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Out of Left Field 

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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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October 16, 2012 5:00 am

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

30

Matthew Kory

What would it look like if the Yankees actually consider moving Alex Rodriguez this winter?

Before Derek Jeter fractured his ankle on Saturday, talk of the Yankees centered on Alex Rodriguez. Rodriguez is in a horrible slump and, unless he has a spectacular turnaround this month, baseball writers, fans and unnamed sources will spend the winter speculating about whether the Yankees will trade him. That, however, would be incredible. You see, the Yankees owe Rodriguez $126 million over the next five years*. Also, he has a no-trade clause. So, like swallowing a whole bunch of diamonds, trading A-Rod would be difficult, painful, and insanely expensive.

*This includes two reasonably reachable $6 million bonuses for home runs no. 660 and no. 714. It does not include three other $6 million bonuses for home runs no. 755, 762 and 763.

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Terry Francona and the Cleveland Indians

Through painstaking research, I have determined that most managers get fired for one or more of the following reasons:

1. Losing

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If Roger Clemens isn't ruling anything out, then Matthew isn't ruling anything out.

Last season I played adult league baseball. I played decently well, got some hits, played a solid second base and pitched acceptably on occasion, but when I think back on the experience I’m struck by one thing: the pain. Playing two games a weekend meant spending the rest of the week in some level of discomfort. Whether it was throwing 20 pitches out of the bullpen and not being able to raise my arm above my shoulder for several days, or the general soreness that comes from throwing one’s body to the ground as a baseball rolls past, or the many welts from taking a fastball to the kidney, fielding a ground ball with your nipples (don’t try this at home, kids), or getting run over at second base, baseball is a painful endeavor. We -- well I -- don’t tend to think of it that way. Most of the time the players are standing around, or jogging from one spot to the next. But if my ridiculously minimal experience is any indicator, pain is a constant part of playing professional baseball.

That’s one reason why I want to see Roger Clemens pitch next season. In case you missed it, Clemens told the Houston Chronicle he wasn’t ruling out pitching in the majors next season. Which, for a normal person, is like saying, I’m not ruling out going to the moon in the next nine minutes. Sure, you’re not ruling it out, but it’s not going to happen either.

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Answering that question is not quite so simple as you'd think.

The last time I was at a Spring Training game, I tossed down a couple bucks for charity, threw dignity to the winds, and stepped into the radar gun tent.  I used the first two pitches to ramp it up before letting fly for reals on the third: 72 mph. I carried my beer left-handed for the rest of the day.

I bring that up because you should understand who is writing this, but mostly because speed is sexy. We all love to watch a 100 mph pitch because it’s amazing but also because it’s rare. Most major league pitchers, let alone internet writers, can’t throw that fast no matter how many times we embarrass ourselves in front of small children throws we make. When at a game, we count the number of pitches that break 100. For example, take a look at this Aroldis Chapman fastball:

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September 11, 2012 5:00 am

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

17

Matthew Kory

Matt watched a game that nobody should watch.

“The thing I love most about baseball is that on any given play, in any given game, you can see something amazing you’ve never seen before.”

– Anonymous

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August 27, 2012 10:29 am

Out of Left Field: Boston Translation

25

Matthew Kory

Matt goes beyond the obvious and processes the Mega-Trade from Boston's perspective.

As you’re certainly aware, the Red Sox and Dodgers pulled off the super-crazy extreme mega-trade of this or any other century last Friday night. BP’s own R.J. Anderson and Kevin Goldstein already delved into the specifics of the deal, but if I may be permitted, I’d like to share some further thoughts.

The Name
It’s being called the Mega-Trade, and hooray for that because what we need now is to put names on specific trades that make them sound like Transformer knock-offs. The Dodgers next deal will be dubbed the Decepti-Deal and it will turn from a reasonable trade into a franchise stomping dino-car.


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August 20, 2012 10:25 am

Out of Left Field: Bobby Valentine's Communications Problem

11

Matthew Kory

Well, sure, these conversations explain everything.

