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BASEBALL UNIVERSE Yearbook 1, 2012|Let‟s make baseball a more universal game.

PUTTIN’ THE BALL IN PLAY

IN THIS EDITION: VICTOR MESA MAKES BOLD STATEMENTS

LEAGUES SUMMARIES BASEBALL UNIVERSE ALLSTAR 2012 IN PERSPECTIVE

Controversial Cuban skipper Victor Mesa speaks about country’s posible assault on pro ball


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Puttin‟ the ball in play

MESSAGE TO BASEBALL UNIVERSE’S

READERS

Dear readers: For the first time ever we have accomplished the fact of Baseball Universe is a project that surfaced during the editions 28 and 30 of the Spanish magazine Universo Béisbol, which is also the main publication stored in 4shared, Issuu, and Box.net and the main objective of the homonymous blog.

Editing team of Baseball Universe Chief editor Reynaldo Cruz Díaz Translators Reynaldo Cruz Díaz Yanela González Pérez Columnists Jim Allen Rolando A. Barrueco Eric Bynum Lilian Cid Escalona Gustavo Hidalgo Ton Hofstede (Honorary member) Chris Kabout Norton Lorenzzi Véliz Matt Nadel Andrés Pascual Ibrahín Sánchez Reynaldo Cruz Díaz Design Reynaldo Cruz Díaz Promotions Odette Fernández López Photos Rob Jelsma Fotografie Javier Mola Hernández Ismael Francisco González Arceo Internet sources universobeisbol@yahoo.com E-mail reycd321@gmail.com Web http://universobeisbol.wordpress.com Founding date March 23rd, 2010 A US player slides at first base in Havana during the USCT-Cuba friendly series.

launching the Universo Béisbol English Yearbook, which is now entitled Baseball Universe, mainly thanks to the contribution (and in some cases the suggestion and encouragement) of our foreign columnists. We have also included some interesting articles from different Internet sites. It has been a very hard work, since we have had to put together many pages beyond what we were normally used to, but fortunately some of the data (tables, statistics and so on) was already available in Spanish, with the given design and all we had to do was switch some words into English, and in some cases, just the abbreviations. First of all, we must thank colleagues Jim Allen, Eric Bynum and Chris Kabout, for they were the ones who started encouraging me to make an English issue, even if it was once a year. I must confess that it was quite some challenge, and that it also was very time-consuming and tiresome. Yet, the most important thing is that the final result is already here, but it is yours to judge its quality, not ours. It feels bizarre in a way to start a message in English, for the normal thing is to write one in Spanish, except for the times when Universo Béisbol launches special notices, which are, of course, bilingual. Despite the fact that we were expected to bring this to you exactly 15 days ago, we must say that this is the soonest it could be done. In order to get comprehensive material some sacrifices had to be made, and some things we wanted to include had to be dropped. I would also like to thank Katharine Beeman for her poem on baseball, which is also included here, as part of our miscellaneous things to show, in our last page. We have included the names of all the columnists that have contributed with as in the staff because none of what we have accomplished so far would have been possible without their contributions for all these three years. We are almost into Universo Béisbol’s edition of January 2013… the year when the world was supposed to end… and only the end of the Cuban Natinal Series’ regular season is holding us back. So, here is Baseball Universe, issue number one or yearbook number one, 2012 edition or whatever you want to call it. We all hope you like it Sincerely yours Reynaldo Cruz, founder

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PHOTO CREDITS: (COVER PHOTO) ISMAEL FRANCISCO GONZÁLEZ ARCEO/CUBADEBATE; (BOTTOM LEFT) ISMAEL FRANCISCO GONZÁLEZ ARCEO/CUBADEBATE


Yearbook 1, 2012|Let‟s make baseball a more universal game.

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MESA: SEVEN YEARS, THEN THEY CAN COME TO JAPAN By Reynaldo Cruz About 24 hours prior to the first game of the Samurai Japan Match 2012, between Cuba and Japan, Caribbean manager Victor Mesa gave a press conference in which he answered several questions, the most interesting of them being his statement that Cuba is marching towards authorizing Cuban ballplayers to sign professional contracts with professional clubs from Japan, Chinese Taipei or Korea. Sitting with players Alfredo Despaigne, Yulieski Gourriel and Rusney Castillo, Mesa responded to the questions posed on him by several Japanese journalists, and he even had time to joke about some of them. At the beginning, the atmosphere was calmed, focused mainly in the game aspects, and questions about players from both teams. He praised the fact that Japan had won the two previous World Baseball Classics, and confessed that people in international play have started falling in love again with the so-called small ball. “Some people used to find the Japanese game a little bizarre,” he said. “Now they see that the Japanese way of playing is (by making) one run at a time… and the world likes now that you have to score runs to win…

I‟m talking about (the fact that) Cuba, for instance, likes the Japanese game, (and also) in the American continent, in the United States… in practice itself: people have started to bunt in the third inning, second inning, something that was not done before. This means that if we take a closer look, people used to laugh. Now people realize that the Japanese were right, because you can win by making one run at a time. And we are doing that sort of things.” The situation seemed to go tense when someone spoke about Omar Linares and raised the question of whether there was any possibility for Cuba to send players to perform in The once-called Showman of Cuban the Nippon Professional Baseball Baseball also pointed that even after signing contracts with the Japanese, (NPB). Chinese or Korean leagues, Cuban Mesa then said that some positive ballplayers will always be willing to be changes are being made in Cuba, and a part of the Cuban team, as he critithat “in a near future our players cized the decision of some players to could be playing in other countries, skip the WBC and called it something sooner or later.” “negative”. He explained that due to an invite by “I think that your flag is important — the Chinese Professional Baseball he said—, beyond money, or all the League they would play in Chinese things you can have.” Taipei again, and he both thanked and praised the way the Cuban dele- If what Mesa says comes into force, there will be a considerable decrease gation was treated in Taiwan. in the number of Cuban players who On the other hand, the controversial leave the country looking for an opskipper of the Cuban National Teal portunity in professional baseball, assured that some analyses have been and contrary to common belief, the made on the possibility to establish a quality of the Cuban National Series process similar to the Japanese Postwill increase, for the athletes will see ing System, and that in the case of their scope of chances to play on a Cuba, the players might have to spend higher widen while also making some seven (7) National Series seasons beprofit out of it. fore being able to sign with pro teams: “It‟s a process that is on the Let‟s just hope that Mesa‟s words just right track: players in Japan have to don‟t fall from a cliff, and that we be here for eight years and then they might soon have many of our players can go to America, back home in playing for Asian professional clubs. Cuba we are thinking that they will Taken from the Spanish site Universo have to play seven years and then Béisbol they can come to Japan.” htto://universobeisbol.wordpress.com He also confessed that Japan was “the best place” to start with this process.

PHOTO CREDITS: (TOP RIGHT) KYODO; (BOTTOM LEFT) AP


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2012 IN PERSPECTIVE

Metropolitanos’ Enrique Diaz vaulted himself at the top of the all-time hit list in Cuba, by surpassing one of all-time greats: Antonio Pacheco

2012 —BY REYNALDO CRUZ—

drew to an end, and to many‟s surprise (mainly those superstitious ones), the world is still standing, and baseball—part of the world after all—has also continued its course. Like in many years, and for the first time in English, Universo Béisbol is pleased to reveal the most important facts, or at least those who have transcended to this side of the Caribbean, in all of the year in baseball.

and 16 steals in 20 tries. Cuba’s record-man continues to write history Metropolitanos‟ player Enrique Díaz added yet another record to his already thick service sheet when he surpassed Antonio Pacheco as the top producer in hits on Cuban Baseball. Apart from this mark, Díaz also holds Cuban records in games played, at bats, runs scored, bases on balls and stolen bases. Schiller-Rule-bound no-no? Two Holguin hurlers, Raimar Navarro and Pablo Millan Fernandez got together to leave Camagüey hitless in ten (10) innings, 1-0. The most remarkable aspect of this game was the fact that it was the first ever no-hitter decided by the Schiller Rule in the entire world.

Dominicans take the Caribbean Series With the promise of an invitation for Cuba to participate in the 2014 Serie del Caribe, the 2012 edition closed with a pretty much obsolete format, with the victory of the Domini- Alfredo Despaigne, once again? Another one? Granma‟s slugger Alfredo Despaigne bécame the new single can Republic. Jairo Asencio, the Dominicans‟ closer was season homerun king in the Cuban National Series, someawarded the Most Valuable Player. thing that has apparently become a habit on Cuban baseball. Yoenis Céspedes gets signed by Billy Beane’s A’s Over the course of the past five yeats, the record has been It was a surprise for many people involved in the world of broken by Alexei Bell, Despaigne himself, and Yoenis baseball, but Cuban defector was signed by no less than 36 Céspedes, the latter tied with José Dariel Abreu. million dollars for four years to play for the Oakland AthletJosh Hamilton and A-Rod, with homers… ics. Billy Beane, the mastermind behind the signing, responded to criticisms by asking everyone to see that invest- Texas Rangers‟ slugger Josh Hamilton joined another fifteen ment as a “lottery bill”. In the end, his strategy would bay (Continued on page 5) off, as Céspedes hit .293 with 23 homers, 82 runs batted in PHOTO CREDIT: REYNALDO CRUZ/UB


Yearbook 1, 2012|Let‟s make baseball a more universal game.

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hitters and slammed four round-trippers in a single game, while New York Yankees‟ Alex Rodriguez moved over Ken Griffey Jr. in the all-time homerun list. Tiger is the new King of the Jungle Despite the fact that Industriales was heavily favored (mainly because of their opponents‟ inability to play in the clutch), Ciego de Ávila was crowned Cuban Baseball National Series‟ champion by crushing them in five games. The Tigers overcame a 1-3 deficit against Las Tunas and then eliminated Granma in the semifinals, and face Industriales. Team ace Vladimir Garcia was awarded the series MVP while bench outfielder Ricardo Bordon managed an extrainning walkoff double in the fifth game to end the championship.

entirely the Giants‟ pennant hopes. Despite having a .346 batting average, Cabrera gave up on the batting title (which would have been awarded to him by adding a hitless at bat to his stats) and apologized for his attitude.

NPB no-hitters Cuba-USA friendly series return Three no-hitters were tosed in the Nippon Professional Baseball this year. First, Hiroshima Carp righthanded Kenta Maeda baffled the Yokohama DeNA BayStars and was followed by Yomiuri Giants‟ southpaw Toshiya SUgiuchi, who fell one strike from the perfecto, but ended walking the would-be-out-27 batter, so he had to settle with the no-no. Lefty Mitsuo Yoshikawa, of the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters, capped his already excellent MVP season with a no -hitter in his last start. The friendly series held between Cuba and the US Collegiate No-no, the year of the pitcher? Team (USCT), which had been called off after 1996, came Not one, but seven no-hitters were tossed in the Majors this back to the baseball stage of both nations, with a five-game year. The most appealing thing is that they were all marked series held in Estadio Latinoamericano, and won by the by curious events. The first was Chicago White Sox‟ starter hosts 3-2. Cubans were impressed by Americans Jonathon Phillip Humber who pitched a perfecto in his first career Crawford, Austin Courino, Michael Conforto and Kris Brycomplete game, and was followed by Los Angeles Angels‟ ant. Jered Weaver‟s no-no; Venezuelan lefty Joahn Santana also The Haarlem spell gets broken threw his own, the first ever by a New York Mets pitcher. Cuba shook off so many bad moments in the alternate year After him, the most unusual of them all: six pitchers of the tournaments that take place in the Netherlands. They got Seattle Mariners —tying a Major League record— were comrecovered from a slow start and won the Haarlem Baseball bined for a no-hitter (Kevin Milwood, Charlie Furbush, the Week (Haarlemse Honkbalweek) after several disappointing winner Stephen Pryor, Lucas Luetge, Brandon League, and years, beating Puerto Rico in the finals. Victor Mesa‟s manTom Wilhelmsen). The next one was another perfecto, this aging and the use of young players were the key for their time tossed by San Francisco Giants‟ Matt Cain, and not long success. after that, King Felix Hernandez, of the Seattle Mariners, threw his own perfecto, the third of the season, and probably Yukari Isozaki carries Japan in her shoulders the most dominant of all no-hitters in 2012. Cincinnati Reds‟ The Japanese female team won (again) the Women‟s World Homer Bailey would close the years, tying the single season Baseball Championship by beating the United States on a record of no-no‟s. shutout. Yukari Isozaki was the key player in the game and in the entire tournament, which was the reason why she was Melky Cabrera tests positive… awarded with the Most Valuable Player (MVP). After being the All-Star game MVP, San Francisco Giants‟ outfielder Melky Cabrera tested positive for testosterone in a (Continued on page 6) doping control, and was suspended for fifty games, affecting PHOTO CREDITS: (TOP RIGHT) US PRESSWIRE; (CENTER LEFT) KYODO; (CENTER RIGHT) ISMAEL FRANCISCO


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Venezuela wins the 15U World Championship The young Venezuelans took home the 15U World Championship with a victory over Cuba —which had reached the finals undefeated— and an excellent performance by the winning pitcher and tournament Most Valuable Player Ricardo Sánchez. Santo and Larkin get together in Cooperstown The late Ron Santo —elected by the Golden Era Committee ballot— and Cincinnati Reds All-Star shortstop Barry Larkin, who was elected on the Baseball Writers‟ Association of America‟s vote in his third year of eligibility were enshrined in Cooperstown in the induction weekend as part of the Class of 2012. Miguel Cabrera vs. Mike Trout Two men were particularly brilliant at the plate in the Year of the Pitcher in the Major Leagues. Trout and Cabrera, Cabrera and Trout were so dominant at the plate that some questioned whether this was the Year of the Pitcher or the Year of the Hitter. Trout hit .326, with 30 homers, 83 runs batted in and led the league in runs (129), stolen bases (49) and Wins Above Relacement (10.7), ending at the top of the Rookie of the Year ballot and secong as the MVP. Only Miguel Cabrera had a more dominant year, being the MVP himself with a Triple Crown: .330 average, 44 homeruns and 138 runs batted in. Nobody had won the Triple Crown since Carl Yastrzemski did son in 1967, when Cabrera hadn‟t even been born. USA wins the 18U World Championship the USA won the 18U World Championship by beating Canada in the final game, with a three-pitcher 6-2 victory. The Most Valuable Player turned out to be their shortstop Christian Arroyo. NPB: The Kyojin win it all The Yomiuri Giants managed to win the Japan Series by beating the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters 4-2 in six games. Tatsunori Hara‟s pupils had come from behind on a 1 -3 deficit in the Climax Series Final Stafe and defeated the Fighters, helped mainly by the character of catcher Shinnosuke Abe (who got the winning single) and series MVP southpaw Tetsuya Utsumi.

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the surprise (not so much, actually) was brought by Spain and Brazil, who made it to the tournament. The former beat a team very similar to their own (Israel) in the finals, while the latter won the most difficult of all four qualifying tournaments, by winning a pool that featured Panama, Colombia, and Nicaragua, all of them more favored that the Samba kids led by Hall of Famer Barry Larkin. There is no surprise, however, if we analyze that the two teams that won no games in 2006 and 2009 (Panama and South Africa) were left out. Cuba’s unhappy tour on Asia Although they won two games against a team made up of stars of the China Professional Baseball League, the Cuban team had a rather unhappy tour in Asia, both in the Thunder Series and in the Samurai Japan Match 2012. A loss 2-0 against the Chinese Taipei team and defeats 0-2 and 1-3 against the Japanese was the performance of the Cuban squad, which fell to the 13th place in the year‟s ranking due to the aforementioned results and to the fact that they sat out the 18U World Championship. Asia Series: The Giants win again The Yomiuri Giants did win it all this year both in Japan and in Asia, by taking home crown of the Asia Series, which was held in South Korea, by beating the CPBL club Lamigo Monkeys in the finals. Shortstop Hayato Sakamoto, who drove in a run in each and every game of his team, was named the tournament‟s MVP. Cuban National Series: A new format is in place After a disastrous 2011-2012 campaign which featured 17 teams and which always had a team resting, besides being the most expensive baseball season in Cuba, the Cuban baseball authorities established a new system in which every team will play no more than 45 games, and from which only eight teams will continue to play, 42 games (six against each), taking five players from the remaining teams… this could be the beginning of a new and worse disaster.

IBAF and ISF merge… and agree on a new name IBAF and ISF —governing bodies of international baseball and softball, respectively— merged and their respective presidents, Riccardo Fraccari and Don Porter (both now as co-presidents) agreed that it would be named the World Baseball Softball Confederation. This new body will have the mission of bringing the Olympic reinstatement for men‟s MLB: The Giants get their second title in three years baseball and women‟s softball for the 2020 Olympiad. After the blow the team took after Melky Cabrera‟s suspension, the San Francisco Giants overcame two terrible deficits Let‟s see what 2013 brings. With the World Baseball Classic (0-2 against the Cincinnati Reds to beat them 3-2 and 1-3 in our heels, the ballgame will have a lot of activity. against the former St. Lous Cardinals to beat them 4-3), to The article above was published in the December crush the Detroit Tigers, sweeping them with great performissue of our parent publication, Universo Béisbol, ances by Marco Scutaro, Matt Cain, Gregor Blanco, Tim and has been translated by the magazine’s team. Lincecum, Buster Posey and of course, Series MVP Kung Fu That’s why it is one of the first writings we have Panda Pablo Sandoval. published in this first English issue. WBCQ: Two expected teams and two… surprises? Despite the fact that many expected Canada and Chinese Taipei to easily make it to the 2013 World Baseball Classic,


Yearbook 1, 2012|Let‟s make baseball a more universal game.

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Baseball Universe: 2012 All-Star the World Series, despite being swept by the San Francisco Giants. Fielder also won the 2012 All-Star Game Homerun Derby. Honorable mentions: Adam LaRoche (Washington Nationals), José Dariel Abreu (Cienfuegos) and Seung Yeop Lee (Samsung Lions). Second base: It was easy to pick one here, since New York Yankees‟ Robinson Cano was the best with a .313 batting average, 33 homers and 94 RBI‟s, and won both the Silver Slugger and a Gold Glove. Honorable mentions: Yuichi Honda (Softbank Hawks), Héctor Olivera (Santiago de Cuba), Aaron Hill (Arizona Diamondbacks) and Masahiro Araki (Chunichi Dragons).

—BY REYNALDO CRUZ—

Third base: This was a selection that needed little thinking, for Miguel Cabrera‟s Triple Crown for the Detroit Tigers weighs a ton, more than any of the accomplishment any other third sacker could have had. His .330 average, plus 44 homers and 139 runs batted in (all, of course AL highs) left all other men at the hot corner with no chance of competing with him. Let‟s forget the fact that he struck out for the last out of the World Series, his numbers were beyond compare. Honorable mentions: Pablo Sandoval (San Francisco Giants)*, Dae Ho Lee (ORIX Buffaloes), Chase Headley (San Diego Padres) and Yurisbel Gracial (Matanzas).

Shortstop: At shortstop there is a Japanese player who As in every year and for the first time in our English edition, takes all the credit. Yomiuri Giants‟ Hayato Sakamoto had Baseball Universe is pleased to reveal the best of the year in players by position… in other words, a worldly All-Star. To select the players we based rather in their individual accomplishments according to the leagues they played in and NOT the level on those leagues. In some cases the selection was harder than we thought. Some criteria can be considered shallow taking into account the quality of the leagues the players perform in. Yet, the Baseball Universe All-Star always overrules some details, and the most important thing —as in previous editions— is the impact on these men‟s actions to their levels. Catcher: That was the hardest of all selections, mainly because of the individual accomplishment of the two top men in that position. After a deep analysis, we decided to call it a draw between San Francisco Giants‟ Buster Posey and Yomiuri Giants‟ Shinnosuke Abe. They both won the MVP award and the batting title on their respective leagues and they were both key players in the crown accomplished by their teams. Posey caught Matt Cain‟s perfect game and Abe did it in Toshiya Sugiuchi‟s no-hitter. Posey wass the Comeback Player of the Year and Abe got the key winning hit in the Nippon Series, and was close from winning the Triple a dream season, with a batting average of .311 in a league Crown in hitting. with such low hitting as the Nippon Professional Baseball. First base: We decided it to be Prince Fielder, from the Besides, and just like Abe, his performance was key for the Tetroit Tigers, who hit a .313 average, with 30 homers and (Continued on page 52) 108 runs batted in. He was a key player in his team‟s trip to PHOTO CREDITS: (TOP LEFT) LEON HALIP/GETTY IMAGES; (BOTTOM RIGHT) KYODO


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— BY REYNALDO CRUZ — Last Major League Baseball season saw an outpour of no-hitters almost similar to the one we witnessed in 2010, when Roy Halladay (twice, one perfecto), Ubaldo Jimenez, Dallas Braden (perfect), Edwin Jackson and Matt Garza all silenced opposing hitters and kept them from hitting safely. Of course, Jim Joyce’s infamous call kept Detroit’s Armando Galarraga from recording a perfect game. The 2011 season experienced a drop, when only Francisco Liriano, Justin Verlander and Ervin Santana managed no-no’s. Then, the 2012 campaign came, and it brought a series of uncharacteristic pitching gems, which surpassed the amount of the 2010 season, capping another so-called “year of the pitcher”, in which, to many’s surprise, a batter conquered the Triple Crown and a rookie posted a WAR worthy of the Hall of

PHOTO CREDIT: OTTO GREULE, JR/GETTY IMAGES

Fame. Yet, pitching gems have stopped being a rarity and have become something that can happen more often than it used to. The first of the invaders into the no-hitter world in 2012 was Chicago White Sox’ Philip Humber, a man who had had Tommy John surgery before the start of his MLB career, and on April 21 st, he tossed the Major’s 21st perfect game. It was not only his first shutout, but also his first career complete game. He threw only 96 pitches while striking out nine out of all 27 Seattle Mariners he retired in order. Even though he faced some trouble in the ninth inning, he managed to strike Brendan Ryan on a full-count check swing. He was also supported by the defense of Alexis Rios, who caught a line drive by Dustin Ackley, and Dayan Viciedo, who made a running catch (Continued on page 9)


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Yearbook 1, 2012|Let‟s make baseball a more universal game.

