2018 MLB Japan All-Star Series

File:Tetsuto Yamada 2016-04-16 (28291493436).jpg

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



MLB All-Stars Samurai Japan
· 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

· 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

· 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

· 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

· 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


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.


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.



Films on Friday: Let’s Go Mets

Thirty-two years ago, the New York Mets released their official theme song for their run to the 1986 World Series, Let’s Go Mets. The video for the song included Mets players, bobbleheads, and Joe Piscopo, among others. The song itself became a gold record and the video went triple platinum. Of course, let’s not forget it was the follow-up to their first non-award winning tune, Get Metsmerized.

Happy Friday!

~ baseballrebecca

Youppi! Makes History


Youppi! (Photograph courtesy of Wikipedia)

On August 23, 1989, the Montreal Expos’ mascot, Youppi!, became the first MLB mascot to be ejected from a game. In the 11th inning of a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Youppi! leapt on top of the visiting team’s dugout, landing noisily and annoying Tommy Lasorda. Lasorda complained to the umpires who ejected Youppi!

Youppi! (whose name is French for “yippee!”) was allowed to return to the game later, but was confined to the home team dugout. The Expos eventually lost the game 1-0 in the 22nd inning.

Youppi’s MLB career came to an end when the team relocated to Washington, DC, for the 2005 season. However, Youppi! continued his career with Montreal Canadiens where he has been the mascot since 2005. Youppi! is the only mascot to sign with two teams in different major sports leagues.

~ baseballrebecca

Films on Friday: Baseball Fan, Astronaut

Earlier this week, the Baltimore Orioles posted this video of O’s fan and astronaut, Ricky Arnold, chatting with Buck Showalter and some of the Orioles’ players from outer space:

Happy Friday!

~ baseballrebecca

Mobile BayBears’ Second-to-Last Season

DSCN7583In November 2017, it was announced that the Mobile BayBears had been sold to BallCorps LLC. Upon completion of the sale, the CEO of BallCorps stated, “We are thrilled to start a new chapter with this team today. The BayBears have had a great relationship with the City of Mobile and its fans for over 20 years. We want to build on that history and make this team as successful as possible. We are excited about what is next. The Southern League and Minor League Baseball have granted us exploration rights to investigate north Alabama, which is an exciting market, but the organization is still considering all options at this point, including the team remaining in Mobile.” In February of this year, it was confirmed that the BayBears would be moving to Madison, Alabama, which is right next door to Huntsville, Alabama, former home of the Huntsville Stars. When it was confirmed that the team would remain in Mobile through the 2019 season, I knew I had to visit before it was too late.

DSCN7588According to MiLB.com, in 2017 the BayBears averaged only 1,498 spectators per game, the lowest in the Southern League, and well behind the league leader in attendance, the Birmingham Barons who drew 5,935 fans that year. The league average was 4,835. Five years earlier, the BayBears drew the third lowest attendance at 2,112 people per game, with Jackson and Huntsville behind them with 2,052 and 1,973 average attendance, respectively. In 2007, Mobile was drawing 1,000 more fans per game than Huntsville with 3,466 average attendance, yet still had the third lowest attendance in the league.

Just last year I was lamenting the fact that Huntsville lost its minor league team after the 2014 season when the team moved to Biloxi, Mississippi. So why the move back? According to Ballpark Digest, the City of Madison is constructing a multi-use venue and ballpark. The site will include a hotel overlooking center field. A feasibility study conducted by the city estimates attendance of 4,700 people per game and net income of $2 million in the first year.

I’ll be keeping an eye on this over the next several years. Several questions still remain including, what will become of Hank Aaron’s childhood home, which is currently on the grounds of the BayBear’s Hank Aaron Stadium, and will the new team be called the Trash Pandas?

~ baseballrebecca