A look back at some of the top quotes from the 2010 season.
It was a busy year for the Prospectus Q&A series in 2010. Over 100 full-length interviews graced these pages from January through December, and I hope that most were entertaining and/or informative. As always, it was a pleasure to bring them to the BP community. Here is a selection of the best quotes from the interviews:
The voice of the Blue Jays discusses getting into broadcasting and baseball in Toronto.
If you’re a fan of the Toronto Blue Jays, Jerry Howarth needs no introduction. The 64-year-old has been the radio voice of the Blue Jays for three decades—24 of those years paired with the late Tom Cheek—and few broadcasters in the game are more popular, or as respected. A graduate of the University of Santa Clara, Howarth grew up in San Francisco and is now a Canadian citizen and a resident of Toronto.
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.
It's a series that will feature superb pitching staffs, and one team will come away with a long-awaited title.
In baseball as in literature, archetypes tend to be formulaic, proof that fiction falls short of reality when it comes to the power to describe any one thing in shorthand. The need, indeed one of the great benefits of the human mind is to identify patterns, and to peg things that fall within those patterns, or to re-evaluate the pattern as a whole to create some new rubric, some new way of explaining things. Take our current post-season slate: instead of a much-anticipated rematch between the Evil Empire and the Phillies' a-bornin' senior-circuit dynasty, last week we got the pleasure of witnessing imperial ambitions utterly overthrown in both leagues.
With pitching the name of the series, one manager used a plethora of starters to try to get a win.
Upsets don't leave everyone upset. When you get baseball as beautiful as Saturday night's tension-drenched contest between the Giants and the Phillies, you get an uncomplicated reminder that the game's great glory is that it can produce drama that has nothing to do with who's doing what, and everything to do with what's being done.
The Yankees look to get back to yet another World Series while the Rangers are in uncharted territory.
From 1996 through 1999, the Joe Torre-led Yankees and the Johnny Oates-piloted Rangers faced off in three American League Division Series, the first three times the latter franchise had ever reached the postseason. The Yankees won nine of those 10 games, holding the Rangers to a lone run apiece in their 1998 and 1999 sweeps. Times have changed, however, and while the Yankee machine has simply kept rolling, racking up four pennants and two world championships while missing the playoffs just once since their last meeting, the Rangers endured a dark decade before reemerging as AL West champions thanks to the shrewd deal making of general manager Jon Daniels and the fruits of their well-stocked farm system.
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The Twins and Yankees meet yet again in the first round of the postseason but Minnesota has home field advantage this time.
As they did last year as well as 2003 and 2004, the Twins run squarely into the Yankee juggernaut in the first round. Unlike those other three meetings, they have home field advantage this time around, as they won the AL Central going away thanks to a league-best 48-26 second-half record. The defending world champion Yankees, who held the majors' best record for most of the season, were forced to settle for the wild card due to a sluggish 13-17 showing against a very tough schedule in September and October. Despite the relative temperatures of the two clubs, it's important to remember that late-season records aren't predictive of October success—or failure.
It's red-on-red violence between two founding franchises, but who'll wind up dead?
Back in the '70s, the Phillies and the Reds were half of a quartet of clubs that basically owned the National League. Dial up National League post-season action, and you'd get the Reds or the Dodgers from the old NL West, and the Pirates or the Phillies from the old NL East. That foursome won nine pennants and 18 of the 20 playoff slots from 1970-79; get picky and run from 1971-80, and it's still niine of 10 and 17 of 20. Yet for all that, this will be just the second time two of the league's founding franchises get to square off. You have to be a fan of a certain age or owe a bit to Joe Posnanski to have much memory of the 1976 NLCS, which was the Big Red Machine's stepping stone to its second (and last) pennant—they had to go through crushing the Phillies first, sweeping three in the best-of-five, with the third game decided in Cincinnati after an exchange of blown saves.
I have seen the future, and its name is FIELDf/x. OK, so we kind of knew that. But today, FIELDf/x started to seem a lot more real, and even more exciting than I’d imagined. You may have noticed that BP had a man on the scene at Sportvision’s PITCHf/x summit whose liveblog was actually live. So why am I doing this, when Colin already did? Well, for one thing, Colin arrived fashionably late, and I was all over those first 14 minutes that he missed. For another, his computer died before a lot of the fun started. And for still another (this is a third reason, now), I thought it might be fun to do a Simmons-style quasi-liveblog (written live, published later) that would free me from worries about frequent updates, and allow me to write at length. Most likely that length turned out to be a good deal longer than anyone has any interest in reading, but if you’re determined to catch up on the day’s intriguing events without sitting through eight hours of archived video, you’re welcome to peruse what lies below. If you’d like to follow along, here’s an agenda, and here’s where you should be able to find downloadable presentations in the near future.
