Time


The Game of Baseball is measured in memory, in the senses…in the mind. An accumulation of this is what baseball is all about. In the hurry hurry and rushy rushy of today’s world, some forget that baseball was never in a rush to complete. In the world focused on Millennial behavior and the never ending try to capture them in the sales cycle, some have said that the game has to speed up. Saul Steinberg said, ‘Baseball is an allegorical play about America, a poetic, complex and subtle play of courage, fear, good luck, mistakes, patience about fate, and sober self-esteem.’

For many Millennials, they are too impatient and too busy to understand any of this. But all of this is about attracting Millennials. A 2015 study by Microsoft revealed that the average person’s attention span in this wild world of technology and social media is down to eight seconds, which is less than that of a goldfish.

What are the facts about baseball and the length of the game. Yesterday, Saturday, May 20, 2017, of the thirteen games played (two were postponed, one for rain and the other out no rain https://www.facebook.com/Overtheshouldermlb/) the average time of the game was 3 hours and 0 minutes. The longest was the Yankees v Rays which took 3:50 and the shortest was the Indians v Astros which took 2:35. So if you were in Tampa Bay, you were at the ballpark an hour and fifteen minutes longer than in Houston. But as Humphrey Bogart said, ‘A hot dog at the ballgame beats roast beef at the Ritz’. Perhaps Millennials don’t appreciate all that nitrate. NOTICE: Hot dogs don’t have nitrate in them anymore.

But what about the other major sports. In 2016, the average MLB game ran 2:56. The average NFL game ran 3:07. The Average NBA game ran 2:59. Only the average NHL game was decidedly less with games averaging 2:30.

Babe Ruth said, ‘Baseball changes through the years. It get milder’. This should be a reminder to all of us who are fans that changes come to the games slower than most sports. While there is still 90’ between bases, there are designated hitters today in the American League. While a mark of excellence in starting pitchers was once finishing a complete game, for many pitchers today, it is getting through 6 innings that mark a ‘quality start’. No more crashing into the catcher at home. Shifts, defensively, are everywhere.

Perhaps baseball is not made for the Millennial mind. Perhaps it never was. It is the time when you are building careers, new relationships, families, personal responsibilities. But when people find a time when they have to find a place to get away from all of the maddening crowd, they go to baseball, where time is not a factor. It is a place where memories are built. Dad’s and Mom’s bring their young children to the ballpark and the cycle of fandom begins anew. ‘This is a gem to be savored, not gulped. There’s time to discuss everything between pitches or between innings’, Bill Veeck told us. Families actually get to know each other at the ballpark.

Ken Burns noted, ‘Nothing in our daily life offers more of the comfort of continuity, the generational connection of belonging to a vast and complicated American family, the powerful sense of home, the freedom from time’s constraints, and the great gift of accumulated memory than does our National Pastime.’

On this date in 1943, the Chicago White Sox topped the Washington Senators 1-0 in one hour and 29 minutes. Today that would cause indigestion.

Play Ball!

Facebook Hits It Out Of The Park


Facebook on Thursday announced a partnership with MLB that will bring 20 baseball games to the social media network. The games are free for all viewers and will air live each Friday, beginning with today’s match between the Colorado Rockies and the Cincinnati Reds. #dailydiaryofscreens 🇺🇸🇬🇧🇦🇺💻📱📺🎬🌎🗺️

Everybody Is Even

Photo Credit: © Lance Hanish 2017 all rights reserved


All of the fresh bats are in the racks. The new gloves have been broken in with weeks of catching in Spring Training. Now the marathon known as a Major League Baseball season is upon us.

Six teams begin today. The New York Yankees visit Tampa Bay Rays; the San Francisco Giants meet the Arizona Diamondbacks and the World Champion Chicago Cubs begin their season visiting their biggest rival, the Saint Louis Cardinals.

This is probably one of the most exciting days of the year. All of the hopes of fans everywhere is at its highest.

There is only one thing to say….

The Milwaukee Brewers won’t win the pennant.

A fan favorite, Scooter Gennett has been let go to division rival Cincinnati. The National League home run leader in 2016, was let go. An All-Star catcher and his defensively skilled back-up were traded. While all of this happened, the Cream City Nine brought in two new first basemen; a new third baseman and a partridge in a pear tree.

