More than 14,000 scouting reports available through online companion to Museum display
A special group of people near and dear to my heart will finally get recognition this year as the Baseball Hall of Fame opens up its Diamond Mines exhibit honoring professional and amateur scouts. Thanks to the work of my esteemed SABR colleagues Rod Nelson, the late Jim Sandoval, Ted Turocy and Sean Lahman, data linking more than 11,000 players with the names of their signing or recommending scout will now be available to the general public. I've seen the work first-hand, and it's truly some amazing stuff. Below is the full press release of today's announcement.
Baseball is missing from the Olympics this summer, but the sport has a longer, richer history at the Olympic Games than you remember.
In case you haven’t noticed, there is a sporting event being held besides baseball’s dog days of August (hint: it’s happening in London). For a brief time, baseball was a part of it. I can understand if you didn’t pay attention to it, though, since only lesser players were involved in Olympic baseball while it was part of the program.
If you agreed with that last sentence, I kindly suggest that you reconsider your position.
The rest of this article is restricted to Baseball Prospectus Subscribers.
Not a subscriber?
Click here for more information on Baseball Prospectus subscriptions or use the buttons to the right to subscribe and get access to the best baseball content on the web.
Our first look inside the new Collective Bargaining Agreement.
This is Part 1 of a multi-part series on the latest Collective Bargaining Agreement
On November 22 of last year, Major League Baseball and the MLBPA did something that the NFL and the NBA could not: reached a new labor agreement without a work stoppage. For those that follow baseball’s labor history, it has become a miraculous run. By the time the current five-year Basic Agreement (read here) expires on December 1, 2016, it will have been 21 years of uninterrupted labor peace.
A look at some of the best (or simply most enjoyable) baseball movies ever made
1) Field of Dreams
To be perfectly honest—and when discussing a movie sewn through with themes of simplicity and the supposed erosion of classic American values, honesty should be required—not only isn’t Field of Dreams my favorite baseball movie, it’s not even my favorite Kevin Costner baseball movie. That, of course, would be Bull Durham, and as both films arrived in theaters when I was in my twenties, Bull Durham’s irreverent comedy was far more likely to strike a nerve than the overwrought sentimentality of Field of Dreams. Enjoying Field of Dreams at that point in my life would have been akin to copping to a fondness for Steel Magnolias. Sure, I made the two hour pilgrimage to the Field of Dreams film location at Dyersville—after all, there’s not much else to break up the drive from Madison to Iowa City—but when I ran the bases and smacked a few batting practice lobs into the left field corn, I did so with a practiced smirk. I rolled my eyes when I overheard comments about how “peaceful” and “pure” the experience was, chuckling at the ongoing squabbles over commercialization between the two families that then owned portions of the site. I enjoyed myself, reveling in my ironic detachment… until my girlfriend asked me if I wanted to play catch, shattering all my pretension and reminding me that I hadn’t been immune to the film’s melodramatic charms after all.
You see, Field of Dreams may be a Capra movie without Capra, burdened with Costner’s sub-replacement-level Jimmy Stewart, but you can’t deny the power of its Capital M Moment. After ninety minutes of fully ripe Iowa cornball, it’s hard to believe that the appearance of Ray Kinsella’s father and their game of catch could pack such an emotional wallop. It seems completely unearned, but when I saw it in the theater, I teared up—one of only five times a film has done that to me. This was despite (or perhaps because of) the fact that I had a very happy, baseball-filled childhood and didn’t suffer from Paternal Catch Deficiency. What’s more, I’ve had at least a dozen friends or acquaintances tell me they had the same experience of not particularly enjoying the film but welling up during the game of catch. I can’t explain it, and in many ways it’s completely counterintuitive, but it’s true. It happened, and even now I get a little misty just writing about it. Whatever your opinion about Field of Dreams as a whole, it’s hard to deny its ability to get under your skin, and while that doesn’t make it the best baseball movie of all time, it certainly makes it one of the most memorable. —Ken Funck
A look around Wikipedia's various foreign language entries on "baseball".
