Umpires shouldn't settle for "close enough" when it comes to perfection.
The Weekend Takeaway
Did he go? That was the question percolating through every baseball fan’s mind after the White Sox’ Philip Humber threw the 21st perfect game in major-league history against the Mariners on Saturday afternoon.
Brendan Ryan, who pinch-hit for Munenori Kawasaki, worked the count full, fouled off Humber’s first payoff pitch, and then either swung or did not swing at a slider that broke well off the plate outside. But did he go?
Fond memories of baseball in Utah? Dial up the wayback machine and remember when...
The dead of winter and a particularly rough week as far as the trials and tribulations of adulthood go have me wishing for a warmer, simpler time in a long-lost place. As I've written before, I grew up attending ballgames in the late '70s and '80s in Salt Lake City, Utah, a spot far from a major-league stadium, but a city with a rich history as a minor-league outpost dating back to the old Pacific Coast League and its 200-game seasons. During my childhood and adolescence, Salt Lake City played host to the Triple-A affiliates for the Angels and Mariners in the modern-day PCL, both known as the Gulls. Additionally, every summer I would visit my paternal grandparents in in Walla Walla, Washington, the site of the Padres' Low-A Northwest League affiliate.
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Sorting and separating the best and worst baserunners from the rest.
"I don't really like to run, and that's why I didn't go out for track in high school. I ain't no fool, I see those dudes running around a track for a living. I wouldn't want to run against them. I wouldn't want to embarrass myself." --Willie Wilson
Everything you ever wanted to know about the lost art of pinch running, past, present, and future.
With the help of Mat Kovach and Retrosheet, pinch running statistics in the last 50 years have now been compiled, along with leaderboards for seasons, lifetime, and most times removed, along with team and manager statistics. (E-mail me if you want this.) In compiling all this information, a few things jump out from the statistics, and so here are the highlights of pinch running statistics.
After the introductory edition of this column appeared last week, I received a couple of messages from--if Star Trek fans are "Trekkies," what are BP fans? Beepies? Beppies?--readers asking why we were bothering to take notice of the 20th anniversary of the 1984 baseball season, with a week-long series no less. Nothing special happened that year, they said. Actually, 1984 was a case study in baseball problem solving, as executives were faced with difficult decisions, like, "If my entire starting rotation retires at once, what do I do?" "How do you react to an aggressively restructuring team who happens to be leading you in a close pennant race?" "If one-10th of my 40-man roster is arrested for attempting to obtain illegal drugs, how many of them should I retain?" and many more. Call the year a Choose Your Own Adventure book for managers and GMs, not to mention little pubescent proto-sabermetricians and performance analysts nationwide.
Actually, 1984 was a case study in baseball problem solving, as executives were faced with difficult decisions, like, "If my entire starting rotation retires at once, what do I do?" "How do you react to an aggressively restructuring team who happens to be leading you in a close pennant race?" "If one-10th of my 40-man roster is arrested for attempting to obtain illegal drugs, how many of them should I retain?" and many more.