April 2011

Florida Marlins Offseason Recap and Preview

For those who know the Marlins, you know that they build up their team every few years to do well and break it apart the next year:

1031_large.jpg
2010 was not a built up year:
wiley27_30725e.jpg
Grade: C-
Notable Additions:
john-buck-421x540.jpg
John Buck, Javier Vasquez, Omar Infante, Greg Dobbs, and Randy Choate.
Notable Subtractions:
104835011_display_image.jpg
and his name is… Dan Uggla, Cameron Maybin, Jose Veras, and Andrew Miller.
Why?: They did add two good players in Buck and Vasquez and replaced the hole left by Uggla at Second base with Omar Infante, but I still think that losing a person who could possibly become the best power hitting Second Baseman of all time outweighs this. Maybe I’m crazy to think this but I think that Dan Uggla will leave the Marlins in a rebuilding stage for more time than they thought.
Other than this there is not much else. I can’t see their rotation or bullpen being affected by the departure of a minor piece in each (Miller and Veras). Not much to report other than the Uggla trade.
Predicted Record Range: 75-80 games. Like I said, not much of a loss considering the compensation but the Uggla trade will put a dent in the Marlin Fan Van.
Next Up: Mets
I will not be getting the Saturday ballhawking entry up until AT LEAST wednesday because even though I smartly toook my camera with me to take pictures of FP games I stupidly did not bring the cord needed to upload pictures.

Atlanta Braves Offseason Recap and Preview

http://www.el-nacional.com/www/files/images/El-segunda-base-Brooks-Conrad-de-los-Bravos-de-Atlanta-intenta-atrapar-una-bola.expand.JPG

At least they lost to the eventual champions.

Grade: B

Notable Additions:
Getty-Images-Local-Caption-Dan-Uggla.jpg
Dan Uggla, Scott Linebrink, and George Sherill.
Notable Subtractions:
slideshow_1514757_braves.0403_11.jpg

Billy Wagner, Derrek Lee, Kyle Farnsworth (because it actually helps the team), Melky Cabrera, Omar Infante, Rick Ankiel, Matt Diaz, and Takashi Saito.


Why?: When macroscopically looking at this list the grade should have been waaay lower but what I also see are young players coming up that are going to replace the key players lost in the Notable subtractions column.

For example, Billy Wagner is going to be replaced by Craig Kimbrel. He was inconsistent in his walks (16) but made up for it in strikeout (40). Even more amazing, he did it in 20.2 innings pitched. Another being, Derrek Lee is to be replaced by Freddie Freeman. I don’t know that much about him because he only had 24 at-bats in the Majors but if you haven’t heard he was Jason Heyward’s roommate in either college or the minor leagues.

The big acquisition was Dan Uggla, who I personally think will kill in his first year with the Braves. The Braves also don’t have to face him because I don’t remember the exact numbers but he hit his best at Turner Field because of the dimensions and lack of wall in left.


Predicted Record Range: 91-96 They have plugged holes with new talent and have a better line-up than last year. I expect to be in this range for the season.

At long last the entry is finished. Again, due to picture uploading problems.

Up Next: Florida Marlins

Case study on morality in baseball

A few days ago, I wrote a research paper on how athletes are expected to behave morally. Basically it was seeing if players are now held to a higher or lower standard than before. I was actually surprised by the results. So here it is:

Slighted
by their Era: A case study to determine MLB’s moral standing throughout the
years

 

            Whenever
judging a subjective concept the results will be themselves subjective.
Therefore, one must find a point from which to base the level of the subjective
concept relative to that point. As will I do when looking at morality in
baseball throughout the ages. Through using a fixed anchor point of morality, I
will look at the case studies of Mark McGwire, Pete Rose, and Ty Cobb to
determine whether moral standards in baseball have: gone up, stayed the same,
or regressed from early to more modern day baseball.

