Monday, July 31, 2017

Ballparks I Have Visited

Here's a list of Major League ballparks I have visited, listed in order of visit, and the year of visitation. Some are no longer in use, and I will note that as well.

  1. Oakland Coliseum, Oakland, 1970
  2. Candlestick Park, San Francisco, 1974 (no longer in use)
  3. Anaheim/Angels Stadium, Anaheim, 1985
  4. Jack Murphy Stadium, San Diego, 1985 (no longer in use)
  5. Kingdome, Seattle, 1986 (no longer in use)
  6. County Stadium, Milwaukee, 1986 (no longer in use)
  7. Wrigley Field, Chicago, 1986
  8. Old Comiskey Park, Chicago, 1986 (just a few hours after Wrigley. No longer in use)
  9. Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, 1986
  10. Yankee Stadium, New York, 1986 (no longer in use)
  11. Olympic Stadium, Montreal, 1986 (no longer in use)
  12. Royals/Kaufman Stadium, Kansas City, 1987
  13. Busch Stadium (#2), St. Louis, 1987 (no longer in use)
  14. Mile High Stadium, Denver, 1993 (no longer in use. Rockies played in Broncos stadium until Coors Field was finished in 1995)
  15. Pro Player Stadium, Miami, 1998 (no longer in use. aka Joe Robbie Stadium amongst other names)
  16. Pacific Bell/SBC/AT&T Park, San Francisco, 2000
  17. Bank One Ballpark/Chase Field, Phoenix, 2001
  18. Petco Park, San Diego, 2004
  19. Fenway Park, Boston, 2017
Also, Squeeze in the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, 2017, in between 18 and 19. I visited the HOF a week prior to Fenway on the same trip.

So, I have visited nine parks still in use, and ten that are no longer in use. If I visit all parks currently in use, I will have to hit 21 more. Then I will have been to 40. But that's a big bucket list.

Giants: Time to Start Over

After several years of personal analysis, I've come to the conclusion that the Giants need to blow up the team and start over with a youth movement. Here are the specifics:

  • Keep Posey and Bumgarner, as they are valuable and are on HOF trajectories. Add on the field stats plus contract stats, and Bum is the MVP of major league baseball. He has no trade value because he's already got the best contract in baseball.
  • Maybe keep Crawford under the right circumstances, but everybody else goes.
  • All the back end contracts of the veterans will make the worst franchise in baseball have the highest payroll for 2018. Read that again and let it sink in. Not only are the Giants in last place, but so are every one of their minor league teams.
  • Attempt to trade every one of these players Eduardo Nunez style, for minor leaguers. Cueto, Samardzija, Moore, Cain, Hernandez, Span, Pence, Belt, Panik. Get youth. But what about their ability to be traded, you ask? Nobody would want them. Well that proves my point. They are useless to us, too.
  • Panik and Crawford could maybe be packaged as a DP combo to another team for young pitching.
  • All players not traded should be waived immediately. But what about all that money? It would go to waste, you say. No. The money - and we're on the hook for all of it - would be better spent on these guys winning another World Series on their sofas playing MLB2017 video games than on the field as a road block to a youth movement. Getting out of the way is better than remaining in the way.
  • No offense, but I love all you guys and what you did for the fans. I will remember you forever, but I want to see another championship team built up from scratch. Hey, the 2003 Tigers lost 119 games at the beginning of a youth movement and they were in the WS in 2006. And look at the laughingstock of baseball just a few years ago...the 112 loss Houston Astros. Youth movements can win. Anybody remember "You gotta like these kids" from 1986? The Giants have a successful youth movement in their own past.
  • It's okay, don't be sad from reading the above because the Giants won't be doing this, judging from experience.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Making Instant Replay Better

The word is out from Major League Baseball that it wants to do what it can to shorten games. They have been looking at speeding up the game by eliminating things that "waste" time. I am all for that, except when it is a necessary part of the game they eliminate like actually pitching all four pitches on an intentional walk.

I'd like to start by addressing the biggest waste of time, by far, that there is in baseball: the instant replay system. I have here a five point revision to replay that should not only greatly shorten the amount of time it takes, it should also eliminate several points of nonsense along the way.

First, I'd like to share the one and only basis for instant replay that there is: to get the call right. Yup, that's correct. The call needs to be right. I'd also like to put out there up front that my five points need to be taken as a whole, so you might not understand a point until you've read all five.

Point 1: Eliminate New York as the replay center. I notice consistently on TV that the broadcasters can get the call right with help from the techs in the TV truck before NY even knows it's getting a phone call. For this reason alone NY is not needed, except for maybe as backup or support on really tough issues.

Point 2: Every ballpark should have its own replay booth. Those in the replay booth would watch the game live, first hand, with the naked eye from a distance close enough to see the game. In a good percentage of cases they could know even before a play has finished that it might be reviewed. Think about the runner rounding third and here's the throw. Or a close play at a base that you can see coming. The replay officials can be on top of the review within seconds.

Point 3: Eliminate the "red hanky" manager challenge system. It is a grotesquely stupid rule that comes from the NFL, as are most NFL rules that make their way into baseball. The challenge system fails because if the manager's challenge is not upheld in, let's say, the first inning, he is penalized by not being allowed further challenges until the end of the game. And this undermines the very basis of instant replay - to get the call right! "Hey, you know, because of the bad challenge you made in the first inning, we are determined to NOT GET THE CALL RIGHT for you, jackass manager, until the end of the game. No matter how blatantly we blow a call. Sorry, dude." All calls need to be right.

Point 4: Allow the replay booth to initiate its own review challenge. The replay officials that are observing the game can tell with their eyes that a call is close. If an umpire can make an immediate call on the field, a replay official can initiate an immediate review in the booth. He can notify the umpire immediately that the play is under review. No need to wait the 30 seconds for a manager to make up his mind.

Point 5: (This is the best point of all.) Each team has a TV rep in the replay booth to offer up their best "x" number of video clips within a "y" second time limit ("x" and "y" to be determined). This would give each team not only immediate input, but the incentive to make advances in video technology that will only help the replay system in the future. And with immediate input based on high technology, a decision can easily be made before the current 30 second limit that managers have.

In the mean time, I'd love to see a manager go off on the replay officials in New York when they botch a review, yelling at the camera with the red light on.