THE PLAYER CHOICE
After an interminable spring training, Opening Day at last is right around the corner-perhaps the last one quite like it. Next year, Major League Baseball wants to explore the right to flex to a one-game "series" for the Opening Sunday Night game-this year, for instance, it should have been Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers going up against Madison Bumgarner of the Giants, not Cubs-Cardinals-and to stage most openers on that same Sunday afternoon, rather than getting lost amid the hype of the NCAA men's basketball championship game on that Monday. (There are three opening games actually scheduled for when the title game is in progress. Why?)
Everyone should know better than to get overly excited or overly worked up about Spring Training statistics. Come April 6, they'll be largely irrelevant (sorry about that, Kris Bryant and Mookie Betts).
But that doesn't mean the numbers are totally useless. Some of them might be providing us a little bit of a window into what's ahead.
Here are 10 examples of exhibition output that might prove meaningful when the 2015 season gets real.
The last week of Spring Training is full of decisions and opportunities- who stays, who goes, who gets released, who is going to be on the field when the season opens on Sunday, April 5 in Chicago with the Cubs hosting the Cardinals.
Every Spring Training, general managers have to deal with major dilemmas regarding top prospects: Do you bring them north because you believe they give you the best chance to win now, or do you let them simmer in the Minors to work on some areas of improvement while also keeping their service time in check?
Some interesting questions for the new season
Alex Rodriguez returns, the Red Sox debut their new lineup, and the Rays enter the post-Joe Maddon era in a division that is completely up for grabs.
Tomorrow is the day when the first full squad workouts begin. Some teams start as late as Friday but most start tomorrow and Wednesday.
There are some major stories in MLB this Spring that will play out over the first half of the season.
Spring Training is right around the corner. Everyone is over the Super Bowl and football season, basketball & hockey are in mid-season, people are looking forward to the end of winter, cold and snow and baseball is the harbinger of Spring. Our National Pastime is all about new beginnings. Baseball fans have followed the Hot Stove League all winter and are anxious about how their team improved in the off season and if they'll be contenders this year.
2. Rogers Hornsby, .35850
3. Joe Jackson, .35575
4. Lefty O'Doul, .3493
5. Ed Delahanty, .34590
6. Tris Speaker, .34468
7.Ted Williams, .34441
8. Billy Hamilton, .34429
9. Dan Brouthers, .34213
10. Babe Ruth, .34207
11. Dave Orr, .3420
12. Harry Heilmann, .34159
13. Pete Browning, .3415
14. Willie Keeler, .34129
15. Bill Terry, .34116
16. George Sisler, .34015
17. Lou Gehrig, .34008
19. Jesse Burkett, .33844
20. Tony Gwynn, .33818
21. Nap Lajoie, .33810
18.Jake Stenzel, .3378
22. Riggs Stephenson, .33607
23. Al Simmons, .33417
24-Cap Anson .3341
25. John McGraw, .33359
Players Closing In
x-Joe Mauer, .3230
x-Ichiro Suzuki, .3187
The World Series is played between the champion clubs of the American and the National Leagues, which collectively includes 29 clubs based in the United States and one club from Canada. The "modern" World Series has been and annual event since 1903. Baseball has employed various championship formulas since the 1860's. When the term "World Series" is used by itself, it is usually understood to refer to the "modern" World Series exclusively.
The World Series championship is determined through a best-of-seven playoff. Best-of-seven has been the format of all the modern World Series except in 1903, 1919, 1920 and 1921 when the winner was determined through a best-of-nine playoff. The Series winner is awarded the World Series Trophy, as well as individual World Series rings. The Series winner also receives a larger proportion of the gate receipts than does the Series loser.
The Cy Young Award
was then Commissioner Ford Frick's idea to honor the best pitcher in Major
League Baseball. Hard lessons were learned by the Chalmers Award (1911-1914)
earlier in history so the recipients of the Cy Young Award were selected by the
Baseball Writers Association of America from the inception of the award. During
the first eleven years (1956 - 1966), only one winner from Major League
Baseball was selected. Immediately after Commissioner Frick retired, the rules
were changed to honor the best pitcher from each league.
The Major League Baseball Most Valuable Player Award (MVP) is an annual Major League Baseball award given to one outstanding player in both the American and National Leagues. Since 1931, it has been awarded by the Baseball Writers Association of America. The winners receive the Kenesaw Mountain Landis Memorial Baseball Award, which is named in honor of the first MLB commissioner, who served from 1920 to 1944. MVP voting takes place before the postseason but the results are not announced until after the World Series. The BBWAA began polling three writers in each league city in 1938, reducing that number to two per league city in 1961. The BBWAA does not offer a clear-cut definition of what "most valuable" means, instead leaving the judgment to the individual voters.
