Brent Mayne's pants are on fire

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Brent Mayne.jpgUPDATE: Mayne has corrected the record.

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I was lovin’ former catcher Brent Mayne’s blog. And I still am, but I just discovered that he’s tellin’ lies.

In his latest entry he decides to come clean and admit that he once told a hitter what pitch was coming. It was J.T. Snow.  Here’s Mayne’s story:

It was my second year in the Bigs and we were playing the Yankees in
Kansas City towards the end of the season. Neither team had much to
play for and JT was one of the expanded roster call-ups for the Yanks . . . I wandered out to talk to the pitcher (I can’t remember who it was.) On
my way back, as I past JT to squat down, I mumbled at him “fastball
outside.” He promptly drilled a double to left field and that was that.
Like I said, that’s probably not why he got his first hit, he may have
been too nervous to even hear me. Then again, maybe that IS how he got his first hit and maybe I’M responsible for his whole career.

I love stories like that!  Sadly, however, it appears to be a complete and total fabrication.  Well, maybe that’s overstating things. J.T. Snow did make his major league debut with the Yankees against the Royals at the end of a season.  It’s just everything after that which is wrong.

  • Snow did hit three doubles against the Royals in his career, but none of those fit Mayne’s descriptions either. The first one came in 1993 while he was with the Angels. But Mayne
    didn’t catch in that game
    , Mike MacFarlane did. The second came in 1996, but Mayne wasn’t on the Royals anymore. He was on the Mets.


  • Snow did eventually hit a double against the Royals while Mayne was catching. It happened during an interleague game in 2003 while Snow was with the Giants.  Sadly, it doesn’t fit Mayne’s description either. The double came on the third pitch, not the first, and it was pulled down the right field line, not hit the opposite way like he says.


  • Snow’s first hit of any kind against the Royals with Mayne behind the plate came on June 24, 1993. It was a single on 2-0 count with the Angels down 6 runs in the 9th inning. Given the score I suppose that could have been a tipped pitch, but we’re getting pretty far afield from Mayne’s story here.

Look, I’m not trying to embarrass Mayne here. His blog is a blast, and this particular post is almost 100% redeemed by the reference to “The Jerk” at the end.  But still, one of the things that makes it hard to make any progress in analyzing and commenting on baseball is that there’s 150 years of accumulated baloney floating around that everyone takes as gospel.

Stuff like Mayne’s story is harmless, but how much of the rest of it isn’t, and how much history and insight have we lost because people have chosen to believe the myths instead of the facts, even if it’s understandable that they’ve done so?

Study: West teams at a disadvantage due to jet lag

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL - JULY 14:  A Delta airlines plane is seen as it comes in for a landing at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on July 14, 2016 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Delta Air Lines Inc. reported that their second quarter earnings rose a better-than-expected 4.1%, and also announced that they decided to reduce its United States to Britian capacity on its winter schedule because of foreign currency issues and the economic uncertainty from Brexit.  (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
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Every year, when the schedules are released, we often hear about the teams that have it worst. Almost always, those teams are West teams. According to MLB.com, teams in the West division of their respective leagues had the top eight most travel-heavy schedules in 2016. The full list:

Team League Division Miles
Mariners AL West 47,704
Angels AL West 44,945
Athletics AL West 42,119
Rangers AL West 41,128
Dodgers NL West 40,294
Giants NL West 39,341
Astros AL West 38,553
Padres NL West 37,363
Rays AL East 36,916
Red Sox AL East 36,896
D-Backs NL West 35,312
Yankees AL East 35,252
Marlins NL East 35,226
Rockies NL West 33,287
Blue Jays AL East 32,895
Orioles AL East 32,322
Braves NL East 29,236
Royals AL Central 29,077
Twins AL Central 28,948
Phillies NL East 28,351
Mets NL East 26,832
White Sox AL Central 26,538
Cardinals NL Central 26,451
Pirates NL Central 26,134
Brewers NL Central 25,620
Tigers AL Central 25,450
Indians AL Central 25,176
Reds NL Central 25,108
Nationals NL East 24,664
Cubs NL Central 24,271

The averages by division:

  • AL East: 34,856 miles
  • AL Central: 25,176
  • AL West: 42,890
  • NL East: 28,862
  • NL Central: 25,517
  • NL West: 37,119

The maps aren’t up for 2017 yet, but rest assured that West teams will once again have it worst. It’s easy to see why, taking a look at the map on MLB.com. If you draw a line to split Texas in half and go straight up through North Dakota, there are only eight teams to the left of that line, leaving the other 23 condensed on the right side. When West teams aren’t playing intra-division games, they are traveling. That’s often not the case for East and Central teams. The Phillies and Pirates, for example, don’t even have to leave the state to play each other.

As Gizmodo points out, a study published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found a link between jet lag and performance. Sleep scientist Ravi Allada of Northwestern University analyzed 4,919 games, finding that teams that traveled East performed worse than those that traveled West. Allada and his colleagues adjusted for home field advantage and park effects.

Specifically, teams that traveled from the West to the East lost more often than East teams traveling West. They gave up more runs and scored less runs. They hit for a lower batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage. They gave up more home runs, accounting for most of the decline in run prevention.

There was a peculiar finding. Allada found that jet lagged home teams performed worse than jet lagged visiting teams. He hypothesizes that “teams may be more cognizant of their schedules when traveling away, thus mitigating jet lag effects,” he told Gizmodo.

The Braves ask Cobb County for $14 million more

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The Braves’ new ballpark in Cobb County Georgia is the gift that keeps on taking.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that the Braves have asked Cobb County for $14 million for roads, walkways and other pedestrian improvements around the stadium the team has already paid for but which it says the county is responsible. The county says it’s not responsible for them and that it has already paid nearly $70 million for transportation improvements around the ballpark, including on privately-owned property in the mixed-use development.

The reason this isn’t settled: at the time the deal between the county and the team was struck, there was a provision for the county to pay for $14 million for certain improvements. The Braves, this past September, told the county that it wants to be reimbursed for these projects under that provision and that the $70 million the county has already spent shouldn’t count. For reasons, I guess. It’s a bit complicated, but the AJC story lays it out pretty well. The upshot seems to be “why didn’t the Braves say they wanted the county to pay for these things long ago?”

The answer to that question, I suspect, is “because the Braves have been treated as entitled corporate welfare recipients since this deal was announced and they have learned that they can get away with almost anything.”