Monday, August 31, 2015

An Interview with Nomar Garciaparra!!! 8/31/15

Hey baseball fans!

I just came back from the 2015 Little League World Series (more on that to come soon) and got to interview All Star and current ESPN announcer, Nomar Garciaparra ! But before I show you the interview on YouTube, let me first give a quick bio. Garciaparra played for the Red Sox, Dodgers, Cubs, and Athletics from 1996-2009. The six-time All Star won the AL Rookie of the Year Award in 1997 while leading the league in hits with 209. He totaled 1,747 career base hits and batted .313 lifetime. He also had quite a bit of power, hitting 20 or more home runs in seven seasons and driving in more than 90 runs in seven seasons. He also married soccer star Mia Hamm. Now that you know a bit about Nomar, click here to see me interviewing him.

Thanks for watching the video and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Thursday, August 27, 2015

An Interview with Alfonso Soriano 8/27/15

Hey baseball fans!

Today I have another great interview for you. This one is with Alfonso Soriano, who played mainly for the Yankees and the Cubs during his 16 year career which ended in 2014. "Sori" played second base and left field and was an offensive force. He was a seven-time All Star and a four-time Silver Slugger award winner at second base. He hit 412 home runs over his career and knocked in 1,159 runs.

So now that you know a little bit about him, please click here to watch the interview.

I hope you enjoyed this post and the interview. Check back again soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Sunday, August 23, 2015

My Hall of Fame Book Signing!!!! 8/23/15

Hey baseball fans!

Yesterday, August 22, 2015, I actually did a book signing at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York (click on link here)!! It was hosted in the Bullpen Theater on the first floor of the Hall where I answered questions about my blogging career and my book, Amazing Aaron to Zero Zippers.  According to the Hall, they believe that I am the youngest author ever to do a book signing there. So I really appreciate them asking me to come.  Here are some pictures from the event.

I really wanted to again thank the Hall of Fame for allowing me to come and sign books, Bruce Markusen at the HOF for conducting the signing, and everyone in attendance who heard me answer questions or who got a book signed. I also would like to thank Jeff Idelson (the HOF President), Brad Horn, Craig Muder and Drew Taylor for all of their support always. It was such a fun time and I am so honored to have spoken in Cooperstown.

Lastly, I wanted to give a special shoutout to one of my dad's oldest friends, Allan Filler, his wife, Rochelle, and their daughter, Claire, for making a special trip and coming to the signing and also for joining me for lunch at the famous Cooperstown Diner.  Here's a nice picture of them, as well as one of the diner where we ate (which is a fun place to check out, if you're ever in Cooperstown).

Thanks to everyone who has bought my book already and I hope you've enjoyed it. So far I have sold about 4,000 copies and, since I am giving all my proceeds to four charities, including the Hall, yesterday, I gave Craig Muder a donation check for $470. I hope there's a lot more checks in the future.

Check back soon on Baseball with Matt for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Friday, August 21, 2015

An Interview with Rick Ankiel 8/21/15

Hey baseball fans!

Today, I have another very interesting interview for you. It's an interview with a former player who started out his career as a pitcher and eventually switched over to being a hitter. I know you're thinking, Babe Ruth, so guess again. I'm talking about Rick Ankiel. Ankiel was a pitcher with the Cards from 1999-2004, but when his pitching got very wild, he switched over to the outfield in 2005. As a pitcher he was 13-10 lifetime with a 3.90 ERA, while as a hitter he hit .240 for his career with 76 home runs. Ankiel became the first player since the Babe to win at least ten games and hit at least 50 home runs for his career, and he was the only player besides the Babe to start a playoff game as a pitcher and also hit a home run as a position player in the playoffs.

Now that you know a little bit about Ankiel, please click here to watch my interview of him.

Thanks for reading and watching. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

And if you want to learn more about Babe Ruth's exploits, please check out my book, Amazing Aaron to Zero Zippers. There's a whole chapter on Ruth called "Booming Babe."

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Five "Jolting" Facts About Joe DiMaggio 8/16/15

Hey baseball fans!