PHILIP HUMBER (CWS) PERFECT GAME April 21st.

righthanded ace struck out nine and walked one (Josh Willingham in the seventh inning), while Chris Parmelee also reached base when catcher Chris Ianetta committed a passed ball on a third strike in the second inning. Before a 27,288 crowd, Weaver threw 121 pitches and was aided by his team’s offense, and a bit of luck, when a line drive by Trevor Plouffe went just foul a few feet before the left-field foul pole. Were Weaver’s eyes hooking it? One never knows. It would be almost a full month before another hurler subdued opponents in such a way. Johan Santana,

(Coming from page 8)

on a fly ball by Kyle Seager, which intended to land in no-man’s land for a base hit and break the gem.

JOHAN SANTANA (NYM) NO-HITTER

June 1st. Eleven days later, on May 2nd , the Angels’ Jered Weaver baffled the Minnesota Twins and left them hitless in a complete game 9-0 victory. The now with the New York Mets, and obviously past his prime, threw the first no-no in team history, as he JERED WEAVER (LAA) defeated the St. Louis Cardinals 8-0. It was the Mets’ NO-HITTER 8,020th game. If people were outraged by Jim Joyce’s ruling in 2010, which robbed Armando Galarraga of a May 2nd. perfect game, they might have something to say, as third base umpire Adrian Johnson called foul a line drive hit by Carlos Beltran in sixth inning that hit the chalk foul line, exactly on the second anniversary of the “imperfect game”. With the no-no intact, Santana just needed a little help from outfielder Mike Baxter to rob Yadier Molina of extra bases in the seventh frame. The Venezuelan southpaw tossed 134 pitches (a career high) and struck out eight while giving five free tickets before 27,069 fans.

Then, more bizarre things. The Seattle Mariners decided it was time they had a no-hitter of their own, and since they could not make (Continued on page 10)

PHOTO CREDITS: (TOP LEFT) OTTO GREULE, JR/GETTY IMAGES; (CENTER RIGHT) MIKE STOBE/GETTY IMAGES; (BOTTOM LEFT) CSM LANDOV


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SIX PITCHERS (SEA)

MATT CAIN (SFG)

NO-HITTER

PERFECT GAME

June 8th.

June 13th.

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who would throw it, they relied on not two, but SIX pitchers!! to do so. It was a collective gem, which was started by one-time stellar Kevin Milwood, who had to leave the game after six innings with a groin injury. It tied the record for the most pitchers used in a no-no (now shared with the Houston Astros), as Milwood, Charlie Furbush, Stephen Pryor (winner of the game), Lucas Luetge, Brandon League and Tom Wilhelmsen humiliated the Los Angeles Dodgers, who were the second team in hitting in the majors at the time. Milwood threw 68 of his team’s 114 deliveries and struck out six opponents. There were complications, when after one out, Furbush committed a twobase throwing error on a grounder by Elian Herrera, and after the second out, Eric Wedge placed Pryor on the mound, who retired Juan Rivera on strikes. Pryor then started the eighth inning by walking Bobby Abreu and Jerry Hairston Jr. while throwing only one strike. Lucas Luetge got the first out on James Looney’s sac bunt, and then Brandon League took over. He would need Chone Figgins’s help as he caught a line drive by A.J. Ellis and held the third base runner with his strong throw home. The Dodgers’ Dee Gordon tried to taint the gem by bunting in the fourth inning, but he was called out at first on a tight play. But even perfectos were not over yet: San Francisco Giants’ Matt Cain would throw one of the most dominant perfect games in MLB history, as he threw the first 27-men-up-27-men-down in franchise history, and the 23rd in the Majors. He threw 125 pitches (the most in a perfecto), 86 of them for strikes and fanned 12 batters. His defense aided him with a leaping catch made by Melky Cabrera, to rob Chris Snyder of a homer in the sixth, and a diving catch made by Gregor Blanco, on a ball hit by Jordan Schafer, which had extra-bases written all over it.

Even though Cain posted an astonishing game score of 99, his perfecto was kept intact thanks to the defense of his corner outfielders. On June 13, Mew York Mets knuckleballer R.A. Dickey was victimized, not by an umpire, but by the official scorer (and his third baseman), who ruled hit one Tampa Bay Rays’ B.J. Upton bouncing ground ball that was not barehanded caught by third baseman David Wright. He would allow an unearned run, in the ninth frame, on a throwing error by Wright himself, the second baserunner Dickey would allow. Even though the New York Mets asked the scoring to be revoked, it stuck, just as Jim Joyce’s call did in 2010.

FELIX HERNANDEZ (SEA) PERFECT GAME August 15th.

The other one who would seek (and find) perfection would be Seattle Mariners’ ace Felix Hernandez, on the 15th of August. The King made an outstanding performance against the Tampa Bay Rays, matching Matt Cain’s game score by striking out 12 and retiring all 27 batters in order. King Felix’s gem would have been undermined by Joe Maddon —who came out to argue a called third strike with two outs in the

PHOTO CREDITS: (TOP LEFT) AP; (TOP RIGHT) ED SZCZEPANSKI/US PRESSWIRE; (BOTTOM RIGHT) MATT HARRISON/THE SEATTLE TIMES

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Yearbook 1, 2012|Let‟s make baseball a more universal game. (Coming from page 10)

no-hitters lately, the “luck factor” is also present, as Homer Bailey himself would say: “There is a real fine line there in throwing a no-hitter. A bloop can fall in the outfield or an infielder can be in the wrong position and there goes your hit. You have to be extremely fortunate to throw a no-hitter and we had luck on our side tonight.”

seventh inning—, but after a few minutes of protest, Hernandez was back on track, and he kept so focused, that he ended up striking out five of the last six batters he faced. He pitched comfortably, and needed little help from his defense. Besides, he kept pitching from a volcano, since the Mariners only Definitely, both Gregor Blanco and Melky Cabrera managed one run against Jeremy Hellickson. saved Matt Cain from losing his perfecto, while an And then, lucky number seven. umpiring decision meant that Johan Santana’s nohitter stuck. Outfielders Dayan Viciedo and Alexis Homer Bailey also wanted a no-hitter of his own, and Rios also protected Philip Humber’s improbable feat, he would manage to get one: on September 28 th, he and in Seattle’s six-pitcher feat, Chone Figgins held had his chance. The Cincinnati Reds’ righthander a runner at third with his arm and reliever Tom Wildominated the Pittsburgh Pirates, by recording his helmsen had no clue of what was going on until the third career complete game and his second shutout, last out: had he known, he would probably have tried all of them against the Bucs. He improved to 5-0 his harder and ruined it. record at PNC Park, so he felt like pitching at home. Some people attribute this no-hit fever to the constant drug testing, since sluggers cannot build too HOMER BAILEY (CIN) much muscular mass without getting noticed… but NO-HITTER again, neither can the pitchers. September 28th. About R.A. Dickey, that is precisely the thin line Bailey spoke about. Wright could have made the play, that’s for sure, but again, it could have been safe even if he had caught the ball barehanded. So, luck is indeed a factor, but so much luck has come together and the modern record for no-hitters in a season was tied (it previously occurred in 1990 and 1991). There is no coincidence here: defense has improved over the past years, and so have the grounds. It is easier to field a ground ball today than it was about 30 years ago, and the possibilities of a ball making a bad hop have been reduced. Also, padded fences help outfielders leap for fly balls that are either destined to be homers or extra bases, the grass is softer and easier to dive on or lay out on, and lighting in the ballparks has improved considerably. Will there be a limit for no-hitters? There will always be one. We could witness a season without gems in 2013, but filled with one-hitters or two-hitters. In a baseball as big as the major leagues, with so many teams, such a long season and such good pitching, it is very likely we might see a year with four or five no-no’s in the next campaign. Yet, Bailey had some credit to his feat, striking out For now, we should wait and see… nobody knows ten and walking one while allowing a baserunner to what the future has in store. reach on an error by third sacker Scott Rolen. With information from the Associated Press Was this another year of the pitcher? We could not tell for sure, but even though there have been many

PHOTO CREDIT: GENE J. PUSKAR/AP


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Puttin‟ the ball in play

Should Sadaharu Oh Be in Cooperstown? —BY JIM ALBRIGHT— With the influx of Japanese players to the majors, interest in Japanese baseball has risen. One outgrowth of this interest is the question posed by the title of this article. I want to present a thorough examination of Oh‟s qualifications for Cooperstown, and then report the findings together with my conclusions. The evidence is divided into three parts: (1) the actual Japanese record, (2) the subjective record, and (3) projections from the statistical record. THE ACTUAL RECORD A. Regular Season. It is clear that any candidate from a league of less than major league caliber must be dominant in his own situation to even be considered for a plaque in Cooperstown. The Hall of Fame is properly for those who show they were able to dominate major league caliber opposition for a sufficient period of time to be considered great players. While not all of Cooperstown‟s inductees meet this standard, I have no desire to add to the number of mistakes made in the ranks of Hall of Famers. Oh was quite dominant in his time and place. He won two consecutive Triple Crowns in 1973 and 1974. He won nine MVP Awards, 18 Best Nine Awards at first, All -Star selections in 20 of his 22 seasons, and nine Gold Gloves. Best Nines are given to one the best player at each position in each league at the end of the season. The Gold Gloves were awarded only in the last nine years of his career, so he won all of them for which he was eligible. He led his league five times in batting average, 15 times in runs scored, three times in hits, 15 times in homers, 13 times in RBI, 18 times in walks, once in doubles, and 14 times in slugging percentage. The triple crown categories are the only ones I have complete top five finishes for, and Oh was in the top five 11 times in average, 20 times in homers, and 19 times in RBI. Another way to look at his seasonal marks is to count how often he met certain standards:

Don‟t forget that these standards were achieved in seasons of no more than 140 games, and usually of 130 games. Another way of looking at Oh‟s record is to consider his career marks. Here Oh is 14th in batting average, first in runs scored, third in hits and doubles, first in homers, RBI, slug-ging percentage, total bases, and walks, fourth in at-bats, and second in plate appearances. Not only that, but his first-place finishes are often by large margins, such as 311 runs scored, 211 homers, 182 RBI, 547 total bases, 43 points of SLG, and 915 walks. Oh‟s onbase percentage would be another career record by a significant margin if only the Japanese used it as an offi -cial statistic. However, his .445 career on-base percentage is an excellent mark, especially in a good professional league. Oh‟s actual record appears in a chart at the end of this article. B. Japan Series. Oh‟s dominating regular season performances helped his teams win the Central League 14 times, thereby earning a berth in the Japan Series against the best team from the other Japanese league, the Pacific League. Oh‟s teams won 11 of those series, and he was the MVP of the series once. He played in 77 Japan Series games and hit .281 with 29 homers in 242 at-bats, an on-base percentage of .465 and a slugging percentage of .665. He scored 58 times and drove in 63 runs. Clearly, his performance against the best teams in the Pacific League in those 14 seasons was dominant as well. C. Exhibitions Against Major Leaguers. Oh played 110 exhibition games against major leaguers in official major league tours of Japan, usually in October or November. He had 338 at-bats and hit for a .260 average with 88 walks for a .413 on-base percentage. He also slugged 14 doubles and 25 homers among his hits, for a .524 slugging average. A list of the pitchers he took out of the park is below. These numbers include a 0 for 12 in 1960, but it would be appropriate to eliminate those results, since I do not project Oh to have been ready for the majors until 1962. If you eliminate the 1960 results, his marks in the MLB exhibitions will improve somewhat. This performance may have come mostly in parks that were not of major league dimensions. However, it is a dominant performance against pitching which appears to be above the average quality of pitching he would have faced in the majors. The pitchers (and the year) Oh hit his homers against (left-ies are denoted with an asterisk [*], and if a pitcher gave up multiple homers to Oh, the number appears in parentheses) were as follows: Hank Aguirre,* 1962; Nick Willhite,* 1966 (2); Alan Foster, 1966; Joe Moeller, 1966; Jim Brewer,* 1966; Steve Carlton,* 1968; Dick Hughes, 1968; Nelson Briles, 1968; Ray Washburn, 1968; Larry Jaster,* 1968; Wayne Granger, 1968; Frank (Continued on page 13)


Yearbook 1, 2012|Let‟s make baseball a more universal game. (Coming from page 12)

Reberger, 1970; Frank Linzy, 1970; Pat Dobson, 1971; Jim Palmer, 1971; Dick Hall, 1971; Jerry Cram, 1974 (2); Jerry Koosman,* 1974; John Matlack,* 1974 (3); Tom Seaver, 1978; and Tom Hume, 1978. Further, Oh was pulling even this group of pitchers: 4 to left, 1 to left center, 3 to center, 5 to right center, and 12 to right. If you looked at the teams Oh played against, you‟d think he should have faced some pretty good pitching. In fact, they had three league champions among them. If we project the records of the teams Oh faced, weighted by games against Oh to a major league schedule, the average major league team Oh faced was 92-70. The list of pitchers Oh homered off of supports the belief he was facing good major league pitching. For those who need more proof, let‟s look at the median (the middle of the group) pitcher Oh homered against. I use the pitcher‟s ERA the actual year the homer occurred unless the pitcher had less than 50 IP. In that case, I took the ERA for both the season the homer occurred and the next season as well. Oh hit two of his 25 HR against major leaguers against guys with ERAs of 5.00 or more, and there were only four more homers off of a pitcher with an ERA over 4.00. The median pitcher yielding a homer to Oh had a 2.85 ERA. The average ERA was 3.55 in the majors during the period 1962-1975, and the lowest it got for any season for the whole majors was 2.98 in 1968. Thus, one can reasonably say in the exhibitions against major leaguers, Oh got his homers off a better than average group of major league pitchers. THE SUBJECTIVE RECORD Oh‟s critics cannot reasonably deny that he was dominant in his own place and time. Therefore, the critics downplay those accomplishments as having come against inferior pitching and/or in small ballparks. I concede there is some truth in those statements. However, Japanese baseball is a good professional league. Therefore, there are two questions we must try to answer: (1) how good was the quality of play in the Central League in Oh‟s time, and (2) how does Oh‟s performance stack up against the level of greatness one needs to achieve to merit induction into Cooperstown? There are two ways to address this issue in the case of Japanese baseball. The first is the subjective record, namely what baseball people, namely, major league scouts, players, and managers who actually saw Oh play have to say about him. The second method is a statistical projection of Oh‟s record to a major league equivalent. Before discussing any further what the average quality of play in the Central League in Oh‟s time was, there is a crucial point to be made. The average quality of opposition is only relevant in helping assess the quality of Oh‟s play. This point cannot be overstressed, because there is a suggestive, intui-tive, and yet seriously flawed logic which operates in situations where a player played in a

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league described as having less than 20th century major league quality of play on average. The logic I refer to runs something like this: (1) “less than 20th-cen-tury major league quality on average” means minor league, (2) therefore, a star in such a league is a minor league star, and (3) minor league stars do not make the Hall of Fame. The problem with this logic is when it is applied to leagues such as Japan or the Negro Leagues is that there was no major league calling up the best players to play in the majors, thereby skimming the cream of the crop. Both the Negro Leagues and Japan (until recently), no matter the exact quality of play, were the pinnacle of competition the players in those leagues could reasonably aspire to compete in. The stars of the Negro Leaguers were almost invariably major league quality players, and often of Hall of Fame quality. Perhaps the Japanese stars are not as frequently of Hall of Fame quality, but their stars surely are of major league quality. In each case, the stars of those leagues were denied the opportunity to perform on a major league stage through no fault of their own. In short, the average quality of such a league cannot be used as a shorthand method for evaluating players. With that cautionary note, the most common assessment of the quality of Japanese baseball is it is equal to the highest level of the minors, perhaps even a tad better. For examples of this assessment, see McNeil‟s Baseball‟s Other Stars, page 113, or Fred Ivor-Campbell‟s article on Oh at page 35 of the 1992 edi-tion of The National Pastime. A problem for Oh‟s detractors is that he accomplished his actual record in far shorter seasons (an average of over 20% shorter). In response, they could try to argue that players wear down in a longer season, not an incorrect statement. However, this does not deal with Oh specifically, nor does it deal with the fact that the Japanese of Oh‟s time trained in a manner major leaguers of the same era would have regarded as fanatical. It is important to note that Oh was frequently singled out as being especially hardworking, even among the Japanese. How hard did the Japanese of that time and/or Oh train? Here‟s what William Chapman wrote in the July 13, 1978, Washington Post: [T]he common complaint of . . . Americans who play baseball in Japan [is] fatigue. Japanese players train like demons the year round and the . . . foreigners must keep up . . . A 6:30 p.m. . . . game is preceded by five hours of exercise, practice and team meetings. It is the greatest shock for American players who come to Japan accustomed only to shagging a few fly balls and belting a couple of practice balls before game time. Frank Deford underscored Oh‟s work in the August 15, 1977, Sports Illustrated: For a 1:30 game, Oh arrives at 10:30 . . . Oh gets no respite from this enervating routine. After almost a half an hour in the batting cage, he goes to the clubhouse, where, lest he grow rusty, he swings a bat in front of a full-length mirror for another 10 minutes. Then he hies himself back to the diamond, where a (Continued on page 14)


Baseball Universe | 14 (Coming from page 13)

coach spends 15 minutes or so slapping hard grounders just past his reach, so that he must run and stretch for every one. Here he is, 37 years old, the finest player in the game . . . being worked over daily in the noon heat of summer. Off days—especially after a defeat— mean grueling two- or three-hour team practices. But every player endures this schedule, and Oh-san endures it best . . . Late every season, when most players’ averages are falling even faster than their weights, Oh finishes with an inhuman rush. A guy who fits this profile could almost certainly handle a longer schedule and still maintain his level of play. Therefore it is only appropriate to allow him more playing time when we compare him to major leaguers. Thus his already heady accomplishments will be increased by another 20% before we get to the task of making the appropriate adjustments to allow for the smaller parks and the lesser quality of pitching. Common sense dictates the difference between the majors and a AAA or better league cannot be large enough to drop Oh below the level of legitimate HOFers. Tetsuya Usami‟s book Oh and Nagashima: Every Record also tells us Oh hit 612 homers to “right” and 140 to “right center,” with the remaining 116 to all other fields. In short, Oh was a dead pull hitter. In fact, the Japanese teams routinely played a shift very much like the one Ted Williams faced in the majors. Oh managed to drive balls through or over the reduced space presented by such a shift often enough to average over .300 for his career. The larger dimensions of major league parks would have ensured that he would have had more outfield room to work with, which would certainly be to his advantage. Another issue is whether or not Oh had a real opportunity to come to the majors. In an interview with Baseball Weekly, August 14, 1997, Oh said that if he had had the chance, he would have wanted to play in the majors, but that he didn‟t have that chance. An examination of the history of Japanese baseball‟s relations with American baseball shows Oh‟s contention is credible. In 1967, after the Murakami affair, the major league and Japanese owners signed a “Working Agreement” which governed their relationship. A key provision was that each side would respect the other‟s rights to players. At the time, both sets of owners had reserve clauses they used to keep players tied up indefinitely. Both sets of players were, in Robert Whiting‟e apt description in The Meaning of Ichiro, “indentured servants”. In 1975, free agency became a part of the major league scene, nevertheless, the majors continued to honor the “Working Agreement. “Japanese players and their union were much more docile than their major league counterparts. Free agency didn‟t come to Japanese baseball until 1993, and even then player agents were banned from the negotiating process. While it is true the loophole Nomo exploited in 1995 existed from the beginning of this agreement, it was a fine enough legal point that no one discovered for 28 years. Even if a daring Japanese player had found it and

Puttin‟ the ball in play

tried to exploit it before free agency came to the majors in 1975, it is unlikely major league owners would have been receptive to aiding a threat to anyone‟s reserve clause. Once their own reserve clause became ineffective, it is possible they would have been more open to such a possibility. However, by that time Oh was 35 and would not have been a good candidate to succeed in such a maneuver. Thus, Oh would have had to find the loophole early enough in his career to be an attractive free agent, retire from his well-paying job in Japan, face intense public pressure against the move, and try to get the major league owners to sign him. Now we can look at actual quotes. These quotes are quite impressive, and unless otherwise noted come from an appendix in Oh‟s autobiography. What I find even more impressive is the complete absence of quotes by major league types who saw or played against Oh indicating he wasn‟t a very impressive player. The most negative quotes from major league players, coaches, scouts, and executives who actually saw Oh play I was able to find were statements he was not in a class with Aaron, Ruth, and perhaps Mays. Since Oh and I don‟t contend he was in that class, such statements aren‟t tremendously revealing on their face. If such quotes reveal anything beyond generally accepted wisdom, they can probably best be seen as a backhanded way of saying he was very good, probably even HOF quality. If you want to say a guy isn‟t very good, you don‟t compare him to some of the very best guys in the history of the game. The quotes I have chosen follow: Davey Johnson (the only man to have been a teammate of Oh and Aaron)[The Sporting News, January 7, 1978, page 37]: “Oh would have hit 700 homers over here. He would be a good hitter anywhere in the world. Quality is still quality.” Davey Johnson again, this time from Deford‟s Sports Illustrated article: “You couldn‟t find a better [fielding] first baseman.” Tom Seaver: “He sure hit me. He was a superb hitter. He hit consistently, and he hit with power. If he played in the United States, he would have hit 20-25 home runs a year, and what‟s more, he‟d hit .300. He‟d be a lifetime .300 hitter. He had tremendous discipline at the plate. He knew the strike zone extremely well . . . .He could pull your hard stuff, and you couldn‟t fool him off-speed.” Hal McRae: “Oh had tremendous patience as a hitter . . . He had good power. I don‟t know how many [homers] he would have hit here . . . . He was a great all-star. He‟d have been a Hall of Famer.” Pete Rose: “There‟s no question in my mind he wouldn‟t have hit 800 home runs if he‟d played here, but if he played in a park tailored to his swing, he‟d have hit his 35 [homers] a year. . . He‟d hit .300, I‟ll tell you that.” Don Baylor: “Oh could have played anywhere at any time. If he played in Yankee Stadium, being the lefthanded pull hitter he is, I have no doubt he‟d hit 40 home runs a year.” (Continued on page 15)


Yearbook 1, 2012|Let‟s make baseball a more universal game. (Coming from page 14)

