December 29, 2014

2015 Hall of Fame - Part III - Ballot Time

In my previous posts, I reviewed the former Red Sox on the ballot and my thoughts on them, as well as my thoughts on players of interest to Canadians.

The tl;dr version is I said I would vote for the following:

  • Jeff Bagwell
  • Randy Johnson
  • Edgar Martinez
  • Pedro Martinez
  • Fred McGriff
  • Tim Raines
  • Curt Schilling
  • Lee Smith
  • John Smoltz
  • Larry Walker
That's ten guys already, and I only looked at Red Sox, Jays, Expos and Canadian players.
I still need to assess the rest of the ballot which includes the following 17 players:
  • Rich Aurilia 
  • Craig Biggio
  • Barry Bonds 
  • Aaron Boone 
  • Jermaine Dye 
  • Darin Erstad 
  • Brian Giles 
  • Eddie Guardado 
  • Don Mattingly 
  • Mark McGwire 
  • Mike Mussina 
  • Troy Percival 
  • Mike Piazza 
  • Jason Schmidt 
  • Gary Sheffield 
  • Sammy Sosa 
  • Alan Trammell
Looking at each on an individual basis, Biggio, Bonds and Trammell get my vote.
Toughest omissions are Mussina (overall career looks good, but I never thought of him as one of the top pitchers or an ace while he was pitching) and Piazza (great offensive numbers for a catcher, but he was a really bad catcher. Would he be in as a first baseman? He's comparable to Carlos Delgado who nobody is voting for).

So my BBA ballot is complete with those 13 names.

Unfortunately, the BBWAA still limits voters to checking off 10 names on a ballot. Lee Smith, Alan Trammell and Fred McGriff need to be removed.  My final BBWAA style ballot:

Feel free to criticize, but only after reading my previous posts. It's not a perfect ballot, but scores an 86 using the TangoTiger scoring system where "anything at 85+ points will show you did a good job." I don't like the Hall's voting process, but am reasonably satisfied with my ballot.

If you are interested in reading more about the Hall of Fame, I can recommend  The Hall of Nearly Great which has some great stories about several players that are not in Cooperstown or the Bill James' classic The Politics of Glory which has great insight on the history of the Hall and voting and some excellent suggestions for fixing the current voting process.

As this is likely my last post of the year, I'm wishing all my readers a Happy New Year!

December 23, 2014

2015 Hall of Fame - Part II - Canadians

This is my second article where I unveil who I'm voting for on the 2015 Hall of Fame ballot. My last article dealt with Red Sox players.  This one looks at players of interest to Canadians. Either native players, or those who played north of the border. As I did last time, I'm looking at each player's merits on their own, without regard to the maximum 10 player limit. In my last post I will cut it back to just 10 and may remove some players who I had said I would be voting for.

Let me start with the players returning on the ballot. 

December 19, 2014

2015 Hall of Fame - Part I - Red Sox players

As mentioned previously, I will be posting my Hall of Fame ballot in three pieces. For each player, for now, I’m just giving a binary yes/no without regard to the 10 person limit per ballot. In my last post I will whittle it down to just 10 if there are more (there will be!). Today's column deals with former Red Sox players.
(By the way, this and all other columns will list players alphabetically)

Let me quickly start with players returning on the ballot.  They are:
Jeff Bagwell (54% last year)
Roger Clemens (35%)
Curt Schilling (29%)
Lee Smith (30%)

No need to rehash the arguments that I made last year on which of these should be in and out. And they haven't done anything to change their credentials, nothing has evolved (maybe Mr. Schilling was right) since last year, so no need to change my mind on any of them.

The newcomers:

Tony Clark - I remember the excitement of my 6 year old when he heard we had acquired Clark in the 2001-02 offseason. And why not? He was a reigning all-star and after a disappointing ending to the 2001 season, the Red Sox were ready to make a move in 2002. Well he didn't even slug .300 for us that year and luckily we kept Brian Daubach around to provide some pop from the first base position. No, Tony Clark is mainly remembered by Red Sox fans for two heart stopping at-bats in the 2004 ALCS: In Game 5, after the Red Sox had scored twice in the 8th to tie up the game, Clark came up to bat with Ruben Sierra on 1st base and 2 outs in the 9th. He hit a line drive to right field which would surely have scored Sierra from 1st, and as everybody at Fenway held their collective breath, it bounced over the short right field fence for a not-ground-rule double, holding Sierra at 3rd. Everybody at Fenway was able to breathe again, and then Miguel Cairo popped out to 1st base to end the threat.  (side note: This game was over 10 years ago and I remember it like it was yesterday. Thank you again 2004). The very next day he came up to bat in an even more potentially gut-wrenching situation. Bottom of the 9th, Sox leading 4-2. Two outs and two men on base. A home run by the Thermos would give the Yankees a walk-off Series win. Confession time: to this day I still have not watched that at-bat. The Boone scars were still fresh and I had to excuse myself from the room and find something else to do to stay occupied. All I know is that he did not hit a home run and the Red Sox won the game. Anyhow, I'm rambling, as I oft too when reminiscing about 2004. What am I writing about? Oh, yeah, is Tony Clark a Hall-of-Famer? No, no he's not. I could go look up some stats to make the case that he was barely above mediocre throughout his career, but you already know that, nobody is seriously thinking of voting for him. NO

