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Considering all the distractions at a baseball game and the mixed nature of the crowd, exactly what percentage of pitches are seen on any given night?

At the start of the season, I introduced you to Ben Rouse, the 25-year-old Brewers fan who is attending all 162 Brewers games this year in an effort to raise awareness for "Be the Match", the bone marrow donor registry that helped save his life a few years ago. Ben is still going strong, having sat through the Brewers-Cubs 12-11 ugly-fest on Thursday for his 130th game of the season. And this despite the immensely unsatisfying season the Milwaukee club has trotted out for Ben lo these 130 games. When Manny Parra and then Francisco Rodriguez each blew a save in Thursday afternoon's game, they accounted for the 32nd and 33rd blown saves for the Brewers this season. That's a painful stat to experience for any fan who happens to watch their team on occasion; I can't imagine how hard that must be to experience live and in person night-in and night-out.

Even better, Ben is experiencing this Brewers season with an even more ambitious goal: to physically witness every pitch of every game. That is an impossible goal, of course, but it doesn't keep Ben from giving it his all. To help illustrate the difficulty of that goal, here is a stat that Ben tracks each and every game: through the first 129 games of the season, there had been 38,411 pitches in Brewers games; Ben had seen all but 93 of them (99.8%).

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A fan tries to field a foul ball and falls on the field instead.

In the first inning of Friday's Yankees-Mariners game, Curtis Granderson pulled a 1-0 pitch from Kevin Millwood foul to the right side of the field. A fan tried to field it. But instead of fielding it, he fell on the field, and he took some of the stands with him.

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April 25, 2011 9:00 am

Divide and Conquer, NL Central: At Your Service


Larry Granillo

No analysis of a major move is complete without some consideration of what it might mean for the fanbase.

Why would a team sign a 27-year-old Ryan Braun to a five-year, $105 million contract extension when the extension is still five years from kicking in, as the Brewers did last week? There are certainly practical reasons, but one overriding one that rarely receives its full due from analysts is fan service. The small market curse—that teams can develop superstars, but cannot afford to retain them—is very much alive in Milwaukee, and fans are keenly aware of it. The Prince Fielder situation is a perfect example of this.

In Prince Fielder's final plate appearance at Miller Park in the 2010 season, the 30,000 fans in attendance  gave him a rousing ovation. Later, after Fielder walked and was replaced by a pinch-runner, the ovation was louder and longer, forcing a curtain call from the slugger. It wasn't because Fielder had just hit a walk-off home run or knocked in the winning run. It was because not a single person in the stadium believed that the power-hitting first baseman, who had finished third in MVP voting in 2007 and fourth in 2009, would ever play a game in a Brewers uniform in Miller Park again. The fans wanted to make sure that he knew how much he was appreciated.

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The savage beating of a Giants fan outside Dodger Stadium on Opening Day points out the need for stronger action against fan violence on the part of MLB--and its fans.

Among its many charms, baseball can serve as a refuge from the real world. Sadly, the real world occasionally intervenes.

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Wrapping up a tour through the baseball rulebook with a look at discretionary calls, interference, neighborhood plays, the strike zone, rule changes, and instant replay.

Most baseball fans feel they know the rules, but many of them are actually misunderstood, at least their nuances and technical definitions. Even you are fairly well-versed in the rulebook, a primer never hurts, so BP asked the MLB Umpiring Department about 10 of them. Major League Baseball umpire supervisor Charlie Reliford, a 19-year major-league umpire, and Major League Baseball umpire supervisor Larry Young, a 23-year major-league umpire, provided the definitions and clarifications.

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Our latest look back at the archives reveals that baseball's popularity contest is still conducted by the same rules.

While looking toward the future with our comprehensive slate of current content, we'd also like to recognize our rich past by drawing upon our extensive online archive of work dating back to 1997. In an effort to highlight the best of what's gone before, we'll be bringing you a weekly blast from BP's past, introducing or re-introducing you to some of the most informative and entertaining authors who have passed through our virtual halls. If you have fond recollections of a BP piece that you'd like to nominate for re-exposure to a wider audience, send us your suggestion.

Derek's advice to players hoping for a little more love from the fan base is as applicable today as it was when it first ran as a "Breaking Balls" column on August 24, 2004.

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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.

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To read Tim Kniker's Unfiltered post following up on one of the audience's suggested topics, surf here.

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October 15, 2008 1:20 pm

Playoff Diary


David Laurila

Musings and meanderings during a playoff game in Fenway.

A week ago, Christina began an article, "Forgive me a second, as I doff the analyst's cap." From there she went on to share her experiences at ALDS Game Three, Rays versus White Sox, from something of a fan's perspective. I'll do something similar, having attended Monday afternoon's ALCS Game Three at Fenway Park, not as a reporter, but as a paying customer (albeit one who brought along a digital voice recorder and notepad). Unlike Christina's fine bit, I'll spend relatively little time talking about the game itself, which was, to put it mildly, among the least compelling of this year's post-season affairs. Instead, using a diary format, I'll intersperse my own musings with quotes from people I interacted with at the ballpark.

2:40: I arrive at Fenway Park and am surprised to have my ticket ripped, rather than scanned, but for some reason I don't ask why. I attended numerous games as a fan this season, and this is the first time my entry isn't verified electronically. It seems somewhat... old-fashioned?

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March 16, 2008 12:00 am

Prospectus Q&A: Jon Searles


David Laurila

A conversation with the journeyman about the minors, indie ball, the business of baseball, and more.

Jon Searles is unique. Originally an eighth-round pick by Pittsburgh in 1999, Searles attended Penn while pitching in the Pirates, Expos, and Cubs organizations, earning a finance degree from the Wharton School of Business when he wasn't on the mound. Now, after his fourth consecutive season in Double-A, his career is at a crossroads. David talked to Searles about where his career has been, where he sees it going, and how he views the game on both a personal and a business level.

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January 31, 2006 12:00 am

Amazin' Mail


Neil deMause

Neil deMause responds to some reader mail generated by his column on the proposed Mets stadium.

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April 15, 2005 12:00 am

Prospectus Today: Fenway Frenzy


Joe Sheehan

Last night's conflict between Gary Sheffield and a fan down the right-field line shouldn't be lumped in with recent fan/player altercations.

I heard about the incident before I actually saw it, and my first reaction was, "Great, another idiot fan with better seats than judgment."

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