 

To accurately find
how much Major League Baseball (MLB)’s moral expectation for players has
evolved I must first establish a standard against which I will measure the
players morality. This standard will be the rules for election that the writers
in the Baseball Writer’s Association of America (BWAA) are told to base their
elections for players into the National Baseball Hall of Fame (HOF) off of. The
parameters stated here are: “Voting shall be based upon the player’s record,
playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the
team(s) on which the player played,” (BWAA, 1). So, the player’s morality will
be decided upon how many of these traits the player abided by or did not.
Likewise, whether moral expectation amongst the league has deteriorated in MLB
or has actually been elevated by time.

 

            The
first person of interest when studying morality in baseball is, Mark McGwire.
For those unfamiliar with baseball, Mark McGwire is a baseball player who
started in MLB in the 1980′s and finished his career in 2001. He is best known
for breaking the single season Homerun record in 1998 previously held by Roger
Maris since 1961 when he hit 70 Homeruns to surpass Maris’ 61. This leads us to
McGwire’s wrongdoing. It was later revealed in MLB’s Mitchell report, which was
a study that discovered steroid users, that McGwire had used anabolic steroids
in the 98 and other seasons. This breaks the honor code in the first paragraph
by: tarnishing his record, integrity, and character. This leaves him violating
three of the BWAA’s categories for voting.

 

            The
second person of interest is Pete Rose. He was a baseball player in the 70′s
and 80′s who’s greatest accomplishment is having the most hits of any hitter in
MLB history. However, he is now known equally as well for his immoral act. This
was, he gambled on games that he was playing in. This violates the honor code
in the first paragraph by tarnishing: his record, character, and MLB felt it
diminished his contributions to the team. This would leave Rose violating also
three of the BWAA’s categories for election into the HOF.

 

            The
third and most antiquated personality is, Tyrus Raymond Cobb. He was a baseball
player in the early 1900′s who is most famous for the over 90 MLB records he
set in his playing career, including: career Stolen Bases, Batting Average,
etc. Unlike the other two he did not commit a singular act, he committed a
plethora. His incidents include: arguing with a black groundskeeper about the
field condition and choking his wife(N.Y. Times 13 Aug 1907), pulling a knife
on a black elevator operator in an argument that started because Cobb thought
the operator was acting, “uppity” (N.Y. Times 9 Sep 1909), sitting out the last
game of a season to win a batting 
title(N.Y. Times 16 Oct 1910), fighting with his own teammates, beating
up a heckler by going into the stands (the heckler had lost his hands in an
industrial accident) (N.Y. Times 16 May 1912), and whipping his own son when he
flunked out of Princeton(N.Y. Times 20 Nov 1994).

 

            The
combination of these break the following “codes” of honor which players are
based off of for election into the HOF: they stained his record, integrity,
sportsmanship, character, and contributions to his team. This means that Cobb
should not have been voted in on four accounts of the BWAA’s guidelines for
voting.

 

            According
to the BWAA’s guidelines, McGwire and Rose should be admitted into the HOF
before Cobb is. However, Cobb was inducted into the HOF in its first class,
securing a higher percentage of the vote than players such as Babe Ruth and
Walter Johnson[1], McGwire has
not received more than 25% of the vote[2],
and Pete Rose was banned from baseball for betting on it. When interpreting
this, historical context must be taken into account. In both the McGwire and
Cobb situation, the environment was far more accepting of their respective grievances.
This being that it was a more racist friendly environment in the early 1900′s
and a more steroid user friendly environment in the late 1990′s and early
2000′s.

 

            Through
using the guidelines for election into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, I
have determined that the moral standards of MLB have grown for the players. I
have determined that both McGwire and Rose were held to a higher standard[3]in
their more modern time periods than was Ty Cobb was in his more antiquated era.
From this, I determine that from the time that Cobb played in to the time that
McGwire played; MLB has progressively increased how it expects its players to
behave. However, even when compared to a static standard a study of a
subjective idea such as morality is not perfect because every static standard
is not perfect.



