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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.

The Long Overdue August Post

Hey look at that, I found some spare time to share random baseball thoughts and ramblings with other people.

First thing obviously comes first… the Kings of Cork Home Run Derby. It’s still a two horse race but one is starting to pull away thanks to… Chris Carter?! Why is that guy always a surprise in this thing? He has lead numerous teams in the past to some type of glory in the Derby (usually top-10) but no one gives him any credit. Well, The Big Stinky is the team that is capitalizing this season. Their team is stacked too. They have correctly picked the best player in 3 out of 5 categories (Cruz, Carter, and Abreu). The other impressive quality about this team is that The Big Stinky was the first team to ever stumble on to our competition via the World Wide Webs with no ties back to The Commish at all. They fully trusted mailing a random guy $5 in snail mail waiting for it to pay some dividends. Well in their fourth year in the derby, they just may get a return on their investment big enough to play ‘free’ for the next 30 seasons (assuming no inflation on the registration dues).

However, they have Paul Goldschmidt, who we all know is out for a while with a broken hand, AND they already used their trade on a guy that was supposed to be out for the season but has returned early and already hit some home runs (Avisail Garcia). That gives an opening for the team that has been leading most of the way, Kettle Poppers. Their team is also leading my fantasy baseball league, which would be a very impressive double win in the same season if they can pull off a victory in the HR Derby and maintain their lead in fantasy baseball. They also have Goldy but still can use a trade (now that Goldy is trade eligible).

And don’t forget we are still playing for monthly winners. The Big Stinky is currently in 2nd place for August with 18 and half of them are from Chris Carter. The only team currently in front of them is Mauer Power. Thank you Carlos Gomez (6HR), J-Upton (5HR), and company. There are still 10 days left so there are plenty of games left before the August King (Queen) is crowned.

I mentioned Fantasy Baseball earlier and I’d like to come back to that topic. Even though it’s August and football preseason games are starting… IT’S STILL BASEBALL SEASON. Just in case anyone forgot. Why is it that every one forgets about baseball during the playoff push and playoffs because football has started? I don’t understand why there is more draw to football over baseball. I always like to blame that it’s for the lazy fan. The one that just wants to be able to tune in to their team for a single day for a few hours a week. But there has to be something more and I can’t place my finger on it.



But back to Fantasy Baseball. Fantasy Baseball is for the diehards, fantasy football is for the weak/lazy. Yes at times I am completely consumed and overwhelmed trying to manage 2 baseball teams consistently over 180 days. But it’s intense, fun, and most players in fantasy baseball are very passionate about the game (and you have to be, the game lasts FOREVER). What I think draws me towards baseball is all the various strategies, trade possibilities, injuries, off days, scoring categories, player statistics, and the diehards. It’s a game that involves a high level of thinking and predicting outcomes based on hundreds of statistics. You will sit there and contemplate starting a pitcher when you know that it’s against the Cardinals at home where they always destroy starting pitchers. But you need K’s and Wins, so you have to start him only to watch him give up those 10 runs in 4 innings. Or if you benched him, he throws a complete game shutout. But then there are the trades… its such a long season and players are so volatile that you see trades proposed or accepted that you would have never thought possible. Trades that sound completely lopsided in real life actually mean something in a 180 day season (really, who trades Billy Hamilton for King Felix… someone desperate for steals is who).

Every year I rant about this, but baseball is superior to football in both real life and fantasy… or at least it should be during the last few weeks of the MLB season when the NFL is just beginning its season. Rant over.

May’s Must Click Links

With the weather warming up and summer in the air, The Commish’s dedicated writing time gets shorter and shorter (well, my daily sleep time is even shorter than that). And I feel like in the last few weeks there has been an abundance of articles in off-the-wall locations that I haven’t had enough time to catch them all.

So, I’ve decided to regurgitate all of them here at once. Ready for links to keep your mind off work on Friday. Then, here we go:

  • First on the list is a feel good video. I won’t even make you click a link to leave the page (unless you want to). You can watch it below:

