Entries Tagged as 'mlb'

MLB’s “Baseball Origins Committee” choose members

In his first official act of MLB’s Official Historian, John Thorn will serve as chairperson of the “Baseball Origins Committee”.  The purpose, according to mlb.com simply put is to:

“seek to determine the facts of baseball’s beginnings and its evolution. The Committee will compile and evaluate information that pertains to the game’s founding and its growth. Following the study period, the panel will seek to tell the story of baseball’s beginnings and explore not only the game’s broadest origins”.

Fortunately for me, we have one of the members of the committee here on the University of Illinois campus in Dr Adrian Burgos. 

Here is the full list of the committee membership:

DAVID BLOCK, an early baseball historian, author of Baseball Before We Knew It: A Search for the Roots of the Game, and a member of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR).

JAMES EDWARD BRUNSON III, Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs at Northern Illinois University and author of The Early Image of Black Baseball: Race and Representation in the Popular Press, 1871-1890.

ADRIAN BURGOS, JR., Associate Professor of History at the University of Illinois; author of Playing America’s Game: Baseball, Latinos, and the Color Line and Cuban Star: How One Negro League Owner Changed the Face of Baseball; a consultant to Ken Burns’s Baseball: The Tenth Inning; and a member of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR).

KEN BURNS, award-winning filmmaker of Ken Burns’s Baseball, Ken Burns’s Baseball: The Tenth Inning, The Civil War, Jazz, The War, and many other highly acclaimed documentaries.

LEN COLEMAN, the former President of the National League.

DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN, Presidential Historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II, Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, and Wait Till Next Year: A Memoir.

STEVE HIRDT, Executive Vice President of the Elias Sports Bureau, the official statistician of Major League Baseball, and a member of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR).

JANE LEAVY, Former staff writer of the Washington Post; author of Sandy Koufax: A Lefty’s Legacy and The Last Boy: Mickey Mantle and The End of America’s Childhood; and a member of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR).

LARRY McCRAY, a researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who, since 2005, has coordinated "Project Protoball," a record of print references to baseball and parallel bat and ball games prior to 1860, and a member of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR).

GEORGE F. WILL, Pulitzer Prize-winning commentator, Washington Post and Newsweek columnist, ABC News analyst and author of Men At Work: The Craft of Baseball.

Part of me is excited of me to find out what this esteemed group will reveal and part of me is wary.  I guess I’m concerned because of the inherent nature of an organization discovering its own history. 

Will this committee’s findings be public?  Or will it be subject to MLB’s spin?  Time will tell.  In either case, I’ll be interested what comes out of it. 

MLB is taking attendance

Seventy-five years to one billion.

Twenty-one years to two billion.

Thirteen years to three billion.

What am I talking about? The amount of years it took MLB to reach these attendance milestones beginning in 1901. 

The milestone was the result of the 10,843rd person who passed through the Coors Field gates on Tuesday afternoon for the Dodgers-Rockies game.

Give or take a gate crasher or two.

MLB panel to announce proposed changes April 4


A panel has been taking a hard look at the current way the game of Major bud-seligLeague Baseball is being played.  And before you know it, April 4 to be exact,  there will be an announcement if there will be any proposed changes. If I know the MLB, there will be some.  They can’t leave well enough alone.  

Bud Selig is at the forefront of this effort. 

Here’s a quick look at some of the big issues the panel hopes to address:

  1. Eliminating the All-Star-World Series home advantage
  2. Adding instant replay for balls hit down the foul lines
  3. Changing the playoff schedule
  4. A variety of “pace of game” issues


The pace of game issue has been a thorn in MLB’s side for a while.  Jonathan Papelbon was fined $5000 last year for taking too long on the mound.  Now it’s come to light that three teams, the Yankees, Dodgers and the Red Sox  have been particularly named by this panel as violating the pace of game.  According to Stats LLC, all three teams average over three hours. 

As for the playoff schedule, I know many fans that would back the panel on a change on this one.  The early proposed change is to eliminate current days of rest to shorten the overall postseason. 

There are a few other issues being discussed.  Those include changes to the amateur draft and realignment to “better group teams of similar economic situations”.  I’m not sure exactly what that means and I’m not sure I want to know.

Now most of these rule or policy changes should they see the light of day, won’t take effect right away.  We wouldn’t see the changes to the postseason, for example, till the 2011 season.  As for the game play changes, they might take effect sooner.  Changes to hasten the pace of baseball games, for example, would probably take effect ASAP.  MLB feels they are under the gun by fans to speed the games up. 

And if you’re interested in how *I* feel about the above proposed changes:

  1. Yes, let’s just pretend it never happened.  Despite how it was trumped up by MLB and media, the home advantage rule had limited effectiveness.
  2. No, though I’m not surprised it’s being proposed.  Proponents of the original instant replay rule claimed over and over that “it will only be used for home run calls”.  I knew it would be a slippery slope. 
  3. Yes.  The postseason schedule takes too long and the cynic in me wonders if it’s to prolong how long money can be made from it.
  4. It depends.  I don’t like long games either but I also don’t like changing how players play the game.  I wonder what MLB would have done about Al “The Mad Hungarian” Hrabosky, had he played in these times.


Your thoughts?

