December 6, 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!
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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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Monday, September 17, 2012
Orioles 9, Athletics 5: Baltimore salvages one. Which is important for two reasons. Reason 1: It's their 82nd win of the year, which means they will finish above .500 for the first time in forever. More importantly: they really just need to avoid the disaster west coast trip here. If they take care of business against the Mariners this week they can call the trip a success. Or at least a non-calamity. They hold a two and a half game lead over the Angels and trail New York by one. Thirteen pitchers used in this game, by the way.
Cardinals 5, Dodgers 2: It was the ninth pitcher -- out of ten total -- that let it get away for the Dodgers. John Ely came in for the top of the 12th inning and walked a dude, but then got two outs. Then: Jon Jay doubled in a run, Carlos Beltran was walked intentionally, Matt Holliday was hit by a pitch, Allen Craig singled in a run and Yadier Molina walked to force in another. That was it for Mr. Ely and the Dodgers, who fall out of a tie for the second wild card slot.
Indians 7, Tigers 6: Oh brother. Not only do the Tigers blow this one in the ninth to the Tribe, but Alex Avila got hurt too. Lonnie Chisenhall singled in the winning run off Jose Valverde, who blew a two-run lead, ending the Tigers four-game winning streak.
White Sox 9, Twins 2: The sweep. And a rare instance of one of the two Central contenders taking care of business against inferior division foes lately.
Astros 7, Phillies 6: Philly's surge came to a crashing halt in Houston, where they dropped three of four to the woeful Astros. It's a familiar story, though one that hasn't been a chronic problem in the second half: pathetic middle relief, with Phillip Aumont and Antonio Bastardo blowing Roy Halladay's lead. Philly is four games back in the wild card now, with four teams ahead of them.
Cubs 13, Pirates 9: Wild card contenders losing to cupcakes is all the rage, apparently. Here the Pirates blew a 6-1 lead. Anthony Rizzo and Pedro Alvarez each had two homers. The Pirates have lost 12 of 15, including two of three to the Cubs.
Brewers 3, Mets 0: Wily Peralta tossed eight, two-hit shutout innings. Oh, and remember everyone who said that Ryan Braun was gonna fall off bigtime this year due to him being caught up in that testosterone business last year? Yeah, as if. Two more homers today. Braun is now hitting .312/.387/.602 with 40 homers and 103 RBI. He should be a top MVP candidate again. Let's see if he gets any love.
Braves 5, Nationals 1: The sweep. Still, I won't be able to read this kind of thing without extreme anxiety until after the season is over:
Atlanta's sweep solidified its return to the playoffs after a historic collapse in the final month last season. The Braves maintained a seven-game lead over the second wild-card spot, held by St. Louis, and are eight games up on the next club in the race, the Los Angeles Dodgers. It would take a more epic meltdown than even 2011 to squander that lead with only 15 games to go.
And that could never happen! I'm ...I'm almost certain of it.
Diamondbacks 10, Giants 2: Patrick Corbin wins the Helped His Own Cause Award, driving in four runs while tossing eight innings of two-run ball.
Angels 4, Royals 3: Dan Haren gave up three runs while pitching into the sixth and then a parade of relievers -- Nick Maronde,Garrett Richards, Scott Downs, Jordan Walden and Kevin Jespen -- shut the Royals down for the final three and a third. Mark Trumbo with a three-run homer. They remain two and a half back of the O's in the wild card.
Reds 5, Marlins 4: Ryan Ludwick hit a go-ahead single in the 11th, capping a day in which the Reds got 17 hits but left a ton of men on base. Cincy avoids the sweep.
Blue Jays 5, Red Sox 0: The Jays avoid a sweep as well. Omar Vizquel had two hits. He's about to pass Babe Ruth on the all-time hits list, by the way. I shall look no further than that stat and declare him Babe Ruth's equal.
Yankees 6, Rays 4: Some people say the Yankees are too home-run dependent. Others say that small ball is no way to go. The Yankees compromised, doing both yesterday. Russell Martin hit a three-run homer. During that same inning the Yankees stole bases and Nick Swisher of all people had a sac bunt.
Rangers 2, Mariners 1: Texas is probably not too happy hearing all of that "The A's are gunning for the division title, not just the wild card" talk. Their win and the A's loss helps put that off a bit. Adrian Beltre hit a homer. Matt Harrison gave up one run over eight and two-thirds.
Padres 12, Rockies 11: Twenty-three runs on 27 hits is not unusual when Colorado is involved. It is unusual, however, when the game is played in San Diego. Of course there is a BIG difference between day games at Petco and night games. Yonder Alonso wins it with a walkoff single.
On Saturday night, as you may have heard, a bit of odd baseball history was made when Marlins infielder Jose Reyes muffed a play for the 500,000th recorded error in baseball history. It wasn’t that long ago that baseball had its 250,000th home run (Gary Sheffield hit it on Sept. 8, 2008). Last year on Independence Day, baseball had its 200,000th game.
So now that the quest for the 500,000th error is over, what’s the next upcoming all-time milestone to get its countdown?
First, let me preface this by saying none of the info is exact or official. (In fact, the 500,000th error isn’t really official either. Baseball-Reference.com founder/guru Sean Forman began his countdown to 500,000 noting that his info might be off due to occasional discrepancies in the historical record.
This info also comes from B-Ref, so the same caveat applies. Actually, it’s far, far stronger. I copied the data down years ago (and have updated it ever since), and there have to be some extra errors I made along the way. (And that’s even before you get into the fact that many of these stats haven’t even been recorded for all of baseball history.) Still, it should work out in general.
Finally, I ignore the National Association from 1871-75. I just plain don’t consider that to be a real major league. Some of the other countdown sites (all of them?) include it, though.
Anyhow, here are the countdowns upon us from most recent onward:
70,000 (known) intentional walks: early 2013: The stat only began to be kept in the 1950s, but we topped 69,000 earlier this year. The season should end at 69,800 or so intentional free passes. It looks like early May or so of next year we’ll get to 70,000.
14,000 balks: early 2013. We began this season with 13,797 balks by my count. We’ve had 145 so far this year. We should get another 15 or so. Thus, around the quarter the way through next year, MLB will hit 14,000.
100,000 hit-by-pitch: 2013: By my reckoning, we’re on the verge of our 99,000th sore rib. There were over 1,500 last year, and there are already over 1,300 this year. This one will definitely fall in 2013.
14,000,000 at-bats: very end of 2013 or very early 2014: From 1876-2011, I tally 13,672,838 at-bats. There were 165,705 in all major league baseball last year, so at that pace No. 14,000,000 will happen when some team plays its 159th game in 2013. Then again, if offensive levels fall a bit, it might not happen until 2014.
1,300,000th walk: early 2014: Based on my data and current rates, this should happen in April of 2014.
220,000th sacrifice hit: early 2014: It’s been recorded since 1894, and this should happen early in 2014.
11,000,000th putout: 2014: I can only assume this one has a pretty steady per-game rate. Expect this level to happen a third of the way through 2014.
600,000th relief pitcher: 2014: If anyone cares, it took until 1952 that baseball called on its 100,000th reliever. In a sign of how times have changed, we hit the half-million mark in 2007 and should make the next 100,000 marker just seven years later.
220,000 grounded into double play: 2014: This one isn’t such a big deal. There were over 3,500 last year, so the next 10,000 level should occur every three years for this stat, which has only been kept by both leagues since the 1950s. Around 2034 or so we’ll have No. 300,000.
130,000th triple: late 2014 : There were 898 last year and have been over 830 so far this year. Baseball topped 129,000 this year, so it should get there next year, maybe in August. (On a complete side note, let’s pause to acknowledge that last year someone belted the 600,000th double, unloved and unrecorded).
2,000,000th strikeout: late 2014: It took until 1976 for 1,000,000 strikeouts to happen, but the pace has picked up since then. (In a quirk, because some leagues didn’t used to record batter strikeouts, we won’t have our 2,000,000 whiff in hitter stats until 2017 or so).
16,000,000th plate appearance: 2015: Due to expansion and the 162-game schedule, we get over 180,000 of these a year. The 15-million marker apparently fell around 2010, and 16 million should come up around 2015.
70,000th sacrifice fly: mid-2015: This stat has only been around since the middle of last century. There are apparently over 1,000 of these per year.
