Monday, August 5, 2013

Sunshine State Rain-outs

According to statistics gathered by the BBB's meteorological and statistical departments, 10.9% of Florida State League contests since the beginning of the 2012 season have been postponed or canceled due to rain.  In a joint effort by the cloud crowd and the number lumpers, the BBB gathered, filtered, and sensually massaged game schedule data from each of the FSL's team websites (example).  The tables below show a wide variation among the teams, with the Clearwater Threshers experiencing only four rain-outs at home from opening day 2012 through August 1st, 2013, but the Lakeland Tigers suffering thirty-six during the same time period.

The word "meeting", as used above, represents either a normal uninterrupted game; or a game started but suspended until another day due to rain; or the resumption of a game suspended by rain on a previous day; or games postponed or canceled due to rain.  The total number of meetings represented in the charts above is 1633.  The total number of rain-outs is 178.  That's a league-wide rain-out percentage of 10.9.

Postponements and cancellations due to "inclement weather" or "wet grounds" were counted as rain also.

Most of us view rain-outs as merely an infrequent annoyance, but at a rate of nearly 11%, their impact is probably much greater than we think.  Does Lakeland have a hidden advantage over its FSL competition because of its high rain-out rate?  Do their relief pitchers get extra rest days that relievers of other teams do not enjoy?  Or do they suffer a disadvantage because postponed games are frequently made up with double-headers, which force their position players to play twice in the same day?  Does this increase potential for injury?  Speaking of double-header games, they're usually truncated to seven innings each, which reduces a player's overall time spent playing ball.  Do scouts suffer from this reduced exposure to the players they're watching, and are their player evaluations adversely affected by long double-header days spent watching fourteen innings in hot, humid weather?

If you're the general manager of a major league club, do you consider the frequency of rain-outs and its effect on pitcher rotations?  Do you really want your top prospect getting all warmed-up, just to have his start rained-out?  For a team like Lakeland, with close to a quarter of its home meetings rained out, that's a real concern, especially for the younger pitchers of high-A baseball who may not have learned yet how their bodies will react to such adverse start-and-stop physical demands.

We at the BBB find this topic very interesting, and may attempt to answer a question or two listed above in future posts.  Stay tuned.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Sketchy Rehash: Charlotte Stonecrabs at Bradenton Marauders

Experimenting with a new format here.  While in attendance, and until it becomes tiresome, the BBB might occasionally provide real-time game updates and commentary for various Florida State League games.  These will not be the typical game recaps you know and feel apathy towards.  These will include special asides and commentary befitting the dubious quality and frequency you've come to expect from the BBB.  For the purpose of relaying to your grandchildren in your later years, take note of where you are right now, and also the day and time, because your eyeballs now behold the very first BBB Sketchy Rehash: 

July 6th, 2013

Charlotte Stonecrabs at Bradenton Marauders 

McKechnie Field

Bradenton, FL 

Starting pitchers:  Charlotte - Ryan Carpenter; Bradenton - Zach Dodson

Top 1st:
Ryan Brett -  grounds out - 63
Jake Hager - grounds out - 63
Drew Vettleson - pops out - 5

Bot 1st:
Elias Diaz - grounds out - 53
Dan Gamache - lines a double to CF
Willy Garcia - HR to LF.  Run scores.
Stetson Allie - ROE by 3B Shaffer
Jose Osuna - grounds into force out at second - 54.  Throwing error by Brett, Osuna advances to second.
D.J. Crumlich - grounds out - 63

Top 2nd:
Richie Shaffer - lines out - 3
Alejandro Segovia - BB
Curt Casali - F9
Jeffrey Malm - grounds out - 43 - great diving catch by 2B Dan Gamache

Bot 2nd:
Taylor Lewis - double to deep RF
Benji Gonzalez - sac bunt.  Throwing error by pitcher Carpenter.  1 run scores.  Benji goes to second.
Ashley Ponce - sac bunt - 13 - Benji to third base.
Elias Diaz - BB
Dan Gamache - GDP - 463

