December 5, 2013
Get It Now!Hardball Times Annual is now available. It's got 300 pages of articles, commentary and even a crossword puzzle. You can buy the Annual at Amazon, for your Kindle or on our own page (which helps us the most financially). However you buy it, enjoy!
And here's the full roster.
THT's latest e-bookThird Base: The Crossroads is THT's new e-book, available for $3.99 from the Kindle store. The good news is that anyone can read a Kindle book, even on a PC. So enjoy the best from THT in a new format.
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Let’s discuss the THT Annual (7)
10th anniversary: the A.J. Pierzynski trade (15)
It’s The Hardball Times Annual 2014 (8)
25th anniversary: Rob Neyer writes a letter (4)
Putting the knock on pitching changes (2)
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Wednesday, August 01, 2012
Pirates 5, Cubs 0: A rejuvenated A.J. Burnett came into a Wrigley Field with the wind blowing in from center against a Cubs team hours off of a significant selloff and tossed a one-hitter. Oh, and Neil Walker drove in all five Pirates runs.
Rays 8, Athletics 0: James Shields pitched a very relieved "oh man I wasn't traded at the deadline" kind of game (CG SHO, 3 H, 11K).
Phillies 8, Nationals 0: Cliff Lee pitched a very relieved "oh man I wasn't traded at the deadline" kind of game too (7 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 7K). I guess you could say the same about Juan Pierre too, who went 3 for 5. Stephen Strasburg was roughed up (4 IP, 8 H, 6 ER).
Angels 6, Rangers 2: Albert Pujols hit two homers and Mike Trout added one of his own. The Rangers are 7-9 since the break and the Angels are in the process of sending them a message.
Braves 7, Marlins 1: Meanwhile, the Braves have won seven straight, are 13-5 since the break and move to within two and a half of Washington. This despite weird stuff like starting Kris Medlen for the first time in two years and using Jair Jurrjens out of the pen. Brian McCann continues the hot streak he kicked off just before the break.
Royals 8, Indians 3: I had this game on as background noise in the living room and the kids started watching it. When Derek Lowe was pitching, my daughter Mookie said "he looks older than the other players." I said "Well, he is. He's 39. In fact, he's a month and a half older than I am." She thought about this for a minute and said "wow, then he is really old." So of course when she said that I hoped Lowe would reach down for a great performance and teach my rude little girl a lesson. Nope. Got shelled. This after I explained to her that the Royals were no good. The lesson she took away was that 39 is old as dust and one becomes feeble against even the most minor challenges at that age. Can't decide if I'm more mad at my daughter, Lowe or the state of the universe for all of this.
Giants 4, Mets 1: News Flash: Tim Lincecum did not suck for once. One run allowed over seven innings. His last out: striking out David Wright with the bases loaded in the seventh. Tough loss for rookie Matt Harvey who pitched well but was victimized by some bad defense.
Diamondbacks 8, Dodgers 2: Arizona is making noise, beat the Dodgers again, and may be turning what looked like a two-team race into a three-team race in the NL West. Wade Miley was sharp and he was backed by homers from Paul Goldschmidt and Miguel Montero.
Mariners 7, Blue Jays 2: Nobody say anything, but the Mariners have won six in a row. And this is fun:
While Wedge explained his pleasure with Jason Vargas' strong start, shortstop Brendan Ryan was being doused with ketchup and beer in the shower by his teammates. The team was celebrating Ryan's three-hit night that pushed his batting average over .200 for the first time since April 21 ...
Cardinals 11, Rockies 6: Matt Holliday drove in four. And continues to be a superstar no one really talks about that much. Just the most ho-hum .320/.404/.543 season I can remember in a while. He's gonna hit 30 home runs and drive in 110 and most people won't bat an eye.
Brewers 10, Astros 1: If you're a Brewers fan, a ten-run explosion is nice. The fact that, after the bullpen came in it didn't end up 10-8 with runners on the corners with no one out at some point is probably even better.
White Sox 4, Twins 3: Odd to see Francisco Liriano facing the Twins. He didn't seem to mind, though (6 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 8K).
Reds 7, Padres 6: Homer Bailey blew a 6-0 lead to which he was staked, but the bullpen restored order and Brandon Phillips hit a homer in the seventh to break it.
Red Sox 4, Tigers 1: The Tigers loaded the bases with the go-ahead run at the plate in the sixth inning, but then the rains came and action was never resumed. Mother Nature gets the save. Josh Beckett left early with back spasms and was booed by his home fans, so that was classy. The Tigers have dropped five of six.
Orioles 11, Yankees 5: New York jumped out to a five-run lead in the first and then watched the Orioles score seven runs in the second and 11 unanswered overall. Chris Davis had the go-ahead grand slam. Ugly night for the Bombers.
Ten years ago today, it finally happened. A trend the Kansas City Royals franchise had been hurtling toward for the last several years finally came to an unwanted fruition.
On Aug. 1, 2002, the Kansas City Royals fell to the Toronto Blue Jays, 3-2. In and of itself, the game was not terribly important or surprising. Heck, it was their ninth loss in their last 10 games. This particular loss, however, had a wider significance for the team. It put the franchise’s all-time cumulative record below .500. It was Kansas Royals loss No. 2,658 versus just 2,657 wins.
The Royals have been under .500 ever since.
Though it might seem hard to believe these days, in the 1970s and 1980s the Royals were a model franchise. They debuted in 1969 and soon developed a quality team. From 1971-1989, they posted 14 winning seasons, and their bad years were never that bad. A 76-86 mark in 1986 was KC's worst point.
Though the club, like all expansion franchises, had a rocky first year or two, the Royals' quick rise to quality allowed them to move over .500 as a franchise. They hit .500 a total of 13 times from mid-1976 to mid-1977, finally pulling over it for good with a win on July 5, 1977, for a cumulative record of 683-682.
To date, very few of the expansion franchises have ever had their overall record top .500. The Blue Jays have done it, the Astros have done it, and so have the Diamondbacks. None of the others have (excluding the first few games—a few others started out 1-0, but that’s not very meaningful).
However, the Royals did far better than the Astros, D-backs, or Jays. On Sept. 13, 1989, a Royals win gave them a record 162 games over .500 (1,739-1,577), by far the best of any expansion franchise.
But since reaching that high-water mark, the Royals have since gone down the drain. They stumbled through the last few weeks of the season and finished in the second division in 1990. Since then, they’ve enjoyed just three winning seasons, the best being an 84-win season in 1993.
A rough time in the 1990s gradually eroded their once-impressive franchise winning record. By the early 21st century, they finally fell under—and then kept falling. In 2004-06, Kansas City posted three consecutive 100-loss seasons. No team had done that since the 1977-79 Blue Jays, and at least Toronto had an excuse of being a brand-new franchise. Kansas City was the first veteran franchise to have three straight triple-digit loss seasons since the 1952-54 Pirates.
Since then, KC has avoided 100 losses, but it's also avoided winning records, averaging 93 losses a year from 2007-11. Currently, they are over 280 games under .500 as a franchise. Half the other expansion franchises are closer to .500 than the Royals are. From 1990 onward, the Royals have been the worst franchise in all baseball. Even the Pirates have won over 60 games more than the Royals in that span.
The good old days of being a model franchise are now a distant, fading memory. So it isn’t surprising that the Royals are now below .500—and have been under .500 since Aug. 1, 2002, exactly 10 years ago today.
Aside from that, many other baseball events today celebrate their anniversary or “day-versary” (which is something that occurred X-thousand days ago). Here they are, with the better items in bold to make it easier to skim through things.
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