Cliff Floyd - He'll show up in my list of  Hall of Fame candidates with Canadian connections as he spent five season playing in La Belle Province for the Expos.  And he only called Fenway Park home for 2 months at the end of the 2002 season, but he did play like a Hall of Famer during that stretch. He slugged 561 and had an OPS+ of 142 after getting traded for Sunny-Woo Kim.  But nobody really remembers him as a Red Sox player.  He was a Marlin for 6 years and basically hit to a 300/400/500 slash line each season, as well as helping them win their franchise's first ever World Series. That's a pretty good sample of his career, but unfortunately he was barely above mediocre the rest of his career, compiling a 266/346/452 line throughout his other 11 seasons in the league. Even in a non-crowded ballot he wouldn't get a lot of attention. NO

Nomar Garciaparra- It hurts just talking about Nomah! By his 4th season in the league he had already compiled an unanimous ROY selection, 2nd place in MVP in his sophomore season, 600 slugging and batting title in his 3rd full year in the league, and had just come off a campaign where he batted .372. Hall of Fame? a first ballot no-doubter. The only question was who would be the idiots who wouldn't cast a ballot for him. But there is a reason voting for The Hall doesn't happen until after the end of someone's career. Ah, what could have been. Makes me sad even thinking about it. NO

Tom Gordon – Not many ballplayers can say that Stephen King wrote a book about them! He was an above average starter for the Royals, before the Red Sox signed him. After a couple of sub-par seasons in the rotation, he became a closer and had an all-star season, garnering 46 saves, with a  FIP of 2.45 and an ERA+ of 173. Like Tony Clark, Red Sox fans also remember him for what he did in the 2004 ALCS. In that same Game 5 mentioned previously, it was Gordon who gave up the two runs in the 8th inning that allowed the Red Sox to tie the game. Outside of Boston, he also had a couple of other all-star season as a closer later on in his career. And he might have been a bit underrated finishing his career with 138 wins and 158 saves. Off  top of my head, not many other pitchers beat both of those numbers. Eckersley for sure and maybe Smoltz (looked it up – Smoltz had less saves), can’t think of many more. He did have an above average career ending with a sub 4 era pitching mainly in the 90s and early 2000s.  But the Hall of Fame isn’t for above average players or it would be way more crowded than it is. Thank you for the memories, Flash. NO

Pedro Martinez – Really, I have to make a case here?? Spoiler alert, I'm voting for him. Definitely one of the greatest pitchers of all time, arguably the best ever.  Sandy Koufax? Please. If he had played in 2000 calling Fenway home, his career ERA would have been 3.74 using Baseball Reference’s neutralized pitching tool. Pedro in 2000? 1.74 in a league where the average ERA was above 5.00.  There were only five pitchers in the entire league with a sub 4 ERA. Pedro’s was the only one below 3.70 and it was almost 2 runs lower. And it wasn’t just one great season. He had a 7 year stretch starting in the heavily PED fueled 1997-2003 era with the following ERAs: 1.90, 2.89, 2.07, 1.74, 2.39, 2.26, 2.22. The lowest league average ERA during that time was 4.81.
Irritates me that a lot of people think the consensus is that Roger Clemens is the best pitcher of this generation. Clemens had a career ERA+ of 143, with a K:BB ratio below 3, peaking at 4.7. Not too shabby. Pedro’s ERA+ was 154 and his K:BB ratio was above 4, peaking at 8.9, and he ended his career with K/9 ratio of over 10.  Not only is that better than Clemens’ (8.5) but it’s higher than Nolan Ryan’s or any active starting pitcher’s. Do I really need to go on? Hopefully my readers knew he was a Hall of Famer before having to look at these numbers. YES

