A few months back, I bumped into Jim Kaat on the jam-packed concourse at beautiful Target Field in Minneapolis, just before the start of the All-Star Game. Jim was talking baseball with a few friends, and considering that he spent the first half of a 25-year Major League Baseball career with the Senators/Twins franchise, I am sure he wound up in the middle of a lot of other baseball conversations on that concourse before ever making it to his seat. Jim loves to talk baseball.
Yesterday morning I got an email from Kitty (he is the earliest riser around), who said, “I’m in a blogging mood after watching the games last weekend.” That, to me, is always a good thing. Kaat is always insightful on baseball, and he never has been one to pull punches in saying what’s on his mind. Today, you can go to Kaat’s Korner and see what he thought of those four Division Series — including why, he says, Clayton Kershaw failure against Matt Adams had nothing to do with pitch counts and everything to do with simply failing to keep a breaking ball low. Go take a look and please leave some comments on his blog…I’ll make sure he sees them and we’ll see if he’ll do a Q&A here.
47 of us MLB.com writers have just shared our favorite baseball book titles to help others with Summer Reading. Ball Four tops Moneyball, 8-6, to lead the list. See the extraordinary roundup on our official MLB.com Baseball Books Blog at http;//books.mlblogs.com and be sure to comment with YOUR favorites. – Mark
Originally posted on Baseball Books:
Time for some summer reading? You’re in luck. We invited our esteemed writing colleagues at MLB.com to suggest at least one favorite baseball book. Ball Four tops Moneyball, 8-6, for most mentions. David Halberstam has the most suggested works with three. Some titles will surprise you. These 47 folks write about baseball for a living, in some cases books as well, so take their advice and happy reading.
Jordan Bastian: Fifty-nine in ’84 By Edward Achorn.
Mike Bauman: Eight Men Out by Eliot Asinof.
Jason Beck: I read Summer of ’49 while in college, and for me it’s still the standard. Really good individual storytelling woven into the bigger context of a pennant race and its place in the larger culture.
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Very happy to announce that the Houston Astros have just “launched” MISSION CONTROL, their new club PRO blog. It’s maintained by Amanda Rykoff, a well-known force in social media, so i can guarantee this is going to be a popular and must-see addition to our MLB.com/blogs community. Check it out and be among the first to Follow it by entering your email in the right side panel. We have liftoff.
Originally posted on Astros Mission Control:
Howdy and welcome to Astros Mission Control! This is your friendly Astros social media manager, Amanda Rykoff, here to share some of the behind the scenes action at Minute Maid Park and on the road, the stories behind the tweets and anything else that seems worth posting about.
Like George Springer’s batting practice dancing:
Or Astros Dog Day highlights:
Or a special pre-game visit with the Sunshine Kids:
Or the Monster Claw:
And of course the shenanigans of our beloved mascot, Orbit.
(Since we’re talking about Orbit, we have to include this famous dance-off as well):
We’ll have information about upcoming specials and promotions at Minute Maid Park, including giveaways and new food items. We’re also looking forward to sharing occasional guest posts from players, team executives and friends of the Astros.
Welcome aboard and prepare for liftoff!
The No. 1 place for MLB Trade Deadline talk is http://mlb.mlblogs.com — updated around the clock by our 30 beat reporters (the ONLY network of 30 traveling beat reporters, by the way) and editors. See why this blog ranked No. 1 overall in page views for 2013 in the MLB.com Blogs community. And start your own blog here, too, since MLB.com is the gateway to everyone’s traffic.
Originally posted on Trade Buzz:
At the All-Star Game, Tampa’s David Price said Chicago “would be the coolest city to win a championship in right now.” Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer feel the same way, which is what enticed them to join the Cubs.
On Monday, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal wrote that the Cubs should pursue Price and deal some of the team’s top prospects for the pitcher. The Cubs do need starting pitching, but they are not contenders this year, and most likely not in 2015 either. How does Hoyer feel about the rumors?
“I don’t really pay attention,” Hoyer said Monday in a radio interview on The Game 87.7. “There are going to be a lot of rumors about our players and our acquiring good players because of the good talent we have in the Minors. I think we’ll be lumped into the rumors. We just sort…
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I grew up a Twins fan because my uncle, Johnny Goryl, played and coached for the Twins in the 1960s and managed them in 1980-81. While working 2014 All-Star Week for MLB.com, I was able to go back to my roots and live out a dream in Minnesota. My cousin Tammy, one of Uncle Johnny’s three kids (also Susan and J.D.), told me during the week to look for an exhibit of all the Minnesota Twins managers at Target Field. So in the sixth inning of the All-Star Game, my last chance to find it after filing an in-game story, I asked Mitch Hestad, the Twins’ Manager of Baseball Communications, if he knew where this exhibit was. Per his direction, I went out the press box and up one level to the Private Suites Corridor, where I saw the most beautiful art gallery of my life. Hank Aaron was walking past a large painting of my Uncle Johnny, signing autographs, just as I found it. It was an entire hallway, the best part of Target Field, the ultimate tribute to skippers, and I will present them here to send a link to Uncle Johnny. Thank you, Twins.
