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    #51
    How do pitchers get to learn to bat. I'm guessing that anyone who makes it to the top knows which end to grasp, but most, if not all, will step out into NL ballparks having grown through the minors where it's DHing all the way. Is it just accepted they'll be a bit rubbish so tactics are adjusted accordingly and as they'll get so few at bats over the course of the season there's no real incentive to improve that aspect of their game. Any hit or run a bonus?

    I'm guessing Shohei Ohtani is a real outlier.

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      #52
      Most MLB pitchers will have been position players as well at least through high school. This is even more true now that pitch limits are near universal in North American youth baseball. Those talented enough to make the majors as pitchers are too valuable to their youth teams for them not to play in the field when they are not on the mound.

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        #53
        Most pitchers will have been basically all-rounders in high school, and probably the best hitter on their high school team at that. Occasionally you get good/great pitchers who can't really hit at all, like Sandy Koufax or Pedro Martinez, but most of them were pretty good. Just whatever club drafts them makes a call on what they'd project best as at the MLB level, and you go from there. They make mistakes too, George Brett and his family are adamant his oldest brother, Ken, was at least as good a hitter as George, but Ken had a 95mph fastball and the Red Sox fell for it. He was wild and struggled to develop effective off-speed pitches, and had a 14 year career of largely unfulfilled promise. As if to underscore the mistake, Kemer hit .262 for his career with 10 dingers, and was the last starting pitcher to be his own DH in an AL park until Madison Bumgarner did it a few years ago.

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          #54
          https://twitter.com/sfchronicle/status/1101589043043803137

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            #55
            Oh boy.

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              #56
              Baer has gone on leave while MLB investigates.

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                #57
                Originally posted by Flynnie View Post
                Most pitchers will have been basically all-rounders in high school, and probably the best hitter on their high school team at that. Occasionally you get good/great pitchers who can't really hit at all, like Sandy Koufax or Pedro Martinez, but most of them were pretty good. Just whatever club drafts them makes a call on what they'd project best as at the MLB level, and you go from there. They make mistakes too, George Brett and his family are adamant his oldest brother, Ken, was at least as good a hitter as George, but Ken had a 95mph fastball and the Red Sox fell for it. He was wild and struggled to develop effective off-speed pitches, and had a 14 year career of largely unfulfilled promise. As if to underscore the mistake, Kemer hit .262 for his career with 10 dingers, and was the last starting pitcher to be his own DH in an AL park until Madison Bumgarner did it a few years ago.
                It's unlikely a regular hitter/fielder could also be a starting pitcher in the majors. One's arm would be so strained from pitching that using it for fielding/hitting the other days would cause it to break down and/or make it harder to throw and it's unlikely that anybody could be so good at both that it would be worthwhile for the club to save that one roster spot with a two-way player rather than just have everybody focus on what they're best at. Not impossible, but unlikely.

                There are some players who start out in pro baseball as one thing and end up as the other. Some guys are catchers or outfielders because they have a naturally strong arm and when it turns out that they can't hit high minor league pitching, their club can help them turn into a pitcher, even if they've never pitched before. It sometimes works out. Like Jason Motte. Sometimes they switch and then switch back as they move to a different organization.
                Last edited by Hot Pepsi; 04-03-2019, 20:14.

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                  #58
                  Preach, Miggy:

                  Cabrera hears the ridicule, scorned by the same fans who wear his autographed jersey. He wrinkles his nose, shrugs his massive shoulders, and isn’t about to apologize.

                  And neither, he said, should Albert Pujols, Chris Davis, Robinson Cano, or anyone else with bloated contracts reviled by their own fanbases.

                  "I don't know why people get mad at us," Cabrera tells USA TODAY Sports. "They don't like it when we get money. Why weren't people mad the first five years when I wasn't getting paid?

                  "People can say I'm not worth this contract. They can say whatever they want, really. But they're not going to hurt my feelings.

                  "I'm not going to apologize. Why should anyone be sorry? I don't see any teams losing money. They all have it."
                  https://www.usatoday.com/story/sport...ry/3065272002/

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                    #59
                    Speaking of long-term contracts. The annual reminders about Bobby Bo's contract came up when Harper signed his deal. The Mets will still pay Bonilla for 3 more years after Harper's contract expires.

                    I know everyone is eagerly awaiting my annual picks that always end with the Dodgers winning the World Series but this year I think things are tight enough in the NL that I need to see where Keichel and Kimbrel land before figuring out my (likely incorrect) choices about the Central, the East, and the Wild Card teams.

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                      #60
                      Raleigh has officially decided it wants an MLB team.

