Posts for baseball

Ichiro Could Get Hit #3,000 in Philly, But He Wouldn’t Be the First

Jim Adair - July 15, 2016

At the start of this season, Ichiro Suzuki was 65 hits away from the immortal 3,000. With only 91 hits in 398 at-bats last year, it seemed unlikely Ichiro could reach the mark. He’s 10 away.

As it stands now, Ichiro is only the third player in baseball history to record 2990 hits, 500 stolen bases, and a career batting average of .310 or better. The other two, Eddie Collins and Ty Cobb, have been dead for 65 and 55 years, respectively. If his career ended today, Ichiro’s .335 batting average in his age-42 year would be the best for a player of that age (or older) with at least 50 ABs. But that’s not what’s notable here. Coming out of the ASB, Ichiro’s Marlins have four games against the Cardinals. Then, they come here for four. It’s possible that Ichiro could notch hit #3,000 in Philadelphia, but he wouldn’t be the first.

On June 9, 1914, Honus Wagner became the fourth member of the 3,000 hit club when he hit a double against the Phillies at the Baker Bowl. It’s the only 3,000th hit the city of Philadelphia has ever seen (either for a player or in the city). Other towns have been much more lucky.

The Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis saw three such hits (Eddie Murray and Cal Ripken on the road, Dave Winfield at home). In all, 20 cities have bore witness to the feat, with Anaheim, Boston, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit, and New York catching it twice. Anaheim Stadium, New Yankee Stadium, and Detroit’s old Navin Field (Tiger Stadium) got two a piece. Of the 29 3000th hits, only 12 came on the road. Ichiro would make it 30 and 13.

If Ichiro isn’t able to get 10 hits in St. Louis, he’ll have next Monday through Thursday to try to finish the job here. In his small sample size at CBP, Ichiro is 16 for 45. You’ll probably want to be there.

[All numbers and data from Baseball Reference]

Baseball Commish Says Phillies Don’t Actually Plan to Expand Safety Netting as Woman is Hit in Head with Ball

Jim Adair - August 27, 2015

Mr. Cool Glasses. Photo Credit: Gregory J. Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

Mr. Cool Glasses.
Photo Credit: Gregory J. Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

Earlier today, human balloon animal Ken Rosenthal reported that the Phillies intended to expand safety netting in 2016. Rosenthal wrote:

“At least one major-league team plans to extend protective netting for fans.

The Philadelphia Phillies intend to install such netting at Citizens Bank Park, but are waiting on baseball before proceeding with final plans, according to major-league sources.”

Commissioner Rob Manfred later clarified, saying Rosenthal’s report actually wasn’t accurate:

“Sometimes – this is shocking, actually – sometimes I’ve learned over the years that not all reports are accurate. I’ve talked to the Phillies folks. They have no plans to move ahead immediately on this topic …

This is a topic that is of serious concern, not only to me but more importantly to all 30 owners. We discussed it in August. We have a process ongoing here we are examining all of the relevant information. Stadium designs. Where balls and bats go into the stands … Fan input, in terms of what they’re looking to see. Material availability. You know, there’s netting and then there’s netting.”

Okay. So they don’t plan on expanding that protective netting. Or they do, but it’s not super pressing. Well, it would be a sign that they should if tonight, of all nights, with Manfred in attendance, something happened:

mike v

The fan was reportedly hit near the eye and was escorted out, but is reportedly fine.

As Kyle mentioned earlier – and wrote “If someone gets hurt between now and the end of the season, that line about the Phillies waiting will come back to haunt them” – social media does play a role in this, as stories are spread quickly, forcing the league’s hand. Not to mention the fact that people are distracted, on social media, at the games. And with these added distractions (or utilities, whatever), fans will have their heads down more. A few extra nets aren’t going to hurt a thing.

Even the Phanatic Has to Follow MLB’s New Pace of Play Rules

Jim Adair - May 6, 2015

Clock is ticking buddy. Photo Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Clock is ticking buddy.
Photo Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

MLB’s new pace of play rules, which include a clock between innings, have cut down on total game time this year. A clock ticks down from 2 minutes and 25 seconds as soon as the final out of a half-inning is recorded and the first pitch of the next half-inning must start when it hits zero. It works. This rule, among others, has cut average game time from 3 hours and 2 minutes to 2 hours and 53 minutes. Still long, but a significant improvement. Plus, what is the harm in that between inning clock? A shorter amount of time to honor the Citizens Seven? A faster-scrolling list of people celebrating their birthdays? [Guessing it doesn’t cut into allotted commercial time.] It’s all for the greater good… except in one instance.

A special guy told Sports Illustrated:

“Oh yeah, we’re very aware of the league rules,” said Tom Burgoyne, who describes himself as (ahem) a close friend of the Phillie Phanatic. “When they send rules like this down, we get them for sure.” …

As a passenger in the large hot-dog-mobile, the Phanatic doesn’t have to keep track of time, like he would in his typical one-man ATV. For days like those, Burgoyne said the Phillies have even considered adding an earpiece to the inside of the costume to communicate the time.

An earpiece? Time to introduce Secret Agent Phanatic. You’re welcome, Phillies.

We all know the Phanatic will mess with a fake third base umpire once in a while. It’s classic Phanatic. But real umpires are in on it too sometimes. And to that extent, they could help out when, say, Lady Pha Pha needs to squeeze out once last refrain: Burgoyne told SI that if the Phanatic’s skits were running long, “an umpire might help stall by wiping dirt off the plate.” Probably not Joe West, though. He’s no fun.

