Baseball

The F.P. Santangelo saga

Featured image F.P. Santangelo is a former major league baseball player who does the color commentary on television broadcasts of Washington Nationals games. He’s not my cup of tea, but no one can question his knowledge of, and passion for, the game. He’s also very popular with the fan base, including women, as far as I can tell. During the Nats’ championship season, several women who had been casual fans, told me »

The fun never stops at ESPN

Featured image Stephen A. Smith is a controversialist for ESPN. He shouts out his takes on sports-related issues, for which, reportedly, he is paid around $12 million a year. Nice work if you can get it. Smith came under fire for opining that Shohei Ohtani, the Japanese pitching, slugging, and baserunning sensation, will have trouble being the face of baseball because he doesn’t speak English. Smith said: I don’t think it helps »

This day in baseball history: An all-star game to remember

Featured image The 1971 all-star game, played in Detroit 50 years ago today, is memorable for at least three reasons. The first is all those home runs — six of them, the most memorable of which by were Reggie Jackson and Roberto Clemente. The second is that the American League won — its first all-star victory since 1962. The third is all of the top-tier Hall of Famers who participated. 1971 was »

This day in baseball history

Featured image In this series, I’ve been retracing Vida Blue’s historic 1971 season. In the last post about it, I covered a late May game at Fenway Park that John and I attended in which Blue picked up his second loss of the season following an amazing ten game winning streak. After that setback, Blue started another streak. He won his next six starts before losing against Minnesota on June 29. In »

An all-star game worth boycotting [With Comment by John]

Featured image Major League Baseball is heading into the all-star break. Next week, it will hold its home run derby on Monday and the all-star game on Tuesday. Both events, and various others, will be held in Denver, Colorado, not Atlanta, Georgia as originally scheduled. MLB pulled the game from Atlanta because the Georgia legislature passed election integrity reforms that Democrats don’t like and contend are racist. MLB thus inserted itself into »

This day in baseball history: John and Paul go to a ballgame [With Comment by John]

Featured image Vida Blue began the 1971 baseball season by losing the presidential opener in Washington, D.C. The lowly Washington Senators chased Blue after only an inning and two-thirds, and he took the loss. After that, Blue embarked on one of the most remarkable eight weeks of pitching in baseball history. In his next eleven starts, Blue pitched ten complete games, five of which were shutouts. His only incomplete game, against Kansas »

Tony La Russa and the haters

Featured image In March 1981, I visited Florida’s Gulf Coast for the purpose of watching as many spring training games as I could in one week. Typically, I showed up early for the games because the players, coaches, and even managers would sometimes chat with fans. That’s when I first encountered Tony La Russa, the 36 year-old manager of the Chicago White Sox, already starting his third season in charge. You didn’t »

This week in baseball history

Featured image Fifty years ago, baseball was more entertaining than it is now, in my opinion. Walks, strikeouts, and home runs may (or may not) be baseball’s only “true outcomes,” but they are less fun to watch than fielding gems, triples, and the hit-and-run. Unfortunately, the analytics revolution has made the hit-and-run nearly extinct. And its emphasis on strikeouts and home runs means fewer balls in play, and thus less excitement on »

MLB’s favorability rating plummets

Featured image Major League Baseball has suffered a massive loss in popularity among Republicans due to its intervention on the side of Democrats in the political dispute over Georgia’s voting law. According to a poll by Morning Consult, MLB’s net favorability rating (the difference between the percentage of those who view the sport positively and those who view it negatively) among Republicans has dropped from 47 points to 12 points in the »

This day in baseball history — True Blue

Featured image On opening day of the 1971 baseball season, the Washington Senators chased young pitching phenom Vida Blue to the showers in the second inning. Blue’s next start, on April 9, was a different story. Blue faced the Kansas City Royals. His Oakland team, considered strong contenders in the AL West, had lost its first three games. Not to worry. Blue was almost unhittable on the day. He set the pattern »

Why did baseball capitulate?

Featured image Jim Geraghty wonders why Major League Baseball pulled its all-star game from Georgia, but major sporting events are still scheduled to take place in that state. He cites the Masters Golf Tournament, as well as all home games for professional Atlanta teams and Georgia’s collegiate athletic programs. In addition, the following events are still a go, as of now: The 2021 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Games in Atlanta The 2021 SEC Championship »

This day in baseball history: Washington’s last opener of the century

Featured image April 5, 1971 was baseball’s Opening Day. As was the tradition back then, Washington played the only American League game of the day. Normally, the U.S. President threw the ceremonial first pitch on Opening Day in D.C. Some years, the Vice President filled in. But on this day, former Vietnam prisoner of war Master Sergeant Daniel Lee Pitzer did the honors. Manager Ted Williams selected Dick Bosman to pitch for »

Down with Major League Baseball!

Featured image Major League Baseball has decided to punish Georgia for its new voting law by moving the 2021 all-star game from Atlanta. As John explained here, the new law isn’t racist, as critics complain. In fact, it actually increases access to the polls. But that’s not really the point. The point is that Major League Baseball’s executives should worry about fixing their broken game and leave decisions about voting and other »

The hell with the Hall of Fame

Featured image The National Baseball Hall of Fame voters have decided, collectively, not to elect anyone to the Hall this year. Curt Schilling came the closest to obtaining the required 75 percent of the votes. He collected 71.1 percent, falling 16 votes short. Schilling’s exclusion is a travesty. He clearly had a Hall of Fame caliber career. As I wrote last year around this time: Schilling’s career WAR (wins above replacement player) »

Remembering Hank Aaron

Featured image Hank Aaron died yesterday at the age of 86. Aaron is second on the all-time home run list behind only Barry Bonds, who used steroids. Aaron is baseball’s all-time leader in total bases, far ahead of Stan Musial, who is second place. In terms of WAR (a measure of player value that estimates wins above a hypothetical replacement player), Aaron ranks seventh. The only players ahead of him are Babe »

Remembering Don Sutton

Featured image Don Sutton, the Hall of Fame pitcher, has died at the age of 75 after a long fight against cancer. Sutton was a mainstay of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitching staff, but nearly began his career with Charlie Finley’s Oakland As. Imagine an As staff with Sutton plus Catfish Hunter, Vida Blue, Ken Holtzman, Blue Moon Odom, and Rollie Fingers. How did Oakland miss out on Sutton? The story, from »

This day in baseball history: A Minor deal

Featured image On December 22, 2000, the Baltimore Orioles traded Ryan Minor to the Montreal Expos for Jorge Julio. Minor has a place in baseball history. He’s the man who started for the Orioles at third base on September 20, 1998, the day Cal Ripken voluntarily ended his 2,632 consecutive game streak. Minor went 1-4. The Minor-Julio deal turned out to be a very good one for the Orioles. Julio was a »