Wednesday, April 25, 2018

The True Win: Another BwM Advanced Statistic 4/25/18

Hey baseball fans!

ERA and WHIP are, in my opinion, the easiest measurements of a pitcher's ability. You'll notice that I didn't say wins. That's because the "win" statistic can be extremely misleading. In some cases, a pitcher can get a ton of run support, allow a lot of earned runs, and still win the game; in other cases, a pitcher can go eight scoreless innings only to leave the game in the ninth with the contest still tied at zero. So, in order to make the calculation of wins seem a bit more correlated to a pitcher's skill, I present to you my new statistic: the true win.

The true win is calculated as follows: if a pitcher allows less earned runs than the average annual league ERA during a start, that pitcher is awarded with a true win. A pitcher can even earn a true win in cases where his bullpen blows (and loses) the game. On the other hand, if a pitcher allows more earned runs than the average annual league ERA during a start, that pitcher is awarded with a true loss. Here's an example: the average league ERA for 2017 was 4.35, so if a pitcher goes six innings and allows three runs, which equates to an in-game ERA of 4.50, then he gets a true loss. Some FAQs: a pitcher's true record can only be recorded at season's end; a pitcher is in line for a true win only if he pitches for at least five innings, which is the same rule for real wins; true wins and losses only apply for starters.

In 1968, Bob Gibson's real won-loss record was 22-9, which is impressive, but what's even more impressive was his 1.12 ERA that year. Because the 1968 average league ERA was 2.98, Gibson's true record was 27-7, meaning some real losses turned into true wins for the Hall of Famer. 1963's average league ERA was 3.46, giving Sandy Koufax (pictured below) a 1963 true record of 31-9 in his 40 starts that season, compared to his real record of 25-5. Like I said before, the average league ERA in 2017 was 4.35, so the 2017 Cy Young Award winner, Max Scherzer, had a 2017 true record of 23-7, but a real record of 16-6.

What are some faults with this new system of determining wins? What are some faults with the old system? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Friday, April 20, 2018

Famous Home Runs That Didn't Actually Matter 4/20/18

Hey baseball fans!

We all remember Joe Carter's walk-off, World Series-winning home run in 1993 because it, well, won Carter's Blue Jays the World Series. The same goes for David Freese's walk-off, Series-tying home run in Game Six of the 2011 Fall Classic because it set up a Game Seven that Freese's Cardinals would end up winning. But what about the home runs that didn't lead to anything, that are just famous for the moment that they were in?

Carlton Fisk walks off the Red Sox in Game Six of '75
In arguably the greatest World Series in baseball history, the Red Sox entered Game Six of the 1975 Series down three games to two to the Reds and the sixth game required extra innings to be resolved. Luckily, Carlton Fisk came up clutch in the twelfth for the BoSox, sending the Series-tying home run off the left field foul pole. This has become probably the most famous home run in Red Sox history, but it actually didn't matter in the long run; the Reds won Game Seven and, thus, the Series, making the Hall of Fame catcher's walk-off dinger the previous night completely obsolete.

Chris Chambliss sends the Yankees to the 1976 World Series
The very next year after Fisk's temporary heroics, the Yankees were on the cusp of making their first World Series in 12 years, but they first needed to get past the AL West champion Royals. The 1976 ALCS went to five games (the maximum at the time) and Game Five was tied at six runs apiece entering the bottom of the ninth at Yankee Stadium. Chris Chambliss led off the half-inning with a home run to send the Yanks to the promised land. There was only one problem, though: once New York got to the Fall Classic, they were swept by the same Reds that beat Fisk's Red Sox in '75. Once again, another home run that didn't really do much to change the course of history.

Bobby Thompson's "Shot Heard Round the World"
This one is the saddest of the bunch, only because this home run is probably the most famous in baseball history, at least in my opinion. Let me set the scene: the Dodgers and Giants were tied at the top of the NL standings at the end of the 1951 season, so a best-of-three playoff series was implemented to decide the NL pennant winner. The two teams split the first two games, but the third game looked to go to the Dodgers, who were leading 4-1 entering the bottom of the ninth at the Polo Grounds in New York. A run was driven in for the Giants, which brought up Bobby Thompson to the plate with two runners on and one out. Miraculously, he hit a home run! To use Russ Hodges's famous call of the play, "the Giants [won] the pennant!" Everybody was going crazy in the stadium because the Giants were headed to the World Series! Too bad they lost the 1951 World Series to the Yankees in six games.

