Link-O-Rama: Bucknor behind plate for Game 2

Leave a comment

* After turning in an absolutely brutal performance last night as the first-base umpire in Game 1 of the Red Sox-Angels series, C.B. Bucknor will be calling balls and strikes in Game 2 tonight. Bucknor was voted baseball’s worst umpire several years ago in a Sports Illustrated poll and it’ll be a surprise if there aren’t some fireworks tonight.
* dug up the stats and found that home teams have a .540 winning percentage in the playoffs since 1995. During that same time home teams have a .539 winning percentage in the regular season. My guess is that conventional wisdom would say that homefield advantage is significantly more valuable in the postseason, but as is so often the case conventional wisdom would be off the mark.
* Unlike the Yankees benching Jorge Posada to give Jose Molina the Game 2 start as A.J. Burnett’s personal catcher, the Red Sox are sticking with Victor Martinez behind the plate despite Josh Beckett’s success working with Jason Varitek. Beckett has worked with Varitek in 83 of his last 90 starts and struggled in three outings with Martinez as his catcher.
* Former big leaguer Marcus Giles was arrested earlier this week and charged with domestic battery after police were called to his California home at three in the morning. Giles’ older brother, Brian Giles, has been accused of abusing his ex-girlfriend as part of a $10 million palimony case.

MLB games were six minutes shorter this year

Pitch Clock
Leave a comment

According to STATS, INC., the average game in 2015 was 2 hours, 56 minutes. That’s six minutes faster than games in 2014.

The gains came in the first half, when games averaged 2:53. Second half games averaged three hours even. One can probably thank the expanded rosters in September for that, as games then see many more pitching changes. Of course, it’s likely that second half games were faster in 2015 than 2014 as well given the rules changes.

Those changes: agreement to enforce the rule requiring a hitter to keep at least one foot in the batter’s box and the installation of clocks timing pitching changes and between-inning breaks in ever ballpark.

It remains to be seen if MLB stays satisfied with that modest improvement or if chooses to go the way Triple-A and Double-A leagues did. They installed 20-second pitch clocks and started penalizing violators with balls and strikes. Triple-A’s two leagues, the International and Pacific Leagues, saw game-time decreases by 13 and 16 minutes, respectively.

Billy Beane promoted to VP, David Forst named A’s general manager

billy beane getty

I’m so old I remember when general managers used to run baseball operations departments. Now they’re basically assistants.

The latest example: the Oakland Athletics have promoted Billy Beane to vice president of baseball operations and have named David Forst general manager. Forst has been with the A’s for 16 years and has been Beane’s assistant for 12 years, so it’s not exactly a situation in which Forst will be making the final calls. The official move came today, though the move has been in the works for some time, it seems.

Someone with a lot of good front office access is going to write a good story this winter about the title inflation going on in Major League Baseball over the past year. And it’s gonna be great when one of his or her sources breaks the pattern of saying “well, baseball transactions are so much more complex these days . . . ” and admits “hey, if Theo gets a fancy title and La Russa gets a fancy title I WANT A FANCY TITLE TOO.”

Not that it’s much of a secret as it is.