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!
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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Monday, April 08, 2013
Royals 9, Phillies 8: Country. Breakfast. Billy Butler drives in seven via a grand slam and a three-run double. The loss is an especially disheartening one for Philly, as they were staked to a 4-0 lead early with their ace on the hill. Cole Hamels was rocked, though, and now stands at 0-2 with a 10.97 ERA on the young season.
Red Sox 13, Blue Jays 0: Will Middlebrooks went bomb-bomb-bomb. And added a double. The AL East champs, presumptive, are now 2-4. The reigning NL Cy Young Award winner is 0-2 with an 8.44 ERA. Jon Lester, meanwhile, shut out the Jays for seven innings. It's gonna be awesome later today when I read all the stories about how character and stuff are the reasons the Red Sox have started out strong rather than getting some nice pitching from now-healthy pitchers.
Braves 5, Cubs 1: Jeff Samardzija struck out 13 Braves but it didn't really slow 'em down any. And really, if they win five of every six and double the MLB record for team strikeouts in a season I won't give a tinker's damn, nor should anyone else. Justin Upton had the golden sombrero, going 0 for 4 with 4Ks. Jeez. Didn't even hit a home run? Maybe Kevin Towers and Kirk Gibson were right about him. Guess he's totally content to lazily chill his way to a 135 home run season rather than keep up that 162 pace.
Indians 13, Rays 0: Mentioned the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner. How about that reigning AL Cy Young Award winner? The Indians rocked David Price like a hurricane, getting eight runs on ten hits off the guy. Carlos Santana went 5 for 5 and drove in three. Mark Reynolds went three for four and drove in four. Meanwhile, seven shutout innings for Justin Masterson. Wait -- was this a carbon copy of the Red Sox-Jays game? Is someone printing up duplicates?
Mets 4, Marlins 3: Nice start for rookie Jose Ferdnandez in his MLB debut (5 IP, 3 H, 1 ER 8K), but Steve Cishek couldn't hold it down in the ninth. The Mets won it on a Marlon Byrd RBI single.
Reds 6, Nationals 3: Well, on the bright side, this time Steven Strasburg was allowed to throw more than 80 pitches. The bad news, though, is that he needed 114 pitches just to get through five and a third. Washington looked pretty sweet sweeping the Marlins. In their first action against a major league team, however, they drop two of three.
Yankees 7, Tigers 0: That's more like it from New York. And from CC Sabathia, who pitched seven scoreless. If they had lost this one it would have been the Yankees' worst start since 1989. That team had Steve Balboni on it, though, so at least it was fun.
Diamondbacks 8, Brewers 7: Not fun at all: what the Brewers are doing at the moment. In case you missed it, you have to read Matthew's full write-up of what happened in the late innings of this one. When you call Ryan Braun off the on-deck circle and put Kyle Lohse in to hit for him in extra innings with two men on in a one-run game you are living wrong. You are suffering the consequences of roster malpractice. This is disgraceful.
Twins 4, Orioles 3: Who had the Twins at 4-2 after six games against teams which made the playoffs in 2012? You? Really? Lying like a cheap rug, dude. Meanwhile, the Orioles are now 0-3 in one-run games on the year. Here's a shoutout to the folks who yelled at the people citing their excellent record in such games last year as a function of luck, who are now presumably saying that the O's have just stumbled into some bad luck this week.
Dodgers 6, Pirates 2: Hyun-Jin Ryu got his first big league victory, with a first inning homer to Andrew McCutchen the only blemish. Adrian Gonzalez drove in four. Three game sweep for the Dodgers.
White Sox 4, Mariners 3: Dayan Viciedo hit a walkoff bomb in the tenth. Credit the sweet, sweet, sweet 1983 throwbacks. Probably my favorite (non-traditional) uniform of the double knit-era. Just look at these things. They're glorious, I tell you. Oh: from the AP game story: Viciedo's nickname is apparently "Tank." I was unaware of this. I have a friend whose nickname is Tank. I've known a couple other Tanks too. You cannot be a bad person if your nickname is Tank. It's just impossible.