    How cool is that?! The kids first professional baseball home run (in the minor league that is) was caught by his dad. If I’m the father, I can think of 2 options:
    1) Wrap it up and cross your kid’s name off your Christmas list early this year.
    2) Use it as blackmail for free lifetime season tickets, a house, and a Ferrari if the kid ever makes it to the Majors.
  • NY Times Upshot captures regional data from Facebook users and creates very interactive maps. Earlier this season, I stumbled upon a baseball dedicated map that actually takes fandom geography all the way down to individual zip codes. Nothing is too surprising at first glance but then you realize that there are only 26 ball teams in big bold letters at the farthest zoom. So who are the 4 missing teams… one is Toronto, so no real surprise there. But then there is no Oakland, White Sox, or Mets listed. The White Sox have the ‘largest’ areas of those 3 teams as a small pocket in south Chicago. But for as much as I love Oakland fans, this shows that they are almost non-existent. Which makes me wonder, why haven’t they moved to San Jose or somewhere else. I think I was most surprised about how large the Mariners, Rockies, and Twins kingdom spans. Granted there aren’t many teams to choose from in that area of the country. But another concerning aspect I found on this map is that every single zip code lists the top 3 teams and almost EVERY single one has the RedSox and Yankees in 2 of the top 3. Why does it seem everyone roots for the dynasties (granted the RedSox weren’t what the Yankees were in the 90’s). I mean root for the little man for once! It’s fun. The die hard fans of these fans make the games amazingly fun even though they may watch their team lose more than 50% of the time.
  • I love watching baseball. Even if it isn’t one of my teams, the game play is what I enjoy. The strategy between the two teams is like watching a dance or a suspenseful action movie. So naturally I purchase all the sports packages and one of them I need to get access to all 30 teams is MLB.tv. Nothing like being able to stream radio audio or video of every single game out of market. Or if you are like me, you enjoy your radio announcer (Uecker!!!) more than the TV announcer so you sync MLB.TV audio with your satellite video feed (ya, I’m that kind of baseball geek). But have you ever pondered about what it might do to your mobile data plan if you wanted to watch or listen to whole games. Well, I found you the link that shows you what it will cost of your precious data plan to watch a 4 hour Yankees/Red Sox game… only about 1.5 to 5.5 GB depending on download rates. For me, that’s well out of my monthly data limit and I would hate to owe ATT the calculated $4499 in monthly overage fees. Thank goodness for hacking wifi networks!
  • I’ve professed my love to a few things in my lifetime, and fantasy baseball is one of them. I live for it every season and I finally found another blog post that shares my love of fantasy baseball and hatred to football (and why baseball fans are better than football fans). On a daily basis, you can usually find me walking around, staring at my phone, trying to read the latest player news (and usually walking into poles). It’s my chance to basically be a GM without requiring to pay out millions of dollars in player salaries. And if you want to be good at fantasy baseball, it is a daily job. Lineup changes, new acquisitions, daily injuries/scratches, etc. I enjoy trying to predict players’ abilities to play baseball and predict their upcoming trends (whether they are hot or cold). Ripping off fellow baseball fanatics in trades is a favorite pastime of mine.
  • Everyone remembers the movie ‘BASEketBall‘, right? Of course you do (heck, a few of us have even played a few baseketball games ourselves). One of the core values of the game of Baseketball was that players weren’t allowed to be traded. Therefore, every team was quote, Homegrown. So what if the MLB had similar values where players couldn’t be traded, only acquired through drafts. Well, this blogger did a phenomenal job recreating every MLB Homegrown team for active players back in 2013. Some of these lineups are AMAZING (and others are just horrendous). Could you imagine a Marlins team with Miguel Cabrera, Adrian Gonzalez, and Matt Dominguez with Stanton and Willingham in the OF. Not to mention Beckett, Jose Fernandez, and Josh Johnson as the top 3 starters. Or how about the Rangers with Encarnacion, Kinsler, Ott, Profar, and Teixeira in the IF with Chris Davis in the OF. But probably the best team… the Mariners. Fister, King Felix, Iwakuma, Morrow, and Tillman as starting pitchers is ridiculous. But even more ridiculous is their offense (specifically the OF) of Suzuki, Shin-Soo Choo, Ibanez, and Adam Jones. Oh, how about David Ortiz at DH. And then basically the current Mariner IF (Miller, Frankling, Seagar, and Ackley) with the addition of Asdrubal Cabrera. That’s crazy good and doesn’t even include A-Roid. Go check out your homegrown team (Brewer fans should avoid reading the SP rotation though).
  • Technology is crazy these days. You can basically stalk whoever you want (thanks Facebook). You can look up what relative of yours was overthrown by their minions and forced to give back their land in France (thanks Ancestory.com). You can now get instant offers, player walk-up music, and concession menus thanks to MLB.com’s At the Ballpark app. What’s even better is some parks offer free seat upgrades on this app. Hello first row!
  • Apps are cool and all, but what about new data and video systems. Well, Miller Park was 1 of 3 teams that got a new data system installed this offseason to track even more statistical data online and display wicked awesome graphics. You want to know what Carlos Gomez’s top speed was while robbing Votto of a home run? You want to know how far he ran to get there? You want to know how quick his reaction time was before taking his first step? You want to know his acceleration? Done! I really hope this data is used for good and not evil. The good would use it for evaluating players performance and giving the players performance reviews in order to earn their raises like everyone else. The evil would use it to calculate how fast boyfriends jump out of the way of a foul ball instead of protecting their girlfriends.
  • Speaking of at the ball park, do you hate the fact that beers cost $500 there? Me too. But being the total cheap ass that I am, I can now plan what stadiums I need to visit to get the bang of hot dogs and beer for my buck. See, money.CNN released an interactive catalog of every team‘s home stadium and what $20 will buy you in hot dogs and beers (it even includes different beer sizes). Where am I going next? Either Arizona or Cincinnati, where you can buy 5 hot dogs and 3 fourteen oz beers for $20… want more beer, go to Arizona which has the cheapest oz of beer per dollar rate in the MLB.
  • Last on the must click link of May is to the Intentional Walk Rage Scale (IWRS) scoreboard. What is the IWRS you ask? Well, does it piss you off when your team issues a free pass to first base? Yes?! I know it does to me. There is no one that good in baseball that the odds of them getting a base hit is higher than them making an out (batting averages over 0.500 don’t exist). Well, an NBC sports analyst came up with a way to rate how bad an Intentional Walk is and how upset it should make you. It’s too complex for me to explain (so go read it at the link above) but let’s just say that when your manager walks a guy on purpose in the second inning with 2 outs and a runner on 2nd in a one run game, then you should be FURIOUS!

