Archive for the Category »Baseball Nonsense «

MLB Transformers: The Ultimate Hitter’s and Pitcher’s Parks

Originally posted July 17, 2010:

Something to read while you are waiting for the perfect, bright, and vivid double rainbow or you are jamming out to the double rainbow remix (seriously, if there are only two links you click in this entire blog ever, it should be those two). Or you are waiting for the great Chicago Cubs fire sale (you could get a life-size, life-like Aramis Ramirez to fill out your personal trophy case for a small chunk of change).

Growing up Transformers was one of my favorite cartoons. It was so futuristic. Based on a robot war of good vs evil, the Autobots and Decepticons, the two spacecrafts crashed on earth four million years ago. A volcano eruption awakened (or rebooted) the sets of robots and they continued their war on Earth. I can even remember pushing around my Optimus Prime and Bluestreak action figures around the house blowing up my sisters’ Barbies. Heck, we had more than twenty guys crammed into my freshman dorm room watching the 1986 Transformers: The Movie (which has the best 80’s soundtrack that played through the entire movie) on my top-of-the-line desktop computer. Now, the new Transformers movies have a bunch of action and some awesome digital effects (not to mention a great looking cast). The new movies gave me an idea. What if all the MLB stadiums could transform into two completely different stadiums. One that benefits hitters, while the other benefits pitchers.

Most of you have heard how Colorado’s Coors Field is a hitter’s park and how San Diego’s PetCo Park is a pitcher’s park, but has anyone ever thought to build the Ultimate Hitter’s and Pitcher’s parks? What if someone took every active MLB stadium and transformed them into ultimate stadiums, similar to Bruticus Maximus. Well… we did just that here at Kings of Cork. Not only did we take into account stadium fence distances (we did not account for wall height, just distance) but we also accounted for location and foul territory. And you may be surprised to find what stadiums contribute to the Ultimate Stadiums.

The Ultimate Pitchers Park: Decepticon Park

The new trend in MLB stadiums is to create excitement for fans and the game. And as the true home run king, Henry Aaron, said the most exciting hit in baseball is the triple. Thus, more stadiums are designing obscure fence lines to give the ball unpredictable caroms causing the outfielders to trip over their own feet resulting in a triple for the batter. This usually leads to deeper ball park fences as well to limit the number of home runs and increase the amount of physical energy used to get around the bases (less home run trots and more sprints, unless of course you are the Cincinnati Reds Adam Rosales and you sprint around the bases on a HR anyways).

Most parks don’t want to eliminate the home run, but they want to boost the difficulty of the field just enough to make the games more exciting. So what if we took all 31 (including Hiram Bithorn Park in Puerto Rico the Marlins play on from time to time) and combined all the fence lines but only kept each fence location that resulted in the longest playable field. The definition of ‘playable field’ is the amount of earth between home and the fence. Thus, it does not take into account the height of the wall. Sure, you may argue that the height of the wall should matter, but does it really? For example, a ball hit on a rope to a CF wall of 400ft but the height of the fence is 18ft will most likely carom off the wall as an extra base hit vs being a home run for a 8ft tall fence at 410ft. But take that same scenario and make it a fly ball, the ball would still hit off the taller fence, but the deeper fence would allow a possible play on the ball by the outfielder. Yes there is a bunch of physics that could argue both sides; but because we didn’t want to spend a year running the scenarios through our simulators (and because Hit Tracker supplies their field models as distance to the wall), we will assume the deeper the fence, the more pitcher friendly the park will be.

What would this ultimate park look like… below is a representation with the corresponding stadium next to it’s portion of the wall. Notice the several nooks and crannies out in right center field… a nightmare for not only a hitter looking for a home run but for a fielder trying to read a ricochet.

The Ultimate Pitchers Park

The Ultimate Pitchers Park

(stadium dimensions and home run data were found at HitTracker.com)

Here are some interesting facts about the Decepticon park:

  • Both left and right field corners come from Wrigley. Combine the distance (355ft down left, 353ft down right) with the Ivy and the 16ft walls, pitchers will be more than willing to give up shots down the line that their fielders can make plays on.
  • Left field to left center comes from PNC Park in Pittsburgh which makes the power alley 389ft from home. That will take a good poke from any batter to hit one out of the stadium near the gap.
  • Coors Field may be considered a hitter’s park, but it’s also boasts one of the most spacious outfields and owns the deepest portion from left center to center field in the big leagues. Its power alley is 390ft to 420ft on a straight line to center.
  • Center field is almost entirely owned by the new Comerica Park with the exception to the trademark hill from Minute Maid Stadium just slightly right of dead center. Comerica’s left and right center nooks are close to 430ft, while Minute Maid’s hill is at 435ft straight away center.
  • The Mets’ new home field, Citi Field, was made to be pitcher friendly (and Jason Bay has proven that with his power decline). Therefore, it’s no surprise to see Citi Field’s fence owning the first (about 410ft) and fourth (about 385ft) right field crevices from center field.
  • AT&T Park has a piece of its same high right field wall in both the Ultimate Pitcher’s and Ultimate Hitter’s park (which you will see below). This portion in right center is a lefty’s nightmare by making the power alley 421ft from home.
  • Turner field owns the largest section of wall in right center from 390ft to 400ft before trailing off into…
  • Fenway is the other park that has portions of its outfield wall in both ultimate parks as well. The curvaceous right field portion makes for an interesting look and gives right field some distance at 380ft.
  • If every single home run of the 2513 hit so far this 2010 MLB season were hit exactly the same in this park, they would result in about half as many home runs.
  • With the help of some cheap photo editing and Google Earth’s 3D warehouse, below is a 3D model of what the Ultimate Pitcher’s Park may look like from an aerial view (click the photo for a larger view).
Decepticon Stadium

The Ultimate Pitcher's Park

But we won’t stop simply at the distance of the fence creating the most pitcher friendly environment. Let’s explore the location of the stadium and the foul territory.

Foul Territory: The logic is simple; the more foul territory a field has, the more opportunity fielders have to make a play on a ball hit into the foul territory. Which active stadiums boast the largest areas of green between the foul lines and the fans… Well, the portion behind home plate would belong to the new (and old since measurements were kept the same from the “house that Ruth built”) Yankee Stadium with 84ft from home to the back stop. This provides plenty of room for catchers to roam for foul balls, but it’s also a curse for “Wild Things” passed balls which could lead to more runners advancing. The rest of the foul territory would belong to the Coliseum’s football accommodating foul territory. Just look at the room down both the 1st and 3rd base lines. As mentioned above, the area is so large due to the requirement of accommodating the Oakland Raiders as well (the foul territory was actually reduced in size during the 1996 renovations). This spacious foul territory has been found to reduce batting averages by 5 to 7 points. Not only that, but the larger amount of grass outside the lines allows pitchers to pitch fewer pitches and try to force hitters to hit more foul balls for outs.

