Tag Archives: Gabe Kapler

TBT: Miss Baseball’s Anniversary

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Yesterday was Miss Baseball’s one-year anniversary. For those of you who don’t know me, I am a mom with two wonderful boys who live with autism. When you live with someone with autism, it is very easy to lose yourself, and I did. I was so busy being a mom, nurse, occupational therapist, speech therapist and special needs teacher to my boys, I forgot about me. I am not ashamed to say I became very depressed. I even went to therapy. I found a great therapist who didn’t use a pad to solve the problems but a simple question. What do you like to do? Stop being everything to everyone else and start being something for you. I rediscovered my passion for writing, and then baseball came back into my life. Then I combined my two loves, writing and baseball, and Miss Baseball was born.

What a wild ride this has been. I went from not knowing how Twitter works to having almost 800 followers. My Facebook page has some of my most wonderful followers. Thank you to all my fans. Your support means a great deal to me. I would also like to thank all my baseball players who have been supportive of me.

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When I hurt my knee, Derek Holland gave me some wonderful words of encouragement.

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//platform.twitter.com/widgets.jsEncouragement and positivity are important in recovery. Having Derek Holland’s words really made all the long hours of physical therapy worth it. I am all better and very grateful for the kind words.

When you ask your favorite player to sign a photo you have saved for years

When you ask your favorite player to sign a photo you have saved for years

Thank you again Dean Palmer for my autographed photo. When I wrote about Dean Palmer, I never thought in a million years he would respond. And I am amazed that he did.

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On a more serious note, being a special needs parent, I am very particular to the charities that I support. While I don’t have any children with vascular birthmark, it frightens me to think that there is a child with one of these and it is either misdiagnosed or, worse, wrong advice is given. Please go to the Frank Catalanotto Foundation. Learn about this condition and all the good work that the foundation does. Also, to Frank Catalanotto, thank you for all the retweets of my articles. I wouldn’t be here without your support.

Last but certainly not least: Frank’s Ranger teammate Gabe Kapler, whose blog on KapLifestyle inspired me to write. I am very honored to be a part of the KapLifestyle family, and I would like to thank my “brothers” Matt Fields and Matt Paré.

I’ve got to do a quick shout-out to Cleat Geeks. Thank you for letting me be a part of your website. I really enjoy writing for you.

There are also some great people behind the scenes. I would like to thank Peter Summerville and Stephanie St. Amour. Thank you Stephanie for all the MANY times you have helped me on my blog.

Finally to Duncan Gilman, my friend since the seventh grade. He’s also my social media guru. He tells me do this and do that, and it would help my blog. I would do this and that, and each day my blog got more traffic, and I got more followers. He has celebrated every triumph and consoled every failure. There would not be Miss Baseball without Duncan. Thank you is not enough, but I am at a loss for words on my gratitude for all that you do for me.

Today, I thought I would end with my favorite article. It’s something that I truly believe: Baseball is life. No matter where you go or what you do, baseball is always there.

 

 

Baseball is life

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I once read a Twitter post that said, “Baseball is not life, it is something you do. Life is something you live.”  A former ballplayer wrote that, and I can understand it. But I disagree  with it. Baseball IS life.

I am back from a much-needed vacation. I toured the city of Corpus Christi while avoiding Tropical Storm Bill. While my intention to go to a single game was washed out, I was treated to a double header the next day.  The USS Lexington is close by, and I took my boys to view the massive museum.  We toured the ship, and when my youngest was too tired to go on, we headed over to the mess deck to get a drink. We passed by this case full of baseball artifacts from 1933 and ’34 Navy baseball teams.

The vision of sailors, playing baseball — I think about them on the flight deck, with gloves on, tossing a ball around.  I have a vision of the stands in the ballpark and sailors watching and cheering the other sailors playing.

I think a little bit about the Twitter quote as I walk over to Whataburger Field. The Frisco RoughRiders and the Corpus Christi Hooks are Double A-ing my fun with a double header.  I get the last ticket behind home plate.

Manger for the Hooks Rodney Linares and acting as manger for the Rough Riders Jason Hart

Hooks Manager Rodney Linares and RoughRiders Acting Manager Jason Hart exchange lineups.