But, they got younger.

Yet they still have, through no fault of their own, one of the finest baseball players to ever play the game, Ryan Braun.

He is an absolute gem.

While rival fans love to trash him for his past problems with PEDs and of course his lying about taking performance enhancing drugs, fans of Pigsville, love this guy. He has a regime like few in the game. He is the consummate professional. At the plate, he is rarely off-balance. And he can hit the ball out of the ballpark nearly everywhere in the strike zone. His fielding and arm are exemplary. He is the last of the players from the great teams of the early ‘00s. He is their only All-Star left.

After ten years, here is what he has done on the field:
He’s played in 1,354 games with 1,597 hits.
He has banged 317 doubles, 43 triples and 285 home runs.
He has driven in 937 RBI, stolen 181 bases, walked 473 times while striking out 1,070 times while compiling a .304 batting average with an OBP of .367; a slugging percentage of .544 and an OPS of .910. On defense, he has 225 assists and only 47 errors (26 of which were in his first season at 3B) in 10 years with a fielding percentage of .981.

He is a six (6) time All-Star and did you know that he actually was #23 in the MVP last season?

In the history of the game, he compares with Hack Wilson.

At the age of 32, he compares with Lance Berkman and Larry Walker in hitting.

Is he the greatest player in Milwaukee Brewer history?

There is Robin Yount. And Paul Molitor. Cecil Cooper. Prince Fielder.

All he has to do is play another ten years and perhaps he will have number 8 up on the ring at Miller Park.

Tomorrow he will hit the field. In the meantime, as we said, baseball is a marathon.

It’s April 2, 2017. Now it’s time to

Play Ball!

Baseball Rebirth

During the past two weeks, while most sports fans were watching college basketball’s conference tournaments, the NCAA first round of March Madness, the first night of the second round of March madness, golf from Florida, NASCAR, motorcycle racing, boxing, WWE, the Premiere League, NBA Basketball and NHL Hockey, there was something that was exceptional happening in the world of sport. Some of the best players in the world were playing baseball for their home nations or for nations someone in their family might have a hereditary line, were playing baseball behind a flag. The WBC this year is exceptional.

For those who have been watching these games, from Korea, Japan, Mexico, Miami and San Diego, the game progressed to mid-season form in a hurry.

Last night in San Diego, with everything on the line for the defending champion, Dominican Republic and the United States, baseball was reborn. In front of a packed stadium at Petco Park, the feeling was electric. Could the USA come back and beat the team who had defeated them in Miami after giving up a big lead last week? Could anyone get the tremendous players from DR out? There were 23 All-Stars on both teams for one game. And something happened.

This was big time, Major League Baseball at its very best. The crowd was in it. In fact, the crowd was one of the loudest one could imagine. But, three plays stood out to make this one of the most amazing games you could ever want to see. And perhaps that was the point. You go to a game in hopes that you see something you can talk about for a long time to come. Then it happens. Not once. Not twice. But three times.

The first was the incredible pressure the Dominican team puts on its opponents. There is one basher after another. There is not space to take a breath. And in the first inning, as the home team, they began pounding the ball. But as it again happened in the second inning and the fifth inning, somehow the USA team stopped what could have ended the game as it had in Miami a week before. Solid pitching and solid defense stopped the DR in its tracks. Danny Duffey’s great pitching and a terrific tag of Nelson Cruz at home by catcher Jonathon Lucroy with a fine throw to him by Brandon Crawford, kept DR at bay in Mission Bay.

The second was an unbelievable force of one Giancarlo Stanton. The ‘Adonis of Miami’ absolutely crushed a baseball which took off faster than one could imagine to give the USA a huge lift and the lead. An unbelievable speed of a ball being hit into the warehouse in left field went out faster than Staton could complete his swing. If in all the time you spend watching baseball, here is a memory nugget you can keep forever. Wow!

