Baseball Articles

Here Comes Dusty Baker

5:04 PM, Nov 05, 2015

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).

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Life Coach

Lee Smith on the man behind the mound
Oct 26, 2015

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.

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Instant Replay Did in the Mets

The on-field umps got it right.
3:13 PM, Oct 12, 2015

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.)

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In Defense of the Chase Utley Slide

6:22 AM, Oct 12, 2015

Last night Major League Baseball’s chief baseball officer, Joe Torre announced that Dodgers infielder Chase Utley was suspended for game three and four of the National League Division Series.

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What You Have to Do to Get Fired in Washington

4:17 PM, Oct 05, 2015

Mismanaging a baseball team will do it.

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The Nats’ Bad Season: Blame Mike Rizzo, Not Matt Williams

A fish rots from the head.
3:11 PM, Sep 30, 2015

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.

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The Greatest Catcher Who Ever Lived

Yogi Berra, 1925-2015.
2:02 PM, Sep 24, 2015

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.

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ESPN Remembers 'The Pitch'

10:04 AM, Sep 11, 2015

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:

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This Will Help . . . Right?

1:46 PM, Aug 27, 2015

The Boston Red Sox are nearing the end of a woeful season, running last in their division, thirteen-and-a-half out of first, leaving the taste of wormwood and gall in the mouth of every member of Red Sox nation. 

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Poor Excuse for a Brawl

1:59 PM, Aug 21, 2015

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. 

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It's How They Fold

9:33 AM, Aug 21, 2015

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.

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Coolidge 2016?

12:36 PM, Jul 06, 2015

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. 

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One of the Great 4th of July Speeches

3:04 PM, Jul 04, 2015

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.

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Closed to the Public: Orioles to Play Game in Empty Stadium

1:55 PM, Apr 28, 2015

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

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Waiting for Bumgarner

Nov 10, 2014

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:

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Royals and Giants Have Their ‘Game-Changers’ Ready to Go For Game Seven

October baseball notebook.
6:38 PM, Oct 29, 2014

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.

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How the Royals Built a Winner in Kansas City This Year—With Speed

October baseball notebook.
4:34 PM, Oct 29, 2014

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.

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Don’t Look at the Ball—If You Really Want to Understand Baseball

October baseball notebook.
6:23 PM, Oct 28, 2014

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.

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The Old Olbermann

Oct 27, 2014

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.

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This World Series Is Pre-Steroid Baseball

October baseball notebook.
3:15 PM, Oct 24, 2014

Now with the Royals tying the World Series Wednesday night 1-1, things are really getting hot: Two San Francisco radio stations have removed the song “Royals” from their play lists.

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Forget The Three-Run Homer—Just Strike Out Less

October baseball notebook.
11:10 AM, Oct 21, 2014

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.

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October Baseball Notebook: The War for Ninety Feet

1:40 PM, Oct 17, 2014

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.

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October Baseball Notebook

The Kansas City Royals are not a team of destiny—they just execute team fundamentals.
3:14 PM, Oct 16, 2014

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.

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Summer of My Discontent

Joseph Epstein; a fan's notes.
Oct 13, 2014

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.

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Souza Saves No-Hitter for Zimmerman

Just like Yaz in '67.
1:23 PM, Sep 29, 2014

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:

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Pro-Keith (for Once)

Aug 11, 2014

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.

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While We’re At It

Aug 11, 2014

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:

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'The Luckiest Man' at 75

5:00 AM, Jul 04, 2014

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.

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Manny Ramirez Goes The Distance

2:01 PM, Jul 01, 2014

Last night, Manny Ramirez hit his first home run as a member of the Cubs—not the Chicago Cubs, but the Iowa Cubs.

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Relishing the Hot Dog

Former big-league pitcher Dirk Hayhurst tears apart baseball’s unwritten rules.
11:05 AM, Jun 06, 2014

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!”

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