What other famous moments in baseball history are overrated because they didn't really matter in the end? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

BwM's Consistency Index 4/16/18

Hey baseball fans!

So there's always this talk about which team is the greatest in baseball history and there are always these comparisons made that aren't applicable for most teams. For example, how can you judge a team's success based on World Series championships when some teams have never been to the World Series in the first place (I'm looking at you, Nationals and Mariners)? With this in mind, I wanted to come up with a definitive way to define a team's success with the one stat that is measurable among all MLB teams: regular season success. After doing some calculations, I came up with a sort of consistency index, a score that measures a team's year-to-year success during the MLB regular season.

Here's how the index is calculated. To be fair to all teams, I took the total number of wins of every MLB team since 1998, the last year of MLB expansion, and averaged them out to get an average wins per season. From there, I took the absolute value of the change in wins from season-to-season for all the teams and I averaged those numbers out to get a volatility score. From there, I subtracted the volatility score from the average seasonal wins total to get the consistency index. There are several numbers that caught my eye that are worth mentioning. First of all, it's no secret that the Yankees had the best average seasonal wins total at 94.75 wins a season, but they also had an extraordinary volatility score; their wins total from year-to-year only changed by 5.84 wins a season, meaning they were consistently good. In fact, their consistency index of 88.91 was the best in the majors. On the opposite side of the spectrum, the Diamondbacks averaged 79.80 wins a season from 1998-2017, but their year-to-year difference in wins was an average of 14.95. Their MLB-low consistency index of 64.85 means that they were consistently mercurial, meaning that their season-to-season win total is completely random and void of any trend.

Other teams with good consistency indexes include the Braves, Dodgers, A's, and Cardinals, among others. To see my calculations, click here. Would you change any of my math? What other ways could you objectively determine a team's success? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Five Historically Significant World Series Matchups We Could See 4/12/18

Hey baseball fans!

We are officially two weeks into the 2018 MLB season, which means it's only right to start talking about the World Series, right? Well, that's wrong, but still: what historically significant World Series matchups would be possible for us to see this October? Here are five:

Matchup: Yankees vs. Dodgers
Historical significance: Out of all the World Series matchups in history, this one has happened the most times: 11 to be exact. In those Fall Classics, the Yankees have won eight of them, while the Dodgers were victorious in three.
Likeliness of happening: Both of these teams played in their respective championship series last year, so this matchup is pretty likely.

Matchup: Red Sox vs. Mets
Historical significance: These two teams squared off against each other in the 1986 World Series, regarded as one of the best Series ever. The Mets won in seven, but it was close throughout the seven games.
Likeliness of happening: These two teams have been the hottest coming out of the gate in 2018, but will their hot starts continue into the dog days of summer? My guess is not for the Mets.

Matchup: Indians vs. Cubs
Historical significance: Both of these teams were famous for their long World Series droughts, until of course the Cubs ended their 108-year drought two years ago against the Indians in the 2016 World Series.
Likeliness of happening: Both of these teams have declined since their runs to October in 2016, but I wouldn't be surprised to see this World Series rematch.

Matchup: Astros vs. Cardinals
Historical significance: Back when the 'Stros were in the NL Central, these teams had a sort of mini-rivalry, facing off in consecutive NLCS's in 2004 and 2005, with each team winning one.
Likeliness of happening: I don't like the Cardinals' chances of making the playoffs in a very competitive National League Central/Wild Card race.

Matchup: Mariners vs. Nationals
Historical significance: Not only have these two teams never won a World Series in their respective histories, but both have never even been to one.
Likeliness of happening: The Nationals will probably do the same thing they've done every year in the playoffs: lose in the first round. The Mariners, on the other hand, will be lucky if they even make the playoffs.

What other World Series matchups would have an interesting historical significance? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

BwM's Five Bold Predictions for the 2018 Regular Season 3/28/18

Hey baseball fans!

