The way baseball is played has changed, so it's time to change the way we treat beanballs.
In his postgame remarks Sunday, Matt Barnes swore up and down that he didn’t mean to throw at Manny Machado. That was a fairly transparent lie, and also a fairly blameless and understandable one. Admitting to intentionally throwing at any batter roughly doubles the suspension a pitcher can expect. Barnes was just saying what he needed to say, in order to lose as little of his paycheck as possible.
He did say one thing that seemed eminently sincere, though: that he didn’t mean to put the ball anywhere near Machado’s head. I have no trouble believing that. In fact, I actively accept it. Most players acknowledge the role of beanball wars and even (unfortunately) embrace that form of vigilantism. They believe their judicious, tactical firing of baseballs at one another keeps the scales of justice balanced and prevents all-out brawls of the kind we saw more often 30 years ago. However, nearly every player also acknowledges that hitting a player anywhere near the head is a dangerous and damnable error, whether intentional or not.
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A look at the mechanics of Catfish Hunter, Hoyt Wilhelm, Don Drysdale, Juan Marichal, and Bob Gibson.
Five pitchers were elected to the Hall of Fame by the BBWAA during the 1980s, a number that feels light when one considers the half-dozen arms that were elected in the first five years of the '90s. But the five-pack fairly represents the average induction rate for the four-decade period from 1970-2009. For all the talk about how the modern era is underrepresented in the Hall, it is worth noting that the BBWAA elected just 0.32 pitchers per year from 1936-69 (11 total arms) but has enshrined 0.58 pitchers per year since 1970 (26 total, including the 2014 inductions of Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine).
Francisco Liriano breaks the game of baseball, Ernesto Frieri learns to dance and Bob Gibson whoa whoa holy whoa.
Welcome to the Three Best Pitches Thrown This Week. There are many more than three pitches featured here. They also extend beyond this week, in one case to a time that predates many of your favorite things: The Wire, and all varieties of Skittles, and every dog currently alive. You might consider this a flaw, but we consider it bonus material, and no refunds will be given. Enjoy the Three Best Pitches Thrown This Week.
The inaugural edition of the Research Mailbag explores pitchers starting both games of a doubleheader, players with the same name, and Opening Day starting pitchers.
Welcome aboard, and thank you for joining me for the maiden voyage of the Baseball Prospectus Research Mailbag. This week’s mailbag features two reader questions as well as the answer to a topic Kevin Goldsteinpondered on Twitter a few days ago. Along the way, we’ll explore long, contrasting days had by Wilbur Wood and Don Newcombe, the baseball card collection I maintained as a child, and the worst starting pitchers deployed by defending World Series champions on Opening Day.
Feel free to send me a note with your research questions (please remember to include your name and hometown) for possible inclusion in future editions.
With the Fall Classic now upon us, the staff at Baseball Prospectus shares their most memorable World Series moments.
Every baseball fan has a special World Series memory, whether it's Willie Mays' catch, Bill Mazeroski's home run, Brooks Robinson's defense, Kirk Gibson's limp around the bases, or Derek Jeter becoming the first-ever Mr. November. With the World Series opening tonight at AT&T Park in San Francisco with the Giants facing the Texas Rangers, many of our writers, editors, and interns share their favorite memories of the Fall Classic.
Oakland has quality young pitching but sorely needs some power hitting, along with notes from around the major leagues.
The Athletics for the span of eight seasons from 1999-2006, defied the idea that a small-market team could not consistently contend. They won four American League West titles during that time and made the playoffs as the wild card on two other occasions. General manager Billy Beane's ability to build a team by finding economic inefficiencies in the player market became immortalized in Moneyball, Michael Lewis' seminal book.
The Indians' special adviser reflects on nearly six decades in professional baseball.
Few people have experienced as much in the game of baseball as Johnny Goryl. Now 77, the personable Cumberland, R.I., native signed his first professional contract nearly 60 years ago and has worn a uniform ever since. An infielder with the Cubs and Twins from 1957-64, he has spent the last five decades coaching and managing at both the minor- and major-league levels and is currently serving as a special advisor in player development for the Indians. Goryl sat down with Baseball Prospectus to talk about his long career, including time spent around Ernie Banks, Harmon Killebrew and Norm Cash, and why you didn't want to mess with Bob Gibson.
A famous rocker talks about one of his other great loves beyond music: baseball.
There are baseball fans, and then there is George Thorogood. An icon in the music world, Thorogood is not only a passionate Mets fan, he is also a walking-and-shouting baseball historian. A former second baseman with the semi-pro Delaware Destroyers, Thorogood has multiple gold records to go with his baseball pedigree, not to mention a reputation as one of the best live performers on the blues-and-rock circuit. About to hit the road for yet another tour, Thorogood shared his thoughts on performance-enhancing drugs, the brilliance of Sandy Koufax, and what it was like to talk baseball with the legendary John Lee Hooker.