Breaking down the 2013 interleague schedule for all 30 teams. What teams are forced to deviate from their regular roster/lineup construction for the longest stretch of the year?
With the Astros finally moved into the American League, we have a very different interleague schedule this year. Not only does it mean that there is now at least one interleague series happening each day of the season, from April to October, it also means that the "rivalry weekends" that were the highlights of the interleague schedule fifteen years ago have been re-shaped. Additionally, the newly balanced divisions mean that, outside of the rivalry games, all teams in a given division can play the exact same teams as their divisional opponents. No longer do the schedule makers have to worry about a six-team division matching up with a four-team division.
So how did the schedule makers do? Did the schedule turn out as balanced as can be? Were they able to ensure that teams from any one division would have the same opponents as their division-mates? Were all clubs given the same number of interleague matches or did some lucky squad or two end up a series short? One thing to remember here is that, with interleague games happening all year long instead of on two or three specific weekends, clubs are now on unequal footing when it comes to setting their rosters for the change in league rules. If one team, for example, only ever has to worry about forcing their pitchers to hit one weekend a month, they are probably in a better situation than the club forced to suddenly remove their all-star DH for nine straight games. National League clubs playing in American League ballparks will have similar problems in trying to add a DH for extended periods of time.
Looking at the controversial Hall of Fame candidate through contemporary accounts from his early career.
With the Hall of Fame announcement scheduled for this week, now is a good time to look back at the early careers of some of this year's most talked-about nominees.(And with the early exit polls looking as they do, it might be nice to remember just how great some of these players were.)
Jack Morris, longtime anchor of the Detroit Tigers pitching staff, winningest pitcher of the 1980s, and author of one of the most memorable World Series games of all-time, is now in his fourteenth year on the Hall of Fame ballot. Only three years ago, Morris was barely receiving 53% of the vote. Five years ago, it was merely 44%. Today, however, he sits on the verge of election, receiving 67% in the 2012 voting and returning to the ballot as the lead vote-getter. To be honest, the arguments over Morris's Hall worthiness have gone on so long now that it feels nearly impossible to even remember what he was like as a player. For both sides of the debate, "Jack Morris" has turned into a stone idol, representing all that is beautiful and romantic of old-school baseball on one side and all that is vile and oppressive of outdated thinking on the other. His year-to-year and day-to-day strengths and weaknesses have been mostly forgotten or ignored, except when useful in proving a point. Morris, more than any other candidate on the Hall of Fame ballot, may benefit most from a look back at contemporary accounts of his early career.
Baseball Prospectus and the Oakland A's invite you to join us for a great day of baseball on Saturday, May 12 at the Oakland Coliseum. Thanks to the fine folks in the A's front office, we are proud to be able to offer our guests the following:
We shouldn't be surprised when players don't show the same appreciation for baseball history we do, but sometimes the truth still hurts.
In sports, familiarity is more of the heart than the mind. As player valuation becomes uniformly sophisticated across baseball, familiarity has become a non-factor. The new wave of decision makers are as versed in Wall Street jargon as they are in scout speak and aren't too prone to sentiment. (Nor should they be.) The Theo Epsteins and Andrew Friedmans of the world are savvy enough to avoid communicating to fans in those terms, but the mindset is still there. Players are assets, and transactions are opportunities to add value to the franchise. The bond between a player and the team's fan base may be given lip service in the media, but in reality, it matters not at all, or very little. As for the players, the bottom line is almost always the ultimate deciding factor—he's going to go where the dollars flow.
Sometimes, the sentimental and the pragmatic line up nicely. That's what I was thinking when the first messages popped up in my Twitter stream this week bearing the news of Prince Fielder's new contract in Detroit. The kneejerk reaction of many was that the deal was absurdly bloated. (It was.) Others thought Detroit moved well ahead of the competition in the AL Central. (As a Royals fan, that was my second thought.) If you're a Tigers fan, you might have jumped up on your desk and started doing the Dougie. (Can't blame you.) Me, I just thought it was cool that Prince was going to play for the same team on which his father made a name for himself. It's not clear why I should care.
A look at the ALCS match-up between the Tigers and Rangers
Why the Tigers Will Win: Detroit boasts the best pitcher (Justin Verlander) and the best hitter (Miguel Cabrera) in the series. What’s that? Baseball is a team sport, you say? Okay, so cherry-picking players might not be the most honest means of handicapping a series, and Detroit is the underdog, the usual crapshoot caveats aside. However, you have to assume that Jose Valverde will guarantee victory at the first hint of a lead. So far he’s been almost infallible, except for the bit about the ALDS not going to Game Five.
The Mariners' radio duo discuss their time in baseball, breaking into the business, and their most memorable moments.
Dave Niehaus and Rick Rizzs are more than just the radio voices of the Seattle Mariners, they are baseball icons in the Pacific Northwest. Niehaus, who received the Ford C. Frick award in 2008, has been in the booth since the franchise’s inaugural season, in 1977. Rizzs’ tenure is nearly as long, as he has been Niehaus’ broadcast partner since 1983, save for three tumultuous seasons spent with the Detroit Tigers. Niehaus and Rizzs talked about their storied careers, the art of broadcasting, and Mariners baseball during an August visit to Fenway Park.
Various people throughout baseball talk about the importance of the Tigers' long-running double play duo.
“Tram” and “Sweet Lou." The longest-running double-play combination in baseball history, Alan Trammell and Lou Whitaker played 1,918 games together from 1977-95, the most ever for American League teammates. During that time they combined for 11 All-Star berths, seven Gold Gloves, seven Silver Slugger awards, 4,734 hits, and 429 home runs. They were, quite simply, the heart and soul of the Detroit Tigers for nearly two full decades.
An ankle injury proves costly for Magglio Ordonez.
It’s easy now, seven years later, to forget how far the Tigers had fallen in 2003. Outscored by 337 runs, Detroit won just 43 games while losing 119, more than any other team in American League history. Only a 5-1 run in the season’s final week separated Detroit from passing the 1962 Mets for the most losses in modern major-league history. This year’s worst club, Baltimore, is suffering through a dismal 2010, but the Orioles are on pace to finish a dozen games better than the ’03 Tigers.