I am in my seat ready to watch some baseball, when my seat neighbor appears, a nice woman with her mom and a family friend. That’s right, I am sitting behind home plate and it is girls’ night out. My neighbor  is a huge Hooks fan, and the teasing commenced as I cheered for the RoughRiders. She and I talk about baseball throughout the game. She had her favorite players, ones she liked because they were kind to her child and others that were kind to the eyes.  Yes, I was giggling like a schoolgirl over some cute ballplayers; not going to apologize for that. Baseball pants are the world’s greatest invention.  Two games, 7 innings each, and the RoughRiders lost both, but there was some good ball in there, and I see a great team. I even have a favorite RoughRider. His name is Drew Robinson, and he wears 16 (Dean Palmer’s Ranger number) and he has a passion for the game.

The game is over, and I find the Frisco team bus. And while I couldn’t wait for the players to come out, I did meet more people.

I met the founders of Keeper of the Game Foundation, and the business card read, “Serving kids with special needs and disabilities while promoting servant leadership.”  As a mom of two children with autism, I am in awe. I am then handed a photo of my favorite player, Drew Robinson, and I hang it here near my desk.

After saying my goodbyes and getting in the car to head back to my hotel, I am just as relaxed after a double header as I was playing in the ocean.  Baseball is life — it keeps popping in my mind. Seeing baseball artifacts on the USS Lexington, going to a double header and being with other women who love baseball as much as I do, meeting people who understand how important baseball could be to special needs children. It just made me think, this is life.

Baseball is life. Baseball connects us. It moves us, it bonds us into a community. Baseball has all the markers of life: passion, love, hatred, obsession, lust. Baseball is the perfect euphemism for life. You may strike out more than you hit a home run, but you never stop swinging.

 

 

Gabe Kapler for manager

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The baseball world is buzzing with reports that Gabe Kapler is the front-runner for the new manager of the Dodgers. Who is Gabe Kapler? Well, I am not going to tell you: You can read Kaplifestyle. Writers put themselves into their writing, and even if they try not to, it just happens. As I write this post, I am trying to keep my excitement down.  I am going to make a call. Gabe Kapler is going into the Hall of Fame, and he will be one of the greatest managers ever.

I know this sounds like some sort of advertisement, but it is just excitement. Now where did this excitement come from? It came from one day seeing him on Twitter and following the link to Kaplifestyle. I was not prepared to read what I read.

Honest Communication was the first post I read. Blown away is an understatement. Never before had I read someone who just cuts through the bullshit and gets to the point while still maintaining a sense of decency and compassion.  Kap can be funny and honest, as in his post Whining and the Murder of Smoke Detectors. If you have ever had a smoke detector go off for no reason, Kap has a solution. It is one of the funniest things I have ever read.

I may be a fan, but I am no sheep, and you can’t be a sheep with Kap. He encourages everyone to find their own path and think for themselves. But future Dodgers may want to look out because there may be some crickets in the dugout. Better Dugout Snack. Sorry Kap, don’t care how much protein is in them, I am not going to eat crickets.

I will tell you what I will eat. Strawberries. Before Kaplifestyle, I was getting sick every month. I mean really sick. I needed antibiotics and steroids to become human. Yes, I was taking my vitamins, but then I read these posts and changed my life. Fighting Cold? Reach for Berries and Viral Myths: Drink Your Milk. Food is a better way to absorb your vitamins. Now, I no longer know my doctor’s phone number by heart, and it’s been a year since my last shot.

My second love and third child is baseball. It was always something so important to me. Baseball is Life: Rejection and Failure & Baseball is Life: Mindfulness. These are two of my favorite posts. They are about how Kap takes his baseball experiences and helps young ballplayers learn from his life. Mistakes and triumphs are equal parts to learning.

Nearly a year ago, Kap became the Dodgers’ director of player development, or as he calls it, human development. He got all the minor league teams to have at least one Spanish-speaking coach so that there would not be a failure in communication. And it brings up morale when you are able to communicate with your team and coaches.

During the Dodgers’ Winter Development Program, he worked the young players’ minds in the classroom instead of working their bodies. This prevented injuries and kept the focus on baseball instead of a showcase of ability. During the program, he even taught his young players about metrics so they could better understand what they are being measured by.