The 2014 salaries
for the top 25 Major League Baseball players on active rosters and disabled
lists. Figures were obtained by the Associated Press from management and player
sources and include salaries and pro-rated shares of signing bonuses and other
guaranteed income. For some players, parts of salaries deferred without
interest are discounted to reflect present-day values
average salaries for the opening day rosters of the 30 major league teams.
Figures are based on documents obtained from the MLB Players Association, club
officials and filed with Major League Baseball's central office. Deferred
payments and incentive clauses are not included. Team payrolls do not include
money paid or received in trades or for players who have been released. In some
cases, parts of salaries deferred without interest are discounted to reflect
Jesse Orosco, 1252
2. Mike Stanton, 1178
3. John Franco, 1119
4. Mariano Rivera, 1115
5. Dennis Eckersley , 1071
6. Hoyt Wilhelm, 1070
7. Dan Plesac, 1064
8. Mike Timlin, 1058
9. Kent Tekulve, 1050
10.Trevor Hoffman, 1035
11. Jose Mesa, 1022
12. Lee Smith, 1022
13. Roberto Hernandez, 1010
14. Mike Jackson, 1005
15. Rich "Goose" Gossage, 1002
16. Lindy McDaniel ,987
17. Todd Jones, 982
18. David Weathers, 964
19. Rollie Fingers, 944
20. LaTroy Hawkins, 943
21. Gene Garber, 931
22. Eddie Guardado, 908
23. Cy Young, 906
24. Arthur Rhodes, 900
25. Sparky Lyle, 899
x-Kyle Farnsworth, 858
Players Closing In x-Ichiro Suzuki, 472
Players Closing In x-Alex Rodriquez, 2939
One of the topics that I receive far too many questions on is if runs are to be scored or not scored. Understanding of the requirements for scoring / not scoring runs is imperative to umpires at all levels of play. There are a few basic conditions for scoring or not scoring runs that are detailed below.
As long as the fielder is not touching the ground in dead ball
territory when he catches the ball, it is a legal catch if he holds onto the ball
and meets the definition of a catch. If the catch is not the third out and the
fielder falls down in dead ball territory, all runners are awarded one base. If
the fielder remains on his feet in dead ball territory after the catch, the
ball is alive and he may make a play.
It is not. If a throw or pitch is made after the balk call, the
ball is delayed dead. At the end of the play the balk may be enforced or not
depending on what happened. On a throw; if ALL runners advance on the play, the
balk is ignored. If not, the balk award is enforced from the time of pitch. On
a pitch; if ALL runners INCLUDING the batter, advance on the play, the balk is
ignored. Otherwise, it is no-pitch and the balk award is made from the time of
Official Baseball Rules
Runners may not advance
when an infield fly is called.
An Infield-fly is no different than any other fly ball in regard
to the runners. The only difference is that they are never forced to advance
because the batter is out whether the ball is caught or not.
The runner must always
slide when the play is close.
The runner must be out of the box AND cause interference. He is
not out simply for being outside the lane. He could be called for interference
even while in the lane. This is a judgment call.
INTERFERENCE, 6.05(k), 7.09(k) Official Baseball Rules
hands are part of a person's body. If a pitch hits the batter's hands the ball
is dead; if he swung at the pitch, a strike is called (NOT a foul). If he was
avoiding the pitch, he is awarded first base.
Rules: 2.00 PERSON,
TOUCH, STRIKE (e) and 6.05(f) Official Baseball Rules
the batter steps into the box: Under
all codes, if detected, the umpire can direct the player to switch to a legal
bat. There is no penalty.
batter is in the box but has not seen a pitch: Under NFHS and pro rules, the batter is considered to have used
the illegal bat as soon as he steps into the box.
For over a
century baseball fans have debated the question of whether a "curve ball
does in fact curve". Only rarely has there been objective scientific
testing in order to verify what is so obviously the appearance of a curve.
interest had stemmed from a phone call he received from United Aircraft's
Lauren (Deac) Lyman who over lunch with Walter Neff of United Airlines, had
discussed the question of the trajectory of a baseball.
who has a wind tunnel, called his engineers together presenting the problem as
follows: "Here we have a solid sphere, moving
rapidly in space and rotating on a vertical axis. You see? ... the object is to
elude the man with the stick". It should be noted that baseball
was a rather foreign endeavor to Mr. Sikorsky.
To hit a ball the maximum possible distance, the
trajectory off the bat should have a 35-degree angle.
A line drive travels 100 yards in 4 seconds. A fly to the
outfield travels 98 yards in 4.3 seconds.
An average head wind (10 mph) can turn a 400-foot home
run into a 370-foot routine out.
Ever since the
first recorded game, June 19, 1846 at Elysian Field in Hoboken, New Jersey, the
spirit of baseball has swept America off its feet. Although changes have
altered the sport throughout the years, the foundation upon which baseball was
built still remains the same. That foundation is the classic conflict between
the pitcher and batter. It is this conflict that continues to amaze the older
fans and attract the new ones.