It’s no secret that there have been some problems with the Red Sox recently. Or, if it is a secret, whoops. Sorry. Cat’s out of the bag. So now you know if you didn’t already. There are issues in Red Sox land. Some have regarded those issues as holdovers from last season when things turned bad like cheese left out during a month long vacay to Maui. To others, the peculiar peccadilloes of this particular… uh, season, can be traced back to once single source: manager Bobby Valentine.

Valentine took over the team from Terry Francona, who was adept at handing the personal interaction side of managing in Boston. He was good with the players, he was good with the press. But those strengths belied a laissez faire attitude that permeated the Red Sox clubhouse, an attitude that some say led to the team’s downfall last September. That and also some incredibly awful baseball.

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August 13, 2012 9:46 am

Out of Left Field: The Choices of Riggleman

9

Matthew Kory

Just over a year ago, Jim Riggleman was managing a team on the cusp of greatness. Revisiting his and others' bad decisions.

About 25 years ago a friend’s dad met a man with a business idea. The man was looking for investors. My friend’s dad was interested so the man explained his idea. They went over the whole business plan, finances, everything in detail. At the end the man asked what my friend’s dad thought. My friend’s dad was quiet for a while then said, “I just can’t imagine a world where people go to a store just to buy a cup of coffee.” My friend’s dad didn’t invest with the man, but Starbucks ended up doing just fine anyway.

I love that example because the coffee shop is so ubiquitous now. Just about every town has one and just about every city has one per block. This meeting boiled down to this: could you imagine it? If so you’re a millionaire.

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You love reading about baseball players pushing the boundaries of baseball play, which is what Aaron Cook is doing right now.

If you go to the stats page on MLB.com and look up individual pitcher stats, you will find 101 different pitchers. If you sort by K/9 the last pitcher on the list is Derek Lowe. Lowe struck out just over three hitters per nine innings pitched. Possibly not coincidentally, Cleveland cut Lowe two days ago.

There are few absolutes in baseball, but one we know for certain is this: strikeouts are very good for pitchers. Fooling hitters, missing bats, whatever you want to call it, that’s one of the foundations of a successful pitcher. Conversely, a pitcher who doesn’t generate strikeouts is at the mercy of the baseball gods and, less nebulously, his fielders. The upshot of this is things can get ugly without strikeouts.

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August 2, 2012 9:50 am

Out of Left Field: Tween Town

2

Matthew Kory

Before we can talk about what the Red Sox can do, we must figure out what the Red Sox are.

By July 31st,  teams usually have a good sense of how their season is going. Some are doing well. Some aren’t. In either case that certainty, unwelcome as it may be in the latter case, makes decisions easier. First place teams are “buyers,” last place teams are sellers. As a GM you know that it’s time to bolster the major-league roster, or conversely, that it’s just not happening this year. Time to sell off some pieces and live to fight another year. Things are easy when it’s that simple.

It gets stickier when teams are in between those extremes. This is a land where cogent arguments for both buying and selling exist. You could even argue coherently for doing nothing and not be burned at the stake. Mostly though, it’s a dangerous land, one where the wrong decisions can haunt a franchise for years.

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Three high-profile relievers became three high-profile starters this year, and each might tell us something dramatically different about pitcher roles.

A quick note: This article is about relievers and not (entirely) my high school sociology teacher, Mr. Span. I thought you’d want to know that.

 * * *

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July 16, 2012 5:00 am

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

32

Matthew Kory

The All-Star Game will never be taken seriously because of a flaw in its design, but it's time to stop trying to fix it.

Every year around this time, we get deluged with people arguing that 1) The All-Star Game has all sorts of problems and needs to be fixed and, hoo boy, I happen to have the prescription to fix everything right here, or 2) The All-Star Game is awful/past its prime/straight up smelly and should be junked. 

I’m not here to argue any of that. Instead I’m here to say this: It’s time to stop trying to fix the All-Star Game. Not because a better All-Star Game isn’t desirable, but because it isn’t achievable.

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