Old Schmidt Yells at Cloud: Mike Schmidt and Jonathan Papelbon Hate the New Pitch Clock

Jim Adair - March 16, 2015

"Grumble." Photo Credit: David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

“Grumble.”
Photo Credit: David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

Dealing with the pace of play has been a huge issue for Major League Baseball. Bud Selig’s successor Rob Manfred takes over just as game times are expanding and pace of play rules are finally being experimented with. Though Manfred says the rules haven’t been put to use long enough to see if they actually work, it seems the batter’s box rule and the pitch clock are gaining traction. And nothing angers old-time ballplayers like something that smells even remotely new.

Mike Schmidt, of course, is not okay with the pitch clock. For one, he thinks it’s not worth implementing because the time it takes off the game is negligible. He also argues, fairly, that penalizing batters for stepping out of the batters box could mess with their routine and rhythm. That’s fine, but Schmidt loses me when he worries about the poor, poor sponsors and vendors:

“The other change won’t offer much time savings, but might anger some sponsors as fans will rush from the concession areas in order to not miss a pitch.”

I don’t think anyone, especially at Citizens Bank Park, is rushing out of lines to get back to their seats. But there’s another person who hates mostly everything these new rules– slow-ass pitcher Jonathan Papelbon. According to Paps, he was told the pace of play stuff was the “Jonathan Papelbon Rule,” since he always takes so long to stare down his opponents like a self-indulgent jackass. As always, though, Paps has his eye on the biggest prize:

“You can’t win an Academy Award for an hour and 10 minute movie.”

For what it’s worth, 1955’s “Marty” is the shortest Best Picture winner, with a runtime of 1 hour and 30 minutes. Last year’s baseball games averaged a runtime of about 3 hours and 10 minutes— about ten minutes shorter than “Lord of the Rings: Return of the King” and “Titanic.” So yeah, you can’t win an Academy Award for an hour and 10 minute movie. But just remember next time the Phillies are making a pitching change in the 7th inning, the boat hasn’t even sunk yet… at least in the movie.

Fox Sports Cruelly Says the Phillies Have a Chance this Year

Jim Adair - February 27, 2015

Photo Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Photo Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

The 2015 Phillies season is going to be a bad one. It’s going to be a long one. It’s going to be a depressing one. But, what if it’s not? I mean, it 100% will be, but Fox Sports suggests that maybe it won’t be.

Just to illustrate how far we’ve fallen, Jeff Sullivan’s Fox Sports piece about teams outperforming expectations is titled “Every Single Team Has a Chance … Yes, Even the Phillies.” It burns. Sullivan used a bunch of methods to grab projections for every team, and then, he found the actual win totals for teams in history projected to win that many games. It’s fairly simple. And what false hope does he have to feed?

No one’s projected for a worse record than the Phillies. But, our sample includes 300 team-seasons. In eight of those, a team exceeded its projected win total by at least 16. That’s just about 3 percent. Another 9 percent have exceeded projected win totals by 11-15. We shouldn’t overstate these magnitudes; most of the time, teams still fall much closer to their projections. But optimism isn’t always balanced and rational. The key to optimism is legitimate hope, and there’s enough for even Phillies fans to grasp onto, if they so desire.

You know what? I don’t desire. This season is going to be long and bad and depressing (I think I said that already) and the last thing I need is any false sense of hope that if they just string like 15 wins or so together right after the All-Star break, they’ll be right back in it. Get outta here. And really, if you need any evidence that this is all smoke and mirrors, check how Sullivan closes his piece:

And if it can be said the Phillies have a chance, it can be said that everyone has a chance, because no one looks worse than the Phillies. Not the Braves, not the Twins, not the Diamondbacks, not anybody else. Jonathan Papelbon might be the most optimistic player in the Philadelphia clubhouse at the moment, but there’s at least some support, beyond it just being forgivable to have a sunny attitude in February.

Bullshit. Papelbon isn’t even the most optimistic player in the room when he’s the only player in the room.

Bryce Harper Looks … Uh … Bigger

Jim Adair - February 13, 2015

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Iron Pigs Bobblehead Giveaways Include Charlie Manuel in a Hawaiian Shirt and Maikel Franco on a Unicycle

Jim Adair - February 4, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-02-04 at 6.00.37 PM

Man, minor league baseball is so goofy. It rules.

Still-Broadcaster Matt Stairs to be Inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame

Jim Adair - February 4, 2015

pic via (@DaveM_PSL)

pic via (@DaveM_PSL)

Matt Stairs became a Phillies folk-hero because of that pinch-hit home run, but over his career he was always sort of a Canadian baseball legend. His 19 seasons are the most by any Canadian position player. His 265 career home runs is second only to Larry Walker, and he also ranks second in games and walks, while ranking third in RBIs and doubles. Additionally, as part of his journeyman status, he is one of four Canadians to play for both the Expos and the Blue Jays.

To honor the Phillies broadcaster for these, um, incredible feats, it was announced today that Stairs will be inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame. He’s part of a class that includes Carlos Delgado, Corey Koskie, Felipe Alou, and baseball writer Bob Elliott. He joins Rheal Cormier(!) and Pat Gillick as other HOFers with Phillies ties. And on top of all of that, he gets to keep his job. It’s really just an A+ week for Matt Stairs.