Location: We can rule out the Mile High City on this one. Most everyone with an 8th grade education knows that an object will fly further through air that is less dense. So the lower the altitude, the more dense the air, the more drag on the ball, thus less distance. Out of the cities that have current MLB stadiums, six cities are less than 25 feet above sea level (Boston – 20ft, Seattle – 10ft, Philadelphia – 9ft, Miami – 15ft, San Diego – 13ft, Washington – 25ft). But elevation isn’t the only aspect that makes air less dense, humidity plays a large factor. Less humidity results in a higher density air due to the fact that a water molecule has less mass than both Nitrogen and Oxygen molecules. So a drier city results in more drag on the ball. Out of the six cities listed above, the driest city is Philadelphia at an average humidity of 76% during the AM and 55% during the PM hours. Thus, Decepticon Park would be located in the City of Brotherly Love. But, the ultimate location would be Death Valley, CA. At 282ft below sea level, it is the lowest elevation in the US and has a very low average humidity. If the location of the Ultimate Pitcher’s park was in Death Valley, CA and the winds of Chicago were also incorporated, this stadium would be impossible to hit at.

The Ultimate Hitter’s Park: Autobot Stadium

A hitter’s park is defined as the opposite of a pitcher’s park. It is where hitters thrive and enjoy the soaring statistics of home runs, RBIs, and inflated batting and slugging percentages. One of the most recent cases that prove the surrounding baseball environment can greatly impact players’ statistics is Jason Bay. This past offseason, Jason Bay went from hitter friendly Fenway (with the short left field for righties) to the gargantuan Citi field. Bay went from averaging 31 HR over the past five seasons to only have 6 HR through the All-Star break in 2010. Sorry Bay fans (and Bay fantasy owners), he will not be slugging more than 20 HR this season.

Compared to the Ultimate Pitcher’s park, the Ultimate Hitter’s park is not quite as diverse or exciting. Using the same process and assumptions as the Pitcher’s park, the 31 MLB stadiums were combined and the shortest distance to the combined fences were kept. What is left looks something like this:

The Ultimate Hitters Park

The Ultimate Hitters Park

Here are the facts on Autobot stadium:

  • Left field is no surprise with the Fenway’s Green Monster being the shortest left field wall at 315ft down the line and about 325ft to straight away left. Pop flies and line drives won’t be caught if hit deep enough. Instead players will have standup singles.
  • At the transition of the Green Monster to the shorter fence in Fenway’s left center, a small section of the Coliseum sneaks in at about 370ft before Fenway’s left center fence continues to center field.
  • A small portion of the Coliseum fits into center field at 390ft before the new Nationals Park goes from dead center to slightly short of right center with their electronic scoreboard.
  • The Coliseum, even with its vast foul territory, is quite a short field and the left side of the right field power alley is the last bit of the Coliseum in the Ultimate Hitter’s park before the short porch in Yankee Stadium’s right field becomes the shortest RF fence in the bigs at 344 ft.
  • The right field fence is surprisingly made up of the same two stadiums that make up a portion of the right field fence in the Ultimate Pitcher’s park. AT&T park makes it a breeze for hitters to hit water balls into McCovey Cove, where kayakers wait with fishing nets. The right field corner directly down the line belongs to Fenway at 302 ft. Coincidently, in both the Ultimate Hitter’s and Pitcher’s parks, the right field and left field lines belong to the same stadium (Fenway for the hitter’s and Wrigley for the pitcher’s)

Foul Territory: As mentioned above, not as much diversity and interesting fence lines like the Ultimate Pitcher’s park. But it would still be interesting to watch big hitting teams like the Blue Jays, Yankees, and Rangers hit at a ball park like this. Scores would push upwards to double digit runs for both teams and the rules may need to be changed back to the original rule of a team must score 21 runs to win. The foul territory for the Ultimate Hitter’s park would be as small as possible to get foul balls out of play quicker. Thus, this stadiums foul territory would come from two stadiums: one of the oldest and one of the newer stadiums. The foul territory down the lines would belong to Boston’s Fenway Park. Boston likes their fans up close and personal (that and so they can rain louder boo’s on their opponents). Combine Fenway’s foul territory outside the lines with the backstop from San Francisco’s AT&T park and there will be very few foul ball plays (AT&T’s backstop is a meager 48ft from home plate).

Location: Similar to the pitcher’s park above, location matters. Of course, there is little surprise where the highest elevation exists among current MLB stadiums. That belongs to the Mile High City, Denver, CO home of Coors field. Air humidity can’t even factor into this decision as the second highest stadium is at 1082 ft above sea level (Chase field). But where would the ultimate location be… Mt. Whitney, CA at 14,505 ft. That’s right, the Ultimate Pitcher’s park, which would be located in the Badwater Basin in Death Valley CA, and the Ultimate Hitter’s park would be located only 76 miles apart. Sure the highest elevation in the US is Mt McKinley, but the temperature there is almost never above freezing. That makes it hard to play baseball even in the Ultimate Hitter’s park.

What might the stadium look like… Here is a batter’s eye view of what the Ultimate Hitter’s park could look like at the dish (click the photo for a larger view).

Autobot Stadium

The Ultimate Hitter's Park

Like it was mentioned above, this field has nothing exciting as the right field in the Ultimate Pitcher’s park. But, I would still enjoy seeing any slug fest at a stadium like this. However, it would be very hard for the home team to secure any big pitchers and some teams have a hard enough time with this already. I would prefer to watch a game at the Ultimate Pitcher’s park over this one; or the two stadiums could be combined into one park that would be similar to the old Polo Grounds. Now that would be awesome.

Transformers: Robots in Disguise… Enjoy.

Are You A Baseball Fan… Five Must Knows For All Baseball Fans

I’m going to bust out some of my favorite posts from the past. Not because I’m lazy or too busy. Mainly because the information is so interesting that even when I re-read the articles I always come away wondering something different which drives me to research more into it.

So enjoy some posts from the past over the next few days.

Originally posted on Aug 22, 2010:

Between practicing your moonwalk and trying not to get caught on Chatroulette, you may consider yourself an avid baseball fan even though you duck from an incoming foul ball and let it hit the only girl you had a shot with. You may know who won the past five championships, or who owns the home run record, or how the Oakland A’s GM has changed present day baseball (It’s soon to be a movie as well). But here are Five must knows that many baseball fans may not know, but should know.