Then the third made this game an important turning point for the game. This WBC showed off big time baseball at its very best. And this is a memory nugget you will never forget. The incomparable Manuel Arturo ‘Manny’ Machada hit a blast to deep center field and as if time stood still in the marine layer, Adam Jones, the centerfielder for the Baltimore Orioles, raced to the fence and leaped way over the wall to make one of the best catches in the history of the game. Electric. Unbelievable. Fantastic. The Golden Memory Nugget. The pitcher mouthing ‘Oh My God’. But it is what happened a moment later that made this the great game and gave rebirth to the new era of baseball. Muchada while rounding first acknowledged Jones great athletic feat by his regular season teammate by doffing his cap to him as he headed back to the dugout on third base. In return, silently while a tumultuous roar of the crowd, tipped his hat in return to his teammate for saluting him.

This is when baseball was reborn in the hearts of the old who love the game, in the hearts of the fathers who take their sons and daughters to the game and to the young people who packed the stadium and watched on television what a great game can be as a fabric of their lives today and into the future.

This is baseball.

This is why it is so important.

Play Ball!

It’s Empty Now.


There is a promise in the air which begins with hope. The air in the morning is warmer than what you would expect at this time of the year. The same traffic one would expect from snow birds filling up the roads and freeways are the norm. But there is a different sound in the air.

It is not a ping from the golf courses, nor the sound of another automobile crash as that snow bird didn’t go right on read (its the law down here) as a local citizen banged into snow coast driver. No. It is the sound of a ‘pop’ as the ball hits the glove…not a ‘wack’ yet….just a mild ‘pop’ with the milling sounds of baseball language muffled in the air of conversations. ‘Hey, baby. Hey, baby.’ ‘That’s it. Get it in there.’ ‘My glove is tight. Got to get it flexed out.’ ‘Hum baby hum.’ Grunts and groans are customary as the kinks are beginning to work out. Laughter is heard as the players are back home…in their spring homes…on a practice field at a spring training camp.

This is not only a rite of spring, this maybe the right for spring as attention turns away from all of the political wrangling as the sounds and sights of delight present it self once again in Florida. The Major League teams have their pitchers and catchers reporting this week. And that brings us to that great word ‘hope’. There are smiles on faces, young and old. It is a time for, as ESPN anchors might say, ‘positivity’.

For many, living in San Diego or Oakland, Seattle or Phoenix, in Denver or Minneapolis, in Milwaukee and the South side of Chicago, in Cincinnati or Pittsburgh or even Philadelphia, in Atlanta or Tampa, in Miami or in Orange County California, hope is eternal. There is promise, promise from all of those cities owners that this year the rebuilding is going according to plan, or that this is the year that there will be a breakthrough, but in reality, most of the citizenry in these great areas hang onto hope. Let’s face it, Las Vegas odds are 100-1 that the Reds, Braves, Padres or Brewers will win the NL Pennant. For some reason, the D’Backs and Phillies are only 50-1. Go figure. Over in the AL, the White Sox are 100-1 while the Athletics, Rays and Twins are 50 to 1 to win their Pennant.

Now believe it or not, they say the Angels are 25-1 and that Mariners are 15-1.

On the other hand, the Red Sox are expected to win the AL Pennant as 5-2 odds are placed in their camp. In the NL, the defending World Series Champion Chicago Cubs (almost an oxymoron) have 7-4 odds with the Dodgers 7-2.

So you can see what an important day this will be during the coming week as Spring Training arrives.

Hope will be in the air everywhere.

Play Ball!

Programs Here! Can’t Tell The Players Without A Program.


Sadly, no more. There are no more hawkers in the stadiums shouting out, ‘Programs. Programs Here! Can’t Tell The Players Without A Program.’ It is a sound that has passed, like coins dropping in a coin operated telephone in a telephone booth or the ring of a landline phone in the home.

This year, the fans of the Cream City ball club could use the sound of the program hawker. For the money-pinching owners of Pigsville’s Nine, most fans will have trouble knowing who’s on first, what’s on second or I don’t knows on third.