This is after just one year. What could Gabe Kapler do with a whole team? I can’t wait to find out.

 

Lopsided Trades

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The July 31 trade deadline is ever looming. ESPN put out a story about the Most Lopsided Trades.

This made me think of some crazy, lopsided Ranger trades.

Sammy Sosa:

I once heard George W. Bush talk about how he did regretted trading Sammy Sosa, but at the time, Sammy was 20 years old and not really doing anything. Who knew what would become of him? The bigger regret is who also left when we traded him to the Chicago White Sox.

Wilson Alvarez: In the past, the Texas Rangers have not been known for great pitching. In 1989, there was a trade for Sammy Sosa, Wilson Alvarez and Scott Fletcher. The Rangers got Harold Baines and Fred Manrique. As a longtime Ranger fan, I am still crying over this trade. Alvarez went on to be an All-Star pitcher, with a 14 year-career and an overall 3.96 ERA and a 1.390 WHIP. I know the Rangers sure could have used him.

In the ESPN Lopsided article, they talk about the Mark Teixeira trade, and the Rangers really benefited on that one. July 31, 2007: Traded by the Texas Rangers with Ron Mahay to the Atlanta Braves for Beau Jones (minors), Elvis Andrus, Neftali Feliz, Matt Harrison and Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

There was a trade in which I almost feel sorry for Detroit. Juan Gonzalez was traded in a nine-player deal. The Rangers traded Gonzalez, with Danny Patterson and Gregg Zaun, to the Detroit Tigers for Alan Webb (minors), Frank Catalanotto, Francisco Cordero, Bill Haselman, Gabe Kapler and Justin Thompson.

Alan Webb and Justin Thompson: While these turned out to be duds, the rest of the deal worked out great for the Rangers.

Francisco Cordero went on to be an All-Star closer for the Rangers. In 2004, he had 49 saves, an ERA of 2.13 and WHIP of 1.284. He played for the Rangers from 2000 to 2005.

Bill Haselman was a great backup catcher for the Rangers. His five years with the Rangers included an overall batting average of .273

And two of my favorite players came over in the trade

Gabe Kapler, a good outfielder and good numbers, with a BA of  .280.  He was a fan favorite, especially with my girlfriends.

Frank Catalanotto, called by fans Little Cat, was another fan favorite, and I would say one of my absolute favorite players of all time. I followed his career after he left the Rangers.  He was so versatile in both infield and outfield.  His overall BA with the Rangers was .290

Trades are a part of the game. There are some who underperform, or a trade was just what they needed to get their game on. You truly never know how a player is going to be until they are in uniform on the field.

What’s a crazy trade you remember? Drop me a line, and let’s keep the conversation going.

 

 

Metric Monday: BRR it’s cold.

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Why did I wait so long to understand this stuff. I feel like i am entering into college at 50.

I am looking at stats and these new stats pop up at me. TaV, BABIP, BRR, FRAA and WARP. What does it all mean? Well I thought  I would look over Prince Fielder and learn what all these stats mean.

 

What is

TaV:True Average what a player does at the plate. Hitting, walks, strike outs. what makes this a true average is it takes in how the player is used and where.

.300 is exceptional  .260 is average and .200 is poor

BRR no its not cold in here This is Baserunning Runs The player’s ability to steal and advance bases.  ( like how likely they will go from 1st to 3rd on a single)

5-12 is Excellent  0-4 is Good 0 is average -4 through -9 is poor and anything above -9 is very bad.

BABIP: Batting Average on Balls in Play and there is a fun equation to go with it. BABIP = (H – HR) / (AB – K – HR + SF + SH)

FRAA: Fielding Runs above Avg, While reading up on the history of metrics they were not always standard. So Baseball Prospectus has their own stat here. Here is their explanation:

” The biggest difference between Fielding Runs Above Average and similar defensive metrics comes in the data and philosophy used. Whereas other metrics use zone-based fielding data, Fielding Runs Above Average ignores that data due to the numerous biases present. Fielding Runs Above Average instead focuses on play-by-play data, taking a step back and focusing on the number of plays made compared to the average number of plays made by a player at said position. The pitcher’s groundball tendencies, batter handedness, park, and base-out state all go into figuring out how many plays an average player at a position would make.”

