Star Wars Day


64223693_10219629157587479_6597912108526993408_oThis past Saturday was “Star  Wars Day” at the Washington Nationals. It seems like nearly every Major and Minor League team hosts a Star Wars Day during the season, many occurring on or near May the 4th. This one, however, was worth waiting for – especially for the Obi-Sean Kenobi bobblehead! Check out the pics below, including that one of Lando Calrissian as part of the grounds crew. (All photos by Michael George.)

~ baseballrebecca

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Scenes from a Nats Game: The Traditions


DSCN8879The thing that led me to become a baseball sociologist is the simple fact that each team and ballpark has their own distinct personality. Part of that is the traditions that occur at the park. At Nats Park, traditions include the President’s Race, a stupid cheer (“Nats, Nats, Nats, Woo!”), singing stupid songs at the 7th inning (like “Take on Me” by A-ha), showing up late, and roaming around the stadium not really paying attention to the game. I caught several of these on camera at the game I attended last week.

Saluting the military:

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The presidents and the Presidents’ Race:

 

The bullpen cart that almost nobody rides in (but it still zooms around the park anyway):

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Standing around chatting, not paying attention to the game, and blocking the view for those of us who actually want to watch the game:

 

 

Only at Nats Park!

~ baseballrebecca

 

 

The Fresno Grizzlies Have One of the Coolest Giveaways of the Year


Every once in awhile a team has a promotional giveaway that makes me wish I could just take time off from my day job and hop in a plane or car to go to a game so I could get that cool giveaway. Last year it was the Hartford Yard Goats’ Goat Yoga Bobblehead. This year it is the “Child of Immigrants” t-shirt from the Fresno Grizzlies.

I don’t know enough about the Nationals new triple-A team or Fresno, to know if this is a political statement or just a shout-out to the area. Maybe its just the Baseball Sociologist in me, but I LOVE this t-shirt! They’re giving it away for this week’s T-Shirt Thursday. You have just about a day left to order your tickets for Thursday’s game where you can pick up this totally cool shirt during the game.

Go Fresno!

~ baseballrebecca

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Minor League Break Camp Rosters


DSCN6880Opening Day for Minor League Baseball is this Thursday! This year I have even more teams to follow since I’m now a San Diego Padres fan. And one of my favorite Bowie Baysox, Aderlin Rodriguez, now plays for the Padres triple-A team, the El Paso Chihuahuas. Last year, in what now seems like fate, I saw the Lake Elsinore Storm, the Padres single-A affiliate, so now I need to follow those guys as well to see where they end up.

Last week, the Orioles’ minor league affiliates announced their break camp rosters. Below are links to the O’s minor league teams and a few other important teams (i.e., the teams I root for):

Baseball is going to be exhausting this year with all these teams to follow!

~ baseballrebecca

 

Stat-urday, 3/2/2019


As news broke of Bryce Harper signing with the Philadelphia Phillies, one Nats reporter noted:

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Bryce Harper in 2017, photo by Keith Allison (via Wikipedia)

That got me thinking: how many games have the Nats and Phillies played against each other? How have the Nats fared? How will the Nats do against the Phillies without Bryce?

Well, I have answers to the first two questions. Only time will tell the answer to the third question.

Baseball Reference provides stats for each team’s season. So, here’s how the Nats have fared against the Phillies since 2005 (when the Expos moved to Washington, DC, and became the Nats):

  • Games played: 260
  • Games won: 125
  • Games lost: 135
  • Runs Scored: 1,109
  • Runs Allowed: 1,143
  • Extra innings games played: 29 (14 10-inning games, 5 11-inning games, 5 12-inning games, 2 13-inning games, and 2 14-inning games)
  • Extra innings games won: 15
  • Double headers played: 5
  • Double header games won: 5
  • Double header games lost: 5
  • Games decided by walk-off: 29
  • Number of walk-off wins: 17

Basically, the Nats and Phillies have been pretty evenly matched, though the Nats have lost a few more than they have won (125 wins to 135 losses) and the Phillies have outscored them 1,143 to 1,109. The Nats have a few more wins determined by a walk-off (17) than the Phillies (12).

