I know this is going to come across as me picking on Delmon Young, because I do that a lot, but I honestly just thought this note from Ryan Lawrence of the Philadelphia Daily News was funny:
Young had a physical as apart of the routine of checking in. Young does not know how much he weighs.
“I don’t really go on the scale that much,” Young said Friday at Bright House Field. “I just see what clothes fit and see when I can go on the beach.”
Young then added that it’s too cold to go to the beach.
Young’s weight is a bigger topic than usual this season because his Phillies contract includes $100,000 incentives for each of six random weigh-ins this spring. Unless he can convince them to just pay the incentives based on how often his body image is good enough to feel comfortable hanging out at the beach, of course.
Note: I hope that doesn’t become a standard method for paying employees, however, because then I’ll have to blog for free. In my fat jeans.
I was curious about which MLB teams changed their fortunes the most this season compared to last year, so I crunched the numbers.
First, here are the biggest win total improvements from 2014 to 2015:
+10 Blue Jays
The top five teams on the biggest-improvement list all had managers in their first season on the job, led by Joe Maddon joining the Cubs after tons of success with the Rays. Also worth noting: Of the nine teams with the biggest win total improvement, eight made the playoffs. Only the Twins improved to double-digit games and still failed to make the playoffs.
Now, here are the biggest win total declines from 2014 to 2015:
Not surprisingly, a whole lot of those teams have changed managers, general managers, or both. And a couple more may still do so before the offseason gets underway. Oakland retained manager Bob Melvin despite an MLB-high 20-win dropoff and just promoted Billy Beane from general manager to vice president of baseball operations.
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.