One of the more underrated aspects of Wikipedia - once described by someone smarter than me as a "quantum encyclopedia, where genuine data both exists and doesn’t exist depending on the precise moment" it's checked - is it's utility as a translation service, for both standard words and cultural terms.
For example, if I want to know what the Spanish word for "brown" is (I never believed my high school Spanish teachers when they told us it was color café), I can just go to the English page for "brown" and then click Español on the left to find out that the word is marrón. And where else could I learn that the German name for "Where's Waldo?" is "Wo ist Walter?" and that the Danish "Find Holger"? It's a simple idea and it tends to work quite well.
A fictionalized take on one scout's day of despair and grasp at redemption.
This cup of coffee was brewed in the early 1970s. It’s my third cup and I can taste the era of its inception on my tongue; it’s vocal and disillusioned, with a bitter aftertaste from the marijuana, cigarettes, and traces of powder in its finish. Since cup number two, I’ve been staring at the peeling soft peach wallpaper that casually blankets my surroundings, pondering the psychological meanings in the selection of the color. The paper itself looks like it smells, like potpourri and human age, not the calming and delicious peaches that the hue suggests. This room is trying to manipulate me. I’d lick the walls (again) to prove my point, but the rogue counter girl is already suspicious of my presence and I doubt I have a long leash at this hour. I’m somewhat over-caffeinated and teetering on a manic episode thanks to the complimentary swill available in the lobby after the standard activities of the lobby have longed ceased. I’ve been up since 8AM for the seventh day in a row. I have to finish this report. The date is June 2005, just days before the 2005 Rule Four Amateur baseball draft. I am more of a number than a name. I work in the scouting department for a major league team. I’ve been tasked with revisionist busy work. I’ve been tasked with my own evaluation, my own execution.
(Notes) Draft Recommendations from 2001-2004 by XxXxXxX
2001: Draft Notes: Crosschecked talent; highest possible tier; must haves; five players with assorted thoughts. Please let me back in.
Its players are a long way away from the majors, but that hasn't stopped an upstart league on the fringes of organized baseball from recruiting a new generation of boys of summer.
Believe it or not, most of our writers didn't enter the world sporting an @baseballprospectus.com address; with a few exceptions, they started out somewhere else. In an effort to up your reading pleasure while tipping our caps to some of the most illuminating work being done elsewhere on the internet, we'll be yielding the stage once a week to the best and brightest baseball writers, researchers and thinkers from outside of the BP umbrella. If you'd like to nominate a guest contributor (including yourself), please drop us a line.
The Blue Jays' GM discusses his organizational philosophy, his love of scouting and how it plays a role in his work, and competing in the AL East.
He’s too humble to admit it, but Alex Anthopoulos has done an outstanding job since replacing J.P. Ricciardi as the general manager of the Toronto Blue Jays in October 2009. He has orchestrated high-impact trades, most notably deals involving Roy Halladay and Vernon Wells, as well as prudent, if not as newsworthy, free-agent signings. Just as importantly, he has been placing a huge emphasis on scouting and player development, which should come as no surprise given his background as a scouting coordinator. A 33-year-old native of Montreal, Anthopoulos has an economics degree from McMaster University.
A graphical look at player moves shows that transactions season never really ends.
In baseball, transactions can be many things. Some border on the banal. Others are more momentous: a fading star declares retirement, a blockbuster trade becomes official, a high-priced free agent or draft pick signs with his new team. When one of the latter deals goes down, baseball writers spring into action, devoting ink and pixels alike to analyses of its principal players and ramifications. In a very real sense, transactions make the baseball world go ’round, ebbing and flowing like a circulatory system of athletic talent.
Rather than focus on any one signing or swap, let’s pull back our perspective and take a look at the sum of the sport’s transactions. Retrosheet, the baseball analysis gift that never stops giving, publishes an annually updated downloadable database of player movements from 1873 onwards, broken down by transaction type. With a little coaxing in Excel, we can use this data to construct a visual record of each and every move made over the course of a season. I may be stretching a metaphor that wasn’t the strongest to begin with, but if transactions are baseball’s circulatory system, this is its EKG: