By Nicholas Delahanty (MLB Reports O’s Writer) Follow @Nick_Delahanty
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Orioles Sign Ubaldo Jimenez
The Orioles could not catch a break this off-season, as they lost out on free agents that they coveted as well as missing out on closer Grant Balfour , after he failed the team’s physical.
Bronson Arroyo balked at even going for a physical seeing what happened to the Aussie – opting to sign with the D-Backs even though the money was similar, rather than have his worth devalued by flunking the doctor’s visit from the O’s.
Orioles fans all over wondered what the team’s intentions were, as many felt the team could be a serious contender with the core they have in place, but some moves needed to be made to bolster the roster.
On Monday night, the Orioles finally made a big splash in free agency that everyone anxiously awaited. The team announced they agreed to a four-year, $48 MM deal with pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez.
This is a huge move for the Orioles as an organization, as it now shows their fan base that they are willing to spend big money on key free agents.
The O’s have been linked to many of the big name free agents throughout the offseason, only to come up short when it came to signing them.
By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner): Follow @chuckbooth3024
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There is nothing that revs my adrenaline more than knowing I am going to chase a ballpark this year.
In 2013, between running this website, and juggling my work, I only went to 2 games in MLB Parks.
Nicely I made the opener at Dodger Stadium, and then captured a late season game in Safeco.
After breaking my own World Record for witnessing 30 MLB Games (All Parks in 23 days – every pitch) in 2012, I was left with my worst total in a decade last year.
I wanted to change that in 2014. Unfortunately I wont be chasing any records this upcoming year, but I will potentially be going on a historic run in 2015.
I will get to that in a minute. This year I do plan on seeing 20 games at Safeco Field. It is important for me to see games live in person, so I forked out $750 yesterday to do just that.
I bought a 17 game flex plan for the Mariners, and it involves an array of games from April to September.
While it will trounce my records ever for a ballpark in one year, there are no plans for attending a game in any other ballpark on the road this season.
Now that we have talked about, let’s chat about my plans for 2015.
Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer/Website Owner): Follow @chuckbooth3024
Haley Smilow is a lucky baseball fan/writer/reporter. Recently this summer, she was able to interview Justin Turner of the New York Mets at Citi Field in New York City.
Of course, Justin Turner also has been featured in other blog posts – because our Guest Baseball Writer and Reporter “Lori Martini”, was fortunate enough to also meet the Mets Second Baseman on the field in Flushing Meadows – when she had her song “Believe” featured as a pregame song one day,.
Turner would later adopt the tune as his ‘walkup song’ for the rest of the 2011 season.
So it doesn’t surprise me that he would be so accommodating with his time with Haley.
Like always, Haley asked Turner several questions that he was not accustomed to fielding from other reporters. I am sure that is why he was so enthusiastic about the conversation.
We are very proud of Haley at this site – for also recently being featured in a NY Times article, that showcased her as bright young star. You can check out that article here.
So without further adieu, sit back, grab a favorite drink, and enjoy the dialogue between Justin Turner of the Mets and Haley. Read the rest of this entry
By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner): Follow @chuckbooth3024
2013 WILDCARD Race Breakdown in AL
Team W – L GBL Games Left Upcoming in Sequence
Tampa Bay Rays 87 – 69 - ( 3 @ NYY, 3 @ TOR)
Cleveland Indians 86 – 70 – ( 2 vs CWS, 4 @ MIN)
Texas Rangers 85 – 71 1 (2 vs HOU, 4 vs LAA)
Kansas City Royals 83 - 73 3.0 (2 @ SEA, 4 @ CWS)
New York Yankees 82 – 74 4.0 (3 vs TB, 3 @ HOU)
Baltimore Orioles 81 – 75 5.0 ( 3 vs TOR, 3 vs BOS)
We have had some clarification occur over the last week in the AL Wild Card Race as the Rays and Indians have both won 4 straight in their goal to make the playoffs.