Frank Howard: “You can kiss my ass if he wouldn‟t have hit 30 or 35 home runs a year and hit anywhere from .280 to .320 and drive in up to 120 runs a year. The point being, he rates with the all-time stars of the game.” Greg Luzinski: “There‟s no question he‟d have been a great player in the United States, that he was a super talent.” Brooks Robinson: “He could have played right here in the big leagues with the best players in the world. He would have hit here. Not as many home runs, but he would have hit his share and hit for average. He was just an outstanding hitter.” Frank Robinson: “I‟m sure he would have hit in the 30‟s [of homers per year] and probably in the low 40‟s. . . . Thirty home runs a year add up to over 600 home runs, and he‟d do that if he played the same number of years here that he played there.” Don Drysdale: “He would have hit for average and power here. In a park tailored to his swing, there‟s no telling how many he would have hit. . . . He was always ready for anything we threw him. We were all impressed.” STATISTICAL ANALYSIS A. My Projection. I will use projections because they place the accomplishments for a player from a nonmajor league situ-ation into a readily understood context, namely major league performance. Once we have such a readily understood context, it is easier to get a reasonable fix on the quality of the player. I compared the records of all players who played in Oh‟s Central League during his career who also played in the majors. I matched the lesser total of at-bats to those nearest in time in the league with more at-bats, prorating totals within a season. I was able to add a home park home run adjustment, but not none for the other statistics. The reason for this is the only available data resembling home/road splits is for Oh‟s hom-ers, because apparently home/road split data is rarely if ever kept in Japan. If you need a more detailed explanation of the methods used to arrive at my adjustment figures, see www.baseballguru.com/jalbright/ analysisjalbright8.html. The adjustment factors derived from the study of players who played in both the majors and the Central League during Oh‟s time are as follows:

I will use Oh‟s actual Japanese total of walks without any upward adjustment for playing time because he already has what would be a major league record number of walks. If I used the adjustment figure given above multiplied by the factor for additional playing time instead, he would be projected for 39% more walks than

Baseball Universe | 15

he actually got. This seems too high, so I chose a much more conservative evaluation. Similarly, I chose to use Oh‟s actual career stolen base figure of 84 because stolen bases are of no real import in assessing his career. In order to deal with playing time issues, I had to use season by season data to make my projections. However, the adjust-ment factors are designed for Oh‟s entire career, not individual seasons. Therefore, I will not use the single-season projections to evaluate Oh‟s worthiness for the HOF. Instead, I will restrict myself to working with the career totals estimated for Oh, as these totals are within the intended bounds of the adjustment figures. Lest I be accused of hiding unfavorable data, the pro-jection is available in the tables at the end of the article. I will drop Oh‟s first three seasons on the grounds he wouldn‟t have reached the majors until 1962. Even after sig-nificant downward adjustments, Oh‟s career line is still most impressive:

It is most interesting that this projection closely resembles (a) his actual performance in exhibitions against major leagu-ers, and (b) the anecdotal assessments major leaguers made of him. One way to examine Oh‟s career line is to determine who the most similar retired players are (as of the end of the 2003 season) to Oh‟s projection using Bill James‟s similarity scores. The 11 most similar players (due to a 10th-place tie) are:

The top eight are at the level James would describe as “somewhat similar” to the Oh projection, and the rest as “vaguely similar.” This is further proof Oh is HOF quality, in that the very best players tend to be unique and therefore do not have many players truly similar to them. If you look at the average of these 11, you‟d have a (Continued on page 16)


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Puttinâ€&#x; the ball in play

Tables 5, 6, 7, 8 & 9 Another use for the list of most similar players is to look player who is close to the projection for Oh. The com- at how many of them are in Cooperstown. The list has 10 men already in the Hall. Seven of those already in parison of the composite and the Oh projection are: were first-ballot selections, and it is likely Ott would have been also except that he came up for consideration while they were still catching up with the greats from earlier times. Baines may get in, but heâ€&#x;s a long shot. However, he is inferior in quality to the Oh projection. Frankly, no matter how one looks at the list of most (Coming from page 15)

(Continued on page 17)


Yearbook 1, 2012|Let‟s make baseball a more universal game.

(Coming from page 16)

similar players, the conclusion is the same: Oh is clearly HOF quality. B. Other Projections. Bill McNeil did a similar projection of Oh‟s career stats for his book, King of Swat. His projection was based on 550 at-bats, and I will put my projection in the same terms.

As you can see, they are rather similar. We both project Oh to be worthy of the HOF. In fact, Mr. McNeil in Baseball‟s Other Stars rates Oh as the third best first baseman of all time, behind Gehrig and Foxx. THE “NATIONAL” HALL OF FAME One last argument against Oh‟s induction: the contention that Cooperstown is the National Hall of Fame and is therefore limited to those who have contributed to the game in North America. There is no formal restriction on those the Hall of Fame may honor. Even if such a restriction exists, it certainly can be changed as easily and rapidly as the sudden decision to allow Negro Leaguers to be honored on an equal basis with the major leaguers. In fact, the Hall‟s own Mission Statement discusses a “global audience.” Further, the Hall should honor all the best players in the game, no matter where

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they played or who they played against, because they all have helped to make it the great game it is. Moreover, the game is becoming increasingly international in scope. In 2002, nearly one in four major leaguers was born outside the United States—17 different countries are represented in the majors, and 31 in the minors. About half of all minor leaguers were born outside the U.S.A. We now have major league all-stars from the Orient, and we will undoubtedly have more now that those outside North America may vote for the allstar teams. Under such circumstances, the “national” argument seems to me to be hopelessly parochial. Oh has had a tremendous influence on Japanese baseball as its greatest player, as one of its goodwill ambassadors, and as a successful manager. He came into contact with many major leaguers, and his career has touched modern major league managers like Jim Tracy, Davey Johnson, Charlie Manuel and Bobby Valentine. The “national” argument is at best a dinosaur, doomed to extinction by the existing trend toward international growth in the game. Eventually, I believe the majors will have a permanent presence in Japan, and at that point baseball will need to please its Japanese fans. When that occurs, the “national” argument will surely fall. For all the reasons set forth above, he richly deserves a plaque in Cooperstown, and I submit it is likely that it will happen. Negro Leaguers to be honored on an equal basis with the major leaguers. In fact, the Hall‟s own Mission Statement discusses a “global audience.” Further, the Hall should honor all the best players in the game, no matter where they played or who they played (Continúa en la página 18)


Puttin‟ the ball in play

Baseball Universe | 18 (Coming from page 17)

against, because they all have helped to make it the great game it is. Moreover, the game is becoming increasingly international in scope. In 2002, nearly one in four major leaguers was born outside the United States—17 different countries are represented in the majors, and 31 in the minors. About half of all minor leaguers were born outside the U.S.A. We now have major league all-stars from the Orient, and we will undoubtedly have more now that those outside North America may vote for the allstar teams. Under such circumstances, the “national” argument seems to me to be hopelessly parochial. Oh has had a tremendous influence on Japanese baseball as its greatest player, as one of its goodwill ambassadors, and as a successful manager. He came into contact with many major leaguers, and his career has touched modern major league managers like Jim Tracy, Davey Johnson, Charlie Manuel and Bobby Valentine. The “national” argument is at best a dinosaur, doomed to extinction by the existing trend toward international growth in the game. Eventually, I believe the majors will have a permanent presence in Japan, and at that point baseball will need to please its Japanese fans. When that occurs, the “national” argument will surely fall. For all the reasons set forth above, he richly deserves a plaque in Cooperstown, and I submit it is likely that it will happen. Source:________________________ SABR: Baseball Research Journal, #33, pp 53

The SABR Story The Society for American Baseball Research had its beginnings in Cooperstown, New York. It was the brainchild of L. Robert Davids, who in August 1971 gathered 15 other baseball researchers at the National Baseball Hall of Fame to form the organization. From this modest start, SABR membership has broadened steadily. A decade later, it had reached 1,500; today, it totals more than 6,000 worldwide. Who belongs to SABR? Many major and minor league baseball officials, broadcasters and writers, as well as numerous former players. Primarily, the membership consists of "just plain fans" — anyone interested in baseball can join. While the original purpose of SABR was to band together baseball historians, statisticians and researchers, it is not necessary to engage in research to become a member. Ernie Harwell, the late Detroit Tigers broadcaster, said: “SABR is the Phi Beta Kappa of baseball, providing scholarship which the sport has long needed. ... An excellent way for all of us to add to our enjoyment of PHOTO CREDIT: BBRJ/COURTESY OF ROB FITTS

and joy in learning more about it. Some member benefits include: Two issues of the Baseball Research Journal, which includes articles on history, biography, statistics, personalities, book reviews, and other aspects of the game. One issue of The National Pastithe greatest game." SABR members have a variety of interests, and this is reflected in the diversity of its research committees. There are more than two dozen groups devoted to the study of a specific area related to the game — from Baseball and the Arts to Statistical Analysis to the Deadball Era to Women in Baseball. In addition, many SABR members meet formally and informally in regional chapters throughout the year and hundreds come together for the annual national convention, the organization's premier event. These meetings often include panel discussions with former major league players and research presentations by members. Most of all, SABR members love talking baseball with like-minded friends. What unites them all is an interest in the game

me, which focuses on baseball in a particular city or region (in 2012, it‟s Minneapolis) Regional

chapter

meetings,

which

include guest speakers, presentations and trips to ballgames Online access to back issues of The Sporting News Lending library Online member directory to help locate other members with your interests Discount on annual convention registration The opportunity to be part of a passionate international community of baseball fans


Yearbook 1, 2012|Let‟s make baseball a more universal game.

Baseball Universe | 19

TWO REFLECTIONS ON CUBAN BASEBALL “Tiger! Tiger! Burning bright In the forests of the night”… _ William Blake Ciego de Avila managed to hold Industriales while having the home-field advantage and conquered the Baseball National Title for the first time in the history of Cuban baseball. A walk-off double by weak-hitting Ricardo Bordon with a runner on second base in the eleventh inning was the last play of the season. Yander Guevara pitched 10 1/3 innings in which he allowed three runs, seven hits and struck out six batters. It was a pitching duel between himself and Industriales‟ Antonio Armando Romero (8 innings, three runs, seven hits, five punch outs), but none of them had a decision in the game. It was the responsibility of relievers Lazaro Santana and Julio Reisan Montesinos how the game ended. Yoelvis Fiss had driven in the first three Ciego de Avila‟s runs with two doubles and Yoandry Urgelles had a two-run homer in the second, which ended the dinger-drought of Industriales in the final playoff. It seemed that Industriales would take the series back to Havana, when they tied the game in the seventh, and Rusney Castillo lined out with the bases loaded and the winning run on third base in the ninth inning. However, Yorbis Borroto was walked leading off the eleventh, moved up to second on a sacrifice bunt by catcher Lisdey Diaz, and Bordon hit a line drive to right field that opened the gates for Ciego de Avila‟s first national title in history. The crowd engulfed the team in mass euphoria: it was the end of a long road, which started when now skipper Roger Machado was the star catcher of the team. Ciego de Avila is a province that lives by its ball team, and which supports them at all costs. For the first time, they win it all, and they do it big time: beating one of Cuba‟s most (if not THE most) traditional teams. After having a slow regular season, in which they reached their playoff berth in the last game, they managed one of the most spectacular come-from-behind victories over Las Tunas and won the last three games while being against the wall. Granma fell, victims of the Tigers for the second consecutive year in semifinals, and they got two important victories over Industriales in the first two games played in Havana‟s Estadio Latinoamericano. It would have been unfair for veterans like Mario Vega, Yorelvis Charles, Isaac Martinez and Lisdey Diaz to retire without savoring the glory of a title, mainly because they are part of the generation that brought this team to the playoffs for the first time. It is the prize for a group of ballplayers who have staged the most steady level of play for the past eight seasons, and the only team that has been in the semifinals in the last four years. The new king of the jungle is a tiger that chews pineapple and roared in the opponent‟s lair, but that managed to bring the joy to its people while playing at home. Stadium Jose Ramon Cepero Score R H E LOB IND 020 000 100 00 3 7 1 4 CAV 102 000 000 01 4 8 1 10 WP: Lazaro Santana LP: Julio R. Montesionos HR: Yoandry Urgelles One out when winning run scored *** PHOTO CREDIT: JUAN MORENO

Cuban National Series: New Structure, Less Baseball After having a forgettable seventeen-team tournament last season, the Cuban Baseball National Commission decided to make changes. So they held a nationwide interview, visiting each and every one of the provinces to find out the opinions of journalists and players alike. The result, which we can say for sure that did not surface in any province, is a Frankenseries. Finally, after a whole two years of controversy surrounding the seventeen-team field and the presence of an in-season farm team —which had extended for over twenty years— the decision was to eliminate Metropolitanos and change the competition format. Forty-five games will be played in the first stage, with no zones or pools to qualify, in a round-robin-like first round, all teams will play three games against every contender. Meaning that from 45 matches at home, fans will only see their heroes 21 or 24 times, depending on how lucky they are… and we can bet who will be benefited from that “luck”. When game 45 stops, the top eight teams, ignoring pools or zones, will move to the second round and each contender will be reinforced with five players from the eight remaining clubs —who will have no choice but to go home and call it a season— in a draft-like selection system. The top eight will then play another 42 matches (six against each opponent) and four of them will make it to the semifinals and therefore the finals. What have we gained? Nothing, honestly. Half the teams will be gone for the rest of the season, and some young prospects will lose seasoning games and the opportunity to develop skills. Right now, when Cuban baseball is at a major crossroads, and the quality of international play has increased, players do need to play more. Less games (45 for half of the teams and 87 for the other half) will bring nothing but lower quality, and a shortage in the amount of young talent surfacing every year. Many players who might later become stars start the seasons slow, mainly as rookies, and it is not until game 30 that they start showing signs of quality and all that. Limiting the amount of games played will hurt the legitimacy of the Rookie of the Year, since not all the players will have the chance to fully develop and many of them will be ignored for the second half. So we hope that this type of structure does not last long, or the only first-place Cuban baseball still holds, being the IBAF World Ranking, will be gone in a couple of years. Written by Reynaldo Cruz Published in Baseball de World Follow Baseball de World on Twitter or Facebook and don’t forget to join our Newsletter.


Baseball Universe | 20

Puttin‟ the ball in play

NPB 2012 SUMMARY

moto and Softbank Hawks first baseman Hiroki Kokubo. Three 2,000-hit men called an end to their careers. The Yomiuri Giants returned to the top of the Japanese base- Kokubo, whose season was interrupted by back trouble when ball world in 2012 with their first Japan Series championship he was one hit from 2,000, called it quits as did Hanshin Tiin three years. gers iron man Tomoaki Kanemoto, and Hiroshima Carp inEn route, they became the first Central League team to win fielder Takuro Ishii. the interleague title in a competition that had been domi- Hanshin Tigers catcher and former major leaguer Kenji Jonated by Pacific League teams the past two seasons. jima was hit by injury for the second straight season and he, The 2012 season saw three players reach Japan's major bat- too, decided it was time to hang it up. ting milestone, 2,000 hits: Nippon Ham Fighters first base- When the Giants won the CL pennant, catcher Shinnosuke man Atsunori Inaba, Yakult Swallows infielder Shinya Miya- Abe became a lock for MVP. He became the third NPB catcher to lead the league in batting average and Central League the second to lead in RBIs. Team G W L T PCT GB The PL batting champ was also a story. Lotte outfielder Katsuya Kakunaka became the first player Yomiuri Giants* 144 86 43 15 .667 -- to win a batting title who began his pro career in Chunichi Dragons* 144 75 53 16 .586 10.5 independent league ball. The continued use of a low-impact ball saw the Tokyo Yakult Swallows* 144 68 65 11 .511 20 Lions' Takeya Nakamura lead the PL in homers Hiroshima Toyo Carp 144 61 71 12 .462 26.5 with 27 in an injury-hit season. The figure was Hanshin Tigers 144 55 75 14 .423 31.5 the lowest since Kazuhiro Yamauchi led the league with 25 in 1959. Yokohama DeNA BayStars 144 46 86 13 .351 41 Yakult's Wladimir Balentien led the CL with 31, that circuit's lowest leading total since Shigeru Pacific League Nagashima's 28 in 1961. Team G W L T PCT GB The PL RBI title went to slugger Lee Dae Ho. The Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters* 144 74 59 11 .556 -- Orix Buffaloes newcomer became the first bigname position player from South Korea to be a Saitama Seibu Lions* 144 72 63 9 .533 3 big success in his first NPB season. Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks* 144 67 65 12 .508 6.5 The Giants, bolstered by a pair of big starting Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles 144 67 67 10 .5-7.5 pitchers the Hawks were unable to sign, lefty Toshiya Sugiuchi and right-hander D.J. Houlton, Chiba Lotte Marines 144 62 67 15 .481 10 struggled at first but eventually ran away with the Orix Buffaloes 144 52 77 10 .425 17.5 CL pennant. The Fighters, who turned a healthy profit on the * reached play-off berth —BY JIM ALLEN**—

Italics means league champion, Bold means Japan Series Champion PHOTO CREDIT: KYODO

(Continued on page 21)


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Baseball Universe | 21

(Coming from page 20)

sale of ace Yu Darvish to the majors before the season, just barely won the PL pennant against the injury-plagued Lions and a Hawks club that entered the season without three of its top four starting pitchers from 2011. Fighters lefty Mitsuo Yoshikawa, who entered the season 618 in his career and hadn't won a game since 2008, went 14-5 with a league-leading 1.71 ERA and was named PL MVP. Postseason NPB's playoffs are weighted in favor of teams finishing higher in the pennant race. The second-place teams host the best-of-three first stage. The league champion hosts a six-

Pos

BEST NINE (Pacific League) Name (JPN) Name (ENG)

Club

Pos P C

谷繁

元信

Tanishige, Motonobu

CHU

6th

1B

畠山

和洋

Hatakeyama, Kazuhiro

YAK

1st

2B

田中

浩康

Tanaka, Hiroyasu

YAK

1st

3B

宮本

慎也

Miyamoto, Shinya

YAK

4th*

SS

井端

弘和

Ibata, Hirokazu

CHU

7th

OF

大島

洋平

Oshima, Yohei

CHU

2nd

OF

長野

久義

Chono, Hisayoshi

YOM

2nd

OF

荒波

Aranami, Sho

YOK

1st

MVP

吉川 光夫

Yoshikawa, Mitsuo

HAM

RoY

益田 直也

Naoya Masuda

LOT

SP

吉川 光夫

Yoshikawa, Mitsuo

HAM

RP

増井 浩俊

Masui, Hirotoshi

HAM

CP

武田

Takeda, Hisashi

HAM

Pos P

GOLD GLOVES (Central League) Name (JPN) Name (ENG) Club Tim Maeda, Kenta HIR 2nd 前田 健太

* also won 6 Gold Gloves at shortstop; at the age of 41 years and 11 months, broke his for being the oldest player in the GOLD GLOVES (Pacific League) Name (JPN) Name (ENG) Club Tim Tanaka, Masahiro RAK 2nd 田中 将大

C

鶴岡 慎也

Tsuruoka, Shinya

HAM

C

炭谷銀仁朗

Sumitani, Ginjiro

1B

稲葉 篤紀

Inaba, Atsunori

HAM

1B

稲葉

篤紀

Inaba, Atsunori

HAM 1st+

2B

本多 雄一

Honda, Yuichi

SOF

2B

本多

雄一

Honda, Yuichi

SOF

2nd

3B

松田 宣浩

Matsuda, Nobuhiro

SOF

3B

小谷野栄一

Koyano, Eiichi

HAM

3rd

SS

中島 裕之

Nakajima, Hiroyuki

SEI

SS

中島

裕之

Nakajima, Hiroyuki

SEI

3rd

LF

中田

Nakata, Sho

HAM

OF

岱鋼

Yoh, Dai-Kang

HAM

1st

CF

Yoh, Dai-Kang

HAM

OF

糸井

嘉男

Itoi, Yoshio

HAM

4th

RF

糸井 嘉男

Itoi, Yoshio

HAM

OF

岡田

幸文

Okada, Yoshifumi

LOT

2nd

DH

ペーニャ

Pena, Wily Mo

SOF

Pos MVP

翔 岱鋼

BEST NINE (Central League) Name (JPN) Name (ENG)

SEI

1st

+ also won 4 Gold Gloves in the outfield, and at the age of 40 years and three months became the oldest player in the his-

Club

阿部慎之助

Abe, Shinnosuke

YOM

RoY

野村 祐輔

Yusuke Nomura

HIR

SP

内海 哲也

Utsumi, Tetsuya

YOM

RP

山口 鉄也

Yamaguchi, Tetsuya

YOM

CP

西村健太朗

Nishimura, Kentaro

YOM

C

阿部慎之助

Abe, Shinnosuke

YOM

1B

ブランコ

Blanco, Tony

CHU

2B

荒木 雅博

Araki, Masahiro

CHU

3B

宮本 慎也

Miyamoto, Shinya

YAK

SS

坂本 勇人

Sakamoto, Hayato

YOM

LF

ミレッジ

Milledge, Lastings

YAK

CF

大島 洋平

Oshima, Yohei

CHU

RF

長野 久義

Chono, Hisayoshi

YOM

game second stage and begins with a one-win advantage. In either stage is drawn as a result of tie games, the host team is declared the winner. In 2012, each league's first-stage went the full three games. The Chunichi Dragons, without ace Kazuki Yoshimi, used up the best of their staff to put away the third-place Yakult Swallows and lost No. 2 starter Kenichi Nakata to injury ahead of the second stage on the Giants. The Hawks were pushed to three games in Fukuoka by the third-place Lions, but were swept in Sapporo. The Giants, who clinched the CL early, lost the first three games of their second stage playoff series against the Dragons. Yomiuri's batters tripped over their own feet against a pair of young Dragons starters they had barely seen and a veteran they hadn't faced in over a year. Chunichi, however, ran out of fresh faces to hurl at the Giants. Yomiuri scraped out a 3-1 win behind 2011 rookie of the year Hirokazu Sawamura and tied the series in Game 5 (because of the one-win advantage), when veteran role player Yoshihito Ishii delivered a game-winning pinch-hit in the ninth. After the Giants handily won Game 6 to clinch it, Ishii (1-for(Continued on page 22)


Puttin‟ the ball in play

Baseball Universe | 22 (Coming from page 21)

3 with one RBI) was named the Series MVP. The Giants continued their home winning streak into the Series, winning Games 1 and 2 at Tokyo Dome. The Fighters tied it at home in Game 4, but got hammered in the Sapporo finale and ended up losing in six games as they had to the Giants in 2009. Lefty Tetsuya Utsumi went 2-0 in the Series to earn MVP honors.

cluding three who were out of contract, but decided against Boston Red Sox reliever Junichi Tazawa--who had shunned NPB's draft and signed as an amateur with Boston. All six players Yamamoto asked (Darvish, Hisashi Iwakuma, Ichiro Suzuki, Hiroki Kuroda, Norichika Aoki and Munenori Kawasaki) declined, and the skipper announced that since no major leaguers wanted to play for their country, he would go with an team based exclusively in Japan.

