December 13, 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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Friday, May 24, 2013
Indians 12, Red Sox 3: The Tribe's bats had a nice night with Yan Gomes, Mark Reynolds and Michael Bourn all racking up multiple RBI. Oh, and you may or may not have heard this, but Terry Francona, currently the Indians' manager, used to be the Red Sox manager and this was his first time back in Boston since he was fired and some people were talking about it and stuff. Kinda surprised me, too!
Angels 5, Royals 4: Trout, Pujols and Trumbo hit homers. The Angels have won five in a row. The Royals have lost 13 of 18. It's almost like that great spring training record they had didn't have a ton of predictive value for the long haul of the regular season.
Tigers 7, Twins 6: Miguel Cabrera had his sixth homer in four games. Later Jim Leyland screwed up and had Torii Hunter bunt in front of Cabrera, leaving first base open and thus taking the bat out of the most dangerous hitter in baseball's hands when Ron Gardenhire walked him. Thankfully for Leyland Prince Fielder is pretty dangerous himself, singled and drove in the winning run.
Blue Jays 12, Orioles 6: Orioles starter Kevin Gausman -- that kid who used to eat powdered donuts between every inning -- had a rude welcome to the majors, Edwin Encarnacion hit a grand slam and J.P. Arencibia homered and drove in four.
Pirates 4, Cubs 2: Four in a row for Pittsburgh. And 11 of 13 overall. The anti-Royals, I guess. Andrew McCutchen had three hits and two RBIs.
10 years ago today, a memorable act of anger occurred in baseball – star Diamondbacks pitcher Curt Schilling destroyed a camera.
It wasn’t just any old camera he destroyed, but a QuesTec camera. QuesTec cameras were new things to baseball. Major league baseball had signed a contract with the QuesTec company to install cameras in some major league ball parks to track pitches. The QuesTec cameras were special in that they would not just photograph pitches, but could record with precision where the ball was when it crossed the plate. In other words, it could tell us what pitches were balls and which ones were strikes.
This was a big deal because ever since at least the 1980s, complaints had arisen that umpires didn’t call the rulebook strike zone. Instead, they abandoned the high strike and called many outside pitches strikes. The QuesTec cameras provided feedback on how accurate umpires were. With these cameras in operation, big brother was watching like never before. This was new.
Since the cameras could be used to rate umpire performance, they started calling a more textbook strike zone. At least they did when playing in stadiums with QuesTec cameras. When the first roll out happened, only six stadiums had them.
Not only were umpires concerned about the new cameras, but so were some pitchers. They’d gotten used to throwing in the umpires’ strike zone and felt threatened that some of their old, reliable strikes were now being taken for balls.
Clearly, one pitcher who didn’t like the new camera was Curt Schilling. He was a pitcher whose game relied considerably on control. The year before he allowed the fewest walks per nine inning of any NL pitcher. In 2001, he’d been runner up in that category, and would be again in 2003.
On May 24, 2003, Schilling took the mound at home against the Padres. Unfortunately, for Schilling his home stadium in Arizona was one of 13 stadiums that had a QuesTec camera by 2003.
Looking at Schilling’s numbers, it doesn’t look like the cameras hurt him very much. He walked just two while fanning 11 in seven innings work. He allowed three runs and got the loss, but that had more to do with poor run support than anything.
But Schilling was steamed, so he grabbed a bat and destroyed one of the two QuesTec cameras in the park. The powers that be in major league baseball would fine him $15,000 for his actions. Schilling admitted his action was immature, but said the umpires told him before the game that they affected how they call games, and Schilling didn’t like that.
Ultimately, QuesTec cameras are no more in baseball, but the technology is still here. Now every baseball broadcast has their gadgets that can tell us exactly where the pitch was. We have pitch F/X data that does likewise.
Ultimately, Curt Schilling lost the war. That tends to be the case with Luddites, and Curt Schilling’s anti-technology moment came 10 years ago today.
Aside from that, many other events today celebrate their anniversary of “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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