Tag: baseball

Baseball Needs a Pitch Clock. Change My Mind.

 

Baseball is going to die a rapid death if they don’t do something drastic about the pace of play.

I’ve had full season tickets to the Milwaukee Brewers for 25 seasons. Before I got married and had kids I always went to 70-plus games a season. I’d even take half-day vacation time to go to the weekday day games. My best season in 2001 I attended a total of 85 games (two pre-season, two road games, and all 81 home games), and I only left one game early, it was a weeknight that it went into extra innings and I was the ride for a friend who couldn’t stay any longer.

I’ve sat through to the end of 16-1 blow-out losses (“Hey, three or four grand slams, we’re right back in this one”). One of my favorite baseball memories is attending double-headers on consecutive days in July 1997 – in the first game, Steve Woodard made his major league debut against Roger Clemens, gave up a lead-off double to Otis Nixon, then proceeded to strike out the side, set a league record by striking out 11 (or was it 12?) in his debut, and won the game 1-0. In the second game of that doubleheader, the Brewers turned their first Triple play in something like 17 years.

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Last Friday night, I spent the evening at our new minor league baseball park. A local book club invited me to go to a game with them. We watched the Augusta Greenjackets host the Greensboro Grasshoppers (don’t you just love minor league baseball team names?). I hadn’t been to a Greenjackets game in years, and […]

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Spring has sprung, baseball season is underway, and the theme of the Opening Day coverage was that baseball is broken. Attendance last season was down 3 million from the prior season and 10 million over the past decade. World Series ratings are trending downward as well, and to add insult to injury Kyler Murray spurned […]

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Ichiro Retires

 

A few years ago, Ichiro Suzuki said his goal was to play major league baseball until he was 50. Well, that’s one baseball goal Ichiro won’t attain. Yesterday, March 21, 2019, the 45-year-old told the Mariners that today’s game would be his last. It was a homecoming of sorts for Ichiro, as the Mariners started the season with a two-game set against the Oakland A’s in Tokyo, Japan. Although the Mariners swept the two games, Ichiro went hitless in both games but received a well-deserved standing ovation as he was removed from the second game in the bottom of the eighth. Thus ended one of the most unique careers of all time.

Ichiro, of course, came to the major leagues at age 27, joining the Seattle Mariners after playing nine years in Japan. He had owned the league in Japan winning batting titles in all seven seasons in which he had enough plate appearances to qualify for the honor. How he would do in the majors was an open question. He answered that question in a hurry winning a batting title, the Rookie of the Year and the MVP for a team that won 116 games in the regular season.

Gather ‘Round the Stove

 

A Chicago newspaper illustration prior to the 1913 American League Meetings

If you want to keep the peace then you don’t step on the third rail of American conversation. No, it’s not Donald Trump. It’s not even politics. Or religion.

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  Four teams had to play a 163rd game to decide the playoff configuration, but the playoffs are now set and everyone’s ready to go. I thought I’d briefly preview the playoffs and ask the crowd here at Ricochet who they want to win and who they think will win. Preview Open

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The Great American Ballpark Ranking

 

””Since 2012 my buddy and I have been on a mission to visit all 30 major league ballparks. You see, we really like baseball. It took seven years but as of July 8, 2018, we completed our quest: visiting 27 ballparks (we’d already been to games together at Fenway, Yankee Stadium, and Oakland Coliseum).

Our methodology was to arrive at least an hour before the game (we couldn’t do this in all cases), walk the entire stadium, sample the food, and then stay until the last out. Below are my completely objective rankings with the top three parks, along with the rest divided among three tiers. You may notice that there are not an equal number of teams in each tier. I don’t care. This is my post. So argue away.

Bottom line, any park is a good place to watch a baseball game.

Millenials Get Their Feelings Hurt

 

The Biscuits baseball team, the Tampa Bay Rays’ Double-A affiliate, sponsored a clever satire of millennials last week. The team offered a Millennials Night with avocado burgers, napping and selfie stations, and participation ribbons for everyone who came. Naturally, the agenda caused a backlash, with coverage on Twitter and several news outlets.

Mind you, most of the team is manned with millenials, and they thought the theme was funny. The reaction by millennials in the area was mixed, to say the least, which only demonstrates the perception that they have no sense of humor. Melissa Warnke, vice president of the Public Relations Council of Alabama had this to say:

From a PR professional’s perspective, they’re kind of accomplishing what all of us want to accomplish, and that is people talking about your organization, not only here locally, but it’s got a lot of reach outside of our own community, outside of our state as well.