Bibliography

·  
“BWAA Election Rules .” Rules For Election 1. National
Baseball Hall of Fame
. Web. 15 Mar a        2011.
<http://baseballhall.org/hall-famers/rules-election/bbwaa&gt;.

·      
Carter, Jimmy.  “It’s time to forgive Pete Rose :[FINAL
Edition]. ” USA TODAY (pre-1997 Fulltext)
  30                                                                                                     s            
Oct. 1995,USA TODAY, ProQuest. Web.  16 Mar. 2011.

·      
“Eckersley against McGwire, Sosa in Hall. ” USA
TODAY
 
9  Sep. 2010,KidQuest Magazines, ProQuest. Web.  16 Mar.  2011.

·      
 “Strike the baseball
records of players who used steroids. ” USA TODAY
  15 
Jan. 2010,KidQuest               
Magazines, ProQuest. Web.  16 Mar. 2011.

·      
 “Roessner, L.. “Remembering
“The Georgia Peach”. ” Journalism History
 
36.2 (2010): 83-95. Discovery, 

               
ProQuest. Web.  16 Mar. 2011.

·      
Zirin, D.. “Redemption Is for the
Young. ” The Progressive
 
1 Dec. 2010: Discovery, ProQuest. Web.  4 Apr.                    2011.

 

·        “Sowell, T.. “MLB Steroid
Scandal: Say It Ain’t So. ” Human Events
 
17 Dec. 2007: Discovery, ProQuest. Web.  16 Mar.  
a            2011.

·     
Special
to The New York Times.  “TY COBB FIGHTS GROUNDSKEEPER: 

Ball Player fights Spring Training Employee and Wife
over condition of field “New York Times (1857-1922)

13 Aug. 1907,ProQuest Historical Newspapers
The New York Times (1851 – 2007), ProQuest. Web.  13 Mar. 2011.

  • “Charge Against Cobb
    Withdrawn. ” New York Times (1857-1922)
     9 Sep. 1909,ProQuest
    Historical Newspapers The New York Times (1851 – 2007), ProQuest.
    Web.  13 Mar. 2011.
  • “Banner 1 — No Title. ” New
    York Times (1857-1922)
     16 Oct. 1910, ProQuest Historical Newspapers The
    New York Times (1851 – 2007), ProQuest. Web.  13 Mar. 2011.
  • “COBB WHIPS HILLTOP FAN FOR
    INSULTS: Detroit Player Hurdles Into the Stand and Thrashes a

Profane Commentator. ” New York
Times (1857-1922)
 16 May 1912,

ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times
(1851 – 2007), ProQuest. Web.  13 Mar. 2011.

·     
By
Robert Peterson.  “Psychotic at the Bat: A biography of Ty Cobb,
for whom baseball — as well as life — was a blood sport. COBB A Biography. By
Al Stump. Illustrated. 436 pp. Chapel Hill, N.C.: Algonquin Books of Chapel
Hill. $24.95. ” Rev. of: New York Times (1923-Current file)
 20 Nov. 1994,ProQuest
Historical Newspapers The New York Times (1851 – 2007), ProQuest.
Web.  20 Mar. 2011.


[1] arguably the
best power hitter and pitcher of all time

[2] 75% of the
vote is required for induction into the HOF

[3] Rose to a
much higher standard because baseball had an extremely strict policy on anyone
involved in baseball not betting.

And I will be going to the Mets-Nationals game in all likelihood.

4/5/11 Twins at Yankees: New Yankee Stadium

My post-school day began in the Fordham Prep Gym as the rain forced practice into the batting cage:
Thumbnail image for DSCN1858.JPG

Here as you can see, our starting catcher is shooting (and missing) a baseball at the basketball hoop.

This was the longest 1-hour practice I have ever been a part of. First, I could not wait to go to my first game of the season. Second, the game happened to be between my two favorite teams. Third, watching hitters in the cage if you are not involved gets monotonous after fifteen minutes much less an hour.