5. Baseball is just using what Mother Nature gave us:

Pine Tar and Delaware River Rubbing Mud

Delaware Rubbing Mud

Delaware River Rubbing Mud


Have you noticed how many baseballs are used in One Major League game? Numbers vary, but the Pirates report more than nine-dozen per home game. And more than 900,000 Rawlings baseballs a year for all 30 big league clubs. But, have you ever observed the condition of one of those 4,548 foul balls you caught (seriously, check out the “baseball collector”. He may need a girl friend… or a job. Who am I kidding, I’m jealous). That’s right. A “new” baseball isn’t even close to those smooth, slippery, white, shiny Rawlings baseballs given to you by your Little League Umpire. Instead, they are dirty, dingy, gritty baseballs with 0 pitches on them. You may be asking “Seriously, they come out of the box in that condition?” The answer is: No. The MLB has a contract with a family owned company out of New Jersey to purchase aged mud from the Delaware River. This Lena Blackburne mud is then applied by some pour bum / sap the umpire attendant at the baseball stadium to EVERY baseball. The umpire attendant can only pray that the game doesn’t go into extra innings and has to rub another 100 baseballs.

It’s believed that the mud rubbing story begins back in 1920 when Ray Chapman got beaned in the head and became the first MLB player to die from a baseball game related injury. This tragic incident led officials to search for a solution to baseballs slipping from a pitcher’s grasp and heading in a wayward direction. They tried chewing tobacco, shoe polish, crazy glue infield dirt, etc. Pitchers didn’t mind these solutions as they roughed up the cover of the baseball allowing the ball to have more drag resulting in more movement. But officials weren’t pleased with the results. Cue Lena Blackburne, a manager for the Philadelphia Athletics. He decided to cure and age some mud from his favorite fishing hole and rub it onto some baseballs. Before he knew it, every MLB team was requesting his “special” mud. For the entire story, click here. (seriously, why can’t I be making my living selling mud I found on some river bank)

Pine Tar
Some of us may remember seeing the “Pine Tar Incident” on the local news. Well others of us may remember seeing the highlights a years later. Well even others may not even have the slightest idea what the “Pine Tar Incident” was or what Pine Tar even has to do with baseball. With recent advancements in batting gloves (they can even wick moisture away from the hands), pine tar has become almost irrelevant in the new age of baseball. But there are still some players out there that bat “au naturel” (ie. no batting gloves): Jason Kendall, Jorge Posada, Vladimir Guerrero are just a few. Pine Tar used to be extremely prevalent in baseball locker rooms. It was liberally applied to bat handles just above the batter’s grip. The purpose: leaving excess pine tar above the player’s grip allowed him to apply some Pine Tar to his grip to increase his grip during his at-bat. However, a rule prior to the mid-80’s stated that pine tar could not extend past 18 inches from the knob of the bat (Brett’s was 23 inches). After the game, the American League president overturned the call and the game was finished later that year. And after the season, the rule was revoked (there still is rule 1.10(c) but the bat is simply removed from the game for any substance extending past 18 inches from the knob of the bat). There are several speculations on how this rule came to be. Some sources say it was to protect the batter (Pine tar would accumulate on balls hit in play allowing the pitcher more grip and snap to increase ball movement). While other sources attribute the rule to a cheap owner (Calvin Griffith, owner of the Washington Senators) who was sick of paying for replacement baseballs that accumulated the pine tar (how upset would he be now having to buy at least 6 dozen balls a game). No matter the rules, Pine Tar is a tradition in baseball that I hope never dies.

4. Records that won’t be broken

Mark Spitz said “Records are meant to be broken”, but he forgot to mention that there are some records that physically can’t be broken. Every sport has them and most of the records that can’t be broken typically come from the early era of the sport. For example, no one will beat Cy Young’s record of most career wins with 511 wins which was mounted during the 1890’s. Let’s put that record into perspective. No pitcher in the 2009 season won 20 games; and in the current era of baseball, a pitcher would have to win 20 games for 25 seasons and he would fall 11 short of the record. That fact alone is the reason why the coveted pitcher’s award at the end of the season is named “The Cy Young”. Now that doesn’t mean all the unbreakable records came from the 19th century. Most are familiar with the name Nolan Ryan. The “Nolan Express” is in the midst of a bidding war on ebay purchasing the Texas Rangers (and recently won), but Nolan Ryan is known most for his ability to make the ball miss a batter’s bat. His 5714 career strikeouts will never be touched by another pitcher (Mark Reynolds could potential top that as a batter).

Other pitching records that will never be touched:

  • In 1904, Jack Chesbro won 41 games in a single season for the New York Highlanders.
  • Cy Young has 749 complete games while throwing a total of 7356 Innings Pitched. The current active complete games leader… Roy Halladay with 57.
  • Speaking of Innings Pitched, Ed Walsh pitched a staggering 464 innings in 1908. That’s almost twice what the league leader throws in the current era.
  • The 2010 season may be the year of the no-hitters, but Johnny Vander Meer’s 2 consecutive no-hitters is even more impressive than the 2 (should have been 3) perfect games thrown by Braden and Halladay in 2010.
  • As impressive (if not more) than two consecutive no-hitters is having Walter Johnson’s record of 110 career shutouts. This record won’t be broken unless a pitcher always gets to pitch against the TB Rays on their off days (the Rays have almost been no-hit 7 times in 2010)

In my opinion, a pitcher’s dual is an exciting game to witness. But a good ol’ fashioned slug fest between two teams usually means more baseball gets to be watched and fans seem to be more involved. You don’t see any fans sitting in the stands with signs reading “Sub 1.00 ERA” for Josh Johnson or Ubaldo Jimenez. Or signs reading “perfect game” for Armando Galarraga (I believe that’s a no-no in acknowledging you are witnessing a no hitter and jinxing the pitcher, see un-written rules section below). You do see “600” signs every where these days. A-rod finally got his, while Milwaukee should just take down theirs as they jinxed Hoffman. There was a lot of commotion recently on unbreakable hitters records with the 1998 home run chase between Sosa and McGwire chasing Roger Marris’ single season home run record. Then there was the talk about Hank’s unbreakable career home run total which Bonds beat (and A-rod will get shortly). But there are some truly remarkable batting records that will never be broken. Here are a few:

  • Let’s start with one we are all familiar with. Cal Ripken’s 2632 consecutive games played. The current active streak belongs to the fattest vegetarian, Prince Fielder at 294 consecutive games for the BrewCrew.
  • Carl Crawford is the current active leader in career triples with 99 and he’s only 28 yrs old. But even on that pace, he has to play almost 30 seasons to catch Sam Crawford’s career record of 309 triples. Unless they bring back the Polo Grounds, I don’t see this record being broken for a while.
  • George Brett (mentioned earlier for loving pine tar) amounted an amazing 0.390 batting average in 1980. And is the last player to even challenge a 0.400 season batting average. Rogers Hornsby’s record of a 0.424 batting average in the 1924 season is completely safe.
  • Joe Joe Dimaggio is one of the greats. And he has solidified his immortality with his 56 game hit streak in 1941. Players seem to be celebrating 2 game hit streaks these days.
  • Contrary to what some people may think, Eddie Gaedel and his one and a half inch strike zone was not the toughest player to strikeout. That honor belongs to Joe Sewell with 114 career strikeouts in 7132 at-bats. In 2009, a total of 51 players had 114 or more strikeouts. Mark Reynolds almost doubled that with 223 (a single season record itself) in 2009 and hes on pace for 228 K’s in 2010.
  • Recently (on July 30), the Rockies did the unthinkable against the Cubs by scoring 12 runs with two outs in one inning with 11 consecutive hits. But even more impressive for a single inning feat is Fernando Tatis’ 2 grand slams in a single inning in 1999. And both were against the same pitcher (Chan Ho Park). That will never be repeated… ever.

