May 20, 2013
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Following are the one hundred most recent articles for the category Athletics .
05/20/2013: The daily grind: 5-20-13by Brad Johnson
05/20/2013: And That Happenedby Craig Calcaterra
05/20/2013: The Hot Seatby Scott Strandberg
05/20/2013: AL Central: state of the divisionby Chris Jaffe
05/20/2013: Fantasy Waiver Wire: Week 8, Vol. 1by Karl de Vries
05/20/2013: Louisville slugging in 2013by Frank Jackson
05/20/2013: 5,000 days since Eric Milton’s no-hitterby Chris Jaffe
05/17/2013: The daily grind: 5-17-13by Brad Johnson
05/17/2013: And That Happenedby Craig Calcaterra
05/17/2013: Gems without whiffsby James Gentile
05/17/2013: 40th anniversary: Bobby Valentine breaks his legby Chris Jaffe
05/17/2013: Strength of schedule: Adjusting hitter valuesby Moe Koltun
05/17/2013: Fantasy Waiver Wire: Week 7, Vol. IIIby Jack Weiland
05/17/2013: Card Corner: 1973 Topps: Mike Andrewsby Bruce Markusen
05/16/2013: The daily grind: 5-16-13by Brad Johnson
05/16/2013: And That Happenedby Craig Calcaterra
05/16/2013: How Scott Kazmir got his groove backby Kyle Boddy
05/16/2013: Three more for eternityby Don Malcolm
05/16/2013: Not exactly definitiveby Don Malcolm
05/16/2013: The all-decade team: the ‘40sby Richard Barbieri
05/16/2013: Of Uggs and Ugglaby Derek Ambrosino
05/15/2013: The daily grind: 5-15-13by Brad Johnson
05/15/2013: And That Happenedby Craig Calcaterra
05/15/2013: Running hot and coldby Shane Tourtellotte
05/15/2013: The Phillies should retool but not rebootby Brad Johnson
05/15/2013: Fantasy Waiver Wire: Week 7, Vol. IIby Karl de Vries
05/15/2013: Currently historic: 300 strikeouts?by Jason Linden
05/15/2013: Mike Moustakas’ holeby Noah Woodward
05/15/2013: BOB: How bad is the Marlins’ attendance?by Brian Borawski
05/14/2013: And That Happenedby Craig Calcaterra
05/14/2013: The daily grind: 5-14-13by Brad Johnson
05/14/2013: How much do hot/cold starts matter?by Greg Simons
05/14/2013: 25th anniversary: The Jose Oquendo Gameby Chris Jaffe
05/14/2013: Jonathan Schoop and the value of role playersby Jeff Moore
05/14/2013: THT Awardsby John Barten
05/13/2013: The daily grind: 5-13-13by Brad Johnson
05/13/2013: And That Happenedby Craig Calcaterra
05/13/2013: 30th anniversary: Reggie’s 2,000th Kby Chris Jaffe
05/13/2013: NL Central division update: May editionby Jason Linden
05/13/2013: Fantasy Waiver Wire: Week 7, Vol. Iby Jack Weiland
05/13/2013: Last remaining teammatesby Chris Jaffe
05/13/2013: The Hot Seatby Scott Strandberg
05/12/2013: The curious case of Vernon Wellsby Matt Filippi
05/12/2013: 60th anniversary: Whitey Ford’s near no-hitterby Chris Jaffe
05/10/2013: The daily grind: 5-10-13by Brad Johnson
05/10/2013: And That Happenedby Craig Calcaterra
05/10/2013: Cooperstown Confidential: What really happened with Fritz Ostermueller and Jackie Robinsonby Bruce Markusen
05/10/2013: Fantasy Waiver Wire: Week 6, Vol. IIIby Karl de Vries
05/10/2013: Still life, after allby Azure Texan
05/09/2013: Oh Dustyby Pat Andriola
05/09/2013: And That Happenedby Craig Calcaterra
05/09/2013: 40th anniversary: back-to-back first homersby Chris Jaffe
05/09/2013: The Roto Grotto: rates versus opportunitiesby Scott Spratt
05/09/2013: Swing rates: the John Farrell effectby Moe Koltun
05/09/2013: Winning, TWTW, and the purpose of baseballby Matt Hunter
05/08/2013: Closer watchby Karl de Vries
05/08/2013: And That Happenedby Craig Calcaterra
