Sunday, April 6, 2014

What Happened to Calling Balls and Strikes OR why has a tag play suddenly gotten harder to call?

Unwatchable.

Alan Porter behind the plate is unwatchable.
The home plate umpire in the Los Angeles Dodgers' opening day game for 2014 had no idea what a strike was. Judged based on his body language, if you asked him about his "strike zone" you may as well have been speaking a foreign language because his facial countenance would have reflected total disbelief. As if someone slipped something in his morning coffee and he just couldn't assimilate what the hell was happening.

It is amazing how extremely boring the game of baseball can be when umpires act as if something else besides the game is going on. When the home plate umpire is wearing sunglasses, as was Porter, even though the rules do not permit such "equipment" for the arbiter of balls and strikes it's understandable why they can use their own interpretation of the rulebook strike zone.

Hey, this rule says this and that rule says this but I'm the umpire and I can interpret each and every rule any way I see fit. Which in layman's terms means however they can make it work best for them they will most assuredly interpret the rule in that fashion.

All this moaning and groaning about speeding up the game. How about the umpires just follow the rules they were hired to adhere to? If you call a strike a strike and not leave it to your imbecilic interpretation perhaps the batters will swing and pitchers will throw in more of a rhythm than when they have to rub their eyes or ask where the pitch missed.

******************
Michael Morse's defensive approach to Adrian Gonzalez' homer was an optical illusion. He (Morse) played that homer like he was 5'6" when the last I looked he stands 6 feet tall and 5 inches. The Giants had to know he was defensively challenged? How could they not know he was so inept?

Earlier in the season some "expert" came on a show on the A's flagship station and said Morse was the worst fielder he ever saw. It was like listening to Bobby Slayton, the comedian, rip into some overpaid ballplayer who didn't know which hand to put his glove on. I mean the guy's statement was a bull's eye. Unfortunately, I cannot remember his name. But his ball busting was point blank bingo.

The 2014 Los Angeles Dodger season opener was simply unwatchable. Alan Porter somehow making it to the big leagues as an umpire and Michael Morse in the big leagues as a left fielder.

******
The missed tag play by Eric Cooper in Arizona vs. Giants is unacceptable.

Kevin J. Marquez

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Eric Cooper Stunk it Up on April 1, 2014 in Arizona

Eric Cooper. Had trouble with balls and strikes and missed a tag play at the plate. Maybe he smelled good upon arrival for the game but by game's end he most surely stunk.

How tough is it to call balls and strikes?
How tough is it to get into position to make a call on a tag play?

Evidently these are things the people who grade the umpires are still working out. Like with instant replay, in all of the preparation for using replay on questioned calls and it had not been established that on all plays at the plate, these were grounds for a reviewable call.

Anything that causes one team to score or not to score, that is the question. And Major League baseball did not think to implement into the replay procedures. It somehow slipped the minds of everyone involved. They were spending too much time worrying about the "pace of the game." But when it was determined to GET THE DAMNED CALL RIGHT you threw out the "pace of the game."

C'mon people, get your priorities in order. You've may have already cost a team a game (unfortunately it's the team I root for) and you don't think plays at the plate warrant a view from the important people in New York? New York, everything about the need to go to New York smells like low tide at Candlestick or a rainy night at the former Oakland Coliseum, home of the A's and Raiders.

And that smell last night was Eric Cooper, home plate umpire in the Giants @ Diamondbacks. Game 2 of the 2014 season.

Kevin J. Marquez

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Gentleman's Agreement to Jim Crow Laws to Getting Even With Whitey: Which is More Ignorant?

There is no hypocrisy like major league baseball hypocrisy. For the best and most current example look at the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.

The Gentleman's Agreement The 'old gentleman's agreement' was an agreement between Major League baseball owners not to sign African-American ballplayers to their team. This agreement helped keep blacks out of the Major Leagues and helped continue segregation not only in baseball but in life.

Jim Crow Laws- a term describing the Americans racist culture against blacks, it originated as a derogatory way of depicting black people in the minstrel shows of early 19th century America. By the 1890s, the term had come to mean the separation of blacks from whites and the general customs and laws that subordinated blacks as an inferior people. Historians have used the term in reference to the process of segregation or setting the races apart- sometimes meaning customary or informal segregation and sometimes meaning legal or codified segregation.

