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AA: We The Jury Find The Runner… Safe!

Who needs instant replay when you can have a jury?

That’s just what the St Paul Saints intend to find out on May 11th in a game against the Gary South Shore Railcats. In fact, they are getting rid of all umpire’s and replacing them with two judges and two juries.

No, the jury will not be selected through “random draw” like typical jury duty. In fact, all the jury members will be minors… yes, minors. They will be made up of 24 little leaguers (12 for each jury, 1 jury for each team) and replace the base umpires.

The home plate umpire will be replaced by a ‘judge’. It will still be a usual umpire, but be dressed in the typical black robe. However, he will not call balls and strikes from his usual position. Instead, he will stand behind the pitcher and call the game (seen in a Brewers spring training game this year, and reminiscent of the 19th century).

The juries will rotate half-innings and majority rule will decide the runners’ fates. A tie will not go to the runner, instead the judge will break the tie.

But this gets even better, not only will there be a judge on the field, but the fans will also have a judge in the stands that they can take their objections to. Which could turn out to be the best/worst idea if the boozers show up for the game.

This game should be marked on everyone’s road trip calendars because you will get the most game for your buck in this one. Not only will you get to watch 6 hours of baseball, but it also means beer sales ending in the top of the 8th inning won’t occur until 4.5 hours after game start. Please refer to the boozers link above for history that may repeat itself.

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In Case Yu Haven’t Seen It Yet

Yu Darvish is un-hitable in the early parts of 2013. He was one out away from a perfect game on day 3 of the 2013 season. Now he sports a 1.65ERA with 49K’s in 5 games.

His pitch arsenal was ridiculous when he arrived in the US. Some claiming he has 7 different pitches. Currently, he throws 5 main pitches… and here they all are… at once.

What’s amazing is that his motion and release point are almost completely on top of each other. No wonder why no one can hit him, there is no way to even tell what pitch might be coming.

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Home Run Derby: Week 3 Recap

P0w346411Time for the HR Derby’s week in review (Sunday April 14 to Saturday April 20). You will have to pardon my tardiness as I was watching the red hot Brewers sweep the Cubs in Milwaukee.

This week’s biggest movers:

  • The PowerBombers had a strong week 3 moving up 35 places with 6 homers. He didn’t have any real bog power surges in his lineup of Cabrera/Trout/I.Davis/Pence/Plouffe, just consistency.
  • On the opposite end of week 3 was Chicks Dig The Long Ball whose team of Pujols/Kemp/Willingham/Freeman/Molina failed to hit any home runs in week 3. It doesn’t help that Freeman was on the DL and Kemp is still on the schneid.

This week’s power team:

  • Just because your team is the biggest mover doesn’t mean your team hit the most home runs that week. Just look at Mayer’s Mashers and Juuuust a bit outside. Both of their teams hit 10 homers this past week.
  • Juuuust a bit outside had a well rounded team that caught fire and doubled his home run total from 9 to 19. Braun lead his team with 3 last week. The roids are kicking in.
  • Mayer’s Mashers had help from Week 3’s home run leader Evan Longoria. Longoria has hit 4 total home runs this season, all of them came last week.

The Leaders:

  • Wahoo’s Wallbangers was still leading after week 3 with 22 homers, but is slowing down in the home run department (but Chris Carter’s strikeout department is still rapidly increasing).
  • Baseball King remained in 2nd but gained some ground and moved into a tie for first. That tie-breaker has been known to haunt a few teams in the past.
  • Mayer’s Mashers had that strong 10 home run performance which catapulted his team into 3rd
  • Juuust a bit outside had the other 10 home run performance which allowed him to move from 29th to 4th.
  • And look out for What’s $5 bucks who was our 2011 King of Cork Champion on what was one of the most epic nights in baseball history. He has moved his way into 5th place.