WARP: this one you may have seen as WAR but its Wins Above Replacement Player

This takes all the stats and also accounts for position played and this shows how this particular player is better than the replacement.

Here from the Baseball Prospectus website:

Here is an example of the Wins Above Replacement Player spectrum based on the 2011 season:

Excellent – Jose Bautista 10.3
Great – Hunter Pence 5.2
Average -Gaby Sanchez 2.0
Poor – Adam Lind 0.5
Horrendous – Adam Dunn -1.7

I go to my trusty Baseball Prospectus 2015 , turn to page 401 for the then,  I go to the BP website for the now.

Prince Fielder

Then                                                                                                     Now

TAv: .311 (Exceptional)                                                                 3.09

BABIP:.297 ( Average)                                                                    3.76

BRR: -.2.1 (Poor)                                                                             -3.2

FRAA:-1.8                                                                                           -0.3

WARP: 1.3 (below Average)                                                         1.9

I am seeing improvement, Prince is playing DH more than 1st right now. He has got some moves like on Sunday’s game he came all the way from 1st to home on the Josh Hamilton double.  Great to see after being injured. I love the Ranger comeback.

Fun Fact Friday: Jersey Day

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Today is jersey Day at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Those wearing a jersey to the game get to be a part of walking on the field. I am wearing my Kapler jersey. Today for Fun Fact Friday I thought I would show you the history of the jersey.

There is a wonderful online exhibit from the National Baseball Hall of Fame:

http://exhibits.baseballhalloffame.org/dressed_to_the_nines/jerseys.htm

 

Here are a few highlights:

Pete Browning of the American Association Louisville Colonels, c. 1887

 

Running the Bases Wearing Laces

The late 1870s saw the introduction of the laced-front jersey. Styles varied, with some shirts featuring lacing that ran the entire length of the shirt, while others had lacing for just the top portion of the jersey. Laced-front jerseys remained popular through the 1890s, but by 1901 only two of 16 major league clubs were wearing the style. Ten years later, laces on shirts had disappeared altogether.

Members of the American Association Cincinnati Red Stockings in “clown costumes,” 1882

At left: Pete Browning of the American Association Louisville Colonels, c. 1887

Clown Costumes

Perhaps the boldest experiment with the baseball uniform came in 1882, when the rules of the game called for multi-colored uniforms designed to denote each player’s position. When the members of a ballclub took the field, no two men were wearing the same uniform. Shortstops, for example, were required to wear maroon shirts and caps, while first basemen dressed like candy canes in scarlet-and-white-striped caps and jerseys. Regardless of position, the 1882 rules stipulated that each player wear white pants, a white belt and a white tie. The only way the fans could tell which club was which was by looking at the players’ stockings, as each club wore uniquely colored socks. The rulebook called for Buffalo to wear gray stockings, while Cleveland donned navy blue hose. Not surprisingly, Chicago wore white stockings and Boston dressed in red socks. No doubt the wild color schemes caused mass confusion on the field and in the stands, and so the experimental uniforms, derisively called “clown costumes,” were abandoned in mid-season.

Chicago Cubs outfielder Bill Nicholson, 1940

Dressed in a Vest

In 1940, the Chicago Cubs unveiled a bold new look in baseball uniforms: a lightweight flannel vest worn over a knitted undershirt. The vest, designed by club president Philip K. Wrigley, allowed for greater freedom of motion for players’ arms and shoulders. Though the Cubs abandoned the innovation just three seasons later, the style has enjoyed a number of revivals over the years. Today, multiple clubs wear sleeveless jerseys, either as part of their primary or alternate home uniform.

Lost in Metrics

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Its  Monday and I wanted to start my learning of Sabermetrics. Its a lot of information. Enough to make someone go ACKKK!!!!. But I press on. I have my Baseball Prospectus 2014, there is a forward from Gabe Kapler. (I am on his site, you are going to hear his name a lot)

To quote Kap

“In 2007, just before I embarked on a season as minor league manager in the Red Sox system, Boston General Manager Ben Cheringotn gave me a study on the sacrifice bunt and how it was being misused in the major-league level. I laid down 20 sacrifice bunts in my playing career , my consistent employment as a player I would have been very easy for me to discard Cherington’s information, That would have been ego-driven approach based on the rigid belief that because I played the game at a high level , I had little left to learn.