05/08/2013: The daily grind: 5-8-13by Brad Johnson
05/08/2013: Fantasy Waiver Wire: Week 6, Vol. IIby Jack Weiland
05/08/2013: What nobody is talking aboutby Greg Simons
05/08/2013: Currently historic: A truly rare achievementby Jason Linden
05/08/2013: Craig Anderson’s greatest dayby Frank Jackson
05/08/2013: BOB: Stadium updatesby Brian Borawski
05/07/2013: And That Happenedby Craig Calcaterra
05/07/2013: The daily grind: 5-7-13by Brad Johnson
05/07/2013: Fun with minor league leader boardsby Jeff Moore
05/07/2013: 90th anniversary: Casey Stengel goes bonkersby Chris Jaffe
05/07/2013: THT Awardsby John Barten
05/07/2013: A.J. Ellis: hardly swinging, hardly missingby Noah Woodward
05/07/2013: Baseball Press: a fantasy secret weaponby Jack Weiland
05/07/2013: The Verdict: keeping it on the DLby Michael Stein
05/06/2013: The National League Graph, 2013by Dave Studeman
05/06/2013: And That Happenedby Craig Calcaterra
05/06/2013: The daily grind: 5-6-13by Brad Johnson
05/06/2013: AL East division update: May editionby Nick Fleder
05/06/2013: The Hot Seatby Scott Strandberg
05/06/2013: Last living linksby Chris Jaffe
05/06/2013: Fantasy Waiver Wire: Week 6, Vol. Iby Karl de Vries
05/05/2013: The American League Graph, 2013by Dave Studeman
05/04/2013: 50th anniversary: Braves balk-a-thonby Chris Jaffe
05/03/2013: The daily grind: 5-3-13by Brad Johnson
05/03/2013: And That Happenedby Craig Calcaterra
05/03/2013: Debut class WAR-fareby James Gentile
05/03/2013: Card Corner: 1973 Topps: Jose Cardenalby Bruce Markusen
05/03/2013: Fantasy Waiver Wire: Week 5, Vol. IIIby Jack Weiland
05/03/2013: The Grand Tour, part fiveby Shane Tourtellotte
05/02/2013: Yankees acquire Chris Nelsonby Pat Andriola
05/02/2013: And That Happenedby Craig Calcaterra
05/02/2013: The daily grind: 5-2-13by Brad Johnson
05/02/2013: Tales from the scorebookby Richard Barbieri
05/02/2013: Daily fantasy gaming: Five adagesby Moe Koltun
05/02/2013: The Grand Tour, part fourby Shane Tourtellotte
05/01/2013: Ryan Howard’s odd decline continuesby Pat Andriola
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July 24, 2012
The rebuild that wasn’t: Oakland’s past, present and futureThis isn't how rebuilds are supposed to work. You trade away a bunch of talent, you play poorly for a few years, and if everything goes right, the players you got in the trade blossom into a core of talent that you can build around. Right?
So how on Earth did the Oakland Athletics trade away three All-Stars in one offseason and immediately improve? How did Billy Beane turn a mediocre team with little in the way of talent into a spunky, sneakily good club with a penchant for the dramatic?
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Posted by: Dan Lependorf
April 29, 2012
Holland and an imperfect gameI got my first chance to watch my nine-year-old nephew Holland play baseball on Friday. His game was, unsurprisingly, a very different experience from watching the big leaguers. I won't give all the gory details, but a short example from the third inning will show what made an impression on me.
Holland reached base on a 5-4 force-out. On the next pitch, the opposing catcher let strike one roll a couple feet away, and Holland swiped second. The next pitch, ball one, went in the dirt too, and Holland took third. Then, after a walk, the pitcher turned his back for a moment, and not only did Holland steal home, but in the confusion the runner on first got all the way to third.
