Fun Fact Friday

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Welcome to the new Miss Baseball site! Like the new site? I love the pink. I am going to work on a new logo, something with pink and sparkles.  I hope you like the site and let me know what you think. I have been working hard to get my geek on with Cleat Geeks. Check me out as I make predictions on who will win the American League West.

While working on my articles I kept running into a problem, I have talked about this before baseball is horrible about explaining why they do the things they do. My problem next to a ballplayers name was his batting avg, I would see two other sets of numbers. I would ask around , what are these other numbers? Now sure I could guess and make assumptions but no one ( I know lots of baseball loving people) knew for SURE what the number were. Today for Fun Fact Friday I am going to tell you what these numbers are.

Here is an example from a story about Alex Gordon

“Gordon hit .271/.377/.432”

What you are seeing here is

Player’s name,  Batting Avg/ OBP/SLG

What is OBP? According to BaseballReference.com

On Base Percentage (aka OBP, On Base Average, OBA) is a measure of how often a batter reaches base. It is approximately equal to Times on Base/Plate appearances.

The full formula is OBP = (Hits + Walks + Hit by Pitch) / (At Bats + Walks + Hit by Pitch + Sacrifice Flies). Batters are not credited with reaching base on an error or fielder’s choice, and they are not charged with an opportunity if they make a sacrifice bunt.

What is SLG Slugging Percentage again from Baseballreference.com

Slugging percentage (abbreviated SLG and also called Slugging average) is the number of total bases divided by the number of at bats.

Its formula is ([Singles] + [Doubles x 2] + [Triples x 3] + [Home Runs x 4])/[At Bats]

At bats are different than plate appearances.

An equivalent formula is ([Hits] + [Doubles] + [Triples x 2] + [Home Runs x 3])/At Bats

This formula is not as intuitive, but is often more convenient, as singles are often not given (although they could easily be deduced). Singles can be figured fom the following equation because they are simply hits that are not for extra bases: (Hits – [Doubles + Triples + Home Runs])

That’s it for now, but don’t worry more will be coming soon. In the meantime, be sure to catch my alter ego on CleatGeeks.

Twitter the night before Christmas MLB style

Author Note: I was on Twitter last year the night before christmas and all the web not an account was stirring when out like a flash, the Phillies official account started and the laughs began on Red and Rockies and MLB and then the Pirates tried to close it out but the Reds got to say “Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.”

Here is last year’s post:
Were you on Twitter? , If you were, you would have seen the MLB teams had some fun and the fans had some more fun reciting the famous Christmas poem by, Major Henry Livington Jr,  which also called Account of a Visit from Saint Nicholas. The official accounts of  Phillies, Red, Astros, Rockies, Cubs, Mariners, MLB and more got into the mix. So my gift to you on this the merriest of nights.

Barry Bonds Bad for Baseball

In Ken Burns “Baseball,” there is a story about Ty Cobb going into a liquor store, and Shoeless Joe Jackson was at the register. Cobb recognized Jackson and asked, “Hey, don’t you know me?” Jackson’s response was, “Of course, but I didn’t think you would want to know me.”

That was then. Now, it’s different. Known cheaters are all around baseball, and they’re on television, telling us their stories, giving their opinions of how the game should be played. I seem to be the only one who sees the white elephant in the room. Why would I want to listen and see someone who would cheat at the game I love? I would not. I do not. They need to go away. But there is something worse than that. Known cheaters are now becoming coaches. Such is the case with Barry Bonds, who is now the hitting coach for the Miami Marlins.

There is no fading into the background for Bonds. Instead, he will be in a position of influence, to young, hungry players, who even before they step into a major league park will have the wrong mentality of playing the game of baseball. That the rules don’t apply. Can you imagine what would happen to a young ballplayer who thinks that the rules don’t apply to him?

Bonds and the others from the steroids era bother me because it’s not just a breaking of the rule. We all break rules. We speed and skip a stop sign. Yes, people do that. That is different than having a cheater mentality. My definition of the cheater mentality is that one day a person woke up and made a decision that winning was more important than the rules. Before any needle, before any drug even touched their body, they decided that to win, the rules didn’t apply to them and they were going to take any steps necessary to win.

Now, here is something even more scary. Let’s put these people in positions of power. Make them hitting coaches and bench coaches. Make them managers. Make them general managers. Where does it stop?

Women in Baseball’s Front Office

I have a new favorite sportswriter, and her name is Meg Rowley. She debuted on Baseball Prospectus. Can I just say, if this is the debut, ya’ll better watch out for this one.

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You need to read her whole article. It’s just that good. It inspired me to write about women’s place in baseball. Miss Baseball is a feminist. What is my definition of a feminist? Well, I believe that if you are 5 foot 8 and can hit a breaking ball and have a glove on you, you should have the opportunity to play in Major League Baseball. I believe that if you can type words and use stats to compose intelligent thoughts, major sports networks should give you an opportunity to bring your words to the masses. This might not be the definition to some, but it is to me. I don’t want a handout, I just want a chance.

I want to take a moment and talk to women in college or heading to college. Women need to go into math and business. Major in stats, and economics, finance. Right now, the front office of baseball is changing, and metrics are not going to be a new fad, but a cornerstone of how players are drafted and played. Women can be a part of this. Take the classes that help you understand the metrics of baseball. In Meg’s article, she writes, “Baseball should make entry-level positions a feasible financial possibility for a more diverse applicant pool, by requiring teams to create fellowship positions that pay a living wage and are designed to recruit and cultivate women and people of color.”

