Saturday, November 19, 2011

Stroing A Wrench

I remember when I first heard talk of baseball going to 15 teams in each league thinking not only that there would have to be at least one interleague series going on at any given time, but also that that would mean a lot more interleague games.

Now that it's true that the Astros will be joining the AL West in 2013, I'm thinking about this again. The first part is true. Interleague, all year long. However, I keep trying to do the math on this, and I keep coming up with the fact that the number of interleague games doesn't necessarily have to increase. Tell me if I have this right:

162 games. Essentially 54 three-game series. That's a little off, though, because you play some fours and some twos. For example, the Red Sox had 52 series last season, all of them being three games long except for 10 four-gamers and 4 two-gamers, accounting for the extra 6 games [(52 x 3) + 6 = 162].

There are 30 teams. Meaning 15 series are going on at any given time. If you make it so there's exactly one interleague series going on at any time, a team would have to play an interleague series once every 15 series. With 52 total series, that's a total of 3-4 interleague series a year for each team, making a total of roughly 9 to 12 games.

So unless I've messed something up, isn't it true that with two 15-team leagues, each team would only have to play a minimum of 9-12 games against a team from the other league for the thing to function? And if that's the case, and Bud still wants his 6 interleague series for each team, couldn't they just keep it at that many? (And to keep the number of intraleague games the same as it's been.) I'm just saying, while it doesn't HAVE to go down, it doesn't have to go up, either.

So they could do something like: A team plays its interleague games every 15 series, plus have two weekends where EVERY team plays interleague (since Bud obviously likes that). Instead of one interleague series in May and five in June, a team would have, for example, one in early April, one in mid-May, one in late June, one in early-August, and one in early-September. Those would be series where only them and their opponent are playing interleague. Then they'd also have a May and a June interleague series, at which point ALL the teams are doing so (maybe those could be the two "fake-ass rivalry" series). And there's your six series each. Only two teams would be in interleague for the opening series in April, and only two would end the season in interleague, and since there seems to be worry over pennant-race interleague, you'd know that you'd only have one September IL series maximum, with about a third of the teams not even having one.

Do I have this right or is there something I'm not thinking of?

Also, I still hate interleague!

Friday, November 18, 2011

"We're Puttin' The 'Blew' Back In Blue Jays"

The Blue Jays have unveiled their new logo and uniforms and seem to think they possess some kind of mystical power that will suddenly make the team a perennial contender. Check out the video at this page. They talk about that bird like it's a living creature! I'm down with the 70s logo that they're using as inspiration, but I'm not sure it deserves such a dramatic piano score. Is that "Lick My Love Pump" I'm hearing? Anyway, good job changing the logo and getting some Canadian pride, guys. I'm just not sure it's the type of change the fans have been calling for.

The Miami (formerly Florida) Marlins' unveiling was a lot Those guys look like they got in a fight with a box o' crayons.

[Update: The Orioles are also bringing back an old bird friend in 2012! They've also trademarked the phrase "The Ballpark That Forever Changed Baseball."]

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Headed For The Bridge

5 pm, Occupy Wall Street protesters are headed for the Brooklyn Bridge. Watch live below.

Watch live streaming video from occupynyc at


As you know it's the worldwide day of action, and action is happening right now at Zuccotti Park. Lots of cops and lots of pushing and shoving. And it's gonna go on all day. We might be taking the Brooklyn Bridge later. Stay tuned. I'm also seeing shot of a mass of people marching through L.A. right now.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Orsillo Loyal, Heidi A Faker

Heidi Watney is leaving NESN to join LA Lakers broadcasts. Don Orsillo was offered a deal with MLBN but is sticking with NESN for at least four more years.

1916 WS Video Play-By-Play

I figured out the plays shown in the 1916 World Series video I wrote about earlier. (As of this writing, that site is still calling it a 1917 WS from Chicago--I have informed them it is actually Game 1, 1916 WS, Brooklyn vs. Red Sox, Braves Field. [Update: They've fixed it, though now they've got the Boston team listed as the Robins, but, hey, at least the game is right now.] Box score/play-by-play is here; NYT article from 1916 here.) Here we go:

0:04 Top of the 2nd. This is the 4-6-3 double play hit into by Brooklyn's George Cutshaw. You can see the runner slide into second, then start walking off the field toward the first-base dugout, as does the hitter after he's run through first. The home dugout at Braves Field was on the third-base side, as shown in this picture from years later. Then again, the hitter does turn back toward the right, and honestly, it doesn't look like the second baseman does anything, but I'm banking on the fact that he threw to second before the clip begins, or that it was a 6-6-3 that was reported as a 4-6-3. (But I looked at the original putouts and assists from the newspaper box score and everything matches up.) Anyway, by process of elimination, and shadow study, it has to be this play. It's also cool to see them throw the ball around the infield after the play as is done today. Look closely and you'll see the ball go from 1st to 3rd to 2nd after the play.