The Yankees went 3 – 3 for the week, including a heart – wrenching loss to the Giants late on Sunday, It must have pained them even more to see the Rays come back in the late innings versus the Orioles.
Had Baltimore won that game, the Yankees would start the series in New York versus the Rays tonight with a chance to cut their deficit to them by 3 games via a sweep.
The Bronx Bombers then waltz into Houston, where they might win their last 3 games. However, with Tampa’s come from behind win yesterday, it makes their Magic number versus the Yanks to 3.
Manny Machado’s Gruesome Injury – Sept.23/2013
By Josh Robbins (Special Guest Writer And Co – Creator for The Factor12 Rating Pitching Metric.)
The Factor 12 (F12) is an analytic measurement utilizing league average performance to compare the value of all MLB pitchers on 60ft6in.com.
My grandfather was a traveling salesman for most of his working life. Frequently, he recalls stories about selling his wares in exotic places such as Keokuk, Iowa, Hannibal, Missouri, and Cairo, Illinois.
However, the real Traveling Salesman Problem (TSP) asks this question: “Given a list of cities and the distances between each pair of cities, what is the shortest possible route that visits each city exactly once and returns to the origin city?”
Applying this computation to all 30 MLB stadiums is more complex given the nature of the regular season schedule. A handful of metropolitan cities host two clubs enabling for travel to occur in the same city more than once.
Without using a complex algorithm or formula based system, google maps will be utilized to determine the shortest distances between each city/stadium to determine the most logical route.
Extreme ballpark chasers are often left to the mercy of the schedule eliminating a perfect directional path.
After optimizing the mileage breakdown between stadiums, this is the shortest possible DRIVING route discovered:
30 Ballparks in 30 Days Documentary
30 in 21 chance by Jake Beham
By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner): Follow @mlbreports
2 days later he flies to Chase Field – and has scheduled a Doubleheader with Angel Stadium For DH #2. I am assuming he is planning on taking a Southwest Airlines flight that arrives at John Wayne Arpt. The flight leaves Phoenix at 455 PM.
That is 4 hours and 15 minutes after 1st pitch. The flight that arrives in SNA at 605. If he makes the flight, he could make this. However it is about a 67% chance. Most NL games last about 2 hours and 35 minutes.
The airport is close enough to the park in PHX – as is SNA airport. Any extra innings though, and it is over.
On FRI, Sept.6th, he has scheduled a Wrigley Field and Kauffman Stadium doubleheader for DH #3. This one is impossible. The game starts at 120 PM local Chicago Time.
The closest flight I saw that leaves ORD or MDW in time for Kansas City, leaves at 441 PM. That is 3 hours and 21 minutes from 1st pitch at Wrigley Field.
Ballpark Chaser definition: Someone who is actively pursuing quests to view Baseball Parks.
Guys talked about in this Article: Completely Insane!
By Josh Robbins (Special Guest Writer And Co – Creator for The Factor12 Rating Pitching Metric.) Factor 12 (F12) is an analytic measurement utilizing league average performance to compare the value of all MLB pitchers on 60ft6in.com.
MLB Expansion Makes Ballpark Chasing Possible
Twenty years ago, the course of history changed for ballpark chasing. In 1993, the Colorado Rockies and Florida Marlins debuted in the National League, increasing the total number of MLB teams to twenty-eight.
The two new franchises created positions for fifty players and expanded the pursuits for ballpark chasers.
In prior years, the nearest connection between a west coast team and the mid-west was Anaheim Stadium to Royals Stadium, a 23-hour drive covering 1,619 miles.
As a result, it was impossible for fans to attend games in consecutive days at every MLB stadium during one concurrent driving trip. Consequently, the only method to complete the entire circuit was to combine land and air travel.
The new league structure dramatically altered the traveling landscape by adding Mile High Stadium in Denver, a 14-hour, 1,011-mile drive from Anaheim Stadium.
