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.
Baseball Prospectus and the Tampa Bay Rays invite you to join us for a great day of baseball on Saturday, May 5 at Tropicana Field. Thanks to the fine folks in the Rays front office, we are proud to be able to offer our guests the following:
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:
The philosophies surrounding Moneyball have been in a constant state of flux over the last 10 years.
One of the most remarkable aspects of Moneyball is that, in an industry ripe with constant turnover, with an organization that continually struggles with budget limitations and a disastrous location and facility situation, the overwhelming majority of the main protagonists from the book (and soon-to-be-released movie) are still in Oakland. “We're like a family here, and people that come to work here tend to stay here,” said general manager Billy Beane. “There's a tremendous amount of friendship and respect. We've had people leave, only to come back to Oakland in the end.”
The Athletics' inability to draw a crowd is a reflection of their poor record and awful stadium situation.
On September 4, 2002, the Oakland Athletics crammed a season-high 55,000-plus fans into the then-named Network Associates Coliseum for what is often fondly remembered as the climactic epoch of Moneyball—the night that the Athletics frittered away an early 11-run lead at home against the lowly Royals, followed by a classic incredulity-fueled Billy Beane tantrum, followed by Scott Hatteberg's heartwarming pinch-hit blast in the bottom of the ninth inning to win it. At the outset of the chapter devoted to that particular game, Michael Lewis painted a surreal picture of a "traffic jam extraordinary even by Northern California standards stretched as far as the eye could see" leading up to the sea of concrete surrounding the Coliseum on all sides.
On Wednesday night, the Coliseum played host to the playoff-bound Rangers and a comparatively exciting pitching matchup (Brandon McCarthy vs. C.J. Wilson). The announced crowd of 19,589—a figure that would rank somewhere between subpar and miserable in virtually every other major-league market, but actually constitutes the 27th-best showing in Oakland's first 80 home dates of the season. In case you were wondering what such an announced attendance total actually looks like, here was the scene from what is now named the O.co Coliseum less than five minutes before first pitch on Wednesday:
The season has hardly had a chance to kick off, but it's still fun to look back at the best stretch drive comebacks in AL West history.
Have you ever had a particular song lyric or verse stick in your head for not merely days or weeks, but years? I have. Most of us have. Maybe all of us have? Regardless, it has been at least five or six years since I first heard the hip-hop masterpiece that is Mos Def & Talib Kweli are Black Star, but there’s a part on the track “RE:Definition” that has been rattling around within the confines of my consciousness since the very first listen: “We Die Hard like the battery done in the back of me by the mad MC who thinks imitation’s the highest form of flattery/Actually, don’t be mad at me …” Imitation’s the highest form of flattery. I didn’t know where it came from (turns out it was a bastardization of the more famous quote from 19th century author C.C. Colton), but I liked it, and figured the day would eventually arrive when I could constructively apply it.
Fast forward to this past Monday, when the intrepid Geoff Young opened his fascinating NL West history thusly: “As Yogi Berra might say, we'll have all year to discuss the season.” And as hyped as I may be for the impending season, Geoff’s right. Not long thereafter, I stumbled upon this not-so-prescient scan of the June 1, 2005 Houston Chronicle sports section, and my creative direction was sealed. There is little more emotionally stirring in the sports world than the comeback against tremendous odds, and little that I can believe to be more appropriate for this emotionally stirring week than a look back at the greatest in-season comeback by each AL West ballclub en route to a division title since the Great Realignment of 1994 (with a little help from CoolStandings.com’s historical playoff odds snapshots):
The Athletics hold an option on their second baseman for 2011 but do they have better options?
While the Texas Rangers and the San Francisco Giants have plenty on their minds this week, 28 other teams are diving deep into roster analysis to determine whom they will retain for the 2011 season. One of the more interesting decisions to be made involves the $6 million club option the Oakland Athletics hold on Mark Ellis. While many fans have voiced their opinions about what the Oakland brass should do, there has been no clear message from Billy Beane, leaving those of us outside the front-office walls to speculate on if Ellis will return. Taking a look at the second baseman's recent performance, available free-agent options, and in-house replacement candidates, I hope to paint a clearer picture of what Oakland will do.
Ellis came up through the Kansas City Royals organization after being selected in the ninth round of the 1999 draft out of the University of Florida. The former Gator was sent to Oakland 18 months later in a three-team deal between the Athletics, Royals, and Devil Rays that involved three All-Stars, two Rookies of the Year, and one future Diamondbacks manager. Originally a shortstop, Ellis converted to a full-time second baseman after labrum surgery knocked him out for the entire 2004 season. Since that conversion, the South Dakotan has been widely regarded as one of the premier defensive second basemen in the majors, while also contributing some value with the bat. Below we can see what Ellis has accomplished over the last three seasons.
The pitching and defense are fine but the offense isn't.
Kiss 'Em Goodbye is a series focusing on MLB teams as their postseason dreams fade—whether in September (or before), the League Division Series, League Championship Series or World Series. It combines a broad overview of this season from Buster Olney, a take from Baseball Prospectus, a look toward an immediate 2011 move courtesy of Rumor Central and Kevin Goldstein's farm system overview. You can find all the teams on one page by going here.