John Smoltz – Came to Boston towards the end of his career and started a handful of games, posting an ERA north of 8 before being released. But it’s not his time in Boston that will build his resume for Cooperstown, but rather the 20 previous seasons he spent in Atlanta.  And what a career he had there! Along with Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine, he was the third member of a dominant pitching rotation that got the Braves to the postseason 14 consecutive seasons. He had a five year stretch in the late 90s as an excellent starter. He was also a fantastic closer for  three straight years after returning from an injury. And then as a 38 year old he went back to starting and all he did the next 3 seasons is compile a 44-24 record with a 3.22 ERA. He finished with 213 wins and 154 saves in the 3+ years he was a closer and an overall ERA+ of 127, His case isn't quite as open and shut as his teammates', but he should get in. YES

My next post will cover the Canadian players and those that played in Canada.  Stay tuned....

November 25, 2014

2015 Hall of Fame - preview

The BBWAA ballot for 2015 induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame is out. As I did last year, I’m going to publish my ballot in three stages.  First I will evaluate all the former Red Sox players.  I will focus on new additions to the ballot as I already assessed the holdover candidates in last year’s column. I will then do the same for players of interest to Canadians – either those who were born in the Great White North, or played in Canada, as I did last year. Finally I will publish my ballot by completing it by adding other deserving candidates.  

Here are the names on the ballot, alphabetically: Returning candidates are indicated by showing the % votes they received last year.

Red Sox
   Jeff Bagwell (54%)
   Tony Clark
   Roger Clemens (35%)
   Cliff Floyd
   Nomar Garciaparra
   Tom Gordon
   Pedro Martinez
   Curt Schilling (29%)
   Lee Smith (30%)
   John Smoltz

Canadian Connections
   Roger Clemens (35%)
   Carlos Delgado
   Cliff Floyd
   Randy Johnson
   Jeff Kent (15%)
   Edgar Martinez (25%)
   Pedro Martinez
   Fred McGriff (12%)
   Tim Raines (46%)
   Larry Walker (10%)

The Rest
   Rich Aurilia
   Craig Biggio (74.8%)
   Barry Bonds (35%)
   Aaron Boone
   Jermaine Dye
   Darin Erstad
   Brian Giles
   Eddie Guardado
   Don Mattingly (8%)
   Mark McGwire (11%)
   Mike Mussina (20%)
   Troy Percival
   Mike Piazza (62%)
   Jason Schmidt
   Gary Sheffield
   Sammy Sosa  (7%)
   Alan Trammell (21%)

Just taking a quick glance I can already see 12-15 players I would put into the Hall.  Once again, it will be tough to keep my ballot to 10.  Stay tuned as I update my ballot over the next couple of weeks.

October 30, 2014

Madison Bumgarner did NOT win Game 7

(AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
And eventually, MLB got it right and fixed the scoring mistake.  I suspect their "mistake" was fully intentional.  Anyhow, before they fixed it I posted an article on my scoring blog.  Check it out if you were as confused as I was as to how he could get the win, when Jeremy Affeldt was the pitcher of record when they took the lead.

October 17, 2014

Postseason walkoff errors

After the Giants won Game 3 of the NLCS on a walkoff error, there was a lot of misinformation and confusion about the last postseason walkoff error. Most people didn't realize that just last year, the Middlebrooks obstruction play was, in fact, scored as an error.  So that inspired me to write a post on my Scoring Rules blog about how obstruction is scored.  At the end of that article, I also put a short description and link to all the postseason walk off error games. Thought that might be of interest to a wider audience, so I'm reposting that part of it here.

List of all postseason games ending in a walkoff error:

1914 WS Game 3 Braves 5 – A’s 4 – almost exactly 100 years ago, R1,R2 and the pitcher made a throwing error in the 12th on a bunt, trying to get the lead runner at 3rd, who scored on the play.  I tried to put up a video clip, but apparently whoever videotaped this game didn't have the foresight to upload it to Youtube.

October 14, 2014

2014 American League Awards

Every year I get to cast a vote towards the Boston Chapter of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance annual awards.  I usually post my ballot here ahead of time, with lengthy explanations defending my vote.   I was a little late this year, and although I was able to cast my ballot ahead of the deadline, did not have time to post my ballot here.

So.. without further commentary, here were my votes for this year's awards.

