking

12

Matthew Kory

When you hear a team is talking to Josh Hamilton this month, what does it mean?

Josh Hamilton is one of the big storylines of the offseason. Where will he end up? Will he sign with [team x]? Maybe! Maybe not! Possibly maybe not! That’s about the best we can say on the matter. Maybe someone knows, possibly, but probably not.

I just used the words “maybe” and “possibly” a total of six times. That sums things up. We know why. Hamilton’s is one of the oddest free agent cases in recent memory. A supremely talented yet supremely flawed player, he’s old but not that old, appears excellent defensively but he’s possibly poor at defense. Then there’s the near unprecedented (for free agent baseball players) matter of his personal problems. It adds up to a player who could end up just about anywhere.

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November 27, 2012 5:00 am

Out of Left Field: The Least Valuable Player

25

Matthew Kory

Matthew goes looking for an award that won't be controversial.

Value is one of those things people love to argue about. “Yes!” say some. “No!” say others. “This isn’t really a yes or no kind of thing,” say others. (Different others.) In the end we agree to disagree to each other’s faces and say mean things about each other’s mothers behind each other’s back.

While the substance of the mother insults is likely less than fact-based in nature (except for what I said about that guy’s mom, the truth of which is only exceeded by its grossness), the MVP disagreements manifest mostly through statistics. The sticking point lies in which stats you choose to look at, because that informs how people think about, and vote on, the Most Valuable Player award. Pick the right stats (everything on BP’s stat pages minus RBI) and you end up with the right choice. Pick the wrong stats and you end up with not Mike Trout. The venerable BBWAA picked the wrong stats and thus the wrong player, the end result being that Trout, the consensus most valuable player, was not the consensus Most Valuable Player.

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November 20, 2012 5:00 am

Out of Left Field: Fish Out Of Contention

7

Matthew Kory

The Marlins follow up the salary-dump trade with a Juan Pierre signing. What each move tells us about the franchise.

Last season the Phillies found themselves choosing between Juan Pierre and Scott Podsednik for the last spot on the bench. For this I made fun of them. Picking between two old guys whose careers were pretty much over is like choosing between getting kicked in the junk or punched in the neck. Neither is desirable and in fact you’re better off without both. The Phillies, in their infinite wisdom, chose Pierre, and exiled Podsednik to Elba the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs Elba.

The funny part was that Podsednik did nothing in Triple-A and was essentially given to the Red Sox, where he suddenly remembered (learned?) how to hit. Pierre had been slated for the back of the Phillies bench, but due to injures, he ended up with over 400 plate appearances wherein he somehow managed the respectable batting line of .307/.351/.371. So much for making fun of them.

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If an expansion team with a Yankees budget wanted to build a team out of this year's free agents, what would it look like?

You can’t build a team around free agents, say the people who don’t think you can build a team around free agents. To them, the only way to build a team is through the draft, waiver claims and occasional trades. To paraphrase the great movie Waterboy (which is such a great movie that you can watch it for free on YouTube), “Free agents are the devil!” Well, maybe so if you’re living in the real world, but this is Baseball Prospectus where we can do anything we want provided it fits on a spreadsheet and won’t wake our parents upstairs.

Another thing some people like to say is that baseball teams aren’t just names on paper. They’re real people. Well, not here they aren’t, mister! Here players are one-dimensional entities devoid of emotion and everything else that won’t show up on our computer machines. In that spirit, I’m not only going to build a baseball team exclusively out of free agents, but I’m going to do it only on (virtual) paper. Eat that, straw men I just created!

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For reasons unclear, Matthew wants the Rangers' third baseman to be the AL MVP. Can he make a case?

I’ve wanted to write about Adrian Beltre for a long time, but with the Rangers' quick playoff exit there hasn’t been a good excuse. Then today, at the sports bar, standing at the urinal, I thought, "You know, Adrian Beltre should be the MVP." Because that’s what I think about in the bathroom, standing at the urinal: Adrian Beltre and the MVP race. And nothing else.

The MVP votes have already been cast so this is as effective as a political advertisement on November 7th, but hey, sometimes the candidates have money left over and what are you gonna do? Besides donate it to a homeless shelter or something all moral or whatever.

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October 29, 2012 5:27 am

Out of Left Field: Postseason Celebrations: A Celebration

7

Matthew Kory

Chronicling this October's post-series rejoicing.

When we think about series-winning celebrations, we usually think about the dogpile on the mound or, in the case of a walk-off, the tackle-the-guy-who-got-the-hit-and/or-scored-the-winning-run. Like the history of baseball itself, the history of post-game celebrations is one of evolution. As society has changed, celebrations have become livelier. For example, here is a picture of the winners of the first-ever World Series, the Boston Americans, after they defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1903.

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