A look at the first month surprises in the postseason odds report, as well as the teams that nearly joined the Dodgers and Giants in relocating 50 years ago.
When looking at BP's Postseason Odds report, it is important to remember that it is not written in stone. Just last year, several teams undid sure things going in either direction. Take this year's surest thing, the Arizona Diamondbacks, for instance. At one point well into the 2007 season, they were showing an 11 percent chance of making the playoffs. They destroyed those odds, as you'll recall. This year, they're running at a percentage that is nearly reciprocal to that. Here are the four clubs that are currently showing a better than 50 percent chance of getting into the Final Eight:
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Two games last night featured more than one seventh inning stretch. How long has such a tradition been going on?
A friend of mine, who now owes me $500 for not mentioning his name in this context because he is a respectable member of society these days, went through a period of accelerated alcohol intake a number of years ago. For him, any event was a reason to party. He and some buddies went to Shea Stadium and ended up spending the entire game in the Diamond Club, soaking up cocktails. When the ninth inning ended in a tie, allowing them to keep the booze bag strapped on, he coined the immortal phrase, "Extra innings means extra drinks." I'm pretty sure it hasn't made it to Bartlett's Familiar Quotations or even Paul Dickson's Baseball's Greatest Quotations, but it should have. It's probably best for society that it hasn't, though.
It's two weeks into the season, so let's crown some All Stars!
Are you the sort that asks a woman to marry him on the first date? Do you buy the first car you look at on the sales lot? Have you ever stood up in a movie theater after the opening credits of a movie and yelled, "We are witnessing the greatest film ever made!...?" If so, then the Knee-Jerk All Stars are for you.
Think you can predict MLVr? Step up to claim your official ballot and select your 20 players.
Remember this adage: a person who is in the midst of a contest always has a reason to live. So, regardless of what the state of the economy does to your fragile psyche in the coming six months, if you enter the 2008 Prospectus Matchups Contest, you will have the impulse to carry on. For one thing, there will be a grand prize for the winner--a Baseball Prospectus polo shirt. For another, there is the pure thrill of competition, to know that you are matching wits with the smartest baseball fans in the world.
Onward, ever onward with the pursuit of random knowledge!
Doesn't "Stocks, Cactus, Grapefruit & Jones" sound like the name of a band that released one semi-well-received album in 1968 and then faded into the vast desert of obscurity? It's not, though; it's just a roundup of the various topics I'll be covering today.
The best at every position of those that switched squads prior to this season.
Americans are a transient lot. On average, we move 13 times in a lifetime (note: number exaggerated to enhance premise). Our ballplayers are no different; they are often found switching teams. Because of this, it became necessary for me to create the Transient All-Star Team back in 2005. In order to be eligible for this esteemed body, a player must simply be with a different franchise in 2008 than he was at the conclusion of the 2007 season. In the past, I named a player at each position for each league. This year, I'm doing something a little different: presenting the best candidates at each position, discussing their qualifications, and naming just one player overall. As we shall see, the word "best" is relative at some of the positions, while at others, the field is so crowded it is quite difficult to pick a top contender.
A tradition rolls into its third season, as Jim peeks at the projected VORP leaders among players without big-league experience.
Each year around this time, we take a look at the young players with no major league experience who have the highest PECOTA on a position-by-position basis. Some of these players are ready enough to pop, while others are still a few years away. Others still are non-prospects who just happen to be the most big-league friendly at their position, but who may never even see the majors owing to age and other factors. We're also going to look at how the players discussed in 2006 and 2007 fared. To be eligible for inclusion here, a player must have no major league experience, although I reserve the right to waive that restriction if a particular position runs thin. Even with that, it can be no more than a handful of plate appearances or batters faced.
Tampa Bay's huge collection of impact talent, in both the minors and the majors, will soon lead to the razing of the club's individual VORP records at each position.
The Atlanta Braves in 1990…the Kansas City A's in 1967…the New York Mets in 1968…these were all teams on the verge of breaking out. Was it known at the time? Were people cognizant that these teams were about to put aside their former losing ways and ascend to a new level? To some extent, yes, it was apparent that pieces were falling into place before the great leap forward came.
Can we now, on the brink of this new season, put the 2007 Tampa Bay DevilRays on that list? Was 2007 the last bit of calm before the Rays storm that is bound to come, or will it be 2008?