George Brett of
the Kansas City Royals caused quite a stir with his Hillerich and Bradsby pine
tar bat in 1983. On July 24th, Brett hit a home run off Yankee reliever Goose
Gossage in the ninth inning to give the Royals a 5-4 lead. Because the bat had
pine tar beyond the legal limit of 18 inches, measuring from the bat handle,
the home plate umpire disallowed the round-tripper. As a matter of fact, I
recall that Brett had pine tar halfway into the Louisville Slugger trademark.
However, this decision was later reversed and the pine tar home run did count.
Kansas City ultimately defeated the Yankees, 5-4.
Weighted on deck
warm-up bats and other devices should be used with extreme caution. The five
foot on-deck circle gives the next batter an opportunity to prepare for his
turn at bat. It is located 13 feet behind home plate and 37 feet to the right
on-deck bat is shaped like a regular bottle bat. It has a red plastic coating
from the trademark to the end of the 2 5/8 barrel. This bat weighs 4 pounds 1
ounce, and is 34 inches long. It is manufactured in Lynn, Massachusetts.
In order to play
well in the game of baseball, relentless hours of practice are of the utmost
importance. To properly practice, teams should have two Fungo bats. X Bats
manufactures three models. These models are made of maple wood and used mostly
The wood Infield
Fungo is 33 or 34 inches in length with a thin handle and scaled down barrel.
This bat is designed for control, accuracy and the ability to place the ball in
all directions. Using this bat to simulate regular game conditions will give
infielders the necessary practice to react properly during games. Resembling
this Infield Fungo is X Bat's all-purpose Fungo.
Who is the Home
Run King of Professional Baseball in the USA? Prior to Barry Bonds' feat in
2001, it was Joe Bauman. In 1954 he hit 72 home runs in just 138 games. This 6
foot 5 inch, 245 pound first baseman played for the Roswell (New Mexico)
Rockets in the Class C Longhorn League.
spoke with Joe, who still lives in Roswell, for the purposes of this
article. He said that he used a Louisville Slugger, 35 inches in length
and weighing 34 ounces, a Model S-2 Vern
Stephens bat. Bauman, often called "Joltin' Joe", was 32 years old
when he hit his record breaking 72 home runs. Until then, the Minor League
record was 69 home runs, set in 1933 by Joe Hauser of the Minneapolis Millers
of the American Association. Hauser's record was tied in 1948 by Bob Crues of
the Amarillo Gold Sox.
Haney, the manager of the St. Louis Browns, said, "Hank Greenberg puts
more thought, effort and conscientiousness into his work than any other player
in the league and, to my mind, he is the best competitor in the league."
These words most accurately express the true spirit of Hank Greenberg.
Greenberg'' overwhelming statistics are the result of the combination of his
talents and his 35 inch, 34 ounce Louisville Slugger. During' overwhelming
statistics are the result of the combination of his talents and his 35 inch, 34
ounce Louisville Slugger. During Greenberg'' abbreviated career that began with
the Detroit Tigers, he had 1,628 hits, 331 home runs and a batting average of .313.
unusual bottle bat was the largest made. The barrel was 2 3/4 inches beyond the
trademark and tapered sharply to the handle. In 1919, Groh was playing for the
Cincinnati Reds. This was the year that he, along with his famous bottle bat,
finished fourth in batting in the National League. His average was .310.
in 1919, the thunder from pitcher Babe Ruth's' bat could be heard when he hit
29 home runs for the Boston Red Sox to lead the
American League. He was purchased by the New York Yankees from Boston before
the 1920 season for $125,000. Ruth, now playing the outfield, used a Louisville
Slugger Model R-43 with a medium barrel, 36 inches
in length and weighing 42 ounces. Babe Ruth, often called "Bambino",
hit 54 home runs in 1920 and 59 in 1921.
Slugger trademark on each bat led to the branding of player signatures on the
barrel of the bats. Until then, players carved their initials or in some other
way marked the knob or barrel of their bats. Baseball players using Louisville
slugger bats before the turn of the century included Willie Keeler, Hugh Duffy,
Pete Browning, John McGraw, Hugh Jennings, Honus Wagner and the Delaney
brothers, just to name a few.
"Bud" Hillerich earned a partnership in
his father's business in 1897 and the name of the company was then changed to "J.F.
Hillerich and Son". At the turn of the century, A.G. Spalding and
brothers, being in the sporting goods business, were advertising and selling
their very popular Mushroom and Gold Seal bats. Wright and Ditson were also
selling their Nap Lajole bats, featuring the new and unique double ring handle.
A.J. Reach baseball bats also added to the highly competitive business of
Come travel with me many years back
into history and let us study "The Evolution of the Baseball Bat". I
am sure that each of us at one time or another has had the urge to skip a stone
across a lake or to pitch, catch, throw or bat some type of ball. In Europe,
Nicholas Grudich played Lupka with other boys by using a five inch round
pointed stick that was set at an angle on the ground and hit with a flat bat.
From these types of activities came groups of boys playing Rounders, Flyball,
Townball and Caddy.
was a game involving twenty to thirty boys in a field attempting to catch a
ball hit by a tosser. The tosser used a four inch flit bat with a tapered
handle so his hands could grip it firmly for control and leverage. Even though
history is sketchy at this time, I believe that it is safe to say that from
this idea came the modern day baseball bat that is used in every game to thrill
fans all over the world.
The answer to
that question is "both," though past players tend to have used
heavier bats than do today's players. Baseball's "king of swat" Babe
Ruth reportedly began his hitting career using a 54 ounce (1.5 kg) hickory
bat, and is known to have used a 40oz bat in 1927 when he hit his 60 home
runs. Ty Cobb and Joe Di Maggio both played with 42oz bats
and Rogers Hornsby used a 50oz piece of lumber. George Sisler, playing for
the St. Louis Browns in the 1920's, made his bat heavier by hammering
Victrola needles into the barrel of his bat. In the 1950's
Cincinnati Reds' Ted Kluszeski hammered tenpenny nails into his bat to make
Other great hitters including
Ted Williams, Rod Carew and Stan Musial used much lighter bats: 31-33oz. Roger
Maris used a 33oz bat to hit his 61 home runs in 1961. Many players have
tried to make their bats lighter by drilling a hole in the barrel and filling
it with cork. Detroit Tigers' Norm Cash admitted to using a corked bat in
1961 when he won the batting title with a .361 average (though he slumped to
.243 the next year with the same corked bat).
Our softball bats come in 10 different models. Per ASA
rules, all softball bats are identical from the transition through the 2
1/4" barrel. The differences are in the handle thicknesses and knob
Our Model ASA 59 and Softball 59 both have thin 7/8"
handles and would be good ones to consider. The ASA Spec model has a
straight handle all the way to the knob. The Softball 59 handle tapers to the
With the new BBCOR aluminum and composite bats mandated for high school
and professional play, players are finding that high quality professional grade
wood bats are now outperforming the BBCOR bats.
BBCOR stands for "Batted Ball Coefficient of Restitution" and it
focuses on how much of a trampoline effect the barrel of a bat has on a ball.
Bat manufacturers now have to, in effect, "deaden" the trampoline
bounce that pitched balls experience when a batter makes contact. Basically,
aluminum bats will theoretically be the same as wooden bats.
Beginning in 2012, all High School baseball bats will follow in the same
way, that is, they will all need at BBCOR stamp on each
What a player now gets for his $400. is one choice of bat shape from EVERY
different manufacturer, one handle style from EVERY different manufacturer, one
handle thickness from EVERY different manufacturer, only three length choices
and one weight choice. WOW! The monopoly is dead! Players now have a say in the
equipment that suits their size, strength and game.
pleased to have you follow our new X Bats Bat Blog, featuring the latest in
news on wood baseball and softball bats, advancements in wood bat technology,
news from the pros, advice on selecting the right wood bat and many other areas
of interest to baseball and softball players of all ages.
has been making the finest professional quality wood baseball and softball bats
for discerning players of all ages since 1999. As a leader in wood bat
technology, we have made more maple bats than any other bat manufacturer in the
21st century. We have learned a lot about what performs and what
doesnâ€™t, what holds up to use and what doesnâ€™t, what wood and model is best for
each playersâ€™ age, size, style and level of play. We have players in the pros
that began playing with X Batsâ€™ wood bats as youth players. We have outfitted
major collegiate softball programs with the training tools to help them be successful.
We have thousands of softball players at all ages and levels who enjoy success
from the custom fit the choices in models, sizes and weights give them. We make
bats that fit every player to enhance their performance on the field and
provide value for the investment they are making in their equipment. Remember,
the bat is the single piece of equipment in all of sports that has the greatest
impact on a playerâ€™ performance.
has just launched a new website with a revolutionary bat configurator to assist
players in customizing their X Bats. Check it out at http://www.xbats.com/xbat-configurator/
is using the off season to test new woods and new sourcing of existing woods to
increase performance and durability.
is the leading producer or youth bats with nine different models so each player
can find the fit that helps his game advance to the next level. We have just
introduced a line of Super Light Youth Maple baseball bats with weights as
light as -8. Now every player can find a wood bat that accommodates their size
and strength and level of play.
has fielded so many questions ranging from parents of young players to pros on
what bat is right for them. We will use our blog to answer questions on a wide
range of topics related to wood species, logging and log harvesting, bat billet
production, the bat production process, bat swing weights and why players
choose the bats they feel help them play their best.
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