Archive for the ‘General’ Category

For me, a baseball season just isn’t complete without my own virtual experience on the side. I am a gamer, and I love to take over a franchise and make a run at the World Series year in, year out on my Xbox 360. It usually starts with me assuming control of the Pittsburgh Pirates, which I abandon annually after the sad realization that my favourite team is comprised mostly third and fourth tier talent, and then I opt to take over a power house and waltz my way to victory. As we wade through the offseason that is, I am coming to grips with the reality that my baseball gaming experience is scheduled for extinction.

Take-Two Interactive, publishers of the MLB 2K series for Xbox 360 and Sony Playstation, have all but officially declared that they’re out of the baseball game market. Next season, at least for Xbox 360 owners, there will not be a baseball simulation option. Take-Two’s venture into baseball gaming has been something of a disaster. There are a few areas in which the 2K series has trumped Sony’s MLB: The Show (i.e. – its analog pitching controls), but for the most part it’s been a glitch-ridden inferior experience compared to what’s offered by Sony’s effort.

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Despite what Billy Beane wrote in Moneyball way back in 2009, scouts are important. Players do not just materialize out of thin air. There are no open tryouts from which a 25 man roster is selected. Scouts scour the world for talent and, with some luck and an unimaginable amount of hard work, some of that talent rises to become the best players in the big leagues.

Scouting is valuable. Scouts dug up Miguel Cabrera and scouts insisted that drafting Mike Trout was a good idea. No matter how much results vary (thanks in no small part to the benevolence baseball Gods), scouts make the game go ’round. It is a really tough gig, as the differences between “star in high school” and “washed out in A-ball” are nearly imperceptible.

Scouting in real time is hard. Scouting after the fact? Easy as pie!

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It was my intention to keep a running diary of offseason transactions, with a smattering of analysis to boot. This was before it occurred to me that our readers would be more likely to enjoy reading the thoughts of one of baseball’s greatest minds, rather than the meandering insights from one of the internet’s most prominent self-professed insiders. Enter Rick Sutcliffe.

Rick Sutcliffe would not return my calls or emails (Ed note: I did not attempt to call or email Rick Sutcliffe), so I opted to publish what I believe would be the Red Baron’s thoughts on several of the transactions that have taken place so far. Countless hours of research and linguistic analysis went into this blog post.

Blue Jays sign Maicer Izturis: “One of these producer guys here was telling me that Maicer Izturis puts nearly half the balls he makes contact with on the ground. He’s talking like it’s some kinda negative part of his game. What I see is a guy willing to make a productive out. Just too many guys today are trying to put the ball up the middle and find holes. Why worry about that when you just need to move the runner over?”

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As if it wasn’t all but certain that Josh Hamilton would be sporting a new uniform next season, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reports that the Texas Rangers will not offer the free agent outfielder a deal that exceeds three years. Citing an unnamed “high-ranking team official”, Nightengale alludes to a Rangers future that does not include Hamilton in the picture.

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Should of been Trout

In what was easily one of the most convoluted and least organized awards presentations I’ve ever had the pleasure of following, the MLB announced the recipients for the 2012 Gold Glove Awards on ESPN2 and (for those without access to ‘the deuce’) a live twitter feed that included any and all mentions of the words ‘Gold Glove’.

Here is your list of winners, and because I had to sift through the dreck of a live twitter feed to find any useful information, I have provided an in-depth look at the biggest snubs and insight about who ‘should of’ won.
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I was a guest on a San Francisco Giants-themed podcast on Tuesday, the night before Game 1 of the World Series. Danny and Thomas, the fine hosts of Two Guys, A Glove & A Coke Bottle, asked me if I’d noticed that the Giants had only faced right-handed starting pitchers through the National League Division Series against the Reds, and the National League Championship Series against the Cardinals, and would only face right-handed starting pitchers in the World Series against the Tigers. “Hmmm,” I said. “I hadn’t noticed that,” or words to that effect.

I was deliriously tired after the podcast, as I’d attended Games 6 and 7 of the NLCS at AT&T Park, and spent my other waking hours since Sunday writing about the Giants and baseball. I know, tough life. I’m not complaining, just explaining why I didn’t immediately do any follow-up research on the Giants’ postseason-streak of facing only right-handed starters.

Yesterday, my friend Anna, the lovely and talented @SFBleacherGirl, wondered aloud on Twitter whether any team other than the Giants had faced only right-handed starters throughout the postseason. “Oh,” I said in my empty home office, “I meant to look at that after the podcast.” “Thanks Anna,” I tweeted back, “I’m going to write a post about that!”

So here we are.

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Perhaps it was inevitable. A once-in-a-generation player. A player so talented, so fluid, so powerful, so fast, so agile. A player in his nineteenth big-league season. A player saddled with injuries and questions about his health and his toughness.

Baseball’s highest-paid player struggling on the biggest stage. In the biggest city. For the most successful team in the history of the sport. In an age of immediate information and instant analysis and second-guessing. The manager fills out his lineup card and the focus shifts to the missing name. A-Rod benched. In the biggest, most important game of the season.

The Yankees lost last night in Game Three of the American League Championship Series with A-Rod on the bench. He didn’t start, replaced at third base by Eric Chavez. He didn’t pinch hit. He sat, with his Yankees windbreaker jacket keeping him warm on a cool Detroit night.

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