I was so excited you cannot believe. I have been waiting for baseball season since December and had a temporary case of ADHD where I literally could not sit still. I was so happy I was even described as glowing by one person. When I left the Prep at 3:45, I must have ran a seven minute mile to the train. I went through the whole shebang I did last time  with the train.

I am proud to say that I did not show up two hours early for the gate openings. I arrived promptly at:
4:30 phone 4511.JPG

I figured that in the playoffs people did not show up until 4:50 because they were there to see the game and only the ballhawks that were there would show up for batting practice.

Well… do you see anyone in front of me?
empty gate 4511.JPG

No one got there until about 4:45 and I will swear to you that for every 15 minutes that pass at any of the other Yankee Stadium gates, 5 pass at this gate. Even though it was only 40 minutes this time as opposed to 120 it still took FOREVER.

Finally time came to enter and I was just happy to see this:
Twins vs Yankees 4511.JPG

I was skeptical that there was going to be Bp and so when I arrived to this:
1_wet_ground_04_05_11.JPG
 I was ecstatic (well not exactly that considering I am in the picture).

After that picture was taken (I assume), I turned to the photographer and saw it was none other than, Zack Hample. If you do not know the story, I was a Watch With Zack client of his last year (which led to one thing which led to another which led to this blog). He quickly raced over to the left field side of the stadium. Seeing as the right field bleachers were much less crowded than they had been in my playoff game and I have enough trouble catching a ball on my own not competing with Zack, I stayed in right field. Bad move.

There would not be one Home run hit there and a wall of beggars would glue to the wall in the front row of the section. This would have gone pretty well had a ball gone into the seats but as I said, it didn’t happen. I then jogged to left field as the Twins did the same.

As the Pitchers warmed up I managed to wrongly judge that a ball was going to: go over my head, fall short, be right at me, not hit the top of the wall, not bounce back all the way to the field, was going to deflect off of a fan trying to catch the ball. Some of those more than one time. Had I played all correctly (or had ridiculous luck like last season) I would have had my all time record.

Then there were the pitchers. I camped behind the long toss partnership of Capps and Nathan. I was 99.9% sure that if Nathan ended up with the ball I would be able to coax it out of him because, as I put it to Nathan, ” Joe, could you give me the ball, please?Who else in the Stadium is wearing you jersey?”
DSCN1892.JPG

Unfortunately, even the depleted sea of “Here”s drowned out my request and the ball went to not even a Twins’ fan on the outfield side of him.

I then went down the line. 1 pairs. 2 pairs. Nothing. The Twins seemed like they didn’t even care about road fans. There must have been a dozen Twins fans but less than half of the balls went to Twins fans.

Now onto my fourth pair, I was wondering if Carl Pavano would even throw his ball into the stands considering how his experience in New York went. I was as usual trying to get in his line of view so he would see the Twins hat and shirt.

 
I did… sort of. He threw it to a kid directly into front of me. He under threw it and it hit the wall and bounce back to him. He then tried again and overthrew the kid. Since I was right behind him I picked it up for ball #1 on the day. I then felt bad for the kid and gave him the ball.
 
I figured this would get me brownie points with Pavano anyway but the law firm of Pavano, Slowey and Perkins:
 
DSCN1863.JPG 
randomly tossed balls into the crowd, sometimes without even looking.
 
Had Slowey actually looked where he was throwing I would have had another ball because I am almost sure that I was the only one who could give him a line about his offseason blog.
 
Though, my time was limited in left field because of guards that kick everyone without a ticket in left field that stayed longer than they normally do and so I was limited to being in foul ground.
 
By that time, the Twins took five more minutes of BP and finished. So I ran to behind the dugout to try and get one of the remaining baseballs, and failed. There I ran in again to Zack and had a guard take this picture:
7_mateo_and_zack.jpg
 
He wanted to get some water and not walk through the seats. I thought that as an expert he had a way of getting past security and back into left field but turns out he had a ticket (he was really sorry but it was my fault for not speaking up about that). So, I was now out of left field and had to try my options elsewhere.
 
