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A new frontrunner for best baseball video game and an unpoppable bubble.

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March 14, 2017 6:00 am

Baseball Therapy: Bring Back Ball Four


Russell A. Carleton

Pay attention. This scene is really important.

Strangely, my defense of the “classic” intentional walk—the one where you have to actually throw four balls—begins with the center fielder. In fact, I’d argue that the guy standing out there waiting for a ball to come his way is the reason that baseball needs to bring back ball four.

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Is Mike Trout suffering from a lack of respect? Or is the batter behind him overrated?

Here’s a story about Mike Trout and intentional walks: During his junior year, in the state playoffs, the opposing Cherry Hill East manager got so spooked by Trout’s batting practice display that he intentionally walked him to lead off the game; then again in his second at-bat, with a runner on first; and once more in his third at-bat, with the bases loaded.

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January 3, 2014 6:17 am

Pebble Hunting: The Weirdness of Walking Barry Bonds


Sam Miller

Why intentionally walking Barry Bonds was unlike most of baseball's statistical trends.

Ten years ago, we all watched something incredible happen: Barry Bonds was walked intentionally 120 times. He had very nearly tripled the previous non-Bonds record. It was the closest our generation got to seeing Babe Ruth’s home run records, to living in those years when Ruth was doubling previous records, doubling entire teams’ totals.

But Ruth’s records become slightly less amazing with the perspective of time. Imagine seeing Ruth hit 54 home runs in 1920: Nobody had hit half as many in the 1900s to that point; the Pirates as a team hit 16 home runs that year; the NL home run king that season hit 15. You can imagine being literally frightened by what Ruth was doing, like hearing the Rite of Spring in 1913. Fifty-four home runs would have certainly seemed like a record that would never be broken. But 10 years later Hack Wilson did it, then Jimmie Foxx, then Hank Greenberg, then Luis Gonzalez. By just 1922, Ruth didn’t even lead the league in home runs; guys in the NL were hitting 40. What Ruth did wasn’t impossible, it was just a few years early.

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