The Loser:

  • Only two teams were shutout in week 3, we already covered Chicks Dig The Longball‘s issues. The other team was Ice Prince Fielder whose team of Fielder/Trumbo/McCutchen/Kubel/Zobrist also failed to log a home run last week.
  • And we have a new derby doormat, BiLLy GoaT managed to get 1 home run in week 3 from Alfonso Soriano. The rest of his team was stagnant (Stanton/Kemp as a 1-2 duo doesn’t help). He may need to try to reverse the curse of the Billy Goat from two weeks ago.

On to week 4 as we quickly approach the first month crowning…

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Second Base Wins Lawsuit vs Jean Segura

We the Jury find the defendant, Jean Segura, guilty of stealing 2B in the 8th inning of a 5-4 win versus the Cubs on April 19, 2013. He will be sentenced to 6-years in Hell Milwaukee manning the SS position.

What happened to deserve such a cruel sentencing?

In the 8th inning of a 1-run game, Jean Segura hit an infield single. He later successfully stole second base, which lead to a Ryan Braun walk. During the next at-bat, Segura attempted to steal third base but left too early and was clearly picked off at third. So he returned to second base only to find Braun standing on the base. Both were tagged and both initially called out.

As Segura returned to the dugout, he was informed that he was not out and only Braun was. So he promptly stepped on the closes base… first base. So after being halfway to third, Segura found himself standing back on first to only attempt to steal second base again. This time however, he was thrown out by Castillo.

As far as I could determine, he could be the only player whom has achieved this feat(?) in his career. Edit: As one of our commenters pointed out below, he is 1 of 7 since 1951, but still possibly the only one to first successfully steal the base then get thrown out stealing it again in the same plate appearance. If he would have successfully stolen second base twice in the same inning, he could not say the same. Back in 1908, Germany Schaefer successfully stole second base twice in the same inning. And he actually stole first base that inning as well. The baseball rule used to be that you could steal a base in reverse if you so desired. So during a game on September 4th, 1908, Schaefer stole second base to draw a throw which would allow his teammate on third base to steal home. However, this did not work according to plan as he drew no throw. So, he stole first base on the next pitch to be able to attempt his plan a second time. On the next pitch, he again attempted to steal second base… But again, he drew no throw and thus successfully re-stole second base.

So Schaefer should be greatful that Segura was caught stealing otherwise Schaefer’s legacy would have ended in 2013.

Wait, who’s Germany Schaefer again?

Early Extrapolation

The season is early. So if your favorite team (*cough* Brewers *cough*) or fantasy baseball team or Home Run Derby Team are struggling, don’t fret my baseball fanatic, there is PLENTY of time for everything to turn around.

One of my favorite things about the early season are the wild projections based on extrapolating early numbers out to 162 games. Some of them might just make you Ship Your Pants.

Here are some of my favorites:

  • Colby Rasmus and Chris Carter both have 4 homers… but they also have 23 strikeouts. That puts them on pace for 246 strikeouts this season. The record in a single season is 223 held by Mark Reynolds. So they really aren’t way out in left field on this stat.
  • Joey Votto may seem like he’s off to a slow start, but actually he’s just walking to 1B… a lot. He has 22 walks in his first 66 plate appearances good enough for an OBP of 0.500. The record is held by Barry Bonds with an asterisk. In fact, he owns the top 3 spots on the single season record list. His most being 232 in 2004. Votto isn’t that far in front of the pace at 238 walks. But no one has had more than 170 (besides Bonds) since Babe Ruth in 1923.

Now for some more wild extrapolations. The kind that look like a divide by ~0 occurred.

  • Manny or Cueto???