Only 2 full days left until we crown a winner in May of the 2014 Home Run Derby… Big Stinky is trying to run away with it late thanks to Nelson Cruz.
Stay Tuned.

Giants Closer A Former Child Star?

I don’t want a large farva, I want a godd*$% liter o’ cola! Does that look like spit to you?

After scooping up the newly appointed Giants closer on waivers, I ran across a different movie reenactment than the one above.

It appears that either Santiago Casilla is a natural reenactment actor or he previously went by the name of Thomas Ian Nicholas and had a friend who enjoys warm apple pie.

Check out this clip from the former child star of Rookie of the Year:

That looked very similar to Henry Rowengartner’s at-bat from Fox’s Rookie of the Year:

Casilla had no intention of lifting that bat off his shoulder. He barely even had both feet in the batter’s box. Yet, the opposing pitcher couldn’t find a wide open strike zone. If Casilla is going to replace “The Beard” and his friend The Machine, Casilla better work on instilling fear instead of showing fear.

This post is also a disclaimer to all those fantasy baseball managers out there… go add Santiago Casilla, not Sergio Romo.

The All-Star Head-to-Head 2011 Fantasy Baseball Team

Something to read while the Flying Tomato lands a four-peat.

With fantasy football a few weeks behind us, the real American pastime can begin to grasp hold of America. Don’t even attempt to begin a battle you should already know you will lose. Football is just another easy out for American sports enthusiasts and should not even be mentioned in the same breath as Baseball. (This blogger should be beat with Pa’s Ol’ Beatin’ Stick… his only valid point is #5)

According to the countdown in the upper right of the site, Pitchers and Catchers report for training in roughly 10 days, 23 Hours, and 20 minutes. And since we are within the 2 week period, it is officially time to start talking Fantasy Baseball… and it isn’t a minute too soon as I was beginning to go bananas.

Fantasy Baseball comes in two opposing identities (there are other formats but not nearly as popular)… similar to Cinderella and the Ugly Step-Sisters. Rotisserie and Head-to-Head. One may ask… so which format is Cinderella and which format is the Ugly Step-Sisters. The Commish’s opinion is only one small opinion, but seeing as you are reading this post, it’s an opinion that you care about (I’m just stroking my own ego at this point). But, Cinderella only plays in Rotisserie format Fantasy Baseball, for several reasons.

  • It encourages building a superior all-around team.
  • It encourages research on all players and trying to find that turd to polish diamond in the rough and not streaming pitchers.
  • The best team always wins.
  • There is no luck involved because there is no ‘easy schedule’.
  • You can’t cheat (I’ll explain this comment below).

