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.