On Thursday, Dusty Baker was introduced as the Washington Nationals' new manager. The 66-year-old former all-star outfielder was named manager of the year three times (1993, 1997, and 2000) with the San Francisco Giants (1993-2002), and then went on to lead the Chicago Cubs (2003-2006), and the Cincinnati Reds (2008-2013).Read more
Now that playoff baseball has returned with the onset of autumn, and baseball becomes more intense, more excellent, and more precious, I’m thinking again about Harvey Dorfman. Little known to most casual fans, he was one of the great men of baseball, for he taught his students and friends and all who knew him how to embody and appreciate the best qualities of the game and embody the best in their lives, too.Read more
I largely agree with Lee Smith’s take on the collision between Ruben Tejada and Chase Utley in the bottom of the 7th inning at beautiful Dodger Stadium on Saturday. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that Utley isn’t “to blame for Tejada’s injury”— to me, Utley’s excessively late slide deserves a strong portion of the blame—but Smith is right that Tejada’s awkward, too-late pirouette, and his related failure to get out of the way or off the ground, made him very vulnerable in a way that middle infielders are taught to avoid. This was a case where—unfortunately, both for the Mets and for Tejada’s health—extra effort didn’t pay off. (Utley’s slide was not too far wide of the bag—he could have touched it, although he didn’t.)Read more
The Washington Nationals ended the home campaign of their 2015 season on a high-note Monday with Max Scherzer taking a no-hitter into the 8th inning before giving up a single. Manager Matt Williams pulled Scherzer soon after, with the right-hander striking out ten and getting credit for the 5-1 win over the Reds.Read more
Baseball fans continue to pay their respects to Lawrence Peter Berra, aka “Yogi,” the legendary Yankees catcher, big league manager and coach, and homespun philosopher, who died Tuesday at age 90. “What I really liked about him is that he was such a stand-up guy,” one mourner standing outside the Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center in Little Falls, N.J.Read more
Nearly 14 years ago, President George W. Bush took to the mound at Yankee Stadium to throw out the ceremonial first pitch in Game 3 of the World Series. This was weeks after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and Bush's down-the-middle-strike was a triumphant moment that helped unite the country.
ESPN has produced a documentary short as part of its 30 for 30 series to commemorate the pitch. It's 24 minutes and worth the watch:Read more
The Yankees’s C.C. Sabathia is not having a stellar season. With a 4-9 record and a 5.24 ERA he could be forgiven for feeling a sense of frustration. Even one serious enough to get him into a near brawl with fans in, of all places, Toronto.Read more
The Washington Nationals’s winning streak ended Thursday night in Colorado. After two games. But when recent performance includes a six game losing streak that helped the team fall from first place, by 4 and a half games in their division, to trailing the Mets by four, then you take what you can get. With the loss last night putting an end to a 3-7 road trip, the Nats are plainly a team that is not hitting on all cylinders.Read more
Another big-headed candidate is running for president. And no, this one isn’t vying for the GOP nomination.
Instead, this new candidate raced along the warning track at Nationals Park last Friday night, competing against the likes of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, William Howard Taft, and Theodore Roosevelt in the Presidents Race.Read more
One of the great July 4th speeches was delivered by a shy man who played baseball for a living. Lou Gehrig played every day, never took a game off, until he was told, at age 35, that he was dying. More than 60,000 fans and former teammates came out to Yankee Stadium to honor him. Between the two games of the doubleheader, he came out of the Yankee’s dugout and stood, listening as former teammates spoke into the microphones that had been set up behind home plate. He was embarrassed enough by their words that he teared up.Read more
The Baltimore Orioles will play tomorrow's baseball game at an empty stadium. It will be closed to the public due to ongoing riots in Baltimore.
