Maury explains the challenges that MLB faces in attracting young and minority fans.
Whether it was the release of the movie“42,” the anniversary of Hank Aaron surpassing Babe Ruth as the all-time home run leader, or one of many articles each year telling baseball it has an “issue,” Major League Baseball decided recently it was time to create a task force to deal with the decline of African-Americans at the highest levels of the game. Baseball, like other professional sports leagues, likes to create this type of task force. It shows that the league cares, and well meaning be damned, is often stocked with people that likely aren’t difference-makers. Recommendations will be made, but they will be around things that don’t get at the heart of the matter, because those things are difficult—if not impossible—to fix.
The “problem” isn’t really a problem in the way that MLB’s task force is likely to look at it. It’s about the change in society, the growth of other sports, the power of television, the internet, how fast players can transition, the growth of other minority groups now playing the game, and, yes, marketing.
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News and notes from around the league for April 25, 2013
Thanks to Jason Martinez and Clint Chisam of MLB Depth Charts, we'll now be bringing you daily news, notes, transactions, injury updates, and notable performances from the previous day's games...throughout the entire season! And if you like what you see here, don't forget to check out MLBDC's Insider subscription, which also includes starting pitcher rankings and matchups, top 25 batter vs. pitcher stat rankings, lineup tracker (includes lineups from past seven games), rotation report, stat tracker, and more!
Jurickson Profar leads off the inaugural edition of Bret's look at little-owned players worthy of a spot on your bench.
If you’re a long-time rotisserie baseball player, you surely remember the days of just having an active lineup and nothing else. In fact, I’m sure some readers still play in leagues like that—my biggest home league is like that, and has been since it was formed back in 1984. However, as the game has expanded and developed, it has changed. It is now the norm to have multiple reserve/bench spots, and I play in leagues where that number ranges anywhere from three to eight. Those bench spots are valuable commodities and can be used in any number of ways.
Essentially, the choice of how you use your each of your bench spots comes down to the following question: Do I want to extract small pieces of value throughout the entire season or do I want to stash a high-upside player who may have potentially significant value down the line? More often than not, these bench spots are used on pitchers who can be plugged in as need be to boost your performance in pitching categories. But there are other options. In fact, I wrote back in February about the potential benefit to using the opportunity cost of a bench spot as part of a position player platoon. However, the ends of benches are best left for the potential fantasy gold mines—and that’s why this column exists.
Jose Reyes’ ankle injury is causing all sorts of shuffling in the Toronto lineup. One positive side effect is Jose Bautista potentially gaining third-base eligibility, with two starts at the hot corner over the weekend. The speedy Rajai Davis also figures to receive more starts in the outfield as a result. At first glance, you might think the injury also opens significant playing time for Izturis, but that might not be the case.
News and notes from around the league for April 6, 2013
As we begin the 2013 season, we introduce another new feature here at Baseball Prospectus. Thanks to Jason Martinez and Clint Chisam of MLB Depth Charts, we'll now be bringing you daily news, notes, transactions, injury updates, and notable performances from the previous day's games...throughout the entire season! (For the first full week of the new campaign, this feature will be completely free to all readers!)
And if you like what you see here, don't forget to check out MLBDC's Insider subscription (http://www.mlbdepthcharts.com/2013/02/mlbdepthcharts-insider.html), which also includes starting pitcher rankings and matchups, top 25 batter vs pitcher stat rankings, lineup tracker (includes lineups from past 7 games), rotation report, stat tracker, and more!
The second half of our outfield rankings takes you from Carl Crawford through Chris Davis.
The Baseball Prospectus fantasy team has been rolling out its positional rankings over the past couple of weeks, and will conclude the process next week. Each team member assigned to cover a position will create an initial top 15 (more for outfielders and starting pitchers) on his own. He will then send that list to the rest of the team for discussion, at which point we will debate the rankings, both in terms of each player’s specific placement and the merits on which he was included in the top 15. This back-and-forth debate will yield the final list, which will be presented by the original author with notes on the pertinent players. We encourage you to bring your opinions into the fray using the comment section below.
Today, we continue the rankings with the second half of our outfielders list, featuring the players ranked 26-50. We released our top 25 outfielders on Wednesday, and you can view that article here.
A look at what the Brewers' rotation options offer from a stuff (and beer) perspective.
I like the old cliché, “You go as far as your starting pitching takes you.” It's best to have about seven to nine arms handy to get through the season, because pitchers often get hurt or fail to meet expectations.
Brewers fans may recall a recent season where they barely used six starters. Then, of course, there's last year, when they needed 11. Somewhere in between is normal. For the 2013 Brewers, the question is not if they will go deep into their rotation, but when. And as the summer nears, manager Ron Roenicke will be handing the ball to quite a few young arms.
While Ben had a few things to say about Game 5 of the 1948 World Series, I recently listened to the full two-hour broadcast of Game 1 of the same series, a tight pitcher's duel between Bob Feller and Johnny Sain. Even for a game played when Jackie Robinson was the reigning Rookie of the Year, the game, at one-hour and forty-two minutes long, was a speedy affair. By contrast, Game 1 of the 2012 World Series between Justin Verlander and Barry Zito lasted three-hours and 26-minutes.
When we talk about "impact" rookies, it's important to note that several rookies will be getting the call to the majors and failing to help their team in any way shape or form. Coming up with a few big hits or making a couple of quality starts, however, could make a big difference at the end of a 162-game season. Beginning in the NL East, I'll be taking a look at each team and picking out some rookies who I think will make an impact on their team's success in 2013.
Looking at the controversial Hall of Fame candidate through contemporary accounts from his early career.
With the Hall of Fame announcement scheduled for this week, now is a good time to look back at the early careers of some of this year's most talked-about nominees.(And with the early exit polls looking as they do, it might be nice to remember just how great some of these players were.)
Jack Morris, longtime anchor of the Detroit Tigers pitching staff, winningest pitcher of the 1980s, and author of one of the most memorable World Series games of all-time, is now in his fourteenth year on the Hall of Fame ballot. Only three years ago, Morris was barely receiving 53% of the vote. Five years ago, it was merely 44%. Today, however, he sits on the verge of election, receiving 67% in the 2012 voting and returning to the ballot as the lead vote-getter. To be honest, the arguments over Morris's Hall worthiness have gone on so long now that it feels nearly impossible to even remember what he was like as a player. For both sides of the debate, "Jack Morris" has turned into a stone idol, representing all that is beautiful and romantic of old-school baseball on one side and all that is vile and oppressive of outdated thinking on the other. His year-to-year and day-to-day strengths and weaknesses have been mostly forgotten or ignored, except when useful in proving a point. Morris, more than any other candidate on the Hall of Fame ballot, may benefit most from a look back at contemporary accounts of his early career.
A look at Jeffrey Loria and Miami's current financial situation.
“The point is, ladies and gentleman, that greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right; greed works.” —Gordon Gekko, Wall Street
I don’t know if Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria owns a copy of Oliver Stone’s Wall Street. The movie, which came out at the height of the 1980s’ “excess is best” period would seem to play well with him. That now infamous speech by Gekko summed up everything that was wrong with not only Wall Street but also where America was headed. Loria, it seems, is still living in the 80s.