ILBaseball Kickass Media 2018

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Looking it up, it does not look like there has been a new baseball media thread posted for '18.

This article about Dave Parker and the Pirate 1973 spring-training after Roberto Clemente's death is a great read. Well worth reading if a big fan of 70s baseball.

earlnash, Thursday, 22 March 2018 21:41 (eight months ago) Permalink

We’re excited to announce the launch of our new #SABR Oral History Collection website. Listen to hundreds of @MLB players’ stories in their own voices:

— SABR (@sabr) March 28, 2018

mookieproof, Wednesday, 28 March 2018 16:51 (eight months ago) Permalink

one month passes...

this is pretty otm, and also features a wicked pitcher gif

The problem with Major League Baseball is that players are too good at baseball

mookieproof, Saturday, 19 May 2018 03:37 (six months ago) Permalink

"In all of sports, there may not be a worse ratio of effort to return than the catcher backing up first base. Maybe the kick coverage team in Denver."

❤️'ed this @TBrownYahoo piece on baseball's most thankless fundamental

— Kevin Kaduk (@KevinKaduk) May 23, 2018

mookieproof, Wednesday, 23 May 2018 16:29 (six months ago) Permalink

This story about former Tiger Mickey Lolich is worth a read.

earlnash, Sunday, 3 June 2018 10:52 (six months ago) Permalink

Lolich's Old Hoss Radbourn impersonation in 1971 is something else.

45 starts, 376 IP, including:

34 starts where he pitches into the 8th
5 starts where he pitches into extra innings
Complete game streaks of 8 and 5

No pitch counts. Guessing he threw 5,500-6,000 pitches that year.

clemenza, Sunday, 3 June 2018 14:11 (six months ago) Permalink

EW interview with Tigers '70s fireman John Hiller on smoking, drinking and surviving mid-career heart attack(s)

the ignatius rock of ignorance (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 7 June 2018 21:08 (six months ago) Permalink

thought this was an interesting look at umps calling or not calling batters who don't try to avoid getting hit by pitches

na (NA), Wednesday, 13 June 2018 21:01 (six months ago) Permalink

lol joc pederson

mookieproof, Wednesday, 13 June 2018 21:37 (six months ago) Permalink

What happens as baseball players age?

mookieproof, Wednesday, 27 June 2018 19:11 (five months ago) Permalink

one month passes...

pondering recent social media events in a larger context

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Monday, 30 July 2018 16:43 (four months ago) Permalink

Dallas Green and Larry Bowa, real quality assholes

otoh, you kinda hafta know what scabbing means in that environment

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Tuesday, 7 August 2018 19:06 (four months ago) Permalink

With batting averages around the league dropping to .248, the lowest figure since 1972, conditions have almost never been better for Mendoza Lining. At the same time, baseball’s love affair with batting average has waned considerably since the early 1970s, and we’re down to few, if any, front offices that can be categorized as batting-average obsessives.

There haven’t been three Mendoza achievers since 1968, but the 2018 campaign has a real chance of equaling that feat or perhaps even surpassing it. Three qualifying batters currently stand below .200, with another three hitting .205 or worse.

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Tuesday, 7 August 2018 19:07 (four months ago) Permalink

two months pass...

let's ~visualize~ some pitches

mookieproof, Friday, 12 October 2018 18:59 (two months ago) Permalink

also, The worst team I ever covered

Gene Wojciechowski, ESPN

For pure daily dread, there was nothing like covering the 1986 California Angels for the LA Times. Mike Penner was the lead beat reporter, I was the backup. It was a team with Hall of Famers (Reggie Jackson, Don Sutton), troubled souls (Donnie Moore), odd souls (Brian Downing) and legends (manager Gene Mauch). But if you showed any weakness at all -- and I mean the least bit of sensitivity or defensiveness -- the fellas in that clubhouse would feed you into the wood chip machine.

When Reggie misplayed a line drive during a game, I wrote that the only way he'd win a Gold Glove is if he sprayed painted it himself. The next day I made sure to stand near the batting cage so he could see me and vent. Reggie tore into me so loudly and passionately that the Red Sox players came from their clubhouse to watch the spectacle. At one point he said he ought to kick my ass, and I stupidly said something like, "Well, let's do it then." Like I said, you couldn't back down to those guys -- even if it meant humiliation in front of two big-league lineups and the stadium ushers.