Offseason If the Series proved to be a disappointment for the Fighters, the team was rewarded for its persistence in the weeks after, when top draft pick Shohei Otani turned his back on major league clubs and turned pro with Nippon Ham. Otani, a hard-throwing right-hander out of Iwate Prefecture's Hanamaki Higashi High School had decided before the draft that his future lay in America not Japan. Four days prior to the draft, Otani announced he would seek to sign his first pro ** Jim Allen has been a solid asset of our main publication, contract with a major league team. As a result, the Fighters were the only team to select him in Universo Béisbol, for a long while now. He works for the the first round of NPB's amateur draft and persuaded the Daily Yomiuri and contributes with us every month. pitcher with well planned and executed negotiations. Japan's draft gives each team the same chance of winning the rights to a player in the first round. Had Otani not announced his decision to go, NPB Leaders more than one team would have drafted Bold indicates league record, Italics indicate all-time record him and his negotiating rights would have been decided by lottery. Batting The domestic free agent market was fairly Central League Pacific League calm, with Orix right-hander Hayato TeraLeader Club Leader Club hara and Tigers infielder Keiichi Hirano YOM .340 Katsuya Kakunaka LOT .312 both returning to the clubs that originally AVG Shinnosuke Abe drafted them and traded them away, the YOM 87 Sho Nakata HAM 79 R Hayato Sakamoto Hawks and Buffaloes, respectively. Hisayoshi Chono YOM 173 Seiichi Uchikawa SOF 157 H Meanwhile, the Hawks, who traded Terahara to Yokohama in December 2006 for Hayato Sakamoto YOM Hitoshi Tamura, traded the outfielder back YOM 35 Aarom Baldiris ORI 31 2B Hayato Sakamoto to the BayStars. YOK 7 Shogo Akiyama SEI 8 The Tigers signed a pair of former major 3B Sho Aranami leaguers, outfielder Kosuke Fukudome and HR Wladimir Balentien YAK 31 Takeya Nakamura SEI 27 middle infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka. YOM 104 Dae-ho Lee ORI 91 The DeNA BayStars, who had also pursued RBI Shinnosuke Abe Fukudome, still strengthened their roster SB Yohei Oshima CHU 32 Ryo Hijirisawa RAK 54 with a trio of foreign players released by BB Takashi Toritani HAN 94 Saburo Omura LOT 78 Chunichi, slugging first baseman Tony Blanco, right-handed reliever Jorge Sosa Pitching and lefty Enyelbert Soto. Central League Pacific League Leader World Baseball Classic Off the field, the story during the summer ERA Kenta Maeda was about whether the World Baseball Tetsuya Utsumi Classic's only champions would return in W L Bryan Bullington 2013 to defend their title because of dissatisfaction with the way tournament reveMinoru Iwata nues are shared. Their protest led NPB to look for other Sv Tony Barnette sources of revenue and the players eventuHitoki Iwase ally signed on. IP Kenta Maeda With the players on board, the next hurdle G Tetsuya Yamaguchi was manager. In 2006 and 2009, an active skipper had led Japan, but the No. 1 candi- H Masanori Ishikawa date for 2013, the Hawks Koji Akiyama, HR Daisuke Miura refused, and NPB decided to go with Koji K Atsushi Nomi Yamamoto, who hadn't managed since 2005 or had a winning record since 2001. Toshiya Sugiuchi Yamamoto named six major leaguers, inBB Orlando Román PHOTO CREDIT: KYODO

Club HIR

Leader 1.53 Mitsuo Yoshikawa

Club HAM

1.71

YOM

15

Tadashi Settsu

SOF

17

HOR

14

Takayuki Kishi

SEI

12

33

Hisashi Takeda

HAM

32

LOT

200.2

HAM

73

LOT

176

HAN YAK

CHUN HIR 206 .1 Yoshihisa Naruse YOM

72

Hirotoshi Masui

YAK

175 Yoshihisa Naruse

YOK

15

Yoshihisa Naruse

LOT

21

HAN

172 Masahiro Tanaka

RAK

169

69

SOF

57

YOM YAK

Hiroki Yamada


Yearbook 1, 2012|Let‟s make baseball a more universal game.

Baseball Universe | 23

ML WHAT WOULD B: WHAT IF THE 1994 MLB STRIKE NEVER HAPPENED? Hey baseball fans! Matt Nadel here with another ML“what would”B! Today, I will answer the following question: WHAT IF THE 1994 STRIKE NEVER HAPPENED???!!! In August of 1994, a player-owner argument stops the season at 113 games, cancelling the rest of the season, including the playoffs. But what if that never happened? Well, for starters, there would have never been three divisions per league because the Commissioner never would have signed that new player deal. So there would still have been just an East and West division in both the American League and National League. Following that setup, the World Series of ‟94 would have featured the White Sox against the Expos. In a thrilling battle that lasted seven games, the Expos emerge the victor, giving Canada three straight World Series rings, and Montreal‟s first title. The next season still has two divisions per league, so no matter what, “THE TEAM OF THE „90s HAS ITS WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP!!” In other words, the Braves beat Cleveland in six, because in real life, they were both the number one seed in their leagues. The next year, the Yanks don‟t get to the World Series because Cleveland wins the East. However, the Fall Classic features the Braves against the lowly Rangers, who won just 90 games during the season! However, they don‟t stand a chance against the defending champs, right? WRONG! With the help of AL MVP Juan Gonzalez, the Rangers slaughter the Braves in six, giving Texas its first championship. In 1998, the Brewers decide to stay in the AL instead of going to the NL, instead of what they do in real life. So, that means that Wade Boggs and the expansion Rays go to the NL instead of the junior circuit. That doesn‟t matter, because like in real life, the Rays stink for their first ten years of existence. Back to the Brew Crew, hearing that Milwaukee baseball is staying as it is, the legendary Paul Molitor wishes to get traded back there from Minnesota and his wish is granted. Because this trade was made, Alex Rodriguez wants to go to Milwaukee too, so he can get some hitting tips in the future from Paul. This trade also happens and the Brew Crew becomes a juggernaut in the AL East for that year. But you have to remember; my Yanks won 114 that year and were also in the AL East. So, Milwaukee playoff baseball is still dead. In the ‟98 Series, the Yanks still beat the Padres in a sweep. In ‟99, the Rangers get back to the playoffs on the back of Juan Gonzalez, again named the AL MVP. The NL representative in the World Series that year is not the Braves, but the Mets, who win the NL East division. The Mets are losing in Game Six 4-3 in the bottom of the tenth with two outs, one out away from a Texas Series win. That‟s not what Mike Piazza had in mind. With the count 2-2 and Scott Brosius on second, Texas pitcher Pedro Martinez throws a high fastball, inches away from Piazza‟s head. When Pedro gets the ball back, Piazza yells to him, “Remember what Puckett did in ‟91?” Martinez doesn‟t answer, but just like Kirby Puckett in the 1991 World Series for the Twins, the Mets catcher hits a Series-tying homer to send the Fall Classic to Game Seven. There, the Mets crush the Rangers 11-0, for their third World Series title. Let‟s skip to 2001, where after Gonzo finishes off the Yanks in Arizona, the NFL announces that the 2002 season will be played with four divisions per league with four teams per division. The Commissioner of the MLB, Bud Selig, likes the idea, and lucky for him, two teams in particular are having financial troubles and the players want more money, the Montreal Expos and the Kansas City Royals. The verdict that Selig comes up with is the idea to split the two teams in half. So half of the Royals become the Carolina Bobcats, while half PHOTO CREDIT: JONATHAN DANIEL/GETTY IMAGES

of the Expos become the Washington Nationals. Washington also has to move to the American League to make the leagues equal. So, by the 2002 MLB season, the divisions looked like this: AL East: Yankees, Red Sox, Tigers and Blue Jays; AL North: White Sox, Indians, Nationals, and Brewers; AL South: Royals, Bobcats, Angels, and Orioles; AL West: Mariners, Athletics, Rangers, and Twins. NL East: Phillies, Mets, Cardinals, and Pirates; NL North: Expos, Red, Cubs, and Rockies; NL South: Braves, Marlins, Astros, and Rays; NL West: Diamondbacks, Giants, Dodgers, and Padres. So, like the NFL, the new playoffs consist of four division champions and two Wild Card champs in each league. The top two seeds get a series off. So, if you apply these rules to the actual 2002 MLB season, here are the teams from each league that make the playoffs from top seed to sixth seed. In the AL, we have the Yankees, Athletics, Bobcats, White Sox, Mariners and Angels. In the NL, we have the Braves, Diamondbacks, Cardinals, Expos, Giants and Dodgers. In the Wild Card Round, the Angels, Mariners, Giants, and Cardinals move on. In the Divisional Round, the Yankees, Angels, Diamondbacks, and Dodgers move on. In the ALCS and NLCS, the Yankees beat the Angels and the D-backs beat LA. Finally, in the World Series, the Yanks beat Arizona in a sweep. Isn‟t everything so simple, here in the ML“what would”B?

Follow Matt at baseballwithmatt.blogspot.com Matt Nadel: Matt Nadel is the 13-year old behind the website Baseball With Matt and the New Jersey native knows more about baseball history than pretty much every other teenager. Matt is a die-hard New York Yankees fan, and although he enjoys watching the current incarnation of the Yankees, his true passion is researching baseball's all-time greats and the overall history of the game. Matt set his goals to be a journalist or baseball historian after he's done with school, and considering he's already met and interviewed Fred Lynn, Hall of Famers Jim Palmer, Hank Aaron, and Yogi Berra, Executive Director of the Sportswriters Association and Fall of Fame Dave Goren , Joe Pickering (a great baseball song writer) and Jordan Sprechman (an official MLB scorer for the Yanks and Mets) at 13, he's off to a great start! Matt plays MLB 2K12 as much as the next guy, but he can rattle off the winners and losers of every World Series since 1921 while he's running up the score.


Puttin‟ the ball in play

Baseball Universe | 24

SAMSUNG LIONS WIN THE KOREA SERIES

—BY ERIC BYNUM*— There was a lot that went on in the KBO this season as the Samsung Lions repeated as champions. After a slow start, the Lions finished the year a strong 8.5 games in front of second place SK Wyverns, who they would also defeat in the Korean Series for a second straight year. One of the bigger stories of the year happened before the season as the Baltimore Orioles were banned from scouting KBO sanctioned games after they signed 17-year-old Kim Seongmin for $550,000 in January. Eventually, MLB threw out the contract because they did not go through the proper channels to sign Kim. The KBO came down harsh on Kim as well banning him from playing baseball in Korea indefinitely.

for a spot in the rotation. A couple foreign imports came through with big years for their teams. Former Major Leaguer Scott Proctor saved 35 games for the Lotte Giants posting a 1.79 ERA in 57 games. The top foreign starter in the league was former Yankee Brandon Knight who went 16-4 with a 2.20 ERA for Nexen. The yearly awards were handed out as well. Park Byung-ho from the Nexen Heroes was named the MVP. Park belted 31 home runs and drove in 105 runs while batting .290. While in a bit of a controversy, Jang Won-sam was named the best pitcher in the league over Brandon Knight. Jang led the league in wins with 17, one more than Knight, but posted an ERA of 3.55 (compared to Knights 2.20).

There will be another change However, the biggest news of the year involved the coming for the 2013 season as well as a and going of stars old and new. 9th team will start play. The Park Chan-ho made his KBO debut with the Hanwha Eagles NC Dinos played in the farm this season. Park was the first Korean born player to play in league in 2012 to prepare itself the Major Leagues after signing with the Los Angeles Dodgers for its first year in the KBO in as a sophomore in university. Park finished the year with the 2013. To even out the league, a Eagles pitching in 23 games going 5-10. After the season, Park 10th team is expected to begin announced his retirement from the game. play in 2015. Another big return was that of Lee Seung-yeop to the Samsung Lions. The "Lion King" returned to Korea after spending the past few seasons in Japan. He put together a very good season for the champion Lions hitting 21 home runs and driving in 85 runs, both were second on the team. Prior to the season, the KBO lost one of its biggest stars in Lee Dae-ho. He twice won the triple crown in the KBO, and was named as the league's most popular player in 2011. However, he moved on to play with the Orix Buffaloes in Japan in 2012. Another big loss came after the season as Ryu Hyun-jin was sold to the Los Angeles Dodgers by the Hanwha Eagles for more than $25 million. In 7 years with the Eagles Ryu posted a 98-52 record and a 2.80 ERA. He was the league ROY, MVP, and won the pitching triple crown all in his rookie season of 2006 when he went 18-6 with an ERA of 2.23. The lefty signed a 6-year, $36 million deal with the Dodgers and will compete PHOTO CREDIT: YONHAP NEWS

* Eric Bynum has become a solid columnist and correspondent of Universo Béisbol in South Korea. He is also the author of the blog Baseball de World Team 1 Samsung Lions 2 SK Wyverns 3 Doosan Bears 4 Lotte Giants 5 KIA Tigers 6 Nexen Heroes 7 LG Twins 8 Hanwha Eagles Up to october 6, 2012 Reached play-off berth Regular season title

Batting leaders Average Kim Tae-kyun (Hanwha) Home Runs Park Byung-ho (Nexen) RBI Park Byung-ho (Nexen) Stolen bases Lee Yong-gyu (KIA) On-Base Percentage Kim Tae-kyun (Hanwha) Pitching leaders ERA Knight (Nexen) Wins Jang Won-sam (Samsung) Saves Kim Sa-yool (Lotte) Strikeouts Ryu Hyun-jin (Hanwha) G 133 133 133 133 133 133 133 133

W 80 71 68 65 62 61 57 53

L 51 59 62 62 65 69 72 77

T 2 3 3 6 6 3 4 3

.364 31 105 43 .470

2.28 16 34 198

PCT GB .611 0 .546 8.5 .523 11.5 .512 13 .488 16 .469 18.5 .442 22 .408 26.5


Yearbook 1, 2012|Let‟s make baseball a more universal game.

Baseball Universe | 25

— 2012 KOREAN SERIES SUMMARY — The 2012 Korean Series was the 30th Korean Series. The Samsung Lions and SK Wyverns meet for the third straight Series, SK having won in 2010 and Samsung in 2011. SK was in its 6th straight Korean Series, setting a new record. Samsung won this time, behind the efforts of Series MVP Seung-yeop Lee (8 for 23, 7 RBI). SK Wyverns SK was guided by Man-soo Lee. They finished second in the regular season at 71-593, led offensively by veteran slugger Hojoon Lee (.300/.407/.488) and Jung Choi (.300/.395/.538, 26 HR, 85 R, 85 RBI), one of the top batters of recent years. The top hurlers were Hee-sang Yoon (10-9, 3.36), Hee-soo Park (8-1, 6 Sv, 1.32) and Woo-ram Jung (2-4, 30 Sv, 2.20). Samsung Lions Samsung was led by manager Jung-il Ryu. They had the best regular-season record at 80-51-2. Their offense boasted four .300 hitters in Seok-min Park (.312/.433/.524, 23 HR, 91 RBI, 2nd in the KBO in RBI and 4th in homers), Seung-yeop Lee (.307/.384/.502, 21 HR, 85 RBI), Kabyong Jin (.307/.354/.419) and Han-lee Park (.304/.393/.381). They also had a strong staff with Won-sam Jang (17-6, 3.55) leading the league in wins and being supported by Mitch Talbot (14-3, 3.97), Young-soo Bae (12-8, 3.21) and Brian Gordon (11-3, 3.94) in the rotation and a bullpen headed by Seunghwan Oh (2-1, 37 Sv, 1.94), Chang-min Shim (2-2, Sv, 1.83) and Ji-man An (1-2, 1.71). The Games October 24: Samsung 3, SK 1. Samsung opened with a strong win, with 1B Seung-yeop Lee hitting a 2-run homer in the first off SK ace Hee-sang Yoon. It marked a triumphant Korean Series return for Lee, who had spent years playing Japan. SK closed the gap in the 4th when DH Ho-joon Lee drove in 2B Keun-woo Jeong off Seung-hwan Yoon. It was the only run SK would get off Yoon and four other relievers. In the 7th, Samsung got some insurance when Seung-yeop Lee doubled home 2B Myung-gu Kang. Seung-hwan Oh closed up the win for Samsung by retiring all four batters he faced, two by strikeout. October 25: Samsung 8, SK 3. Samsung's offense had an explosive third to run away with it. 2B Dongchan Cho and C Kabyong Jin both reached against Mario Santiago, then LF Young-seop Bae hit a 2-run double. 1B PHOTO CREDITS: YONHAP NEWS

Seung-yeop Lee and 3B Seok-min Park both walked, then DH Hyung-woo Choi cracked a grand slam. Bae later added a RBI double for insurance. SK didn't score off Won-sam Jang until the 6th, when 2B Keun-woo Jeong homered. October 28: SK 12, Samsung 8. SK got back into the Series in a back-and-forth slugfest. 2B Keun-woo Jeong began things with a double off Young-soo Bae and came around on a sacrifice fly by 3B Jung Choi in the first. In the third, Samsung pounded Dave Bush and Byung-yong Chei for six runs, recapping their game 2 performance; 1B Seung-yeop Lee's 2-run single and DH Hyung-woo Choi's 3-run homer were the big blows. SK was within 7-5 by the 6th, when they had their own 6-run frame, the key hit being a 3-run homer by CF Kang-min Kim off Ji-man An. SK finished with 17 hits, 3 apiece by Jung Choi, Keun-woo Jeong, Kang-min Kim and SS Jin-man Park. October 29: SK 4, Samsung 1. The Wyverns tied the Series as Kwang-hyun Kim and 3 relievers combine to stymie the redhot Lion hitters to one run, despite a 3-hit day from leadoff man Young-seop Bae. LF Jae-sang Park hit a 2-run homer off Mitch Talbot in the 4th and 3B Jung Choi followed with a solo shot to do the necessary damage. October 31: Samsung 2, SK 1. Samsung returned to the winner's column in a close match. They scored in the bottom of the first off Hee-sang Yoon, on one-out singles by CF Hyungsik Jung and 1B Seung-yeop Lee, followed by a Yoon wild pitch. In the 3rd, Seung-yeop Lee scored on a grounder by RF Han-lee Park. Samsung did not score again, but Seung-hwan Yoon and three relievers held SK to a single run. The Wyverns got their run in the 4th when LF Jae-sang Park, 3B Jung Choi and DH Ho-joon Lee got three straight hits to cut it to 2-1. With Choi and Lee on the corners and two out, SK tried a delayed double steal, but it failed and a rundown ended the inning. In the top of the 9th, Jung Choi led off with a triple off the center-field fence against Seung-hwan Oh. With one out, 1B Jung-kwon Park walked but Oh struck out CF Kang-min Kim and SS Jin-man Park to wrap up his 8th career Korean Series save. November 1: Samsung 7, SK 0. In a pitching rematch of game 2, the outcome was the same, as Won-sam Jang (1 H, 9 K in 7 IP) was superb and Mario Santiago again got battered in the third inning. This time, 3B Seok-min Park's 2-run homer and 1B Seung-yeop Lee's 3-run triple are the big blows in the third. LF Youngseop Bae was 3 for 5 from the leadoff slot to complement Seung-yeop Lee's 3 hits. Source: http://baseball-reference.com


Puttinâ€&#x; the ball in play

Baseball Universe | 26

Bold indicates league record, Italics indicate all-time record Batting STAT Leader Team G Starlin Castro CHC 162 AB Starlin Castro CHC 646 R Ryan Braun MIL 108 H Andrew McCutchen PIT 194 2B Aramis Ramirez MIL 50 3B Angel Pagan SFG 15 HR Ryan Braun MIL 41 TB Ryan Braun MIL 356 RBI Chase Headley SDP 115 SB Everth Cabrera SDP 44 Michael Bourn ATL CS 13 Starlin Castro CHC Joey Votto CIN BB Dan Uggla ATL 94 IBB Joey Votto CIN 18 HBP Carlos Quentin SDP 17 K Danny Espinosa WAS 189 Juan Pierre PHI SH Johnny Cueto CIN 17 SF 6 tied with 9 GIDP Ryan Zimmerman WAS 20 AVG Buster Posey SFG 0.336 OBP Joey Votto CIN 0.474 SLG Giancarlo Stanton MIA 0.608 OPS Ryan Braun MIL 0.987 OPS+ Buster Posey SFG 172

STAT W L PCT

GP GS CG SHO GF Sv IP BF H HR BB IBB HBP K WP Bk R ER ERA WHIP

Pitching Leader Gio Gonzalez Tim Lincecum Kyle Lohse Matt Belisle Shawn Camp Randy Choate 12 tied with R.A. Dickey R.A. Dickey Jonathan Papelbon Craig Kimbrel Jason Motte R.A. Dickey R.A. Dickey Clayton Richard Clayton Richard Edinson Volquez Aaron Harang Ian Kennedy R.A. Dickey Tim Lincecum Ian Kennedy Tim Lincecum Tim Lincecum Clayton Kershaw Clayton Kershaw

Team WAS SFG STL CIN CHC MIA/ LAD NYM NYM PHI ATL STL NYM NYM SDP SDP SDP LAD ARZ NYM SFG SFG SFG SFG LAD LAD

21 15 0.842

80 33 5 3 64 42 233.2 927 228 31 105 10 14 230 17 4 111 107 2.53 1.023

Gold Gloves The following players won the Gold Glove Award, given to the league's best fielders as voted upon by its managers and coaches, at their respective position.

POS P C 1B 2B 3B SS LF CF RF

Player Mark Buehrle Yadier Molina Adam LaRoche Darwin Barney Chase Headley Jimmy Rollins Carlos Gonzalez Andrew McCutchen Jason Heyward

Silver Sluggers The following players won the Silver Slugger Award, given to the league's best fielders as voted upon by its managers and coaches, at their respective position.