Reggie Deal’s- 30 Day. 30 Park Compilation (A Blind Fan Who visited all 30 MLB Parks in 30 Days last year)
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By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner): Follow @chuckbooth3024
The Rangers are #1 again based on the Division lead they currently possess, plus the fact they play all of these teams a total of 76 Games this year.
The Braves (rose their division lead to 2.5 Games with a 4 – 2 week), and Padres (18 – 13 in their last 31 Games and have been clubbing the ball lateley) were the biggest movers up for the week standings by climbing 6 spots apiece.
The biggest drops were the San Francisco Giants (hate their Starting Pitching right now – except for Madison Bumgarner) and the Baltimore Orioles (late inning magic might be dying – and still need a DH + a Veteran Starter or 2).
The Los Angeles teams keep losing ball games – and the Blue Jays lost 2 straight versus the Yankees just when they looked to be on track.
Cleveland is still ranked outside the top ten because I don’t have faith in their strength of schedule in the next month starting May 21st: 2 vs DET, 4 @BOS, 2 vs CIN, 2 @CIN, 2 vs TB, 3 @NYY, 3 @DET, 3 @TEX, 3 vs WSH and finally 3 vs KC. If they are above .500 after this stretch, I will be impressed.
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By Chuck Booth (Yankees Correspondent/Website Owner): Follow @chuckbooth3024
CC Sabathia is a BEAST. You just have to look at the 6 FT 7 – 300 LBS+ man to see that. If it is possible by playing in New York City – and under the brightest lights, that this man is underrated, despite being a Bronx Bomber. Heading into 2013, ‘Carsten Charles’ (not Captain Crunch as some opposing fans have called him for his love of the Cereal) is 191-102 in his astute Pitching Career, with an ERA of 3.50. What is more impressive than this are his numbers as a member of the New York Yankees – and playing in both Yankee Stadium and the vaunted AL East and amongst many of the top offensive clubs in the Major Leagues. #52 is 74-29 (.718) for the Yankees with a 3.22 ERA. He has made 3 ALL-Star Appearances and has had 3 top 4 AL CY Young Award finishes in the last 4 campaigns. The verdict: the man has been truly dominant in Pinstripes!
In the 1st year of his big contract in 2009, Sabathia led the AL in wins with 19 – en route to a World Series Championship effort. Sabathia had a brilliant Post Season, going 4-1 with a 1.98 ERA in 36.1 IP. The big man also Struckout 32 Batters and only yielded 9 Walks. His only loss came in Game #1 of the World Series, when Chase Utley had a career game. Sabathia bounced back in Game #4 of the Fall Classic (with a QS – ND) and the Yankees ended up winning the contest to take a commanding 3 games to 1 ead, instead of having the Phillies tie the Series at 2 should he of had a bad start.
Sabathia is a winner and maybe the last guy to win 300 Games in the Majors. At Age 32, the guy has a contract to pitch for the Yankees until 2018. In his first 4 seasons he has averaged 18.5 Wins per year. Even if the man only averages 15 wins a year for that time frame, he would be at around 265 wins at Age 37. He could possibly end his career with New York – who would bet against him pitching until he is 40 to chalk up another 35 wins between 38 and that age?
CC Sabathia 2011 Highlights – Mature Lyrics so Parental Guidance is advised.
Tuesday April 24, 2012
Chuck Booth- (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)- Today’s expert is Kurt Smith. Kurt will be the interview subject of the following parks: Citizens Bank Ball Park, Turner Field and today’s featured expert Article of Tropicana Field Kurt is highly respected in the ball park chaser community for his BallparkEGuides. After you are done reading this article I implore you trust in Kurt to deliver up tips and suggestive idea’s on how to make your stadium visits affordable and pleasurable. I had a chance to ask some questions of the man recently.
CB: “Welcome to the MLB Reports Experts Interview Kurt. Please tell us about yourself and then give us a bit of background information on your life as a Rays Fan?”