(You may take a look at Boston Red Thoughts to see the official entry that the Boston Chapter submitted to the BBA)

Connie Mack (manager)
1 Lloyd McClendon
2 Ned Yost
3 Buck Showalter

Willie Mays (rookie)
1 Jose Abreu
2 Yordano Ventura
3 Marcus Stroman

Goose Gossage (reliever)
1 Delin Botances
2 Greg Holland
3 Andrew Miller

Walter Johnson (pitcher)
1 Corey Kluber
2 Felix Hernandez
3 Phil Hughes
4 Jon Lester
5 Chris Sale

Stan Musial (mvp)
1 Mike Trout
2 Victor Martinez
3 Corey Kluber
4 Jose Altuve
5 Robinson Cano
6 Miguel Cabrera
7 Nelson Cruz
8 Felix Hernandez
9 Adam Jones
10 Michael Brantley

July 17, 2014

Mid season update

Time to take a look and see how my opening day predictions look so far, and project the rest of the season.

Let's start with some highlights from the American League:
EAST: "they won't have any wildcard teams" - if the playoffs were today, both wildcard teams would be from the West, and the next team is in the Central
Boston - "86 wins". They have 43 wins at the all star break. 43 x 2 = 86. Just saying.
Tampa - "could drop all the way to 4th place". Hhmm... they're in 4th place.
Toronto - "bet they wish they still had Henderson Alvarez". Alvarez was just named to the All-Star team. After Buehrle, Dickey and Hutchison, the combined ERA of the rest of the Blue Jays starters is about 5.
Cleveland - "won't win more than 81 games". Exactly at .500 right now
Kansas City - "PLAYOFFS".  They're 2.5 games out right now.
Twins - "Yankees will wish they still had Phil Hughes". He has a 2.62 FIP. That's better than anyone in pinstripes. Even the 155 Million Dollar Tanaka.
Houston - "won't be the worst team in league in 2nd half". They weren't the worst team in the first half! Not even the worst team in their state.

National League:
CENTRAL: "Cincinnati and Milwaukee will remind St. Louis that there are still some competitive teams in this division. But Pittsburgh won't be one of them."  Only 1.5 games separate these 3 teams.
Cubs - "last place". Yeah, this one wasn't that tough.
Milwaukee - "Among most improved teams in baseball. Will contend for a wildcard spot." Well, if they don't win the division, I suppose they'll need to settle for the wildcard
WEST:  "Three team race with the Dodgers needing to hold off Arizona and San Francisco to repeat" 2 out of 3 ain't bad? 1 game separates LA and SF as we head into the 2nd half.
Colorado - "Morneau will like thin Denver air". He's having his best season since 2010.
San Francisco - "A good old Giants/Dodgers rivalry will be rekindled". So far looking good.

Also had my share of predictions that just look silly now. But I won't make too easy for you to mock me. You'll need to click on the link above and find them.

What does the rest of the season hold?
Detroit won't hold on to their 6.5 game lead and will fall out of first place at some point
Texas is going to get hot and make a bit of a run, but ultimately will fade
Seattle is going to make a big trade but they will fade shortly after that and end out of contention
Milwaukee will fall back and have to fight for a wildcard spot
Cincinatti will end up running away with Central

Four days without basesball is approximately four days too many.  Let's get the second half started already!

June 19, 2014

Did you know? Catcher’s Interference. I DIDN’T!!!

Yours truly!  (not really, I'm way better looking!)
I wrote a short post on catcher’s interference (CI) some time ago, to educate people that reaching on CI does not impact your on base percentage (OBP).

Unfortunately, it has come to my attention (through an outstanding Sabermetrics course that I’m taking online) that in that post, my explanation of how to score it was… WRONG!  (sorry!)  No way to sugarcoat it, I’ve always been doing it incorreclty. I use my own spreadsheet system that takes the scoring from a game and compiles all individual
and team stats and I goofed on this one.*

It is true that Catcher’s Interference does not impact your on base percentage.  However, it DOES count as a plate appearance (PA). I always assumed that the formula for OBP was times on base (H+BB+HBP)  ÷ plate appearances.  So, if reaching on CI did not help nor hurt your OBP, then I assumed it did not count as a plate appearance.  Alas, it does.  The CORRECT formula for OBP is actually: (H+BB+HBP) ÷ (AB+BB+HBP+SF).  If a batter reaches on CI, it is counted as a PA, but the result of that appearance does not appear in any formula.

By the way, I still believe that intuitively it should be counted as a stat the same as a walk or hit by pitch. The counter argument is that you don’t know what would have happened without the CI. He may have been out anyways, so you don’t want to credit the batter for something he didn’t “earn”. But I think this counter argument can be used for HBP as well. Batters aren’t (usually) trying to earn getting on base by being beaned, but I digress.

