Monthly Archives: August 2015

Is this the year of the No Hitter?

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//platform.twitter.com/widgets.jsWell, congrats to Jake  Arrieta for the no-hitter and for being the NL Player of the Week. That makes six no-hitters this season.

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It makes me curious about how many no-hitters there have been in a single season. We go to baseball-reference.com and find that there have been 12 by the old rules. But by the modern rules of a no-hitter, (which is simple: no hits, but walks, hit batters and errors still will qualify a pitcher for a no-hitter), the record is eight. There were seven in the years 1990, 1991 and 2012. The E4 that happened during yesterday’s no-hitter still counts. The Cubs have a unique distinction this year of being on both ends of no-hitters.

This year, we have had six pitchers throw no-hitters this year:

Could there be another one? While there is only a month left in the regular season, there is plenty of time, and there are some pitchers who have been injured who could make a comeback. I am going to share my predictions:

Speaking of injured players, Derek Holland of the Texas Rangers made his case to management that he was ready, and boy howdy, was he right. He is looking  amazing, and in his last outing, on Sunday, he  struck out 11 in a nine-inning shutout. A no-hitter, that would be a great  comeback story.

The Royals have a great pitching staff, and they could very easily do this. I couldn’t even choose who would do it. If I had to choose, it would be Cueto, but I think anyone of the Royals starters could pull it off.

The Mets have an easy schedule the rest of the season, and there could really be a great no-hitter opportunity.

What is a pitcher to do after a no-hitter? He does what we all do after a long, hard day: Get into pajamas and relax. Except Arrieta got his whole team to join in, and at Dodger Stadium and on the plane ride home, the Cubs had a pj party.

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Fun Fact Friday: Houston Astros Orbit Best Mascot EVER!

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Well it has been a hard busy week and we could all use a laugh so here are some of the best clip of the Astros Mascot Orbit. Who even though I am a Ranger fan I just love Orbit he makes me laugh so have a laugh and smile the weekend is here.

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Is that a strike?

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I don’t know if it just seems this way, but the strike zone is getting out of hand. There seems to be more managers and players getting tossed for arguing with the umpires about called strikes. Case in point: Tori Hunter got so mad at a strike call in June that he started to strip off his clothing.

Rob Neyer wrote a wonderful article about how umpires are doing. Are they perfect? No, but they are set to very high standards — so high that they may be out of a job. With modern technology, there is really no need for the umpire. Computer models can show where the balls and strikes are called, and they are perfect.

Perfect is a dangerous notion in a game where not being perfect is what makes the game great. A bunt can turn into a hit and win the game. A diving catch might be a way to make up for a mistake (not seeing the ball in time, getting a slow jump on the ball). These imperfections make the game of baseball so great.

I am not saying umpires need a free pass. They need to be held accountable. There are tools out there to show how an umpire is doing.

Here is a graphic of the pitches being called the day Tori Hunter got thrown out. Reds are strikes, and greens are balls. Squares are the Twins, and triangles are the Royals. You can find a further explanation here.

Now, I don’t claim I understand all this.  It looks to me that the majority of pitches being called strikes are strikes and the majority of pitches being called balls are balls. This is what the pitches were like for left-handed batters. Now let’s look at the right-handed batters.

Now here are some issues with the outside part of the strike zone. But again, for the most part, most of the pitches were called what they were supposed to be called.

The next time there is a bad call, let’s remember all the good calls. And let’s keep our shirts on.

 

MLB Fan Safety

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I saw this tweet today and thought, why are we talking about this again?  In my post I want the nets! I talked about how as a fan I welcome more protection. Last week, a couple of fans were hit by foul balls. Now the Baseball Tonight guys are talking about how more is needed to be done. However, I disagree. The time for change is not now, it was yesterday, two weeks ago, two years ago, a decade ago. My point is that the media coverage of fans being hurt gets everyone riled up and wanting to create change. Changes needed to have been put into place already.

I went to a Corpus Christi Hooks game this year and sat behind home plate because I forgot my glove on my vacation. I thought I would be safe from foul balls, but I was not. Even sitting behind home plate, I was still subject to foul balls coming in. And worse, they would hit the press box and bounce right into the rows behind me. One fan two rows behind me caught a ball with his tummy. While funny, it kept me on high alert for incoming foul balls.

