December 10, 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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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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Tuesday, April 09, 2013
Braves 2, Marlins 0: Justin Upton went 4 for 4 including another homer. At this point it's getting so ridiculous that I feel like any more grit/lazy jokes are just gratuitous and cruel to Diamondbacks fans who may soon begin wondering why, again, it was so necessary to trade a stud slugger, still only 25, and signed to a team-friendly contract. In other news, announced attendance for the Marlins' home opener was 34,439. Many were disguised as empty seats. Many other were there because Marlins tickets are going for roughly the price of a Zimbabwean dollar in late 2009.
Rangers 5, Rays 4: The last strike of the game from Joe Nathan should have been ball four to Ben Zobrist, which would have put the tying run on second with Evan Longoria up at the plate. But it ... wasn't. Even if we do get replay and robot umps and everything else sometime soon, I'm guessing balls and strikes won't be part of that for decades if ever, so there's no sense screaming for robot umps. But boy howdy, Marty Foster made a lousy call on that one.
Reds 13, Cardinals 4: Ties in the ninth and then the Reds blitz the redbirds for nine runs. Gonna go out on a limb and say that Mitchell Boggs didn't exactly solidify his role with this outing. Some of The Best Fans in Baseball didn't much care for it either.
Brewers 7, Cubs 4: The wind was blowing out at about a gajillion miles per hour, but only one homer was hit all game and that came from the losing team. Beyond that Wellington Castillo shot, Marco Estrada kept the ball down and pitched seven effective innings. Edwin Jackson surrendered a four-spot in the first and after that it wasn't too entertaining. Norichika Aoki had four hits -- dude is on fire right now -- and Ryan Braun returned to the lineup and went 3 for 4 with two doubles.
Royals 3, Twins 1: Ervin Santana pitched eight strong, striking out seven, walking only one and scattering singles. Kevin Correia pitched seven great innings but, unfortunately, was sent out for the eighth.
Yankees 11, Indians 6: Travis Hafner made a triumphant return to Cleveland and Robinson Cano launched two homers, doubled walked and scored four runs. Nice way to shake off a season-opening slump.
Red Sox 3, Orioles 1: Clay Buchholz gives the Sox another great start and Daniel Nava builds his legend. And while the storylines have been nice, it's been the pitching and defense getting it done.
Mets 7, Phillies 2: There's no escaping it: the Phillies are in full-blown Roy Halladay crisis mode now, as he was roughed up again (4 IP, 6 H, 7 ER). Matt Harvey, meanwhile, was dominant once again (7 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 9K). You gotta wonder if the Phils are gonna consider shutting Doc down.
Giants 4, Rockies 2: The Giants' seventh straight win against the Rockies, helped by a Hunter Pence three-run bomb. This was the Giants first home game without some sort of pregame awards ceremony or celebration. 'Spose we can get on with 2013 now?
Pirates 5, Diamondbacks 3: Pittsburgh ends its losing streak at five. Two RBI each for Andrew McCutchen and Travis Snider. The Cubs, Pirates and Brewers are all deadlocked at 2-5 in the race for the NL Central cellar. Exciting!
Mariners 3, Astros 0: It's almost like all of those spring training home runs the Astros hit weren't indicative of the team's overall quality. Joe Saunders and three relievers combined for a seven-hit shutout.
A hundred years ago today, Dodgers history entered a new era. The team played its first real game in Ebbets Field, and the ballpark has gotten quite a bit of attention due to all the nostalgia surrounding Dem Bums, as Brooklyn denizens called the Dodgers. Histories of the game, most notably Ken Burns’ Baseball, spent considerable time on the stadium and the teams that played there.
But it might be too much attention. What advantages did it have over, say, Forbes Field in Pittsburgh? Well, the Dodgers played there, not the Pirates. To be fair, more memorable historical baseball events occurred with the Dodgers than the Pirates, but the romance of Ebbets Field goes beyond that.
Even the lesser Dodgers teams were well known. The Dodgers' weak years in the 1920s and 1930s, when they were nicknamed the Daffiness Boys, get a lot of attention as an example of a struggling club. Burns’ miniseries notes that Ebbets Field in its earlier decades hosted some of the worst clubs ever. That’s an enormous overstatement. Even when the Dodgers were bad, they were typically just sixth-place bad.
But moving into Ebbets Field was a big deal, as it was the club’s first real stadium. The first wave of steel and concrete ballparks went up around 1910. Previous stadiums were quickly-thrown-together wooden affairs, something you’d expect from a college or minor league club.
Shibe Park in Philadelphia began the trend when the A’s moved there in 1909. During the 1910s, almost every team followed. Most would last a generation or two, but Comiskey Park and Tiger Stadium remained until the 1990s, and Fenway Park and Wrigley Field, of course, are still here.
The Dodgers were experiencing a low point in franchise fortunes, but in 1913 they got their new stadium anyway. That first game on April 9, 1913, had an all-too-typical result for the Dodgers of that era. Staff ace Nap Rucker pitched brilliantly, but as good as he was, the Brooklyn bats were as bad. The Dodgers fell, 1-0, to the Phillies.
The Dodgers had a dreadful first season in Ebbets Field, going a woeful 29-47 at home. (Oddly, they won nearly half of their road games that year. Go figure).
The Brooklyn Dodgers would never have another season that bad at home. From 1913 until their move out west, they went 1,974-1,454 (.576) at home versus a much worse 1,683-1,748 (.491) road record. Admittedly, that includes a few home games in New Jersey toward the end, but that’s a nice home advantage. No wonder the Brooklyn faithful had such found memories of the park in which they saw their team play.
Though it’s been gone for over a half-century, Ebbets Field still witnessed nearly 50 years of major league baseball—and the first one began 100 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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