Here we are in sunny California, home of the cutest girls in the world, if the Beach Boys are to be believed (I gather there’s also a more recent chart-topper that expresses a similar view). Okay, so by “we,” I mean the attendees at the 3rd (annual?) Sportvision PITCHf/x summit, held at the Westin San Francisco in—you guessed it—San Francisco. I, on the other hand, am watching from the other end of the continent, via a webcast that dubiously claims to be “hi-res,” despite being blurry enough to make deciphering text an adventure (I guess “hi-res” is relative, in the sense that there are even lower resolutions at which it could’ve been streamed). And sure, maybe the Beach Boys weren’t thinking of this particular gathering when they extolled the virtues of California’s beach bunnies. But never mind that—it’s a beautiful Saturday afternoon here in New York, and how better to spend it than to watch a video of some fellow nerds talk about baseball in a dark room some 3,000 miles away? Well, to describe the experience at the same time, of course. Let’s get this quasi-liveblog started.
The Midsummer Classic is OK but the real thing is better.
ANAHEIM—Last week, after having arrived in Southern California, I outlined my reservations about the All-Star Game, from whether or not it's a real game, to whether its rosters are comprised entirely of stars, let alone all of them. In short, I've been a bit dubious about the All-Star Game fulfilling all three of its core components, and when you hitch that baseball-flavored entertainment to the new expectation that the unwieldy proposition has to mean something—in this case, home-field advantage in the World Series—and you're left with a strange proposition.
It's a game that counts—at least as far as the teams presently still in the running are concerned—but it tends not to be managed that way. The rosters are selected with an even more chaotic selection process, where fans, players, the two managers, and then the fans again, and then the managers once again too, at least once you wind up with the annual passel of guys bugging out, pitchers made unavailable because they've been too busy as recently as Sunday helping their employer win ballgames... you can see where this gets us.
The Phillies first base coach talks about the art of base stealing and how it has helped his team win games.
The Phillies have led baseball in stolen-base percentage for each of the past three seasons, and it probably isn’t a coincidence that Davey Lopes has been their first base coach for the same period of time. An elite baserunner during his playing days, Lopes was both prolific [557 steals] and efficient [83 percent], and he now tutors a team that may not be the fastest in the game, but is among the smartest. His charges aren’t running as often this year—they have just 32 steals—but their 89 percent success rate once again tops both leagues. Lopes discussed the importance of running the bases intelligently, including the art of the stolen base, when the Phillies visited Fenway Park earlier this month.
A look at the four best-of-three series in the NCAA Tournament that begin Saturday.
The first three days of the NCAA Tournament went largely as planned, with nine top seeds advancing and five of the seven regional finales featuring the top two seeded teams. St. John’s and Minnesota were the only three and four seeds to finish the weekend 2-1 and force their regional hosts—Virginia and Cal State Fullerton—to play on Monday. Moreover, all of the top seeds made it past the first weekend, and only one national seed dropped one of their first two games, thereby having to win twice Sunday, and it wasn’t much of a test for Coastal Carolina as it drubbed Stony Brook 25-6. Two other hosts dropped their opening games and were forced to play sudden death doubleheaders Sunday as Auburn ousted Southern Mississippi and Cal State Fullerton finished of New Mexico in their respective first matchups of the day. Then, Auburn, Fullerton, and Coastal Carolina all won their nightcaps against rested foes, each forcing decisive Monday finales for their respective regions. Louisville, Miami, Arkansas, Virginia, and Georgia Tech each failed to win their only games on Sunday that could have punched their tickets to a super regional. While Coastal Carolina and Virginia managed to return to form on Monday and advance, regional host Auburn, as well as national seeds Louisville and Georgia Tech lost again Monday. Arkansas’ loss doesn’t change any travel plans, but with the brackets established to result in the winners of the Auburn and Atlanta regional meeting in the second round, No. 2 seed Clemson will host fellow 2 seed Alabama, despite not hosting a regional.
Here is the look at the four best-of-three super regionals that will be played Saturday-Monday.