    There are 4 guys at the top of the RBI leader board Prince Fielder, Chris Davis, Brandon Phillips, and… John Buck all have 19 RBI. But since the Mets can’t seem to get away from all the snow, they have a few more games to play than everyone else. That gives Buck a projected 237 RBI this season. That beats the record by almost 50 RBI set by Hack Wilson at 191 back in 1930. In fact, no one has more than 160 in recent years except Manny Ramirez with 165 back in 1999. I have faith that Buck will reach 42 RBI this season (which tops his 2012 total).
  • Nothing is more frustrating than ending a scoring opportunity with a double play ball. Rickie Weeks has done it 5 times this season, which puts him on pace for 63 this season. The record stands at 36 by Jim Rice in 1984. This projection is one that I hope ends tonight and Rickie ends with 5 all season.
  • The last time anyone had more than 150 runs scored in a season was Jeff Bagwell in 2000 (152 Runs). Austin Jackson is on pace for 220 runs. The record is 192 set back in 1894 by Billy Hamilton. Not this Billy Hamilton, although when he makes it to the big leagues he may be able to steal home 192 times in a season.
  • Shin-Soo Choo has 7 HBP!!! SEVEN!!! He should be the one charging the mound. Instead he’s on pace to be hit by a pitch 88 times this season. Surprisingly, the record for a single season is 51 by Hughie Jennings in 1896 (he has 3 of the top 4 which are the only 4 spots over 40). It may take Choo a while to get to the career levels of Jennings (287)… but a few consecutive 80+ HBP seasons will get him there fast.
  • And lastly, since this site is dedicated to corked bats home runs, most of you know that Justin Upton is leading the league with 8 homers so far this month. Run some extrapolation and he’s on pace for 93 long balls. As long as his name isn’t on the A-rod’s collectibles, he would be sending Bond’s asterisk HR ball out of Cooperstown.
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The Art Of Understanding Heckling

Some outfielders understand the art of heckling.

Tony Gwynn Jr is one:

Vernon Wells is another (the original story came from site that started my infatuation with the HR Derby, their site has since vanished).

Some of your fellow HR Derby competitors also shared a personal experience with heckling Vernon Wells. On a spring training trip last season, the Brewers played the Angels. Vernon Wells took his usual spot in Left Field when a bachelor party group attempted to strike up a conversation with Vernon. It went a little something along these lines over a 2 inning period:

Heckler: “Hey Vernon. Hey Vernon! Come out for drinks with us later.”
Vernon as he peers over his shoulder: “I can’t. I got a game tomorrow.”
H: “It’s going to rain. The game will be cancelled.”
V: “I still have to practice.”
H: “Practice. You don’t need practice. Practice, you want to talk about Practice. Practice…”
V: “Practice. Not a game.”
H: “It’s St. Pattys Day. Come out for shots. Everyone is Irish tonight.”
V as he looks at his forearm: “I ain’t Irish.”

I thoroughly enjoy players who understand the humor of heckling or chatting with fans. I just wish there were more of them.

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Standings Help

Ever wondered what all those numbers and empty columns are in the Kings of Cork Standings Page?

Here’s the answer.


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Week Two HR Derby Recap & Early 2013 Season Surprises

Good news (maybe bad news if you hate reading the site’s posts) for 2013, The Commish will attempt to review every week of the Home Run Derby every Sunday Evening. I will recap the largest movers (good and bad) in the Derby, the leaders, the bottom feeders, and the best MLB players of the week.

This week I will also cover the early 2013 surprises, which doesn’t include the Brewers unsurprising inability to win baseball games in 2013 (although they did break their streak of only winning on Mondays today).

So let’s start:

  • The Derby leader after April 13th was (surprisingly) The Commish’s Wahoo’s Wallabangers with 17 home runs. I’m going to soak this one in while it lasts because I usually finish near the bottom of the standings at the end of every season (68th of 75 teams last year). The player that moved me from 3rd to 1st over the past week was the free swinging Chris Carter from the Astros (as a team, the Astros have 121 strikeouts already this season, the most among any team). Carter hit 4 homers last week which tied him for the most in the week with John Buck.
  • There were numerous teams after the first week of baseball with 0 long balls, but we currently have a stand alone bottom dweller… meet Joe-Boo Needs a refill. It’s not their fault that the Triple Crown winner isn’t holding up to their end of the bargain or that Kemp is completely slacking in 2013. At least their team is off the schneid this week, and that goes for all the HR derby teams.
  • The largest leap in the standings for week 2 belongs to the aptly named Sneaky Pete who sneaked his way into the Top-25 by jumping 53 places (from 74th to 21st) by going from a total of 3 to 10 home runs. He largely has Robinson Cano to thank who awoke from his winter slumber and hit 3 moon shots in the past week. Alex Rios also played his part by continuing his hot streak by tallying 4 homers in the first 2 weeks.
  • The largest drop in the standings for week 2 is owned by the Waterloo Waterboys. They started the week with 3 home runs and ended the week with 3 home runs… that’s what you call a drought. At least his team has more home runs than the Marlins and Padres have wins. Carlos Pena better return to his 2007-2009 seasons with the Rays if the Waterloo Waterboys want to compete this season.
  • The Angels are tied with the Astros in the AL West at 4 wins and 8 losses. And that’s only thanks to two consecutive wins over the Astros, one which included a walk-off two run double by Albert Pujols. On the other end, the Athletics lead the AL West at 9-4 and I think it has something to do with Reddick’s beard.
  • The Braves are 11-1. Someone needs to check Justin Upton’s bat because he already has more than 1/3 of his HR totals last season and is on pace for 95 home runs. Either that or he needs to start sharing his bat with his brother and Justin Heyward to spread the home run love all around the outfield.
  • After losing Chris Carpenter in the beginning of 2013, if you would have told me that the Cardinals would go 39 consecutive innings without allowing a run this season, I would have told you to tell me when they traded for Kershaw. But that’s exactly what the Cardinals did this past week. Sure 25 of those innings were against the Brewers who set a franchise record of 32 consecutive scoreless innings on offense. Thank you steroids for ending that streak.
  • What’s up with some of the best power hitters? Pujols finally hit 2 HR’s this season. Cabrera and Hamilton have 1. Stanton looks awful in Miami (and is now out with a bruised shoulder). Kemp/Trout/Bruce all had 0 to begin the day but Trout finally put a charge into one and collected his first homer of the season. He only has 3 more to go to catch Harper.
  • Why didn’t anyone choose John Buck in the 2013 HR Derby? He has 6 home runs and a league leading 19 RBI. Buck isn’t a new player, he’s been around the league since 2004 and recently has spent time on 5 different teams in 5 years. He’s just swinging the hot bat at the moment.
  • What’s up with some of the best starting pitchers? Matt Cain, David Price, Cole Hamels, Roy Halladay, and RA Dickey just to name a few that don’t have and ERA below 5.50. Halladay did get his 200th career win today (the only other active pitcher with this feat is Andy Pettite) but it was against a Marlins lineup without Stanton and Doc’s stuff looks really really really awful so far this season.
  • Did Paul Maholm and Clay Buchholz forget to check their career stats before starting in 2013? Maholm has given up 0 earned runs in 20.1 innings and has 20 k’s. He is a career 5.7 K/9IP and 4.22 ERA. I bet the Cubs wished they still had him (at least for now). And what about Buchholz. He is a career 3.85 ERA pitcher but he is looking like the Buchholz of 2010 with only 1 earned run and almost throwing a no-hitter so far in 2013.

Here’s a video of a jacket winning a fight to keep you occupied until next Sunday’s Derby Recap when your team may get a shout out.

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A-Rod Collecting Roid Memorabilia Since 2013

What’s this, a Double Feature on Kings of Cork?! Two new posts in one day (you can thank wisdom teeth).

This second post deserves a quick post because there appears to be a new trend in collecting. Most athletes like to collect their own memorabilia of important milestones (first hit, first HR, first win, etc). Some athletes even steal their memorabilia for their own collecting (or possibly selling for quick cash). And then some athletes don’t adjust to the retired scene very well and end up having to sell their memorabilia.

But A-Roid A-Rod is starting a new trend…
collecting steroid allegation documents.

Now this is only a rumor so take it with a grain of salt. There has been no evidence confirming the rumors of Alex Rodriguez purchasing the Biogenesis documents, but this could be a huge blow to A-Rod, the Yankees, and Major League Baseball.