KS: “Well I’m not a Rays fan per se, but wouldn’t they be a fun team to root for? They consistently come out on top or near the top in a division that includes behemoth spenders like the Yankees and Red Sox; and last year’s finale was one of the most exciting regular season games in history. It’s too bad this team has so much trouble getting people to come out and see them, because they really are an exciting team to watch. And I love the cowbells. It’s great to hear the ringing in a dome when an opposing batter has two strikes on him.”
CB: “As one of the ballpark experts who takes it to the extreme, how do you rank Tropicana Field versus the rest of the Ballparks?”
KS: “Tropicana Field isn’t a great venue; of all the ballparks I’ve visited I’d put it at or near the bottom. I don’t like indoor baseball, and I really dislike artificial turf, probably like most fans. The Trop is the only non-retractable dome left in baseball now that the Metrodome is gone, so you’re inside regardless. It may be okay to have the air conditioning and protection from thunderstorms in July or August, but who wants to go indoors to see baseball on a beautiful April Florida day? The timing of Tropicana Field’s construction couldn’t have been worse. A dome seemed like a great idea at the time, but just a couple of years after it opened Camden Yards debuted and completely turned ballpark construction upside down. Suddenly indoor baseball on artificial turf couldn’t be less cool.
If the Tampa Bay area’s government had listened when baseball told them not to build a stadium, they would probably have a retractable dome today.But the Rays signed a lease, so for the moment they’re stuck with it. And it’s not all bad. The humidity of Florida summers is nothing to sneeze at, so the air conditioning can be pretty nice. And at least you know you’re going to see a game whatever Mother Nature says, which is of great benefit to a road tripper.”
CB: “Despite the Rays being one of the best franchises over the last 5 years, the team still does not draw well. Why do you think that is Kurt?”
KS : “Here are the reasons that I’ve heard, all of which I think have some merit:
1 – Location. The ballpark is in St. Petersburg, and it’s not all that close or easily accessible from Tampa, where much of the fan base is or should be. It’s also in Florida, where there are a lot of New York transplants, so Yankees games draw well but the team has had a hard time establishing its own fan base.
2 – Entertainment Competition. Tampa Bay is not far from beaches or from Orlando, so there isn’t much elbow room for promotional people to convince residents to come to a ballgame rather than go to Universal Studios. The venue doesn’t help; on a beautiful day most people might rather go to a theme park in Orlando or a beach than go indoors for a game.
3 – Venue. I don’t know if I necessarily buy this one; a good team usually draws no matter where they play. But the Trop isn’t on the bucket list of most ballpark trippers, so that doesn’t help matters any. People get enthused about a game at Wrigley Field or Camden Yards, they don’t get enthused about a game at Tropicana Field.
4 – Weather. The indoor venue notwithstanding, perhaps people just don’t want to go somewhere and be outside for at least a short time in a climate where they may be dealing with hurricane-level thunderstorms or oppressive heat.”
CB: “The Rays seem to have a lot of gimmicks to promote a family atmosphere what have you seen Tropicana Field do in order to boost attendance?”
KS: “It is to the Rays’ great credit that they’ve made the Trop more entertaining for families and adults. The Rays tank is an especially popular attraction. You can reach into this tank in right center field and pet the slimy rays that are swimming around in it—all while watching the game go on. The concourse areas of Tropicana Field are like nothing you’ve seen in baseball—comic book style murals of baseball history, picnic areas and tons of interactive games for kids. On my last trip there, the Jumbotron showed a hilarious video of a cat “mixing” on a turntable.There’s also several party areas, like the Everglades BBQ in the batter’s eye in center field, the Center Field Street Brewhouse (with drink specials before games!), and several lounge areas where people can enjoy a “Blue Storm” drink. Baseball buffs should get a kick out of the Ted Williams Museum and Hitters Hall of Fame, too. Unfortunately the Rays can’t do fireworks, but they do get some big name acts to play after games.
CB: “What is your favorite method of transportation to and from Tropicana Field?”