Whenever I read the aforementioned I get a knot in my stomach. How can you treat anyone, regardless of race as if they were inferior to you? What about the do unto others, Matthew 7:12? I just don't get how this ever originated. And I'm disgusted that one race (Caucasian) can be so separate from another (African-American). But I also didn't have anything to do with the aforementioned.

Why do I mention such a thing? Because now I am the recipient of African-Americans who just happen to sit behind the wheel of a Muni vehicle who get the greatest joy out of giving me a transfer that is less than two hours. Meanwhile, they let their own ethnicity enter through the backdoor for free.

How does this make up for whomever created the Jim Crow laws? As I said, I am sickened by such degrading treatment of another human being. And yet I am the recipient of "getting back at whitey."

Which is more ignorant? I'd really like to know. Somebody please respond to this outcry for help in this matter. I just don't get it.

Let's delve more into Jim Crow.Good information can be received on http://www.jimcrowhistory.org/home.htm

You know how when you went to school and learned certain historical facts only to discover later on in life that this was incorrect? And to think your right answer may have been marked wrong. Oh the sleepless nights.

The election of Theodore Roosevelt in 1904 heralded one of the first Presidential administrations openly opposed to civil rights and suffrage for blacks. Roosevelt is remembered for inviting the black leader and entrepreneur,Booker T. Washington, to the White House for dinner, the first instance of such an invitation for a black person. Southern Democrats were offended, and were vocal in their disapproval. Though Washington's visit was distinctive in its novelty, Roosevelt invited Washington not to improve the situation of blacks, but because they agreed that blacks should not strive for political and social equality. Washington privately used his wealth and influence to challenge Jim Crow, despite his public declarations of the opposite, while Roosevelt's administration was not supportive of civil rights for blacks.

President Taft, a Republican elected in 1908, publicly endorsed the idea that blacks should not participate in politics, and perpetuated the racist party line of his predecessor.

Virginia Democrat, Woodrow Wilson, won both the 1912 and 1916 presidential elections.
Wilson pushed for segregation of federal workers, systematically demoted black civil servants, and claimed nothing could be done to improve the situation for blacks in the country. He refused to meet with black leaders, to appear at black conferences on race issues, or to publicly denounce lynching. President Wilson's wartime administration relegated black Army soldiers to non-combat labor billets, claiming that blacks were unable to fight courageously. Under Wilson, the Navy only allowed blacks to serve as messboys, and the Marines did not accept blacks at all.

For a guy who never met with the black leaders or chose not to appear at black conferences, places where the cream of the crop of African-Americans may have been a part of, how in God's name can he say they 'were unable to fight courageously'?

What proof of this does he have and because he chose to do exactly what Kenesaw Mountain Landis did as commissioner of major league baseball, which was to tap dance around their obvious unwillingness to treat the African-American/Negro fairly. In other words, the only people speaking jive back in the day of Kenesaw and Woodrow were the President of the United States (Woodrow) and the Commissioner of major league baseball (Kenesaw).



Kevin J. Marquez

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Pablo Sandoval: Is he worth the years or the money?

Now you see what a reputation does to someone. Pablo has not shown his employers, the San Francisco Giants, that he can be trusted to keep himself at a playing weight that would allow him to field his position to the best of his ability and or stay off of the injured list.

Due to the freakish incidents that he injured both hammate bones we all learned that because we only get two of those at birth and that he got both of his removed, he cannot injure another hammate bone again. That and the fact that he came into camp in excellent shape makes one think it would be highly unfortunate for him to experience any time on the disabled list in 2014.

On the morning show, KNBR680AM, Larry Krueger (with Gary Radnich) says if they aren't going to re-sign him they ought to trade him so they can get a prospect now rather than wait for the draft pick to bloom into a major league player. Draft picks in baseball are as valuable as they are in the National Football League they just take longer to become big league ballplayers while the college level seems to speed up the process in the NFL. (Note: Usually those players drafted out of college in baseball reach the big leagues sooner because they have had the seasoning in school. It's the players enter the minor leagues out of high school that generally take longer.)

Should the Giants sign Pablo or trade him?