The baseball team announced the unusual move in a press release:
The Orioles tweeted out the announcement:
Orioles announcement regarding schedule changes pic.twitter.com/nwCDyqjzWsRead more
Most of us at The Weekly Standard are baseball fans. Like all human institutions we are imperfect, so we have a few colleagues who superciliously disdain sports, and a few others who vulgarly prefer football or basketball. But we ignore the naysayers and carpers in our midst. We’re proud to endorse the words of baseball pioneer Albert Goodwill Spalding:Read more
Gregg Ritchie, head coach at George Washington University, says that the Royals have more of their game-changers going into tonight’s game than the Giants do. With pitching, as my former GW teammate explains, the two clubs are basically even. Royals’ starter Jeremy Guthrie and his Giants counterpart Tim Hudson are pretty similar—right-handers whose top velocity is 90-92 mph, and who, as Ritchie says, change speeds up and down, making them plus-and-minus pitchers, rather than power pitchers.Read more
The fact that the Royals and the Giants have pushed the World Series to a game seven is evidence the two clubs are very evenly matched. Even tonight’s probable starters, Tim Hudson for the Giants and Jeremy Guthrie for the Royals, are similar style pitchers. Top velocity for both is around 90-92 miles per hour. They’re not power pitchers, but plus-and-minus pitchers, meaning they change speeds, up and down, to keep hitters off balance.Read more
Last week Gregg Ritchie, head baseball coach at George Washington University, was talking about what happens when a baseball team strikes out more than seven times in a game. The more you whiff the less chance you have of winning, explained Ritchie. Sunday night’s game showed just how accurate that theory is: The Royals struck out eight times against Giants’ ace Madison Bumgarner, meaning that for nearly three full innings the Royals failed to put the ball in play and force the Giants to make plays. “You have to make your own chances against a front-line pitcher like Bumgarner,” says Ritchie. And when you don’t, chances are that you’ll lose.Read more
Baseball heals. That’s the only way The Scrapbook can explain Keith Olbermann’s transformation. How else did Bush Derangement Syndrome’s patient zero wind up complimenting the 43rd president? After nearly a decade of insulting George W. Bush, Olbermann now says he’s a fan. Actually his praise was more specific. The onetime MSNBC commentator wasn’t recanting all his nastiness—he was just saying, as a baseball guy, that Bush knows his baseball, too.Read more
With the World Series opening tonight in Kansas City, the Giants are no doubt feeling their oats. They’re coming off of a three-homerun performance in their game five win over the St. Louis Cardinals, which landed them their third World Series appearance in five years. However, the Giants should be wary, for power is a fickle friend.Read more
Don’t be surprised if the Giants-Royals World Series is decided by 90 feet. After all, baseball is a series of contests for 90 feet—the distance from home to first, first to second, second to third, and third to home again. The two teams are bidding for the same property for nine innings, both when they’re at bat and in the field.Read more
The Kansas City Royals are hot. With eight straight wins in the postseason, the Royals have the air of a team of destiny. The reality of course is much less magical. The Kansas City club moved on to the World Series for the first time in 29 years not because of divine intervention but because they’re executing team fundamentals. They’re playing superior baseball. The Royals’ 2-1 victory Tuesday night was made possible by twice scoring runners from third with less than two outs. Last night’s 2-1 clincher was won in the first inning with a sacrifice bunt and a grounder to the right side of the infield.Read more
Sometime in mid-February, after the long winter, baseball fans are delighted to read, usually over a two-paragraph-long story buried beneath the fold in the sports pages, the tag line Pitchers and Catchers Report. They are reporting, of course, to spring training two or three weeks ahead of the rest of their teams, and the announcement bodes the first news of the lengthy and leisurely baseball season ahead.Read more
The Washington Nationals ended their regular season in spectacular fashion when 28-year-old ace Jordan Zimmerman pitched a no-hitter Sunday night. Even the final out wasn't without drama. Left fielder Stephen Souza made a miraculous diving catch on a pop fly to the outfield that secured Zimmerman's landmark game. Watch the video below:Read more
Maybe you won’t be surprised to hear that The Scrapbook wishes Keith Olbermann had never gotten into political commentary. But don’t misunderstand: The problem isn’t his terminal case of Bush Derangement Syndrome, or his feud with Bill O’Reilly, or his unintentionally hilarious and pompous policy pretensions. No, it’s that he took way too much time away from sports journalism, at which he excels, especially when it comes to baseball.Read more
Keith Olbermann’s derisive reference to the “designated kraken” reminds The Scrapbook of a classic anti-designated-hitter article by Christopher Caldwell, published in these pages in April 1998. Longtime readers may yet remember it: “A DHuMB Idea at 25.” It’s still a great read, all these years later, whether you care about baseball or not. Indeed, even the pro-DH heretics out there might enjoy the panache with which Caldwell goes after them. Here’s a sample:Read more
For the last couple years, the boss has recommended a few important speeches on and about July 4 from Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, and Lou Gehrig. All are worth revisiting, but earning special mention this year is Gehrig's July 4 farewell speech at Yankee Stadium. On this day 75 years ago, the first basemen retired from the game he loved in front of the fans who loved him.Read more
Recently at a funeral for a catcher dead too young at the age of 55, his college teammates recalled his showboating antics. One game, they recalled, the catcher homered his first time up. Watching the ball sail off into the distance, he tossed the bat away dramatically, embarked on an emphatic trot, and for the coup de grace sang out loud in his Boston accent, “Goodnight, Irene!”Read more
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