AFL Rising Stars Game on MLB Network Tonight

desmeThe Arizona Fall League has six teams composed of young up & coming baseball players from all 30 major league teams.  Tonight the MLB Network will broadcast the AFL Rising Stars Game at 7:00 PM Chicago time.  Stephen Strasburg was supposed to start for the East, but will be replaced by Tommy Mendoza, Strasburg has a strained neck muscle.  Mike Minor will be on the hill for the West.  One of the Rising Stars is power hitting centerfielder Grant Desme of the Oakland A’s.  Desme hit 11 home runs at Kane County before being promoted to A+ Stockton, where he hit another 20 home runs in 2009.  Grant has already hit ten more long balls in the Fall, while batting .354.

I’ve been going to the valley of the sun the past four years to watch baseball prospects before they reach the big leagues.  Last year I saw AL Rookie of the Year Chicago White Sox thirdbaseman Gordon Beckham and phenom righthander of the Atlanta Braves Tommy Hanson.  It’s also fun to hang with major league scouts there to take in the action.  I’ll be out there again soon, reporting on baseball, possibly with a podcast, or two.

MLB shilling for Dunkin Donuts

Oh, the interesting things I get in my inbox when I’m signed up for mlb.com’s Cubs email list.


Today, in MLB’s ongoing effort to justify their bottom line, I got an ad for Dunkin’ Donuts disguised as a contest.  “Win Coffee for a Year!” they claim.  But yeah, the fine print says you gotta sign up for their annoying DD Perks which no doubt means you give them all your personal information first.

The gist of it all is that nothing baseball related coming from this email.  Unless their giving the hint that folks should be drinking more coffee at games and less beer.

I suppose I shouldn’t complain.  It’s better than getting another email and hearing that the Cubs lost to the Nationals once again. 

Yahoo suit of NFL Players Association has MLB roots


Yahoo Inc is in the process of suing the NFL Players Association basically saying it doesn’t have to pay royalties for stats, photos and other NFL data related to its online fantasy game.  Yahoo claims that this data is already publically available. 

Why is this relevant to baseball fans (other than the obvious fantasy league angle)?  It’s this.  The MLB Players Association and MLB Advanced Media lost a case very similar to this in 2007 when an online fantasy baseball called CDC Distribution Marketing Inc didn’t have to pay the baseball players for data very similar in the Yahoo case (stats, photos, etc). 

Yahoo is clinging to a court decision between CBS Interactive and the NFL Players Inc which claims it doesn’t need authorization.  And apparently, that decision based a lot of their ruling on the 2007 MLB decision.

Copyright and freedom of information issues are always tough.  How people come down on them usually depends on how it affects them (i.e the most positive outcome possible).  That goes for fans, too.

What do you think?  Are stats public information?  How about a photo of a baseball player? 

MLB picked the wrong name for their anti-steroid project

MLB says it’s trying to fight the steroid issue by going to where young athletes are finding out about it… the Internet.

With help from the Partnership for a Drug-free America, the project will essentially artificially raise the Google ranking of an article which is slated to be entitled "The Truth About Steroids" which will link to a website produced by the PDFA.  In return for the high index ranking, Google will receive payment. The PDFA receives about $2 million in annual funding from major league baseball.

MLB may want to rethink that title name.  As of this writing, someone else seems to have the domain name thetruthaboutsteroids.com and it definitely does NOT have the kind of message the MLB wants young athletes to see.

See for yourself while you can.

Looks like PDFA and/or MLB didn’t do their homework and didn’t Google their prospective title name.  For their sake, maybe it’s not too late.

9/22 Update:  News about MLB unveiling their anti-performance enhancing substance website

 You can find it here.

MLB approaching 250,000 HR

Baseball Reference notes that we are getting very close to the 250,000 mark in home runs in regular season play.  Quite a milestone. 

According to their records, we are now at 249,745.  Give or take a few blown calls.

B-R’s official HR counter and list of past milestone Home Runs

Which MLB teams do better on the road?


Right now, I’m fixated on how major league teams do on the road.  Mostly, I’m sure, because for the first half, the Cubs were having a hard time doing that.  I will give them credit though.  They’ve managed to play themselves up to four under .500 which ain’t great but is a helluva lot better than they were (thanks, Brew Crew!).

Right now, there are five teams who have a better record as visitors than they do in front of their friendly crowds at home.   The Angels actually have the best record in all of MLB as visitors with a pretty dang amazing .664 winning percentage.    











San Francisco Giants
Philadelphia Phillies
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
St Louis Cardinals
Kansas City Royals


But it’s the San Fran Giants who have the largest difference between the two.  Though their visitor record of .464 is really nothing to write home about, it’s a whole lot better than their home record of 20-34 (.370), a .094 difference best in the majors. 

MLB All-Star game revenues up


Looks like MLB will be making a buck or two during the All-Star break:

Ticket prices are setting records. The most expensive face-value seat for Tuesday’s contest is $725 – more than twice as pricey as the top ticket in San Francisco last year and nearly triple the 2006 benchmark of $250, when the game was played in Pittsburgh.

And as more and more non-game events are added, so does their revenue increase. 

Even the non-game events are drawing New York prices. The cheapest face-value seat for the State Farm Home Run Derby on July 14 is three figures, which is akin to paying $100 to watch batting practice on steroids. The All-Star Fanfest at the Javits Center is predicted to draw records crowds despite a $30 ticket price for adults and $25 for children.

I miss the old days when the hype wasn’t there.  I guess the argument can be made that all this is “good for baseball” but jeez, when the sports media is busy covering what I considering entertainment (i.e. not sports) for purely monetary reasons, I’m not sure it’s such a good thing. 

Delineating sports and entertainment… I suppose I’m sounding like a purist now.