For the record, the first baseman is Eric Thames. ‘Who?’ Eric Thames. Elig temjeuneun nugu-ibnikka? (‘에릭 템즈는 누구입니까?’). He’ll make $4,000,000 and is taking over for Chris Carter who made $2.5 million last season but was headed for arbitration which could have earned him $8+ million. After all, he was the National League Home Run champion. Thus, in the Brewers way of thinking, they saved $4+ million. You have to understand Brewer thinking. They save $4 million and gained 30 points in a batting average. Yet that is all hypothetical because Mr. Thames has been hitting against Korean baseball league pitching for the last three years. 오 좋은! Wow!
At second will be Jonathan Villar. ‘What?’ He is taking over from Scooter. Villar’s salary will be $512,900.
At third will be Travis Shaw. ‘I don’t know’. Shaw? He will earn $515,000.
At shortstop will be Orlando Arcia. ‘I don’t give a damn’ will earn $507,500.
In left will be one of the few we know…Ryan Braun, if he isn’t traded in the next couple of months before he reaches his ability to block any trade starting in late May, when he becomes a 10-year veteran who has spent his past five seasons with his current team. He will earn $20 million.
In center, Keon Broxton. ‘Hit like the second half of last season’ will earn $508,500.
In right, Domingo Santana. ‘Don’t Get Hurt Santana’ will earn $513,800.
Catching will be Andrew Susac. Not ‘today’. But this season, Susac, who replaced Maldonado who replaced Lucroy, will be making $507,500.

Compared to last year’s starting lineup, this year’s projected edition will save approximately $4.5 million less than last year. In fact, according to SPOTRAC, the Milwaukee Brewers will have the third lowest 25 man roster salary in the entire Major League. It is estimated that the team salary will be $41.175 million. Watch out, San Diego and Tampa. Milwaukee is coming after your cheap crown.

They have traded away one of the best catchers in baseball for somebody. They have traded away a veteran third baseman for somebody. They have released the National League’s home run champion for nobody.

If they trade away Braun, they will fly by the San Diego and Tampa and threaten the Salt Lake City Bees for salary.

What an accomplishment.

The Cream City Nine’s owner, who has never won a pennant much less a World Series title, will threaten most of the top Major League owners in profit. He knows that the Milwaukee fans will pack the stadium for Tiddlywinks. OK. That may be a stretch, but ‘program hawkers’ will be needed. Perhaps they can have a ‘Tiddlywinks Night’ to introduce all of the new faces.

We’ll be watching, Mr. Attanasio. We’ll be watching.

Play Ball!

#watchingattanasio

The Curious Travels Of Mr Carter


He is a huge man. The soon to be 30 year old is 6’4″ and near 250 lbs. When he comes to the batter’s box, his shadow precedes him to plate nearly as soon as he steps out of the dugout. Nearly everyone looks up to him. He is massive. And his power is impressive. It is not often that opposing players come out to view the other team’s batting practice. But they do to see Mr Carter pound ball after ball into the stands.

In his seven years in the Big Leagues, he has hit 150 home runs in 688 games. That means that 21.8% of the games in which he bats, the ball leaves the yard. In fan terms that means he lofts one each series. Wow!

The home run has always been the ‘hit of choice’ for the fans since Babe recreated baseball in the ’20s. In 2.503 games, the ‘Sultan of Swat’ banged 714 home runs. For the stat geeks, that a lofty 28.5% of the games he played in, the crowd stood and cheered for another home run.

No. Mr. Carter is no Babe Ruth. The problem is Mr. Carter is on his way to another team. It will be is fourth team in eight years. And he is the National League Home Run Champion. Yet the lowly Milwaukee Brewers don’t want to pay for such power and gave him his papers. They are replacing him with a Korean League first baseman.

Why?

Mr. Carter strikes out a lot. He has led the league in strike outs twice, including this past season. He has struck out 875 times in 688 games (that’s 1.27/game). Fans do not like strike outs. He did that 206 times last season, setting a Brewers’ record. Babe did that less than 1 per game (0.82/game).

In Milwaukee, there is a legacy of great first baseman. From George Scott to Cecil Cooper, Richie Sexson to Prince Fielder, this is the standard of excellence any first baseman in Cream City has to measure up to.

