The Royals play the National League All-Stars

Voting for baseball’s All-Star team used to involve going to a game and then, between innings, punching out the chads next to the player you thought was best at his position.  But then some of the voting went online.  This year all of the voting is online.  You don’t have to go to a game and you get to vote up to 35 times.

So fans of the Kansas City Royals (the team that first got me interested in baseball) have been stuffing the virtual ballot box.  Yes, the Royals are having a great year.  But that doesn’t mean all of its starters are the best at their positions.  And yet, as of last week, the voting would mean that Royals players would start at all positions in the All-Star game except for one slot in the outfield, which is being taken by Angels superstar Mike Trout.

Now it’s likely that fans of bigger-market teams might wake up to what is happening and vote their players in.  But, people, you are supposed to vote for the best player, not just vote for the members of your team! [Read more...]

The Cardinals’ hacking scandal

The St. Louis Cardinals are being accused of hacking into the Houston Astro’s data system.  Some are saying that, if true, this has the makings of one of the biggest scandals in baseball history, with the Cardinals facing huge penalties, people getting banned from baseball, and individuals going to jail.

Jeff Luhnow was an important part of the Cardinals’ brain trust, a data guru who was a master of the statistical analysis that has become dominant in baseball strategy and player evaluation.   (See Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game.)  Recently, Luhnow became the general manager of the Houston Astros, where he has worked wonders, transforming a perennial losing team into one of the best performers of the season.  Reportedly, someone in the Cardinals’ organization hacked into his old colleague’s account in Houston, using the same passwords he had used on his Cardinals’ account!  (Lesson:  change your passwords.)

But isn’t this just a minor prank, on a par with stealing signs?  After the jump, read details about what apparently happened, as well as a column from Tom Boswell on why this (if true, I hasten to say) is a very big deal.

[Read more...]

Professional ball game closed to the public

Imagine two professional baseball teams playing each other but not letting any fans watch the game.  Maybe that’s the future of professional sports.  But it is happening today in Baltimore, where riots over another African-American who died in police custody, have led to the decision that the Orioles-White Sox game would be closed to the public. [Read more...]

Consequences of normalized relations with Cuba

The fallout from President Obama’s decision to extend diplomatic relations to Castro’s Cuba is mixed.  As some worry about another cave-in to tyranny, others are excited about the commercial prospects:

Some Republicans think Obama’s move will put Florida in their column for decades, while some Democrats think the anti-Castro sentiment in Florida’s Cuban population is dying out.  See this.

After the jump, see Sen. Marco Rubio’s reaction.

[Read more...]

Baseball predictions result show

Here at the Cranach Institute, we not only make predictions, we check them.  Twice at this blog, at the beginning of the baseball season and at the beginning of the playoffs, we held a forum to predict what baseball teams would make it through the playoffs and which one would win the World Series.

We now know that the Kansas City Royals and the San Francisco Giants, the two wild-card teams, met in the World Series.  After the full seven games–all of them quite exciting, with Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner somehow winning three of them–San Francisco won, for the third time in five years.

So did anyone predict these outcomes?  The answer after the jump. [Read more...]

Two wild cards in the World Series

The Kansas City Royals and the San Francisco Giants will meet in the World Series starting tomorrow.  That will be only the second time that the two wild-card teams played each other in the World Series.  Since the wild card–not the division champions but the teams with the next best record–was instituted in 1995, a wild card team made it to the series 10 times and won it 5 times.

[Read more...]


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