World Series post mortem

The Kansas City Royals won the world series against the New York Mets in a series of epic comebacks.  They were behind in each of the games!  In game #4, they were down to their last four outs, but ended up winning the game.  In game #5, they were down to their last three outs–completely shut out in a brilliant pitching performance by Matt Harvey–but they scored two to tie it, going on to score seven runs in the 12th inning for the series victory.  The  Royals were relentless and never quit, so they are the World Champions.

Didn’t we do our annual baseball predictions for this season?  I can’t find them.  If we didn’t, that’s unlike me.  If you can find them, say so in the comments so that we can see who, if anyone, won our virtual prognosticator award.  All I know is that most observers, including me, picked the Washington Nationals, who didn’t even make the playoffs, likely because in times of adversity they are not relentless and do tend to quit.

An account of the series after the jump. [Read more...]

The World Serious

I was pulling for the Cubs, in honor of my late Father, a die-hard Cubs fan, but now that they were swept by the Mets, my way is clear to support the Kansas City Royals, the team that got me first seriously interested in baseball, back when I was a grad student at the University of Kansas.  Those were the days of George Brett, Freddy Patek, Willie Wilson, and Bret Saberhagen.  That was the last and only time the Royals won the World Series.

Any predictions about the series?  (We’ll check our prognostications made at the beginning of the season to see if anyone predicted this matchup.) [Read more...]

Yogi Berra dies–here are some of his sayings

Yogi Berra, the winner of three MVPs who played in more World Series games than anybody, died at age 90.  Here is his obituary.  In addition to his baseball greatness playing for the New York Yankees, Yogi became known for his gnomic comments.  On one level, they didn’t make sense, and yet, on a higher plane, they sort of did. After the jump, a list of some of what he said.

My favorite:  “Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.” What is your favorite?  Explain the sense in which it is kind of true.  (For example, in my favorite, it is true that something that was once fashionable can become unfashionable when everyone starts doing it.) [Read more...]

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...]