* Note: Today there are several scoring apps available, so individuals don’t really need to know the rules that well, just mark it as a CI and the app will take care of calculating all the stats for you. Some of the best ones includes iScore as well as several others.

June 09, 2014

Red Sox Draft Alberta catcher!

Photo credit: Jeff McCurry
In what was a disappointing draft for Alberta baseball players anxiously waiting to get the call that they were selected, only one player from the Wild Rose Province was drafted.  The Boston Red Sox used their 14th round draft pick to select Calgary native Jordan Procyshen.  Procyshen, a catcher, was drafted out of Northern Kentucky University. A quick summarized scouting report on this 21 year old,  is that he is a very good defensive catcher with a strong arm, and an excellent power hitter. 

June 07, 2014

Early draft results

Michael Chavis - the newest member of the Red Sox!
With the first 2 days of the draft done, most of the big names have now been taken.  There are still 30 rounds to finish today, so several players who are only familiar to local audiences still have a chance to be drafted.

As far as the Red Sox, they took high schooler Michael Chavis with their first pick.  Chavis is a shortstop who projects more to be a third baseman in the Sox organization. He knows how to rock a bowtie (see pic above) and for some amusing reads, take a look at his twitter history at @michaelchavis11.  A few picks later they selected another high schooler, pitcher Michael Kopech. He is a righty who just turned 18 two months ago, and can already hit 97 MPH on the radar gun. With their last pick of the first day, they selected University of Indiana first baseman, Sam Travis.   For a full list of the Red Sox draftees, take a look at this draft tracker.

On the local front, only three Canadians were taken in the first 10 rounds. As expected, Gareth Morgan was the first Canuck taken, as the last pick of Day 1 - number 74 overall, by the Seattle Mariners.  Two other Canadians, both from Ontario, have also been drafted so far.  Today hopefully some of the local Alberta players will be drafted in later rounds. I will post an updated with any news on these players after the draft is complete.

To stay up to date on all the prospects, Baseball America publishes an annual prospect handbook.  You can get it here from Amazon:

June 04, 2014

Draft Day Eve

The annual MLB draft is coming up. It starts Thursday with the first 2 rounds including the compensation and supplementary picks, Friday are rounds 3 to 10, and the remainder on Saturday. Will the Red Sox draft any Canadians? Will any local Alberta players be taken in early rounds?

Stay tuned as I will update any items pertaining to the Red Sox or local Canadian players on this site.

May 06, 2014

Ground Rule Double - NOT!

Will Venable's hit bouncing over the wall
Exciting extra inning game at Petco last night. The Royals scored a run in the top of the 12th to take a 5-4 lead. But in the bottom half, the Padres got runners on 2nd and 3rd with only one out.  And then Will Venable came to the plate....

He promptly hit a ball that split the outfielders and bounced over the wall as the excited home team announcers called it: "It's up the alley and the game will end on a ground rule double"

Here's the video: Walk off

Was it really a "ground rule" double?  No, no it was not.

May 03, 2014

Sox to honor 2004 team: Canadian connections

The Red Sox have announced that they will be honoring the 2004 World Series Champion team in a pregame ceremony on May 28th.

When looking at the list of players who will be on hand that evening, what struck me was  how many have strong Canadian and even Albertan ties.

Among the players who will be there are:
Kevin Millar as a Marlin minor leaguer he played for their AAA affiliate, the Calgary Cannons, in the Pacific Coast League in 1999.

Albertans in the minors

The Canadian Baseball Network has posted its list of Canadians in the minors.  Several of these players hail from right here in Alberta. Here is a summary of these hopefully future major leaguers:

Rob Zastryzny - this LHP from Edmonton is playing for the Cubs A team in Daytona
Lars Davis - this Grande Prairie catcher was just recently traded from the Diamondbacks organization to the Phillies, and is currenlty playing AA in Reading, PA of the Eastern League.
Skyler Stromsmoe - the Bow Island second baseman / utility player is with the Giants AA team in the Eastern League, in Richmond Virginia.

Other Alberta players who will be playing once thier team's seasons start include:
Sheldon McDonald
Ethan Elias
Adam Paulencu
Steven Inch
Tyler Pollick
Cory Scammell
Logan Seifrit
Shane Dawson

These players are all hoping to join Calgary's Jim Henderson , who is currently the only Albertan playing in the show.

May 01, 2014

Guaranteed to Win Red Sox World Series Ring Raffle

The Red Sox are holding a ring raffle, where you can win authentic players Red Sox World Series Championship Ring from each of the Red Sox 2004, 2007, and 2013 World Championship Seasons. And your name will be engraved on the side of each ring. Sounds pretty cool. And there are more prizes to be won as well.