3. Unwritten Rules

Dallas Braden's New Fasion Line

You all know the rules of baseball or you probably wouldn’t be reading this post. But what some may not know is that there are several “rules” that are observed by players which are not included in the official rule book. These are the unwritten rules that most players respect. Some fall into the baseball basics, like left and right fielders conceed any ball the center fielder calls. Some are out of superstition and well known, such as “Don’t talk to the starting pitcher who is actively pursuing a no-hitter.” In fact, you aren’t even suppose to udder those words if you are a fan watching the game or the game may end like this or this.

But there are many more rules that are part of the ‘unwritten code’ among baseball players. One was brought up recently this year and sparked a lot of controversy (and a new t-shirt line). While Dallas Braden of the Oakland A’s was on the mound facing the New York Yankees, A-rod made an out at third base and proceeded back the first base dugout. The shortest route: across the pitcher’s mound. However, that is a big no-no. No player is ‘allowed’ (by the unwritten code) to set foot on the pitcher’s mound during the inning. And Braden made sure A-rod knew he broke the rule (Braden then proceeded to pitch the first perfect game of the 2010 season during his next start).

Most players/coaches say that new unwritten codes are written each day (some say they didn’t know about the one A-rod broke), but there are several that are well known by most all players. One is to never try to break-up a no-hitter by bunting for a base hit. This also happened recently as Evan Longoria tried to bunt for a single in the 5th inning while Dallas Braden still had an active perfect game going (this is the same perfect game mentioned earlier… this guy was the center of controversy earlier in 2010). And Longoria and his coach defended the choice. I do, however, have some issues on this ‘rule’. Does this mean the first few batters in the first two innings can not attempt to bunt for a single? Isn’t the leadoff batter suppose to have the team’s speed and his goal is to successfully make it to first base, so can he bunt in his first at-bat?

Other well known ‘codes’ are:

  • Don’t swing at the first pitch after a pitcher has given up back-to-back home runs
  • Don’t swing for the fences on a 3-0 count
  • Don’t taunt the pitcher that just gave up the home run you hit (Prince Fielder learned this one after the bowling pin incident)
  • Pitchers stay in the dugout at least until the end of the inning in which they were pulled
  • When hit by a pitch, don’t rub the mark
  • Relievers take it east when facing other relievers
  • Don’t walk between the pitcher and catcher (or Umpire) when walking into the batter’s box

The list continues. There is even a book published (just bought on the Kindle) on this topic as well as several other articles on what the most well known are (some strategic codes, others superstitious codes). Yahoo’s Sports Blog also has several good articles I recommend reading.

2. Waivers Isn’t a Fantasy Baseball Term

Fantasy sports has come a long way since their beginning (Check out the ESPN 30 for 30 film on the first Fantasy Baseball Rotisserie League) when scores had to be computed by hand and mailed out to all the participants. Now that Al Gore invented the internet, the fantasy business has boomed with a reported 15 million people playing fantasy football in 2003 and reportedly being an estimated $4 Billion industry. What ever sport or format you play (baseball rotisserie is my personal favorite), you would have heard of the waiver wire.

The most common form of the waiver wire is players dropped by one fantasy team can not be picked up immediately. The player must pass through a waiting period (typically 2 days) where any team (except the one that dropped the player) can put in a request for the player. After the waiting period, the team that has the highest waiver priority that put in a request for the player receives the player. The waiver priority is typically the reverse order of the draft order (last pick gets 1st waiver priority, etc) and a successful request moves your team back to the end of the line. But there is also another popular setup where the waiver order is the reverse order of the leagues standings. The great thing about fantasy waivers is that it wasn’t created by fantasy sports. Waivers is a real process and is accomplished in a very similar matter in Major League Baseball.

Baseball waivers is a complicated process that many fans just don’t understand. It’s a process that allows MLB teams to execute trades after the trade deadline. A process that allows teams to cut payrolls. A process to allow teams to block competitors from making that team more competitive. And surprisingly, most MLB players end up on waivers before the end of August.

So what is the general rules for waivers:

  • A Player put on waivers can be recalled from waivers only once in August (either no teams put a claim in on the player or a deal couldn’t be worked out with the winning waiver claim team). If he is put on a second time, he will not be coming back to that team again.
  • Any team (and multiple teams) can put in a request for a player on waivers. But similar to fantasy, the team with the worst record in the same league (AL or NL) gets to be the only team to make a deal for that player. If no team in the same league put in a request, the team with the worst record in the other league that made a waiver request for the player gets the only shot at acquiring that player.
  • If no team puts a claim in on the player on waivers, that player can be traded to any team
  • Any team can put in a claim for any reason. If the team wants to block an opponent from acquiring the player on waivers, they can put in a request. But beware, if the team placing the player on waivers is simply trying to dump the players contract to save some cash, the team with the successful waiver claim could get stuck with the player’s entire contract

For a more in depth waiver analysis, check out Jayson Stark’s column on ESPN.

1. The Original Rules

Baseball is a simple game. You get 27 outs. Score the most runs in those 9 innings and you win. Don’t record three strikes against you, don’t hit a ball that can be caught before it hits the ground, and don’t let the ball beat you to first base otherwise you are one of these outs. Well, maybe there are a lot more rules than that (there are only 136 pages of official rules). But did you know that the original rules consisted of only 20 different rules. And some of them were strictly due to courtesy (Rule 1: Members must strictly observe the time agreed upon for exercise, and be punctual in their attendance).

