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July 23, 2012 5:00 am

Pebble Hunting: 30 Teams, 30 Home Run Calls


Sam Miller

Every team has a different TV announcer, and every TV announcer calls home runs differently. This is an attempt to classify all of those calls.

Every so often you’ll hear some stupid fact about genetic similarities between humans and, like, pigs. Did you know that humans and pigs share 90 percent of DNA, according to unreliable sources on the Internet? See, you just heard a stupid fact about genetic similarities between humans and pigs. It happens every so often, if you hang around me.

Broadcasters are like that. They all share most of the same DNA. They say mostly the same words, and they say them with mostly the same inflection, and they know mostly the same things. It’s those few percent that differ that separate them, and those few percent that differ make a very big difference.

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December 2, 2011 9:00 am

The Great Debaters: Ike Davis vs. James Loney


Derek Carty and Jason Collette

Which first baseman makes the better fantasy option for the 2012 season?

In Favor of James Loney by Jason Collette
Ike Davis versus James Loney. This should be an easy decision on catchphrases alone. “I Like Ike” versus... umm... “I’m Looney for Loney”? One plays in a park being reconfigured for hitters after being a hindrance to power hitters the past few years while the other plays in a division with impossible pitching and a home ballpark that has never been terribly kind to power hitters. Career-wise, Davis owns a .271/.357/.460 slash line in his first 750 plate appearances while Loney is at .288/.346/.432 over 3018 plate appearances. Davis hit 19 home runs in the old Citi Field configuration in his full season of play in 2010, while Loney has never hit more than 15 home runs in any season for the Dodgers. The decision is easy: give me Loney.

This is not a knock on Davis, however, as there is little not to like about him. He turns 25 just before the season starts and has showed above-average power in his major league career thus far, which he pairs with a great aptitude for taking walks. My qualm with him is he has struck out in 23 percent of his plate appearances and swings and misses above the league average. Given that he is never going to help in stolen bases, the contact issues limit his batting average upside as it did in 2010 when he hit .264 over the course of a full season. Last season’s .302 average was a bonus, but it also came in just 129 plate appearances along with a BABIP that's 23 points above where it was in a full 2010 season.

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The North American League has been quite interesting this summer, thanks to teams led by Jose Canseco and Kevin Costner.

The 2011 independent league baseball season began with two very interesting names in key positions. Down in Arizona, former big leaguer Jose Canseco was named as player/manager of the Yuma Scorpions, a member team of the North American League. Jose's brother, Ozzie, was also named as the team's hitting coach. Meanwhile, in Zion, Illinois, another North American League team, the Lake County Fielders, began their second year in existence under the (partial) ownership of Field of Dreams star Kevin Costner. Things haven't exactly gone smoothly for these two teams this year, though it may surprise you to learn which team has had the roughest patches.

When Canseco was announced as Yuma's player/manager in April, the baseball world's curiosity was piqued. Many seemed to expect Canseco to become some sort of sideshow, taking his antics to independent ballparks all over the country. In fact, that has been very far from the truth - the Scorpions have been almost entirely uncontroversial this year. The closest they have been to controversy happened this month, when Canseco's ex-Oakland teammate, 52-year-old Tony Phillips (who Canseco signed to the team in July), helped instigate a brawl against the Chico Outlaws in northern California. The Scorpions ended up forfeiting the game when Canseco removed his players from the field and refused to come back out for fear of their safety.

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October 18, 2009 12:31 pm

On the Beat: Digging a Hole


John Perrotto

The Angels lose a squeaker, Jack Frost's getting into the game, plus news from around the majors.

The Angels find themselves in a large hole in the American League Championship Series following their 13-inning loss to the Yankees earlier this morning at Yankee Stadium. As a result, the Angels are down 2-0 in their best-of-seven series to a Yankees team that had the best record in the major leagues during the regular season. Though the series shifts to Anaheim on Monday, the odds seem stacked against the Angels.

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March 31, 2003 12:00 am

Under The Knife: Opening Night


Will Carroll

It's Opening Night. It doesn't have the same ring or even the same importance as "Opening Day," but it's still nice to see games that count. It's fun to see the season open with something like a Doug Glanville full-count walk or a couple sac bunts in the first inning. Oy, baseball is a long season, but this we don't need. At least Alex Rodriguez went deep. Even better, the game looks great on the big screen and I'm ready--beer, chips and salsa, and coffee--for the 12-hour orgy of baseball that will be my Monday.

I don't often plug much of anything MLB does, but MLB.com's Gameday Live is probably the best net feed of games. Sure, the MLB.TV thing is interesting, but most of the time I'd rather watch it on the big screen. They've added in park dimensions, added some subtle improvements, and it's working with my browser, so I'm a happy guy. Now, if they (or anyone else) would add in velocity data, I'd be about as happy as the day that Starbucks opened in Indy, or the day Stuart Scott realizes I watch SportsCenter for the information and not for his feeble attempts at comedy catchphrases.

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