Prince 998 games 230 home runs 656 RBI 779 KOs .929 OPS (7 years)
Sexson 534 games 133 home runs 398 RBI 528 KOs .902 OPS (4 years)
Cooper 1490 games 241 home runs 944 RBI 721 KOs .809 OPS (11 years)
Scott 782 games 115 home runs 463 RBI 529 KOs .798 OPS (5 years)

69 Minchner 140 games 25 home runs 78 RBI 69 KOs .829 OPS
70 Hegan 148 games 11 home runs 52 RBI 116 KOs .701 OPS
71 Briggs 125 games 21 home runs 59 RBI 79 KOs .845 OPS
72 Scott 152 games 20 home runs 88 RBI 130 KOs .746 OPS
73 Scott 158 games 24 home runs 107 RBI 94 KOs .858 OPS
74 Scott 158 games 17 home runs 82 RBI 90 KOs .777 OPS
75 Scott 158 games 38 home runs 109 RBI 97 KOs .857 OPS
76 Scott 156 games 18 home runs 77 RBI 118 KOs .748 OPS
77 Cooper 160 games 20 home runs 78 RBI 110 KOs .789 OPS
78 Cooper 107 games 13 home runs 54 RBI 72 KOs .833 OPS
79 Cooper 150 games 24 home runs 106 RBI 77 KOs .872 OPS
80 Cooper 153 games 25 home runs 122 RBI 42 KOs .926 OPS
81 Cooper 106 games 12 home runs 60 RBI 30 KOs .858 OPS
82 Cooper 155 games 32 home runs 121 RBI 53 KOs .870 OPS
83 Cooper 160 games 30 home runs 126 RBI 63 KOs .849 OPS
84 Cooper 148 games 11 home runs 67 RBI 59 KOs .693 OPS
85 Cooper 154 games 16 home runs 99 RBI 77 KOs .779 OPS
86 Cooper 134 games 12 home runs 75 RBI 87 KOs .682 OPS
87 Brock 141 games 13 home runs 85 RBI 63 KOs .809 OPS
88 Brock 115 games 6 home runs 50 RBI 48 KOs .649 OPS
89 Brock 107 games 12 home runs 52 RBI 49 KOs .750 OPS
90 Brock 127 games 7 home runs 50 RBI 45 KOs .692 OPS
91 Stubbs 103 games 11 home runs 38 RBI 71 KOs .641 OPS
92 Stubbs 92 games 9 home runs 42 RBI 68 KOs .665 OPS
93 Jaha 153 games 19 home runs 70 RBI 109 KOs .753 OPS
94 Jaha 89 games 12 home runs 34 RBI 75 KOs .412 OPS
95 Jaha 88 games 20 home runs 65 RBI 66 KOs .968 OPS
96 Jaha 148 games 30 home runs 118 RBI 118 KOs .941 OPS
97 Nilsson 156 games 20 home runs 81 RBI 88 KOs .798 OPS
98 Jaha 73 games 7 home runs 38 RBI 66 KOs .709 OPS
99 Loretta 153 games 5 home runs 67 RBI 59 KOs .744 OPS
00 Sexson 57 games 14 home runs 47 RBI 63 KOs .957 OPS
01 Sexson 158 games 45 home runs 125 RBI 60 KOs .889 OPS
02 Sexson 157 games 29 home runs 102 RBI 136 KOs .867 OPS
03 Sexson 162 games 45 home runs 124 RBI 151 KOs .927 OPS
04 Overbay 159 games 16 home runs 87 RBI 128 KOs .863 OPS
05 Overbay 158 games 19 home runs 72 RBI 98 KOs .816 OPS
06 Fielder 157 games 28 home runs 81 RBI 125 KOs .831 OPS
07 Fielder 158 games 50 home runs 119 RBI 121 KOs 1.013 OPS
08 Fielder 159 games 34 home runs 102 RBI 132 KOs .879 OPS
09 Fielder 162 games 46 home runs 141 RBI 138 KOs 1.014 OPS
10 Fielder 161 games 32 home runs 83 RBI 138 KOs .871 OPS
11 Fielder 162 games 38 home runs 120 RBI 106 KOs .981 OPS
12 Hart 149 games 30 home runs 83 RBI 151 KOs .841 OPS
13 Francisco 89 games 13 home runs 32 RBI 95 KOs .733 OPS
14 Reynolds 130 games 22 home runs 45 RBI 122 KOs .681 OPS
15 Lind 149 games 20 home runs 87 RBI 100 KOs .820 OPS
16 Carter 160 games 41 home runs 94 RBI 206 KOs .821 OPS

The Cream City Nine was at its best when it had a great first baseman. Both Cooper and Fielder led their teams to the post season. Both were the heart of their teams.

With Mr Carter moving on, this team is looking for their heart once again.

Play Ball!