Sunday, June 16, 2013

Sunday Night Scorecard - Giants at Braves

- Please ESPN, no more Curt Schilling in the booth!  Kruk is bad enough, but when the two old guys get a'ramblin #getoffmylawn
- Freddie Freeman has a ridiculous name, and a great approach. Some call him the new Lyle Overbay, which I take to mean he was once mistaken by a 16 year old me as a made up player in a video game and will soon become a Blue Jay for me to love, until I wish for him to be gone. 
- When did the Giants get shitty? If Marco Scutaro is the glue holding everything better glue I guess?!
- Jokes aside, they really have nothing outside Posey with all the injuries #getwellsoonPanda
- Tim Lincecum's clone pitched in the 8th inning.  Apparently if you're a 33rd round draft pick, you don't get to eat from the team food table. Dude is 6'4 and 188lbs. I hope he spends his per diem on liquor and hot wings. 

**Another tip of the cap to Stevo-sama (@yoshiki89) for his free-to-use score sheets. Check out for the free download. 

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Kick a Man While He's Down

I make no attempt to hide the fact that I'm a Blue Jays fan, especially when I'm writing.  But more than that, I'm a fan of the game of baseball.

The direction that sports journalism is taking is a slippery that is remarkably close to the TMZ culture than down the middle reporting.  I make the choice to consume most of my sports news via blogs from friends, colleagues and their recommendations.  I also make a point to follow any writers that I've enjoyed in the past.  


Dirk, I've enjoyed your books.  Your website is really slick and it's admirable that you wear your heart on your sleeve and don't censor yourself.  But you've been beating the Ricky Romero is broken drum for almost a full calendar year.  After he blew up on May 8 in Tampa you spilled some digital ink about how he was ruined.

At that point, your opinion was more than clear.

I won't wax poetic about what he (or any writers anywhere) should be writing about.  Fortunately for me, twitter is an opt-in service and I'm in no way obliged to continue to follow his opinions.

The ups and downs of every season, no doubt, wear on everyone.  As a fan, it's easy for me to sit at home and watch the games while making quips about it on twitter or to my very tolerant wife.  I'm certain that sportswriters that are asked to write about every game and interact with the fans run out of things to say.  This particular brand of low-hanging fruit, on a day when the team he covers had an impressive win over a division rival, reeked of having an axe to grind.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


As a Jays fan, I tend to watch games using the away team feed.  I could voice complaints about Toronto's broadcasters (and many times I do so on twitter), but rather I like to become a "tourist" of other broadcast teams.

During last week's series vs. Kansas City I was struck by the comedy that their broadcast teams brings to broadcasts.  They don't seem to take themselves too seriously, and had no issue cracking jokes about R.A. Dickey's well manicured nails or Colby Rasmus' flowing locks.  Maybe it's just the tourist in me, but I can't help but think if Toronto's broadcasters showed the same kind of attitude it would be met with scorn and disdain.

By and large, my favourite broadcast teams stay out of the way.  Kind of like a great knows it's great, it doesn't need to remind you every time you take a drink.

During the current homestand, Toronto is playing the White Sox.  Buck Martinez or Hawk Harrelson...neither is great.  But the late night games (HOU vs. OAK and SD vs. LAD) are quite good.  It's a reminder that less is more...and talking all the time doesn't make you "SCHTRONGER"

Monday, April 1, 2013

Sunday Night Scorecard - Texas Rangers @ Houston Astros

I have embarked on a project to use a scorecard each Sunday night for the duration of the 2013 MLB Season for ESPN's Sunday Night broadcast.  In addition to learning the intricacies of the job of official scorer, this also means I will get to listen to my favourite non-Scully broadcaster at least once a week, Dan Shulman. 

Tonight's game between the Rangers and Astros should have been a wash, at least, on paper.  But as everyone was reminded tonight, you can't predict baseball.  

