Today's Three 'Rs' are Replay, Rangers, and Rocktober, plus skipper shuffling and rumors from around the game.
Phil Cuzzi barely had enough time to mistakenly signal a foul ball when advocates of expanded instant replay started howling for change. Major League Baseball begrudgingly became the last major North American professional sports league to implement the use of television replays to help aid in umpiring calls in August, 2008. Replay reviews are used on boundary calls concerning home runs, and Commissioner Bud Selig had to have his arm twisted almost off to agree to that.
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Apparently not destiny, meaning we get another post-season with quality time in their dome home.
Sometimes, being both a fan and an analyst creates a conflict. For me, that has usually centered around my desire to be a credible writer and my lifelong love affair with the New York Yankees. This played out on these pages all through last year, the final season of the old Yankee Stadium, in moments such as the All-Star Game, where I wanted badly to cheer Mariano Rivera but couldn't because I was in the role of professional in that moment.
An initial look at the extent of the home-field advantage in terms of its incidence on in-game results.
In every sport and at every level, the home team wins more games than the visiting team. While this is true in baseball, it's less the case than in other sports. Throughout baseball history, the home team has won approximately 54 percent of the games played. Nearly every aspect of the game has changed drastically over the last century, but home-field advantage has barely changed at all. Consider the home-field advantage in each decade since 1901:
Providing a helping hand to your nationally broadcast ballgame.
Several weeks ago, as part of the Prospectus Idol competition, I penned an Unfiltered post regarding the use of statistics in baseball telecasts. In that missive, I noted that while technological advances have made the experience of watching a baseball game on television more visually satisfying than ever-in some ways better than attending the game in person-innovation in the use and display of meaningful statistics during a broadcast has lagged well behind. Not only does this make the broadcast less interesting than it could be to the more enlightened baseball fan, it misses the opportunity to introduce even a few simple sabermetric principles to a wider baseball audience-which in turn creates more devoted fans, higher ratings, and increased revenue.
Baseball games in late June should almost never be considered pivotal - especially interleague baseball games. Yet to the ever-anxious fans of Chicago's north side baseball team, circumstances conspired to make Thursday's match-up between their star-crossed Cubs and the streaking Detroit Tigers take on an air of unusual importance.
The Rays seek to rebound, the Rangers are already up, and the Orioles launch the Wieters Era this coming weekend.
Joe Maddon used a football analogy to describe the play of his Rays up to this point in the season. "It's like you play the worst first half of football possible in the Super Bowl, but still only trail by a touchdown at halftime," last season's American League Manager of the Year said. Maddon was referring to his beloved Arizona Cardinals and their performance against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Super Bowl in February.
The Reds squint at the horizon, newfound patience in San Francisco, Tampa Bays' Bartman, and the umps get busy.
There's something that has stuck with Dusty Baker since his playing days with the Dodgers from the mid-1970s to early-1980s, when Al Campanis was their general manager. "Al used to always say that you don't make any judgments about teams or players until you've gone around the league one time in a season," said Baker, now the manager of the Reds.
Don't stop believing in the AL Central, the Orioles' annual late-season wing-clipping, and instant replay on the job.
White Sox skipper Ozzie Guillen was chatting with a group of reporters this past week, when the talk turned to analyzing the remaining schedules of the two contenders in the American League Central. Some felt that the Sox had the easier path to winning their first division title since 2005, a season in which they also won their first World Series since 1917. Others believed that the Twins had the clearer path to a second AL Central crown in three years.
Enter instant replay, bad blood between the Mets and Phillies (and Brewers and Cards), plus news and notes from around the game.
Instant replay is here, although it's yet to be used after the first three days of being available to help umpires on home-run calls. While video may have killed the radio star, it is not expected to kill off the men in blue. Commissioner Bud Selig has made it clear that replay will not extend beyond boundary calls on homers, but even in its limited form, replay is stirring debate around the major leagues. Everyone has an opinion; people either love it or hate it, with seemingly no one standing on middle ground.
Some veterans who may get moved this month, umpires dodging lightning bolts, disgruntled Venezuelans, and more developments on the diamond.
While most of the heavy-duty trading is over now that the deadline to make deals without securing waivers passed on July 31, there are still potential swaps to be made. A couple of relievers cleared waivers and changed teams this past week; the Rays acquired right-hander Chad Bradford from the Orioles, and the Phillies picked up left-hander Scott Eyre from the Cubs. The Red Sox had a deal in place to add to their already impressive arsenal by trading for Padres outfielder Brian Giles, but the San Diego native invoked his no-trade clause, preferring to remain in his hometown with the last-place Padres rather than join the contending Red Sox.