The season is only three games old, and there are NO undefeated teams, and no 0-3 teams. There are now 30 teams in MLB, and not a single one went 3-0 or 0-3. That has only about a 1.3% chance of happening (once every 75-80 years), and has never happened before in the expansion era (1961-present).

The last year when no team started 3-0 or 0-3 was 1953. (It had about a 10% chance of happening in the 16-team era.)

The last year when no team started 3-0 was actually 1954, but there were two 0-3 teams that year. The Cardinals started 0-3 in especially grand fashion, allowing 43 runs in those three games. They lost game three to the Cubs by the improbable score of 23-13 in one of those crazy classics with the wind blowing out at Wrigley Field. The Cubs had 20 hits and 12 walks in that game, and had scored 22 of their 23 runs in the first five innings! The Cubs starting catcher that day was the legendary Joe Garagiola, who finished the game with a seasonal batting average of 1.000! (To make a long story short, that was the final season of his career and he rarely played. This was his first game of the season and he went 3-for-3.)

Joe was not as bad a ballplayer as he often claimed for story-telling purposes. At one time he was considered such a good prospect that the Cardinals broke all kinds of rules to sign him at age 15. By the time he was 16, he was playing pro ball in the Cardinals farm organization, although just a junior in high school. He did well enough that they promoted him to AA the following year, where he batted a solid .293 for the Columbus Red Birds at age 17.

In the 1946 World Series, although he was a 20-year-old major league rookie, he contributed significantly to the Cardinals’ victory, batting .316 and stroking four hits in game four.

“An outbreak has spread throughout their clubhouse and brought the total cases in recent days to at least 14

Although life can feel normal some days, this serves as a reminder of just how far we really are from returning to life as usual.

For example, Fauci says he won’t go in a plane or eat in a restaurant. (Nor will I!)

He’s back among the top ten players, as ranked by the highest batting averages in the majors. He’s a solid ninth, with a batting average of ….

ZERO.

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I just love early-season stats in general, but this one makes not the slightest bit of sense. Several of Albert’s teammates have as many or more plate appearances and decent batting averages, but they didn’t make the list. There must be some kink in ESPN’s algorithm.

By the way, I may have made this point before, but …

Through the 2012 season, Albert’s lifetime batting numbers were very similar to DiMaggio’s complete career. In fact, Albert’s were a hair better.

DiMaggio Pujols through 2012
AB 6821 6919
HITS 2214 2246
BA .325 .325
OBP .398 .414
SA .579 .608
2B + 3B 520 520
HR 361 475
R 1390 1376
RBI 1537 1434
OPS+ 155 168
MVP 3 3

Of course, their stats are no longer similar. DiMaggio quit after his first off year. Albert has kept playing long past his prime, so all of his percentage stats have declined as his counting stats have increased. If he stays moderately healthy this year, he will finish in the all-time top five in both doubles and homers. (He needs only 7 doubles and 4 homers.) He is already in the top five in RBI and extra base hits.

According to reports, the new name will not be announced immediately.

Some insiders say Snyder couldn’t decide between “Injuns,” “Hostiles,” “Wagon Burners” and “Savages.” I’m kidding about that, but just barely. Snyder really wanted to keep all the racist iconography and rename the team “Warriors.” As I’ve noted in the past, this is roughly equivalent to Evil Roy Slade’s decision to start his new law-abiding life by changing his name to Evil John Ferguson.

Snyder also hoped to offend a different ethnic group for a while but, as we all know now, it is evil to offend any race or ethnicity except the Irish.

Wait a sec! Why doesn’t Notre Dame’s racist Irish caricature have red hair? Another minor point – I spent quite some time in Ireland working with the Shell people there (great place, by the way), and I never saw anyone wearing yellow shoes.

To be serious for a sec, the new name seems to be contingent on registering the trademarks, sealing all the licensing deals, and other legal folderol. Nobody seems to be spilling the beans about which name the team is attempting to lock down, but the coach said “he wanted the new name to honor both Native Americans and the military, saying that many native people join the military.” Personally, I would have suggested that the team stay away from ethnic identification altogether, but I’ll hold off until I see what he has in mind.