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                        #61
                        Originally posted by jefe View Post
                        Raleigh has officially decided it wants an MLB team.
                        Did anyone ask them this, though?

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                          #62
                          I guess they see themselves as having a puncher's chance to be the other expansion team besides Montréal, whose ownership group have registered as lobbyists so they can lobby the government to sell them a piece of land in Peel Basin for a ballpark.

                          North Carolina's geography makes it a difficult place to land a team. The Research Triangle and Charlotte combined is easily big enough to support an MLB team, but split them together and they're two smaller-sized markets with a ton of transplants. And I'm sure the Braves will have something to say about it. It reminds me of how people sometimes float an MLB team for San Antonio or Austin, who if they were as close to each other as San Francisco and San Jose would be a very good candidate (probably better than the NC cities) but are justtttt far enough apart to be a real pain.

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                            #63
                            Would be a great way to wipe out two very healthy AAA clubs (Durham Bulls and Charlotte Knights).

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                              #64
                              The new team would probably be called the Durham Bulls. It's a very strong brand.

                              Charlotte is a bigger market. They should have put the Canes in Charlotte. That might still happen, though I suspect the Canes would rather extort a new rink out of Raleigh or Quebec or wherever than share with the Hornets.

                              But I don't think any of those likely to happen. The other one out there is Hampton Roads getting an NHL team or an MLB team - there's not really any there there but its the 37th largest metro area, ahead of Buffalo, New Orleans, and The Triangle, for example. And the DC wouldn't go for it.
                              Last edited by Hot Pepsi; 06-03-2019, 15:24.

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                                #65
                                Does Portland have any serious chances of getting a team?

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                                  #66
                                  They're one of the cities that teams unhappy with their stadium deal always threaten to move to and its bigger than a number of markets that have them, so it could happen, but my understanding is that Portland is never going to offer the public giveaways that owners expect these days.

                                  But somebody is trying, and they claim it's all privately funded, though the details on who is involved and who would pay for infrastructure.
                                  https://www.forbes.com/sites/maurybr.../#4770bc0fd61a

                                  I've also heard from people who've lived there that Portland really isn't a very good sports town. The Blazers and Timbers do ok because they appeal to the Dream of the 90's kind of people and there certainly is money in Portland to buy a few corporate boxes and what not. But expecting large numbers of Portlandians to put away their fixies in the summer to watch 82 baseball games might be an especially tough sell.

                                  As it is, the Timbers took over the AAA Beavers old site and then the plans for a new park for the Beavers fell apart. IIRC, the El Paso Chihuahuas are the current incarnation of that franchise, but its hard to keep track. It may be that the Beavers haven't been replaced because all of the potential investors and relevant politicians are holding out for an MLB team. Vegas had that problem for a while and I think that was part of the reason Charlotte Knights played in South Carolina for so many years, but they eventually got new deals done for new AAA stadiums.
                                  Last edited by Hot Pepsi; 06-03-2019, 20:55.

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                                    #67
                                    The Blazers have also been there for close to 50 years now. They’re probably the only team the likely declining number of blue collar native Portlandians really give a crap about, and so have a certain purchase and cachet.

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                                      #68
                                      I have not lived in North Carolina, and only been to Durham-Chapel Hill once, so don't know how people travel among the North Carolina cities discussed above. But I would think that the Tampa-St Pete situation should create some cause for concern. I lived in South Tampa when I lived in Tampa for 4 years (my first year was the Devil Ray's first year and USF's first football year). Living in South Tampa meant I was closer to the bridge to St. Pete. My best guess is that it took about 20 minutes for me to get from my house to the ballpark. I know people hate that stadium, and it did suck, but realistically the drive from most parts of Tampa to St Pete was minimal (1 hour max for people in surrounding suburbs to the North of North Tampa and to the West of downtown/Ybor). There was nothing else near the stadium and I don't know if that has changed. But it was clear that people weren't interested in traveling even though (again) the drives were short from surrounding cities. If the North Carolina cities have a similar population then baseball won't succeed there.

                                      The Montreal lobby is on and has been (look at the regular discussion on MLB Network and that documentary about the Expos that ran in the past). I would assume, as I've posted here before, that Mexico City is also on MLB's radar. Beyond that, I can't see them doing anything else in the US unless the Marlins or Rays fail and need to be moved. Then they would have to look to rapid growth cities.

                                      Here is a list of population sizes by market: https://www.moving.com/tips/the-top-...by-population/

                                      San Antonio is the largest market without an MLB team (going by this list).

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                                        #69
                                        Tom Seaver has dementia. This is catastrophic for New Yorkers of a certain age.

