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

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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 kind of b-o-r-i-n-g game that makes a non-fan cry (“Waa, waa!”) READ MORE

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

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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. Need­less to say, he al­lows God to dom­i­nate the con­ver­sa­tion. READ MORE

if gomer pyle can forgive lance armstrong, so can we

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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. READ MORE

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

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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? READ MORE

recalling ken griffey jr’s purity

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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. READ MORE

all-star chase utley to stay in philadelphia through 2015

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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.” READ MORE

no relief in sight for closeritis epidemic among managers!

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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 are Felix Her­nan­dez’s stats for yes­ter­day’s game for the Mariners:

In­nings (IP): 7
Hits (H): 6
Walks (BB): 2
Strike­outs (K): 8
Runs ®: 1

So, why did the man­ager take Felix out and re­place him with anyone? READ MORE

“I definitely did not come here for this”

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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 foundering team that may sink even deeper than the worst pre-season prog­nos­ti­ca­tions.  READ MORE

local newspapers local statistics and sabermetrics

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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.

Saber­met­rics is the spe­cial­ized analysis of base­ball through ob­jec­tive ev­i­dence, es­pe­cially base­ball sta­tis­tics that mea­sure in-game ac­tivity. READ MORE