The one thing Rotisserie lacks in compared to Head-to-Head is the ability to provoke competitiveness, friendly banter, and managers in last may stay interested longer (although no manager should walk away from a team). In Head-to-Head, your team always has a specific opponent. Sure your team may be in last and out of the playoffs in August, but the ability to play against your arch nemesis (probably your boss), who is ranked number 1 in the league, and pull off a week victory leaves you feeling as if you had just won the World Series. Yes, Head-to-Head is perfect for the league that survives on cockiness and not necessarily on baseball knowledge and wits.

What fuels this hatred of Head-to-Head of mine? It’s the idea that one can walk into a league with very little baseball knowledge but has a fined tuned ability to dissect the rules and scoring. For anyone who has any morals and participates in Head-to-Head Fantasy Baseball leagues, please turn away and do not continue any further with this post. Because what follows next will give you the tools to be almost unstoppable in any Head-to-Head league.

Are you sure you want to continue reading? If you continue, I cannot be held responsible for you being banned from your high stakes league with all your old high-school buddies for using “the force” for evil and not for good.

To Learn About The Force: Follow the Jump…

Let’s Get To Know Our HR Leader

Let me here you say it… Jose Bautista. Good. Now say it again… Jose Bautista. It just doesn’t roll off the tongue like Pujols and Howard.

He, my friends, is the current MLB home run leader with 18 long balls through June 5th, which is already a career high for him. And unless you are a Blue Jay fan or Pirate fan, this season may be the first time you have heard of him. Bautista was drafted in the 20th round of the 2000 draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates (in the same draft as Adrian Gonzalez, Chase Utley, and Adam Wainwright). So by no means is he a young rookie you never heard of.

He made his pro debut not with the Pirates but with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays (they were still the unlucky Devil Rays then, before the Devil was evil). He was drafted in the 2003 rule 5 draft by the Orioles, then was picked up of waivers by Tampa Bay in 2004. He got purchased from Tampa by the Royals who then traded him to the Mets for Justin Huber. But the Mets didn’t like him either and sent him packing in a trade the same day (it was a 3-team trade) that involved the Mets giving Bautista, Ty Wigginton, and a minor leaguer to receive Jeff Keppinger and Kris Benson from no other than the team who drafted Bautista, the Pittsburgh Pirates. So he rode the merry-go-round all the way back to Pittsburgh. But they still didn’t like him and traded him to the Jays in 2008 for a player TBD later (that player was Robinzon Diaz). So out of all those names, how many did you know? One: Ty Wigginton… maybe two: if you know Jeff Keppinger. And who gets the last laugh? That might be Jose Bautista if he continues his RBI and HR rates.

So let’s take a look at the numbers to tell where the truth lies. Is he the real deal or is he just getting the best of the pitchers’ mistakes.
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A Limp-off, A Balk-off, And More On Memorial Day Weekend

Memorial Day weekend is a time to remember, reflect, and thank all of the people who have served and sacrificed for our freedom. So before we go any further, Thank You.

Now let’s remember and reflect on a very busy weekend in baseball. Here are the bullet points to some of the more interesting stories from the extended weekend. Some have major fantasy relevance for those of you that care about that topic.

Kendry Morales‘ Walk-off or Limp-off Grand Slam: Saturday night (May 29) had a baseball moment most young boys dream about and majority have even simulated at their local sandlot. Kendry Morales came to the plate with the bases loaded, 1 out, in the bottom of the 10th of a tie ball game. And on the first pitch, Morales drove one to deep center field and got to do the walk-off home run trot. Walk-off home runs come with all types of celebrations: the classic trot, the “drop it like its hot” bat flip, the stare down, the Brewers jersey un-tucking, or even Prince Fielder‘s “home plate grenade“. Morales simply took his jogged his 4 bases and like most, jumped on home plate in the middle of his waiting teammates’ mosh-pit. However, Morales should have probably taken ballet classes because his spikes gave way on the plate resulting in a broken leg. This is crippling to not only the Angels but to one of the Home Run Derby leaders, Swing and a Mrs. The next night the Angels had another walk-off home run; and let’s just say, they celebrated with a little less enthusiasm.
Check out the video of Morales below. Click here if the video clip won’t play.