The rules have evolved a lot over the course of baseball history. The original rules were that a game did not consist of 9 innings. Instead, the first team to score 21 runs (aces as they called them) won. Unless they had more “hands” (aka innings) than the other team, in that case, the other team got another chance to score more than the team who scored 21 runs first. Can you imagine how long a game could last? The Cardinals and Mets just played a 6 hour and 53 minute extra inning game in April 2010. The game was scoreless through 18 innings, tied at 1 after 19, and finally the Mets won in the 20th inning by a score of 2-1. Another interesting rule was pitcher’s could not “throw” the ball; they had to “pitch” it (their position was named pitcher for a reason). This means that prior to 1884 pitches were delivered to the batters underhand in a horseshoe type motion. That’s just wrong. Another rule was that foul balls were considered mulligans, not strikes. This allowed batters to foul off pitches just waiting for the perfect pitch. I wish adult softball leagues had this rule, but instead I get to hit 2 foul balls and have it be considered a strikeout.

Another original rule that allowed for loop holes in strategy was if the 3rd strike was dropped, the runner MUST run to first even if its occupied. This allowed a catcher to intentionally drop a 3rd strike, and if bases were loaded, pick it up, step on home, throw to third, and then throw to second for an easy triple play. The rule quickly changed to not allow a runner to advance to first on a dropped 3rd strike if first base was occupied.

Then there was the ability to steal back first base. Yes, ‘Back’ first base. Similar to the strategy today, if a team had runners on first and third, the player on first would steal second trying to draw a throw down to second so the runner on third could score. If the player did not draw a throw by stealing second, he could attempt to steal back first base to try and draw a throw to allow the runner on third to score. This is no longer legal after you have successfully advanced a base and the play is considered dead. Unlike the case of Lloyd Moseby who stole second base… twice… in one play (check out the video here).

Another loop hole in the rules was the ability for a batter to declare himself out on a ground ball to remove the force out with a runner on 1st. This effectively eliminated double plays. Just think, the Minnesota Twins would not be in the playoff hunt this season without their 109 twin killings (aka double plays).

Rules have changed since then trying to make the game fair for all. But there are some rule changes that never made it into the rule book. In 1893, there was a fear that the game was becoming too much a pitcher’s game (they were still 100 yrs away from the steroids era). So it was proposed to move the pitcher mound to 63ft 8 inches or 65ft 9 inches; and changing the count from 4 balls and 3 strikes to 4 balls and 4 strikes.

Here are the original twenty rules.

And those are what I believe to be five must knows for the want to be baseball fan. Hopefully, you read something new and interesting this post. If you didn’t learn anything new, then you truly are a baseball fan.

MLB’s Wokman’s Comp Is Pretty Good

Let’s be honest, we all wish we were professional athletes. Maybe not for the working hours. Maybe not for the travel. Maybe not even for the game. But we all would do it for the money. Professional athletes get ludicrous salaries. Some of them are guaranteed money which means they don’t have to perform at any level and they still get paid. I wish I could get raises based on previous performance and then not have to continue to deliver that level any longer.

If that doesn’t make you jealous or think professional sports business is a little upside down, then let me tell you about a little loophole that allows teams to roster more players but makes MLB look like it may have the best workman’s compensation policy on the planet.

If a player on the 40-man roster gets injured, ideally the team would like to be able to replace that team member so that they can replenish the 25-man roster without having to kick the injured player off the roster and run the risk of losing that player to another team. So, because of a slight loop hole, the team can add that player to the big league 25-man roster and then place him on the 60 day DL. This allows this player to stay on the 40-man roster and since he is now on the DL, the team can then add another player to the 40-man roster.

So what does that mean? Why am I even bring this up? Well, for that injured player being transitioned from the 40-man roster to the 25-man roster, he is now considered a professional level MLB player, so he has to be paid the MLB minimum salary. That’s a pretty good compensation. His base salary is going to jump from 5 digits to almost 7 digits. Just look at Burch Smith of the Tampa Bay Rays. He was a minor leaguer making about $80k and then had the dreaded Tommy John surgery (which is an epidemic in the MLB these days). The Rays wanted to keep him on the 40-man roster so they promoted him the the 25-man roster and put him on the DL. This gave Burch Smith a workmans comp of $500k which is 500% more than his season starting salary.

I will sign up for tommy john surgery right now if it means I get 1 year off of work and I make 500% more than I do now during that time. I think all of us would. And if you are shaking your head as if you wouldn’t, then you are lying to me and yourself.

I don’t blame the industry to give back to the players that have helped the game build a fan base. But how about giving some of that money back to the fans. Ticket prices are outrageous and the majority of the fan base can’t afford to experience as many live games as they would want to. How about lowering ticket prices which unfortunately lowers teams’ incomes, but it will lower the lucrative player contracts. Teams will still be able to make money and maybe even more money if the fans walking into the stadium had more money in their pockets from lower ticket prices to spend on team apparel, food, beverages, etc. As an avid fan, I can only dream that someday I will be lucky enough to be able to afford to go to a World Series game.

Bee is for Baseball

Bees have become baseball fans. But I don’t think the bees feel welcomed by the baseball community and protests seem to becoming more and more prevalent with some turning aggressive. We need to start including bees as fans to bring back the peace. Its a win-win for both the bees and baseball. The bees can be counted in the popularity counts which would put baseball back on top as the most popular sport in America.

Don’t Bee-lieve me that the bees aren’t an organized protest (OK, I’m done with the Bee comments)? Take a look at the timeline below:

  • July 2, 2009 – PETCO Park San Diego – The Astros and Padres are delayed for 52 minutes when 2000 bees swarmed Kyle Blanks in left field in the 9th inning. A bee keeper was called in to take care of the unexpected fans. Its too bad too because those bees would have put the attendance over 25000. Something the Padres are hoping more of in 2015 after spending a lot of money in the off-season on big names.
  • May 18, 2012 – Coors Field Denver – A camera man is evicted from his camera well when thousands of bees take it over in the 5th inning. The umps must of had important dinner plans with their wives because they barely halted the game and demanded the teams keep playing. A vacuum showed up in the 6th inning and relocated the bees outside of the stadium.
  • Sept 22, 2013 – Angel Stadium Anaheim – Felix Hernandez runs screaming like a little girl when bees start taking over the field. After the bees successfully scare the King, they move to the outfield and scatter the players out there. After 23 minutes, a man with a Gatorade cooler full of honey and wielding a broom takes care of the bees just long enough for them to terrorize the Angels outfield in the next half inning. No one was harmed but the bees are getting more aggressive in their fly in protests.
  • March 16, 2014 – Salt River Fields Scottsdale – Bees swarm the left field fence padding between the Brewers and the Diamondbacks. Left fielder Parra wanted nothing to do with the bees and headed to the infield waiting for them to leave. Many believe this upset the bees whom were simply looking for autographs. Now they just felt excluded.
  • March 18, 2014 – Steinbrenner Field Tampa – Things are starting to get ugly. Bees invade left field causing the Red Sox to panic. Teixeira decides to try distracting the bees by leading them out of the stadium with a trail of honey. But the inexperienced ground crew decide to use chemical warfare on the bees causing casualties over a 7 minute span. This may be considered the shot heard ’round the world for bees vs baseball.
  • April 3, 2014 – Chase Field Phoenix – Upset by the attack the previous month, the bees try to protest in center field but the game starts anyways. Angel Pagan sends a warning shot out into them when AJ Pollock charging. The bees retreat and plot their attack.
  • March 8, 2015 – Diablo Stadium Tempe – Bees decide to avoid the players and just sit with the other fans at a Royals vs Angels game. However, the fans avoid them and masked man comes charging in with chemical warfare. Bees lives were lost that day.
  • March 20, 2015 ‘B Day’ – Elk Fields Utah – The bees have had it. No more peaceful protests. Thousands of bees descend from left field and start attacking fans. One family sustained the most injuries when the mother was stung 15 times, the son was stung 40+ times, and the father was stung over 400 times… in the face!. Firefighters were called in and due to the aggressiveness of the bees, they had to take to chemical warfare. Bees lives were lost but let’s not forget their message or the war may never end. Bees are for baseball!

