Some thoughts on the pros and cons of instant replay.
Umpires are terrible, right?
Well, no, not really. But listen to fans in Boston or Tampa Bay or Anaheim or Minnesota or pretty much any other major league city and they'll tell you they are. Recent blown calls - some minor, some major - in those cities can't help but give the everyday fan that opinion. With 24-hour talk radio, high profile cable shows like Sportscenter, Baseball Tonight, MLB Tonight and others, official team blogs and websites, and a countless number of fan blogs all there to analyze any and every movement on the field, a blown call can reverberate like never before. Umpires can turn into household names - for all the wrong reasons - overnight. It's not an easy job.
Intone the enigmatic words of John Cale along with history's most irascible dead second baseman.
She makes me so unsure of myself…
Standing there, but never ever talking sense
On Sunday evening, my Twitter followers received a stream of dispatches from my parents’ house, where I had been commanded to appear along with my wife, children, sibling, and various other family members. I always enjoy seeing my parents—in my early 20s, my father and mother stopped being conflict partners in my struggle to achieve adulthood and independence and became nice older people I happened to know—but when it comes to larger family gatherings, I often find reasons to demur. However, on this occasion I could not escape, as my father had spent the past 30 days in the hospital, and he had made this a command performance. He nearly died a couple of times over the last month, so he gets his way about things. It says that on the card they gave him when he was released.
I’m not sure precisely when I started ducking certain family events; I’d say it has been roughly ten years. At some point in what is now the distant past, I began to associate such occasions with feeling trapped. Family gatherings are always a strange alchemy of being praised and belittled by people who, at least in my case, really don’t know me that well and probably aren’t prepared for me to be 100-percent honest with them about how I feel about, well, anything, because I’m still nine years old in their eyes. As such, confronted with an assemblage of loving but judgmental faces, I clam up, seek the solitude of an empty room as soon as I can slip out unnoticed, and write in my pocket notebook or, as I did on Sunday, tweet desperately until the battery on my phone gives up the ghost. Both are fine and worthy refuges, because when one feels in danger of being invalidated, one takes shelter in that pursuit which makes them feel most worthy, which in my case is writing. For many others, their best refuge is in drinking and physical violence, which is why psychologists always have to be on call on major holidays.
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.
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Now that we have a more thorough understanding of the rulebook, we learn more about umpire evaluation, schedules, and post-season umpire selection.
Umpires are a big part of baseball, but outside of someone to shout expletives at, most fans have little idea of who they are and just what goes into their jobs. Mike Teevan, of the MLB Public Relations Department, clarified some of those mysteries, answering 13 questions about the often maligned—but essential—men in blue.
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The Duke of Flatbush departs the stage, but not without leaving his mark on the game, a city, and an era.
On Sunday, the baseball world learned of the passing of Duke Snider, who made his name for the Brooklyn Dodgers at a time when New York was the center of the baseball world, with its three teams each boasting a future Hall of Fame center fielder. "Snider, Mantle, and Mays," wrote the great Red Smith. "You could get a fat lip in any saloon by starting an argument as to which was best.”
Some big-league themes deserve big-screen treatment.
So, last night was Oscar time, and no doubt many of you watched intently. Maybe it's because we're in the opening weeks of spring training, and maybe it's because we've come up short on the great baseball movie front for several years now, but my mind immediately turned to the films we'd like to see, not the ones that are getting made.
We already know that the concept of doing a movie about Mike Kekich, Fritz Peterson, and baseball's most infamous challenge trade is a concept already associated with names like Affleck and Damon—not Johnny—in an attempt to try and beat the story into shape. Somehow, I expect there won't be a lot of baseball in what's supposed to be a baseball movie—not least because Kekich's career didn't have a lot longer to go by the time the two men swapped wives and lives. To my way of thinking, that's exactly what I don't want from a sports movie—a film short on actual sports, because without that, why shoot it?
Charlie Manuel and his squad hope that Cliff Lee plus fewer injuries will make for a record-breaking season, plus notes.
CLEARWATER, Florida—Mike Schmidt thinks this year's Phillies team is the most talented in the franchise's 129-year existence. Shortstop Jimmy Rollins believes the Phillies are a lock to win 100 games and even suggests they should shoot for the major league record of 116 victories set by the 1906 Cubs and matched by the 2001 Mariners.
The creative mind of the "The Tenth Inning" discusses baseball history and his upcoming PBS documentary that adds to his landmark "Baseball" series.
“The Tenth Inning,” a two-part, four-hour documentary by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, airs on Tuesday, September 28 and Wednesday, September 29 on PBS. Burns’ new film is a sequel to his nine-part epic series, “Baseball,” which aired during the players’ strike in 1994.
If you’ll indulge me for a moment, let’s take a step back and talk a bit about sabermetrics – not baseball, but sabermetrics… baseball analysis in general, I suppose. You won’t need to do any math for this, either.
This is a thought I’ve been wanting to express for a while, but the occasion was a conversation between the always insightful Patriot (of the site Walk Like A Sabermetrician) and myself on Twitter, about Dale Murphy and the Hall of Fame. Now you may be asking yourself, what does Dale Murphy have to do with the Hall of Fame? Well, one man is campaigning vigorously for his admission, and managed to get an article about it published in SABR’s “The National Pastime” journal.
A Twins prospect discusses rules and regs, off-season jobs, and more.
Six years after signing with the Twins, Kyle Waldrop has become well acquainted with minor-league baseball’s ups and downs, as well as its day-to-days and dos and don‘ts. A 24-year-old right-hander who was taken 25th overall in the 2004 draft, Waldrop is pitching out of the bullpen for the Triple-A Rochester Red Wings, where he has a 2.48 ERA in 51 appearances.
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: