Tag Archives: nbc sports

Remember when Yasiel Puig was gonna cost the Dodgers a playoff game with his recklessness?

garlicfriesandbaseball:

GFBB Comment: Loved this post by Craig Calcaterra. I was one of those naysayers, but he hit the nail on the head. I think Puig’s going to be one of those love em or hate em guys. And right now I’m sorta loving him. After that great base running performance last night I kept waiting for him to do something stupid, like sticking his tongue out at the opposing bench, but he refrained and I’m glad. Hang in there Dodger fans. Only a month or so to go!

Originally posted on HardballTalk:

Last night, Yasiel Puig’s smart, heads-up base running got the Dodgers a run. His arm in right — and the manner in which he kinda deked Even Gattis as to whether he was gonna catch a ball and then throw — ended the Braves second inning when he doubled Gattis off first. It was quite a playoff debut for the Dodgers rookie.

Which makes it a perfect time to go down the memory hole. Specifically, back to August, when Yasiel Puig was supposed to be unsafe at any speed and was going to cost the Dodgers playoff games with his lack of discipline and unprofessionalism. First, Bill Plaschke:

Puig’s antics are the sort that will cost a team in a close game in October. For every playoff game that Puig wins with his bold arm or crazy legs, he could cost them two.

Then Jon Morosi:

View original 438 more words

Baseball the Winner at World Baseball Classic!

Final Four:  Dominican Republic, Japan, Netherlands & Puerto Rico.

Final Four: Dominican Republic, Japan, Netherlands & Puerto Rico.

I was a little discouraged after the USA’s loss to Puerto Rico last night, especially after getting trounced the night before by the Dominican Republic.  I felt bad for our players who gave of themselves to the cause of honor and glory for the good old USA.   We all watched as some of their own teammates on Team Puerto Rico were bathing themselves in pride and victory, the first time their country advanced this far in the Classic.

The fact that I have tickets to the Finals in San Francisco on Tuesday didn’t help  either.  I mean who wants to spend the time and money to watch a game that your team isn’t even playing in?  Might as well watch it on television.  So I’m watching a replay of the 2012 World Series final game, where I knew I could find solace, and headed for the internet to knock off the evening before retiring. 

And that’s where I found this amazing article.  It changes my perspective on everything about baseball.   Now I can hardly wait for Sunday when the playoffs begin.  I’m going to start watching these kids very closely, trying personally to find the next all-star rookie from within the ranks of these four teams.  Good grief,  I might even find a new calling as a baseball scout ~ don’t laugh, it could happen.  Well probably not, but it gives me a whole new respect for those who are ~ scouts I mean.  

I love the concept.  I mean a true “World” Baseball Classic.  After all, isn’t that what this is supposed to be about?  In trying to promote baseball throughout the world wouldn’t it be a really great thing to have the World Series be just that, an honest-to-goodness world series?  

Take a look at this great article and see what you think.  I’m inspired.  And kudos to Matthew  Pouliot for writing it.

Repost from a Matthew Pouliot Article, HardballTalks, March 15, 2013.   

Let’s face it: the World Baseball Classic’s uphill climb as an event worth watching wouldn’t gain any momentum if Team USA ran away with it.

That’s why it has to be pretty exciting for MLB to see Puerto Rico advance past the U.S. and join the Dominican Republic, Japan and The Netherlands in the WBC semifinals. While baseball hardly needs a boost in the Dominican and Japan, it’s standing in Puerto Rico and Europe figures to get at least a modest boost thanks to this month’s tournament.

In the short term especially, it’s money more than talent than MLB is hoping to gain from Europe. But getting Puerto Rican kids more interested in baseball would be a nice boon for the league. It’s no coincidence that all of Puerto Rico’s stars on the field Thursday were over 30 years old. The only actual position prospect on the team is the Twins’ Eddie Rosario. And while I like Houston’s Xavier Cedeno as a lefty specialist, none of the pitchers would seem to have grand futures in MLB, either.

Puerto Rico just hasn’t produced much major league talent since MLB put its prospects into the draft. MLB teams can no longer set up there and develop the players themselves, as they’ve long done in the Dominican Republic. A nice run in the WBC isn’t going to undo all of the damage, but it’s a little something to try and build on.

The Dutch island of Curacao is already producing talent and even more kids there could be inspired to pick up a baseball as Andrelton Simmons, Jurickson Profar and Xander Bogaerts hopefully develop into major league stars. Throw in Baltimore’s Jonathan Schoop and The Netherlands’ infield could well rival the Dominican group come 2017.

As for the U.S. team, well, this was probably the best way for it to go down; it was competitive yet far from dominant. One imagines that the U.S. players will hear it from the Dominicans and Puerto Ricans in the clubhouse over these next several months. Whether that inspires a few more stars to suit up in 2017 remains to be seen; odds are the 2013 results will be largely forgotten a year from now. But I believe the next WBC will be viewed more favorably by the players. It’s not that we’ve gotten particularly high quality baseball from the teams, but we’ve seen a bunch of very competitive games and boisterous crowds. I think it’s the case that some of the guys who opted out — the Mike Trouts, Bryce Harpers and Prince Fielders — have watched these games and felt like they’re missing out.

 

Baseball Writers ~ Who Cuts the Mustard and Who Cares?

This week the Baseball Writers Association of America has been in the news.  It’s been in the news a lot.   For only the second time in its history the Association has failed to name one eligible baseball player worthy of entering the Hall of Fame.  

So I’m pondering this little ditty thinking about Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens and their alleged partaking of performance enhancing drugs, and thinking about the BBWAA.  Who are these people?  What are their credentials?  Why does it matter what they think?   When I read their membership list I’m surprised that I only recognize a couple dozen or so names.  Most of the names that would have been at the top of my favorite baseball writers list aren’t even listed as members of  this association.  

The primary purpose of the BBWAA  is to assure clubhouse and press-box access, and to elect players to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.  That’s it, at least according to Wikipedia.  All writers with 10 years membership in the BBWAA are eligible to vote for the Hall of Fame.   It was founded in 1908 and as far as the baseball world is concerned, the sun rises and sets with this organization, and my question is “why”?

I compiled a list of  a few of my favorite baseball writers and tried to give a reason why, though sometimes it’s not apparent even to me.   These are good writers because what they write makes me want to read more, even after I’ve finished reading their articles.   Note that none of these have BBWAA associated with their names.  They might be a member, but it’s not known to me and honestly I could care less whether they’re a member or not.  

JON STEINER.  I discovered Jon back in April, 2011, while researching a piece I was doing on the Cleveland Indians and the lack of attendance at their beautiful ballpark.   His blog, “Waiting for Next Year” was written like I talk so it was an easy read and I was sorry when it ended.  I don’t know a thing about this guy, just that I’d buy his book if I ever found out he wrote one.   Here’s the April 5, 2011 article that made Jon the ultimate writer in my mind.  “Some Thoughts on the Indians’ Record Setting Attendance.” 

ALEX PAVLOVIC.  I’ve been following this writer for the past several years as he stood in the shadows of Andrew Baggarly at the San Jose Mercury News.  When Baggs left last year to join the ComCast News Group, Alex stepped up big-time.   I like writers who are  up-front, in your face, and don’t try to sugar coat interviews and the news.  You know, just put it out there and let me decide what my opinion is about the subject.   That’s what this guy’s about.  He writes a blog, “Giants Extra“, that I read on a regular basis and always look forward to his meanderings. 

BRYAN O’CONNOR.  My acquaintance with Bryan began when he made some astute comments on one of my blogs a few years ago, so I checked him out and my mind’s still whirling.  His blog is “Replacement Level Baseball” and I’m not sure why he doesn’t write professionally for the main stream media, but goodie for us that he doesn’t.  It gives him more time to overwhelm us with his baseball knowledge.  Warning:  He’s a Bill James sabremetrics fan and goes way over my head on occasion.   But here’s a recent analysis of his personal “Hall of Fame Ballot” vote, if he had one, that was especially entertaining.   

JONATHAN HACOHEN.  But of course Jonathan’s one of my favorite writers.  He was very generous with his review of my book “Garlic Fries and Baseball” and I’ve been reeling ever since.  But before the review I had already subscribed to “MLB Reports” that Jonathan founded in 2010.  He’s been writing baseball for over twenty years and if he had a specialty I’d have to say it was his in-depth interviews, done only as he can do them.  His website is growing leaps and bounds and I rather miss that he doesn’t personally write as often now, but I latch onto whatever he does write as soon as it’s posted to my “Inbox”.  

CRAIG CALCATERRA.   I really hate to admit that I like this guy’s writings so much because, to tell you the truth,  a lot of what he writes irritates the socks off me.   I rarely agree with anything he says.  But it’s the way in which he says it that kind of grabs you, hooks you and draws you in.   Usually when I read one of his articles I find myself running to Wikipedia or other resource material just so I can prove him wrong, which I rarely do, because most of what he writes is opinion as he’s quick to point out.  Craig writes for NBC Sports HardBall Talk  and I guess the reason he’s on my favorite baseball writers list is because, whether we agree or not,  I always look forward to reading whatever little morsel he decides to throw my way for the day.

HENRY SCHULMAN.   Hank Schulman writes “The Splash” for the San Francisco Chronicle.  He’s a full-fledged newspaperman, sports reporter and columnist, with sports jacket and everything.  When he starts off with “I just talked with Bruce Bochy “or whoever it might be that morning, it grabs my attention and I latch on to every word.  He’s that “if it’s written it’s real”  type of writer.   He’s one of those guys you’d most like to have dinner with, have a conversation with.  You know what I mean.  There’s a thousand stories in there somewhere and I’d like to hear them all.  But in the meantime I’m content with reading the morning paper with my morning coffee and telling my hubby, “Guess what Hank Schulman said today?”  My husband gets it. 

Baseball writers each have their own style of writing; some you like and some you don’t.  And that’s okay.   This year the BBWAA decided to make the Hall of Fame vote into a popularity contest and that’s okay too.  I mean if they want to tell us which players cut the mustard and which ones don’t, who the hell cares? 

Really, who cares, because baseball fans have always made up their own mind on this type of thing and, after all, in the court of public opinion, isn’t that what really matters?

UPDATE:  “Get the Media out of the Honoring Business” New York Times 1/15/13   http://bats.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/01/11/get-the-media-out-of-the-honoring-business/?smid=fb-share

Baseball vs Football. An Unbiased Opinion …..

Oh okay, maybe the opinion isn’t exactly unbiased, but there are reasons.   Back in August, 2010 I wrote a blog titled “Gimme a Break.  Is this Baseball Season or Not?” about football taking the sports pages hostage every year two months before baseball season ended.

The blog included a delightful George Carlin video which I’ll repeat here, because it’s good enough to show  again in case you missed it.  

The reason I’m bringing this up again is Jim Caple, Sr Writer for ESPN.Com wrote a great article yesterday about”why baseball is better than football.  Craig Calcaterra of NBC Sports Online recommended it, saying it explains why, quote “baseball beats the crap out of football”, unquote.

Anyhow take a look at Caple’s article, linked above, and see what you think.  It’s not that we die-hard baseball fans need reminding, it’s just always nice to see that others agree with our unbiased opinions, don’t you think?

Locker Room Interviews ….. a Waste of Time?

I read and review hundreds of sports reports and baseball blogs every month and once in a while a story resonates with me so much I’m compelled to share it.    Today has one of those stories and it’s about those pesky locker room interviews after the game where microphones are shoved in the players faces and reporters are yelling … what, I don’t know, because I can never hear the question … and the players are trying to be calm and cool, giving respectable answers that will satisfy the coaches, management and rest of the team.  

I’ve rarely heard a question asked that I thought was important or even remotely entertaining. “How did you feel, what did you think” ….. adds nothing to the insight of the game.  I’d like to know what it was the umpire said to you that made you laugh out loud after a play, or what it was you yelled at the pitcher after being nailed by a pitch for the second time this game.  Craig Calcaterra at NBC Sports had some insight into this very thing in his blog this morning and almost as fun as the article are the comments that readers shared.   Here’s the article: 

Over at the Wall Street Journal today Craig Wolff writes about something I’ve been thinking about for a long time: what purpose, exactly, does it serve to have reporters in the locker room before and after games? Read the thinking-it-through parts of it all, which are good, but here’s the central question I think:

In the end, no matter what becomes of this American tradition, it’s probably time to start asking if all this standing around amounts to loitering and is worth the strain it puts on the relationship between press and players. It’s not clear that either side derives much from the transaction.

It used to be that the teams needed the local paper for publicity and stuff. That’s way less necessary now than it used to be, and in fact, the situation has reversed, with papers needing the team way more for circulation purposes.  But are the postgame quotes all that useful to the reader?  Wouldn’t the reporter’s face time be better spent trying to talk to athletes about more in-depth matters in feature stories?  Shouldn’t their gameday focus be more on the game itself, with their own analysis and insight — which in the case of most reporters is considerable because they’ve seen a lot of baseball — rather than transcribing the cliches?

Mark Feinsand of the Daily News is quoted in the article talking about how being in the locker room, despite the bad, empty quotes, is important for maintaining relationships, the sorts of which no doubt would lead to better feature stories like I’d like to see.  I get that.  It just seems to me that there’s gotta be a better way.”