Lifetime .300 hitter and former MVP Buster Posey is the biggest name to drop out so far, but baseball’s #1 superstar, Mike Trout, is still undecided.

The full list of opt-outs includes some big names, but not guys currently at their peak. Nick Markakis is willingly losing the year in his pursuit of 3000 hits, and former Cy Young winners David Price and Felix Hernandez, with 319 wins between them, will not play. (Hernandez may not have made a team in any case.)

Chicago wins big in 1984, loses big in 2017.

Mahomes signs the biggest sports contract ever

It’s nice to talk sports again, if only for a minute. If you’re American and a big sports fan, you already understand my headline. If not, here’s what it means:

  • In 1984, the Portland Trail Blazers owned the #2 pick in the NBA draft. Michael Jordan was available. They chose Sam Bowie. Michael Jordan went to Chicago.
  • In 2017, the Chicago Bears wanted a quarterback and had the #2 pick in the NFL draft. Patrick Mahomes was available. They chose Mitch Trubisky. Mahomes went to KC.

Maybe it didn’t matter. Given that they are the Bears, maybe they could have found a way to screw up Mahomes.

One of the choices is “Warriors,” which would allow the team to retain its offensive iconography and 90% of the racism.

Talk about tone deaf.

This reminds me of one of my fav movies, Evil Roy Slade. When a psychologist was trying to persuade Evil Roy to begin a new non-outlaw life with a new name, Evil Roy said something like, “A new name … I like that. Evil John Ferguson? Evil Fred Noland? Evil Lee Rich?”

Dan Snyder: “A new name? I like that. The Potomac Redskins? The DC Redskins? The District Redskins? The Capital Redskins?”

Y’know, Dan, a lot of black people live in DC. The National N…..s might be right for you!

I think the best way to handle this would be turn turn the racism backward and create an offensive white stereotype. Luckily, the “Brockmire” show has already done all the work:

That episode of Brockmire was filmed about a year ago, but life now mirrors it as the Cleveland Indians consider a name change.

All kidding aside, I’m not convinced that Snyder will really give in, but you can actually bet on what the new team name might be. “Presidents” is the current favorite. As a commenter noted, “People have been advocating for ‘Redtails’ after the airplanes the Tuskegee Airman flew. They’ve mocked up artwork and everything.”

Here are some possibilities from the fierce animal kingdom:

  • The Potomac Piranhas
  • The Washington Wolverines
  • The Capital Cheetahs

Oh, let’s not leave that kidding aside. How about some silly suggestions:

  • The Capital Won (should be easy to get a sponsor)
  • The Federal Express (ditto)
  • The Capital Ideas
  • The Washington Carvers
  • The DC Comics
  • The Deep State Eleven

From the comment section:

The Capital Punishment. They can have a mascot race in the sixth inning with different instruments of death… “And the guillotine wins by a head!”

“Ewing, the men’s basketball coach at Georgetown University, who was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2008, revealed Friday that he had tested positive for the coronavirus and was being treated at a local hospital.”

He scored more than 24,000 points in his career, 28th highest in NBA history. He scored more than 23,000 of those points for the Knicks, making him their all-time career leader in points. He also holds the team records for career rebounds and blocked shots. His single season high of 13.5 win shares has been topped only by Clyde Frazier in Knicks history.

Am I really talkin’ baseball? Now it seems like it all never really happened.

How fickle is the fate of ball players. About a year after being the World Series MVP, Steve Pearce was an unwanted free agent.

You may not even remember Steve Pearce, not even after I just reminded you that he was the MVP of the 2018 World Series. He could do no wrong then, delivering homers and timely hits whenever they were needed. He hit three homers and knocked in eight runs in only 12 at bats. The World Series does occasionally provide some surprise MVPs, but few were more surprising than Pearce, who wandered through seven major league teams in a career in which he averaged only about 170 at bats per season.