The 2018 MLB regular season starts tomorrow, so it's only fitting I give you five of my boldest predictions for the upcoming campaign.

Prediction #1: The Mariners break their playoff drought
The Seattle Mariners have the longest postseason drought of any major professional American (or Canadian, for that matter) sports team, but that streak is getting snapped this year. Seattle has been so close the last couple of years, but in 2018, thanks to a revamped lineup that now includes Ryon Healy and Dee Gordon, the Mariners will sneak away with the second AL Wild Card spot.

Prediction #2: The Nationals come close to breaking the single-season wins record
Yes, not the Dodgers or the Cubs, but the Nationals. Let me break it down: the Nationals are the best team in the NL East and it's by a long shot. The Marlins will finish with less than 60 wins this year, the Phillies haven't done anything in years, and the Mets and Braves might crack 75 wins this year. If the Nats win less than 100 games, I'll honestly be shocked, considering they play four subpar teams for almost half of their schedule.

Prediction #3: Nolan Arenado wins NL MVP
I've said it in years past and I'll say it again: Arenado is the most underrated player in baseball. So what if he plays in Coors Field? His home and away statistics were virtually identical in 2017. And his fielding? Immaculate. He's a better version of Mike Schmidt and considering Schmidt is my favorite player of all time, that's saying something. If you want me to go into specifics for Arenado's stats, his baseline, in my humble opinion, for 2018 is a .280 batting average with 35 home runs and 125 RBIs. And that's me being conservative.

Prediction #4: An unlikely candidate wins AL Cy Young
James Paxton? Carlos Carrasco? Marcus Stroman? Honestly, who knows and who cares? Chris Sale and Corey Kluber are taking steps back this year, so the AL Cy Young will be up for grabs for anyone.

Prediction #5: Yankees vs. Brewers in the World Series
The fact that I'm predicting the Yankees to be in the World Series shouldn't be shocking, but the Brewers pick might turn some heads. They added some key bats this past offseason and have a very underrated pitching staff. They'll sneak into the NL playoffs at least with the first Wild Card spot (but I think they're winning the NL Central, to be honest) and could make a Cinderella-type run that puts them in the 2018 Fall Classic.

Am I biased because my 2018 World Series prediction features my two favorite MLB franchises? Maybe a little. But anyway, leave me some of your MLB bold predictions for the upcoming season in the comments section below. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Thursday, March 22, 2018

The Greatest Game Ever Pitched 3/22/18

Hey baseball fans!

As most of you know, I celebrated ecstatically when Alan Trammell got into the Hall of Fame this past December, but at the time, I failed to shed light on his former teammate and fellow 2018 Hall of Fame inductee, Jack Morris. Well, that's what I intend to do in this post and I'll be doing that by backing up the following claim: Jack Morris's pitching performance in Game Seven of the 1991 World Series was the greatest pitching performance in baseball history. What a claim, am I right? Well, hear me out.

Reason #1: The Magnitude
Morris and the Minnesota Twins made their second Fall Classic in five years in '91, where they met the Atlanta Braves. Atlanta and Minnesota fought hard throughout the whole Series, setting up a Game Seven that would feature the mustachio-ed All Star on the mound for the Twins.

Reason #2: The Matchup
Morris didn't go up against some scrub, however. On the mound for Atlanta was none other than Hall of Famer John Smoltz. Any fan in the Metrodome that night had to have anticipated an unbelievable pitching duel.

Reason #3: The Duel
Morris and Smoltz went toe-to-toe through eight innings of ball, when the score remained tied at zero. Morris had allowed just seven hits and two walks to this point. Smoltz had put up similarly exemplary numbers, but exited after the eighth. Morris, however, was not ready to leave the mound.

Reason #4: What Happened After Smoltz Left
Morris sat down the next six Braves batters, setting up the walk-off, World Series-winning single by Twins pinch hitter Gene Larkin in the bottom of the tenth.

Separately, all of these reasons might sound pedestrian at best, but now let me put them together: Jack Morris pitched a ten-inning shutout in Game Seven of the World Series against a fellow Hall of Famer. Don Larsen's perfect game in Game Five of the 1956 World Series was literally immaculate and Madison Bumgarner did a great job fending off the Royals in his five innings of shutout relief in Game Seven of the 2014 World Series, but Morris stands alone and no one will convince me otherwise. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Guess That Hall of Famer!!! 3/18/18

Hey baseball fans!