How have individual Nats pitchers done against the Phillies? Here are the records of a few current and former Nationals pitchers:

  • Tyler Clippard: 2-5
  • Ross Detwiler: 3-3
  • Erick Fedde: 2-1
  • Gio Gonzalez: 11-7
  • John Lannan: 3-13
  • Jason Marquis: 1-4
  • Tanner Roark: 6-9
  • Max Scherzer: 8-1
  • Stephen Strasburg: 10-2
  • Jordan Zimmermann: 6-8

So, three of the four guys with winning records against the Phillies (Fedde, Scherzer, and Strasburg) are still with the Nats. They should try get the fourth guy back (Gonzalez) – they’re gonna need all the help they can get against the Phillies now.

Happy Stat-urday!

~ baseballrebecca

2018 MLB Japan All-Star Series


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Tetsuto Yamada, infielder for the Tokyo Yakult Swallows, 2016 (photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

A group of MLB all-stars is on its way to Japan for the 2018 MLB Japan All-Star Series. The series will feature major leaguers and the Japanese national team, Samurai Japan. Their first stop, however, was Hawaii, where the team worked out in Les Murakami Stadium (where fans could watch for $15 or $25, depending on seat location), worked on a community service project at Kahauiki Village (a community providing housing for homeless families), and held a Play Ball clinic for local kids.

Today in Tokyo, Samurai Japan will play (already played? are currently playing?) an exhibition game against the Chinese Taipei national baseball team; tomorrow the MLB All-Stars will take on the Yomiuri Giants in an exhibition game (airing at 4 am and 8 pm on MLB Network). These games also will be televised live on MLB Network – starting around 4 am:

  • November 9-11: Tokyo
  • November 13: Hiroshima
  • November 14-15: Nagoya

The games will be played at the Tokyo Dome, Mazda Zoom Zoom Stadium in Hiroshima, and the Nagoya Dome. The rosters appear below.

[On a sociological note, the roster for the MLB All-Stars was super easy to find and include below – basically, I just needed to cut, paste, and format. For Samurai Japan… not so much. I found what appears to be a recently updated list of players by position on Wikipedia. However, to include their team names (like the list of MLB players), required research. What does that say about us?]

~ baseballrebecca

 

Rosters:

MLB All-Stars Samurai Japan
PITCHERS  
· Matt Andriese, D-backs

· Scott Barlow, Royals

· John Brebbia, Cardinals

· Junior Guerra, Brewers

· Brian Johnson, Red Sox

· Kenta Maeda, Dodgers

· Chris Martin, Rangers

· Collin McHugh, Astros

· Daniel Norris, Tigers

· Vidal Nuno, Rays

· Dan Otero, Indians

· Yusmeiro Petit, A’s

· Erasmo Ramirez, Mariners

· Hector Velazquez, Red Sox

· Kirby Yates, Padres

· Takayuki Kishi, Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles

· Daichi Osera, Hiroshima Toyo Carp

· Naoyuki Uwasawa, Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters

· Nao Higashihama, Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks

· Takahiro Matsunaga, Chiba Lotte Marines

· Shinsaburō Tawata, Saitama Seibu Lions

· Yasuaki Yamasaki, Yokohama DeNA BayStars

· Yuta Iwasada, Hanshin Tigers

· Yuki Matsui, Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles

· Yu Sato, Chunichi Dragons

· Haruhiro Hamaguchi, Yokohama DeNA BayStars

· Rei Takahashi, Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks

· Shuta Ishikawa, Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks

· Shotaro Kasahara. Chunichi Dragons

· Yūhei Takanashi, Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles

CATCHERS  
· Robinson Chirinos, Rangers

· Yadier Molina, Cardinals

· J.T. Realmuto, Marlins

· Tomoya Mori, Saitama Seibu Lions

· Tsubasa Aizawa, Hiroshima Toyo Carp

· Takuya Kai, Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks

INFIELDERS  
· Whit Merrifield, Royals

· Amed Rosario, Mets

· Carlos Santana Phillies

· Eugenio Suarez, Reds

· Chris Taylor, Dodgers

· Tetsuto Yamada, Tokyo Yakult Swallows

· Kosuke Tanaka, Hiroshima Toyo Carp

· Ryosuke Kikuchi, Hiroshima Toyo Carp

· Shuta Tonosaki, Saitama Seibu Lions

· Sōsuke Genda, Saitama Seibu Lions

· Kazuma Okamoto, Yomiuri Giants

· Hotaka Yamakawa, Saitama Seibu Lions

OUTFIELDERS  
· Ronald Acuna Jr., Braves

· Mitch Haniger, Mariners

· Kike Hernandez, Dodgers

· Rhys Hoskins, Phillies

· Kevin Pillar, Blue Jays

· Juan Soto, Nationals

· Kazuki Tanaka, Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles

· Yuki Yanagita, Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks

· Seiji Uebayashi, Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks

· Shogo Akiyama, Saitama Seibu Lions

MANAGER and COACHES  
· Don Mattingly

· Edgar Martinez

· Hideki Matsui

· Fredi Gonzalez

· Hensley Meulens

· Brent Strom

· Henry Blanco

· Atsunori Inaba

· Masaji Shimizu

· Yoshinori Murata

· Hirokazu Ibata

· Makoto Kaneko

· Yoshinori Tateyama

 

 

The Worst Orioles Team in History


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Memorial Stadium, home of the 1986 Baltimore Orioles (photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

When looking up “This Date in Baseball History,” I saw the following entry for October 3: “1986 – Baltimore loses to Detroit 6-3, assuring the Orioles of their first last-place finish since moving from St. Louis in 1954.”

That got me wondering, how many last-place finishes have we had since moving from St. Louis? Further, how bad (or good) have the Orioles actually been throughout their history – particularly in light of this past horrific season?

For starters, the 2018 season was the absolute worst season the Orioles have ever had in their 65 years in Baltimore: the O’s won only 47 games and lost 115 (a win percentage of .290). The 1986 team — the historic first last-place season team since moving to Baltimore — was far better, winning 73 games and losing 89. In fact, in the franchise’s entire history, only the 1939 St. Louis Browns have a worse record with a .279 win percentage. Nonetheless, this year the Orioles still managed to lose more games than the 1939 Browns (the Browns lost 43 and won 111 in 1939; the 2018 winning percentage is higher only because they played fewer games in 1939).

The 2018 Orioles finished 61 games out of first place. Only the 1954 Orioles come anywhere close to that, finishing 57 games out. The St. Louis Browns finished more than 50 games out of first place four times (in 1910, 1911, 1927, and 1939). Again, only the 1939 Browns finished even worse than the 2018 Orioles, finishing their season 64.5 games out of first place.

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Adam Jones, 2011 (photo by Keith Alison, via Wikipedia)

If it’s any consolation, when you look at the decade-by-decade breakdown (see table below), the Orioles were actually worse from 2000 to 2009, when they won only 698 games. With one year left to go in this decade, we’ve already improved upon that record. (Sure, a decade is an artificial breakdown, especially when comparing team performance, but at least it gives us a sense of how we are trending.)

Of course, worse than the number of games lost or the number of games we ended up out of first place is the number of favorite players traded and the number of favorite players likely to not be offered new contracts this off season.

~ baseballrebecca

 

 

Baltimore Orioles Record: 1954-2018

Decade Wins Losses Win Percent No. of Times in 1st Place* No. of Times in Last Place
2010-2018 701 757 0.481 1 4
2000s 698 920 0.431 0 2
1990s 794 757 0.512 1 0
1980s 800 761 0.512 1 2
1970s 944 656 0.590 5 0
1960s 911 698 0.566 2 0
1954-1959 404 517 0.439 0 0

*Refers to place in the division after 1969; divisions were created in 1969.