Mauch eventually stepped in, but the truth is, I took a shot at Reggie, so it was only right that he could take a shot at me.

That was the same year a beat reporter for one of the other papers burst into Mauch's office after Mauch had concluded his postgame interview. The reporter pleaded with Mauch to talk to him, said that he was up against deadline. Mauch looked at the reporter and said, "There are two things I don't give a shit about: tits on a man, and your deadline." But he gave the guy the interview.

I covered the 1996 Cubs for the Chicago Tribune. Sammy Sosa, Mark Grace, Scott Servais, Doug Glanville, Luis Gonzalez, Jim Riggleman as the manager. Sosa was becoming His Samminess, which is to say, insufferable. Gracie, Servais, Glanville, Gonzo were stand-up guys. The last time they were in first was May 13th, and then they began the slow slide into irrelevancy. Late in the season, the Tribune pulled me off the Cubs and assigned me to the Summer Olympics in Atlanta. So on my last day covering the team, I stopped by the lockers of a few of the players who had been especially helpful to me during the season. When I got to Grace's locker, he was sipping on a postgame beer and staring at the ground.

"Gracie, just wanted to thank you for everything," I said.

He looked up. "Where in the hell are you going?'"

"They're pulling me off to cover the Olympics."

Grace took a swig from the beer, and then, his voice softening, said, "Can I come too?"

Richard Justice,

Terry Kennedy, a catcher with the 1988 Orioles -- you know them as the 0-21 1988 Orioles -- had just finished his interview for an MLB Network documentary on the team when I showed up at the Valley Ho Hotel in Scottsdale, Arizona last spring and settled into the chair he'd just occupied.

I noticed a folded towel on the floor in front of the chair.

"Do you want me to put my feet on this towel," I asked a producer.

"When (Kennedy) started reliving that season, he would start pounding the floor with his feet," the producer said. "We put the towel down there so the sound wouldn't be picked up by the cameras."

Months later, I asked Kennedy, a scout for the Cubs, about this.

"Yeah," he said, "that's something you don't get over."

Fred Lynn, the centerfielder, told the filmmakers that this was his first interview about 1988, and that it would be his last.

Such is the pain still associated with a baseball team that had maybe the most embarrassing three weeks ever.


Think about that. Roll it over in your mind. 0-21 does not happen. Ever. It can't. It did. These Orioles were not tanking. On Opening Day, they believed they would be competitive.

That was before outfielder Jim Dwyer arrived in Chicago with a pizza with ingredients in the outline of a crucifix. That was before President Reagan telephoned manager Frank Robinson to say, "Frank, I know what you're going through."

"Mr. President," Frank said, "with all due respect, you have no idea."

That tidbit was delivered by Frank himself at the end of dinner with the beat writers -- Tim Kurkjian of the Baltimore Morning Sun, Ken Rosenthal of the Baltimore Evening Sun and me, then with the Washington Post -- in Minneapolis.

The Orioles were 0-18 at the time, and the team had now attracted a playoff-size media throng to chronicle every misplay, every strikeout.

During that dinner, Frank had painfully gone through his roster player by player and when he finished, Kurkjian said, "So, Frank, you're saying you hate all your players except for the two Ripkens (Cal and Billy)?"

Frank shrugged.

When things got bad -- eight losses? nine? A dozen? -- general manager Roland Hemond had his previous employer, the Chicago White Sox, ship him the framed, champagne-soaked suit he'd worn for a 1983 clinching party.

Did I mention Opening Day? Frank was not the manager. Cal Ripken Sr. was the man with the lineup card, although he'd last just six games, getting one of the quickest pink slips in history.

The Brewers had beaten the Orioles 12-0 in front of a record crowd of 52,395 at Memorial Stadium. That day, the O's revealed plenty about themselves by letting a runner score from second on an infield hit, allowing a steal of home and watching four pitchers allow 16 hits, throw two wild pitches, walk five and hit two.

"The positive thing is that we're going to show up Wednesday and the score will be 0-0," Ripken Sr. said.

True enough. On Wednesday, the Orioles took a 1-0 lead into the sixth inning, but lost 3-1. That was the first of a series of excruciating losses in those opening weeks -- 3-0, 4-3, 3-2, 1-0 (in 11 innings), 4-3. You get the picture. There was also 12-1, 13-1, 9-3.