Who's ready to play "Guess That Hall of Famer!!!"? Here's how the game works: I'm going to show you screenshots of the career statistics of five MLB Hall of Famers. The screenshots will increase in difficulty from the first to the last. You're job is to guess that Hall of Famer, as the name of the game suggests. I played this game recently for the first time and it was extremely fun!

Some quick notes:
  • Bolded numbers means league-leading
  • Highlighted career numbers means all-time leader
  • A star next to a year means he was an All Star
  • "GG"= Gold Glove; "SS"=Silver Slugger
  • There is an answer key at the bottom
  • These pictures might be hard to see. If so, get a friend to look up the Baseball Reference pages for the players listed in the answer key in the order that they're listed, but make sure you can't see the players' names on their pages. 
Let the game begin!

How'd you do? Tell me your results in the comments section below. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Answer key (first to last): Babe Ruth, Pedro Martinez, Frank Robinson, Goose Gossage, Rogers Hornsby

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Oldies, But Goodies 3/13/18

Hey baseball fans!

A lot of baseball players tail off in terms of their yearly statistics after their early 30s, but that's not always the case, especially with these special players.

Willie Mays, Johnny Mize, and Barry Bonds
"The Say Hey Kid" and fellow Hall of Famer Mize are two of the oldest players to ever hit 50+ homers in a season. Mays hit 52 homers in 1965 at the young age of 34, while at the same age, Mize smacked out 51 bombs of his own in 1947. However, it is Bonds (pictured below) who is distinguished, having set the record for the most home runs hit in a single season with a whopping 73 in 2001 at 36 years young.

Tony Gwynn
Gwynn won four consecutive batting titles from 1994-1997... from the ages of 34 to 37! His 1994 performance is probably the most impressive of the bunch, when even though the season was shortened due to a players' strike, the Hall of Fame member of the San Diego Padres batted .394, the highest single-season batting average since Ted Williams's .406 batting average in 1941.

Pete Rose
Although mostly remembered for his time on the Cincinnati Reds, Rose actually had a lot of success with the Phillies as well. "Charlie Hustle" made four straight All Star Games for the Fightin' Phils from 1979-1982, even though he was 38 years old or older in all four years. And in those four years, he batted a solid .300 while also helping out during the Phillies World Series championship run in 1980.

David Ortiz
The greatest clutch player in Red Sox history had one of the greatest farewell seasons of all time in 2016. That year, at the age of 40, he set records for single-season homers and RBIs for a 40-year-old (38 and 127, respectively). Oh, and he also batted .315 that year while leading the league in slugging (.620, also a single-season record for a 40-year-old).

Jamie Moyer, Satchel Paige, and Nolan Ryan
No list of great geezers is complete without talking about these three pitchers. Moyer retired when he was 49 years old after playing for 25 seasons in the Majors, making his first career All Star Game at 40 years old in 2003. Paige played most of his career in the Negro Leagues, and didn't make his Major League debut until he was 41, but he actually made two All Star Games at ages 45 and 46 in 1952 and 1953 and didn't pitch in his final Major League game until he was 58. Ryan's (pictured below) career ERA at age 40 and after (he pitched until he was 46) was a respectable 3.33, while leading the league in strikeouts in four consecutive seasons and collecting career no-hitters #6 and #7.

What performances, am I right? If only more players could age as gracefully as these guys did. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

BONUS: Babe Ruth averaged 42 homers a season in his 30s. Holy cow.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Yay for Alan Trammell! 2/22/18

Hey baseball fans!

Finally, Alan Trammell is in the Hall of Fame! For the first time, my annual Alan Trammell appreciation post won't be one of yearning, but one of celebrating! Let the confetti rain down!

