Archive for the ‘Link Dump’ Category

MLB: New York Yankees at Toronto Blue Jays

I’m starting to really dislike Alex Rodriguez. I mean, I don’t know my feelings about him as a man have really changed. He seems to make poor decisions and has a very casual relationship with the truth, but I still think of Alex Rodriguez as one of the best baseball players I ever saw.

I don’t like Alex Rodriguez because, as he uses all available legal channels to protect his legacy and not insignificant future earnings, I have to delve into very minor legalese. I have to spend time thinking about legal challenges and union charters and all the things baseball is supposed to guard against.

It appears I’m not alone in my Alex Rodriguez annoyance or Alex Rodriguez fatigue. As Tim Brown and Jeff Passan detail at Yahoo! Sports, the members of his union took to news that the Yankees third baseman sued the union…poorly. Very poorly.

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MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers at Colorado Rockies

Dan Brooks, one of the main dudes behind the Brooks Baseball pitch fx database, recently added a very interesting wrinkle to his site. Long a source of pitch type usage, Brooks now features situational pitch splits, too.

It might seem like the arcane minutia and type of bookkeeping that drives non-baseball nerds batty but, in my mind, there is real value in this type of information.

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URL Weaver: Videodrome

File photo of MLB Commissioner Bud Selig during a news conference in New York

Baseball took the bold step yesterday to embrace the future by expanding use of instant replay in a sizable number of scenarios. If you’re so inclined, click this link for a full breakdown of when and where instant replay appeals are applicable.

It’s a positive step for a sport notoriously reluctant to make changes to the established order of things. It’s great news for folks who demand the highest integrity of…the shows they watch on TV?

Call me crazy but I tend not to get too bent out of shape over blown calls or missed strikes. I know I’m in the minority here and I welcome the change but if they repealed all these rules for 2015, I don’t know that I’d lose much sleep.

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URL Weaver: Trickle Down

Dodgers' Kershaw blows a bubble before the start of their game with against the Diamondbacks during their MLB National League baseball game in Phoenix

After a few agonizing weeks in the baseball world, with only the Hall of Fame and Alex Rodriguez to talk about, Clayton Kershaw is the perfect antidote. Not even the crustiest Giants fan can look down upon the affable Texan’s new deal. Kershaw is the best and will be paid as such. If he opts out after five years, the Dodgers signed the best pitcher in baseball through his age-30 season for five years/$150 million. Which is sort of criminal, when you think about.

Kershaw’s contract is a great palate cleanser for all baseball heads to dig in on and let the juice run down their chin. From what I’ve seen and read, appreciation for teh contract is nearly unanimous for the deal. It’s a risk but not a significant one for team or player.

The first logical step after the praise chorus dies down is looking around to see who benefits next. Which boats float most in this rising tide. Looking ahead to the free agent class of 2014, we potentially see three big names – Jon Lester, James Shields, and David Price.

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URL Weaver: Tip Drill

MLB: St. Louis Cardinals at Milwaukee Brewers

That there is always something new to learn ranks as one of baseball’s finest attributes. There are layers upon layers for those who seek to better understand the game they love. For some people, advanced statistics allowed for a greater understanding of the game, putting trends and eras into better context.

Increased computer power allows the statistically minded to spot new trends in the game as hobbyists and analysts alike run regressions on massive databases for entertainment and in search of a competitive advantage. Pitch tracking systems installed in every ballpark provide more and more information and food for thought when it comes to learning about pitchers, catchers, and even umpires.

But sometimes there is no substitute for experience. A lifetime spent watching the game at its highest level from right up front allows for observations and insights that escape even the most complex computer algorithms.

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Kansas City Royals v Baltimore Orioles

There are not degrees of rich. You either are or you aren’t. People who become rich don’t transition slowly from one to the other. You switch from not-rich to rich pretty much instantaneously (and then hope you don’t switch back.)

It will never stop shocking me when a player takes less money or moves his contract around to help benefit the team. Selfless as the act might be, there are only so many opportunities to make real money as a pro athlete, maybe get what you can while it’s out there?

After news broke this week that Jeremy Guthrie restructured his contract with the Royals (in Decmember) to allow the team more payroll flexibility as Kansas City tries to build on their 2013 improvement, I was reminded of Dustin Pedroia‘s comments on taking a “below market deal” – he’s still rich as sh%t.

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MLB: ALDS-Detroit Tigers at Oakland Athletics

Durability is neigh invaluable in the big leagues. Innings, innings, innings. It is a point of pride among pitchers and a valued asset among general managers. If you’re healthy, you’re wealthy.

Justin Verlander has long been the best of both worlds – the performance and the durability. Eight years in the bigs without a single trip to the disabled list. Seven straight seasons of 32 starts or more, seven straight seasons of 200 innings. Lead the league in starts three times and innings pitched three times, topping the 250 innings mark in 2011 when he won both the Cy Young and American League MVP.

He pitched all those innings at an incredibly high level. He’s a marvel and a wonder. And now, for the first time in his career, he’s hurt.

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