what the hell’s a “waa” in baseball lingo?

SO YOU’RE NOT A BASEBALL FAN, but you agree to go to a game with your friend, the baseball nut. You happen upon a game that turns out to be two pitchers throwing no-hitters at the same time. Which usually means lots of strikeouts, no hits, few walks, few baserunners, and no runs. Exactly the CONTINUE READING

when are we going to see the next .400 hitter?

ON A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN SPRING TRAINING just outside the Mets’ camp in Port St Lucie, Florida, Major League Baseball commissioner Bob Manfred and God are out for a walk. It’s the commissioner’s first real talk with The Almighty, and he has three questions—one about the possibility of another .400 hitter!—that he’s anxious to ask. CONTINUE READING

if gomer pyle can forgive lance armstrong, so can we

I DON’T HAVE MUCH TO SAY about the world of sports these days. I used to be a big major league baseball fan—I still have enough books to fill a good-sized shelf. And I mean the real baseball books: Bill James, Marvin Miller, and other insider accounts concentrating on the politics and realities of the CONTINUE READING

dock ellis and the psychedelic no-no (or ellis in wonderland)

I GREW UP HEARING the refrain “Baseball and Ballantine” sung on endless commercials while watching Phillies games on television in Northeastern Pennsylvania in the early ’60s. Ballantine was a local beer and sponsor of the broadcast of the games, and what goes better together than beer and baseball?

Well, howzabout LSD and baseball? And rather CONTINUE READING

recalling ken griffey jr’s purity

FROM TODAY’S SEATTLE TIMES (August 9, 2013, page C1) is a piece by Bob Finnegan titled “2 great talents, only 1 happy ending.” Finnegan covered the Mariners for the paper from 1982 until 2006. Here re recalls his vote for Ken Griffey Jr as the American League MVP in 1996, the year that Alex Rodriguez CONTINUE READING

all-star chase utley to stay in philadelphia through 2015

IN AN EARLIER ESSAY on this site (“I definitely didn’t come here for this” posted on August 1, 2013), I stated that “If I were the general manager of a baseball team, I would have a plaque on the wall of my offices at work and at home that featured Branch Rickey’s famous statement: It CONTINUE READING

no relief in sight for closeritis epidemic among managers!

I PICKED UP today’s paper off the front door porch at 5:30 this morning and went right to the sports section to check up on the Phillies and the Mariners. Seems the two teams had the same story: winning until they brought in the relief hurler.

Here’s Felix Hernandez’s stats for yesterday’s game for the CONTINUE READING

“I definitely did not come here for this”

TWO YEARS AGO, Jonathan Papelbon signed a contract with the Philadelphia Phillies that provides him with $50,000,000 for four years of pitching less than 70 innings per season. When recently asked about his team’s performance so far, he quipped, “I definitely did not come here for this.”

The ace-reliever finds himself on a CONTINUE READING

local newspapers local statistics and sabermetrics

BILL JAMES AND FELLOW SABERMETRICIANS have seen their research, conclusions, observations, and even suggestions worm their way into both Major League Baseball and the columns of many sportswriters, the people who assemble statistics for local teams in local newspapers have all but ignored the ‘new statistics.’ So here are a few notes on local newspapers CONTINUE READING

on baseball and moneyball and bill james

MONEYBALL by Michael Lewis was a look into the workings of the Oakland A’s baseball team. Published in 2003 with the unlikely subtitle, “Th Art Of Winning An Unfair Game,” Lewis wanted to know how a team in a ‘small’ market—Oakland being deemed such by MLB—with a budget that consistently ranked in the lower CONTINUE READING

to trade or not to trade

TO TRADE OR NOT TO TRADE, that is the question. Today’s Seattle Times (July 19, 2003) has a piece titled “Mariners Tough Spot: To Trade Or Not?” by the paper’s regular baseball reporter, Larry Stone (page C1): the Seattle Mariners, may NOT make any trades in the foreseeable future. This despite the fact CONTINUE READING