Team POS C MIA 1B STL WAS 2B 3B CHC SS SDP OF PHI COL PIT ATL P

Player Buster Posey Adam LaRoche Aaron Hill Chase Headley Ian Desmond Jay Bruce Andrew McCutchen Ryan Braun Stephen Strasburg

Team SFG WAS ARZ SDP WAS CIN PIT MIL WAS

Other Awards Most Valuable Player Buster Posey SFG Rookie of the Year Bryce Harper WAS Cy Young R.A. Dickey NYM Comeback Player of the Year Buster Posey SFG Rollaids Relief Award Craig Kimbrel ATL Manager of the Year Davey Johnson WAS


Yearbook 1, 2012|Letâ€&#x;s make baseball a more universal game.

Baseball Universe | 27

Bold indicates league record, Italics indicate all-time record Batting STAT Leader Team Adam Jones BAL

G AB R H 2B 3B HR TB RBI SB CS BB IBB

Ichiro Suzuki Prince Fielder Derek Jeter Mike Trout Derek Jeter Alex Gordon Austin Jackson Miguel Cabrera Miguel Cabrera Miguel Cabrera Mike Trout Rajai Davis Adam Dunn Prince Fielder

HBP K SH SF GIDP AVG OBP SLG OPS OPS+

Kevin Youkilis Prince Fielder Adam Dunn Elvis Andrus Mark Teixeira Miguel Cabrera Miguel Cabrera Joe Mauer Miguel Cabrera Miguel Cabrera Mike Trout

SEA/ NYY DET

NYY LAA NYY KCR DET DET DET DET LAA TOR CWS DET BOS/ CWS DET CWS TEX NYY DET MIN MIN DET DET LAA

STAT W L

162 683 129 216 51 10 44 377 139 49 13 105 18

PCT G

GS CG SHO GF Sv IP BF H HR BB

17 222 17 12 28 0.330 0.416 0.606 0.999 171

IBB HBP K WP Bk R ER ERA WHIP

Pitching Leader David Price Jered Weaver Ubaldo Jimenez David Price Jered Weaver Boone Logan Bruce Chen C.J. Wilson Justin Masterson Justin Verlander Felix Hernandez Jose Valverde Jim Johnson Justin Verlander Justin Verlander Rick Porcello Ervin Santana Ricky Romero Tim Collins Anthony Swarzak Gavin Floyd Justin Verlander Ubaldo Jimenez Franklin Morales Luke Hochevar Luke Hochevar David Price Jered Weaver

Team TBR LAA CLE TBR LAA NYY KCR

20 17 0.800 80

LAA CLE

DET SEA DET BAL DET DET DET LAA TOR KCR MIN

CWS DET CLE BOS KCR KCR TBR LAA

34 6 5 67 51 238.1 956 226 39 105 8 14 239 16 5 127 118 2.56 1.018

Gold Gloves The following players won the Gold Glove Award, given to the league's best fielders as voted upon by its managers and coaches, at their respective position.

POS P C 1B 2B 3B SS LF CF RF

Player Jake Peavy Jeremy Hellickson Matt Wieters Mark Teixeira Robinson Cano Adrian Beltre J.J. Hardy Alex Gordon Adam Jones Josh Reddick

Silver Sluggers The following players won the Silver Slugger Award, given to the league's best hitters as voted upon by its managers and coaches, at their respective position.

Team CWS POS TBR C 1B BAL 2B NYY 3B NYY SS TEX OF BAL KCR BAL OAK DH

Player A.J. Pierzynski Prince Fielder Robinson Cano Miguel Cabrera Derek Jeter Mike Trout Josh Hamilton Josh Willingham Billy Butler

Team CWS DET NYY DET NYY LAA TEX MIN KCR

Other Awards Most Valuable Player Miguel Cabrera DET Rookie of the Year Mike Trout LAA Cy Young David Price TBR Comeback Player of the Year Fernando Rodney TBR Rollaids Relief Award Jim Johnson BAL Manager of the Year Bob Melvin OAK


Puttin‟ the ball in play

Baseball Universe | 28

INSIDE BASEBALL

MY FAVORITE BASEBALL STORIES OF 2012 To mark the passing of another eventful year of championships, triumphs and memorable moments, SI.com's writers are remembering the stories they connected to most across the sports landscape in 2012. —BY TOM VERDUCCI—

1. May 8: Josh Hamilton hits four home runs It was the greatest hitting display in American League history. At Camden Yards in Baltimore, Hamilton hit four tworun home runs -- none of them to the pull field -- and a double to give him an AL record 18 total bases in a 5-for-5 night. Said Hamilton after making the park look small, "It reminds you of when you're in Little League and a little kid, and just the excitement and why we play the game." 2. June 13: Matt Cain is perfect In one of the best games ever pitched, Cain tied the record of Sandy Koufax for most strikeouts in a perfect game (14) while dominating the Houston Astros at AT&T Park. Home plate umpire Ted Barrett, who also called balls and strikes for the perfect game of David Cone in 1999, became the first umpire to work the plate for two perfect games. It was one of three perfect games (Philip Humber and Felix Hernandez threw the others) and a record-tying seven no-hitters thrown in 2012. 3. May 6: Chris Davis gets the win Davis, the Baltimore infielder/outfielder, went 0-for-8 with five strikeouts in a 17-inning game at Fenway Park against Boston. But he pitched the 16th and 17th innings to become the first AL position player since Rocky Colavito in 1968 to get a win. Boston outfielder Darnell McDonald took the loss, making this the first game since 1902 in which the winning and losing pitchers were position players. 4. Oct. 1: Miguel Cabrera salts away Triple Crown In a victory that clinched the AL Central title for Detroit, Cabrera went 4-for-5, including home run number 44, giving him sole possession of the home run race from Hamilton and opening up an insurmountable gap on Joe Mauer and Mike Trout for the batting title. Cabrera finished the season with a .330 batting average, 44 home runs and 139 RBIs, becoming the first man since Carl Yastrzemski in 1967 to lead his league in all three categories. 5. April 17: Jamie Moyer becomes the oldest winner Moyer, pitching for Colorado, allowed San Diego no earned runs over seven innings to become the oldest pitcher to win a major league game (49 years, 151 days), displacing a record held by Jack Quinn (49.70) for 80 years. Moyer would add one more win on May 16 to push the record to 49.183. In that same game he recorded a two-run single, becoming the oldest player ever with an RBI.

PHOTO CREDIT: AP

6. June 23: Jim Thome sets walkoff record For the 13th time, Thome ended a game with a walkoff homer, this time for Baltimore to beat Tampa Bay. The blast elevated Thome past five inner-circle Hall of Famers who had been tied with him with 12 walkoffs: Babe Ruth, Jimmie Foxx, Stan Musial, Mickey Mantle and Frank Robinson. 7. May 6: Bryce Harper steals home Yes, on the same night Davis got the win and two nights before Hamilton went deep four times, Harper, age 19, swiped home on a pickoff throw to first base by Philadelphia lefthander Cole Hamels. What made the steal all the more dramatic was that Hamels put Harper on base by intentionally hitting him in the back with a pitch -- Hamels' way of trying to humble a teenage rookie who had drawn so much attention. 8. June 27: Mike Trout robs J.J. Hardy In a case of The Matrix-meets-MLB, Trout seemed to hang in the air for an extraordinarily long time -- and high enough so that his hip nearly reached the height of the top of the centerfield wall at Camden Yards -- to pull back what should have been a home run by Hardy. It was the biggest jaw-dropping highlight from a season full of highlights by Trout, the youngest 30-30 player ever and the first player with 30 homers, 40 steals and 125 runs. 9. Sept. 29: Mike Morse hits an invisible grand slam After umpires awarded Morse a home run upon instant replay review, they ordered the three runners back to their bases and Morse to the batter's box to make sure all of them touched every base -- a necessity that had not occurred after Morse's blast was first ruled off the wall and in play, resulting in Morse being put out. Back in the box, and without a bat, Morse pantomimed a swing -- not a very good one at that -and proceeded to jog around the bases. You'll never see a worse swing on a grand slam. 10. June 30: Aaron Hill and the bi-cycle Until June 18, the Diamondbacks second baseman had two cycles in his life: one in high school and one at LSU. He then collected two cycles in the next 11 days, capping the first with a home run in the seventh and the second with a triple in the sixth. Hill became the first player with two cycles in the same season since Babe Herman in 1931 and the first player with two cycles in the same month since -- get this -- Long John Reilly 129 years ago, back in 1883. Taken from Sports Illustrated


Yearbook 1, 2012|Let‟s make baseball a more universal game.

Baseball Universe | 29

THE SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS PROVED THERE IS NO SUBSTITUTE FOR GREAT PITCHING IN THE POSTSEASON

—BY TOM VERDUCCI— DETROIT—Miguel Cabrera watched strike three sail by, and finally, for the first time in this World Series, a San Francisco Giant did not know what to do. Sergio Romo stood on the mound and thought: Is that it? Is it over? Did we win? Impossible. Can you fault him? Who can make sense of this? Nine days earlier, the Giants trailed the St. Louis Cardinals three games to one in the National League Championship Series. Who thought they would win seven straight games to sprint away with the championship? Romo saw everybody running around the field and hugging each other, and pretty soon everything around him signaled a massive celebration. In the clubhouse, the Giants sprayed Mumm sparkling wine (from Napa Valley, of course) on each other, and they hoisted the World Series trophy and wore World Series champion T-shirts, and still, Sergio Romo was not satisfied. He wanted them to understand what they had done. He wanted them to know what they meant to him. Romo went face-to-face with second baseman Marco Scutaro, one of the great in-season acquisitions in baseball history, who singled in the winning run in the 10th inning. Three months ago, Scutaro wasn't even a Giant. But by the 10th inning of Game 4 against the Detroit Tigers, Scutaro was an essential bone holding up the whole team. Star Buster Posey, a leader since he was a rookie, said he watched Scutaro step into the batter's box in the 10th and "he just looked so calm and relaxed". Posey had a feeling Scutaro would deliver. In the clubhouse, Romo told Scutaro: "You have big (bleeping) (Scutaros!)" Then Romo found Hunter Pence, another summer pickup, and said, "The rest of your life, you are a world champion. Eternity, baby." Eternity? They have been teammates for three months, and now Romo was talking about eternity? Yes. Perfect. That is the 2012 San Francisco Giants. All around the world, at every level of competition, coaches and players try to figure out how to create a true team -- how to mesh, how to play for each other, to take isolated sets of individual acts and PHOTO CREDITS: (TOP) EZRA SHAW/GETTY IMAGES; (CENTER RIGHT) JEFF CHIU/AP

Giants’ third baseman Pablo Sandoval circles the basesafter the first of his three homers. piece them into one. And then a team like these Giants comes along, and it all happens so naturally. Scutaro and Pence arrived and it was like their parts in the play were already written. They just had to read the lines. "The smile on my face does not mean as much to me as the smile on my teammates' faces," Romo said. "It makes it more special when you are not playing for yourself." Is this why they won? Well, it had to help, right? Posey walked into the clubhouse, surveyed the chaos of his drenched teammates, and thought: This is an awfully small clubhouse. He had nowhere to go. They were stuck together. They like it that way. "I think chemistry plays a huge part in this sport because we play so many games," Posey said. And ace Matt Cain said "Guys really had a great feeling of being around each other and had a lot of fun with each other. I think that ended up showing and ended up paying off." Maybe you believe in this stuff and maybe you don't. Maybe you think Series MVP Pablo Sandoval hit three Game 1 home runs simply because he made three great swings, and that Posey hit a homer in Game 4 ("the feel off the bat, I wasn't sure if it was going to stay fair" he said) simply because he is a great player. (Continued on page 30)


Puttin‟ the ball in play

Baseball Universe | 30 (Cming from page 29)

You might be right. But understand: The Giants believe. Cain said he doesn't know how much their closeness contributed the championship. But look: When the Giants needed Barry Zito to set aside six years of criticism and failure, and pitch like an ace again, Zito did it -- twice. Pitching coach Dave Righetti sat with Tim Lincecum in the weight room one day and had a tough talk about yanking Lincecum from the starting rotation. Tim Lincecum! The freak, the two-time Cy Young Award winner, maybe the most recognizable player on the team even today. "That wasn't the easiest thing," Righetti said, but Lincecum responded by willingly becoming an essential bullpen weapon. When Righetti worried about the location of Madison Bumgarner's pitches ("I really thought he was going to finish up in the 'pen," Righetti said), Bumgarner recognized if he didn't do it, they would lose. He found a way to hit his spots again. Individual acts, individual fixes, individual successes. Collectively, it seemed like magic. And so came the time for one final act: Sergio Romo on the mound in the 10th inning, clinging to a 4-3 lead, pitching to the reigning American League Triple Crown winner, facing a genetic mismatch. Romo and Cabrera were born six weeks apart in 1983. Cabrera was a phenom almost from birth, a stunning natural talent, trained by his parents in Venezuela to be a star. When Cabrera was 16, the Florida Marlins gave him the largest signing bonus for an international player. Romo grew up in California, the son of a Mexican farm laborer who loved baseball. Sergio was nobody's phenom. When he finished high school, his father suggested he join the Navy. Sergio took the test and was ready to join. He went to Mesa State community college instead. At 24, he was still pitching Single-A ball. He finally made it to the majors, and when wacky closer Brian Wilson got hurt, Romo became the closer. He cannot believe they asked him to get "those outs, the ones to end all seasons this year. With everything I've been through in my life, just to be here, just to be a part of this, just to be accepted as an equal to my teammates, it definitely means a lot to me." Romo does not throw typical closer smoke. In the final inning of the season, none of his pitches hit 90 miles per hour. But he throws strikes. To Cabrera, he threw five straight sliders, his signature pitch. Finally he shook off Posey. In the dugout, Righetti wondered if it was a "fake shake," just to rattle Cabrera. Then Sergio Romo threw an 89-mile-an-hour fastball to the best hitter in baseball. It would be the final pitch of the 2012 season. Strike three. Game over, World Series over, and Romo would later say he felt "blessed ... beyond blessed." It was the culmination of a dream so big, he dared not dream it, back when his father gave him his first glove when he was 2 years old. His father's name is Francisco. Taken from Sports Illustrated *** 2012 World Series Summary The 2012 World Series were played beginning on October 24, 2012, between the Detroit Tigers, champions of theAmerican League and the San Francisco Giants, champions of the National League. The Giants held home field advantage as a result of the (Continued on page 31)

—Standings— An asterisk (*) indicates the team was one of its league's wild cards, Bold indicates league champion, Italics indicates World Series champion Rk Team G W L T WPCT GB Eastern Division 1

Washington Nationals

162

98

64

0

.605

-.-

2

Atlanta Braves*

162

94

68

0

.580

4.0

3

Philadelphia Phillies

162

81

81

0

.500

17.0

4

New York Mets

162

74

88

0

.457

24.0

5

Miami Marlins

162

69

93

0

.426

29.0

Central Division 1

Cincinnati Reds

162

97

65

0

.599

-.-

2

St. Louis Cardinals*

162

88

74

0

.543

9.0

3

Milwaukee Brewers

162

83

79

0

.512

14.0

4

Pittsburgh Pirates

162

79

83

0

.488

18.0

5

Chicago Cubs

162

61

101 0

.377

36.0

6

Houston Astros

162

55

107 0

.340

42.0

Western Division 1

San Francisco Giants

162

94

68

0

.580

-.-

2

Los Angeles Dodgers

162

86

76

0

.531

8.0

3

Arizona Diamondbacks

162

81

81

0

.500

13.0

4

San Diego Padres

162

76

86

0

.469

18.0

5

Colorado Rockies

162

64

98

0

.395

30.0

An asterisk (*) indicates the team was one of its league's wild cards, Bold indicates league champion, Italics indicates World Series champion Rk Team G W L T WPCT GB Eastern Division 1

New York Yankees

162

95

67

0

.586

-.-

2

Baltimore Orioles*

162

93

69

0

.574

2.0

3

Tampa Bay Rays

162

90

72

0

.556

5.0

4

Toronto Blue Jays

162

73

89

0

.451 22.0

5

Boston Red Sox

162

69

93

0

.426 26.0

1

Detroit Tigers

162

88

74

0

.543

-.-

2

Chicago White Sox

162

85

77

0

.525

3.0

3

Kansas City Royals

162

72

90

0

.444 16.0

4

Cleveland Indians

162

68

94

0

.420 20.0

5

Minnesota Twins

162

66

96

0

.407 22.0

Central Division

Western Division 1

Oakland Athletics

162

94

68

0

.580

-.-

2

Texas Rangers*

162

93

69

0

.574

1.0

3

LA Angels of Anaheim

162

89

73

0

.549

5.0

4

Seattle Mariners

162

75

87

0

.463 19.0


Yearbook 1, 2012|Let‟s make baseball a more universal game.

—2012 World Series Results—

Wild Card Game ATL: 0

vs.

Baseball Universe | 31

STL: 1

NLDCS WAS: 2 CIN: 2

vs. vs.

STL: 3 SFG: 3

Game 1

Score DET 3, SFG 8

Date Oct-24

2

DET 0, SFG 8

Oct-25

BAL: 1

3

SFG 2, DET 0

Oct-27

BAL: 2 DET: 3

4

SFG 4, DET 3 (10 Inn)

Oct-28

NLCS STL: 3

vs.

SFG. 4

Wild Card Game TEX: 0

vs.

ALDCS NYY: 3 OAK: 2

vs. vs.

NLCS NYY: 0

vs.

World Series Results Starting Pitchers W: Barry Zito, L: Justin Verlander, HR: Jhonny Peralta, Pablo Sandoval (3) W: Madison Bumgarner, L: Doug Fister, Sv: Sergio Romo W: Ryan Vogelsong, L: Aníbal Sánchez, Sv: Sergio Romo W: Santiago Casilla, L: Phil Coke, Sv: Sergio Romo, HR: Buster Posey, Miguel Cabrera, Delmon Young

Time 08:00 PM 08:00 PM 08:00 PM 08:15 PM

DET: 4

(Coming from page 30)

National League's win in the 2012 All-Star Game. In spite of the two teams being storied franchises that had been around for more than a hundred years each, it was the first time that they had met in the postseason. The Series was considered even before it began, with a slight advantage to Detroit, but when the games were played, the Giants dominated from the get-go against a sluggish Detroit team that only showed some life in extending Game 4 to extra innings, before falling to a four-game sweep. As a result, the Giants won their second Championship in two years, after having gone 56 years between World Series wins before that. Umpires: Gerry Davis (crew chief); Dan Iassogna; Fieldin Culbreth; Brian O'Nora; Brian Gorman; Joe West Detroit Tigers The Detroit Tigers, managed by Jim Leyland, had been expected to run away with the AL Central title after reaching theALCS in 2011, but instead struggled to stay above .500 for the first half of the season, then had to fight a resilient Chicago White Sox team that did not go down until the second half of September. As a result of that slow start, the Tigers had only recorded 88 wins during the regular season - least among the five AL teams qualified for the postseason - but that number belied the team's talent. They were definitely not considered underdogs heading into the Series, especially after their systematic demolition of the New York Yankees in a masterful fourgame display during the ALCS. The Tigers had two major qualities as a team: an outstanding four-man starting rotation, and a fearsome middle of the batting order. On the mound, the foursome of Justin Verlander (17 -8, 2.64, 239 Ks), Max Scherzer (16-7, 3.74, 231 Ks),Doug Fister (10-10, 3.45) and Anibal Sanchez (9-13, 3.86) was as strong as any in the major leagues, especially with the latter two pitchers coming into top gear when the season wound down. However, following repeated meltdowns by closerJose Valverde (34, 3.78, 35 saves) during the first two rounds of the postseason, there was a genuine question mark about whether "Papa Grande" would be used in any meaningful situation during the Fall Classic. There were other options in the bullpen, though, with Phil Coke (2-3 4.00) having assumed closer duties in the ALCS, and Joaquin Benoit (5-3, 3.68) being an experienced reliever with the talent to close if need be. Also available was Octavio Dotel, who had been a member of last year's champions, the St. Louis Cardinals, fireballer Al Alburquerque, and rookie Drew Smyly, who had done very well when called upon in the ALCS. The Tigers had of course the first Triple Crown winner in 45 PHOTO CREDIT: DAVID J. PHILLIP/AP

Buster Posey tags Prince Fielder out

years hitting third in their line-up in 3B Miguel Cabrera (.330, 44 HR, 139 RBI). If teams were tempted to pitch around him, they would have to face the equally dangerous 1B Prince Fielder (.313, 30, 108), and then DH Delmon Young (.267, 18, 74). That fearsome heart of the order was complemented with a few other dangerous performers, such as CF Austin Jackson (.300 with 103 runs scored), SS Jhonny Peralta (.239, 13, 63, but a much better hitter than his statistics) and LF Andy Dirks (.322). However, there were a few weaker spots in the line-up, such as 2B, where Omar Infante hit .257 with an OBP under .300 and little power, C where Alex Avila hit .243, and RF, which was manned by Brennan Boesch during the regular season, but had been shared by minor league veteran Quintin Berry and youngster Avisail Garcia during the postseason, Boesch being left off the roster altogether. Garcia was a wild card, having top-notch talent and the capacity to explode in spite of his limited experience in the majors. Defensively, the Tigers were strong up the middle with Jackson, Peralta, Infante and Avila all being better than average defensive players, but vulnerable on the corners. San Francisco Giants The San Francisco Giants were back in the World Series for the second time in three years, having been crowned World Champions in 2010. Again managed by Bruce Bochy, they were a solid but generally unspectacular team that had however been able to reel off six straight wins while on the verge of elimination in the first two rounds of the postseason. They had character in spades, and the ability to manufacture runs with very few hits when required, while their pitching was almost equal to the Tigers. (Continued on page 50)


