December 4, 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)
It’s The Hardball Times Annual 2014 (8)
10th anniversary: the A.J. Pierzynski trade (15)
25th anniversary: Rob Neyer writes a letter (4)
Putting the knock on pitching changes (2)
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Wednesday, May 08, 2013
Mets 1, White Sox 0: For as good a pitcher as Matt Harvey is, something is clearly wrong with him given that he did not get the win in this game. The object of the game is to win it, Matt. You clearly lack The Will to Win, as I'm sure Hawk Harrelson mentioned during the broadcast of this game. Give me Bobby Parnell, who notched his third win of the season. He knows what's truly important. Harvey: nine innings, one hit, twelve strikeouts, no walks but -- again, I must stress -- no win. Tsk tsk.
Reds 5, Braves 4: Craig Kimbrel: no longer immortal. Ninth inning homers surrendered to Shin-Soo Choo -- who hit two -- and Devin Mesoraco rocked and shocked the Braves, who entered the ninth with a one run lead. Closers, man. Closers.
Indians 1, Athletics 0: Zack McAllister threw a shutout into the eighth. AND GOT THE WIN, MATT HARVEY.
Twins 6, Red Sox 1: Scott Diamond threw seven shutout innings. AND GOT THE WIN, MATT HARVEY.
Orioles 4, Royals 3: Matt Wieters drove in three, including the tie-breaking run in the eighth after Baltimore had blown a three-run lead. The O's turned three double plays, too.
Pirates 4, Mariners 1: Jeanmar Gomez threw five shutout innings even though he was given only a couple hours notice that he was gonna start. His comment right before the game, I assume.
Blue Jays 6, Rays 4: Everything in this game pales compared to the condition of J.A. Happ after he took a line drive off the side of his head. As I write this all that is known is that he is scheduled for a CT scan and is in stable condition. Here's hoping the visuals of it are far worse than the damage.
Cubs 2, Cardinals 1: The Cardinals' six-game winning streak comes to an end. Travis Wood has been pitching really well and throws another nice one (6.2 IP. 5 H, 1 ER, 8K).
Astros 7, Angels 6: Gonna laugh my butt off when the Astros pass the Angels for fourth in the AL West. Houston snaps a six-game skid.
Brewers 6, Rangers 3: Yuniesky Betancourt hit his eighth homer because baseball is random and fun and the Baseball Gods want us to try to figure out how in the hell things like Yuniesky Betancourt becoming an offensive force ever happen. His explanation for all the home runs he's hitting:
"Leave the ball on home plate and I swing"
"I swing wherever it is," he did not add, "but when it's on home plate I actually hit it."
Rockies 2, Yankees 0: A two-run homer for Carlos Gonzalez was Hiroki Kuroda's only real mistake, but given that Jorge De La Rosa made no such mistakes to the Yankees it was enough. The Yankees don't play in Coors Field much, but when they do they tend to lose.
Diamondbacks 5, Dodgers 3: Paul Goldschmidt with a two-run homer off Brandon League in the ninth to break the tie and, ultimately, win the game. It was an 11-pitch at bat, with Goldschmidt fouling off five full count pitches.
Padres 5, Marlins 1: The Padres stay hot. Easy to do against Miami, but still. Will Venable's two-run homer per the AP game story made me laugh:
In the second, Venable hit a fly that Marlins right fielder Ozuna treated as if it was a routine ball. That threw off Venable, who hesitated out of the box before jogging down the first base line. Ozuna threw up his hands and shook his head looking for the ball -- it landed seven rows up in the right field porch.
Phillies 6, Giants 2: Chase Utley had three hits, including a homer. Ryan Howard homered too, as the Giants knocked in five runs off Tim Lincecum. Maybe they just needed a trip to the west coast to clear their heads. Works for me sometimes.
Tigers vs. Nationals: POSTPONED: I fly a starship across the Universe divide. And when I reach the other side. I'll find a place to rest my spirit if I can. Perhaps I may become a highwayman again. Or I may simply be a single drop of rain. But I will remain. And I'll be back again, and again and again and again and again.
There are plenty of hot topics in baseball today, a sampling of which includes:
While all of these stories and many others are quite deserving of the coverage they've received, there's one story that seems to have all but evaporated in terms of the attention it's getting now compared to before the season started.
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Forty years ago today, Willie Stargell did something that no one else had ever done before and no one else had ever done since. He smacked a ball completely out of Dodger Stadium. Not just out of the playing field, but out into the parking lot itself.
On May 8, 1973, the Dodgers hosted Stargell’s Pirates in a night game at Chavez Ravine. In the top of the fourth inning, Stargell came up with a runner on against Dodger hurler Andy Messersmith when he hit his historic moonshot.
Some places are easy to hit the ball out of. Wrigley Field is famous for having balls leave its park, for instance. In some places, it happens rarely, but at least it still happens. Over a dozen players knocked one out of Tiger Stadium, for example.
But Dodger Stadium is big. It’s one of the biggest parks the game has ever had. That’s why only Stargell has done it in over a half-century of games there.
Oh, I should note that today isn’t the 40th anniversary of the first time a ball left Dodger Stadium. Wait, what? Yeah, you see, while Stargell is the only person to do it, that doesn't mean he did it only once. Stargell first accomplished the feat in 1969, and today is the 40th anniversary of his second parking-lot shot. We’re still waiting for a third occasion.
Yeah, Stargell had some pretty damn impressive power. I’ve always had a theory about him. On a few occasions, I’ve heard people wonder how different our impressions would be of baseball if no one ever took stats. It’s an odd counterfactual, but typically the arguments I’ve seen about it are that we’d still have the same all-time greats.
Babe Ruth was such a force that people would’ve noted it no matter what. Willie Mays would’ve captured everyone’s attention even if we didn’t have the numbers. Barry Bonds—more of the same. Generally speaking, the most awesome talents don’t need numbers to inspire awe.
But if there’s one guy who’s reputation just might rise up a notch or two in a world without stats, it’s Stargell.
Don’t get me wrong. I realize how nice his reputation already is. He made the Hall of Fame, and on the first ballot, no less. But without batting average and career counting numbers, we’d have to rely on the impressions he left in games themselves, and those could be rather powerful things.
Let’s think it through. Without numbers, here’s what would still be true of Stargell. He’s still the guy who hit the ball out of Dodger Stadium, something no one else ever had before or has since. What’s more, that wasn’t a fluke. He smashed the longest homer in Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia. It landed so far from the plate that the Phillies painted the seat it hit to honor Stargell. He also hit the longest homer in the history of Stade Olympic in Montreal. Oh, and unsurprisingly, he seemingly monopolized the longest homer memories in Pittsburgh. At one point, Stargell had on his resume the longest homer hit in nearly half of the NL parks.
Imagine what his reputation would be if that’s all we had to go on. As nice as his reputation is now, it would be quite a bit more impressive. That’s because when Stargell was impressive, he was incredibly impressive. And he was rarely as impressive as he was 40 years ago today, when he crushed the ball entirely out of Dodger Stadium.
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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