Tough outing for the Mets’ Steven Matz. His line for the day: eight runs allowed (six earned) in NO innings pitched. That’ll kill the ol’ ERA, which went from 1.65 to 4.96!

After those eight batters, a relief pitcher entered, but the Phillies still managed two more doubles and a walk that inning. Final first-inning total: 10 runs produced by 14 plate appearances. JT Realmuto had two doubles and four RBI in that inning, and added a homer in the fifth.

Realmuto is yet another former member of the 2017 Marlins now starring elsewhere, along with Yelich, Stanton and Ozuna. Derek Jeter must have a really long-term plan in mind for his Marlins.

Wow, this guy is good. Just another day at the factory today – three homers and seven RBI.

He went 0-for-8 in the previous two games, so he took all kinds of extra BP.

Pretty sure it worked.

Here’s something to think about: Yelich seems like the young upstart poised to someday wrest the “best player” crown from the established king, Mike Trout.

Except that Trout and Yelich are the same age! Trout, at 27, already has seven full seasons in the books, none of them less than excellent. The lowest he has ever finished in the MVP balloting was 4th – and that year he led the AL in both
slugging average and on-base percentage.

Of course Trout will make $36 million this year, and Yelich will make $9 million, so Yelich might be the best player per dollar. There must be a Brewer executive who knew Yelich would be that good, despite a 2017 season when he hit only .282 with a mediocre 18 homers. That person, whoever he or she is, is a baseball genius.

There’s an article in today’s WaPo about Fleetwood Walker, a black man who played in the major leagues before Jackie Robinson, albeit in the 19th century.

I’m glad to see Fleet get the recognition he deserved, but I’m not even going to link to the WaPo article because it is basically wrong about everything. (Could Trump be right about “fake news”? I hope WaPo’s contributors know more about politics than they know about baseball.)

1) Fleetwood Walker wasn’t the first black man to play in the majors, although he was the first regular, as far as we know. The first one we are currently aware of was a star Brown University player named William Edward White, who played one game on June 21, 1879 when called into emergency service by an injury affecting the crosstown National League team, the Providence Grays. He had a single in four at-bats, two stolen bases, scored a run, and played errorless ball at first base, recording 12 putouts.

One of the very cool things about William Edward White is that he looks like a time-traveling Barack Obama!

2) Jackie Robinson wasn’t the first black man to play in the modern game, and therefore did not break the modern “color” barrier. His specific achievement was that he was the first African-American man to play in the 20th century. In 1944, however, three years before Robinson’s debut, an African-Cuban man named Tomas de la Cruz slipped under the radar as a regular starting pitcher for the Cincinnati Reds. (De la Cruz’s achievement is doubly impressive, because he wasn’t even playing in a friendly home town. Cincinnati is just about a southern city, with suburbs in Kentucky! One must wince to think of the problems he must have endured.)

With WW2 raging, the majors were so desperate for players in 1944 that “Tommy” was barely noticed. Although he pitched respectably (9-9, 3.25 ERA), he was no longer on the roster once the first white guys started drifting back from the war. In an odd coincidence, de la Cruz also wore #42, the number Robinson would make famous.

3) De la Cruz was obviously a black guy, but even before him came at least three Latin-American players of mixed descent (some African included) who slipped under the racial radar: Roberto Estalella, Alex Carrasquel, and Hiram Bithorn.

4) Hi Bithorn also owns a claim to another bit of historical importance. He was the first Puerto Rican to play in MLB, and should also be called the first Puerto Rican star, easily preceding Vic Power and Roberto Clemente, because in 1943 he won 18 games for the Cubs and led the National League in shutouts. (Clemente was 9 years old at the time.)

He had gone 0-for-54 over two seasons before today’s game, when he came up with his first hit since September 14th of last year! He went on to get two more in the game.

He’s making $23 million per year and still has nearly four years left on his contract.

* In the year before he signed that contract, he hit 47 homers, and that wasn’t even his career high. Here are his homer totals since: 38, 26, 16, 0.

* His batting average has also dropped each year. He batted .262 in his contract year, then .221, .215, .168, .079.

He has simply not found any groove in at least two years. He followed his .168 last year with a .189 in spring training, then started this season 0-for-33 before today’s game.

He’s leading the majors in homers, with nine in just sixteen games, accumulating only 68 plate appearances. Nobody else in the majors has hit more than seven homers.

So what’s so weird? He is the ultimate exemplification of the new MLB “all or nothing” strategy. He has no doubles, no triples, and only eight singles. With those singles and a mere four walks, he has been standing on a base only twelve times all year and has never reached scoring position on his own! As a result, he almost never scores a run unless he hits a homer. He is currently on pace for 90 homers, but only 110 runs scored!

Speaking of baseball …

I saw Blake Snell pitch against the Rockies last week when I was visiting friends in SW Florida. That was the best outing I have ever seen as a ballpark spectator. It seemed like he threw every single pitch at the knees, and some of them were breaking sharply downward as they passed. He struck out 13 in just seven innings, and allowed only three baserunners, one of whom was caught stealing. He had still faced the minimum number of batters in the top of the sixth, and not a single member of the Rockies ever reached scoring position. I knew the kid must be good because he won the Cy Young last year, winning 21 games in just 180 innings, but this was better than good. He pitched one for the ages.

This one is only for my fellow baseball fanatics …

When I was a kid, all the record books and all the keepers of baseball lore reported that Old Hoss Radbourn won 60 games in 1884. This was later revised to 59, but that decision has now been reversed and he’s back up to 60. This article explains why this keeps changing.