Here's what makes no sense. The 1988 Orioles believed they could contend. They had a pair of future Hall of Famers in Eddie Murray and Cal Ripken. Lynn was one of the best outfielders of his generation. Mike Boddicker and Scott McGregor had been rotation mainstays who helped the O's win the World Series five years earlier. And they were just lousy.

But there were touching moments, too. One of those happened on May 2nd when the Orioles -- 1-23 at the time -- were welcomed back to Memorial Stadium by a sellout crowd of 50,402.

To understand this phenomenon, you have to understand Baltimore. It has never been like other major league cities. It has always had a small town style and attitude.

Those O's, as bad as they were, were our O's. In a pre-game ceremony that night, Maryland Governor William Donald Schaefer and O's owner Edward Bennett Williams announced an agreement to fund what would become Oriole Park at Camden Yards, the retro-modern ballpark that began a wave of traditional ballparks with modern amenities. If Camden Yards was the Orioles contribution to baseball in 1988, then it was a wildly successful season.

Williams would lose a 10-year battle against cancer later the season, and so this would be the final time he would see his O's play in person. I waited in a hallway when he began to make his way out of the park. I wanted to say thanks.

I'm pretty sure I would have gotten hired by the Washington Post whether he'd liked me or not. But his recommendation of me to his buddy, Ben Bradlee, the legendary editor, did not hurt.

We shook hands, chatted briefly, and that was that. A few days later, his team president, Larry Lucchino, showed up at his home to show him a redesigned hat the Orioles were thinking of wearing in 1989.

"Rome is burning, and you're showing me a hat?" Williams asked, probably only half-serious.

By then, he knew he would not be around for another Opening Day. He would have loved the 1989 Orioles. Losing 107 times in 1988 forced the franchise to do an organizational reboot, and by Opening Day 1989 they were much younger and much more entertaining.

When the 1989 schedule was released with the O's opening against the Red Sox, Dan Shaughnessy of the Boston Globe wrote: "Guaranteed no-hitter for Roger Clemens."

The Orioles rallied to win 5-4 in 11 innings that day and were off and running on an 87-75 season in which they very nearly went from worst to first. That season was so much fun and offered so much hope for the future that some of the sting of 1988 was eased.

But it will always live in the hearts and minds of plenty of people. Just ask Terry Kennedy.

Frank Isola, The Athletic

My first ever beat was the 1993 Mets. I was young, inexperienced and basically had no idea what I was getting myself into. Luckily I had Joe Sexton from The New York Times, the best combination of writer and reporter I've ever been around, to lean on. He had a feeling the Mets would struggle, but I'm not sure he had them losing 103 games. A complete train wreck.

That spring Bob Klapisch and John Harper's book, "The Worst Team Money Could Buy," about the 1992 team was released. In early April, Bobby Bonilla confronted Klapisch and threatened him with "I'll show you the Bronx." That was the same season when Bret Saberhagen shot bleach from a Super Soaker at reporters. Vince Coleman accidentally injured Dwight Gooden with a golf club while swinging it in the clubhouse. Later in the season, while in a car, Coleman injured three fans when he tossed a firecracker toward a crowd of autograph seekers outside Dodger Stadium. He never played again for the Mets.

They were a bad team with some bad apples. A couple of things stick out. Chico Walker would always talk about a young nephew who he was sure would one day make it in the NBA. That nephew? Antoine Walker. Also, on Labor Day weekend, the Mets called up one of their top prospects, Butch Huskey. In his debut, Huskey faced the late Daryl Kile, who threw a no-hitter. Huskey struck out three times. Chico Walker said that in the second inning Eddie Murray told him, "this guy has no-hit stuff tonight." I also covered the 2005-06 Knicks. Larry Brown was the coach. Stephon Marbury was the point guard. Isiah Thomas the team president. Jim Dolan the owner. Enough said. It was a soap opera. Easiest year I've ever had. The stories wrote themselves. It was a surreal 82 games of which they won 23.