Personally, I believe if he comes out of the gates swinging and starts producing that Brian Sabean and his staff will come to the conclusion that it would be best to sign the Panda for 4-years at 15 million per. Making it 4-years at $60 million.

Kevin J. Marquez

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Integrity in Baseball is an Oxymoron

On the tombstone of Kenesaw Mountain Landis reads: His integrity and leadership established baseball in the respect, esteem and affection of the American people.

Here are a few astute recollections from Writersbloc.blog
It is hard to say which Landis harmed more- America's National Pastime, or its Common Decency.
He was ghoulish even to look at, "a wasted man," wrote John Reed, "with untidy white hair and emaciated face in which two burning eyes (were) set like jewels, (his) parchment skin split by a crack for a mouth- the face of Andrew Jackson three years dead.

Virtually every hateful outrage in baseball history can be ascribed, in some measure, to Landis' integrity and leadership. It started around 1915, when competition from the upstart Federal League threatened to undo the notorious "reserve clause," which bound each player to his team like an indentured servant. The clause was laughably illegal, an obvious violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act, but Landis took care of that. First, he arranged a backroom deal in which the Federals were paid off and the monopoly restored; the, in a breathtaking masterstroke, Landis almost certainly used his influence to obtain baseball's antitrust exemption from the Supreme Court. With competition gone and players stripped of all legal protection, he was soon able to suspend Babe Ruth for having the audacity to play ball in the off-season. (All the sordid details can be found in a marvelous scholarly paper called "Larceny and Old Leather" by Prof. Eldon Ham of Chicago-Kent Law School.

Landis is best known for imposing a lifetime ban on eight members of the Chicago "Black Sox" who accepted bribes from gamblers to throw the 1919 World Series.

By far the most scandalous aspect of the Black Sox scandal was not the fix, but the legal proceedings that followed it. Three players confessed and eight were indicted, but before the case went to trial, the grand jury records, complete with confessions, went a-missing. They turned up four years later in the possession of one George Hudnall, who just happened to be Charles Comiskey's lawyer. Apparently, someone, or several someones, had decided that a public trial would be bad for the baseball business. So the players were acquitted; but Landis, in a final insult to American justice, banned them from baseball for life, as he put it, "regardless of the verdict of juries."

Examining Judge Landis' actions as a judge is helpful towards understanding his decisions as commissioner of baseball. As Federal judge his decisions could be overruled by both the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court of the United States, whereas in baseball, Landis himself was the ultimate decision maker on any matter- the court of last, and only, resort.

It was Landis' handling of the federal League case, which may not have been a prominent legal issue at the time, introduced organized Baseball to the federal judge. But I say it may have been the other way around. Have you ever seen pictures or a picture of Kenesaw Mountain Landis? And then teaming that with his antics on the bench must have caught a couple owners' attention.

A contemporary Chicago Herald article on one Landis' cases noted that the judge "did the prosecuting, the defending, the questioning...he even bullied when necessary to get information out of a witness."

At a time when the owners decided it was best for a commissioner to have all the power to rule on incidents in the league because all they cared about was making money it did not matter what the commissioner's tactics were as long as he got the desired results, which was what the owner's considered to be establishing the league of integrity. The owners weren't about to nitpick since they were sullied, despicable sorts who happened to fall ass backwards into their fortunes which allowed them to own their franchise. (Exhibit A: Bud Selig)

It was Landis' harsh treatment of and willingness to stand up to powerful defendants that made his reputation among the public. And even though Landis saw most of his major judgments being overruled on appeal and the popular courtroom consensus considered the scary looking bully as a "showboat judge" and derided him as the "kind of guy who gets a lot of headlines and then all of his decisions are overturned."

What I would like to know is who did their homework on this judge? And then, are there actual records of that particular owner presenting "his case" for Kenesaw Mountain Landis? Landis, a man who upon learning that President Woodrow Wilson had commuted a maximum sentence of a millionaire cattle rancher convected of selling diseased cattle, Landis responded by placing no penalty whatsoever upon a man convicted of stealing sugar, rationalizing that selling diseased cattle was not subject to punishment then why should stealing sugar?