I agree with this, but women need to go to college and major in the things that Major League Baseball is looking for. It’s not marketing or community relations. It’s math, stats, finance and economics.

Meg talks about the boys club of baseball’s front office, and it exists today not because women aren’t allowed but because women don’t have the skill set that Major League Baseball is looking for. Let’s change that, ladies, and become what we need to become to make it into the boys club.

I’ve worked in two boys clubs, one an IT department, and I earned respect from my peers by being a hard worker and a fast and thorough learner. When I worked for the Texas Rangers, I worked very hard, worked long hours, came in early and stayed late. I would hand out promotions and take tickets, help people find seats, go back and forth in the tunnel for various projects. I also learned all the players’ names, and I got my nickname, Miss Baseball, because I knew how to say Justin Duchscherer.

Women are hard workers and smart. It’s time to show the front office that there is a place for women in baseball.

Its only a game, then why do I hurt?

The Texas Rangers were so close, and yet so far. It has been a while since I have written, I now fully understand why sports writers learn to be objective, it hurts too much to be a fan. Yes, I want to be positive but its hurts when your team doesn’t go all the way. The post season is a magnification of what is wrong with the team. We were asking a great deal from all of our players. Many of them very much injured or coming back from injury. Yes, you might think its time to point fingers but the reality is, you don’t know how someone is going to perform until they get out there. Still, for me there was this hope and love that I thought they would make it all the way and when Game 5  hit I was convinced that was the end all be all, we were going to win.  Oh that’s the problem when you give your heart away it get broken sometimes.

I saw a tweet from a former MLB player.  He talked about how the “bat flip”.  That the Rangers fans need not to be angry at the bat flip that if Beltre had done it we would have applauded it.  As a Ranger fan I was not offended by the bat flip, I was more offended by showing up my pitcher. Ranger fans are angry because we were so close and didn’t make it. This was supposed to be our year. We came back from last place, this was not how the story was supposed to go. The bat flip was the last straw.

It just goes to show how much fans love the game. We see the players love on the field. Who didn’t get a little misty when Beltre came out and started to cry. As fans we take possession of the team, they are not the Rangers they are our team. While we didn’t play in the field we did cheer for you, buy the tickets, buy the merchandise, support your charities. We made an emotional investment in you.  In the end after the tough loss of the series and going home, it hurts and no matter how much of a positive spin you put on it. It hurts.

Fun Fact Friday: My AL and NL Standing Predictions

AL Predictions

NL Predictions

Today for fun, I thought I would see how my predictions turned out.

My Predictions                                                                                            Current Standings

AL
East.                          Central.                   West                              East             Central          West
Orioles.                      Royals.                   Angels                       Blue Jays    Royals            Rangers
Red Sox.                    Tigers.                    Rangers                     Yankees      Twins              Astros
Blue Jays.                  Indians.                Mariners                    Orioles        Indians           Angels
Yankees.                    White Sox.              Astros                        Rays           White Sox      Mariners
Rays.                          Twins.                     A’s                               Red Sox        Tigers             A’s
Wild card: Rangers                                                                      Wild Card: Yankees, Astros
ALDS: Royals
NL
East.                          Central.                    West                          East          Central            West
Nationals.                 Cubs.                       Dodgers                    Mets        Cardinals        Dodgers
Marlins.                    Cardinals.                 Padres                Nationals    Pirates             Giants
Braves.                      Reds.                        Giants                    Marlins       Cubs                 D-Backs
Phillies.                      Brewers.                   D-Backs               Braves        Brewers         Padres
Mets.                          Pirates.                     Rockies                Phillies         Reds              Rockies
Wild Card: Padres                                                                     Wild Card: Pirates, Cubs
NLDS: Cubs

I admit I was wrong on some of my guesses, which in February that’s all they can be. Who would have guess what the Astros would have done?  I didn’t think what the Padres did during the winter meeting of moving over 70 players was good but I thought they would at least have a better showing. I could not have predicted what happened with the Red Sox collapse. On a positive note, my World Series prediction is still intact and I think would be a really exciting one to watch so lets see what October has in store.

Is that a strike?

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

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

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.

 

 

 

Miss Baseball’s Fan Etiquette Guide

Today I was reading an article in the New York Post and I am very upset with how the fans behaved at the game. Being a lifelong Texas Ranger fan, I don’t even like the Yankees but poor Brett Gardner is hit by his own Yankee fan, throwing back a Blue Jay home run. Then Mark Teixeira is run over by a fan trying to get a foul ball that he missed. I mean come on did you not see the giant baseball player. I am shocked at these New York fans, I thought you knew better. Great! I am now defending Yankees, even the thought is making my skin crawl but even the evil empire needs people to behave. I think a top five rules to help out what I am hoping are just clueless fans.

Rule 1: Don’t ever hit one of your own players with a ball. Baseball is very hard and it hurts.
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Rule 2: Don’t run over your own player to get a foul ball.

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Rule 3: There are rules in MLB about autographs. Players can’t give autographs during the game. So don’t ask.

Rule 4: Be NICE! I can’t tell you how many times, people thought it was ok to say. “Oh you are in a slump right now. Maybe it’s time you learn to hit the ball.” I have seen grown men shove kids in the autograph area. Don’t do it. Be nice.

Rule 5: Be Positive. No booing your own players or team. When you see them, smile and tell them how you are cheering for them. Give them positive energy and that will turn into positive energy in the field.

Follow these rules and you can have happy ballplayers and happy fans; even if they are Yankees.