Thursday, November 29, 2007

Rumors: Not the Fleetwood Mac Kind

Miguel Cabrera a Giant? Santana? Trades? What about the prospects the A's traded Marco Scutaro for? Will Bonds set the all time prison softball home run record? Each of my ticket partners for the Giants season tickets have told me that they want fewer games next year. I'll have to get more bodies. Any takers?

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Reggie? Yawn...

During the 1986 season the then California Angels came to Oakland and one of the games was to be on ABC's Monday Night Baseball. Even though it was late in Reggie Jackson's career and he sucked by then, the media still gave him top billing as an attraction. So Kevin and I had a great idea for a prank. We saved up newspapers for a month or so and got together for a newspaper sorting party. When the game arrived, we stationed ourselves at each of the entrances to the bleachers and quickly gave each fan a single folded sheet of a newspaper and told them to act like they were reading it when Reggie Jackson came up to bat. We cut a tiny hole in each paper so the fans could really watch his at bat.

Well he came up the first time, and it was hilarious to see thousands of fans in the entire bleachers section from foul pole to foul pole reading newspapers! The message was that Reggie was washed up and boring. This was at a time that the networks decided not to show aberrant fan behavior like streaking and other things, so ABC didn't show us on national TV. But 40,000 other fans at the game saw us. It was worth every minute of prep.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Baseball Cards

I collected baseball cards when I was a kid. It started in 1971, and Topps were my favorites, and almost the only brand I ever collected. In Little League, we bought cards at the snack shack after games. My fever pitch year was 1974 when I collected the entire '74 set through individual packs. In college in the 80's I collected old cards to fill in voids. I preferred commons to stars because I could get so many more cards.

My most valued card is a 1975 George Brett rookie card. It was a part of the mini-size set issued on the West Coast and is more valuable because of it. I almost threw all my mini cards away at one time because they always fell out from a handfull of cards. I always refused to put baseball cards in my bicycle spokes. I used playing cards instead.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Longest World Series Droughts

Here's an updated list of how long it's been for each team not to have won a world series. Years in parenthesis mean that franchise or specific team has never won, and the year listed is the year when they were an expansion team or moved to their current city.

1908 Chicago Cubs
1948 Cleveland Indians
1954 New York/San Francisco Giants
(1958) San Francisco Giants
(1961) Washington Senators/Texas Rangers
(1962) Houston Astros
(1969) San Diego Padres
(1969) Seattle Pilots/Milwaukee Brewers
(1969) Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals
(1970) Milwaukee Brewers
(1972) Texas Rangers
(1977) Seattle Mariners
1979 Pittsburgh Pirates
1980 Philadelphia Phillies
1983 Baltimore Orioles
1984 Detroit Tigers
1985 Kansas City Royals
1986 New York Mets
1988 Los Angeles Dodgers
1989 Oakland A's
1990 Cincinnati Reds
1991 Minnesota Twins
1993 Toronto Blue Jays
(1993) Colorado Rockies
1995 Atlanta Braves
(1998) Tampa Bay Devil Rays
2000 New York Yankees
2001 Arizona Diamondbacks
2002 Anaheim Angels or Los Angeles or whatever
2003 Florida Marlins
(2005) Washington Nationals
2005 Chicago White Sox
2006 St. Louis Cardinals
2007 Boston Red Sox

Thursday, November 15, 2007

A-Rod to Yanks, Bonds to Giants?

The publicity stunt that was Alex Rodriguez promising he wouldn't play for the Yankees and the Yankees telling him to kiss off, only to sign him to a record contract says something about the possibility of Bonds returning to the Giants. Now that Bonds is indicted on federal charges, no other team would touch him. Except maybe the Giants.

I could see the Giants signing Bonds at a low salary - one they could take a risk on - with no guaranteed pay for prison time, taking advantage of his fallen name. The Giants are used to his antics and I'm wondering if refusing to resign him wasn't a ploy to resign him - for less.

Ten Games In History I Would Like To See

Here's a list of ten games in baseball history that I would like to have seen in person.

10 - Game 1 of the 1909 World Series - the war between Honus Wagner and Ty Cobb.