Bud Norris was solid twice through the line-up, yet seemed to struggle with command for the majority of the evening.  His three walks were the product of his lack of command of his fastball.  Over the course of the evening (especially to Nelson Cruz) he was able to spot his slider on the black, but the fastball was dancing all over the strike zone.  

More impressive through 5 innings was Matt Harrison.  Eight strikeouts (many of the embarrassing variety), 2 earned runs, and he looked to be in control.  

For both pitchers, things unraveled in the 6th.  Bud Norris issued a lead-off walk, and then Lance Berkman had a 1 out single.  RBI singles to David Murphy and Nelson Cruz spelled the end of Norris' evening, opening the door for "Proven Closer" Erik Bedard. 
For Harrison, he got the first two outs with relative ease, but after issuing walks to Justin Maxwell and Matt Dominguez left 2 runners on with 2 outs.  Then pinch hitter Rick Ankiel kicked off the party in Houston by depositing a ball into the right field bleachers.  

All of this romance and storytelling doesn't in fact show up in a scorecard.  Fortunately, neither does John Kruk's moderately obnoxious demeanor. 

Other notable's from this game:
This was win #4000 for the Astros franchise, along with their first win in the American League
Houston manager Bo Porter got win #1 on Sunday
Erik Bedard, listed as the 5th starter for the Astros, got his first career save by pitching 3.1 innings of 1 hit ball.

Biggest lesson I learned tonight, thanks to @drewgrof, @dlbno, @whatadewitt and @organicallyrude, the numerical position for the designated hitter is "0".  

Now I present, the score cards.  If anyone has suggestions please leave them in the comments, as this is a work in progress.  

*I'd like to thank Steve from The Baseball Enthusiast for his publicly available scorecards.  He's put together quite a collection of scoring materials that he graciously has available for free download on his site.  He can be found on twitter @yoshiki89

Friday, March 29, 2013

3 Most Interesting Teams in MLB

In 2013 there is no doubt that I will be consuming Baseball games at an historic rate.  As a Jays fan hope springs eternal, but frankly, there's only so much of any one team you can watch.

I have three teams that I'm deeming my "3 Most Interesting Teams in MLB" for this season.

1. Houston Astros
About a year ago I cancelled my ESPN Insider subscription.  The writing was beginning to go the way of their television programming in that it was more character driven than content driven.  At that time there was also a free weekend on Baseball Prospectus.  I lived on this site for more hours than I care to remember, but it was frightening how much these guys knew about baseball.  This led me to listening to the Up And In Podcast (RIP).
BP is responsible for my interest in the Astros.  Mike Fast and his catcher framing statistics, Kevin Goldstein and his loathe of khakis and sandals and Juff Luhnow's record that still stands with the strength of the St. Louis Cardinals...all reasons to watch.

Make no mistake, it won't be pretty, but I've resigned to consume Astros games to watch this rebuild in real-time.  If for no other reason, their new uniforms are worth checking out too.

2. Chicago Cubs
2012 End-of-Season Rotation - Travis Wood, Justin Germano, Chris Volstad, Chris Rusin, Jason Berken
2013 Starting Rotation - Jeff Samardzija, Edwin Jackson, Scott Feldman, *Travis Wood, *Carlos Villanueva
(*Starting season on DL - Matt Garza, Scott Baker)

The Cubs won't be a good team in 2013, but they also won't be a bad team.  We'll get to watch a full season of Anthony Rizzo, Starlin Castro's continued maturation into a fantastic shortstop and young players like Brett Jackson and Josh Vitters prove their stock which made them high draft picks in the past.

3. Pittsburgh Pirates
In 2011 my wife and I had planned a trip to New York for a weekend to watch musicals and baseball games.  It was a holiday that only ran into one road block.  COST!!
We looked at other options, and I managed to talk her into a low budget trip to Pittsburgh.  Expectations were incredibly low as we checked into our modest hotel room and called a cab to take us to PNC Park to see the Pirates/Brewers game.  The cab arrived and it was black and yellow...I remarked "the cabs are the same colours as the Pirates", then we went over a black and yellow bridge, passed a black and yellow Police car and stopped in front of Heinz Field (home of the Steelers) which radiated black and yellow from the 65,000+ painted seats.  "Holy crap...the whole city is black and yellow!"