For the Rest of the Story: Follow the Jump…

Baseball Slang… We Swing the Big Stick

“Souvenir City”, “Warning Track Power”, “The Long Ball”, “Ducks on the Pond”, “Fence Buster”, “Glass Arm”, “Mendoza Line”, “Worm Burner”…

I really enjoy slang; and the driving factor in this comment is because slang terms are easier to remember in my very minute vocabulary (Let’s put it this way, I am not an English major by any means). In fact as of right now, I am dubbing Slang as the official language of The Kings Of Cork.

For instance, the term “Home Run” has MANY slang terms. The long ball, jack, dinger, souvenir, just to name a few of my favorites.

What I would like to do here is introduce a few slang terms that others have coined here to help them catch on, as well as bring up a few I have thought of and you guys can help spread the word (or comment on them in the comments section about how uncreative I am).

Some of these are more fantasy baseball relevant but most can be used in the every morning baseball box score chat with the guy in the cubicle next to you.

The Golden Sombrero – I’m sure most of you have heard this baseball term before (it has nothing to do with how many churros Prince Fielder can eat before the 3rd inning, although I bet it’s about 34). This feat is typical for ball players like Mark Reynolds, Ryan Howard, Bobby Bonds and Jose Hernandez (showing my Brewer bias right there). So what is it you ask, the crowning of a golden sombrero happens when a single player records 4 strikeouts in a single game. These are more common than you may think. In fact, there has been a golden sombrero in 4 straight days. Jose Guillen recorded one vs the Rangers last night, May 24. Ryan Ludwick recorded one in a 10 inning game vs the Angels on May 23. The night before him Aramis Ramirez, who has been awful, wore the crown in a 10 inning game vs the Rangers. And the night before him, Will Venable got the most shameful kind, a sombrero in a 9 inning game vs the Mariners. The list continues. Other versions of this feat are the platinum sombrero and the titanium sombrero, which are 5 k’s and 6 k’s by a single player in a single game respectively. The titanium sombrero is not a common accomplishment. It’s never been done in a standard 9 inning game, but in extra innings it has been done 8 times. Most recently by him Geoff Jenkins on June 8, 2004 (yes another great Milwaukee Brewer).

Gilbert Brown BurgerThe next item was coined by TMR (Talented Mr Roto) aka Matthew Berry and Nate Ravitz on the Fantasy Focus podcast. They call it: The Combo Meal. This term is geared more towards fantasy baseball. It’s the achievement of scoring a Run, an RBI, a Home Run, and a Stolen Base all in a single game. Really, it’s as simple as hitting a home run and stealing a base in the same game (since a player would acquire at minimum a run and an RBI on the home run itself). This is one of my new favorite slang terms. What is a combo meal at any restaurant? You get multiple items at a discounted price if you purchased them all separately. Well this accomplishment is the same definition in fantasy baseball. Typically a team has to pay for home runs in one power player and pay for stolen bases in another speedier player. But with a combo meal, the fantasy owner reaps the rewards of a 5 category player. The most recent combo meal was achieved by Alex Rios on May 24. The only question now… Would you like to supersize that?

These next few terms are just a few of my ideas of what stats could be used for slang terms:
For The Rest Of The Story: Follow The Jump…

Fantasy News: Book Value

The first guest posting: From “The Changeup Artist”

I bet everyone reading this had a baseball card collection. If you didn’t have one, you knew someone who did. We all had our favorites, those cards that you loved that nobody else loved; those cards with the bent corners that you saved your dimes to buy; those cards that you put in plastic sleeves and locked away for when you were 50.

Fantasy baseball teams are no different than your old card collection. You collect guys hoping your collection is the most valuable. It isn’t about looks – twenty Dwight Gooden rookie cards won’t help you win the best collection. In fact, to get the best collection you need to beg, borrow, steal, trade, and scrounge guys onto your roster. This week, I offer you guys to save from a burning building, to hold on in your lock box, to make a complete set, and to use on your dart board.

Run Back into the Flames for that Card!

Example: 1909 Honus Wagner could buy you one of these for 1.5 million, 1933 Babe Ruth ($150K), and 1933 Mickey Mantle ($100K)

After saving the wife, children, dog, cat, and Brewer hat, go back in for these guys. They could at least buy you a new house. Who could buy you a new team in fantasy if yours burned down in May? The question is really how many good players someone would pay for a great player. You don’t have to wait for production with these cards: they pay now! Albert Pujols is obvious. The guy kills the ball (7 Homers, 18 RBI) and is on a great team. I would run back in for Miguel Cabrera, too. His 24 RBI leads the majors and he isn’t slowing down. Maybe gaining weight but not slowing down.
For The Rest Of The Story: Follow The Jump…