So how did he follow up his unexpected moment of glory? Last year he batted .180 with one homer while earning more than six million dollars. His OPS+ was 32, which means he was approximately one-third as productive as an average player, whereupon the Sox made no effort to re-sign him and let him become a free agent. He “unofficially” retired. The Orioles invited him to spring training, presumably because .180 with 1 homer put him at immediate parity with the rest of their line-up. (You may laugh, but five of the Orioles’ regulars had a negative WAR last year, including their starting first baseman, who batted .179 while earning $23 million – and that was an improvement over his previous year! Pearce could have given them similar production at a quarter the cost.) Alas, it did not work out. Even the lowly Orioles could not open a spot for him, and his unofficial retirement became official.

Oh, a benign idiot would still be better than an evil idiot, but would it be too much trouble for just one of our major political parties to give us a candidate who thinks matters through before he speaks?

Biden tweeted his support for the women’s team to keep moving forward in the wake of a judge’s ruling against the USWNT in its equal pay lawsuit. Biden said that he wanted U.S. Soccer to pay the women’s team equally to the men’s team. And if it didn’t, he would withdraw support for the World Cup should he be elected president.”

Yeah, that’s just what we need – a president who ignores due process and issues an executive fiat based on an emotional reaction to an issue he hasn’t studied.

Been there, done that.

The Judge made the exact right decision. The women’s equal pay suit had no merit. The reason they don’t get paid on exactly the same formula as the men is that they were offered that formula and turned it down. When they were negotiating their CBA, one of the offers on the table was “just take the men’s deal.” They didn’t want it because of the high risk involved. Instead of the higher performance-based salaries, they wanted more of the money guaranteed, they wanted longer terms on their contracts, they wanted more players on the team, and they wanted a different set of benefits. In fact, they bargained well. Their total compensation package is actually more than the men’s, even though their salaries are lower. The women get far more in total because they play more games, but they also get slightly more per game. Both sides before the judge stipulated that from 2015 to 2019, the period covered by the suit, the women’s national team averaged $220,747 per game in total payments, for a total of $24.5 million, while the men’s national team averaged $212,639 per game in total payments, for a total of $18.5 million. But now they are suing because the men get paid higher salaries – the same salaries the women were offered and turned down in order to improve the overall package.

The judge understandably ruled that such an Equal Pay Act claim had zero merit. Because he is a judge, he could not say that the claim seems to be a complete scam devised to make lawyers rich.

But I can.

The judge did rule that the rest of their suit could proceed. They also filed some claims under the Civil Rights Act regarding the unequal access to flights and hotels, proper medical services, quality of training facilities, etc. That part of their suit seems to have merit, or is at least debatable enough to require a full trial.

You won’t see these stats at baseball-reference.com.

Mickey claimed to lead the league in the category of in-game blow jobs

Mickey also holds the record for most times vomiting on Angie Dickinson – actually he’s tied for the lead with the great Cap Anson.

I made up the Anson part. Angie isn’t that old. (Anson is a 19th century player). But the Mantle story is true, or so he claimed.

Previous:

Mickey also carried with him a cute little Hallmark-style card that said “wanna fuck”

Mickey Mantle once slipped a female reporter a cutesy greeting card during an interview — with the message “Wanna fuck?” written inside.

“As the evening wore on and Mantle kept drinking, he became tipsy and, at one point, nearly fell off his chair. Later, as we walked along Central Park South, he tripped on the curb at Sixth Avenue and — for one fleeting moment — oh, God — there was my hero, lying in the gutter.”

Luscious Luke was my favorite player when I was a kid. If you grew up in Rochester or Buffalo, you will probably say the same thing. He was a local legend. Although a kind-hearted man who was a clubhouse joker, he was a brute in the batters’ box. He was 240 pounds of muscle with shoulders that seemed as wide as two ordinary men, and he could hit the ball as hard as anyone ever has – as hard as Bo Jackson, Giancarlo Stanton, Babe Ruth or Mickey Mantle. In fact, if you want to imagine him, just picture a black version of Stanton. By the time I saw him, Luke was nearly 50, wore glasses to bat, and was slow to time the fast ball – but was so strong that he hit 400-foot homers to the opposite field.