Pedro Gomez, ESPN

The 1995 Oakland A's have zero reason to be remembered. They began circling the drain from Day 1 -- a 13-1 loss at Toronto -- and wound up in last place in the American League West. I was a beat writer covering the club for the Sacramento Bee and from the beginning it was a bizarre year. Like every other club in the majors, the A's had two spring trainings; one with replacement players, who owners swore were going to take the field on opening day before they realized their error in judgement, and then the abbreviated spring training with real major leaguers once the labor dispute was resolved. The A's had just gone through a transition of their own, having been sold by the benevolent Levi Strauss heir Walter Haas Jr. to a group headed by Steve Schott, who was once described by a Bay Area columnist as Steve "Hey Is That A Quarter In The Gutter?" Schott.

The A's were just a few seasons removed from being the kings of baseball, averaging more than 97 wins per season from 1988 to 1992 and reaching the postseason four times, the World Series three times and winning a championship in that span. Now the kings of swagger, who once strolled into cities with an attitude that basically said, we're going to take your girlfriends, were the dregs of baseball. It was the nadir in the career of Hall of Fame manager Tony La Russa, as strong a managerial presence in the game during the previous decade, now reduced to trying to defend Schott and propping up a roster he knew had little chance of accomplishing anything.

This group was a mix of veterans who were dying on the vine and young players who wound up with no more than a handful of big league games on their resumes. La Russa wanted to be anywhere but here. Veteran starters like Dave Stewart and Ron Darling were released during the season, never to pitch again. Darling's release was especially painful since La Russa called him into his office to give him the bad news on August 19. Unbeknownst to La Russa, it was Darling's 35th birthday. Dennis Eckersley would never pitch for Oakland again.

The players were often ornery, with the always courteous Stewart uncharacteristically curt at times. Todd Stottlemyre, the ace of the staff, got into a shouting match with a radio reporter in the clubhouse one day that escalated to the point where it seriously looked like a punch might be thrown. Mark McGwire would be traded the next season and his heir-apparent, Jason Giambi, was a fun-loving rookie who didn't know any better. But the A's, at least the way they had become known the previous half-dozen years, were gone for good, replaced by bottom-feeders.

David O'Brien, The Athletic

Near the end of 1998 spring training, Florida Marlins manager Jim Leyland sat behind the desk in his office at Space Coast Stadium in Melbourne, Fla., smoking a cigarette and talking shop with a few writers who covered the team. He lowered his gravelly voice and told us he was going to say something that we couldn't use.

"We," he said, "are going to get slaughtered."

We laughed. He did not.

"I'm serious," he said. "This may be the worst pitching staff ever assembled."

That was the unofficial start to the season for the worst baseball team I've covered in 24 years as a major league beat writer. The 54-108 Marlins of 1998, otherwise known as the remnants of the '97 World Series champions. Then-owner Wayne Huizenga, planning to sell the team, had ordered general manager Dave Dombrowski to slash a $53.5 million payroll to less than $20 million.

Huizenga, the late Florida billionaire, decided by midseason 1997 to sell when attendance didn't climb as he anticipated after an offseason spending spree that brought Moises Alou, Bobby Bonilla, Alex Fernandez and Leyland to a team that had signed pitchers Kevin Brown and Al Leiter a year before, and after giving Gary Sheffield a six-year, $61 million extension in the first week of the 1997 season.

By the time the Marlins won the '97 NL wild card – on the way to winning the World Series in the franchise's fifth year – several veterans met with Huizenga and urged him not to blow up the roster, to give them a chance to make another run since all key members of the team were signed to multi-year deals. But he had already made up his mind. They won the World Series knowing the team would be broken up.

Edgar Renteria drove in Craig Counsell with the winning run in the 11th inning of World Series Game 7 against Cleveland on Oct. 26, 1997, and by Christmas Dombrowski had already traded Alou, Brown, Robb Nen, Devon White, Jeff Conine, Dennis Cook, Kurt Abbott and others.

Dombrowksi wasn't able to trade Sheffield and his big contract that winter after Sheffield's modest 1997 performance, but on May 14 he packaged Sheffield with Bonilla, Jim Eisenreich, Charles Johnson and young pitcher Manny Barrios and sent them to the Dodgers in a deal that brought future Hall of Famer Mike Piazza and Todd Zeile to Florida. It was a brief stop for Piazza, traded eight days later to the Mets.