The idea that a player accused of using illegal substances in the MLB can buy the documents or pay off an employee to destroy the documents makes me want to puke (except for the idea that maybe Braun is safe for another year). The game has already been tarnished by the Steroid Era (although I’m sure it will be forgotten just like the Amphetamines Era) and this could ruin any believe of baseball returning as America’s Favorite Past Time. It won’t effect a lot of opinions in the US about baseball among the diehards, but will certainly effect others’ opinions.

We are in a wait and see period similar to the Braun Trials last season. But if I were 1 of the 100’s of players who have been rumored to be part of the Biogenesis report, I would be sending A-Rod some thank you cards, maybe some gifts, maybe some deer antler spray, or maybe some prosthesis extremities or directions to the Fountain of Youth.

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If you live in a world without a National Sports News TV Channel, or a world without a Sports feed on your homepage of the internet (I won’t ask if you have internet for obvious reason), then you probably haven’t heard or seen what could be the biggest MLB bench clearing brawl of the 2013 season.

Here’s a video for those who want to relive the action:

That video unfortunately doesn’t have announcer Vin Scully reading Matt Kemp’s lips… “That’s Fertilizer.” “That’s Fertilizer.” Vin Scully kept saying.

Then after the game, Kemp made sure he got some personal one-on-one time with Quentin in the tunnel.

After hours and hours of non-stop discussion on the brawl, the hottest topic is ‘How long will Quentin be suspended’. Personally, I think he should just get the standard 5-6 games. It isn’t his fault that Greinke is fragile and fractured his collar bone. If he gets more the 5-6 games, I feel that every suspension from here on out should match the extended length regardless if a player gets injured or not. Be ready for a topic that will rival the discussions of the ‘Buster Posey Rule‘.

Since I’m already sick of the topic and discussion, Let’s take a ride back in the Tyme Machine.

  1. April 11, 2013 – MiLB Cubs vs Clearwater – Only a day before the Greinke-Quentin incident above, the Cubs minor league affiliate had an incident of their own. Jorge Soler, the Cuban defector which is the Cubs, was sliding into second and the infielder covering the base landed on him. This started a bench clearing ‘argument’ which ended pretty calmly. Until… Soler grabbed a bat, walked over to the opposing teams dugout, and started waving the bat and yelling at the players. There’s no good video or photo footage but I can just imagine Soler yelling in broken English at the top of the dugout steps.
  2. August 10, 2010 – Cardinals vs Reds – Ever wanted to see a grown man kick another man with metal cleats all over a little Bat tap from Brandon Phillips? Cueto must have been listening to a little too much Carl Douglas’ Kung Fu Fighting that day. There is still bad blood between these teams and their fans to this day (I know several fantasy owners who are Cardinal fans and will not ever own Cueto).
  3. October 11, 2003 – Red Sox vs Yankees – Or have you ever wanted to see a 32 year old throw a 72 year old to the ground… by his head? Enter Pedro Martinez in an ALCS game. In his defense, he may have though he was gently placing Don Zimmerman to the side so he wouldn’t get hurt and wasn’t sure what the proper procedure was in the US.
  4. August 4, 1993 – White Sox vs Rangers – Or how about the most famous headlock in MLB history? In this corner, a 46 year old Nolan Ryan, and in the other corner, 26 year old Robin Ventura. There was no 6 point pin in this wrestling match, but it still goes down as one of the most memorable brawl in recent years.
  5. May 15, 1912 – Tigers vs Yankees – Lastly, what about a player vs fan brawl? And what if the fan had lost most of his hands from a printing press accident? The no hands issue didn’t stop Ty Cobb from running into the stands and brawling with the fan. And during the fight he responds “I don’t care if he has no feet”. We have all heard the stories of Ty Cobb’s great baseball abilities and his horrible personality. So this incident isn’t surprising in the least.

Do you have a brawl that always comes back to mind when you here of benches clearing in the game? If so, post them below in the comments section.

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