And this raffle it is not restricted to US residents only, so any Red Sox fan in Canada can also enter.  (I actually read the eligibility fine print, and in fact you don't even have to a Sox fan.  So if you win and don't want the prize, please contact me. I'd be happy to buy you a Yankees hat of your choice or buy you a case of beer or something in return for your prize).

But the best part is that I have found a way that GUARANTEES that you will be a winner!

April 29, 2014

Afternoon off to Ump Doubleheader

Due to the cold and wet spring Alberta has had, many CCBC league games have been rained out and need to be played prior to the playoffs. By the way, I will be at the Canadian College Baseball Championships from May 8 to 11th so expect some posts with game highlights. Anyways, the Prairie Baseball Academy out of Lethbridge is coming to town to play a pair of midweek games tomorrow afternoon against the University of Calgary.

Of course, it's always a challenge to get umpires during the workday. But It's going to be a nice sunny day. No rain and no snow. This is a rarity during the ball season in Alberta (forecast snow on the weekend, I fully expect all the games I'm doing to be cancelled). So I volunteered to take the afternoon off work and spend it at the ball diamond instead. I'm looking forward to it.  Let's play 2!

Defensive Indifference... and why defenses should not be indifferent about them

Photo courtesy of Kelly O'Connor

editor's note: this is a repost of an item originally appearing in my Baseball Scoring Rules site.

Towards the end of my scoring rule article covering stolen bases, I make a mention of the situation that is scored as defensive indifference.   And if you read it, you can tell that I'm not extremely fond of this rule the way that it is written.  The rule says not to score a stolen base when "a runner advances solely because of the defensive team’s indifference to the runner’s advance".  It then adds some helpful comments to determine how to tell whether the team was in fact indifferent such as this nugget of wisdom telling you to consider "the totality of the circumstances, including the inning and score of the game, whether the defensive team had held the runner on base, whether the pitcher had made any pickoff attempts on that runner before the runner’s advance, whether the fielder ordinarily expected to cover the base to which the runner advanced made a move to cover such base, whether the defensive team had a legitimate strategic motive to not contest the runner’s advance or whether the defensive team might be trying impermissibly to deny the runner credit for a stolen base".  Ok, got that?  Yeah, neither do I.

Did you know? Catcher's Interference

(AP Photo/Brian Blanco)
editor's note: this is a repost of an item originally appearing in my Baseball Scoring Rules site.

How to calculate some common percentage records:

Batting Average = Hits ÷ At Bats
Slugging Percentage = Total Bases ÷ At Bats

Okay, fairly basic stuff.  But how do you account for a batter getting on base via Catcher's Interference (CI) ? Logically, it should add to their on base percentage (OBP).  It should be treated similarly to a walk or hit by pitch.  It doesn't affect your batting average, but should bump up your OBP.  Well, it doesn't.  Offically, if you get on base via CI, nothing happened.  It's not considered an at bat, nor a plate appearance.   Now you know. Sorry, Jacoby.

"Andre Ethier out at first". On a foul ball... uh?

editor's note: this is a repost of an item originally appearing in my Baseball Scoring Rules site.

I was watching the Dodgers-Marlins game the other night and a strange play happened.   Andre Ethier was at first base and Adrian Gonzalez at second with only 1 out.  It was an infield fly situation.   The situation that occurred, led to someone who was following Gameday on line to ask "Anyone know what just happened in the Dodgers game? Gameday just says "on field delay" then Andre Ethier Out. "  I'm sure anybody else who read a text based play-by-play would likely have the same question.   Here's what happened:

April 28, 2014

Finally...New Blog Ready

The season is almost a month old and I've posted exactly once. I've been busy... went to Fenway for Opening Day, started umpiring some local baseball games, watched 8 Canadian Baseball College Conference games in BC, and spent the rest of my free time getting this site ready. I've amalgamated all my baseball writings here. If you followed me elsewhere, please update your bookmarks. I will not be posting more updates on the Red Sox Nation Alberta or the Baseball in Alberta blogs.  I am still maintaing the Scoring Rules site, but will cross-post any items of interest here.

I hope to keep this updated more frequently going forward. I'm no longer going to be confined to just talk about local happenings or Red Sox news, but will include any baseball related items that are of interest to me.

Thanks for reading! Remember to follow me on twitter for shorter updates.