From my rough scoring of the game (yes, I was scoring it), four and a half innings produced 18 instances of what in professional baseball would be judged wild pitches or passed balls. Nothing more need be said to illustrate the chasm between these kids and "real" ballplayers, right? The professional game, the true game, is on a plane of effective perfection, right?
Jump-cut to the bottom of the ninth at Yankee Stadium that night. Game knotted at six, with Derek Jeter on first and Brayan Villarreal pitching to Curtis Granderson. The payoff pitch goes wild, and Jeter makes it all the way to third. Three pitches later, a slider goes off the end of catcher Alex Avila's glove, and Jeter beats the throw back to the plate to score the winning run.
This was a highly dramatic example, but not an isolated one. On that busy Friday night in major league baseball, there were four passed balls and 12 wild pitches (including two "dropped" third strikes) that led to 20 runners gaining extra bases. Ten of the 15 games on the schedule had at least one wild pitch or passed ball—and all five that didn't had at least one hit-by-pitch.
Maybe most interesting, one of those wild pitches led to that bizarre rarity: a four-strikeout inning. In the top of the eighth at Camden Yards, Oakland's Ryan Cook got the first two Orioles hacking, but strike nine to Adam Jones was a wild one that let Jones reach. Cook regrouped and threw strike 12 past Matt Wieters' bat to end the inning.
It was, according to MLB.com, the 59th four-K inning in history. (And the second one in four days. Who knew?)
So on a pretty ordinary day in baseball, arguably the two most interesting and memorable moments are defined by their imperfection, by someone goofing up. Kinda brings those multi-millionaire celebrities down to the level of nine-year-old boys playing for fun, right?
Well, no. Let's not get carried away. The pros are light-years in quality beyond those kids. But they aren't machines; they aren't infallible.
And thank God for that.
A flawless game is a sterile game. Tic-tac-toe holds no interest for anyone but kids, because adults can figure out the perfect strategy pretty easily and make a perpetual tie of it. Several years ago, computers solved the game of checkers, figuring out its optimum strategies, and the world of human tournament checkers has been reeling ever since. Once there's an equation for a game, the game is over. It's a solved puzzle, thrown out like a completed crossword in yesterday's paper.
It is the possibility, indeed the inevitability, of imperfection that makes the game what it is. The pitcher missing the outside corner; the batter getting under a fastball; the infielder's dive deflecting the hot-shot grounder. You can be perfect for a moment, or for a few at-bats. You might, like Philip Humber, be perfect for a whole game—but then there's the next game.
This should give us a bit of perspective. The players are going to keep striving for perfection, and we're going to keep rooting for our teams to exhibit it, and that's exactly as it should be. But the pursuit of that flawlessness is only interesting because it's so hard to achieve, even briefly, even for the best in the game. In baseball as in so many other endeavors, nobody's perfect.
Except for Holland's team, that is. They're 4-0 on the season so far—but there's still a lot of baseball left to be played.
Posted by: Shane Tourtellotte
March 28, 2012
Extremely early awards votingSure, it's only one game (Mariners 3-1 over the A's in 11 in Tokyo), but a few players already have set themselves apart from the competition, establishing themselves are early front-runners for the American League MVP and Cy Young awards. Here's a look at the candidates and their credentials.
1. Dustin Ackley is slugging 1.000 and on pace for 162 homers, the same number of stolen bases, 324 RBI, and an equal number of runs scored. Naturally, all of those would be major league records. He had the game-winning RBI in Wednesday's contest, too, so he has the clutchiness factor working for him.
2. Ackley's 324-hit pace would shatter the current record. However, Ichiro Suzuki is looking to protect his status as the record holder in that category by getting off on a 648-hit pace, nearly 400 base knocks over the current record of 262 safties. Also, Ichiro's .800 batting average would make Ted Williams' .406 mark look pathetic in comparison.