Rockies 9, Padres 1: Colorado is 5-1, which is what we all expected, obviously. And you'll be shocked -- SHOCKED! -- to learn that Edinson Volquez had a rough first inning. It's so unlike him. Wilin Rosario hit a three-run homer. Dexter Fowler hit a homer in the first after unsuccessfully trying to deke the home plate umpire into thinking he was plunked, only to be called back to the plate. Saved from himself.
Cardinals 14, Giants 3: On the day the Giants wore their purty gold uniforms and got their rings, the team they unseated as defending World Series champs laid a whuppin' on them. The bad day for aces continued, as Matt Cain was roughed up for nine runs in three and two-thirds.
Athletics 9, Astros 3: Well, not all aces got rocked. Brett Anderson -- who was the Opening Day starter, so he could theoretically be an ace I suppose -- struck out ten Astros in six innings, allowing two unearned runs.
Rangers 7, Angels 3: Prime time game that, ain't gonna lie, interested me way less than the "Mad Men" premier. Sorry, dudes. Anyway, Josh Hamilton actually started hitting -- he went 3 for 5 -- but L.A. didn't get enough otherwise. Bigger news: both team's aces -- Yu Darvish and Jered Weaver -- left early with injuries. Not major ones. Darvish had a recurrence of that blister he first developed last week and Weaver sprained his non-throwing elbow. But not good news for either of them.
Fifty years ago today, one of the longest-lasting players in baseball history made his major league debut: Pete Rose with the Reds.
Rose is one of the biggest names in the baseball universe. He had one of the longest careers in history. He is, after all, the man who played in more games than anyone else: 3,562. Rose is also first in at-bats (14,053), plate appearances (15,890), singles (3,215), times on base (5,929), and—oh, yeah—hits: 4,256 of them.
That last item is his main claim to fame. Ty Cobb’s hit record stood for decades with no one seriously threatening, but Rose pulled it off. He combined tons of plate appearances with a high batting average, durability, and an amazingly long career arc.
Plenty of players had a great stretch of a few years getting hits. Kirby Puckett was a monster for a while. Wade Boggs had a string of 200-hit seasons. Others got off to faster starts. But Rose started hitting early and kept hitting forever.
Rose has been such a big name for such a long time that it’s easy to assume he’s always been part of the baseball landscape, but of course that wasn’t the case. Fifty years ago today he was just a cocky young middle infielder who was certain he belonged in the major leagues.
In his first trip to the big league plate on April 8, 1963, Rose got on base, though without getting a hit. Pirates pitcher Earl Francis walked him. Though Rose typically looked for a hit, he wasn’t excessively aggressive. He walked in about one-tenth of his big league trips, ending his career with 1,566 walks, 14th most all time.
Rose scored the first of his 2,165 career runs a few moments later when teammate Frank Robinson bashed one of his 586 career home runs. That would be it for Rose on the day. He’d ground out, reach on an error, and fan in his remaining trips to the plate. It would be a few days before he got his first hit, but once he started, it took a long while for him to stop.
Rose had a nice 1963, winning Rookie of the Year Award. He still was more an up-and-comer than a genuine star, though. He missed the All-Star Game that year and in 1964. He finally made it in 1965, as the second baseman batted .312 while playing every game, giving him the first of a record 10 200-hit seasons. Rose won a smattering of support in the MVP voting that year and was on his way.
Rose solidified his reputation as one of the best-hitting second baseman of the 1960s, and winning back-to-back batting titles in 1968 and '69 ensured that he was at the front rank of baseball stars. The Reds then became a powerhouse, winning four pennants from 1970-76, and Rose picked up his MVP in 1973.
He remained a huge star the rest of his career, and breaking Cobb’s hit record made him one of the most famous names in the game’s history. Rose's reputation was so massive in the mid-1980s that Bill James once said Rose had a chance to become the first person elected to Cooperstown by unanimous vote.
Of course, that didn’t happen. It didn’t even come close to happening. Rose still is not in Cooperstown. As beloved as he was for as long as he was, by 2013 Rose has been vilified for almost as long as he was once lionized. The worm has turned.
But Rose’s path to fame and infamy began with his first big league game, and that took place 50 years ago today.
Aside from that, many other baseball events today celebrate their anniversary or “day-versary” (which is something that happened X-thousand days ago). Here they are, with the better ones in bold if you’d rather just skim.
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