Many players have chosen that route. Executives in the game (like Cheringotn) have moved from old-school statistics to newer metrics when it comes to player analysis yet most players themselves have not . But that stance would have left me stagnant while more open-minded individuals continued their growth. We shouldn’t want to be left behind and I’m driven not to be In my quest I am led by the ingenuity and substance of publications like the one you hold”

Well you are not holding it I am. I could read Kap all day long. He’s right its time to really look at metrics. I look at this from a fan perspectives we have to understand what management is doing.  This is not going to be an easy subject to learn but its necessary.

Now its time to read, I went to  http://sabr.org/sabermetrics

there I am reading about the basics of metrics, from the site:

First, let’s go over some basics:

  • What is sabermetrics? As originally defined by Bill James in 1980, sabermetrics is “the search for objective knowledge about baseball”. James coined the phrase in part to honor the Society for American Baseball Research. 
  • Who invented sabermetrics? Statistical analysis has been around as long as baseball has been played competitively. Long before Moneyball became a worldwide phenomenon in the 21st century and before Bill James’ baseball writings gained mainstream popularity in the 1980s, Hall of Fame manager Earl Weaver was using index cards to fine-tune his platooning system and pitching changes with the Baltimore Orioles in the 1960s, while Branch Rickey hired statistician Allan Roth in the 1940s to evaluate player performance with the Brooklyn Dodgers. A generation before that, Baseball Magazine editor F.C. Lane was creating new statistical methods to measure offensive production, culminating in his classic book of essays, Batting. In the mid-19th century, Henry Chadwick is credited with developing the box score and his tabulation of hits, home runs and total bases led to the formulation of metrics such as batting average and slugging percentage.
  • SABR or sabermetrics? With more than 6,000 members around the world, SABR is a membership organization comprised of passionate and knowledgeable baseball fans with a variety of interests — one of them being statistical analysis. SABR members Bill James, Pete Palmer and Dick Cramer co-founded SABR’s Statistical Analysis Committee in 1974 and helped popularize the study of sabermetrics. The phrase “sabermetrics” itself is in the public domain and is generally used to describe any mathematical or statistical study of baseball.

Sabermetric researchers often use statistical analysis to question traditional measures of baseball evaluation such as batting average and pitcher wins. Early on, James’ theories were largely mocked (or ignored) by the baseball establishment, but as Joe Posnanski wrote in “The Ballad of Bill James”, over time his work started to be recognized. Time Magazine once named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world. The Boston Red Sox hired him in 2003 and subsequently won two World Series. James is still asking relevant questions today at billjamesonline.com, and so are legions of his disciples such as Rob Neyer, baseball editor at FoxSports.com; Birnbaum; and all the great writers at Baseball Analysts, Baseball Prospectus, Beyond the Box Score, FanGraphs, The Hardball Times and other sites.

Want a primer on sabermetrics? Check out the FanGraphs Library for down-to-earth explanations of advanced metrics such as wOBA (weighted on-base average), FIP (fielding-independent pitching) and WAR (wins above replacement), written by Steve Slowinski. SABR members can also read cutting-edge articles on statistical analysis in every issue of the Baseball Research Journal, such as “The Many Flavors of DIPS: A History and Overview”, by Dan Basco and Michael Davies. We’ve got a full list of resources on our Related Links page at the end of this section.

Be sure to check out the annual SABR Analytics Conference, where we bring together the top minds of the baseball analytic community under one roof to discuss, debate and share insightful ways to analyze and examine the great game of baseball.

We also have a lot more online tools available for SABR members on our Research Resources page, including Matt Dennewitz’s Saber Archive, an online repository of sabermetric articles.

Whether you’re just starting out or you’d like a refresher course, whether you’re a numbers wizard or you consider yourself math-phobic, we hope you’ll find Phil Birnbaum’s Guide to Sabermetric Research informative and interesting.

Well I have got some reading to do. #StrongMind

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