For those of you who are confused, let me explain: Alan Trammell was a shortstop for the Tigers in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s and me and him happen to share a birthday: February 21st. For almost every year that I've blogged on my birthday, I've pleaded for Trammell to be elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame. The reason is that without Trammell, I would have no Hall of Fame birthday buddy (yes, former Red Sox owner and HoFer Tom Yawkey does share a birthday with me as well, but it's not the same). And it's not like Trammell hadn't been deserving of induction; he was a six-time All Star, four-time Gold Glover, three-time Silver Slugger, and 1984 World Series MVP. It just took him a little longer to get in than he deserved.

For 15 straight years on the BBWAA ballots, Trammell never got higher than 40.9% of the vote, roughly 34% less than what he needed to join his fellow All Stars in Cooperstown. But the Veteran's Committee thought otherwise because just this past December, Trammell and former teammate Jack Morris were voted into the Hall by the VC. When I watched Hall of Fame president Jeff Idelson formally announce Trammell's introduction to the Hall of Fame, I was ecstatic. I finally have a Hall of Fame birthday buddy! I can't wait to watch his induction speech in July.

And, here's a bonus: my live interview with Alan from 2015. Just click here.

Who's your Hall of Fame birthday buddy? Tell me in the comments section below. Thanks for the birthday wishes and for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it and check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

7 Obscure Facts about the New York Yankees 2/13/18

Hey baseball fans!

Pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training today and I couldn't be more excited for baseball to be back! My mind has been going nuts without baseball and, because of my insanity, I've garnered a lot more baseball knowledge just out of the boredom I've had to endure due to a lack of America's pastime. Naturally, the team I've researched the most is the Yankees, so without further delay, here are seven super rare fun facts about the New York Yankees.

Fact #1
The Yankees have won 40 American League pennants in their history, the most of any team. But we can go deeper than that, right? Well, let's try. Even before MLB expansion started in 1961, the Yanks had beaten all eight original National League teams in the World Series at least once. Since expansion, the only NL team that has been to any World Series that New York has yet to face there is the Rockies. (The Nationals and Brewers haven't been to the Fall Classic as NL teams yet.)

Fact #2
The Bronx Bombers have finished last in their division only four times in their 115-year history and have yet to finish last since the American League expanded to three divisions back in 1994.

Fact #3
Including the postseason and in terms of winning percentage, the 1927 Yankees are the best AL team of all time; they posted a regular season record of 110-44 and swept the World Series for a total winning percentage of .721.

Fact #4
The Yankees' worst seasonal attendance, according to the team's official website, came in 1906. In their fourth year of existence, the Yanks only brought 35,500 fans to the ballpark, which is a shame because they finished the season at a very respectable 90-61.

Fact #5
Nick Swisher was a fan favorite for the Yankees from 2009-2012, bringing a very chill vibe to the clubhouse and a productive bat to the batter's box. However, after the 2012 season, he decided to sign with the Indians and the Yankees got a compensatory pick at the end of the first round of the 2013 MLB Draft in exchange for Swisher's services. Who did they use this pick on, you ask? Aaron Judge.

Fact #6
Since interleague play began in 1997, there is actually only one NL team that the Yankees have played against in more than 20 games and have lost in those games more times than they've won: the Phillies (13-14). Ironically, the Phillies have the most all-time losses in baseball history at 10,837.

Fact #7
I am one of three people in my family born during a year in which the Yankees won the World Series! My cousin Max and I are born five days apart in 1999 (Yanks swept the Braves) and my mom's mom was born in 1941 (Yanks over Dodgers in five).

I hope you learned a thing or two about the greatest baseball franchise in history. Oh, you want to make the claim that the Yankees won most of their World Series before free agency? Well, here's a bonus fun fact for you: in the Super Bowl era (since 1967), New York has won seven World Series, the most of any team during the time period. Anyway, thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Red Sox vs. Phillies: Who Will Win the Super Bowl? 2/4/18

Hey baseball fans!

Because the Super Bowl is today, everyone is comparing the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles to predict who will win the game. I, however, have a different technique. Instead of looking at these two teams in depth, I looked at their MLB counterparts to see which of those teams is better. So, who's better, the Red Sox or the Phillies? (Disclaimer: this is not my actual Super Bowl prediction. It's just a funny way to compare two MLB teams on a historical perspective.)