Baseball Universe | 32

Puttin‟ the ball in play

CUBAN NATIONAL SERIES: CIEGO DE ÁVILA RULES! The 2011-2012 Cuban National League was the 51st Cuban Serie Nacional campaign. The league saw the first change in the teams since it went to 16 entries in 1992-1993. The La Habana Province was split in two, replaced by Mayabeque and Artemisa. As a result, the three-time champion La Habana team was replaced by corresponding Mayabeque and Artemisa teams. Rumors originally had been that the Metropolitanos team would be removed, leaving Cuba with one team per province, but the league instead went to an awkward 17-team format. The two expansion teams promptly posted the league's two worst records. There were also many managerial changes, with only six of the 16 managers from 2010-2011 returning after a couple years of stability. The Mizuno ball 200 was used during the season, while the league continued to implement the controversial "Schiller rule" regarding extra innings play. The pitcher's mound was raised to a height of 15 inches, five more than what is used in Major League Baseball. The season opened on November 27th, with a rematch of the 2010-2011 finalists. This time, Ciego de Ávila beat Pinar del Rio, 8-4. Vladimir García beat 2010-2011 finals MVP Yosvani Torres while Yoelvis Fiss went 4 for 4 with a 2-run homer. On March 1, Urmanis Guerra hits the first walk-off grand slam in a game involving the Schiller Rule, taking Maikel Hidalgo deep. A major record was also broken in March. On March 6th, 43year-old Enrique Esteban Díaz (already Cuba's all-time steal leader) broke up a no-hitter by Reinier Verano with two outs in the 6th inning to tie Antonio Pacheco with 2,356 career hits. He topped Pacheco a day later with a single off Julio Alfredo Martinez. On March 13th, the Schiller Rule took effect in a no-hitter for the first time. 20-year-old Raimar Navarro entered the game with a 12-23 career record for Holguín but overcame eight walks to toss nine no-hit shutout innings. He was matched zero for zero by Frank Madan of Camagüey. Madan finally allowed a run in the 10th thanks to the Schiller Rule. In the bottom of the 10th, Pablo Millán Fernández finished the nohitter, the third combined no-no in Cuban annals and the first since 1979. Also in March, José Dariel Abreu homered in six straight games, tying the Cuban mark (last done by Frederich Cepeda 3 years earlier). On April 3, Alfredo Despaigne took Ian Rendón deep for his 34th home run of the year, reclaiming the home run record he had set three years earlier but which had been broken in 2010-2011 by Abreu and Yoenis Céspedes. Abreu later caught up to him at 35 but Despaigne hit an inside-the-park shot (his only such homer this season) off Alesky Perera on the final day of the season to finish with the record. One other record that fell was Cuba's single-season save mark. After Duniel Ibarra set a new record with 27 last season, Danni Aguilera matched it this season. The finals began on May 20 at the historic Estadio Latinoamericano. In a pitcher's duel, both Vladimir García and Odrisamer Despaigne tossed six shutout innings in front of 55,415 fans. In the 7th, Ciego de Ávila loaded the bases against Despaigne. A wild pitch and a passed ball by Lisban Correa scored Yoelvis Fiss and Isaac Martínez. Raúl González PHOTO CREDIT: MARCELINO VÁZQUEZ HERNÁNDEZ/AIN

then drove in Lisdey Díaz for a 3-0 lead. García also allowed a run in the bottom of the 7th. In the bottom of the 9th, Alexander Malleta scored on a hit by Yasmani Tomas for the Industriales. It was only the third hit allowed by García. That brought up Carlos Tabares, a 38-year-old former Olympian. He was no match for one of Cuba's top hurlers, as Tabares was retired to end it. Game 2 was delayed a day due to rain. On May 22, Ciego de Ávila romped to a 8-3 win. Starters Ian Rendón (Industriales) and Osmar Carrero (Ciego de Ávila) both struggled, getting knocked out in the 5th, but Yander Guevara tossed 4 1/3 shutout innings of one-hit, no-walk relief for the win while the Industriales bullpen was spotty. DH Isaac Martínez led a balanced attack for the victors, going 2 for 3 with 3 RBI. With game 3 on May 27, action moved to Estadio José Ramón Cepero but the home team lost for the third straight game. Both game 1 starters returned and again did well. Vladimir García carried a 3-1 lead into the 9th but faded and allowed two runs. In the 10th, against reliever Guevara, the Industriales scored the winner on an error by catcher Lisdey Díaz. The Industriales were led by three players who had 3for-5 days: 1B Malleta, 2B Juan Carlos Torriente and 3B Rudy Reyes. A day later, Ciego de Ávila pulled off the second rout by a 102 margin. Rusney Castillo went 3 for 5 with two home runs and four RBI and got plenty of help, as Yorelvis Charles was 4 for 5 with two doubles and 3 RBI and both Raúl González and Isaac Martínez went deep. Industriales starter Frank Monthiet and five relievers all failed to stop the Tigres, while Osmar Carrero pitched a fine game for the win. On May 29, Ciego de Ávila wrapped up its first title, beating the 12-time-champion Industriales. This one was a classic finale, going 11 innings before it was settled with a 4-3 score. The Tigres opened with a first-inning run as Fiss doubled in Castillo while facing Industriales starter Antonio Romero. In the second, a two-run homer by Yoandri Urgellés off Guevara put the Industriales ahead. Ciego de Ávila reclaimed the lead in the bottom of the third when Fiss doubled in Ricardo Bordón and Raúl González. From there, Romero and Guevara traded goose eggs from the 4th through the 6th. In the 7th, Urgellés singled and came around on a sacrifice fly by pinch-hitter Irakli Chirino to tie the game at 3. Neither (Continued on page 33)


Yearbook 1, 2012|Let‟s make baseball a more universal game. (Coming from page 32)

Baseball Universe | 33

Guillermo Heredia Jr. (Matanzas), OF Rusney Castillo (Ciego de Ávila) and P Alberto Soto (Granma).

team scored again until the 11th. Yorbis Borroto reached against Industriales reliever Julio Montesino (who had entered in the 9th, replacing Romero) and was advanced by Díaz. Bordón then came through with his 3rd hit of the game, the winning single, to give the team their first championship after 35 seasons of play. The decision went to Lazaro Santana, who had gotten the last two outs in the top of the 11th after Guevara was finally yanked.

Taken from http://baseball-reference.com

Leader AVG Jose Dariel Abreu R Guillermo Heredia H Yordanis Samón 2B Rusney Castillo 3B Lázaro Rodríguez HR Alfredo Despaigne RBI Alfredo Despaigne BB Alfredo Despaigne IBB Jose Dariel Abreu HBP Jose Dariel Abreu K Edilse Silva SH Dainier Gálvez SF Isaac Martínez SB Lázaro Rodríguez

Playoffs Ciego de Ávila 4, Las Tunas 3 Granma 4, Villa Clara 3 Matanzas 4, Sancti Spíritus 3 Industriales 4, Cienfuegos 1 Ciego de Ávila 4, Granma 2 Industriales 4, Matanzas 3 Ciego de Ávila 4, Industriales 1 All-Star Game The Juego de las Estrellas (All-Star Game) was held at Estadio Victoria de Girón in Matanzas, Matanzas on February 19, 2012. The Orientales won another close match, 8-7. The winning pitcher was Pablo Fernández, Yoelkis Cruz got the save and Yadier Pedroso took the loss. Yosvany Alarcón and Re- W utilio Hurtado both homered for the winners, while Yeison PCT Pacheco drove in the winner with a double. ERA Award Winners

Team

Ismel Jiménez

SSP

17

Alain Sánchez

VCL

12-3

Pablo Fernández

HOL

1.52

Ismel Jiménez

SSP

185

Yadir Rabi

CAV

46

Yosvani Torres

PRI

26

Yadir Rabi

CAV

44

Vladimir García

CAV

11

SHO

Yosvani Torres

PRI

5

H

Yosvani Torres

PRI

183

K

Yadier Pedroso Odrisamer Despaigne

ART IND

128

BB

Wilber Pérez

IJV

89

IBB

Jesús Guerra Jr.

PRI

18

HBP

Frank Navarro

GTM

31

INN

.394 91 133 28 11 36 105 91 33 22 71 19 10

29 Note:Bold indicates either wooden bat record or aluminum bat record (1976-1977 to 1998-1999), Italics indicate Serie Nacional record Leader

The Most Valuable Player (Jugador Más Valioso) was Alfre- G do Despaigne of Granma. Carlos Juan Viera of Las Tunas was GS the Series' Rookie of the Year (Novato del Año). Vladimir GR García was named Postseason MVP. CG All-Stars were C Yosvany Alarcón (Las Tunas), 1B Jose Dariel Abreu||(Cienfuegos), 2B Héctor Olivera Jr. (Santiago de Cuba), SS Yordan Manduley (Holguín), 3B Yulieski Gourriel (Sancti Spiritus), OF Alfredo Despaigne (Granma), OF Guillermo Heredia Jr. (Matanzas), OF Rusney Castillo (Ciego de Ávila), DH Serguey Pérez (Industriales), UT José Miguel Fernández (Matanzas), RHP Vladimir García (Ciego de Ávila), LHP Leandro Martínez (Granma) and RP Pablo Fernández (Holguín).

Team CFG MAT GRM CAV CFG GRM GRM GRM CFG CFG SCU IJV CAV CFG

Notes

95 IP

Sv Danni Aguilera IJV 27 Gold Glove awards went to C Danger Guerrero (Mayabeque), Note:Bold indicates either wooden bat record or aluminum bat re1B Yoennis Southerán (Guantanamo), 2B Andy Ibáñez (Isla cord (1976-1977 to 1998-1999), Italics indicate Serie Nacional de la Juventud), SS Yordan Manduley (Holguín), 3B Raúl record González (Ciego de Ávila), OF Yuniet Flores (Villa Clara), OF

East Zone W-L GB Manager 58-38 -- Ramón Moré Villa Clara 54-41 3.5 Juan Miguel Gordo Las Tunas 54-42 4 Roger Machado Ciego de Ávila 54-42 4 Indalecio Alejandrez Granma 53-43 5 Alcides Sánchez Santiago de Cuba 45-49 9 Agustín Lescaille Guantánamo 44-52 14 Holguín Felicio García 43-53 15 Felipe Sarduy Camagüey Note: Bold indicates Zona champion

West Zone W-L GB Manager 58-38 -- Víctor Mesa Matanzas 55-41 3 Lázaro Vargas Industriales 54-42 4 Iday Abreu Cienfuegos 49-46 8.5 Ruperto Zamora Sancti Spíritus 47-49 9 Alfonso Urquiola Pinar del Rio Isla de la Juventud 39-57 19 Armando Johnson 38-58 20 Luís Suárez Metropolitanos 36-60 22 Esteban Lombillo Artemisa 33-63 25 Rigoberto Madera Mayabeque Note: Bold indicates Zona champion


Puttin‟ the ball in play

Baseball Universe | 34

Samurai Japan Match 2012 —BY REYNALDO CRUZ—

have these things clear in mind, we will continue to suffer the offensive inepti-

The Samurai Japan Match 2012, tude, mainly when it comes to scoring

Ginjiro Sumitani hits a homer off Yadier Pedroso.

featuring Cuba and Japan, ended in Sap- runs against an intelligent pitching. poro Home, headquarter of the Hok- Michel Enriquez should weigh his kaido Nippon-Ham Fighters, with the options and Cuban baseball officials victory of the host team for the second should also weigh their options with Miconsecutive day, this time as 3-1.

chel Enriquez. In two at bats against the

Thirty-four innings and two thirds was Japanese, he looked lost, humiliated, and the consecutive scoreless streak of Samu- a little worse than a sixteen-year-old rai Japan over Cuba since the 2009 player facing the wicked pitching of World Baseball Classic, until the eighth Justin Verlander. To what extent is he inning of the second game in this series, willing to hold on to his position in the when Yulieski Gourriel gut under a pitch Cuban National Team and live out of his by Hideaki Wakui and send a line drive past days of glory? Who brings a veteran the process? to the stands in leftfield, which had and out-of-shape hitter to face a 91-mile- More of the same… giving up on a homerun written all over it since it made per-hour pitching, mainly when it is clear little defense for a little offense becontact with the bat.

that he can‟t keep up with the 88-mile- comes crucial when the team does not

However, and despite the defeat, the per-hour fastball? The teams are made of produce. Therefore, the batting order for matchup left a positive outcome for Cuba “men instead of names” (quoting our the second game against Japan should —in my humble opinion— in the pro- National Baseball Commissioner), and it have been: Yordan Manduley-SS, Yurisjected team towards the 2013 World is time that the MEN instead of the bel Gracial-3B, Rusney Castillo-CF, AlBaseball Classic, mainly in experiences:

NAMES are taken into account for mak- fredo Despaigne-LF, Frederich Cepeda-

There’s no such thing as estab- ing a decision.

DH, Alexei Bell-RF, Yulieski Gourriel-3B,

lished stars, because if they once If you don’t hit with a line-up, you Jose Dariel Abreu-1B and Ariel Pestano benched men like Omar Linares, Antonio gotta change it. It happened in Chi- or Frank Camilo Morejon-C. Which team Pacheco or Orestes Kindelan, who were nese Taipei, and it happened in Japan… can afford to put a man like Jose Dariel twice the players compared to those of it happened in the 2009 World Baseball Abreu at the eighth slot? That is not the today, why not bench the current ones? Classic and it will happen in the 2013 question, but which team finds itself in Is Victor Mesa actually pulling the World Baseball Classic, FOR SURE. The the need of making such weird changes strings here? As long as the new manage- Cuban team barely hit in the first two in the batting order? It‟s a simple anment, which also has the presence of games against Chinese Taipei and a se- swer: one that does not score runs. Jorge Fuentes, who was precisely the lection of stars of the Chinese Profes- Fundamentals, again? Alexei Bell fell man responsible for benching the above sional Baseball League (CPBL). In the asleep in right field, which brought the mentioned stars of the past, does not third game they changed the lineup and second triple of the Japanese squad in both newcomers Yordan Manduley and the same inning. Jose Miguel Fernandez Yurisbel Gracial brought an extra ingre- was thinking God knows what at second dient to the batting order and the team base, which was the reason why he was hit better. They were both worthy of a picked off. Victor Mesa insisted bunting shot, and what is more, they SHOULD with Yulexis La Rosa (a man with zero have been in the starting lineup for the skills with the bat) and he ended up second match against the Japanese. How striking out, seriously? Yes, Cuban hitfar are they willing to go to maintain their status quo and sacrifice victories in

(Continued on page 35)


Yearbook 1, 2012|Let‟s make baseball a more universal game.

Baseball Universe | 35

not time a fly ball by Shota Dobayashi properly—it hit him in the body—and the play ended in a triple. Then, Bell was a little slow again and Yoshio Itoi stretched Katsuya Kakunaka was really aggressive on the basepaths.

his double into a triple, scoring afterwards on a wild pitch by Odrisamer Despaigne. Later on, the double by Takahiro Okada was followed by a walk to Shogo Akiyama and a sacrifice bunt by Yuhei Nakamura —who was welcomed in the bench as if he had hit one out of the park, hey, Cubans, take a note here!— and scored in Torriente‟s aforementioned slow-thinking play. About umpiring in Cuba we have to say that our umpires have to adapt and adjust to the strike zone that is ruling abroad—which is the real strike zone. It

(Coming from page 34)

hitter… we are talking about a man who would be a very good way of preparing is able to make contact and hit to the Cuban hitters and pitchers to what they

ters still don’t know how to bunt runners opposite field like a master.

are about to face in foreign lands.

over, or they don‟t like it, or who knows Pitching, the best… is there actually Positive outcome, and let’s hope what? Michel Enriquez and Ariel Pestano any doubt? Many of the runs came be- that what’s been learned is not left unused, because we have seen many as pinch hitters… well, that was to cap a cause of the defensive flaws than any times that they learn and learn (defeat “brilliant” managing job. Then put Yor- other thing, except for Ginjiro Sumitani‟s after defeat) and in the end the experidan Manduley on hold with a 3-0 count, round-tripper in the first game against ence is just that: nothing but experience. which was ideal for him to make contact the Japanese. Alexei Bell fell asleep in Definitely, a lot has to be done in the game fundamentals, they have to be with the ball and drive a runner home. right field and former independent more aggressive and they have to work in All foreign players know that Cubans leaguer Katsuya Kakunaka stretched a the concentration of players. don‟t swing on that count, and a pitching single into a double, from where he score Photos: KYODO with such control and command as the on an error by Jose Miguel Fernandez. In Stats on the next page Japanese had the instant chance of find- the second game, Guillermo Heredia did ing the plate, and bring a Christmas present that would have brought an unexpected outcome had he taken a swing. Cuba did not need to put runners on base, they needed to drive on a run. Juan Carlos Torriente waited for a slow grounder way too behind with a man on third base, and when he threw to the plate, it was already too late, although we had to point that he did not drop the ball. And what about Alexander Malleta? I have no clue, but they sure gotta find a hole for him. He‟s a real hitter, not the experience, or his conditions, but his nerves and his quality, his ability as a

Yoshio Itoi impressed everyone.


Puttin‟ the ball in play

Baseball Universe | 36

Japan vs Cuba @ Sapporo Dome - 18:05

Cuba vs Japan @ Yahoo Dome - 19:00 1

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Japan

Japan

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x

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0

Cuba

Player (CUB) Castillo, Rusney Torriente, Juan Carlos Malleta, Alexander Fernandez, Jose Miguel Gourriel, Yulieski Despaigne, Alfredo Abreu, Jose Dariel Bell, Alexei Cepeda, Frederich Pestano, Ariel Heredia, Guillermo La Rosa, Yulexis Arruebaruena, Erisbel Enriquez, Michel Totals

Pitcher (CUB) Pedroso, Yadier (L) Martinez, Leandro Jimenez, Ismel Gonzalez, Norberto

Pos (DH) (CF) (SS) (1B) (3B) (RF) (LF) LF (C) (2B) PH/2B

Player (JAP) Chono, Hisayoshi Oshima, Yohei Sakamoto, Hayato Okada, Takahiro Matsuda, Nobuhiro Itoi, Yoshio Kakunaka, Katsuya Akiyama, Shogo Sumitani, Ginjiro Honda, Yuichi Ibata, Hirokazu Totals

Pitcher (JAP) Otonari, Kenji Otake, Kan (H) Tsutsui, Kazuya (H) Imamura, Takeru (W) Kaga, Shigeru (H) Ono, Yudai (H) Yamaguchi, Shun (Sv)

2

3

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Attendance: 21236 | Time: 3:40

Attendance: 17468 | Time: 2:45 Pos (CF) (2B) PH 2B (3B) (LF) (1B) (RF) (DH) (C) PH C (SS) PH

1

AB 4 2 1 1 4 3 3 3 3 2 1 0 2 1 30

R 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

IP 3 1/3 3 1 1/3 0 1/3

BF 14 12 4 1

AB 4 4 4 3 3 2 3 0 2 2 1 28

R 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 2

IP 2 2 0 2/3 2 0 2/3 0 2/3 1

BF 6 6 4 6 2 2 4

H 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 3 H 3 3 0 0

AVG .000 .000 .000 1.000 .000 .000 .000 .333 .333 .000 .000 --.000 .000 .100

HR 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

SO BB R ER ERA 0 2 1 1 2.70 3 0 1 0 0.00 0 0 0 0 0.00 0 0 0 0 0.00

H 2 0 2 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 6 H 0 0 2 0 0 0 1

RBI 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

RBI 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1

AVG .500 .000 .500 .000 .000 .000 .333 --.500 .000 .000 .214

SO BB R ER 3 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0

HR 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 ERA 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00

S AMURAI J APAN M ATCH The stats and BoxScores hereby presented were taken from the Japanese site yakyubaka.com

Pos (DH) PH/DH PH/DH (LF) (SS) (RF) (3B) (1B) (CF) (C) C (2B) PH 2B

Player (JAP) Chono, Hisayoshi Tsutsugo, Yoshitomo Dobayashi, Shota Oshima, Yohei Sakamoto, Hayato Itoi, Yoshio Matsuda, Nobuhiro Okada, Takahiro Akiyama, Shogo Shima, Motohiro Nakamura, Yuhei Honda, Yuichi Kakunaka, Katsuya Ibata, Hirokazu Totals

Pitcher (JAP) Sawamura, Hirokazu Muranaka, Kyohei (H) Nishimura, Kentaro (H) Morifuku, Masahiko (H) Otake, Kan (W) Wakui, Hideaki (H) Yamaguchi, Shun (Sv)

AB 2 1 2 5 3 4 3 4 2 1 0 2 1 1 31 IP 2 1 2/3 1 1/3 1 1 1 1

R 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 BF 7 7 5 4 4 4 4

H 0 0 1 0 1 2 0 2 0 0 0 1 0 0 7 H 1 2 2 1 1 1 1

RBI 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 2

AVG .333 .000 .500 .000 .429 .333 .000 .286 .000 .000 --.250 .250 .000 .220

HR 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1

SO BB R ER ERA 4 0 0 0 0.00 1 0 0 0 0.00 2 0 0 0 0.00 1 0 0 0 0.00 0 0 0 0 0.00 1 0 1 1 9.00 2 0 0 0 0.00

Pos (CF) PH CF (RF) (3B)

Player (CUB) Castillo, Rusney Enriquez, Michel Heredia, Guillermo Bell, Alexei Gourriel, Yulieski

AB 2 1 1 4 4

R 0 0 0 0 1

H 0 0 0 2 2

RBI 0 0 0 0 1

AVG .000 .000 .000 .429 .250

HR 0 0 0 0 1

(LF) (DH)

Despaigne, Alfredo Cepeda, Frederich

4 4

0 0

0 1

0 0

.000 .286

0 0

(1B)

Abreu, Jose Dariel

4

0

2

0

.286

0

(2B)

Fernandez, Jose Miguel

2

0

1

0

.667

0

PH/2B PH (C) PH

Torriente, Juan Carlos Pestano, Ariel La Rosa, Yulexis Tomas, Yasmani

0 1 2 1

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

0 0 0 0

.000 .000 .000 .000

0 0 0 0

C

Morejon, Frank Camilo

0

0

0

0

---

0

PH (SS) PH SS

Gracial, Yurisbel Arruebaruena, Erisbel Malleta, Alexander Manduley , Yordan

1 1 1 1

0 0 0 0

0 0 1 0

0 0 0 0

.000 .000 .500 .000

0 0 0 0

Totals Pitcher (CUB) Alvarez , Freddy A. Gonzalez, Norberto (H) Jimenez, Ismel (L) Nunez, Darien (H) Garcia, Vladimir Yera, Yoanni Despaigne, Odrisamer Fernandez, Pablo Millán Hinojosa, Dalier

34 IP 6 0 1/3 0 2/3 0 1/3 0 1/3 0 0/3 0 1/3 0 1/3 0 2/3

1 BF 23 2 3 1 1 1 2 2 3

H 4 0 1 0 0 1 1 0 0

9 1 .188 1 SO BB R ER ERA 4 2 0 0 0.00 0 1 0 0 0.00 0 0 1 1 4.50 1 0 0 0 0.00 0 0 0 0 0.00 0 0 1 1 — 1 0 1 1 27.00 0 1 0 0 0.00 1 0 0 0 0.00


Yearbook 1, 2012|Let‟s make baseball a more universal game.