Here is my view from the right field bleachers:
Bleacher view 4511JPG
 
and here I am getting the ever famous two syllable bleacher chant for wearing a Twins hat and shirt. ( I put the sweater on before I took the picture:

 
Thumbnail image for DSCN1866.JPG

 

This was not going well for me: I misplayed however many balls, couldn’t stay in left field, my camera screen broke so I couldn’t see what I was taking a picture of, and now the ___hole chant.

I didn’t want to stay there any longer because of the aformentioned chant and the fffffreeezing temperatures. So,  wandered around the Stadium to get warmer, hope a security guard was taking a break, and get a better view:

Better View 4511

In the third inning, I gave up trying to find an open spot in security decided it was boring and went up to the second level. Not three sections from the stairs I saw an open, unguarded aisle. I went down to take a seat and this was my view:

Foul ball territory 4511 .JPG

Prime Foul ball snagging territory.

 

As I was walking down the stairs and taking that picture. A foul ball zoomed back just a stair case to my left:

Foul ball.JPG

If it helps, the ball landed where the soda vendor is standing in the picture. I quickly got my glove on but was blocked by fans in their seat.

 

Throughout the game, I moved further to the right as I thought it was an akward angle where I was currently sitting but three foul balls went to the Foot Locker sign in the previous picture and none were sliced within three sections of me.

 

The game went well as I root for the Twins in Yankees-Twins games (the Yankees beat them too much) and the Twins loaded the bases and Delmon Young hit a double to empty the bases and send the game into extra innings where the Twins won it on a single with runners on first and third.

 

STATS:

 

  • 1 Ball at this game(no picture because I gave it away)

 

  • 1.0 Balls per game

 

  • 26 Straight games with at least 1 ball

 

  • 4 games at the New Yankee Stadium with at least 1 ball

 

Oh, and sorry this entry took too long but MlBlogs was having weirdness and I couldn’t upload pictures.

Philadelphia Phillies Offseason Recap and Preview

2011988112.jpg

I think it’s safe to say the first year of the Roy Halladay Era in Philadelphia went well for the Phillies. The playoffs under their standards but still pretty good.

Grade: A

Notable Additions:

cliff-lee-rangers-apjpg-776aa8da8a7821e9_large.jpg

Cliff Lee, Delwyn Young, Brandon Moss, and Brian Bass.

Notable Subtractions:

 

Jayson Werth, Nate Robertson, Greg Dobbs, Jamie Moyer, and Chad Durbin.

Why?:   They got Cliff Lee and this might have varying responses. Some may say higher than an A some may say lower. The reason I gave the Phillies an A is because Lee was the only difference maker they signed but that one player caused a HUGE spike in Phillie mentions and stock sale.

Did they gain enough in net player Werth (heh, how’d that get in there?) to deserve an A? No. Did they also go overboard the set budget and break their own rule about signing pitchers? Yes. However, the whole Lee situation has done them infinite wonders as far as publicity is concerned and therefore ticket sales (which is why I won’t go to Philadelphia that much this year). So, I did factor in what it did for them as a business as well as what it did for them as a team.

I also learned to never underestimate a Young, as demonstrated by both Dimitri and Delmon (did these people have names not in D?). So, the signing of young Delwyn did not hurt my grade.

Not much else happened besides the Cliff Lee signing but as those of you reading since December know and as those of you who haven’t can see here, I thought highly of how this signing was set up in the previous years.

Predicted Record Range: 94-99 This may seem a bit low considering how much I have lauded them in this entry but their line-up has pacified considerably with the loss of Utley and worth(so that’s where it went). Do I think that they will win the World Series if/when Utley comes back full force? Yes, but until then they will struggle in streaks to put runs up. I actually have the NL East being a race if not the Braves winning it.

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