Category One: Overall Winning Percentage
During Boston's 117-year history in Major League Baseball, they've won an astounding 9,410 games and have only lost 8,776 games for a winning percentage of .517. Meanwhile, the Phillies have an all-time record of 9,664-10,837 for a winning percentage of only .471. After category number one, the Red Sox are up, 1-0 over the Fightin' Phils.

Category Two: Head-to-Head Winning Percentage
These two teams squared off in the 1915 World Series, with the Red Sox beating the Phillies easily in five games. Besides that series that was more than 100 years ago, the two squads have faced each other in interleague play many a time. In their 63 matchups, the Red Sox have won 39 of them. After two categories, Boston's up two on Philly.

Category Three: Hall of Famers
These two clubs have been around for more than a century each, so they each have plenty of Hall of Famers to go around. There are 14 Hall of Famers who wear the Red Sox logo on their cap in their Cooperstown plaques, including legends such as Ted Williams and Jimmie Foxx, while the Phillies can only claim that distinction for six Hall of Famers. So Boston is now up 3-0, meaning that with one more categorical victory, the BoSox will secure the Patriots' sixth Super Bowl.

Category Four: World Series Championships
What better way to determine which of two teams is better than by looking at how many times they've won the big one. The Phillies didn't win their first World Series until 1980 and have only won one other since (2008). The Sox have won eight World Series, despite their 86-yearlong drought. Well, that settles is. Sox win, 4-0.

Sorry Eagles fans, but it looks like the Patriots will win Super Bowl LII. Maybe next year the Eagles will face the Texans or Chargers in the Super Bowl, because the Astros and Angels have less World Series championships than the Phils. Anyway, thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Monday, January 29, 2018

Fun Facts About the 2018 Hall of Fame Inductees 1/29/18

Hey baseball fans!

After digesting the Hall of Fame vote from the 24th for almost a week now, congrats to all the players who got into Cooperstown (#EdgarGotRobbed)! To welcome Jim Thome, Chipper Jones, Trevor Hoffman, and Vladimir Guerrero into the Hall, here is a fun fact about each of them.

Jim Thome
Thome holds a very interesting MLB record: career walk-off home runs. His 13 career walk-off dingers are one ahead of Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Jimmie Foxx, Stan Musial, and Frank Robinson. In fact, Thome's 500th career homer was of the walk-off variety.

Chipper Jones
Jones was ambidextrous at the plate and among switch-hitters, his stats rank towards the top in many categories. Jones ranks third all-time in home runs (468), second in RBIs (1,623), and is the only switch-hitter in history to finish his career with a .300+ lifetime batting average (.303) and 400+ homers.

Trevor Hoffman
Surprisingly, Hoffman only led the league in saves on two occasions. His 46-save 2006 season was great, but his 53-save 1998 season was even better. At the time, those 53 single-season saves were a National League record; couple that with 1.48 ERA and Hoffman placed second in Cy Young voting and seventh in MVP voting for the NL in '98.

Vladimir Guerrero
This isn't really a fun fact, but one time, Guerrero hit a single on a ball that bounced in front of home plate! Now, that's what I call daredevil hitting.

Once again, congratulations to the four new members of the Baseball Hall of Fame. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

If I Had a Hall of Fame Ballot 2018 1/23/18

Hey baseball fans!

Hall of Fame elections are tomorrow, which means it's time for me to share my opinions on who should get into Cooperstown in 2018. I've done this type of post in the past and for this edition of "If I Had a Hall of Fame Ballot 20XX," I'm going to list the players who I think should get in this year along with the key reason for why they should get in. As much as I love the new advanced metrics revolution going on in baseball right now, it's time to get back to basics.

Name: Chipper Jones
# Time on Ballot: 1st
Main Reason for Election: King of Atlanta
Explanation: From 1993-2012, Chipper Jones was the cornerstone of the Atlanta Braves lineup. Sure, their dynastic years of the '90s was more pitching-centered and Atlanta had plenty of other formidable hitters on their teams to go along with Jones, but Chipper became a Braves fan favorite because he stayed down south for his entire career, and boy what a career it was: a .303 lifetime batting average as a switch hitter, 2,726 career hits, 468 career home runs, and eight All Star Games. He's first-ballot talent for sure.