Joe DiMaggio has always had a special place in my heart, so this post is going to be five facts (because he wore the number five) about the Yankee Clipper.

Fact #1: DiMaggio was actually married to famous movie star Marilyn Monroe. Their marriage lasted 274 days.

Fact #2: During Joltin' Joe's famous hit streak of 1941, the Yankees went 41-13-2 and would eventually go on to win the World Series.

Fact #3: Joe won a three MVPs during his Hall of Fame career (1939, 1941, and 1947), which is tied for the most MVPs won by an American Leaguer.

Fact #4: Joe DiMaggio only played one season with fellow Hall of Famer Mickey Mantle: 1951. That year was DiMaggio's last season in the Majors and Mantle's first.

Fact #5: DiMaggio, in his 13 years in the MLB, made the All Star Game every single year. He is the only Hall of Famer who is able to say that.

Hope you found these facts interesting and that you enjoyed this post. Thanks for reading it and check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

And if you want to read up more on Joe D and other great players in MLB history, please check out my book, Amazing Aaron to Zero Zippers - An Introduction to Baseball History.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

My Top Five Favorite Yogi-isms 8/11/15

Hey baseball fans!

I recently went to the Bruce Beck & Ian Eagle Sports Broadcasting Camp in order to enhance my broadcasting abilities. The camp is held at the Yogi Berra Museum in Little Falls, New Jersey, so I felt very compelled to write about the following: my top five favorite Yogi-isms! For those of you who don't know, Yogi was an awesome player, a member of my "All-Small Hall Team," and someone who said some pretty funny stuff, even though he didn't mean to be funny, which is why it's even funnier. Those funny quotes are called Yogi-isms. Here we go!

Number Five: 90% of the game is half mental.
Why? I don't understand this quote at all. Does he mean that the whole game of baseball is out of 180% or that you only use half of your brain when you play?

Number Four: When you come to a fork in the road, take it.
Why? This one sort of makes sense; if you see a literal fork that you would use to eat something laying in the middle of the road, take it, then try to find its owner.

Number Three: It's like deja vu all over again.
Why? It's redundant because deja vu is something that you think happened again. Saying deja vu happened all over again, I guess, means that you thought you were in a similar situation on three different occasions.

Number Two: It ain't over til it's over.
Why? These are actually great words to live by in any sporting event. Always try until the final play is made and you could come out on top.

Number One: You should always go to other people's funerals, otherwise, they won't come to yours.
Why? This is just hilarious, but it makes sense, if you think about it. I think he means, be nice to people.

Do you agree with my picks? What are some of your favorite Yogi-isms? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below. And, if you want to re-read the interview I did of Yogi back in 2012, just click here.

Also, Yogi was such a great player, that not only is he mentioned in many places throughout my book, Amazing Aaron to Zero Zippers: An Introduction to Baseball History, but the picture below is on the book's actual cover.

Thanks for reading this post and I hope you enjoyed it. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Thursday, August 6, 2015

An Interview with Red Sox Senior Baseball Analyst Tom Tippett 8/6/15

Hey baseball fans!

I have a very interesting interview for you today. It is with none other than the Senior Baseball Analyst for the Boston Red Sox, Tom Tipppett. As Senior Baseball Analyst, Tom is responsible for the BoSox's in-house baseball information system and for the creation and application of all their advanced baseball analytics to assist in player acquisitions and on-field performance. Tom has been with the Red Sox since September 2003 (hint: a year before they broke the Curse of the Bambino). He studied math, computer science and accounting at the University of Waterloo and got an MBA in business from Harvard. And now without further delay, let's get on with the interview:

Matt: What makes statistics so enjoyable for you?
Tom: It's mostly about coming up with answers to interesting questions. If I'm curious about how or why something works the way it does, my first instinct is to try to find some data that might explain things. That's true in my baseball work and also in many other aspects of my life. Generally speaking, I'm a skeptic. I want to decide for myself whether something is true rather than simply accept what others are saying, especially when my intuition tells me that the common answer just doesn't feel right.