Money Talks

Time for a random rant… I recently finished my summer baseball voyages and got to experience a few things. One was a rare same city double header. I started with a day game at US Cellular between the WhiteSox and Royals and immediately followed it up with a night game at Wrigley the same day. Both were new venues to me and unique experiences that I got to share with some good guys.

Later in the summer, I ventured down south and made some pit stops at a few minor league stadiums, the Asheville Tourists (Rockies single A) and the Louisville Bats (Reds triple A, plus a side trip to the Louisville bat manufacturing plant tour and museum).

The two similar trips got me thinking… I had more ‘fun’ at the minor league games than I did at the major league games. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the baseball much, much more at the MLB level but the games were missing the excitement, entertainment, and energy that the minor league games had.

And I think I know why, the fans are ‘true’ fans. The fans were more into the heckling, the chants, the game. There were always some stupid contest or humiliating task for fans to win prizes after every side batted. And front row tickets were under $15. They live for their hometown entertainers and they can afford to go and support them. That second point is key… They can afford to go. Professional sports have gotten caught up in the business boom and solely trying to make money. What this means is real fans can’t afford the good seats or any seats (or the concessions). It’s sad too because these are the people that truly care about the teams. Not the business men buying the suits to butter up clients. Not the millionaires looking to flaunt their money. I tend to splurge and pay for the good seats but I would enjoy it much more if I hade some spare money to buy a beer and hot dog. And there is no way I can go to a World Series game without being in standing room or nose bleed sections. The normal seats for those events are reserved for social royalty.

I think Olbermanns rant below solidifies this idea of sports being purely business these days. Everything could be made better but then there would be no money for the owners, office, and players to swim in.

And in tonight’s Braves/Mets game, the Braves tv broadcast actually kept a clock of all the time batters were not standing in the batters box after they approached the plate… The final tally in the 9-innings was an astonishing 23.5 minutes. If the MLB enforced the rules, that game would have been done almost 30 minutes sooner, but they would also be thousands of dollars poorer.

AA: Bribing Fans In July

Welcome Back! I always find myself struggling to find time to make posts come summer. And it doesn’t get easier from here on out. But one of the coolest things about running this site is meeting or running into people that play in our HR derby. Believe it or not, we have contestants from East to West and North to South (last season we even bridged the Atlantic Ocean). And recently, I was honored in witnessing two of our teams tie-the-knot in the Rocky Mountains (congrats Cowhide Joyride and Ruby In The Rockies). And one of the bonuses of this trek was getting to meet even more of our players face to face. The expression on your faces when I break the news that I’m ‘The Commish’ is always priceless. So who knows, The Commish may be coming to a town near you and maybe we will become more than just faces in the crowd (or words in an email).

One way to bribe me to a town near you is with baseball. Obviously, I enjoy baseball. Some people may even call it an addiction. I just can’t turn baseball off inside my head. But most people aren’t like me, so it takes some coaxing to get them to head on out to the ballpark. Last month I covered the minor league affiliates who had some of the best and weirdest free giveaways. So where should you go in the month of July to get some one-of-a-kind items? Well, start mapping out your July road-trip through these cities:

  • Friends Don’t Let Friends Be IronPigs Fans – Scranton RailRiders – July 1 – You can wear this shirt anywhere but Allentown, PA. If you wear it there, it’s your own funeral.
  • Second Wise Man Bobblehead – Nashville Sounds July 11 – If you got the first one in June, you have to get the second one to continue towards the coolest nativity scene in your neighborhood.
  • Sequin Glove – Toledo Mud Hens – July 12 – SEQUINS!!!! O-EM-GEE!! It’s totes adorbs. I can only hope that it distracts the other team’s batters while I’m in the field.
  • Tiara – Wisconsin Timber Rattlers – July 12 – If you couldn’t make it to Toledo in time for the Sequin glove, you could settle for a tiara if you happen to be in Wisconsin. I mean who wouldn’t be pumped for Princess Night at the ballpark.
  • Slap Watch – Louisville Bats July 13 – Please tell me you remember slap bracelets… Oh the 80’s and early 90’s. Now we are in the future and technology is better. So how do you make a fashion weapon even better? You add a watch to it, so you know the exact time that you hit your brother over the face with it.
  • Beer Stein – Albuquerque Isotopes July 18 – I don’t know what your bar-ware collection looks like, but if it’s anything like mine, there is always room for 1 more beer stein. And if there isn’t, you build another cabinet.
  • Duck Dynasty Tea Cup – Cedar Rapids Kernels July 18 – I was very tempted to make a trip to this game after reading ‘Tea Cup’. I would look a lot more manly at tea-time if I had a teacup with a giant beard on it. But alas, its a cup made for sweet tea similar to the one Si drinks out of.
  • Pujols Garden Gnome – Inland Empire 66ers July 19 – I only have a garden so that I have a home for sports gnomes. Seriously. Bernie Brewer shifts to a new home every time the Brewers lose. So go get your has been Pujols gnome. He needs a loving, caring home.
  • Free Loaf Of Bread – Reading Fightin’ Phils – July 20 – Boom! Shopping list done. Yes honey, I remembered the bread.
  • Salt & Pepper Shakers – Lakewood Blueclaws July 24 – Phew. I’ve been looking everywhere to up my salt and pepper shaker collection by one. These old squirrel ones aren’t just cutting it anymore and need to be retired. And just in case you miss this game, you can go to the July 27 game and get your Umbrella Hat. Here’s hoping for rain on Sunday the 27th.
  • Babe Ruff Snow Globe – Birmingham Barons July 26 – Sweet, a snow globe… in July?! I kind of wonder who this Babe Ruff character is. Is it a dog’s head on Babe Ruth’s body or is it Babe Ruth’s head on a dog’s body? Either way, what an awesome gift to display not just at Christmas, but all year round.
  • Ugly Sweater Jersey – Lowell Spinners – July 24 – Um… the picture is worth 1,000 words. I would totally wear this on Christmas and the 10 days after. No need for washing.
  • Santa Hat – Arkansas Naturals – July 24 – What’s with all the Christmas in July. I like snow but why remind me of the cold when the heat finally got here. It’s too bad I can’t get the ugly sweater and the santa hat. Why did they plan these giveaways on the same night!