KS: “Well if I lived close enough, I’d ride a bicycle, because there’s a lot of nice bicycle paths in the area and a place to lock up your cycle at the ballpark. But as it is, the only way most people get to Tropicana Field is by car, and it’s right off the interstate and easy to find. So I’ll just add that I’d find some people to carpool with, because the Rays offer free parking to the first 100 cars with four or more people in them. Free parking is always a great deal.
There is a new service for Tampa area fans called the “No Excuses Tour”. It takes riders to the game from a couple of local taverns, and I think the price is very reasonable. I believe they serve beer on the bus but the bus doesn’t have a bathroom, so there’s some kinks to be worked out there, but it’s a great idea.”
CB: “Tell me something about the surrounding area of the Ballpark?”
KS: “Well, I haven’t heard any horror stories, but some people say it’s not a great neighborhood. You’re not far from the downtown pier and its attractions, so that’s a possible post-game hangout area. I would say that you’re better off staying east of the ballpark towards the pier, and perhaps it’s not so nice west and south of the ballpark.
The popular pre-and post-game venue is Ferg’s, an indoor-outdoor tavern that is converted from a warehouse. They have game day specials on beer, and I haven’t tried the wings but I’m told they’re very good. If you’re the type that likes a drink or a snack before or after the game, Ferg’s is as good as anything here. They are walking distance from the ballpark and have cheaper parking, too.”
CB: “What advice would you give for somebody experiencing Tropicana Field for the very first time?”
KS: “Don’t pay more than you have to for a seat. If you can live with anything in the upper level you can get tickets there dirt cheap directly from the Rays, and it’s usually not a problem to improve your lie during the game. Wander around and see all of the party areas and make sure you check out that big ballplayer sticking out of the wall. Get yourself a cowbell so you can distract the opposing hitters when they get two strikes on them. If you’re a history buff you’ll want to see the Ted Williams Museum.
And don’t complain about seeing baseball indoors, because it’s a mighty good thing during July and August in St. Petersburg.”
CB: “How is the food at Tropicana Field? What is your favorite ballpark food there?”
KS: “Tropicana Field has everything from soup to nuts in the food department, like most ballparks these days. The nice thing is that there’s a lot of brand names, for better or worse, at least with Papa John’s, Outback Steakhouse and Checkers you know what you’re getting. They have a deli with great Boar’s Head sandwiches, and they even have a gluten-free stand, great for celiacs like my wife. The hot dogs are from Kayem, the same purveyor of the Fenway Frank in Boston, although the dogs here are different.
When I’m in the Trop I go for a Cuban sandwich at the East-West Delicatessen near the main entrance; the Cuban is not something you find at a lot of ballparks. It’s a hot pressed sandwich of ham, pork, Genoa salami, Swiss cheese, pickles and yellow mustard. I don’t know that it’s the go-to item at the Trop, but it would be my first choice. Gooey cheese is always a winner.”
CB: “What is your favorite all time game that you have been in attendance for at Tropicana Field?”
KS: “Well unfortunately I wasn’t there for September 28, 2011, when the Rays came back from a 7-0 deficit to defeat the Yankees in 12 innings and take the wild card spot right out from under the Red Sox.
So I’ll just go with my first game there in 2002…the then-Devil Rays pulled off a 5-4 victory over the Orioles, and I was with a group of friends sitting down the right field line making jokes about seeing the relief pitchers from behind.
Despite being indoors on a gorgeous April day, a good time was had by all.”
CB: “Thank you very much Kurt.”
***Thank you to our Tropicana Field Expert- Kurt Smith for participating in today’s article. to learn more about Kurt Smith and his website click here***
***Thank you to our Lead Baseball Writer- Chuck Booth for preparing today’s feature on MLB reports. To learn more about “The Fastest 30 Ballgames” and Chuck Booth, you can follow Chuck on Twitter (@ChuckBooth3024) and you can also follow Chuck’s website for his Guinness Book of World Record Bid to see all 30 MLB Park in 23 days click here or on the 30 MLB Parks in 23 days GWR tracker at the Reports click here. To Purchase or read about “The Fastest 30 Ballgames Book, ” please click here ***
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