The Physics of the Cutoff

The runner at second has a modest lead as the batter strokes a single through the right side.  The hard-charging outfielder scoops up the ball and unleashes a cannon shot.  The runner has turned third and is digging for home.  A smile comes to the face of the batter as he rounds first to see […]

When to Have a Broken Heart

Everyone thinks Anna Karenina ends with the title character throwing herself under a train, finally destroyed by a passionate but ill-advised love affair. Sometime in the middle of spring training, I was talking with a friend and he mentioned how the Reds were about to break his heart for six months (we are both Reds fans). Nearly […]

Clayton Kershaw’s early struggles – real or imagined?

It’s not news to anyone that Clayton Kershaw’s spring has been disastrous - it’s on ESPN, SportsCenter, blogs, news sites, and everything in-between. Those who remember 2013 will also recall that Kershaw had a poor spring then, but it was nothing like it was in 2014 – his ERA is more than twice what it was last […]

Card Corner: 1974 Topps: John Curtis

The name “John Curtis” has entered my consciousness on two occasions. One of them dates back to the old television show, The Waltons. Do you remember when Mary Ellen Walton, the eldest daughter to John and Oliva Walton, gave birth to a boy? He was given the name of John-Curtis Walton. The name of John […]

Dick Green at the Hall

I’ll admit it; there are perks that come with working at the Hall of Fame. One of those benefits involves the occasional visit from a retired major leaguer. We had one just last week, when former Kansas City and Oakland A’s second baseman Dick Green came to Cooperstown. Accompanied by his wife, Lia, Green got […]

The Physics of the Curveball – A Short History

The charm of the National Pastime is in part due to the myths it inspires, from the creation story of Abner Doubleday, to the beginnings of the curveball and William Cummings. “Candy” Cummings claimed to have invented the curve in 1863 after noticing thrown clam shells bobbed and dipped in flight. What a delightful story! […]

Punishing Kids for Breaking a Rule No One Follows

Last week, Baseball America reported that someone in the Philadelphia Phillies organization contacted the NCAA about potential infractions involving the Phils’ fifth and sixth round draft picks, Ben Wetzler and Jason Monda respectively. Reports indicated that someone with organizational ties told the collegiate governing body that the two college juniors broke rules by using an […]

Expanded 2013 Infield Shift Data

2/26 Update/Correction: The total number of shifts presented yesterday were wrong. In the database we were using, some of the records were duplicated. The duplicate records have been removed and the data should now be correct. You can find an updated Google doc with the updated data here. Sheet 1 has the player data, and […]

Ohayo Gozaimasu, Ohio

Translation: Good morning.  Or in this case, Wake up! No, this is not a complaint that the Cincinnati Reds and Cleveland Indians failed to sign Masahiro Tanaka. Yes, this is a wake-up call to the Ohio-based baseball clubs that the 2014 season is approaching rapidly, and neither squad has done anything significant so far this […]

A Tribute to Jim Fregosi

When we were growing up in the early 1970s, we had fun saying Jim Fregosi’s name. It rhymed with Bela Lugosi, one of my favorite stars of the horror genre. Fregosi and Lugosi. We rhymed those names so often that other kids, the ones who didn’t follow baseball, must have thought it was Lugosi who […]

Vote for the SABR Research Awards

Here’s your chance to vote for the 2014 SABR Analytics Conference Research Awards winners. The SABR Analytics Conference Research Awards will recognize baseball researchers who have completed the best work of original analysis or commentary during the preceding calendar year. Nominations were solicited by representatives from SABR, Baseball Prospectus, FanGraphs, The Hardball Times, and Beyond […]

Ooooh, Piece of Candy!

Over the weekend, a link was passed around on the interwebs, and before it gets lost in the ether, I wanted to post it here, because it sounds pretty exciting: The Journal of Sports Analytics The roster the journal is boasting is quite impressive. These are some of the best and brightest minds the game […]

The Physics of the Pitcher’s Padded Cap

The history of head injuries to pitchers is pretty gruesome.  Despite this long record, it was not until recently that MLB approved optional padded cap for pitchers.  It isn’t rocket science, so it would not surprise me to learn that even our ancient simian relatives knew that padding reduces injuries.  However, the fundamental physics of […]

Feedback / “When The Sparrow Sings”

So, the site has been live for a little bit now. We think it came off pretty well, but podody’s nerfect, and we know that there are things that will change. So we want to make sure we keep hearing from you. We are hearing from you in the intro post, but it will continue […]

It’s Game Time

Baseball is unusual as team sports go.  For example, the limit lines are in play, not out of bounds.  The defense, not the offense, has the ball.  Finally, and in my view, the most distinguishing feature is the lack of a clock.  Some claim that baseball is freed from the tyranny of time, yet from […]

Larry Rocca’s conflict of interest

Larry Rocca is currently the Director of Development and Alumni Affairs at Georgetown Prep in Washington D.C., which seems like a very rewarding job since he gets to give back to his alma mater. He used to cover the Mets for the Star-Ledger (and briefly the Yankees for Newsday) from 1997-2004. Before that he was […]

Me vs. reality, 2014

The Cooperstown election results came out today, so it’s time to compare my predictions with reality. Here is how I stacked up: Player Me Reality Greg Maddux 99 97 Tom Glavine 94 92 Frank Thomas 85 84 Craig Biggio 76 74.8 Mike Piazza 71 62 Jack Morris 70 62 Jeff Bagwell 62 54 Tim Raines […]

Remembering the wizardry of Paul Blair

I’ve seen Andruw Jones, Jim Edmonds, Devon White, Cesar Geronimo and even Willie Mays at the tail end of his career, but I can’t consider any of them the best defensive center fielder I’ve watched. That honor still belongs to Paul Blair, who died last week from a heart attack. When it comes to center […]