A bit of background is provided in the “continue reading” section:

Continue reading “Old Hoss Radbourn is back to 60 wins”

“The main event, however, wasn’t perfect. The crowd seemed to be tired after six-plus hours of action and the ending wasn’t well received by fans who didn’t know the ref was counting when Rousey was pinned by Lynch or if she was even pinned at all or if that was really the way it was supposed to go. It all just seemed odd.”

Twitter was not happy with this!

Wrestling insiders say: (1) the controversial finish was unplanned; (2) Rousey broke a hand during the match.

The show ran more than seven hours. Complete results.

In a year without Cinderella stories, Texas Tech did the best job of fitting into the glass slipper. You can’t call them classic underdogs because they were ranked in the top seven in the nation before they lost their final game, and they made the Elite Eight last year …

But they just ran off three consecutive victories against teams ranked 4, 5 and 8 in the country.

So there’s that!

I love these guys, and not just because my only nephew went there. Tremendous D! They held Michigan State to 31% shooting.

I can’t remember such a predictable year.

Every one, two and three seed made it to the sweet sixteen, plus two of the fours and a five! If you like underdogs, the one remaining team is your only hope.

12th-seeded Oregon made it through, but even they were a favorite today. They really made it through because of their first-round upset of Wisconsin, which led them to a game against another (weaker) first-round upset winner.

There were some exciting games today, although the results were ultimately predictable.

* Except for Duke alums, everyone in the country must have been pulling for Central Florida to beat Duke. UCF had the Blue Devils down by three with just 33 seconds on the clock, but it was not to be.

* Tennessee needed overtime to dispose of a pesky Iowa squad.

The only significant upset was Murray State’s humiliation of 5th-seeded Marquette. Elsewhere, although there were some close calls, everything went pretty much as expected.

(Many people think Murray State was underrated in the tourney, and that their star, Ja Morant, could be the best player in the country. Morant had 16 assists in the game, while the entire Marquette team could muster only 6! He also had 11 rebounds, although he’s a 6’3″ point guard.)

“Florida Man Night” is actually coming to a minor league ballpark

Bonus: the team is named the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp

“There are tons of stupid laws out there. Men not being able to wear strapless gowns in public, and ‘no singing in public while wearing a swimsuit’ might be some of the laws we end up seeing broken. Women also can’t parachute on Sundays. Who knows which other ones we may see fall.”

Scoop’s note: I’m pretty sure they won’t break the one about women parachuting on Sundays. It’s a Friday night game.

Under the name of Hershal Gilmore, then Mahershala Gilmore, he played for St. Mary’s (California), where he was a point guard.

His college career was underwhelming, but here is a nice article about his high school years, when he led his tiny school to an unlikely berth in the California state championship game. He earned praise for his talent, his unselfish play, his academic record, his tutoring of the younger kids, and for just being an overall great and humble guy.

The Phillies are suddenly much poorer. Or much richer, depending on your point of view.

Harper is only 26, so a 13-year deal isn’t totally crazy. Maybe.

The Phillies just hope the right Harper shows up. If it’s 2015 Harper, the guy who batted .330 with 42 homers while leading the league in both on-base and slugging, they spent their money wisely. If it’s 2016 Harper, who batted .243 with 24 homers, they just spend a third of a billion dollars on an outfielder with average production.

Last year’s Harper was again below .250, but that’s deceptive because he actually gets on base more often than many .300 hitters. Harper drew 130 walks last year, leading the league by a wide margin.

But here’s even more exciting news for Phillies fans – the team has set its sights next on baseball’s best player, Mike Trout, when he becomes a free agent after the 2020 season. Now that’s just getting greedy. All I can say is they better get a Brinks truck full of cash for that one, because if Harper (lifetime WAR 27) is worth $25 million a year, Trout (lifetime WAR 64) is worth about as much as the entire Commonwealth of Pennsylvania – and he’s still improving every year.

I’m not sure what Manziel did, but he has suddenly been banned from playing in the CFL.

“The league forced the Alouettes to cut him, then banned him from the entire CFL. In a statement on the matter, the league said Manziel ‘contravened the agreement which made him eligible to play in the league’ and that they ‘informed all of its clubs that it will not register a contract.’”

“The Alouettes said they were ‘disappointed’ by the CFL’s decision, also noting, ‘We worked with the league and presented alternatives to Johnny, who was unwilling to proceed.’ He had two years left on his contract when he was cut.”

He is a smart man.

His stats are wildly inflated by Coors, so he would disappoint if he went anywhere else. In Colorado he gets to keep his pride and $30+ million per year.

Here is what he does per 650 PA (a typical season) in Denver:

BA .320
OBP .374
SLG .609

HR 39
RBI 139

Now here is what he has done per 650 PA on the road, and therefore approximately what we would expect him to do in a neutral ball park.

BA .263
OBP .318
SLG .469

HR 28
RBI 88

That on-base percentage is right at the MLB average for the duration of his career.

Last year his splits were even more dramatic. He batted .248 on the road with a .772 OPS. That batting average is exactly the same as the MLB average, and the OPS is about 6% better. (Meanwhile, he batted .347 at home.)

Bottom line: if he went to play for a team with a neutral home park, he’d be a .250-260 hitter with about 90 RBI. That’s terrific, but not $32 million terrific.

I know. It’s difficult to believe that there were voters who did not put Willie Mays, Honus Wagner, Ted Williams, Hank Aaron, Christy Mathewson, Walter Johnson, Ty Cobb, or Babe Ruth on their ballots, but that foolishness doesn’t detract from Mariano’s 100%. Mariano was the best of all time at what he did.

Actually, it is not known whether Lou Gehrig and Roberto Clemente were elected unanimously. They were chosen via special elections, and the results have never been made public.

Also elected this year: Roy Halladay, Mike Mussina and Edgar Martinez.

Interestingly, no true position player was elected this year. The new inductees will be two starters, a closer and a DH.