Name: Jim Thome
# Time on Ballot: 1st
Main Reason for Election: Crazy power
Explanation: First-ballot Hall of Fame criteria for me in terms of power hitters is 500+ home runs and 1,500+ RBIs. Well, guess what? Thome hit 612 career long balls (which is good for eighth on the all-time list) and drove in 1,699 career runs (which is good for 26th on the all-time list). Enough said.

Name: Trevor Hoffman
# Time on Ballot: 3rd
Main Reason for Election: Saves machine
Explanation: Hoffman is the all-time NL leader in saves with 601 and is second in the category in MLB history only to Mariano Rivera. On top of this, the best reliever in the NL every year gets the "Trevor Hoffman NL Reliever of the Year Award." The fact that he wasn't a first-ballot Hall of Famer is seriously a travesty.

Name: Vladimir Guerrero
# Time on Ballot: 2nd
Main Reason for Election: One of the best all-around hitters of his generation
Explanation: Guerrero misses the first-ballot threshold in several typical categories of judgement, like hits and home runs, but then you realize he only played 16 seasons and you're just like "Wow." The nine-time All Star averaged 162 hits, 28 homers, and 94 RBIs a season. Oh, and did I mention he batted .318 lifetime, which makes him one of the top ten contact hitters in baseball since 1950?

Name: Edgar Martinez
# Time on Ballot: 9th
Main Reason for Election: The first great DH
Explanation: This is the guy for who I am the absolute strongest Hall of Fame advocate. Yes, he batted .312 lifetime and yes, he was a seven-time All Star. Both of those facts should already put him in Cooperstown, but sports analysts love to point out the fact that defensive statistics are important as well in Hall of Fame consideration and Martinez doesn't have those stats because he never played the field. But that's the thing: he was the first great DH, so the fact that anyone would even consider his fielding statistics to be an important piece of criteria for him getting into the Hall is straight up unfair. Much like Hoffman, the best DH in the MLB every year gets the "Edgar Martinez Outstanding Designated Hitter Award" and the only hitter who's won the award more times than Martinez himself has (five times) is David Ortiz (seven times). If all of this isn't enough, Martinez, much like Chipper Jones, stayed with the Seattle Mariners for his entire career, becoming a shiny emerald in the Emerald City.

Who else should be in Cooperstown who's on the 2018 Hall of Fame ballot? Let me know in the comments section below. Also, quick shout out to my dad who is celebrating his birthday today. He's been checking over my blog posts and helping me grow Baseball with Matt ever since I started blogging, so happy birthday, Dad, and thank you for everything. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Game 6 of 2011 or Game 5 of 2017? 1/20/18

Hey baseball fans!

In case you don't remember, Game Five of the 2017 World Series, which saw the Astros top the Dodgers in Houston by a final score of 13-12, has been regarded by some as the best World Series game ever. Now, I am not one of those people, because I believe that Game Six of the 2011 World Series, which saw the Cardinals beat the Rangers in St. Louis by a final score of 10-9, is better than Game Five of '17 for one simple reason, which is...

You think I'm going to reveal my one reason for deciding the fate of a World Series game on my "Tope World Series Games Ever" list at the beginning of a blog post? Well, think again. First, let's talk about what makes both of these games so great and then we'll get into what sets the 2011 matchup apart from the 2017 one.

The Run-Scoring
So as you read in my intro paragraph, both of these games were not pitching duels, but all-out slugfests. The Astros and Dodgers combined for 25 runs in their clash in Minute Maid Park, while the Rangers and Cardinals totaled 19 runs on a chilly night in Busch Stadium. The Texas matchup featured seven home runs, while the game in Missouri featured six and both games saw 28 hits.

The Scoring Changes
Both games went back and forth until the end. In St. Louis, the Cardinals and Rangers exchanged leads seven times (counting the times that one team took the lead after a tie game) and the Astros and Dodgers switched leads five times. The only reason the game in Houston didn't feature more scoring changes is because the runs were scored in bunches; Houston and LA combined for six half-innings where three or more runs were scored.