0:11 Bottom of the 2nd. This is the bunt single by Boston's Larry Gardner moving Lewis to second. You can see the right fielder backing up the play, catcher and third baseman going for ball as shortstop realizes no one's covering third and runs over there. "Conferences were held in and about the pitcher's box" after this play according to the New York Times, and you can see the beginnings of that too.

0:25 This is the very next play--another bunt to the same spot, a sacrifice by Everett Scott. Runners move "a sack ahead" to second and third. The Sox would leave the bases loaded after a walk.

0:31 We see the written text that describes Duffy Lewis' 3rd-inning RBI double, and then we see said double. Hoblitzell (referred to as Hoblitzel in both the film and the NYT article), who tripled, is seen scoring just as Lewis reaches first. The guy running second to third is actually the shortstop. He ends up receiving the throw.

0:40 We are taken to a new camera angle, from the other side of the ballpark. It took me a while, but I figured out that the first play we see from this new angle is the SAME double we just saw. Watch any one guy and you'll see he does the same thing in both shots. Runner scores as hitter reaches first, shortstop runs toward third and receives throw, etc.

0:52 This next play also took me a while--I finally realized that this triple (there were four in the game) had to be Hoblitzell's triple that came BEFORE the previous play. It's a triple with no one on base, and the shadows are just about in the same spot. If you go back to the beginning of the video you'll see the roof shadow start between the plate and the mound, and slowly creep toward the mound. At this point it's cutting through the outfield side of the mound. Besides, the next play shown takes place in the top of the fourth, and it has the shadow at its farthest-out point which means this play here is BEFORE that one--and the only other triple with no one on base is AFTER top 4.

1:05 Top of the 4th. This is the defensive play of the game. Cutshaw hits a shallow fly to right with the go-ahead run on third. Harry Hooper, with "a bit of sheer piracy," makes the catch and guns down Zack Wheat at the plate. A different paper (Telegraph-Herald) noted that Hooper actually slipped down and got up again quickly to throw home. This is feasible as it also says he was "just back of first base" when he caught the ball. And it described the runner sliding into home as you see in the clip.

And there's your 1916 WS video. So it is all from Game One, and goes roughly in order, with one play repeated.

As for the New York Times article, it is an incredible piece of writing, and I recommend you take the time to read the whole thing. You have to click the button on this page to see the pdf. It describes the crazy ninth inning in which the Sox nearly blew a 6-1 lead, and then goes back to the beginning to set the pre-game scene, before describing almost every inning of the game. Gems include:

Then something went wrong with the grand machine which boasts the world's title. Entering the final inning the score was 6 to 1 in favor of the Superbas' inhospitable hosts, and the game appeared to be won, in the choice Bostonese which one picks up even in a brief stay in the Hub, reposing safely on the chill surface of nature's refrigerating substance.


It was a typical world's series scene that greeted the eye of the late comer. Packed stands, or nearly packed, formed its setting, and its background, as envisaged from the crags and cliffs of the press box, away up, at least four laps on the journey Elijah made, was a mingled scene of switch engines just beyond the fence, the Charles River, ruffled in spots by spurting scullers or eight-oared crews, and on the nether bank a whirling succession of automobiles, whose occupants, bound and far afield, wotted little and cared less about anything so serious as a world's series ball game.


The Royal Rooters and their band--oh, yes, they were all there--kept warm, however, by means of parades, shouting, arm waving, and the other approved methods of expressing world's series enthusiasm.

Thanks to Allan at Joy of Sox for finding this video and the 1917 one, and whoever it was that posted them to Critical Past.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Video Of The 1916 World Series(!)

I was psyched to see a post on Joy of Sox about 1917 World Series footage--Giants against White Sox at the Polo Grounds. However, when looking at one of the clips (which are on the site Critical Past), I noticed a flash of text which read:

In the third Duffy Lewis, famed for breaking up World Series' games, drives a two-base hit sending Hoblitzel [sic] home with the first run; score 1-0

And I thought, "Duffy Lewis? Wait a minute...." After doing a little research, sure enough, this footage was from one of the World Series the Red Sox played in. 1916 vs. Brooklyn. The game shown is Game One, and it's at Braves Field, as the Red Sox played their home World Series games there that season. You can see the Lewis double in question shot from right field, and then it cuts to other action shot from right field. I have to do further research to figure out what's going on in each play--it could be footage from multiple games (which means Babe Ruth could be in it if Game Two is shown).

The link to the video is here. You will notice the site claims it is from Chicago and is the 1917 World Series, but, again, that is wrong. It is the 1916 World Series in Boston. I have already sent in the correct information to them, so hopefully they update it soon. I also checked to see if any (other) footage of this World Series exists and I don't see any. So this could be huge, but either way, it's huge to me since I'd certainly never seen any before this. I just wish now they'd played that series at Fenway!

Credit goes to Joy of Sox for alerting me to the clips. Here is his original post, which highlights the 1917 WS clips. [And here's his updated post about the '16 clip.]


