Archive for the ‘News And Notes’ Category

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If nobody cared about postseason awards, nobody would complain about them. But people do care about awards and recognition for their favorite players and so, when those players do not receive awards and recognition, they complain.

The Gold Gloves are an everlasting part of the game – win a GG once, it is on your resume forever. In recent years, the inanity of the voting process turned the once-revered Gold Gloves into something of a laughing stock. The best hitters miraculously won awards for fielding year after year.

All this makes it difficult to care about the Gold Gloves, which sucks because people really want to care about the Gold Glove. I want to care about the Gold Gloves. Finally, it is beginning to look like it’s safe to care and celebrate a Gold Glove victory once again.

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Being a baseball manager is a hell of a job. Not many other occupations in the world allow for more credit when things go well or so much blame when things go poorly.

The Detroit Tigers were eliminated from the 2013 MLB playoffs on Saturday night and the postmortems are well under way. No matter how good a team looks over the long haul, the immediate shortcomings are very front of mind. Where did it go wrong? Most folks don’t need to look any further than the manager.

As far as managers go, Jim Leyland was a good one. Or, more accurately, he was a successful one. Teams with Jim Leyland as their skipper won a whole lot of games over his 22 seasons (1769 wins in total). He claimed a World Series crown with the Florida Marlins in 1997.

But those 1769 wins are counterbalanced by 1728 losses. That lone World Series victory came amid countless playoff appearances (including six different division titles) and just two other pennants.

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MLB: NL Wild Card-Cincinnati Reds at Pittsburgh Pirates

The Reds parted ways with their manager today, biding Dusty Baker adieu after six very successful seasons. It would appear there is more than one way to measure success, however, as Baker and his general manager (read: boss) butted heads for one last time in what looks like a very contentious exit interview.

Everybody has an opinion on Dusty Baker. He doesn’t get the benefit of the doubt like some managers, including those with resume’s that pale in comparison to Dusty’s history of success. Yet, in spite of all the success, Dusty Baker seems to wear out his welcome with alarming regularity, often right after trips to the postseason.

For all his wins and playoff appearances, there is an expiry date on Dusty Baker. He’s a baseball manager, it is a big part of the job. And now, for whatever reason(s), Dusty’s day are done in Cincy.

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77th MLB All-Star Game

Bud Selig’s career slash line is .000/.000/.000. He has zero plate appearances and zero batters faced. Bud Selig used to own the Milwaukee Brewers and has served as baseball’s commissioner for what seems like 200 years.

Bud Selig made a lot of rich men much richer. As those men get richer, the players — the top 1% of players, anyway — got much richer too. Lots of people around baseball are very rich. I might paraphrase Chris Rock here: the players are rich but the owners are wealthy.

Bu Selig’s lasting legacy will be one of wealth and prosperity. Not without some bumps in the road. Bud Selig piloted the good ship baseball to the best of his ability, ignoring or smashing down the bumps depending on their ability to prevent the wealthy people increasing their wealth.

I’m not class warrior – that’s the commissioner’s job. Keep the wealth flowing. Bud Selig did it well. That’s his mandate.

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Some killjoys say no hitters are just a bunch of freak occurrences and, sadly, they’re right. Because a pitcher throws a no-hitter does not place them on the Cy Young fast track nor does any one outing represent a fair reflection of a player’s current or future skill.

But Homer Bailey has the look of a man who is figuring things out. He is now one of a select group of players to throw consecutive no hitters (not in consecutive starts, of course.) He threw the final no hitter of 2012 and the first no hitter of 2013, the first person to do that since Nolan Ryan. Bailey joins Justin Verlander, Mark Buehrle, and Roy Halladay as active pitchers with multiple no-nos.

More importantly/tellingly, he’s a much better pitcher now. His strikeouts are way up as is his ground ball rate. He’s keeping the ball in the park and getting more swinging strikes. He’s even throwing a little bit harder. He’s a better pitcher who also has two no hitters among his last 17 starts (spanning two seasons).

Tonight he rode a heads up play from Joey Votto into the world’s most important fielders choice and a no hitter against the reeling Giants. Unlike most no hitters, there was no great defensive play to preserve the treat, other than Joey Votto astutely noticing that Gregor Blanco lost his fool mind.

Everything else looked about as routine as you’d like, a credit to Bailey of course but also to his catcher Ryan Hanigan and the coaching staff of the Reds for positioning the outfielders excellently/fortunately. Bailey got stronger as the night went on, increasing his velocity over significantly as the night wore on.

Mostly congrats to Homer Bailey for mowing the Giants down like it is his job. It actually is his job and, tonight, he did it with aplomb. It is awesome that you threw a no hitter, the second of your career, Homer. We all appreciate you going out there and kicking ass as you do (now).

Baltimore Orioles v Boston Red Sox

Everybody loves prospects. Cast your wishes upon the unproven teen ballplayer, they could develop into a superstar! That’s the way it works, right? Sadly, no.

Dylan Bundy blew through four levels of the minor leagues in his first professional season, miraculously reaching the big leagues at 19. Though he made just a few relief appearances, the sky was considered the limit for the young power pitcher from Oklahoma.

This season, Bundy featured prominently in the Orioles plans. He was to start the season at Double-A Bowie, until a few rough spring outings and some elbow discomfort put him on the sidelines. After rest, rehab, and a setback during his throwing program, Bundy had a date with Dr. James Andrews…

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Legendary Dodger Broadcaster Vin Scully Throws Out Ceremonial First Pitch At Dodger Game

Vin Scully is, I think most would agree, a living legend. There are not many iconic broadcasters who earn as much universal praise and adulation as the venerable Dodgers play-by-play man. Scully famously covered Dem Bums when they were still in Brooklyn before moving west with the Dodgers in 1958.

Scully instantly forged a bond with Angelinos, a bond which only grew stronger over more than 50 years and an unthinkable amount of baseball games. Spending 3/4 of his life in LA doesn’t mean Vin Scully isn’t still a New Yorker, however.

With the Dodgers scheduled to make their first ever trip to Yankee Stadium this June, there was a lot of hope that Vin Scully would accompany the team. Scully doesn’t typically travel much beyond Southern California these days, only making the Dodgers regular trips to San Diego, Arizona and San Francisco but it seemed like a trip back to Yankee Stadium might be in order.

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