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The other day I came across an interesting video at the YouTube page of a fellow called Guy Jones. His page is composed mainly of footage from numerous early newsreels. The video that caught my attention and which is posted below is of Opening Day of the 1931 major league baseball season at Yankee Stadium. […]

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At least since the publication of Michael Lewis’ Moneyball, the field of sabermetrics and a more counter-intuitive approach to analyzing baseball has upended a lot of conventions.  The original point of a program like the Oakland Athletics hiring sabermetricians was to find undervalued assets. Dispensing with tradition, the sabermetricians created new stats for measuring value, […]

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I write a weekly book review for the Daily News of Galveston County. (It is not the biggest daily newspaper in Texas, but it is the oldest.) My review normally appears Wednesdays. When it appears, I post the review here on the following Sunday. Book Review ‘The Presidents and the Pastime’ perfect summer read By MARK LARDAS […]

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“Instant Karma”: Houston wins World Series

 

I’m not really a Houston Astros fan, even though I’ve attended multiple Astros games when spending some time in Texas. However, I’m glad to see the Houston Astros win the 2017 World Series in the traditional sport of baseball. Sports can provide an outlet for people and help measure and test them. With some other professional sports being sidetracked with side issues and politics I actually took more of an interest in the baseball postseason this year. Considering the damage Houston (and other parts of Texas) suffered at the hands of Hurricane Harvey it’s a nice storyline for the Astros to come through with an upset World Series win over the formidable LA Dodgers.

During the time when Harvey hit the Houston area, I was rather taken aback by a number of tactless and malicious comments made about Texas and Texans. As if the residents of Houston and the rest of Texas somehow deserved a terrible hurricane to cause damage and disruption to people’s lives. I recall one academic calling Hurricane Harvey “instant karma” for Texas. There even seemed to be comments in parts of the media for egging on the idea that Texas had a dreadful ability to handle the emergency and that there were even cartoons making fun of Texas residents receiving first responder help.

These comments just made no sense to me; I had trouble following the logic. The boorish commentary was simply unbecoming. Typically natural disasters are times to show support. Now the Astros have delivered the first World Series Championship to Houston after a competitive seven-game series. Sure, the World Series doesn’t take away Harvey’s effects, but it’s a nice non-controversial sports outlet and a symbol of bouncing back from hardships. A few folks feel better, I’m sure.

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Last night, the Kansas City Royals beat the Cleveland Indians 4-3 thus ending the Indians win streak at 22 games. Those 22 straight wins are the highest total in American League history and the second highest total in major league history. In fact, this Indian win streak is one of only four in the history […]

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Baseball and the American Spirit – Two Children’s Books

 

Growing up I’ve always heard baseball described as “America’s pastime.” As a boy, I didn’t really understand it. In the seventies, baseball was one sport among several in the year, and so I just understood it to mean Americans love baseball. Later years proved that not to be the case, so I remained confused until I learned of its earlier days, when just about darn near everyone played baseball. There were the major league teams we know today, but there were semi-pro teams, local teams, local clubs, baseball games for all ages and all types and just about everyone took part. In the past year my two-year old girl who loves books found two stories of unique players I’d never heard of in the history of baseball.

The first book, Queen of the Diamond, tells the story of Lizzie Murphy, a ball player in the early twentieth century. Her father played on a team, and taught his kids to play. The story follows this plucky girl who loves baseball so much she pursues opportunities to play, even getting on a semi-pro team. Sheer determination and skill work in her favor and she plays before crowds. Interestingly, it’s her father and brother who encourage her in the early days. Her mother is constantly worried about how unladylike playing baseball is, but her father and brother both recognize Lizzie has talent.

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Fenway Park along Yawkey Way The current principal owner of the Boston Red Sox, John Henry, has recently announced that he is “haunted” by the racist legacy of his predecessor Tom Yawkey and as such plans to re-name the Jersey Street extension outside Fenway Park that was re-named to honor the former owner in 1977. […]

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There comes a time in most baseball seasons when a fan has to admit that his or her team is not going to Disneyland after that thrilling World Series win. Sometimes it’s after a playoff loss, but sometimes it’s right here in August. My team, the Oakland A’s, is last in their division, at the […]

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