Wikipedia summarizes:

“As a player, Easter was best known for his powerful home runs, colloquially known as “Easter Eggs.” While with the Homestead Grays in 1948, he became the first player to hit a home run into the center field bleachers at New York’s Polo Grounds during game action, a section that was 475 feet from home plate. During his rookie season, he also hit the longest home run in the history of Cleveland’s Municipal Stadium, a 477-foot blast over the auxiliary scoreboard in right field. The only other player to match that feat was Mickey Mantle, who did it in 1960. Finally, during his twilight days with the Bisons, he became the first player to hit a home run over the center field scoreboard at Buffalo’s home park, Offermann Stadium, doing so twice in 1957. On June 14 he cleared the board, and newspapers reported the blow at an estimated 500 feet.[Rochester, New York, Democrat and Chronicle, June 15, 1957, p. 21] On August 15, he hit the board near the top, and it went through a space between the board and a sign just above it.[Rochester, New York, Democrat and Chronicle, August 16, 1957, p. 26]

When told by a fan one time that the fan had seen Easter’s longest home run in person, Easter is reported to have replied, “If it came down, it wasn’t my longest.””

Luke was already a PCL legend when he made it to the majors. In 1949 he batted .363 for San Diego with a .722 slugging average.

Nobody is really sure when Luke was born, and the big guy offered a different birth year every time he was asked. The census data indicate he was born in 1915, making him a major league rookie at 35. Despite his advanced years in baseball terms, Luke had three great years with Cleveland.

1950: 28 homers, 107 RBI
1951: 27-103
1952: 31-97

After the Indians cut him, he went on to hit more than 200 minor league homers.

Here is a really great article about Luke’s colorful life, mostly about the early days of his career.



Al was about 18 or 19 in this photo from his 1954 card. The following year, at age 20, he won the AL batting championship with a .340 mark. He was one day younger than Ty Cobb had been when Cobb won the batting title in 1907, making Kaline the youngest batting champion ever, a mark that has endured to this day.

Al Kaline, who in a long and unique Detroit Tigers lifetime grew from youthful batting champion to Hall of Famer to distinguished elder statesman, died Monday afternoon at his home in Bloomfield Hills. He was 85.”

If you are a baby boomer and a baseball fan, you certainly remember him well. He never played an inning for any pro team but the Tigers, not even in the minors. He was probably the 2nd-best American leaguer of his era, behind Mickey. He never won an MVP, but he finished second twice and third once – and finished in the top ten six more times!

He is considered one of the two best defensive right fielders of his time, perhaps of all time, alongside Roberto Clemente.

Kaline had nowhere near Mickey Mantle’s power, but thanks to his consistency and a 22-year career, he managed to hit 399 lifetime homers without ever reaching 30 in a season, and in 1959 he even managed to lead the AL in slugging average, upsetting the favored Mantle.

The stats: Coronavirus mapped and quantified

NEW 3/29: President Trump extends social distancing guidance until end of April

NEW 3/29: When will the virus peak in your area, and what are your best and worst case scenarios? Computer simulations. The national peak is supposed to occur approximately April 14-18, just after Easter, but some areas are expected to be hit hard later in the year. Wisconsin, for example, is expected to peak more than a month later.

NEW 3/28: The data are beginning to reveal that covid-19 is much more dangerous for men. The data are consistent from country to country: men make up 72% of the intensive care unit admissions in Spain, 73% in France, 75% in Norway, 71% in the UK. While researchers cannot yet determine how much of the gender disparity can be attributed to behavioral components, it seems clear that the significance of the gap across cultures means that there must be some biological explanation.

NEW 3/28: Why is Germany’s death rate so much lower than everyone else’s? Nobody is certain. There are several possible reasons: (1) aggressive testing has identified many mild cases; (2) the average age of those infected is low – for example, it’s 46 in Germany, 63 in Italy; (3) they have a good healthcare system and an aggressive government; (4) the fatality numbers are not-apples-to-apples because other countries are routinely doing post-mortem tests on those who were not tested in life, while Germany is not. (When a corpse is tested positive, it adds to the infected total, as well as the total of those who had covid-19 and died – in effect weighing in a 100% death rate for that group.)

