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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 [Continue reading]

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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 game instead of the romance. [Continue reading]

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dock ellis and the psychedelic no-hitter (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 brewery and its beer was very affordable and very popular. They sponsored the broadcast of the games because and what goes better together than beer and baseball? [Continue reading]

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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 he recalls his vote for Ken Griffey Jr as the American League MVP in 1996, the year that Alex Rodriguez won instead

I am not going to quote the whole of Mr. [Continue reading]

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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 is better to trade a player a year too early rather than a year too late.” [Continue reading]

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local newspapers local statistics and sabermetrics

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 local statistics and sabermetrics. [Continue reading]

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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, “The 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 half of baseball in terms of team payroll could so consistently play competitive ball with the “rich” teams. [Continue reading]

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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. [Continue reading]