AA: June’s Fan Bribes

It’s time for some AA (Audience Augmenter) posts in 2014 thanks to a lead from The Golden Trouts. They sent me a great link to a promotion the Indian’s Class A affiliate, the Lake County Captains, are running August 1st. The first 1500 fans get an AWESOME Jobu bobblehead. I think one of our teams, Jobu Needs ANOTHER Refill, needs this on their desk as a team mascot.

I love these types of fan enticing gimmicks. What better way to persuade fans to come to a sporting event than bribing them with crap that people love (I’m one of those guys that love bobbleheads and I don’t know why). But this link got me thinking… what other head scratching fan giveaways are going on in the Minor Leagues that will definitely attract some sort of fans. Well, after a little research, I found the ones in June that made me do just that, scratch my head. So mark your calendars for these upcoming dates:

  • Starling Marte Oven Mitt – Altoona Curve June 1st – Unfortunately, you missed out on owning this one of a kind oven mitt. I mean who wouldn’t want to remember a struggling CF every time they pulled their casseroles out of the oven?
  • Door Mat – Colorado Springs Sky Sox June 1st – Again, you may have missed this giveaway and what better way for a fan to remember that their team is in last place in the standings and being walked all over. Thus making them the division’s door mat.
  • Mystery Star Wars Bobblehead – Lancaster JetHawks June 14th – What’s better than useless crap? Mystery useless crap. I will feel very bad for the fan that receives a bobblehead of Jar-Jar Binks.
  • Bible Bobblehead of First Wise Man – Nashvillle Sounds June 29th – For a team affiliated to beer drinkers, I’m a little surprised by this giveaway. Don’t worry, you have the chance to own all the wise men in bobblehead form. Just don’t miss one of the other two games because I’m sure you won’t be able to find these cheap on Ebay. Your best bet may be to steal them from someone’s Nativity Scene this December.
  • Free Beer and Hot Wings Bobblehead – West Michigan Whitecaps June 19th – Uh? Why didn’t they just stop after the word ‘Wings’?! Why did they have to add the word bobblehead to the end? Imagine how many fans (and college students from across the country) they could have had in attendance if Free Beer and Hot Wings were on the menu that night. It would probably go over worse than the Cleveland Indians’ 10cent Beer Night.
  • Kayla Miller Vendor Bobblhead and Cowboy Monkey Rodeo Bobblehead – Wilmington Blue Rocks June 10th and 26th – I’m pretty sure this organization is giving away gifts at every game this season, whether it’s salt and pepper shakers or umbrellas or dog bowls. But two unique ones are the bobbleheads for their local stadium Kayla Miller and another bobblehead of the cowboy rodeo monkey. First, the Kayla Miller bobblehead is interesting and let’s be honest, who wouldn’t want a collectible bobblehead of themselves. But having 1000 other people having a mini statue of you on their mantle is a little creepy (or even creepier, in their bathroom). The cowboy rodeo monkey bobblehead is crazy awesome if Whiplash (the Monkey) actually makes an appearance. This isn’t the first time we have highlighted Whiplash in an AA post, and I’m sure it won’t be the last.

Keep sending me those interesting links. I only have so much time to find them myself.

I Saw The Sign, It Opened Up My Eyes…

Then I got a Hit!

Troy Tulowitzki is batting a ridiculous 0.521 at home in Coors Field this season. That’s cray, cray good. That’s not-from-this-planet good. That’s cheating good.

Seriously, what is wrong with baseball fans these days?! Just because an opposing player is putting up out of the normal statistics, they immediately jump to the “He’s cheating. He’s a Cheater” accusations. Yes, the San Francisco announcers jumped straight to the conclusion that Tulo must be stealing signs. Because that makes the most sense for a runner-up rookie of the year candidate and two-time silver slugger. Did anyone question Babe Ruth when the league leader in home runs went from 10 to 50+ (maybe they should have)? Did anyone accuse Nolan Ryan of cheating when he struck out 301 players in a single season?

I swear everyone thinks they are getting screwed in some way or another. And they will btch and whine to get their way or what they think they are entitled to (and probably sue somebody or everybody along the way).

At least Tulo had some fun with the accusations at tonight’s game. He changed his walk-up music to Ace of Base’s The Sign (man I loved that cassette when it came out. Go ahead take away my man card, I was 9).

You’re Listening To 97.7 – Reddick’s Slow Jams

I’ve said this for years, but I will say it again… Oakland has some of the best fans in baseball.

And why wouldn’t they? Billy Beane has built a winning team from chump change and always gives the fans a competing team. But it also takes personality to become great fans.

For instance, take Ian Sagabaen… aka Greatest Sign Maker. He’s a graphic designer and diehard A’s fan. And for the past several seasons, he’s been creating some of the greatest signs anyone will ever see at a game. In fact, he’s so talented that he’s been featured several times on MLB and even had a behind the scenes look at his awesome sign making.

But it takes more than just fans like Ian to create a fan base. You need players with personality as well. Take Coco Crisp. He’s always had personality… just look at that ‘fro of hair. But what he started in Oakland turned into a crazed ritual. After a big play the Oakland players started to do the Bernie lean from weekend at Bernie’s, and the fans latched onto it and ran.

It got so popular that not only did they make an official music video (what defines ‘official’ music video anyways?), but eventually they made a Coco Crisp Bernie Lean bobblehead.

But it’s a new season so the A’s need a new character. Cue Josh Reddick, his slump, and his walk-up music.

Reddick has been bad this season. Some of you may know this because you chose him in the Home Run Derby. So, he requested his walk up music be changed hoping to spark a fire under his bat. And you know what, his bat seems to like the sweet slow jams of Wham’s “Careless Whisper”. And not only his bat, but the fans too…

He’s so red hot the last week that he is now 6-for-15 with 3 home runs and 9 rbi’s since adopting the sweet tune.
What’s crazy is even fantasy advice is recognizing this and attributing his success to the music:
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My favorite part of the video highlights of his Wham walk up music is probably the fan base jamming out with him as he came to the plate again. You know the diehard fans will be downloading this song just so they can pre/post-game celebrate to it. I would guess that if you monitored song downloads carefully, you would see a big uptick in “Careless Whisper” downloads in the next week. And I bet Sean Doolittle is one of them:

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The Baseball Bucket List

Everyone has a bucket list. You know, the things that you would love to do before your time on this planet is over. It could be as rare as an exotic trip to a rare place, it could be as common as seeing an ocean. It could be as adrenelane pumping as jumping from a perfectly good airplane, it could be as calming as sitting in front of a warm fireplace reading a book in the middle of uncivilized wilderness.