This is a silly reason to watch a baseball team, so I'll give you others...Andrew McCutchen, Neil Walker and Pedro Alvarez.  They're a good team, playing in a tough division and despite not having had a winning season in 20 years, they have a loyal fan base who continue to come out to the ball park.

But really, this is about my trip to Pittsburgh.  You can't have that much fun in a city and not jump on their sports bandwagon.  Seriously...these sandwiches, and this beer...get in the car and go now.  

Friday, July 29, 2011

You're My Boy Brett

Last summer, I watched a lot of baseball. Shocking, I'm sure.
Working for a baseball team affords you the privilege of having access to games after your shifts, on your days off and the best part is that it costs less.

Without proper records (or ticket stubs to check), lets say I went to watch 15 games on days I had off. That is, 15 complete, 9 inning games of Blue Jays baseball. Brett Cecil had 11 home starts, and I think I saw them all.

This wasn't on purpose. It was entirely coincidental. But the joke (started by my wife) was that I had a man crush on Brett Cecil. While I went with the joke, it wasn't hard to get excited about watching a pitcher be as good as he was in 2010.

But in 2011...Brett wasn't as good. As jokes go...well, I ended my man crush. I moved on...hell, there were so many exciting players. Kyle Drabek had my attention, as did Brandon Morrow and Jose Bautista. All the while, Brett was down in AAA figuring out where his velocity and swagger went.

Now Brett is back! I watched his start in Texas when he shut them out and got pretty excited. Tonight I was in the building and watched him be equally as dominant in defeating the very same Texas club.

So I whole-heartedly welcome you back. It's damn good to see you again...and while it's a little awkward right won't be for long if you keep pitching like this.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

What Today Really Means To Me

I started playing organized baseball in 1991. I remember that year watching the Jays be pretty good, and watching Jack Morris pitch a 10 inning shutout in Game 7 of the World Series for the Minnesota Twins.

On Barrie Minor Baseball sign up day, my coach asked me what number I wanted to wear and I said 3...because the best baseball player I'd ever heard of was Babe Ruth (tip of the cap to the movie The Sandlot, because otherwise I wouldn't have known that.

That same year, the Blue Jays pulled off a deal with the San Diego Padres that sent Tony Fernandez and Fred McGriff to the coast for Joe Carter and Roberto Alomar. A pretty gutsy trade by a General Manager that would go on to become the architect of 2 championship teams in Toronto and one other in Philadelphia, and now Hall of Famer, Pat Gillick.

After watching Alomar on television all year in 1991, in 1992 at baseball sign ups, when #3 wasn't available, the choice was obvious, I was going to be #12 because Roberto Alomar was the greatest player I'd ever seen play the game.

I won't go on about how good he was for 5 years in Toronto. There'll be enough of that on the internet today. But I wanted to be there in Cooperstown today, and damn near got in the car and drove down last night (but was talked out of it by my loving and wonderful wife for fear of me not sleeping enough).

As a Jays fan, it'll be a long time before this happens again. Read every article, watch every video and if you have it, pop in the '92 and '93 World Series videos and watch them.

Robbie, you were the best player I'd ever seen. I grew up during a special time in baseball with players across baseball like Alomar, Gwynn, Molitor, Ripken, Yount and George Brett serving as my role models. I'll never forget pulling up on the couch and watching as much as I could, no matter what game, or what teams.

Every time I put on a jersey, I'll always wear #12 proudly. Not because I'm particularly good, but because I'm proud to have seen Roberto Alomar at his best, and those old videos never get old.

You're the best, and congratulations!