Scoop’s note: The fatality numbers in general don’t mean what you think they do. The total represents those who were identified with active coronavirus, then died without recovering. It is not specifically the number determined by a medical examiner to have died from the disease. To make a silly example, if an active case with very mild symptoms died in an automobile accident, they would appear in the coronavirus death column, even though the disease was not the cause of death. The way the statistics are kept, there are only three types of cases: active, recovered, or died. There are not separate columns for “died of corona” and “died of an unrelated cause while an active case.” I presume that the impact of that distinction is minimal, but I’m not certain of that.

The Dow’s rollercoaster continued – down 900 Friday.

Jobless claims hit a record 3.3 million

The best way to spend your $1,200 stimulus check, according to financial advisers.” My choices, hookers and bourbon, were conspicuously absent.

An MIT study, Will Coronavirus Pandemic Diminish by Summer?, suggests that 90% of transmission occurs within a narrow temperature band (37 to 63 F) and absolute humidity band. The scientists do not claim that transmission ceases outside those temperature and humidity bands, but that the spread occurs more slowly. If that holds, the Asian monsoon season, as well as the North American summer, should work against the disease.

A silver lining? Pollution levels are falling rapidly!

Prince Chuck and BoJo have tested positive for Coronavirus and Greta Thunberg seems to be a coronavirus victim. They join Harvey Weinstein, Senator Rand Paul, Andy Cohen , two members of the House, NBA superstar Kevin Durant, Idris Elba and Tom Hanks among the public figures with the virus. Olga Kurylenko has recovered.

The Dow dropped another grand on Friday. It’s now about 550 points lower than it was on the day before Trump’s inauguration.

The Trump administration is asking state officials to hold off releasing unemployment numbers. As Trump likes to say, “I like the numbers being where they are.”

Mortgage Lenders Consider Plan to Suspend Payments Amid Crisis. One company, Bank of America, is already committed, and the Fed is taking action on Freddie and Fannie mortgages to suspend payments for those laid off during the crisis.

More light at the end of the tunnel: Although “there are no confirmed effective treatments specifically for COVID-19 to date,” a very small-scale French test (30 patients) has produced excellent results from a combination of hydroxycholoroquine and azithromycin. The Chinese are also reporting excellent results from the same combination. Although this combination has not been proven safe and effective through large scale clinical trials, it at least offers us a glimmer of hope.

BUT NOTE


Italy and Spain record their highest single-day death tolls

Remember those dolphins in Venice? Maybe not. Definitely not. (I was among those conned by this one.)

The State Department has warned Americans abroad to either come now or plan to say out of the country indefinitely. And of course they are also advising Americans now in the country not to leave because coming back may not be possible.

Light at the end of the tunnel (for the Northern Hemisphere). New study says ‘high temperature and high relative humidity significantly reduce’ spread of COVID-19. “An increase of just one degree Celsius and 1% relative humidity increase substantially lower the virus’s transmission, according to the data analyzed by the researchers.”

More light at the end of the tunnel? China reports zero new domestic virus cases for the first time!

Walmart to give hourly workers cash bonuses, seeks 150,000 new employees

This is how long coronavirus survives airborne — and on cardboard, plastic and steel, according to a peer-reviewed study

South Korea seemed to have the virus under control. How did they do it? Unfortunately, even they are experiencing a roller coaster ride, with numbers of new cases starting to creep up after many days of decline.

Trump Defends Using ‘Chinese Virus’ Label, Ignoring Growing Criticism.

WrestleMania 36 WILL happen on April 5, but without fans., and it will last two nights.

Studio Movies in Theaters Will Be Offered for In-Home Rental. “Universal Pictures said on Monday that it would no longer give theaters an exclusive period of roughly 90 days to play new movies, a break with longstanding Hollywood practice that could have wide-ranging reverberations. At least some competing studios are likely to follow.”

With brick-and-mortar stores closing, Amazon will hire 100,000 new workers.. The only aggressive employers now are going to be places like Amazon, Supermarketers, Netflix and the toilet paper manufacturers.

This can’t be good: Man who recovered from covid-19 has become re-infected. At this moment it is not possible to determine whether the virus re-appeared without additional exposure or if he was exposed a second time.