Later in this game, excellent Charlotte play-by-play man, Marc Schwartz, raised the issue of earned runs and pitcher fielding errors.  If a pitcher commits a fielding error and a run scores as a result, shouldn't the pitcher be charged with an earned run?  Rule 10.16e dictates he be charged with an error and that the run is unearned, just as it would be had another fielder committed the error.  But, as Mr. Schwartz's argument goes, it's still the pitcher's fault, and he should not escape the accountability of an earned run by bobbling a fielding attempt.

After deliberating post-game around our mahogany conference table, the BBB editorial staff begs to differ.  The concept of the earned run, despite its flaws, attempts to measure the pitcher's pitching performance, not his fielding performance.  Therefore, any fielding errors committed by the pitcher should be excluded from his pitching metrics.

During his own explanation, Mr. Schwartz became less convinced of his opinion as he articulated it.  Rest assured, Mr. Schwartz, the BBB admits to having the same thought once also.

Top 3rd:
Willie Argo - F9
Kes Carter - bunt - 13
Ryan Brett - P6

Bot 3rd:
Willy Garcia - Line single up the middle almost took the pitcher's head off
Stetson Allie - BB
Jose Osuna - ground ball force out- 5U 
D.J. Crumlich - K
Taylor Lewis - K

T-shirt toss begins.  In a scene repeated a thousandfold throughout the land, grown men and women embarrass themselves over the prospect of receiving a free, probably ill-fitting T-shirt.

Top 4th:
Jake Hager - K
Drew Vettleson - 43
Richie Shaffer - (crushed foul ball to LF) hard single to LF
Alejandro Segovia - BB
Curt Casali - grounded into force out at third base - 5U

There is now a babyfood flavor tasting contest taking place in the stands.  

Bot 4th:
Benji Gonzalez - F8
Ashley Ponce - F7
Elias Diaz - K (Carpenter dropped a nice curve for a strike during the AB)

The difference between the starting pitchers' deliveries is striking.  Carpenter's is long and smooth, whereas Dodson's is jerky and ugly by comparison.  Carpenter's delivery is calligraphy.  Dodson's is a drunken text at 3 A.M.

Top 5th:
Jeffrey Malm - 43
Willie Argo - 53
Kes Carter - K 

Bot 5th:
Dan Gamache - lines a single to CF
Willie Garcia - K looking
Stetson Allie - F7
Jose Osuna - Despite diving attempt by CF Carter, doubles and sends Gamache to third
D.J. Crumlich - 53 (Nice pick in the dirt by first baseman Malm to save a run from scoring)

Top 6th:
Ryan Brett - Lined single to LF
Jake Hager - P8
Drew Vettleson - K
Richie Shaffer - double to LCF.  Run scores.
Alejandro Segovia - bloop single to CF - run scores
Curt Casali - Lined single to LF
Jeffrey Malm - Lined double to RF - 2 runs score
PITCHING CHANGE:  Dodson out, RHP Pat Ludwig in
Willie Argo - BB
Kes Carter - P1

In keeping with tonight's Babies on Deck promotion, intended to be a celebration of birth and motherhood, a stroller race is about to take place on third base side. Lovely young ladies Brooke and Cheyenne are the contestants.  Now one of them, let's just assume her name is Brooke, is unaware she is dragging her baby doll's head along the grass as she races to catch up with Cheyenne.  Brooke, unapologetic and without shame, leaves field with a smile after losing race to Cheyenne.

Bot 6th:
PITCHING CHANGE:  Carpenter out, RHP Eliazer Suero in
Taylor Lewis - BB
Benji Gonzalez - lined into double play.  6, 63
Ashley Ponce - double to RF
Elias Diaz - BB
Dan Gamache - BB

Mound visit.  Sting sings "Message in a Bottle" over speakers.