Bloomy and his pig patrol cleared out Zuccotti. But I think this is actually perfect timing--Thursday is a huge day of action so by doing it, they're just inadvertently rallying OUR side together.

Final Pumpkin Update. Maybe.

Excuse the "multiple photos on desktop capture" technology here. The bottom one is from Monday. We are really starting to frighten the mail carriers now. Wednesday is yard waste day. So this should be the last update. But maybe I'll put it somewhere else without telling Kim and continue photographing it for an entire year. That would be something.

Monday, November 14, 2011

On Shittiness

Doesn't everybody agree that Mariano Rivera has been the key to the Yankees' success for the past decade and a half? I was under the impression that if you have a great closer, you do everything you can to keep him. Obviously there's that point where a guy becomes a free agent, and you might not be able to afford him, or are unable to give him the years he wants. But that's a problem small-market teams face. Why are the Red Sox cheap and/or timid in this one important area? Why don't we recognize we have a solid guy in a key role and say "whatever it takes"? Every offseason should start with "Okay, closer? Already have one of the best. Keep at all costs. Next issue..."

Is the fact that we seemingly never had any intention of re-signing Papelbon because of the closer role itself? These guys always wanted a closer-by-committee situation. And on paper, it works. Even going with two guys and having the better one pitching the tougher inning (8th or 9th depending on who's hitting) seems like a smart idea. But the fact is, the way baseball works in 2012 is that you have one guy who pitches the 9th. And that role takes a certain kind of guy. I'm not talking about which guys have bigger fist pumps or weirder beards. I'm talking about the mentality of knowing every time you come in, the game is on the line. A slightly shittier pitcher might be better at pitching the ninth than another guy who's a better pure pitcher. The Red Sox are a team who uses the closer the same way everybody else does, and they had a guy who has proven he fits the role perfectly in both the "jock" and "nerd" categories. On top of that, he was an exciting, fun-lovin' guy--the exact type all these people who fall for the "chemistry" argument would probably want in their clubhouse anyway. So why is Jon Papelbon not on the Boston Red Sox right now? Especially at a time when the pitching staff needs all the help it can get. How crappy would it be if those guys all get back on track next year, but....whoops, every game is blown in the 9th because we didn't think the closer was "worth it"? (While thinking a lot of less-important roles ARE worth lots and lots of money for some reason.)

If having a great closer isn't worth spending money/years, how are we ever gonna have a closer for more than a few years? Say Bard becomes the greatest closer in the world over the next few years. Are you all gonna go through this whole thing again where you just act like he's "gone already" and assume the next 8th-inning guy will step right in? We've all seen the state of relief pitching over the last decade. One guy might seem great for half a season, but then he'll fall right back into the crap pile. How could any team who has one of the proven ones ever let him go?

It's almost like the Boston media convinced everyone from (some) fans to the team to Papelbon himself that he'd be gone after 2011. It's just like it was with Manny: Go to the games, and watch the fan reaction to the guy. You'd think he was a deity. The fans at Fenway Park were always there behind Pap, happy and proud to have him on our side, and ready to celebrate with him, literally, when the game was won. But flip on the stupid radio or read the stupid Internet, and it was as if Papelbon was a rival pitcher who "we" all couldn't stand and were waiting to get rid of. If Pap really just wanted to be out of here, how can I even blame him? I would hope that he'd have seen the way he's treated at the park and said, "this is how they really feel," but athletes have egos, and you know he was hurt by all the shit these assholes said about him (though I loved how he tried to get back at them with his "Cinco Ocho thrives on your negativity" routine).

This all goes back to my most common theme, how the stupid Boston sports media is ruining everything, and loves to drive our favorites out of town. This season WEEI has fired Tito, Theo, and Papelbon. For those of you who are happy about this, when are you gonna turn around and say, "Wait a minute..." I'd love to be doing happy tribute posts to all these guys, but instead I'm just fuming over what the media has done to our team. It's time we really start fucking with them. People are always bringing signs to Fenway--how about some anti-media ones? How about yelling at these old, white fucks when they're standing around on the warning track in pre-game looking for the next guy to crucify? How about never reading or watching them ever again? How about we start digging up dirt on them? (Hint: If you can't find anything, just make something up out of thin air and quote anonymous sources like they do.) We absolutely have no need for these people anymore anyway.

We'll see what they do about the closer role. I like Bard. I'm not gonna go judging him based on a shitty month. (Nor am I judging Pap solely on his great 2011--if you know me, you know all this is exactly what I'd be writing when Pap was finally gone, regardless of the previous season's outcome.) I just fear neither he nor anybody else we get could possibly be what Pap was for us. I'd hate to see "closer" be the new "shortstop" when we fucking had the right World Series-winning guy right there all along. We've seen plenty of times where guys come in and Fenway just turns out to not be right for them. I fear this could happen with both the manager and closer roles, but I'm not about to give up. I'm just glad Pap won't be in our own league, shoving it down our throats 10 times a year.

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