Renteria, Counsell and World Series MVP Livan Hernandez weren't traded because they were young and inexpensive, as were rookie first baseman Derrek Lee, rookie second baseman Luis Castillo, and outfielders Cliff Floyd and rookie Mark Kotsay. Primary starters at four of eight positions were 23 or younger, and the team opened with a starting rotation of Hernandez, converted reliever Felix Heredia and rookies Brian Meadows, Rafael Medina and Eric Ludwick.

Leyland had nine pitchers make at least six starts, including seven aged 23 or younger. Some were rushed to the majors far sooner than they should've been; some were fringe prospects at best and would barely pitch in the majors again.

Ryan Dempster went on to have a 16-year career including 67 wins and 87 saves during nine seasons with the Cubs. But in 1997 he was a 21-year-old kid rushed to the majors with barely any experience above Single-A and that summer he fought back tears when sent back down after going 1-5 with a 7.08 ERA for the Marlins. Hernandez, the Opening Day starter, went 10-12 with a 4.72 ERA, 104 walks and 37 homers allowed in 234 1/3 innings. He was 23.

The Marlins beat the Cubs on Opening Day, then lost their next 10. They finished 52 games out of first place and won eight or fewer games in four of six full months, twice losing 20 in a month. They were outscored by 256 runs. Floyd (22 home runs), Lee (17) and Kotsay (11) were the only Marlins to hit more than seven homers.

They went 0-9 against the Giants, 0-9 against the Brewers, 2-7 against the Cubs and didn't have a winning record against any NL opponent. They were 22-53 after the All-Star break, getting outscored 445-299. Rookie Jesus Sanchez never pitched above Double-A before his debut with the Marlins in 1998. In his 12th start, he gave up a monster homer to Mark McGwire at old Busch Stadium in St. Louis, an estimated 545-foot drive that was the longest McGwire hit during his record-breaking 70-homer season.

It was during that series that Leyland made a comment about how he felt bad for many of the young, in-over-their-heads pitchers. "They're a great group of guys, the kind you want to take out to dinner – and then release them," Leyland joked.

At least I think he was joking.

Teddy Greenstein, Chicago Tribune

The 2002 Cubs were a miserable bunch, bad enough to saddle three managers with losing records: Don Baylor (34-49), Rene Lachemann (0-1) and Bruce Kimm (33-45). My coverage reflected that anguish, apparently.

Something I wrote got under the skin of utility man Chris Stynes, who retaliated one day during batting practice at Wrigley Field by lobbing baseballs at my feet from the outfield. INCOMING!

I heard Delino DeShields was ticked at me so I approached him and asked: Are we cool? He stared me down, saying nothing until I slinked away.

The coup de grace came in the season's final week. I heard that Joe Girardi had turned off Sammy Sosa's boom box, an act many viewed as daring and rebellious. Girardi downplayed it, telling me he had a migraine and Sosa wasn't around. I told him I wouldn't make a big deal of it. I made it the lead item in my Cubs notes, expecting it to run on page 5.

Instead, it ran on the Chicago Tribune's sports front – with the headline "LOONEY TUNES AT WRIGLEY FIELD"

I walked into the clubhouse the next morning, and Sosa grabbed my shoulder, saying: "What the fuck was that?!" Even Girardi, my fellow Northwestern buddy, shunned me. I remember approaching Kerry Wood and asking: Do you have a second for Mr. F-cking Popularity? He did.

A pleasant postscript, though: The next time I saw Girardi, he said the incident gave him cred in the industry, as in: You stood up to Sammy. 'Bout time someone did.

And this was weird: My future wife and I were out in St. Louis after a Cubs game. At the bar, I noticed a familiar face. I looked at her and mouthed: CHRIS STYNES. He approached us. We chit-chatted. He showed us his drivers' license photo with wild, Sideshow Bob hair. And we never spoke of whatever prompted him to chuck those baseballs at me.

mookieproof, Friday, 12 October 2018 19:37 (two months ago) Permalink

Don't know if this is any good--James linked to it.

clemenza, Saturday, 13 October 2018 21:26 (two months ago) Permalink

two weeks pass...
one month passes...

rough but powerful read. feels weird referring to it as "kickass media"

na (NA), Thursday, 6 December 2018 15:21 (one week ago) Permalink

wow, that was not what i expected.

Mad Piratical (The Cursed Return of the Dastardly Thermo Thinwall), Thursday, 6 December 2018 16:15 (one week ago) Permalink

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