I chose to leave the skewed imagery because they reflect how a sportswriter working in the sixth inning had to quickly photograph each painting with his iPhone before quickly returning to Derek Jeter’s last All-Star Game. I left a matting effect that shows their actual wall positioning as viewed during a walk through the corridor, and that’s me with Uncle Johnny in the last one. Their plaques list name and years managed in Minnesota, and apologies that those are not legible, so I added captions. In spite of the “FIRE” light over Cookie and the rapid turnover in those early years, note that the Twins have had just two managers since 1986. There have been these 12 managers since the Washington Senators moved from Minnesota to become the Twins in 1961.
Nice tribute to a fellow baseball writer and blogger. Also please see TR’s more recent post specifically about Richard Durrett’s memorial fund and pass it around…
Originally posted on Postcards From Elysian Fields:
I am in the heart of the world’s greatest city and my heart is somewhere else.
It is in a bar in Surprise, Arizona.
It is Spring Training all over again and we have just finished another long hot day in the desert, hanging around a clubhouse, asking redundant questions and writing 2,000 words or more about stuff that for the most part will be irrelevant once this regular season begins.
I am sitting at the bar with some of the best friends a baseball writer could ever have. I am sitting there with Jeff Wilson, Drew Davison and Anthony Andro.
Richard Durrett is there as well.
There is a game on television. It could be the NBA, the NHL or college basketball. I have no clue what it is about. I only know baseball, the San Francisco 49ers and the University of San Francisco. Anything else…
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I just wrote about 70,000 words, told more Opening Day stories than any single book ever had, built what was essentially a living e-book over months, and as of moments ago all 30 teams finally have a win or loss. It started with a countdown on Jan. 31 at 51 days till Sydney (featuring Ichiro), and became a liveblog through the MLB Opening Series, Sunday’s Opening Night at San Diego, 13 Opening Day games, and then a final Tuesday Opening Day game marking the start of Derek Jeter’s farewell tour. See all the firsts on Grand Openings, MLB.com’s official Opening Day blog, at openingday.mlblogs.com.
Originally posted on Grand Openings:
Derek Jeter got his 3,317th hit, got plunked, and got his final season started. Nolan Ryan threw to Craig Biggio, and Scott Feldman threw like every Houston fan hopes he will again. Dexter Fowler got it all started for Houston with doubles in his first two ABs as an Astro, Jesus Guzman went deep, Jose Altuve pestered the visitors and they were happy in Texas. Now every team has played a regular season game and nobody is 0-0 in the Standings. We have all the firsts . . . .
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Join me on our MLB.com Grand Openings liveblog. What an incredible day so far. The first walk-offs, the first grand slam, the first Replay Review challenges, the first blown save, all the first hits and runs and special moments. Join me in comments there at http://openingday.mlblogs.com
Originally posted on Grand Openings:
First Replay Review challenge by a manager: Jeff Samardzija bunts into a 1-5-4 double play after the Cubs mount a rally in the top of the fifth at Pittsburgh. Rick Renteria challenges, and the call is upheld.
First Replay Review reversal of 2014: Pirates manager Clint Hurdle keeps his until the top of the 10th in that same game, and Bryan Morris picks off Bonifacio. The runner is initially called safe, but upon further review, he’s out. It took 2:30 for the review.
So far we’ve quickly seen our first walk-offs thanks to an Alex Gonzalez single in the ninth for Detroit and then a 10th-inning homer by Neil Walker to provide the only run in Pittsburgh; our first grand slam byJimmy Rollins; a successfully managerial debut for Brad Ausmus and Matt Williams; our first run-scoring wild pitch; our first immediate comeback from 6-0…
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Introducing our new Grand Openings blog at MLB.com. I set my alarm for 3:50 am ET, started reskinning the Opening Day Countdown Down Under blog, and over the next hours recorded firsts in a celebration of the return of real Major League Baseball action. Follow this blog!
Originally posted on Grand Openings:
After more than 50 days of an Opening Day Countdown Down Under, we’ve put up some new decorations on this blog for the regular season and we introduce you to Grand Openings — part of the overall MLB.com coverage of Major League Baseball’s 2014 season-openers. It all starts with the historic MLB Opening Series happening now in Sydney, Australia, so let’s look at some of the first firsts:
First win of MLB season: Dodgers 3, D-backs 1.
First winning pitcher: Clayton Kershaw (1-0), making it four consecutive Dodger wins when he starts on Opening Day. And first photograph (above, great shot by Matt King for MLB Photos via Getty Images) of a winning pitcher delivering a pitch with a huge dirt stain on his knee thanks to sliding into second base trying to stretch a single just moments before, ultimate gamer moment.
First losing pitcher: Wade Miley (0-1).
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OK, don’t say I never take care of you guys. I interviewed a sleep specialist doctor at length so those of us fans back here in North America will know EXACTLY how to schedule their lives around the MLB Opening Series in Australia. My story was just posted on the MLB.com homepage and we just tweeted it out on the @MLB account and I wanted to make sure you have this so you can stay razor sharp and alert as you blog for the masses about the return of REAL baseball games.
You may be surprised by some of the tips. You may not realize that you need to nap on the first day of baseball this time. And whatever you do, this is NOT the night for a midnight screening of Divergent, at least not if you are a real baseball fan. Get to bed early, get up at 3:50 am if on East Coast, or 12:50 if on West Coast in a Dodgers or D-backs household, and see the first pitch of the season. And that’s just the start…