Baseball Universe | 37

YANKEEBISCUITFAN’S WORLD —BY CHRIS KABOUT*—

After being absent for a month due to family matters, I am back. In the meantime I was struck by the flu. I haven’t felt so bad in years. Normally when I am sick like that, I am haunted by the same nightmare. Not this time. This time I had a kind of vision of what to write about in this month’s column.

Taichung Intercontinental Stadium

Game 1, Novembers 10 R Cuba 0 Chinese Taipei 2 W: Song-Wei Tseng L: Yadier Pedroso Sv: Yi-Hao Lin

H E 6 0 7 0

Taichung Intercontinental Stadium

Game 2, November 11 R CPBL 0 Cuba 1 W: Freddy Asiel Álvarez L: H.C. Lai HR: Alfredo Despaigne

H E 6 2 7 0

Taichung Intercontinental Stadium

Game 3, November 13 R H E Cuba 14 16 3 CPBL 7 12 1 W: Leandro Martínez L: Cai-Jing Hao HR: Alfredo Despaigne, Alexander Malleta, Rusney Castillo Baseball Universe —In the match against Chinese Taipei and the CPBL stars, the Cuban team lost the first game against the national squad, without scoring a single run, and then they beat the CPBL team 2 -0 and 14-7. The team looked clumsy again against Asian pitching, who seem to know the size of all Cubans‟ suits.

PHOTO CREDIT: THE TAIPEI TIMES

I will sum up my highlights and lows of the season. First of all there was Opening Day. After a long dark winter, the baseball season took off again. My favorite team, the New York Yankees, took on the Red Sox in one of the first weeks in Fenway Park. And man did the Yankees spoil Fenway Park’s birthday party in game two. After trailing 9-0 (!) in the fifth, the Yankees scored fifteen runs in the remaining four innings for a 15-9 win. In my humble opinion, this was the start of the downfall of Bobby Valentine as Red Sox manager.

The level of the Czechs is improving steadily, so this had to happen sooner or later. I compare this with the first win of the Dutch vs Cuba during the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. What made me worry was the way the Dutch played vs the Italians: Uninspired. It looked to me like they played with a huge attitude like they were saying: “Hey, we are World Champions. Who can beat us?” If the Dutch want to advance to the second round of the 2013 World Baseball Classic, they will have to get rid of that attitude. The absolute highlights for me were the two games that I attended during my vacation. One game at the Epicenter in Rancho Cucamonga, home of the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes. This is the high A affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers. The other game that I attended was in Sin City at Cashman Field, home of the Las Vegas 51s (AAA affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays). Both games were filled with family fun, something typical minor league. For me it is the game that makes me come to the stadium, but the entertainment between the innings adds a real nice atmosphere to the experience. I feel extremely pleased that I was able to attend a game at Cashman Field because it has been rumored that this stadium will be demolished.

During the season, the Yankees had many ups and downs. I’d never expected them to reach the play offs but was very excited when they did. After an exciting series vs the Orioles, the Yanks took on the Detroit Tigers in the ALCS. The way the Yankees played (not inspired and seemingly not interThere are a couple of things that I am ested) they were swept by the Tigers. looking forward to. First of all the 2013 My favorite minor league team, the World Baseball Classic. I am curious if Montgomery Biscuits had a decent first the Dutch can repeat the upset of 2009. half of the season. But they started to Furthermore I am looking forward to catch fire in the second half. For the the centennial of my former baseball first time since 2007, they reached the club AHC Quick from Amsterdam. On play offs of the Southern League. In the March 1, this club will turn hundred first round they took on the Mobile and will be the first club in Europe to BayBears and lost 4-1 vs the team that eventually would win the Southern reach that milestone. League title. Nothing to be ashamed of, For now I wish all readers of Universo isn’t it? Beisbol a happy and prosperous 2013. After the Dutch national team won the See you next year. World Cup in 2011, there were high hopes for the 2012 European Champi- * Chris Kabout is a fixed columnist for onship. Overall, the Dutch had an easy Universo Béisbol and his space Yankeetournament with big victories, but a biscuitfan’s World is published every loss vs the Czech Republic put them month in Spanish in our parent publicadown to earth. I wasn’t shocked at all. tion.


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Puttin‟ the ball in play

—2012 HOLLAND SERIES—

The 2012 Hoofdklasse began on April 5 and ended on August 21. One highlight was Rob Cordemans becoming the all-time Hoofdklasse win on July 1, when he won his 151st contest; he surpassed Bart Volkerijk. Cordemans would post a 0.22 ERA, showing he was still going strong, to win the MVP. Regular Season Standings (Head coach in parantheses) L&D Amsterdam Pirates, 34-7 (Charles Urbanus Jr.) DOOR Neptunus, 33-9 (Jan Collins) Corendon Kinheim, 27-15 (Eelco Jansen regular season, Hans Lemmink took over during the playoffs) Konica Minolta Pioniers, 26-15 (Robert Klaver) UVV, 25-16 (Frank Koene) Mr. Cocker HCAW, 8-33 (Rudy Dirksen) ADO, 8-34 (Dave Daniels) Sparta/Feyenoord, 5-37 (Dino Anasagasti 5-33, Gershwin Hernandez 0-1, Marwin Kleinmoedig 0-3)

Runs: Rafaël Jozefa, Neptunus 44 RBI: Rien Vernooij, Neptunus 43 Stolen Bases: Kody Hightower, HCAW 16 Doubles: Evan Porter, ADO 15 Triples: Dwayne Kemp, Neptunus & Linoy Croes, HCAW 15 Total Bases: Connor, 85 Walks: Sidney de Jong, Amsterdam 47 Hits: Phil Ortez, ADO 59 ERA: Rob Cordemans, Amsterdam 0.22 Wins: Diegomar Markwell, Neptunus 11 Innings: Joey Evans, 102 1/3 Games: Derek Tarapacki, UVV 107 Complete Games: Gregory Gustina, Sparta/Feyenoord 5 Saves: Arshwin Asjes, Kinheim 11 Strikeouts: Evans & David Bergman, Kinheim 101 Shutouts: 9 tied with 1 2012 Holland Series: Corendon Kinheim (27-15) defeated DOOR Neptunus (33-9), 4 games to 0.

Playoffs: Amsterdam, Pioniers eliminated

Introduction

Award Winners MVP: Rob Cordemans, Amsterdam Pitcher of the Year: Cordemans Coach of the Year: Hans Lemmink, Kinheim Holland Series MVP: David Bergman, Kinheim P Roel de Mon Award: Tony Kreisel Ron Fraser Award: Marciano Philippi

The 2012 Holland Series was the 26th Holland Series. It was won by Corendon Kinheim in a stunner, as Kinheim had fired head coach Eelco Jansen in the first round of the playoffs after a slow start. They rallied after that under replacement Hans Lemmink and swept DOOR Neptunus in the Series. The Series MVP was David Bergman, who went 2-0 with a 1.23 ERA, winning both the opener and the clincher.

League Leaders

Teams

Average: Bas de Jong, Amsterdam .370 Slugging: Bryan Engelhardt, Kinheim .630 OBP: Mervin Gario, Kinheim .506 Home Runs: Wesley Connor, Amsterdam 9

Kinheim Kinheim had finished third in the regular season at 27-15 with

PHOTO CREDIT: ROB JELSMA FOTOGRAFIE

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Yearbook 1, 2012|Let‟s make baseball a more universal game. (Coming from page 38)

225 runs (3rd in the 2012 Hoofdklasse) and 140 runs allowed (tied for 3rd). The offense was led by 1B Bryan Engelhardt (.340/.450/.630), who was second in the league in home runs (8), first in slugging, 4th in OBP and tied for 4th in RBI (33). Also lending hands were 3B Mervin Gario (.333/.506/.402, the leader in OBP, second with 34 walks and third with 39 runs in 39 games), C-OF Quintin de Cuba (.313/.446/.478) and CF Remco Draijer (.301/.414/.424, 3rd with 14 SB). Their pitching staff featured a strong three-man rotation of David Bergman (93, 1.52, 101 K in 100 2/3 IP), Luke Sommer (10-2, 2.05) and Nick Veltkamp (6-4, 2.69) while Arshwin Asjes (11 Sv, 0.98) was the closer. Asjes led the league in saves, Sommer tied for second in wins and was fifth in strikeouts (76) while Bergman tied for first in strikeouts, was 5th in ERA and tied for fifth in wins. Neptunus Coached by Jan Collins, Neptunus was second in the regular season in record (33-9), runs (300) and fewest runs allowed (106), all behind the defending champion L&D Amsterdam Pirates (which fell in the playoffs). Their top offensive players were Rafaël Jozefa (.325/.443/.442, a league-leading 44 runs, 2nd with 42 RBI, tied for 4th with 29 walks), Dwayne Kemp (.323/.361/.491, second with 82 total bases and tied for first with five triples), Rien Vernooij (.311/.372/.493, first with 43 RBI and 4th with 73 total bases) and Jeffrey Arends (.310/.406/.497, 5th in slugging, tied for 3rd with 13 doubles). Their pitching staff was led by Diegomar Markwell (11-1, 1.34), who led the league in wins and was 4th in ERA. Tim Roodenburg (3-1, 1.55), Kevin Heijstek (8-3, 1.71), Dushan Ruzic (2-2, 7 Sv, 2.68, 47 K in 40 1/3 IP) and Bobby Carrington (4-2, 2.79) also lent arms support.

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third. A passed ball by Balentina made it 3-1. DH Rien Vernooij walked and RF Lennart Koster singled to close the gap to one run. Pim Walsma relieved and did his job, getting C Mourik Huijser to ground into an inning-ending twin killing. In the 8th, Neptunus posed a scare. 1B Rafaël Jozefa hit a twoout double. Arshwin Asjes relieved Walsma and walked Legito to put the potential go-ahead run on base. He recovered to retire cleanup man Kemp to end the inning. In the top of the 9th, Kinheim got insurance, as Seltenrijch doubled off Jorian van Acker. Berry van Driel relieved, but van Weert greeted him with a single. Draijer singled as well, scoring Seltenrijch for a 4-2 lead. Cremer bunted the runners into scoring position, then van 't Klooster grounded into a force at the plate. A wild pitch again put two men in scoring position before Gario grounded out. Asjes struck out two in the bottom of the 9th, allowing only a 2out Koster single, to wrap up the save. August 18, Game 2: Kinheim 3, Neptunus 1. Kinheim's Nick Veltkamp and Neptunus's Kevin Heijstek both pitched shutout ball for the first four innings, though Kinheim had stranded six runners in that period. In the fifth, they finally got through. SS René Cremer laid down a bunt hit. With one out, 3B Mervin Gario grounded into an error by Neptunus SS Dwayne Kemp. 1B Bryan Engelhardt then hit a sacrifice fly to center. In the bottom of the 5th, Neptunus tied it back up. RF Lennart Koster hit into a Cremer miscue with one out, then C Mourik Huijser and CF Shaldimar Daantji hit back-to-back singles. A walk to LF Adrian Anthony loaded the bases but reliever Steven van Groningen escaped the jam.

Neither team had a serious offensive push again until the 9th. 2010 Holland Series MVP Dushan Ruzic relieved Heijstek but the Aussie did not have his best game. CF Remco Draijer drew a walk and was bunted over by Cremer. RF Dirk van 't Klooster Games doubled in Draijer, then came home on a Gario single for a 3-0 August 16, Game 1: Kinheim 4, Neptunus 2. (Kinheim) lead. Ruzic then walked Engelhardt intentionally and hit C and Diegomar Markwell (Neptunus), neither of whom allowed a Quintin de Cuba before recovering to strike out 2B Roy Seltenrun for the first five innings. rijch and get DH Niels van Weert on a grounder. Kinheim looked to score in the second but were prevented by bad baserunning. 1B Bryan Engelhardt drew a walk then C Ramiro Balentina beat out an infield hit. An error on the play by SS Dwayne Kemp advanced the runners; Engelhardt tried to score but was thrown out by 2B Benjamin Dille. LF Quintin de Cuba singled. 2B Roy Seltenrijch grounded to Markwell, who threw home to retire Balentina. DH Niels van Weert singled; de Cuba kept running despite the advice of coach Hans Lemmink and was thrown out at home as well. The next major chance came in the 6th and this time Kinheim did not blow it. SS René Cremer hit into a 2-base error by LF Adrian Anthony. RF Dirk van 't Klooster hit into Kemp's second error of the day, then Engelhardt doubled for a 1-0 lead. They added some insurance in the 7th. De Cuba and Seltenrijch opened with walks from Markwell, then van Weert bunted them over. CF Remco Draijer hit into a run-scoring fielder's choice, de Cuba this time beating a throw to the plate. Cremer hit into a run-scoring force for a 3-0 lead.

In the bottom of the 9th, Kinheim turned to Arshwin Asjes, relieving Pim Walsma as the 4th Kinheim hurler. Kemp greeted him with a single but 1B Rien Vernooij, Koster and Huijser all grounded out. August 19, Game 3: Kinheim 7, Neptunus 3. Kinheim completed the sweep with a combination of a balanced offense (8 players scored runs) and a stellar pitching performance from Series MVP David Bergman (13 K in 8 IP). While the final score was 9-2, it remained close for most of the day.

Kinheim went ahead in the second on a solo homer by RF Dirk van 't Klooster off Diegomar Markwell. In the 4th, they got two more on a double by 3B Mervin Gario and a 2-run jack by 1B Bryan Engelhardt. Neptunus closed it to 3-1 in the 7th when 1B Rien Vernooij homered off Bergman to end his shutout bid. In the bottom of the 7th, Kinheim went back up by Markwell plunked LF Quintin de Cuba. Jorian van Acker relieved and 2B Roy Seltenrijch bunted de Cuba over. SS Björn Henrichs drew a walk. Berry van Driel came in to replace van Acker and CF Bergman, pitching on his 31st birthday, tired in the bottom of Remco Draijer greeted him with a RBI single. the 7th. 3B Raily Legito hit into an error by his counterpart, Mervin Gario. After Kemp struck out, Dille doubled Legito to (Continued on page 53)


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Puttin‟ the ball in play

OVERTHINKING IT WHAT CHIPPER JONES' RETIREMENT GIFTS WERE FOR: A SHORT STORY (UPDATED) Larry Wayne Jones Jr decided to call it quits after a remarkable career with the Atlanta Braves while establishing himself as one of the best third basemen in baseball.

—BY BEN LINDBERGH*— In 2012, Chipper Jones received an assortment of strange gifts from each opponent he played on his last trip around the league. In 2031, he will finally figure out what to do with them. *** "I'm going to save everything, because it means a lot to me that those teams, those towns and those players were moved to honor me in a way they felt was appropriate. It means the world to me that I earned their respect. I'm going to do everything I can to put everything I got from them on display in my house." — Chipper Jones, 9/18/2012 *** 19 years later… Chipper Jones paced the darkened halls of the Double Dime Ranch, a crumpled newspaper clutched under his arm. Once he‟d walked with the swagger of one who knew what it was to be great, but now his steps were hurried, harried. In happier days, the house had burned like a beacon, drawing fans, friends, and former teammates from afar. Now the Double Dime sat nearly deserted, surrounded by 10,000 uncaring acres and illuminated only by the secondhand sunlight from a mostly full moon. It was winter in Texas, clear and cold in the waning days of December, but the chill inside Chipper Jones had nothing to do with the weather. It had to do with the Hall of Fame. Jones had walked these halls often enough to know PHOTO CREDIT: KEVIN C. COX/GETTY IMAGES

to know which way to go without thinking, just as he‟d known which pitches to take and which to punish after thousands of trips to the plate. It was a big house, built with the proceeds of an even bigger bat, and Jones could pace for quite a while without repeating his route. But he‟d been roaming the ranch for hours, as the shadows grew longer and deepened into dusk, and he was running out of ways to avoid the one remaining room he hadn‟t entered on his rounds. It was a room he‟d managed to pace past— with an almost imperceptible acceleration as he drew near the door—for nearly five years now. He sensed that he wouldn‟t pace past it today. But he couldn‟t just stroll straight into it, either, not after all this time. So he walked, and he wondered. His thoughts took him—as they often did—back to 2012, his last active season. That year, he was bigger than the Braves. Almost bigger than baseball. Wherever he played, he was greeted by a grateful crowd. Every clap, every cheer, every tip of the cap told him he was a can‟t-miss candidate. That he‟d be in on the first ballot. That he should prepare to take his bows. It hadn‟t worked out that way. When his first year of eligibility went by without a call from Cooperstown, Jones didn‟t despair. The writers worked in mysterious ways, and they had made many great players wait. Sometimes it was a power trip, the reporters‟ revenge on players who had treated them poorly. Sometimes the writers were (Continued on page 41)


Yearbook 1, 2012|Let‟s make baseball a more universal game. (Coming from page 40)

just reading the wrong statistics. But however long they had to wait, the truly great ones—and sometimes even the pretty good ones—got in. Jones would wait, too, and eventually he‟d join them. Then something unsettling happened: he didn‟t get in the second time, either. Or the third, or the fourth. Fine, he thought. It took five years for Eddie Mathews. But the fifth ballot wasn‟t the charm for Chipper, and the next nine weren‟t much better. He‟d been up for induction for 14 straight years, and for 14 straight years had failed to garner the necessary 75 percent support. With only one year of eligibility left, he was facing a future of being forgotten. And like many before him who‟d been pushed to the brink, he was about to do something desperate. As always, he regretted flashing back to 2012. The memories were comforting, at first, but they always led to later ones, and the later ones only led to further frustration. But his brooding had accomplished one thing: he‟d arrived at the room almost without realizing how close he had come. Before him stood a thick wooden door. The shadows here were thicker than they had been in any other part of the house. Above his head, mounted deer stared uncomprehendingly at each other across the hall. The door didn‟t look any different from the ones in the rest of the ranch, the ones he hadn‟t developed an aversion to opening. What made this door different was what lay behind it: the assembled spoils of a 19-year career. Inside were his World Series ring, and his MVP award, and his two Silver Sluggers, and the silver bat they gave him when he won the batting title in 2008. But as many awards as he‟d won, his trophy collection couldn‟t compare to the real reason for the room‟s existence, and for his reluctance to enter it: the parting gifts he‟d been given by baseball teams as he completed his last lap around the league. Not just a few gifts, and not just from the Braves. Shelves and cases and display stands stuffed with gleaming, glistening tokens of each team‟s appreciation. They were the offerings of every opponent he‟d played on his farewell tour, dispensed in special ceremonies like tributes to a visiting king. No incense, frankincense, or myrrh. Much better: bad paintings, and bases, and bratwurst. He could barely bring himself to gaze upon them again. Before his first ballot, the gifts had been a great conversation starter. “Why do you have a surfboard with your name on it?” people would ask. “You don‟t surf, and we‟re 200 miles from the ocean.” “It was a gift from the Padres,” he would say. “But why would they give you a surfboard?” “People surf in San Diego,” he would explain, as if that settled it. It didn‟t matter to him why each team had given him the gift, or gifts, that it had. He knew there was a method to the gift-giving, some plan or purpose that would become clear at the appropriate time. With one fruitless ballot behind him, the gifts were

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still a source of pride. After he and his guests had brought down a 10-point buck and made a meal of fresh, buckshot-riddled venison, he‟d give them a tour of the gift room. “The voters must not like me as much as everyone else,” he‟d say, grinning ruefully, and his guests would gather round and tell him he‟d get in next year. “Hell, you can‟t have a Hall without Chipper,” he‟d agree. “They‟ll come around.” With each passing ballot, the next snub seemed more inevitable. Every January, a day or two before the results were due to be released, a pack of reporters would descend on the Double Dime, landing on the ranch‟s 5,000-foot airstrip and filing into the house to watch him while he waited for a call that never came. While they waited, Jones would lead them around the gift room, knowing they couldn‟t resist writing about the player who had everything except a call from the Hall. “There‟s only one more gift I want,” he‟d say with a wistful look, referring to the Hall of Fame plaque that didn‟t hang in Cooperstown. He posed for pictures. They ate it up and reprocessed it into cookie-cutter columns. His vote count climbed, but slowly—too slowly. Before long, the bloggers weighed in, inexplicably almost as upset about the wait as he was. Every winter, they reminded the writers how high his WARP was, occasionally losing their cool. Jones ignored them—he didn‟t need the nerds‟ help. Then he heard from Bert Blyleven—inducted-on-his-secondto-last-ballot Bert Blyleven—who told him that the bloggers might be his best chance. After that, he befriended them, bonded with them, and refrained from belittling their lives. It hadn't been enough. His hairline receded, his waistline expanded, and candidates came and went. Still he remained on the ballot, waiting for his time to come. Then he‟d seen today‟s paper, and his path had become clear. The time to wait was over. The time to take control of his fate had arrived. The door was locked, and he hadn‟t seen the other side of it since he‟d heard about the 10th ballot, the one where Ryan Braun and CC Sabathia got in on their first tries while he was passed over yet again. Suddenly the gifts had seemed to be mocking him, and he‟d slammed the door and turned the key, vowing not to return until he could come back in triumph, another honor in tow. After that, if anyone asked why he hadn‟t been to his trophy room, he deflected the question, joking about not needing a surfboard lately, or not knowing what to do with all the other gifts. But he knew what to do with them now. He turned the lock, then the knob, and walked in. In the gloom, everything looked the same as he‟d left it. He took a few tentative steps and banged his shin against the pool table the Braves had given him before his final home series. Maybe it was time to turn on a light. He fumbled for the switch and flipped it, and suddenly he could see the rest of the room. Hanging on the hatrack by the door, his trusty Stetson hat—a gift from the Astros. He hadn‟t worn it since Craig (Continued on page 42)