Isn't the definition of commutation, in Law, a change of punishment or sentence to one that is less severe? Sounds to me like the cattle rancher still got penalized where Landis interpreted it wrongly. Stealing vs. selling is different. Only because the seller probably wasn't aware his livestock was poisoned or that his goods were damaged but once that was known a price of some kind was paid. Meanwhile the sugar thief got off merely on the technicality that he/she was not a millionaire. And this is the guy those owners wanted as their commissioner.

Kevin J. Marquez

Monday, March 24, 2014

Herman Franks (Manager of 1965-1968 SF Giants)

When you are hired by owner Horace Stoneham there are a couple of things you need to know and at least one you will find out. The first being, do you know the ins and outs of baseball. If so-called experts were brought in to grill you in an interview to see just how much you claim to know versus the bullshit in your resume, could you pass the test? Second, would be, does a so-called expert recommend you? And finally, certainly listed last but not the least bit important is CAN YOU BE HORACE'S DRINKING BUDDY?

Herman Franks answered these questions and then some.

I got a hold of something entitled, They Were There, and lo and behold it was about Herman Franks. I will try to set this up to the best of my ability based on the knowledge brought forth in a couple of articles. To be honest, there is a smile on my face likened to that of a slit watermelon.

When asked where he was when Bobby Thomson hit his "Shot Heard 'Round the World" Franks replied, "Doing something for Durocher" as he was Leo's bench coach for the '51 Giants.

As told to Ed Attanasio, This Great Game:
On his role in the Bobby Thomson home run: "They say that I stole Brooklyn's signs that day and I've never admitted to anything. And I never will. There's been a lot of talk about it since 1951. People don't ever get tired of talking about it. I must have talked to this writer (Prager) more than 50 times. Prager researched the hell out of that story, let me tell you. (Gee, he tells us this much, at least.) I read things in there I didn't know. Sal Yvars has blabbed all over the place, but no one else has talked. (Yvars was the backup catcher. Franks supposedly was stationed in the Giants' center field clubhouse at the Polo Grounds. He would steal the opposing catcher's signs through a telescope and relayed them through Yvars who was stationed in the bullpen who could then share his information with the coaches and hitters accordingly.)

Look, it's an easy assumption to think Franks did such a thing. He was Leo Durocher's bench coach who was always running errands anyway. So why not go out to the outer reaches of the Polo Grounds and make yourself useful. He was the perfect gobe-mouches, schlemiel, pigeon for the job. And, don't forget, he was a drinking buddy of Horace Stoneham. That he was able to help out in the "Shot Heard 'Round the World" made him a lot of money with the Giants as long as Horace Stoneham was the owner.

And, in the same article Franks claims the best team he ever managed was the 1965 San Francisco Giants except he didn't have a shortstop or a second baseman who couldn't turn a double-play. "We tried out a bunch of shortstops and second basemen, but we couldn't find anyone to fill the holes there. Damn, I always thought Hal Lanier was a slick fielding shortstop and Tito Fuentes was said to be very quick with getting rid of the ball from second base.

Here is a list of shortstops and second-basemen from 1965-1968: Dick Schofield, Jose Pagan, Lanier, Fuentes, Bob Schroder, Don Mason...And the positions were interchangeable. Damn, their GM was Chub Feeney, Chub, couldn't you have made a move with another major league team? I mean Schofield was way past his prime by the team the Giants acquired him.

Also to consider is that Matty Alou was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates after the 1965 season for a pitcher named Joe Gibbon. In '66 Matty Alou led the National League in batting.
Then there was the Orlando Cepeda trade to St. Louis for Ray Sadecki. And the following year Cepeda not only won the MVP award but led the Redbirds to a World Series title. So you see, Chub Feeney was as much of an achilles heel to the all-time drinking buddy of Horace Stoneham.

This makes me even prouder of the current Giants' staff since they got us two World Series titles. And now just around the corner,here comes 2014!

Kevin Marquez

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Rube "Sousepaw" Waddell: Respected by Those Who Knew Him

The players who played ball in the early 1900s may have all had a little color added to them by writers whose intentions of selling newspapers was priority number one.

In looking up information on Rube Waddell I came across something Bill James said that may explain the eccentricities of George Edward Waddell. James suggested that Waddell may have suffered from a developmental disability, mental retardation, autism, or attention deficit disorder (ADD) which essentially were metal issues that were unheard of or improperly diagnosed at the time.