300,000th stolen base: late 2015 or early 2016: This stat also wasn’t kept back in the 19th century, but we’re a little over three years from there given recent trends.
140,000th complete game: late 2016 or early 2017: There have been over 139,000, but the way the game goes these days, it’ll take several years to finish off the last 1,000.
100,000th known caught stealing: late 2018 or early 2019: In reality, there have been far, far more than 100,000 caught stealings already. But this is one of those stats that wasn’t officially recorded for a while.
70,000th save: late 2018 or early 2019: Who knew it would take so long for the save milestone to be reached? About half of all games have a save now, and it’s hard to have a higher percentage than that, so this rate isn’t likely to rise. We just had No, 60,000 back in 2011, so it’ll take several years to get to the next level.
300,000th home run: 2019: There are well over 4,000 a year, so it shouldn’t take the game that long to go from 250,000 to 300,000.
5,000,000th assist: 2020: Here’s a stat no one pays any attention to, but there are nearly 50,000 per season.
2,000,000th run: late 2020 or early 2021: The millionth run was scored by Bob Watson in 1975, and that was a big news item at the time, so I can only assume people will pay attention to this one when it comes around.
4,000,000th hit: late 2020 or early 2021: Wouldn’t it be something if the 4,000,000th hit drove in the 2,000,000th run? It’ll never happen, but one can always dream.
6,000,000th total base: 2023: Yeah, it’ll take a while.
Twenty years ago today occurred one of the more memorable baseball fights of recent times. It wasn’t the most violent or long-lasting fight, so purely as a fight, it wasn’t that memorable.
But it wasn’t just another baseball fight. It was a fight between two people wearing the same uniform. In the clubhouse. In front of reports. Oh, and one of them was the team’s manager.
It was Cincinnati Reds manager Lou Piniella versus Nasty Boys reliever Rob Dibble. If you’re going to have a manager-player fight, it makes sense it would be these two. Piniella was always known for his fiery disposition when he played, and he was still emotional when he joined the ranks of field manager. Dibble had a reputation as one of the game’s great hotheads, complete with multiple suspensions for throwing at hitters.
It sounds like they were destined to fight at some point, doesn’t it?
Sure enough, on Sept. 17, 1992, it finally happened. The Reds won the game, 3-2, over the Braves. Afterwards, reporters asked why Piniella hadn’t used Dibble. After all, the Reds used four relievers to keep their narrow lead and Dibble was rested, so why not call on him? In fact, the Braves had the tying run on third and the winning run on second with one out in the ninth, and still Dibble wasn’t called on.
The Reds got away with the win, but Piniella still got the question. It wasn’t a big deal, just a fairly routine question. Piniella responded by saying Dibble had a bad shoulder. So far, so normal.
Then reporters asked Dibble about it. Dibble suggested that his manger misled reporters. Okay, now this isn’t quite normal. The fuse had been lit.
And when Piniella found out what Dibble said, he exploded. He screamed that Dibble was a liar, and they went at it. Rob Dibble was 6-foot-4, 230 pounds and young enough to be Piniella’s son. That didn’t matter. Sweet Lou saw red, and they began a clubhouse wrestling match.
The fight itself wasn’t very long-lasting. It was little more than a shoving match. But it was a manager and a star player shoving each other in the clubhouse with cameras clicking.
Both men had to see team owner Marge Scott and the GM the next day. Both apologized and put their disagreement behind them. Piniella even called on Dibble to pitch the day after their fight and again the next day.
That said, it probably isn’t a coincidence that 1992 was Piniella’s last year managing the Reds. He won a world title with them in 1990 and led them to 90 wins in 1992, but the team let him go in the offseason anyway.
Dibble was brought back in 1993 but was hampered by arm problems and had a terrible season. The Reds granted him free agency after that year. The fight didn’t hasten his departure, but for both Dibble and Piniella, their fight marked the end of their days as effective members of the Cincinnati Reds organization. And it happened 20 years ago today.
Aside from that, many other events today celebrate their anniversary or “day-versary” (which is something that occurred X-thousand days ago). Here they are, with the better ones in bold if you’d rather just skim through things.
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