April 12, 2014

Opening Day... and more

Very quick update. Was at Fenway for Opening Day. It was predictably awesome. Other than the rings, banner etc, a few unexpected surprises: Was interviewed for WBZ radio in Boston, and got my picture taken with Boston iconic Police Officer Steven Horgan:

Took hundreds of pictures, you can see some of the best ones on Flickr here.

Today is the first Red Sox Nation watch party of the year. Come join us at Schank's South on MacLeod Trail. All baseball fans welcome, we should be easy to spot.  Starts at 11 AM, details here.

March 27, 2014

2014 MLB Predictions

I'll never learn. Every year I subject myself to the punishment of putting predictions in writing that inevitably look awful in retrospect. Although not as bad as certain professional sports writers who against all odds manage to predict their own division exactly backwards. I can't give this picture enough love:
Screenshot courtesy of SOSHer BannedByNYYFans

At least you gotta give CHB credit for making predictions knowing how much ridicule he is exposing himself to.

Anyhow, I'm going to try something a bit different this year. Instead of specific records or division standings, I will aim to make one radical projection for each team and division. I don't expect to get too many of them right, but at least this maybe entertaining.

Let's start with our favourite division:

AL East:
"Best division in baseball" won't have any wildcard teams, although every team that doesn't have a maple leaf on their logo will have a reasonable shot at winning the division.

March 24, 2014

Baseball terminology – If you’re getting paid, please get it right!

As Opening Day nears, here’s a quick baseball primer:

Hey baseball fans! What do you call it when Dustin Pedroia hits a ball into right field that bounces over the wall into the bullpen, resulting in him being awarded second base? A ground-rule double? What ground rule covers that situation? Right, there isn’t one. This is part of the regular old baseball rules. Ground rules are special park specific rules that cover odd situations – e.g., if a ball gets stuck in the Ivy at Wrigley Field – THAT requires a ground rule, since the rulebook doesn’t cover it. Pedroia’s hit is simply called a double. Now, it doesn’t upset me too much to hear my friends and fellow baseball fans get excited because “Pedroia hit a ground rule double to tie the game !”. But if you are a radio announcer, TV broadcaster, or newspaper writer, please get it right. You are being paid a lot to do your job, the least you can do is use the proper terminology and stop propagating misinformation. By the way, while we’re at it, every baseball game starts with the umpire yelling “Play!” Not “Play Ball”. And when Allen Craig scored the winning run in the World Series after he tripped over Will Middlebrooks, even though he was tagged out at home? He was called safe due to “obstruction” not “interference”. That’s all for today.

March 21, 2014

Increased Salaries ≠ Higher Ticket Prices

(editor's note: This article first appeared on Ruben's Rants)
Fans of sports teams often complain when players sign big contracts, because the common fan can no longer afford to buy tickets. The reasoning goes that the team will need to raise prices to be able to pay the high salaries their stars command. You hear a variation of the following: “Damn greedy players! If they were paid, say only $1 million per year instead of $10 million, they could still afford the finer things in life, and at least the average working man could afford to take his family out to the odd ballgame.” Well, let me tell you, THIS IS A HUGE FALLACY!

March 15, 2014

Canadian Red Sox News

(USA Today Sports)
The only Canadian that was on our roster, Ryan Dempster, recently announced he was taking the season off. Of course, he did that in the two days between when I wrote a piece previewing the Sox and when it was published so there was the awkward mention on my post about hoping they don't trade him away....

Anyways,  who will be the next Canadian to play home games at Fenway Park?  We have a lack of first base prospects, so maybe the Reds will look for some salary relief in a few years and we'll get Joey Votto? Probably just wishful thinking.  We have lots of catching depth in the minors, but if there's a major injury to AJP or Ross, we may need a shorterm gap.  Would a return by George Kottaras be possible?  What about backup infielders? We need someone who can play 2B if Pedroia is out for a while.

February 22, 2014

Albertans playing ball in College

 (AP Photo/Eric Francis)
With everyone having the Olympics on their mind, once again it's time to remind everyone that there are still a lot more Canadians playing college ball than there are playing hockey.  Of the almost 700 Canucks playing baseball in the NCAA and NAIA, more than 60 are from right here in Alberta.

Included in this are several players who are on the 2014 draft list:
   Chayse Marion, Red Deer, McNeese State University
   Jake Hansen, Fort MacLeod at LSU-Shreveport
   Brendan Hendriks, Cochrane at USF
   Chad Hodges, Med Hat, South Dakota State
   Jordan Procyshen, Calgary, Northern Kentucky University
   Jeremie Fagnan, Calgary at TCU

Below is the full list:

February 20, 2014

Playing Pepper 2014 Red Sox

Yes, these are salt and pepper shakers
As mentioned previously, the Cardinals blog C70 at the bat at Cards Conclave hosts an annual series where bloggers from each team answer some specific questions in previewing their team's seasons.