Willy Garcia - (during this at bat, the first base coach, Frank Kremblas, appears distracted by leftover fireworks being discharged somewhere in the distance over the right-field fence, is not looking anywhere near homeplate during the right-handed hitter's at bat)  single to LF - run scores - runner out at home by perfect 72 throw by Willie Argo

Top 7th:
Ryan Brett - 43
Jake Hager - 63

An old man wearing one of those old-school, oval Pirates hats and pretty powder-yellow shorts is now talking to Cheyenne.  Yes, powder-yellow shorts.

Drew Vettleson - lined double to RF
Richie Shaffer - 63

7TH-INNING STRETCH:  In a scene repeated a thousandfold throughout the land, a man, likely Brooke's dad by virtue of their proximity, wearing a buttoned-down, collared shirt with pictures of fish on it, dances enthusiastically to "YMCA".

Bot 7th:
PITCHING CHANGE: LHP Shay Crawford in, Eliazer Suero out
Stetson Allie - bloop single to LF
Jose Osuna - bunted into force out at second - 16
D.J. Crumlich - Osuna SB - K
Taylor Lewis - HBP
Benji Gonzalez - F9

There is now a race taking place beginning in LF.  Contestants are Cookie, Pickle, and Sandwich.  Pickle wins, but not without controversy.  For reasons known only to Pickle, he is holding the baby doll previously dragged across the field by Brooke.

Top 8th:

Alejandro Segovia - 63
Curt Casali - 53
Jeffrey Malm - lined double hard to RCF
Willie Argo - lined out to leaping second baseman Dan Gamache.  Brooke's father whistles loudly in appreciation.

During warmup, catcher Casali airmails throw to outfield higher than one would think possible.
Man wearing a tight yellow shirt walks down concourse.  He has an enormous belly and a tiny backpack.

Bot 8th:
Ashley Ponce - crowd suddenly becomes silent.  They know it's a close one.  Tie game. - 43
Elias Diaz - BB
Dan Gamache - F7
PITCHING CHANGE: Shay Crawford out, RHP Nate Garcia in
Willie Garcia - grounds into force out - 54

Montell Jordan's "This is How We Do It" plays over the speakers.  Brooke's dad is feelin' it.  He chair dances like a man not wearing a fish shirt.

Bradenton catcher also airmails throw to second during warmup.  What the?

Top 9th:
PITCHING CHANGE:  Pat Ludwig out, RHP Ryan Beckman in
Kes Carter - triples off the wall in RCF
Ryan Brett - 53 with infield in
Jake Hager - 53 with infield in
Drew Vettleson - F7
Golden opportunity squandered.

"Blitzkrieg Bop" plays over speakers.  BBB staff is feelin' it, but does not chair dance.  Not even a little.

Bot 9th:
Stetson Allie - walk-off HR to CF

Kool & the Gang sing "Celebration" while Marauders storm field.  Launch-a-ball will begin soon.  Lightning appears in the distance like a high-school sophomore airbrushed it on the hood of his car.  Bright white lines appear briefly in front of dramatic bluish-gray clouds.  It looks pretty on the drive home across the DeSoto Bridge.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Fu Fu Fu Fu-Lin Kuo

On display at the entrance to George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa rests three of The Boss's most cherished personal belongings:  a poster from the film Dharti Sheran Di, an absolutely bitchin' 1974 AMC Gremlin, and a copy of Def Leppard's Pyromania on high-quality audio cassette.  It should come as no surprise, then, that the Tampa Yankees master of baseball ceremonies chose a selection from that titanic arena-rock masterwork to announce each plate appearance of Taiwanese infielder Fu-Lin Kuo.  

"Which song?" you wonder?  "Foolin', " of course.  So, let us proceed with the homophony in this, the BBB's first installment of Great Moments in Minor League Walk-up Music:

The BBB audio visual department would like you to take note of the fact this video contains a Def Leppard font, and that such a thing exists, for free, on the internet.