Tag Archives: National League

Baseball and Social Media ~ How Does Your Team Rate?

According to this chart, Facebook  fans favor the American League over the National League by 53% to 47%, which is probably about the same as ESPN and MLB.com, at least in this blogger’s opinion.  Keep in mind the chart is for 2012 and may have changed since the October post-season.

Infographic by Adam Cornille, Data Visualization Analyst

Infographic by Adam Cornille, Data Visualization Analyst

I found this great infographic on NJ Biblio’s blog.  Looking at the results I had to go to  the original source of the material, “Banyan Branch“, to see where these guys are from, since their second most favorite tweets were listed as belonging to the Seattle Mariners, a surprise to me.  And sure enough, the Banyan fellows are based in Seattle.  I doubt the chart is skewed toward Seattle because of a bias, but more than likely it’s because of the high-tech industries and rather sophisticated yuppies fast associated with the area.  Good job guys!

This Day in History …… Designated Hitter 10th Man On

“December 10, 1972The American League adopts the designated hitter rule on a trial basis for three years.”  Forty years later we’re still stuck with it.   Whether you like the DH or not pretty much depends on which league your favorite team plays for. 

cartoon- scared baseballI’m a bit obsessed with this designated hitter thing.   I mean why not have a designated catcher that doesn’t have to do anything except “catch”.  Once the opponent has a runner on third, the DC can step in and take the hits for the regular catcher as the runner heads for home , thereby assuring the regular catcher’s safety.  The next inning, or maybe even the next play, the regular catcher can resume his position at the plate.

I tackled the subject earlier this year when I wrote about it based mostly on fact, but also with a tad bit of emotion:

“The official rules of Major League Baseball, Rule 1.01, states clearly:

Baseball is a game between two teams of nine players each …..”

I’ve been trying to wrap my arms around the designated hitter since it was first introduced by the American League back in 1973, but Official Rule, 1.01, that first rule of baseball, keeps getting in the way.    The Designated Hitter Rule got thrown into MLB Miscellany as an official rule which states that a hitter may be designated to bat for the starting pitcher  in any game.   This came about in 1973 and the “any game” thing meant not only the American League but also the National League.

This was news to me.  I never realized the National League had a choice in the matter.  But for some reason I can’t explain I’ve always thought the National League to be just a little superior in that they played the game with nine players as the game was originally intended to be played,  not with the ten players the AL chose  to protect their prima donna  pitchers from getting a little ruffled.”

I can’t imagine any scenario that would allow me to wholeheartedly accept this notion.  If anyone has any ideas, other than you’re trying to protect the pitcher, I’d like to hear them.   It’s rather like a sacred cow you know, and it’s one of the  reasons I find the National League just a little superior to the American League.  

zoe at the ballparkOkay then.  I got that off my chest this morning.  Wonder what’s in store for the rest of the day?

“Happy Birthday Zoe!”

2010 World Champions vs 2011 World Champions!

SF Giants vs. St Louis Cardinals
“Opening Day April, 2011″

On April 9, 2011, I wrote a blog titled “Those Classy Cardinals”.  It was opening day, the first league game after the Giants won the World Series, and they were hosting the St. Louis Cardinals.  It was a great game and the blog got a record number of views and comments.  It was one of my favorites.    Here’s a link to that post “Those Classy Cardinals”.

And then again, on November 14, 2011, I published a blog about the young, new Cardinals Manager, Mike Matheny, who had left baseball some five years earlier as a promising catcher with the SF Giants after sustaining a series of concussions.  He’d just been named as General Manager of the St Louis Cardinals and he was my new hero.  Here’s a link to that post “Mike Matheny ~ Leading by Example.”

“2011 Opening Day in San Francisco”

So there’s just a little bit of irony here as I’m settling in to watch the first game of the race for the 2012 National League Pennant between the SF Giants and the St Louis Cardinals.  Who knew?  I’ve been anxiously awaiting this series which I projected without a doubt would be  between Cincinnati and Washington. But the  Giants and Cards have this way of sneaking in and surprising everyone and now they’re the contenders. 

“Calm & Cool as a Cucumber”

But, seriously folks, there’s no dilemma here.    My home team is the San Francisco Giants (I’m a huge fan), and I really love those Cardinals.  And like many true blue baseball fans,  I just love to see a really great game no matter who wins and I think I’ve recovered enough after the 2010 World Series to be able to handle this ~ calm and cool as a cucumber.

But I’m not sure.  I’ll let you know when it’s over. 

Non-Blind Umpire a Tad Sensitive? You Think?

“Non-Blind Unhappy Umpire”

On Wednesday, August 1, 2012,  the home plate umpire for a minor league game between Daytona and Fort Myers in Florida ejected the  guy in charge of music from the ballpark.  Not only did he eject him from the ballpark but he demanded no more music or public address system announcements be made for the remainder of the game.  

The  cause of this heinous infraction?  The music being played over the PA system was  “Three Blind Mice”, after what some, and obviously the DJ,  considered to be a questionable call.   And even though the umpire’s actions might seem a little drastic, there is a precedent for this and “Three Blind Mice” does have a definite history in Major League Baseball. 

Consider this.  Back in 1941 the Brooklyn Dodgers had a somewhat volunteer band made up of fans that paraded around the stadium during the games playing fight songs, charge songs, and doing the regular things that pep bands do to inspire the crowds.  Not that the Dodger fans needed inspiring.  And when, in the minds of the fans and the band, an umpire would make a questionable call the band would break out into “Three blind Mice” much to the thrill of the wild and rowdy crowd.  Ebbets Field probably only had an average 5,000 fans at the park back in those days, but it sounded like twice that many as the noise from the stadium was loud and intense.   Rumor has it that the practice continued  until the National League added a fourth umpire to the previous crew of three, rendering the three mouse ditty passe’.  But in reality, the league office ordered the team to stop the practice, likely in response to umpire antagonism and threats of a walk out  related to the unruly crowds inspired by the song.

This probably wasn’t the case last Wednesday in Daytona Beach, Florida, but you never know.  There is such a thing as respect you know?  Just saying …..a one – a two – a  three

Giants Steal the Show at All-Star Game!

By Daniel Brown dbrown@mercurynews.com
San Jose Mercury News
Posted:   July 10, 2012   

All Photo’s Courtesy of San Jose Mercury News

“KANSAS CITY, Mo. — To repay the fans who stuffed the ballot box, the Giants stuffed the box score Tuesday night.”

Melky Cabrera, Pablo Sandoval, Buster Posey and Matt Cain propelled the National League to an 8-0 victory in the 83rd All-Star game at Kauffman Stadium, silencing a weeklong uproar from a sour Big Apple.

Sandoval, who surpassed Mets third baseman David Wright in the controversial final balloting, hit a three-run triple to key a five-run first inning.

Cain, who got the starting nod over Mets pitcher R.A. Dickey, pitched two scoreless innings and became the first Giants pitcher to win an All-Star game since Vida Blue in 1981. Continue reading

Baseball’s Official Rule 1.01 and the Designated Hitter

The official rules of Major League Baseball, Rule 1.01, states clearly:

Baseball is a game between two teams of nine players each …..”

I’ve been trying to wrap my arms around the designated hitter since it was first introduced by the American League back in 1973, but Official Rule, 1.01, that first rule of baseball, keeps getting in the way.    The Designated Hitter Rule got thrown into MLB Miscellany as an official rule which states that a hitter may be designated to bat for the starting pitcher  in any game.   This came about in 1973 and the “any game” thing meant not only the American League but also the National League.

This was news to me.  I never realized the National League had a choice in the matter.  But for some reason I can’t explain I’ve always thought the National League to be just a little superior in that they played the game with nine players as the game was originally intended to be played,  not with the ten players the AL chose  to protect their prima donna  pitchers from getting a little ruffled.

There’s so much information on this subject it’s definitely good for a full-blown blog, but I’m rather limited with time constraints, being away on vacation this week, so will tickle this ahead for another day.  But basically here’s the gist of it:

1)  If your favorite team’s a member of the American League, you favor the DH.

2)  If your favorite team’s a member of the National League, you don’t!

And that my friends is about as scientific as this discussion is likely to get.

Now back to that Mai Tai …..

“What’s up with those Washington Nationals?”

Who would have thought the team leading the National League this year would be those lowly Nationals?   This team started out as the Montreal Expo’s in 1969 and moved to Washington in 2005, much to the delight of  syndicated columnist, Charles Krauthammer.  I had no idea he was into baseball until I read a column he wrote back in September, 2011, about his beloved Nats.  Titled “The Best Game in Town“, here’s an excerpt:

“Now, when mortals throw a ball, they give it arc to gain distance. That’s how artillery works. Ankiel is better than artillery. He releases the ball at the top of his throwing motion, the ball rocketing out as if tracing a clothesline. It bounces five feet from third base, perfectly on-line, arriving a millisecond before the batter and maybe 20 inches above the bag. Quick tag. Batter out. Game saved. (Blown five innings later. But remember, it’s the Nats.)”

This is great stuff.  And then in December, 2010, we wrote this post “The Nationals’ Stephen Strasburg, Miracle or Mistake?”  and, as predicted, Steven Strasburg has returned in great form after his Tommy John surgery.  In addition, the Nationals organization brought a few weapons on-board to help things along;  Jayson Werth and Mark DeRosa.  Shortly after I heard about the Jayson Werth acquisition it was rumored the Nats were in serious talks with Cliff Lee.  It was a heart-stopper and now I’m starting to pay really close attention to the 2012 Washington Nationals .  Cliff Lee didn’t end up a Nat, but with Jayson Werth and Stephen Strasburg on the roster, it seemed inevitable that good things were going to happen.  And they did.

Today the Nats are leading the National League in the Win-Loss record.  Okay, I know it’s still early in the season, but now that they’ve added the 8# Strasburger to the menu at Nationals Park anything can happen!

I can hardly wait to see what Krauthammer’s going to write next about all this.  Stay tuned  . . . . .

Baseball’s Top Ten News Items in 2011

2011 World Champions St Louis Cardinals

The media’s full of articles and videos of the most newsworthy items about baseball this past year.   You might think this would be those articles you and I found the most interesting and representative of baseball throughout the country, but not necessarily so.

I compiled a list from a survey today of the “top 10″ from USA Today, Bleacher Report, Sports Illustrated, and ESPN.

Here’s the results and below that I’ve listed my own personal “Top Ten”.  How does your list compare?

TOP TEN FROM SURVEY

  1. St. Louis Cardinals, World Series Champions
  2. Justin Verlander,  AL Cy Young and MVP Winner
  3. Game 162 collapse of the Red Sox and Braves.
  4. Game 6 World Series between the Cardinals and Rangers
  5. Derek Jeter’s 3000th hit
  6. Ryan Braun’s Drug Test
  7. Jim Thome’s 600th Home Run
  8. Shannon Stone Fatal Fall at Rangers Stadium
  9. Mariano Rivera all time saves leader
  10. Bryan Stow beating at Dodger Stadium Continue reading

Predicting the Division Winners …… Oops!

And we're off to the races again!

Last March I wrote a blog entitled “2011 Postseason Predictions” and I’m here to say with all my opinions and wisdom in the world of baseball , I was able to correctly predict two teams, one from the National League and one from the American League.    That’s 25% folks, I say as I’m looking for those wet noodles and a carton of eggs to slather around my face.

I mean, who knew?  The only two teams that I predicted to win that actually won were the Detroit Tigers and the Philadelphia Phillies.  The Phillies, of course, were a no-brainer, but I was very proud to stick my neck out in prediction of the Tigers.  So be it.

If you were lucky enough to catch one or both of the games last night you were in for a real treat!   Whatta thrill!  Down to the wire!  Reminds me of last year’s Giants – Padres game, the 162nd game, 9th inning and last out.   I still get goosebumps remembering the thrill of it all.

In case you’ve been in a coma these past 24 hours or otherwise indisposed, here’s the 2011 Division Winners:

American League 

  • New York Yankees, East
  • Detroit, Central
  • Texas, West
  • Tampa Bay, Wild Card
National League
  • Philadelphia, East
  • Milwaukee, Central
  • Arizona, West
  • St Louis, Wild Card
So here we are six months later in post season.   Predictions?  I think I’ll wait a bit and get back to you on that……it’s hard to write with a bunch of egg on my face. 

All Star Game ….. Tongue-in-Cheek Moments!

The National League won the annual All Star Game tonight  for the second year in a row  by a  score of 5-1, giving home field advantage in the 2011 World Series to  the National League.  Here’s a few of my favorite moments ~

Adrian Gonzalez from the American League All Stars hit a home run off Cliff Lee to start the scoring that presented a sort of deja vu in my mind like “oh boy, here we go again!”  Last year was the first time the National League had won in over 13 years finally beating the American League winning streak and I thought for sure the American League was on their way to starting a new streak. 

But Prince Fielder blasted a three run homer  that contributed to the final score and gave the National League their second All Star victory in a row.  

One of the more hilarious moments in the game came when Heath Bell was called in from the bullpen and instead of jogging onto the field as a relief pitcher usually does, he decided to “run fast, really fast” to the pitcher’s mound arriving with a slide at the mound and ending up at the feet of Manager Bruce Bochy.  Pablo Sandoval who was also standing on the mound at the time couldn’t contain his laughter like others around him, but not a smidgeon of a smile could be seen on Bochy’s face, at least not from my point of view from the couch.  

Too funny was the replay of the momentous jog to the mound showing the TV camera man running behind Bell as fast as he could trying to keep up, but eventually gave it up as Bell out sprinted him by ….. a lot!   Brian Wilson, the illustrious SF Giants closer made an appearance, beard and all, and, of course, closed out the game.

Did I mention how much I missed Derek Jeter?  Derek you’ve probably heard was too tired, exhausted was the word he used, to play in the game.   Last I heard he was seen having a good time dining at a Miami restaurant today with his girlfriend, not that there’s anything wrong with that.  But since Jeter was “selected” as an All Star, he’ll be receiving a $500,000 bonus as part of his contract.  I just think it would have been a nice gesture if  he would have at least attended the game for his fans who, after all, are the ones paying the tab.  But that’s just my opinion.   And I’m sure he  really was exhausted after the fantastic week he’d had with that 3000th hit and 5 for 5 game.  Okay, well maybe next year.  Baseball fans have an incredible tolerance for their perceived heroes and I’m sure they’ll be there waiting for him  again unless he decides to grace them with his appearance.   Nice job if you can get it.

All in all I felt it was one of the better All Star games.   Probably because in spite of the 16 original contestants who were selected and couldn’t or wouldn’t be  there, the ones who wanted to be there, were there.

2011 Postseason Predictions!

The off-season flew by this year didn’t it?  When you’re playing into November, it doesn’t take long for Spring Training to arrive, and now here we are counting down to the season opener in two days! 

My friends over at “Diamondhoggers” have a little contest going to see who can come the closest to predicting the 2011 World Series winner!   Here’s my contribution to the cause.  Why not play along and see how you compare .  For sure I’m not making any wagers on my predictions since last years turned out to be a bust!    Maybe I’ll have better luck this year.  Good luck on yours!

AMERICAN LEAGUE:

  • East Division Champions ~  Boston Red Sox *
  • Central Division Champions ~ Detroit Tigers
  • West Division Champions ~ Oakland A’s
  • Wild Card ~ New York Yankees

NATIONAL LEAGUE:

  • East Division Champions ~ Philadelphia Phillies
  • Central Division Champions ~ Cincinnati Reds
  • West Division Champions ~ San Francisco Giants *
  • Wild Card ~ Colorado Rockies

WORLD SERIES CHAMPIONS ~ SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS OVER BOSTON RED SOX!

 

 

The Intentional Walk ….. And “Walk’r” the Chicken!

  “We weren’t trying to walk him; he just wouldn’t swing at any bad pitches.”  -Bobby Cox, on the Braves walking Barry Bonds 7 times in a series

There’s nothing that irks me quite as much as the intentional walk.  I’ve always wondered how the pitchers feel about it.   If  the batter’s a real crackerjack, would they be glad they don’t have to pitch to him or would they welcome the challenge?   If the pitcher is a really good pitcher, and has a lot of confidence in knowing he’s a really good pitcher, wouldn’t you think he’d welcome the chance to get a strikeout, knowing he had the competitive edge?  You know the saying, “Good pitching beats good hitting anytime”.    Personally, if I were a pitcher I think I’d be a little insulted if the manager gave me the signal to walk a batter. I’d think he probably didn’t have enough confidence in me to be able to get the guy out.  But that’s just me.  On February 4, 1956, the  American League announced it would begin testing the automatic intentional walk during spring training.    I don’t know when the National League jumped on the bandwagon, but at some point they definitely did.   Before that time, I guess the pitcher always pitched the ball and the batter swung,  or not, depending on the pitch.  Geez, what a novel idea huh?   I think here in San Francisco we’ve had a belly-full of the stuff and that’s why I’m a little antagonistic on the subject.  Back in 2004, ESPN reported the Giants concessions would start  selling “rubber chickens” , appropriately named Walk’r, to protest the number of walks at AT&T Park.  The chicken was an instant success and the chickens, if necessary, are still evident in the park today.  To illustrate how bad it had become, you might be surprised to know that Barry Bonds today still holds the career record for most “Intentional Bases on Balls” (since 1955)  with a startling 645 intentional walks.   George Brett  is second with 229.   It’s highly unlikely Bonds’ record will be broken anytime soon.   Here’s some statistics on Intentional Bases on Balls Records, provided by Baseball Almanac:  

 
Intentional Bases On Balls Records
Records Only Kept Officially Since 1955
Single Season Records
Record Lg Name(s) Team(s) Data
Most
In A Season
(Top 100)
AL John Olerud Toronto 33 1993
Ted Williams Boston 1957
NL Barry Bonds San Francisco 120 2004
Most
In A Season
By A Lefthander
AL John Olerud Toronto 33 1993
Ted Williams Boston 1956
NL Barry Bonds San Francisco 120 2004
Most
In A Season
By A Righthander
AL Frank Howard Washington 29 1970
Frank Thomas Chicago 1995
NL Albert Pujols St. Louis 44 2009
Most
In A Season
By A Rookie
AL Alvin Davis Seattle 16 1984
NL Willie Montanez Philadelphia 14 1971
Most
In A Season
By A Switch-Hitter
AL Eddie Murray Baltimore 25 1984
NL Tim Raines Montreal 26 1987
Most At Bats
In A Season
No Intentional Walks
AL Kirby Puckett Minnesota 691 1985
NL Jose Reyes New York 696 2005
 
According to Baseball Almanac, the one event in baseball that signifies true respect is the intentional walk with bases loaded.  The implication, I guess, is that the pitcher is showing respect to the batter by walking him instead of pitching to him, out of  fear he might hit the ball.   Personally, I’d  like to see the pitcher, pitch to the batter and strike the socks off  him, or not.  Now that, my friends, would command some real respect, don’t you think?