9 - Giants/Braves game in the 60's where Juan Marichal and Warren Spahn dueled a 16 inning scoreless affair (both pitched complete games). Willie Mays won it with a homer in the bottom of the 16th, 1-0. Probably the greatest game ever pitched.

8 - 1984 All-Star Game in San Francisco, because I didn't go.

7 - Nolan Ryan's sixth no-hitter in Oakland. I was going to go but stayed home because I felt ill.

6 - Game 7 of the 1962 World Series, even though the Giants lost.

5 - A game at Ebbet's Field.

4 - Hank Aaron's all time home run record, 1974

3 - All time record for lowest attendance. The St. Louis Browns game in the 1930's that drew 34 fans.

2 - Babe Ruth's "called shot" - 1932 World Series vs. Cubs

1 - Bobby Thompson's "Shot heard 'round the world" - Oct 3, 1951 - Giants vs. Dodgers

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Proposed Stat: Incomplete Plate Appearance

I've thought of a new statistic that could prove some use for baseball. I'll call it the "Incomplete Plate Appearance." Baseball has a stat called the "At Bat" which consists of all hits, outs and fielder's errors combined. An expanded stat called the "Plate Appearance" (is this the "AP" for "Appearance at the Plate"?) includes "At Bats" but adds walks, hit by pitch, sacrifices and sac flies." This is commonly viewed as the number of times a batter appears at the plate. But it is not.

Another incident in baseball that has no official accounting anywhere is the time when a batter comes to the plate, sees pitches, but the third out of the inning is made on the bases before his at bat concludes. This has no category. Because the third out is made during the at bat, he leads off the next inning, and that plate appearance is counted. But I'm wondering if his "appearance" the previous inning isn't counted anywhere because he doesn't decide the out. This unaccounted for "thing" may actually have a large effect on the game. It could eat up the pitcher's pitch count.

Say a batter comes up with a runner on and two out. He works the count to 2-2, fouls off five pitches, and the next pitch sees the runner caught stealing for the third out. He just ate up 10 pitches. If the pitcher has a 100 pitch limit, that one "thing" that isn't counted for is responsible for 10% of the opposing pitcher's time out there. And if he leads off the next inning with a five pitch "real" accounted for plate appearance, he could chew up 15% of the other pitcher's value, get him yanked an inning early, setting up a bullpen meltdown, resulting in a victory. The most valuable plate "appearance" could go unnoticed in the stats. The pitches he uses up are counted against the pitcher's pitch count, but the plate appearance isn't.

Better yet, let's say this player is a pinch hitter who doesn't stay in the field for the next half inning. He could prove to be the most valuable player of the game, but shows up nowhere in the stats. Let's account for this by creating the "Incomplete Plate Appearance."

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Slime-Rod and The FOX Sox Nation

This is old news by now, but I don't know what was more slimy, the announcement by A-Rod's agent during a World Series game that he would not pick up his option to play with the Yankees, or FOX's coverage of it with the immediate suggestion as to the Red Sox being just about the only team capable of affording him. A shot of owner John Henry just happened to be on the video in the truck, so they switched to it.

Right in the middle of a World Series game is not the place for a TV broadcaster to be interviewing a player agent. He wasn't doing his job. His job was covering the game. Now if FOX put him up to it, FOX wasn't doing its job. FOX's ratings were in the toilet, anyway. Desperate times call for desperate measures, I guess.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Number Nine: Yankee Announcer's Voice on Beatles' White Album

I'm convinced that the voice saying "number nine" repeatedly in the Beatles' White Album song "Revolution 9" is none other than the Yankees PA announcer Bob Sheppard. The White Album was put out in '68, so I'm guessing that the voice is an audio clip from Sheppard announcing a Roger Maris at bat sometime in '66 or earlier.

I Googled and surfed to find some confirmation of this. I did find a YouTube clip of him announcing a game in '06. At about 0:41 on this clip you can hear him announce a Texas Ranger player who wears uniform number nine. Forty years later, it sounds just like the White Album. After my discovery, I found this on Wikipedia.

Joe Torre Is A Bum

Joe Torre is a Bum. That's right, with a capital "B." Why would I say such a thing since I have recently said I have respect for him? Well, he's a Bum in the sense that the Dodgers are 'Dem Bums. I don't hate Joe Torre. Yet. But he's a Dodger now. I'm sure it will change.