As in previous years, other Baseball Bloggers Alliance members also participated Including fellow Canadian Red Sox fan and blogger Allan at The Joy of Sox, Christine from Boston Red Thoughts,  John at The Mighty Quinn Media Machine, Michael at The Pesky Pole, Bryan at Replacement Level Baseball Blog, Dave at Sox vs. Stripes and Dan at Talkin’ Sox With Dan.  To see how these Red Sox bloggers answered these questions, take a look at the Red Sox "Playing Pepper" page at C70 at the bat.

Below are the questions with the answers that I provided. As always, I welcome your comments and thoughts:

February 06, 2014

No parity in the NFL - only in baseball

....or not
(editor's note: This post first appeared on Ruben's Rants) 

With the  Super Bowl comes the usual "on any given Sunday" echoes of the superiority and balance of the NFL.  Thankfully this year a few nationally acclaimed writers chimed in to show why there is more parity in the MLB. 

Thought it was a good time to rerun this article written after the 2010 season.

Coming off 10-6 Green Bay's victory over the 12-4 Steelers, I again heard the sentiment that there is parity in the NFL and any team can win on any given Sunday. Kind of ironic given who was playing - Pittsburgh of course was playing in the game for the 8th time, and have an NFL record 6 championships, while it was Green Bay's 5th time, as well as both teams' 7th playoff appearance of the decade.  I'm thinking fans in Detroit, Cleveland and Buffalo aren't feeling that same parity.  Anyhow, you know what I think of a sample size of one, so let me dig a little further.

January 30, 2014

Playing Pepper Preview 2014 edition

(Craig Wieczorkiewicz / Midwest League Traveller)
Every year, Daniel Shoptaw, who runs a Cardinals blog at C70 at the Bat, and is the  President of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance, does a project he calls Playing Pepper, where he gets other teams' bloggers to preview their team. Last year I participated and among my prophecies I correctly forecasted John Lackey's surprising good season, and said I was excited to see Xander Bogaerts debut, but I suspected it wouldn't be until September.  I was off by about 10 days. (Of course, I also foresaw a 3rd place finish, but even I'm not perfect).

This year I will be answering the following questions.

1) How would you grade the offseason?
2) Will the loss of Jacoby Ellsbury be significant?
3) Which roster battle will be the most intriguing during spring training?
4) What rookie, if any, will make the most impact on the team in 2014?
5) What will be the final record of the team and where will they finish in the division?
6) Which player from your team do you most enjoy watching?

Look for an updated post on or around Feb 20th with my musings on the above.
UPDATE: Post is here.

Meanwhile keep checking at C70 at the Bat as other team's previews start being posted.

January 14, 2014

Blue Jays highlight upcoming banquets and fundraisers

It's the time of year for fundraisers for baseball clubs, and there are a handful coming up in Alberta. Several of these have a Blue Jays related theme.

First of all, there is the University of Calgary Dino's baseball and fastball annual fundraiser dinner.  Last year, they had Hall of Famer Goose Gossage,  and in previous year's they've had such great as Tim Raines, Fergie Jenkins, Bill Buckner and more.  This year's guest is Gregg Zaun, who might be better known to Canadians as an analyst on Sportsnet than he was when he was a catcher in Toronto. He has some unpopular opinions, is sometimes controversial, but never dull!  Listening to him will certainly make for an entertaining evening. The dinner is on Thursday Feb 6th, tickets are $200 and can be purchased by calling (403) 220-7749.

The Lethbridge Bulls also have a former Blue Jay as their Legends of Sports Gala will feature Hall of Famer Roberto Alomar. This event is being held on February 22nd and includes dinner, dance and silent auction.Tickets range from $100 to $200. To get your tickets or for more information, please contact or call (403)320-2025 .

January 08, 2014

2014 Hall of Fame Results

It's been said by thousands of baseball fans, thousands of times, thousands of different ways.

The Hall of Fame, and the voting process is broken!

Someone should listen to Bill James already.  Anyways, in spite of many deserving players being left out for various ludicrous reasons, the BBWAA did manage to elect three players who definitely belong in Cooperstown. Congratulations to Misters Maddux, Glavine and Thomas.  Although none of them played for the Red Sox, or were Canadian, I did have all of them on my final ballot.   Major complaint this year by fans everywhere is about who got left out, not which unworthy player got in. At least Morris is off the ballot.