Consumed with coaxing Baseball Prospectus 2011 to life as I am, I haven't had much time to write for the site lately, but I don't want to let Bob Feller's passing go unremarked upon here at BP. So many others have already written wonderful things, especially, as always, Joe Posnanski (who has been good enough to provide us with the forward to this year's book). To his portrait of an unabashedly outspoken pitcher, World War II veteran, and elder statesman, I want to add this recollection of my one encounter with the man.
Back in 1999, Feller appeared at the Yankees' annual Old Timers Day. I'm not sure why he was there--they invited him, I guess, and he accepted. As Posnanski discusses in his piece, Feller apparently didn't turn down many invitations. Dressed in his Indians uniform, he held court in the center of the Yankees clubhouse. Despite being just six feet tall, far shorter than the young athletes around him--and by "around" and "held court" I don't mean that the players crowded around him like they did Ted Williams at the All-Star game. We in media paid attention to him. The players didn't seem to notice he was there--he was an arresting presence. He was going on 81 at the time, but there was nothing decrepit about him, he hadn't shrunken with age, but stood proudly erect.
The Tony La Russa-Albert Pujols era in St. Louis is nearly unprecedented.
It’s the last day of the season at Wrigley Field and I’m determined to wait out Albert Pujols.
I’ve been assigned to cover the Cardinals for the weekend series, the last three games at the antique ballpark in the 2010 season. Before each game, I spend about three hours hanging around the Cardinals in the visiting team clubhouse at Wrigley—a dank, cramped space that isn’t as big as the locker room at the high school I attended in small-town Iowa. It’s an awkward setup, leaving you hovering around 30-35 big-league personnel with no place to stand. On the flip side, there really is no place for them to hide. If you need to interview someone, this is the place to do it. Only the most resolute can avoid the press in there.
Tampa Bay says it will be fine in 2011 despite expected major losses in free agency, along with other news and notes from around the major leagues.
When B.J. Upton popped out to shortstop to end Game Five of the American League Division Series with the Rangers, you could almost hear the window slamming shut on the Rays' chances of winning a World Series.
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The co-producer of PBS' "Tenth Inning" discusses the film and some of the criticism it has received.
Lynn Novick is the co-producer, with Ken Burns, of “The Tenth Inning,” which aired last week on PBS and is available on DVD. An Emmy Award winner who has collaborated with Burns since 1989, Novick talked about the making of the film and some of the criticism it has received.
A look at 10 men who should be considered to run a baseball operations department.
Welcome to Top 10 Week. All week long, various BP authors will be revealing their Top 10s in various categories. Today we start off with Will Carroll ranking the 10 best general manager candidates.
A couple years back, I did a list of the "next GM" crop. It's one of those innocuous exercises that nonetheless tells us a lot about what's going on inside of the front offices. We hear about GMs, about trades, about drafts, but even in Moneyball and earlier in Dollar Sign on the Muscle, we seldom hear about the day-to-day operations carried out by a group of people that is overworked, underpaid, and most importantly, vastly overqualified. This is a group that years ago would be more likely to be putting together a hedge fund, working for the State Department, or something a bit more "important" than the game of baseball. With the money of the modern era, teams got smarter, fast.
The Indians executive vice president and general manager explains the rationale behind hiring manager Manny Acta.
When Mark Shapiro hired Manny Acta to be the manager of the Cleveland Indians last winter, he brought on board someone who speaks the same language. Shapiro sees many attributes in the Dominican-born skipper, and an important one is their shared understanding, and appreciation, for the objective side of the game. Shapiro, the club’s executive vice president and general manager, looked back at Acta’s hiring prior to a recent game at Progressive Field.
A native Michigander gets transported back to his childhood while watching Tigers' fans become major-leaguers for a week.
For a few minutes, I felt like I was 12 years old again. Not in a "you better do your chores" way, but a "hey Dad, thanks for the game of catch" way. It happened in Lakeland, Florida, where I was observing the Detroit Tigers' Fantasy Camp. All I had to do was look around, because there they were: players who wore the Olde English D when I was growing up in Michigan, throwing a ball against the side of the barn and listening to Ernie Harwell on an AM radio.
Yes, I write about baseball for a living. That means I spend a lot of time in clubhouses, and for that reason there is nothing special about talking to a Justin Verlander or a Brandon Inge. I admire their skills, but they're just people who happen to play baseball for a living. But Willie Horton and Mickey Lolich? They're different. When I was 12 years old, Horton and Lolich weren't people who happened to play baseball; they were MAJOR-LEAGUE BASEBALL PLAYERS. They were photos on baseball cards. They weren't people you actually talked to.
The Dodgers' hopes rest on Vicente Padilla, A-Rod exorcises a reputation, firing up free agency, and skipper searches.
The Dodgers are down to their last potential gasp of 2009, and while waiting to exhale, they will send Vicente Padilla to the mound tonight in the hope he can salvage their season. Such a scenario would have been unthinkable just two months ago; the Rangers designated the right-hander for assignment on August 7 despite being only one game behind the Red Sox in the wild-card standings, and 3½ games behind the Angels in the AL West.
Today's Three 'Rs' are Replay, Rangers, and Rocktober, plus skipper shuffling and rumors from around the game.
Phil Cuzzi barely had enough time to mistakenly signal a foul ball when advocates of expanded instant replay started howling for change. Major League Baseball begrudgingly became the last major North American professional sports league to implement the use of television replays to help aid in umpiring calls in August, 2008. Replay reviews are used on boundary calls concerning home runs, and Commissioner Bud Selig had to have his arm twisted almost off to agree to that.
This time around, the remaining quartet gives voice to their observations and analysis.
Happy Sunday, and if you're reading this from the USA, we hope you had a wonderful Fourth of July. Actually, no matter where you're reading from, we hope you had a great Fourth! This is Prospectus Idol, I'm Dave Pease, and I hope you saw all the fireworks you wanted to yesterday.
The ESPN executive discusses the changing media landscape, the MLB Network, and a contrarian sense of creation.
ESPN is the epicenter of sports media in the United States, and at the forefront of their award-winning coverage is John Walsh. The media giant's Executive Vice President and Executive Editor, Walsh helps to oversee an ever-expanding array of content, from on-air programming to the journalistic efforts of ESPN.com. A native of Scranton, Pennsylvania, Walsh earned a master's degree in journalism from the University of Missouri, and held editorial positions at Newsday, Rolling Stone, the Washington Post, US News and World Report, and Inside Sports before joining ESPN in 1988.
The story of the little hurler who could getting his due, a notable re-retirement, plus moves and news from around the major leagues.
Tim Lincecum's aunt came up with the perfect nickname for her nephew a few years ago when she began calling him Seabiscuit. The Giants right-hander certainly has a few things in common with the legendary racehorse: they're both undersized, and they're both winners. Lincecum, listed at 5'11" and 170 pounds (though he seems an inch shorter and 10 pounds lighter), struck a blow this past Tuesday for all those who've been told that they aren't big enough when he won the National League Cy Young Award. He's four inches shorter and 61 pounds lighter than the average height and weight of the five other pitchers receiving votes: the D'backs' Brandon Webb, the Mets' Johan Santana, the Phillies' Brad Lidge, the Brewers' CC Sabathia, and the Cubs' Ryan Dempster. "This has to give Tim a lot of satisfaction, because there's little doubt people have been telling him he's too small his entire life," Giants pitching coach Dave Righetti said.