Matt: Did you always love working with math and numbers?
Tom:  Yes. I caught the numbers bug at a very young age. From age 4 to age 9, we lived in a house that was a little beyond the outer limits of the Toronto suburbs. It wasn't totally rural, but there were only a couple of houses within walking distance, so I didn't usually have other kids my age to play with. That meant that I had to find ways to entertain myself. Sometimes I would spend a Saturday simulating NHL seasons by coming up with a league schedule of 70 or 80 games per team -- thankfully, there were only 6 teams then -- and "playing" the games by using a source of somewhat random numbers (like the phone book or the invoice register for my Dad's business) to determine how many goals each team scored in a game. I also invented little games using an ordinary deck of playing cards. As a result these games and the NHL simulations, I started developing a feel for probability and statistics, though I didn't realize that until I was studying those subjects in college. When I was 8 or 9 years old, I told my mother I wanted to be the chief statistician of the NHL when I grew up. A few years later, I discovered that baseball had a lot more numbers than hockey, and I was hooked.

Matt: In your opinion, which individual stat tells the most of a player’s skill?
Tom: I'd have to say Wins Above Replacement (WAR) because it encompasses all of the ways in which a player contributes to winning and losing games. But I also have to say that I usually learn more from looking at the individual components of a player's game. For position players, I like to look at several different metrics for hitting, bunting, stealing bases, taking extra bases on batted balls, and playing defense. I get a better feel for how a player can help a team win from ten well-chosen stats. But there are times when I just need to know a player's overall value, regardless of where that value comes from, and WAR is the best option for that.

Matt: What do you think about the Moneyball philosophy?
Tom: It's a shame that it is so often referred to as the "Moneyball" approach. I definitely get why people refer to it that way. After all, millions of people were exposed to these ideas through the book and the movie. I enjoyed the book and the movie, too, and am an avid reader of Michael Lewis's books, so I don't say this because I have something against the "Moneyball" story. In fact, many friends and family members didn't really understand what I do for a living until they saw the movie. But the real story is simply that it's a good idea to use analysis and critical thinking to discover what really works and to improve your ability to accomplish goals. And lots of people were doing that long before "Moneyball" was published. If anyone is interested in learning more about some of these lesser known innovators, I'd recommend "The Numbers Game" by Alan Schwarz and "In Pursuit of Pennants" by Mark Armour and Daniel Levitt.

Matt: What do you do for the Red Sox as their senior baseball analyst?
Tom:  I started working with the Red Sox as a part-time consultant in September, 2003. That relationship grew into a larger consulting role before I joined the team full-time in 2008. During those 12 years, I've split my time between two areas. In one role, I've overseen the development of the baseball information system that is used to collect and deliver all sorts of data (including stats, scouting reports, video, contracts, and transactions) to the General Manager and other decision makers. In that role, I've been a software and database developer. In the other role, I've done many statistical studies that fall into two broad categories. A lot of the work we do is to try to find better ways to project future performance so we can identify players we would like to bring into the organization. The other broad category of studies is focused on trying to win more games by studying upcoming opponents and learning about the best tactics to use in different game situations. At any given time, I'll be doing more of one and less of the other, depending on the needs of the organization.

Matt: What statistic should be more emphasized to MLB teams?
Tom: Sorry, I can't answer that question. I wouldn't be doing my job if I shared my ideas with the teams we're competing against.

Well, that's the interview. Thanks again to Tom for his great answers and for the intro to Tom by Jacob Sturm! And tune in again soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."

Saturday, August 1, 2015

My Radio Appearance on 1590 WAKR 8/1/15

Hey baseball fans!

I was recently interviewed on Ray Horner's morning show on a radio station based in the Akron, Ohio area where I discuss my book and blog. If you want to check it out, just click here.

Thanks for listening to it and shoutout to the guys over in Ohio. And special thanks to Tony Mazur for arranging the interview. They're all very cool. Check back soon for more of "all the buzz on what wuzz."