On Aug. 4, 1962, the New York Yankees already had a 5 ½ game lead over the Minnesota Twins, and the Bronx Bombers would go on to win the AL pennant handily. In the National League, meanwhile, the Los Angeles Dodgers were enjoying a five-game lead over the rival San Francisco Giants, and no one could have imagined how the rest of the season would play out. We know now, of course, that the Giants and Dodgers would finish the season with identical 101-61 records, and San Francisco would defeat Los Angeles in a three-game playoff and go on to lose to the Yankees in a long and hard-fought championship series.
On Aug. 4, 1962, in Fairfield, Connecticut, about 45 miles northeast of the Bronx, my parents were married. In a couple of weeks they will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. To mark the occasion, they rented a house in Tuscany and invited their family and friends to join them. As I type this, I’m looking over an olive grove, surrounded by the people I love most in the world. The only thing that could possibly make this better would be some baseball.
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It is the culmination of decades of baseball culture and nerd culture racing toward each other at high speed.
Welcome to the Monster Manual MLB Expansion Pack! This book contains more than 100 new monsters from the Major League Baseball Multiverse. We’re confident these new creations will make your campaigns more realistic and more exciting than ever.
We may have seen the last of Livan Hernandez, who wasn't fancy but had a lot of value.
On Friday, June 15, the Braves released Livan Hernandez. Although Hernandez picked up a save in May—the first of his 17-year career—the Braves thought his roster spot could be better used by Kris Medlen. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez was quoted as saying, “There may be some other teams looking for a veteran guy, and I hope so. He still wants to pitch.”
While not impossible, it seems unlikely that a team will take a flyer on Livan at this stage. In the event that we’ve seen the last of Livan pitching in MLB, what follows is my eulogy for his big-league career. It wasn’t always pretty, but it was always entertaining.
On Saturday, June 9, both Ryan Vogelsong and Jeff Francis started games for the teams that drafted them. Their journeys and their destinations couldn’t have been more different.
Jeff Francis was the ninth-overall pick for the Rockies in 2002, sped through the low minors, and was a mainstay of the Colorado rotation by 2005. In 2007 he led his team to the World Series, starting all three Game Ones. A torn labrum sidelined him for all of 2009, and although he was moderately effective in 2010, the Rockies decided not to pick up his option. After a stint with the Royals in 2011, he began 2012 in the Reds minor league system.
Ryan Vogelsong was the fifth-round (158th overall) pick for the Giants in 1998. Prior to 2011, if you remembered Vogelsong at all, it was as one of the guys shipped to the Pirates for Jason Schmidt. Vogelsong sat out the whole 2002 season (the year Francis was drafted—symmetry!) recovering from Tommy John surgery, and pitched unremarkably for the Pirates after that, finally heading over to Japan to ply his trade in the Far East for three seasons. He pitched in the minors for the Phillies and the Angels in 2010, and made the Giants in April 2011 only because Barry Zito went down. All he’s done since then is pitch 250 innings with an ERA+ of 136, and make an All-Star Game appearance. No big deal.
Billy Hamilton doesn't always attempt to steal... Oh, wait. Actually, he does.
Billy Hamilton is a pretty lousy base-stealer. He doesn’t read pitchers particularly well, he gets bad jumps, and his slides go from smooth to awkward to downright disastrous. So it’s pretty amazing that he has 63 stolen bases through the first 57 games of the California League season.
He’s doing it on pure speed. There’s not much technique there. The man is just fast. Ridiculously, historically, ludicrously fast.
Baseball's Cousin Oliver, baseball's do-gooder cartoons, baseball's sadistic game show, and the most soap-opera name ever.
If you follow the entertainment industry, you’ve no doubt heard of upfronts—the annual meeting at which broadcasters preview their fall slate for advertisers. Upfronts are a lavish affair, held at grand venues in New York City. TV networks delivered their upfront pitches two weeks ago.
What you may not know is that Major League Baseball also holds upfronts for their prospective sponsors. This year’s event was on Friday, May 18 at the Office Suites of Bayonne in the Gateway Region of New Jersey. Baseball Prospectus’ entertainment correspondent, Ian Miller, attended this year’s event, and has these highlights of fall baseball programming. Part 1, the American League, appeared last week.
Baseball is televised entertainment, and the 2012 season follows many of television's most well-worn tropes.
If you follow the entertainment industry, then you’ve heard of upfronts—the annual meeting at which broadcasters preview their fall slate for advertisers. Upfronts are a lavish affair, held at grand venues in New York City. TV networks delivered their upfront pitches this past week.
What you may not know is that Major League Baseball also holds upfronts for their prospective sponsors. This year’s event was last Friday night at the Office Suites of Bayonne in the Gateway Region of New Jersey. Baseball Prospectus’ entertainment correspondent, Ian Miller, attended this year’s event, and has these highlights of fall baseball programming. Part 2, the National League, will appear next week.
We’re roughly 20 percent of the way through the 2012 baseball season, and I have to file a column for Wednesday. That means that it’s the perfect time to take a look at this year’s leading out-of-the-gate over- and underachievers!