Me being a baseball fanatic, I thought about what would be my bucket list if it only contained baseball related items. Here is what I came up with:

  • Watch a ball game in a stadium of all the active MLB teams – Currently, there are 30 MLB teams. I have visited 9 total stadiums of different MLB teams. Two are no longer active (Old Yankee and the Metrodome). I’m hoping to knock at least 2-3 more off the list this season, but I have a long way to go before completing this one. Unlike, this guy who did all 30 stadiums in 26 days. I bow to that type of devotion.
  • Attend Spring Training – It doesn’t matter if it’s the Cactus or Grapefruit league, Spring Training is a must for any baseball fan. For an added bonus, see all 14 (or 16) teams on one Spring Training Trip. That’s only a week or so vacation if you can watch a carefully planned 7-8 games in that time frame.
  • Attend an All-Star Game – What better way to see all the great baseball players of a season than in a single game competing against each other? Add more bonus points to your bucket list if you attend the HR Derby and sit in the outfield attempting to catch one of those Gold home run balls.
  • Attend a uniform number retirement ceremony – I’ve never been to one (simply because the Brewers don’t retire numbers often), but I’ve been to a few farewell ceremonies. One I can remember was a tribute ceremony for Greg Vaughn, and it was neat to see an entire career highlighted in a single night. I can only imagine what ceremonies retiring numbers belonging to Greg Maddux, Cal Ripken, and Nolan Ryan must be like.
  • Catch a ball during an MLB game – I’ve been very close to several in my lifetime but have never felt one strike my own fingers. This is the ultimate memento to a game, and hopefully when my chance comes, there aren’t any little kids sitting around me so I don’t have to be pressured into giving it to them (or even worse, pressured into throwing it back). You get bonus bucket points for catching a home run.
  • Witness a rare statistical event – How cool would it be to watch a player hit 4+ home runs in a single game?! How many times will you see a player hit for the cycle or watch a pitcher throw 20+ strikeouts?! How unbelievable would it be to watch a no-hitter… no even better, a perfect game?!(Or two). Or watch someone break a 30-year old Home Run Record?! Or probably the most rare, watching an iron man surpass the most consecutive games played?!
  • Attend a double-header – Double-headers are a rare commodity these days. Typically it’s due to a rain out and you have to buy 2 separate tickets. If you ever find a traditional double-header requiring a single ticket, jump on the opportunity to see 2 games back-to-back.
  • Follow your favorite team through the playoffs – I’ve been to 3 playoff games and there isn’t anything close to the experience when it comes to watching a baseball game. Home or away, every single fan is watching every pitch. There are no beer runs, there are no mid-pitch potty breaks. It’s 45,000+ fans on the edge of their seat at all times. You can even get bonus points for attending their World Series run and even more if you attend the game they clinch the World Series title.
  • Get a player’s autograph – Autograph’s can be acquired 2 different ways: personally or purchased (gifted = purchased). Both are great ways to collect your favorite all-time players and remember great baseball memories. My favorite purchased autograph is a game used Jose Hernandez bat. Yes, Jose Hernandez. He is the player that got me hooked back on Brewer baseball as he was chasing the single season strikeout record as a batter. However, the memories coming from an autograph where you handed the player the pen are irreplaceable. I can still remember getting the ball from Bret Saberhagen after he threw it into the fence during warm-ups at County Stadium. Or sitting next to Mike Dunleavy and his young son and asking him to sign a baseball (this was at the Vaughn tribute game I mentioned above… crazy how memories work).
  • Brewers-2012June9_Pic6_newSit in the front row behind home plate – I had a rare opportunity to sit front row one section from directly behind home plate and I can tell you that there are no better seats to watch a ball game live. You are feet from the players and the action. You can feel every fastball. You can see every curveball. You can hear the umpire’s play-by-play. It’s an amazing spot to watch a game with all the other diehards.
  • Witness the first or last pitch in a stadium – Could you imagine being at old Yankee Stadium on the final pitch? Imagine if the grass, the outfield walls, the bases, the seats could talk… what would they tell you? Maybe they would tell you about Roger Marris hitting his 61st home run of the 1961 season. Maybe they would tell you about Mr. October hitting 3 home runs in the 1977 World Series. Maybe the story of Don Larsen throwing a perfect game in ’56 World Series. Or maybe about ‘The Pine Tar game’ when George Brett was thrown out of the game after hitting what would be the game winning home run. Or maybe about the first home run ever hit inside Yankee Stadium by none other than Babe Ruth. Could you imagine being at the first pitch of new Yankee stadium? The memories, the legacies, the players that will be going through there. Watching greats like Mariano Rivera, and Derek Jeter retire. Yeah, that would be cool to witness the end or start of a stadium legacy. Whether it be Fenway, Wrigley, Dodger, or even Miami’s stadium, each stadium brings their own collection of memories.
  • Make a Sportcenter Highlight – Did you catch your foul ball with a baby in one had? Did you duck for cover and let your lady friend take one off the face? Did you jump on the field to hug Jeter? Did you start the collapse of a team’s curse breaking season? Whatever you did, you got to see yourself on the big screen at home and are immortalized on your DVR forever.
  • Watch a game from an iconic seat – Everyone knows of the ‘Bartman Game’ at Wrigley. And that seat has become a popular place for a photo recreation, but what about watching an entire game from that seat. You may get to actually recreate the controversy. Several stadiums have these types of seats. There’s the Ted Williams seat at Fenway (I would even count the Green Monster as an iconic seat). Arizona has the pool out in right field. San Francisco has the chain link fence in the right field boardwalk (A kayak in McCovey Cove would be sweet as well). Colorado has the Purple Row at 1-mile high. Maybe the Western Metal Supply building at Petco Park. Or maybe the dollar Uecker Seats at Miller Park. Standing room only out in the Kauffman water fountains. I’m sure I’m missing some others but my bucket list would probably contain games from the top of the Green Monster or in a kayak in McCovey Cove.
  • Throw out the first pitch – I can’t even imagine… but if a robot, dinosaur, wookie, and bigfoot can do it, why can’t I have a shot?!

So what did I miss? What’s on your baseball bucket list (or already crossed off your bucket list)?