Rube was referred to as the "Sousepaw" a reference to his being a left-handed pitcher who participated in the sampling of alcoholic beverages.

(When Athletics' centerfield Danny Hoffman was knocked unconscious by a fastball to the temple. Wrote Connie Mack, "Then the man they had called the playboy and clown went into action. Pushing everybody to one side, he gently placed Danny over his shoulder and actually ran across the field." Rube flagged down a carriage, which carted the pair to the nearest hospital. Rube, still in uniform, sat at Hoffman's bedside for most of the night, and held ice to Hoffman's head.

His 349 strikeouts in a season was the standard set for major league pitchers until Sandy Koufax broke the record in 1965. In 1965 Koufax had 382 and in 1973 Nolan Ryan had 383 as a California Angel.

Here are some things said about George Edward "Rube" Waddell, a man who was born on a Friday the 13th (Oct 1876) and died on April Fools Day (1914), by people/players who knew him.

"He made my team. He was the greatest pitcher in the game and although widely known for his eccentricities, was more sinned against than sinning. He was the best-hearted man on our team and every man with whom he came in contact will verify my statement. When a comrade was sick the Rube was first on hand to see him and the last to leave and if he had money it went for some gift or offering to the sick man."

Rube's activity with Connie Mack's band virtually saved the American League from bankruptcy in the stormy season following the American's raid on the National rank and file. - Pittsburgh Press

Baseball was more joyous because of him. He was a fun-maker extraordinary. He drove away gloom like the sun dispersing the fog. He made everybody happy. Millions smiled at his antics. - Washington Post

The end of the spectacular life of George Edward Waddell calls the attention of the vast army of baseball fans to one of those characters, at once the most enviable and the saddest and most pitiful in the world, who are too giant-hearted for the civilization in which they live. They are affectionate, good-hearted giants, too big to see how little they serve their own interest, too impatient and too full of animal energy to stop and work out all the little tricks and artifices that would bring them gain/ giving always open-handedly and with both hands;relying absolutely in abounding energy, even finding pleasure and exhilaration in wasting and destroying that energy; angered only as a child is angered, by the sting of little annoyances, and sobered only in the presence of the genuine distress of others.- Literary digest

Rube was many kinds of man - angler, trap-shoot, football player, actor, fire fiend, amateur barkeeper, prize borrower, practical joker, comedian, a sworn enemy of gloom, a joyous wastrel, a boy that never grew up - as well as one of the greatest pitchers. As the leading comedian of baseball he was on the job, day and night, 365 days in the year. -Chicago Inter-Ocean

To our way of thinking the man who causes laughter and chases care is a philanthropist and a doer of most goodly deed, even though his antics may sometimes be exaggerated by over indulgence. Poor Rube at least made millions smile, his escapades rocked the nation with the richness of their humor, and his capers left no sting.
Rube Waddell left no enemies behind; he hurt no one save himself; and even there, who has a right to say damage was done? For the Rube lived his life and enjoyed it to the fullest. - The Sporting News

His brilliant achievements on the diamond and sensational escapades were advertising mediums which brought thousands of dollars. - Detroit Free Press

The kindest, most amiable, but most irresponsible figure that ever graced baseball's stage, a physical wonder and the greatest left-handed pitcher of all-time, a jester who toyed with life as a bauble and tossed it way at last as a useless thing- that man, the "haggard harlequin" of our national game, was George Edward Waddell.
Now that he has passed from the Known to the Unknown, let us forget the weakness of spirit, and remember only the kindly heart and splendid courage of the man who was the wonder of his profession. - Philadelphia Public Ledger

He was idolized and imitated in the barn-lots of lonely prairie farms, and in the crowded parks and back alleys of the great cities. He was a human, roistering adventurer with all the lovable frailties of Captain Kidd or John Silver. And the fans knew him as a pal. He endeared himself to the public with his Huckleberry Finn peregrinations. - Esquire.

Who would be the perfect actor to play the part of George Edward "Rube" Waddell? Could it be Richard "Rook" Reinholdt? Now wouldn't that be something.

Kevin J. Marquez