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                                          #70
                                          I hated him more than any other player of his era, but that is genuinely awful news.

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                                            #71
                                            Originally posted by danielmak View Post
                                            I have not lived in North Carolina, and only been to Durham-Chapel Hill once, so don't know how people travel among the North Carolina cities discussed above. But I would think that the Tampa-St Pete situation should create some cause for concern. I lived in South Tampa when I lived in Tampa for 4 years (my first year was the Devil Ray's first year and USF's first football year). Living in South Tampa meant I was closer to the bridge to St. Pete. My best guess is that it took about 20 minutes for me to get from my house to the ballpark. I know people hate that stadium, and it did suck, but realistically the drive from most parts of Tampa to St Pete was minimal (1 hour max for people in surrounding suburbs to the North of North Tampa and to the West of downtown/Ybor). There was nothing else near the stadium and I don't know if that has changed. But it was clear that people weren't interested in traveling even though (again) the drives were short from surrounding cities. If the North Carolina cities have a similar population then baseball won't succeed there.

                                            As I've mentioned before, Jonah Keri's book about the Rays turnaround, which I recommend to anyone interested in baseball or moneyball-type-stuff - cites a geographic analysis showing that the Rays' park is the hardest for people to get to within a half-hour drive of any MLB park. It's great for my brother and his family, who are fortunate enough to live in Old Northeast St. Pete (well, fortunate by Florida standards - hurricanes, termites, rats, feral boa constrictors etc are still an issue), but it is, as you say, hard to get to.


                                            The area around the Trop in St. Pete is actually pretty nice. Maybe it's changed since you were there. But I was there last year and that general area is kind of a hipster area. I don't know if it has the kinds of fan-oriented bars and what not that Fenway or Camden Yards has, but it's not a bad neighborhood overall. It's just hard to get to for most people.

                                            It would make sense if they could have a park close to where the Lightning play in Tampa. That seems to be the best location.

                                            Or maybe what we're seeing is that baseball is just hard to make work in cities that are too sprawling and public-transit-poor (my brother is literally in charge of St. Pete's public transit so I know about that). The Dodgers and, I guess, the Angels can do it because those cities are just so big that even if their parks are hard to get to, enough people are trying that they can fill them up. Atlanta and the Rangers have decided to just move the park to the transit-less sprawl. Aside from the obvious racial overtones to that, maybe that actually is their best bet, commercially. But those are bigger cities than TSP, so even if the park is relatively hard to get to, there are enough people who can manage it to make it work.

                                            These days, it is is especially hard to develop any kind of regional fanbase bringing in fans from further away that may only ever come to one game (or less) per season. Established smaller market teams (I mean, smaller than NY, LA, or Chicago) like the Cardinals, Twins, Reds, Pirates, etc. were able to build up regional fanbases over a big area with radio and then TV during an era where there was nothing else on TV during the summer but reruns. But to try to start that in the 21st century is a lot harder, especially in Florida where there are so many transplants and older people who aren't going to suddenly get on the bandwagon of a new team or spend a bunch of money to travel to see games.

                                            The Lightning have, at least in the last 20 years, been about as well-run an NHL team as one could hope for and they get good crowds in their building because it's a nice facility, the customer service is good, the team is usually good, and the overall presentation is great (the real organ, the Tesla coil things, etc.) But my understanding is that the Bolts TV ratings outside of the immediate area aren't that great. Of course, hockey in Florida is an inherently harder sell than baseball, but baseball has twice as many games and the Rays have to compete directly in a cap-less competition with the Yankees and Red Sox who have enormous cable TV deals.






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                                              #72
                                              Originally posted by Flynnie View Post
                                              Tom Seaver has dementia. This is catastrophic for New Yorkers of a certain age.
                                              I remember him as a Reds' pitcher, but I guess he was past his prime in those days and will always be a Met.
                                              That is terrible news, but it's just one more thing to remind us time is moving on. Baseball from the late 60s and 70s feels recent and modern because of the AstroTurf and colorful polyester uniforms and what not, but the the late 60s are as far away to us now as WWI was to then.

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                                                #73
                                                I've just discovered that there was a team called the Brooklyn Bridegrooms.

                                                I think we should go back to those kind of names

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                                                  #74
                                                  (I discovered this because for one season a player called Edward Silch played for them. Edward Silch is a perfect anagram for Chris Waddle)

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                                                    #75
                                                    The Bridegrooms were known later as the Superbas.



                                                    Dodgers was a major downgrade for the franchise.
                                                    Last edited by ursus arctos; 08-03-2019, 16:11.

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