Batting practice is OK, right? Nope, not there either. During my time with the Texas Rangers, I was damn near killed by a Michael Young erant throw while he was playing catch with Alex Rodriguez. I know it sounds dramatic, but that’s what happened. When ballplayers play catch, they are warming up their bodies, and they throw hard. I had my glove, but it was in my hand, not on it. Then I heard everyone scream “Look out!” and scatter, and I had no choice but to hit the dirt or, in this case, the hot concrete stairs. I still remember the sound of the ball hitting the back of the seat, and it sounded like it broke. The sound rang in my ears. Alex — I always hated the name A-Rod — came up to see if the fans were OK. And thankfully, no one was hurt. I, being a smart ass, had to say, “Hey, can you wait till I get my glove on?” His response was, “You should have had it on.”

He’s right! I still believe that more netting would help fans. Until owners do that, it is up to us fans to help ourselves out.

If sitting up close, bring a glove and stay sober.

Watch all the pitches.

Small children don’t need to be so close.

Be safe!

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Fun Fact Friday: Designated for Assignment

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Do me a favor. Go to MLB.com, and in the search box, type in “designated for assignment.” I was hoping for a simple definition I could copy to share with you. But there is nothing but articles and no clear definition.

What is designated for assignment?

Baseball has a very nasty habit of not stating all the rules. You have to read about baseball and listen to games to get the inside track. The problem with this is the classic telephone game. You start off with saying 3 strikes and you’re out, and it  becomes Mike has 3 strikeouts.

Ask a baseball fan what designated for assignment is and you will get a variety of answers, from the kiss of death, which is being released from a team, to just being sent to the minors. Both are true, by the way. Confused? Well, don’t worry. I am going to clear it up for you.

When a player is designated for assignment, or DFA, he is taken off the 40-man roster. This usually happens to make room for a new player who has been acquired in a trade.

The team has several options, but it has 10 days to do something.

In this time frame:

  • A player can be traded;
  • A player can be sent to the minors, but he has the option to refuse assignment and ask for free agency;
  • A player can be put on waivers (a whole other can of worms I am not going to get into right now), and if he clears waivers, can be picked up by another team;
  • A player can  be released.
  • You can see the results of being designated for assignment on the transaction wire on the MLB.com site.

 

 

 

Stop thinking and just play

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Confession time: I am an overthinker. When a problem comes up, I like to work out three solutions and think of worse-case scenarios. I have been like this my whole life, and it messes up my life. The same can be true for a baseball player — a slump at the plate, unable to find the strike zone, the ball just can’t find your glove. Some would say a solution is more practice, but sometimes a different solution may be in order: Just stop thinking and just play.

Today, I read a wonderful article about how Texas Rangers outfielder Shin-Soo Choo’s wife helped him to stop overthinking. Shin-Soo Choo is very special to me. I watched him for a season as a San Antonio Mission.  Before the All-Star break this year, Choo was not having a good season. He was even taken out of the line up. And then after the All-Star break, his numbers are a .333 batting average, .441 OBP, .607 slugging percentage and a 1.048 OPS.

Choo’s wife used a building metaphor to describe his game. Buildings with a solid foundation can take whatever is shaking them. More importantly is the outcome of this advice. He stopped thinking and started playing and having fun.

“It really helped clear my mind,” Choo said. “I’m not thinking about one game or one week. I’m just seeing what is right in front of me and doing what I do. I’m not thinking about a big picture.”

Baseball is a kid’s game. It should be fun. Sometimes, we need to not see what is going to happen next. Remember, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.   Best thing you can do for your game: Stop thinking and just play.

Bryan Mitchell on the DL

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Last night, Bryan Mitchell while pitching in the 2nd inning of last night Twins vs Yankees, Eduardo Nunez shot a line drive right at Mitchell’s head. There was nothing Mitchell could do; While still coming out of his pitchers motion the ball get him right in the face. The ball seemed to whip off the bat and had a direct path to Mitchell’s face.

 

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the exact moment the ball hit Mitchell.

 

Mitchell was on the ground with blood coming out of his face, he then puts a towel on his face and with minor assistance from a Yankee trained is able to walk to the dugout. Fortunately the outcome is good. Mitchell went to the hospital and has some small nasal fractures . This makes it sound not so bad but any fractures on the face are not good and Mitchell was placed on the 7 day DL for a possible concussion. For all head and facial injuries I think this should be mandatory.

While injuries are a part of baseball, these type of event take my breath away. While some wonder if Mitchell could have gotten out of the way. This is one of those unfortunate events, there was no way for Mitchell to get out of the way in time. I wish him a speedy and full recovery and glad the injury was not more serious.