Author: Craig Calcaterra


What is baseball’s most hopeless franchise?


Being hopeless isn’t just about losing. That’s why it’s not the Astros or Cubs. It’s not about expectations, which is why the Yankees aren’t there. It isn’t about fan anger, bad front office decisions and missed opportunities. That’s what keeps the Phillies out of the list. And it’s not about being cursed.

Nope: it takes a special mixture of losing and team circumstances. Which is why, according to Grant Brisbee at SB Nation, the Colorado Rockies are the most hopeless franchise in baseball.

Go check out his reasoning, which is hard to argue with. He also touches on the relative hopelessness of some of those other franchises mentioned above.


Mike Aviles is suffering through concussion symptoms

Screen Shot 2014-09-04 at 4.53.51 PM
1 Comment

The Indians are still technically in contention, but this news about Mike Aviles doesn’t make things any easier:

Aviles left Monday’s game after he made a diving catch and felt light-headed and dizzy.

Aviles is no All-Star, but he has played six different positions of the Indians this year, giving Terry Francona a lot of depth. Luckily it’s September and expanded rosters can help alleviate that a bit.

Homer Bailey to have surgery on his flexor tendon tomorrow

Homer Bailey

The Reds have announced it:

The Reds and Bailey were going back and forth between Bailey undergoing surgery or getting a second platelet-rich plasma injection and embarking on a strengthening and conditioning program. Surgery won.

Bailey was 9-5 in 23 starts this year with an ERA of 3.71. He is not certain to be ready for the start of next season as a result of the surgery, though he wouldn’t be expected to miss a huge part of the year either. That’s a different arm surgery.

The Yankees intend to offer Brian Cashman a new contract

Brian Cashman Getty

Jon Heyman reports that the Yankees intend to offer GM Brian Cashman a new contract. Why?

Yankees higher-ups are impressed with Cashman’s in-season pickups, including starterBrandon McCarthy, infielder/outfielder Martin Prado and third baseman Chase Headley, and sources say they fairly don’t blame him for the underperformance of some of their established veteran hitters . . .

All of that is true. The offseason pickups like Beltran and McCann seemed smart at the time. And it’s certainly not his fault that CC Sabathia and Masahiro Tanaka were injured.

One wonders who the Yankees blame for the team not developing any position players of note in several years, but it apparently is not Cashman. Or, if it is, they’re willing to overlook it.

Enforcing the rules “ruined” baseball? Huh. How about that.

Strike zone

There’s an article over at The Atlantic that makes a good observation: since the introduction of Pitch f/x and its attendant camera-aided Zone Evaluation (ZE) system which tracks missed calls after each game and judges umpires by their accuracy, strikeouts have gone way up and offense has gone down. Why?

Before cameras, it turned out, umpires had been ignoring strikes around the knees. Pitches between 18 and 30 inches above the plate, which are technically in the strike zone, had been called balls for years. But the presence of cameras encouraged umpires to lower the strike zone . . . a lower strike zone invited more low pitches, more low strikes, and more strike outs. These variables on their own explain a good chunk of baseball’s offensive drought.


The conclusion, in the form of the article’s headline:


That’s funny. Because the way I read it, what allegedly “ruined” baseball here is a more accurate enforcement of its strike zone as defined.

Which really means that nothing has been “ruined” at all. Because baseball can, if it wants to, change the strike zone. It has many, many times in its history and, if it deems that offense has been reduced to unacceptable extremes, it can simply raise or shrink the zone.  But I guess a story entitled “The simple technology that improved umpiring but which led to an unintended consequence which can easily be remedied” doesn’t really grab the reader.

Personally, I want umpires to call an accurate zone. Whether that results in offense going up or down I don’t care, because that can be dealt with in many ways. But having umpires call balls balls and strikes strikes is pretty damn important. As far as that goes, Pitch f/x and Zone Evaluation have helped baseball, not ruined it.