3. A distant third, Cliff Pennington is batting .400 with a stolen base. Hey, someone has to get those third-place votes.
If you prefer to put one of the pitchers below in the MVP discussion, that's completely understandable. For now, I'm keeping the hitters and hurlers separate.
AL Cy Young
1. He didn't get the Opening Day win, but a low win total didn't stop Felix Hernandez from bringing home the hardware a couple of seasons ago. His eight-inning, six-strikeout, one-run, five-hit, no-walk performance enabled the Mariners to stay in the game long enough for Ackley to execute his heroics. And Hernandez's 1.13 ERA would be just off Bob Gibson's 1968 record of 1.12.
2. Brandon McCarthy did his best to keep pace with King Felix, but he managed to twirl only seven innings of six-hit, one-run ball. He also didn't walk anyone (nor did any other pitcher on either staff), but his mere three punchouts hint at a lack of dominance that could weaken his case as the season progresses.
3. Brandon League preserved the M's win, throwing a shutout frame in the 11th inning, whiffing two batters while allowing one hit. Sure, saves are overrated, but League's peripheral numbers show he's more than just an accumulator.
Posted by: Greg Simons
March 06, 2012
Don Mincher career highlightsThe other day, the baseball world lost another one of its veterans, as Don Mincher passed away at age 73. The first baseman enjoyed a 13-year career mainly with the Twins, but he also played with the Angels, Pilots, Rangers and A’s, and he played with both Senators squads—he was on the clubs that moved out of Washington to both Minnesota and Texas.
After his playing days, he became general manager of the Huntsville (Ala.) Stars, the Double-A affiliate of first the A's, then (and now) the Milwaukee Brewers. And he served as president of the Southern League from 2000 to last October..
When a player dies, it’s time to look back on his life and career. Others can do a better job looking at the man himself. Below are his career highlights. These include his personal highest and lowest moments, the greatest and most important games he participated in, and some of the oddities he was personally on hand for. Also, because he was a Pilot, we’ll also include one or two of the better Mincher-related anecdotes from Jim Bouton’s book, Ball Four.
Here they are, in order and divided by team he played for:
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Posted by: Chris Jaffe
January 31, 2012
A baseball card mystery: Ken Holtzman’s 1974 Topps cardWhether you call it gold or mustard or just plain old yellow, the color simply glows on the 1974 Topps card of the underrated Ken Holtzman. A’s owner Charlie Finley liked to refer to this color as “California Gold,” which may or may not be available at your local paint store.
In 1964, Finley adorned his Kansas City Athletics in green and gold, making them the first team in major league history to sport multi-colored uniforms (that is, if we don’t consider white and gray to be true colors). The A’s retained that look when they moved to Oakland in 1968. In addition to California Gold, Finley proudly boasted about his A’s wearing “Kelly Green” and “Polar Bear White,” giving the A’s the most distinctive look of any team in the '60s and early '70s.
By 1972, the A’s switched from a button-down, vested look to a pullover design, but retained the green and gold color scheme. They generally wore white pants, switching the jersey color from green to gold on a given day. For Sunday home games, the A’s wore all-white uniforms. Only occasionally during the 1973 and ‘74 seasons did the A’s sport the all-green or the all-gold look, the latter being quite evident on Holtzman’s 1974 card.
Given the relatively few number of times that the A’s used the all-gold uniforms, I’m wondering if it’s possible to pinpoint the exact date of the game seen on the Holtzman card. We have only a few clues. The photo, presumably from the 1973 season, appears to have been taken at the Oakland Coliseum. Obviously, it is a day game. We can assume that it is not a Sunday afternoon game, due to the absence of the all-white uniforms. We also know that Reggie Jackson, seen in the background, was playing the outfield that day, most likely in right field.
This might be our most challenging baseball card mystery to date. Most of the time, I’ve been confident that our sharp readers would come up with a correct answer, and they have. But this time, I’m not so sure due to the lack of information. Do we have a sufficient number of clues to pinpoint the date? Well, it’s worth a shot.
Posted by: Bruce Markusen
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