The Dramatic Walk-Off
Alex Bregman walked off for Houston in the bottom of the tenth with a single that scored pinch-runner Derek Fisher to give the Astros the W, while David Freese of the Cardinals sent the St. Louis fans home happy with a miraculous walk-off solo homer in the bottom of the 11th.

So obviously these games had plenty of drama to go around, but why is Game Six of 2011 so much better than Game Five of 2017? Well, I've got one word for you: magnitude.

Ok, so Game Five of 2017 saw the Astros beat the Dodgers, giving Houston a 3-2 lead in the Series, but it wasn't a must-win game for the Astros. However, the Cardinals came into Game Six of the 2011 Fall Classic down 3-2 in the Series and were one strike away from losing the World Series altogether on two (yes, two) separate occasions! In the ninth, the eventual hero Freese hit a two-run triple on a two-strike count with two outs to tie the game at seven and send it to extras and in the tenth, again on a two-strike count with two outs, Lance Berkman came up with a game-tying single. Not to belittle Game Five of 2017, but had I not told you that the game that ended in an Alex Bregman walk-off single was the fifth game of the 2017 World Series, would you have known that? Probably not. But did you know that David Freese hit a walk-off homer in Game Six of the 2011 World Series? Probably.

It's simple math, really. Six is greater than and, in this case, better than five. Sorry, Astros fans, but your former NL Central rivals have defeated you yet again. Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Friday, January 12, 2018

Baseball History on the 12th of January 1/12/18

Hey baseball fans!

January is almost halfway done, which means that we are almost halfway through one of the most inconsequential months of the year in terms of baseball-related activity. However, some (but not a lot) of baseball's most influential moments have come during the first month of the year and here is a list of some of those highlights that have occurred on this date, January 12th, throughout baseball history.

1961: Charlie Grimm and Verlon Walker were named to the Chicago Cubs' "College of Coaches." Basically, Cubs owner Philip Wrigley came up with the idea to hire a bunch of coaches who would take turns either being the team's manager or a coaching assistant and the coaches would rotate jobs throughout the season. The Cubs were managed by four different coaches throughout the season. None of them finished with a winning record individually and the Cubbies finished the '61 campaign at 64-90, a solid 29 games back of the first place Cincinnati Reds.

1983: "The Human Vacuum Cleaner," otherwise known as Brooks Robinson (pictured below), becomes the 14th player in baseball history to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. Juan Marichal, the winningest Latin American pitcher in MLB history, with 243 career victories, was the other ballplayer of the 1983 Hall of Fame class.

1999: Mark McGwire's historic 70th home run ball from his 1998 season is auctioned off and bought by an anonymous bidder for a "measly" $3.05 million.

2009: In a historic Hall of Fame election, Rickey "Man of Steal" Henderson gets into the Hall on his first year on the ballot, while Red Sox legend Jim Rice (pictured below) gets in on his last possible and 15th year on the ballot.

Although this stuff is pretty cool, I'm sorry that January is such a dull month for baseball. But at least there's only a couple more weeks until pitchers and catchers report for Spring Training! Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

The Last Time That the Mariners Were in the Playoffs... 1/2/17

Hey baseball fans!

The Buffalo Bills have snapped their 17-year playoff drought, which means the Seattle Mariners now own the longest playoff drought out of all the professional American sports teams. Seattle's most recent playoff appearance came in 2001, a year in which they set the record for the most wins in a single season by an AL team with 116, but then lost the ALCS to the Yankees. Going back to the last time that the Mariners were in the playoffs...

1. The Astros were still in the National League.
2. The Red Sox hadn't broken the Curse of the Bambino.
3. Hank Aaron was still the all-time home run king.
4. "Moneyball" was just a compound word and had no association with the A's
5. The Pirates, Reds, Phillies, Padres, Cardinals, Nationals, Mets, Yankees, Twins, Marlins, and Braves were all playing in different ballparks than they do now.
6. Albert Pujols was just a rookie.
7. Ichiro Suzuki was a rookie as well.
8. Rickey Henderson was still playing.
9. There were two Canadian teams.
10. It was the middle of the Steroid Era.

Sorry Mariners' fans, but your team needs to play in October soon or we're all going to lose it. But anyway, thanks for reading this post, I hope you enjoyed it, and happy new year! Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."