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Biggio had presented it to him at Minute Maid Park and he‟d put it on to be polite. In the corner was the Weber gas grill given to him by the Brewers. When he‟d put it there, people had tried to tell him it would make more sense outside, where he could use it to cook the year’s supply of Klement’s sausages that came with it. As if he would just eat the sausages. Sure, he enjoyed a good brat as much as the next guy, but these sausages were special. They deserved to be displayed. He‟d elected to receive them in a lump sausage sum, rather than space them out in installments, and he‟d had a custom freezer commissioned for the occasion. It sat beside the grill, thrumming with power. Surrounded by the odd assortment of gifts, Jones sensed some of his old self-assurance return. He felt reinvigorated; he‟d been away from his trophies too long. Movingly quickly, he leaned over the pool table and, against the green felt, smoothed out crumbled newspaper paper he‟d unconsciously carried into the room. Three faces stared up at him, their expressions ranging from smug to merely self-satisfied. These were the men responsible for his exile, the long-time voters and press-box bullies who had consistently left him off their ballots and persuaded some of their colleagues to do the same. Each winter, when they wrote about their ballots to fill their column quota, they would reiterate their objections about Jones. This year, with his final year of eligibility dominating the Hall of Fame discussion, one paper had brought the three of them together for a front-page feature, giving Jones a good look at the forces arrayed against him. On the left was Mr. Milestone. He was tall and almost extravagantly gaunt, his features sharply defined. For Mr. Milestone, the lines separating those who belonged in Cooperstown from those who didn‟t were sharply drawn, and the only defense against chaos. He was ruthless in his devotion to round numbers. If Roberto Clemente had died on a humanitarian mission with one fewer hit, Mr. Milestone would have left him off his ballot. True Hall of Famers, he would have said, don‟t die with 2,999 hits. In the center stood Mr. Small Hall. His head hardly came up to Mr. Milestone‟s chin; the two of them barely fit in the same frame. For Mr. Small Hall, the inner circle was the only circle that mattered. If your name wasn‟t known in every household, it wasn‟t worth much in his. Year after year, his ballots were blank. On the right stood Mr. Hate Corner, Jones‟ final foe. His was the most forgettable face of the three, so nondescript that if asked to describe the photo from memory, most observers would swear it had contained only two figures. If it were up to Mr. Hate Corner, it would be easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a third baseman to enter the kingdom of Cooperstown. When Jones retired, only 11 third basemen had been in the Hall, fewer players than at any other position. Mr. Hate Corner was determined to keep it that way. As far as he was

Puttin‟ the ball in play

concerned, Mike Schmidt was a maybe. He was still upset about Ron Santo. All three were ancient, relics of an earlier era. They wouldn‟t last much longer, but they had made opposing him their mission, and they would last long enough to see it through. Jones thought longingly of the bow he‟d used to take down a big buck on season one of Major League Bowhunter. Baseball writers weren‟t really the most dangerous game—they tended to be slow and out of condition, and they attacked with words and single-sentence paragraphs, not with teeth and claws. But these three still posed a threat to him, and he‟d be lying if he said the thought of simply removing them from the denominator hadn‟t crossed his mind. He was out to win hearts and minds, though, not to destroy them. Stocking his ranch with baseball writers whom he could hunt at his leisure might bring some satisfaction in the short term, but ultimately it would only make him more enemies. The course was clear. He couldn‟t remove the three ringleaders, but he could pay them personal visits. And he wouldn‟t leave until he had their votes. The ballots were due on December 31st, just three days away. He‟d have to visit each of his adversaries before then. The problem was that one couldn‟t easily arrange an audience with Mr. Milestone, Mr. Small Hall, or Mr. Hate Corner. They hadn‟t sat at a sports desk for years. They weren‟t on what he called “the twitta,” and his emails went straight to their spam folders. They had no qualms about passing judgment on him in print, but they wouldn‟t want to set up a meeting. His only hope was to show up unannounced. To do that, he‟d need to draw upon every gift he‟d been given, defrost every sausage. When he looked around the room, he saw each gift, for the first time, as a piece of a puzzle he could finally put together. Every team who‟d hosted him in 2012 had made this moment possible. Except the Diamondbacks, Dodgers, Giants, and Rays, who‟d given him career highlights videos on their scoreboards. Those weren‟t going to be any help at all. Jones walked over to his old locker from the Turner Field clubhouse. The Braves had had it shipped here after his retirement, and he‟d had it converted into a wine cooler. He uncorked a bottle of vintage ‟06 Chipper Chardonnay, the wine he‟d had made for charity and had been saving for a special occasion. He poured himself a glass, took a sip, and savored the hint of apple blossom. If the next few days went the way he hoped they would, he‟d soon be savoring something much sweeter. *** Day One: Mr. Milestone Chipper Jones lay on his stomach, his body suspended on his surfboard, his arms and legs dangling in the warm waters of the Pacific Ocean. He took a bite of Klement‟s sausage. He was wearing his old uniform. It was tighter than it used to be, but it still fit. It was also very wet, but it was worth it. It made him feel 40 again, like he (Continued on page 43)


Yearbook 1, 2012|Let‟s make baseball a more universal game. (Coming from page 42)

was once again living life day to day. Back then, along with the pool table and his clubhouse locker, the Braves had given him a trip to Hawaii. “But what if I want to go somewhere else?” Chipper had asked. “Can‟t you just give me a travel voucher?” “The tickets are non-refundable,” a red-faced Frank Wren had responded. “We really thought you would want to go to Hawaii.” He hadn‟t wanted to go to Hawaii, but he‟d held on to the tickets. They didn‟t expire, and he‟d always had the vague idea that he might want to use them, maybe to celebrate his induction someday. “Ha!”, he thought, so bitterly that by accident he also said it out loud. He looked around to see if anyone had noticed. No one had, because no one else was paddling around the Pacific on a surfboard that said “San Diego Padres.” He could see the outline of a boat ahead of him, the only one in the secluded bay. If the coordinates he‟d been given were correct, he was looking at Mr. Milestone‟s current location. He activated the LCD light on his hat. The hat had been a gift from the Marlins, who probably thought he would use it to fish at dawn or dusk. He hadn‟t, but it was coming in handy now. Its beam lit up the back of the boat just enough for Jones to read the stylized lettering: The Yachtstrzemski. This was it. The boat traveled in a predictable pattern. Each winter, when the baseball season ended, Mr. Milestone would board it and spend the winter circumnavigating the globe, sticking to sunny climates. Every day, he would travel a predetermined distance, always in the same sequence: 500 miles, or 300, or 61, or 56. He never deviated from the schedule. It was tradition, and tradition had to be upheld. If you knew where he was on a certain date one year, you knew where he‟d be on that same date the next. And if you knew someone who had a copy of his itinerary—a former crew member who described himself as the world‟s biggest Braves fan, say—it was easy to intercept him. Jones paddled toward the boat. He knew Mr. Milestone liked to spend his evenings on deck, smoking cigars and reading selections from Total Baseball. By now, he‟d be lost in the black ink, oblivious to everything around him. Jones patted the pockets of the fly-fishing vest he‟d put on over his jersey. Like the hat, it was a gift from the Marlins, as were the hook he pulled out of one pocket (from the tackle box he‟d left in Texas), the pliers he pulled out of another (from a full fly-tying kit), and the fishing rod and reel he‟d secured to the surfboard. The Marlins had been dead set on his spending his retirement making fish miserable. Squatting on his heels, Jones picked up the rod and tied the hook to the line. He was about to go fishing, but not for the typical target. The surfboard drifted until it was even with The Yachtstrzemski and he could just see the bony outline of Mr. Milestone. On

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the flight from Texas, he‟d finally read the books on fly-fishing that the Marlins had thrown in with the rest of his swag. His mechanics were sound, his aim unerring. He snagged Total Baseball on his first cast and sent it tumbling into the sea. That got Mr. Milestone‟s attention. He leapt up and leaned over the rail, looking for the lost book and his unseen assailant. That‟s when Jones appeared behind him. “Care for a Klement‟s sausage?” he drawled. “I have a year‟s supply.” Mr. Milestone froze. “You,” he said, not turning around. “Me,” Jones agreed. “What have you come for?” “To change your mind.” Mr. Milestone turned. “You retired with 468 homers,” he spat. “You had 2726 hits. No player has ever retired so close to 500 and 3,000.” His upper lip lifted slightly to expose his incisors. “You made a mockery of the milestones.” “I was old.” “You were 40!” Mr. Milestone retorted. His fingers clenched into firsts. “You want to be a Hall of Famer? You don‟t quit until they kick you out of the game. You fall down in the outfield. You put yourself in the lineup long after it stops making sense. Like Willie Mays did. Like Pete Rose did. You limp along like a dog that‟s due to be put down, but no one has the heart to do it. So you hang on long enough to crawl across the finish line. Then you get my vote.” Jones chuckled. “You‟re right,” he said. “I‟m not in the 500 yicketty (1) club. Not in the 3000 hit club, either.” Mr. Milestone looked triumphant. “Mine are much more exclusive.” Milestone scoffed. “You‟re wasting my time,” he said. “You won‟t be on my ballot. You made a mistake coming here.” “Let me tell you about the little club I am in,” Jones continued, as if he hadn‟t heard. He pulled out a 19year-old printout of an mlb.com article. The section he cared about was just four paragraphs long. “Chipper joins Ruth, Gehrig in elite club,” the title read. “Try this on for size. Only three players in history have had 2500 hits, 1500 walks, 1500 runs, 500 doubles, 450 home runs, 1500 RBIs with a .300 career average, .400 on-base percentage, and .500 slugging percentage. I‟m one of them.” Mr. Milestone blanched. He fell back into his seat, his mouth agape. “So…many…milestones,” he wheezed, his face a mix of rapture and disgust. “I‟m glad you agree,” Jones said cheerily. “I‟ll count on your support on the 31st. And now I have other voters to visit.” He turned to go, then paused and looked back. Milestone‟s eyes were wild. “Before I forget…” he reached into his waterproof tote bag, another offering from Miami. “Here, have a painting,” he said, pulling out the portrait of himself in mid-swing he‟d been given by the Phillies. (Continued on page 44)


Baseball Universe | 44 (Coming from page 43)

“Something to remember me by.” He left it leaning against Mr. Milestone‟s chair and returned to his surfboard. *** Day Two: Mr. Small Hall Mr. Small Hall was the easiest to find. He lived in a nondescript house in a nondescript town not far from the Double Dime. Jones drove there in a black Stealth Edge electric utility vehicle, a gift from Mizuno, his equipment brand of choice. The front of the vehicle proudly displayed Jones' custom retirement logo. When your retirement has its own logo, you know you've had a special career. Mr. Small Hall didn‟t have to hide. Finding his house wasn‟t the hard part. The true test was getting inside. Jones stopped the cart in front with a soft electric whine and grabbed his gear from the back. The only sign that a house stood here was the fence that blocked it from sight. Jones had prepared for this. He picked out a pool cue from the set that had come with the retirement table and marked out an appropriate distance from the fence. He had sharpened and hardened its tip with the Weber grill so it would work as a weapon, but now it would serve to propel him over Mr. Small Hall‟s fence. Jones strapped the other gifts to his back, got a running start, planted the pool cue in the dirt and pushed. He landed hard on the other side. Jones made a move to rise and felt a twinge of pain in his shoulder. It was the sort of injury he would have told Jason Heyward to play through, and he hated to be hypocritical, so he pressed on. He could see Small Hall‟s house ahead of him, but between him and the house lay a deep depression in the earth. A narrow platform led across it, not much thicker than two side-by-side baseball bats. He could fit no more than one foot on it at a time, and his heavy pack and throbbing shoulder would make the crossing even more difficult. Getting over the fence had hurt him. Falling into the hole would finish the job. Waiting wouldn‟t help. Jones breathed deep and took one tentative step onto the platform. Then two, then three. He began to believe he could make it. And that‟s when the left knee that had required three surgeries during his playing days buckled, upsetting his balance. He barely managed to break his fall with one hand, with which he clung to the platform. Jones dangled over the ditch. He could feel his grip loosening. Then he felt another hand come to rest on top of his. He looked up, but the sun was directly above him, obscuring his view. He couldn‟t make out its owner‟s features. All he could see was a silhouette. “Oh, shit. My back,” the silhouette said. That meant Jones‟ mysterious savor could be only one man. “Rolen?” “Yeah.”

Puttin‟ the ball in play

Scott Rolen was splayed over the gap, his feet on the edge of the earth and one hand on the platform. With his one free hand, he grabbed Jones‟ arm and hauled him back on to the platform. Then he collapsed on solid ground, wincing. “Thank you,” Jones said, panting. “You saved my life.” “Yeah, sure. Rolen to the rescue. What do I look like? Your sidekick?” the prostrate Rolen snarled. A pained expression flickered across his face. The pain was only partly physical. “I‟m not in this for you. I have my own interests to protect.” “I‟m glad you have them, whatever they are,” Jones answered. He considered stopped there, not wanting to pry, but he felt the need to know more. “By the way, what are they?” “'You can‟t put him in until you put Jones in,‟" Rolen mimicked. “That's what they say about me. Do you know how many times I‟ve heard that? Well, I‟m sick and tired of waiting for them to put your ass in. If you don‟t get inducted now, we‟ll both be doomed.” “How long have you been following me?” “Fourteen years,” Rolen said. “For 14 years, I have followed you and protected you from harm.” “Well, that‟s… weird,” Jones said. “I‟m not sure you needed to do that.” Rolen said nothing. “Well, you‟re here now,” Jones said. “Why not come with me? We‟ll get in together.” He extended his hand. Rolen made no move to take it. “I can‟t move,” he said. Jones could tell he wasn‟t kidding. “Go on without me.” Jones stood, balancing carefully. “I‟m grateful for your help,” he said. “If you want to show your gratitude, get into the goddamn Hall,” Rolen said. Jones continued on more carefully, reaching the other side without a backward look at the fallen third baseman. He paused for a moment to gather what remained of his strength, then found a path and followed it through the yard that led toward the front of the house. But where there should have been a door, there was instead unbroken wall. As he felt for a hidden switch or seam, a screen flickered to life. Somewhere above it, a camera focused on him, transmitting his image to the screen. “State your name,” said a flat, digitized voice. “Chipper Jones,” he said. The system emitted an electronic beep of dismissal. He tried again. “Larry Jones.” Same sound. The system wasn‟t set up to admit him. He‟d have to improvise. Jones removed the “1” and “0” from the Fenway scoreboard that the Red Sox had given him to honor his number. They had come joined together, but he‟d hacked them apart. Now he held them up to the camera, raising and lowering the numbers in a blindingly fast sequence. “Chipper” and “Larry” the machine might not understand, but he would be willing to bet it spoke binary, one of the unlikely skills he‟d picked up in almost two decades away from the game. After several minutes of signaling, he (Continued on page 45)


Yearbook 1, 2012|Let‟s make baseball a more universal game. (Coming from page 44)

convinced the door he was expected. It sounded a soft chime and drew apart to reveal a narrow opening—so narrow, and with a ceiling so low, that again he despaired of getting any further. Jones had been far from slim at the end of his playing days, and he was heavier now. He sucked in his gut, crouched, and tried to squeeze in sideways, but he got only a few feet before he had to exhale, nearly got stuck, and was forced to scramble back to safety. He decided to scout ahead. Jones whipped his crossbow off his back and peered into the attached camera he‟d gotten as a gift from the Rockies. Through the scope, he could see a light at the other end of the passage. He could reach it, but he‟d need some assistance. One more time, he reached into his pack, deep down into the inner pocket where he kept his portable sausage supply. His hand came back out with a fistful of grease. He slathered it once, twice, three times over his uniform, then squeezed back into the entrance. This time, he slid straight through. Mr. Small Hall was waiting on the other side. “So you made it into the inner circle,” he said. “Looks that way,” said Chipper. “You don‟t deserve to be here. You cheated.” “My conscience is clearer than most of your SmallHall heroes. Look, let‟s skip the argument.” Jones reached into the tote bag and brought out a jersey signed by Stan Musial. It was a gift from the Cardinals. He held it low enough for Small Hall to see it. “Musial,” Mr. Small Hall breathed. “That‟s the one. We good?” “He is…inner circle. He signed this…for you?” “Didn‟t even have to ask.” Small Hall sat down, defeated. “That‟s settled, then,” said Chipper. "I‟ll look for my name on your ballot.” He started to walk away, adding, “And I‟ll thank you to tone down your defenses on the way out. I‟m too old to be pool vaulting.” He paused and looked back. “Oh, and here, have a photo. Something to jog your memory when it comes time to turn in that ballot. And to remind you about Musual.” He untied the tote bag and removed a picture of himself swinging at Busch Stadium, another gift from St. Louis. Then he walked out through the already widening passage. *** Day Three: Mr. Hate Corner Chipper Jones pulled the brim of his Stetson low over his eyes. Milestone and Small Hall had spread the word, and now Hate Corner knew he was coming. He‟d hired two guards—not three, Hate Corner did nothing in threes—to patrol his property, a plot of land in a busy northeast suburb. Jones had to take them out of the picture before he could confront his final foe. He was counting on the hat to get him close enough to take action. So far, it was working. He was in front of the first guard before the guard knew what was happening. Jones tipped his cap and saw recognition dawn in the henchman‟s eyes. The guard

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made a move, but Jones had seen it coming. He gave the guy a good look at the bat he‟d been holding behind his back. It was the bat he’d used to hit the first home run at Nationals Park, a retirement gift from the Nats. “Might want to think before you act, there, buddy. I hit a few mammos (2) with this one. I wouldn‟t mind hitting one more.” The guard froze. “That‟s better. Let‟s make sure you stay that way.” Jones reached into the tote bag and unfurled the Braves flag that used to fly above Wrigley. It was a gift from the Cubs. He wrapped it around the guard, trussed him tight, and left him stashed behind a bush. The other henchman didn‟t present a problem, either. Again, Jones relied on the giant hat from the Astros to get him close, but this time when he got the guard‟s attention, he tried the peaceful approach. “Here, take a look at this,” he said, and thrust the 3 -D pop art painting of his career highlights at Shea Stadium in front of his face. That one was a gift from the Mets. It was impossible to look away from the painting until you‟d devoured every last detail. Jones knew from experience that he‟d bought himself at least half an hour. He let the guard distractedly take hold of the painting himself, and he headed for the house. With two guards paid to keep an eye on him, Mr. Hate Corner had let his own guard down. He was sitting in the den, watching Three’s Company. As usual, things weren‟t working out in Apartment 201. Why would they? Three roommates was just as bad as three bases. Hate Corner had left the remote by the entrance to the room. Jones picked it up and turned off the TV. Hate Corner saw him, and fear flashed in his eyes, but he kept his composure. “Don‟t bother,” he said. “Don‟t bother to do what? Try to convince you that there aren‟t enough third baseman in Cooperstown?” “You catch on quickly,” said Hate Corner with false bravado. Jones decided to indulge him. “What‟s so bad about third baseman, anyway?” “They play a corner position, but they don‟t hit like they do. They‟re tweeners. I can‟t classify them. They‟re a threat to the traditional definitions of offense and defense.” “Ever considered that it might not be fair to expect third basemen to hit like first basemen and corner outfielders? It‟s a harder position.” “„Hot corner‟ has the word „corner‟ in it. Don‟t try to complicate things.” “I played left field for a couple seasons. I hit like a first baseman. That ease your mind any?” Hate Corner snorted. “I know what you are, and I know what base you played.” “Like this one?” Jones reached into his pack and pulled out the framed third-base bag he‟d been given by the Yankees. Hate Corner recoiled. “Keep that thing away from (Continued on page 47)


Puttinâ€&#x; the ball in play

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THE LAMIGO MONKEYS WIN THE CPBL

Gold Gloves P - Yuya Kamada, Lions C - Chih-Hong Chen, Elephants 1B - Chih-Wei Shih, Monkeys 2B - Chiang-Ho Chen, Elephants SS - Sheng-Wei Wang, Elephants 3B - None selected OF - Chih-Yao Chan, Monkeys OF - Chien-Jung Su, Bulls OF - Chen-Yu Chung, Monkeys Best Ten P - Yuya Kamada, Lions The 2012 Chinese Professional Baseball League was the C - Chih-Kang Kao, Lions 23rd CPBL season. The Lamigo Monkeys won their first title 1B - Chih-Wei Shih, Monkeys (they had won when they had been the La New Bears previ2B - Chiang-Ho Chen, Elephants ously), beating the Uni-President Lions in the 2012 Taiwan SS - Chih-Sheng Lin, Monkeys Series. 3B - Kuo-Ching Kao, Lions OF - Ssu-Chi Chou, Elephants Standings OF - Chen-Yu Chung, Monkeys Lamigo Monkeys, 29-27-4 first half; 38-22 second half OF - Cheng-Wei Chang, Elephants (Manager: I-Chung Hong) DH - Tai-Shan Chang, Lions Uni-President Lions, 37-22-1 first half; 28-30-2 second half (Manager: Terushi Nakajima) Offensive Leaders Brother Elephants, 19-32-9 first half; 34-25-1 second half (Manager: Jui-Chen Chen) Sinon Bulls, 28-26-6 first half; 16-42-2 second half (Manager: Rong-Hua Liu 27-55-4/Wen-Chung Chang 11-22-1) Awards The CPBL MVP was Ssu-Chi Chou of the Brother Elephants, who hit .365/.462/.587 with a league-best 80 walks. The Rookie of the Year was Yu-Kang Fu of the Uni-President Lions, who was 4-1 with a 1.20 ERA in relief.

Average: Wu-Hsiung Pan, Lions, .388 Home Runs: Chih-Sheng Lin, Monkeys, 24 RBI: Tai-Shan Chang, Lions, 96 Stolen Bases: Cheng-Wei Chang, Elephants & Chih-Hao Chang, Elephants, 22 Pitching Leaders ERA: Jon Leicester, Lions, 2.48 Wins: Yuya Kamada, Lions, 16 Saves: Yueh-Ping Lin, Lions & Brad Thomas, Elephants, 23 Strikeouts: Matt DeSalvo, Monkeys, 137 (Continued on page 47)


Yearbook 1, 2012|Let‟s make baseball a more universal game. (Coming from page 46)

Baseball Universe | 47 (Coming from page 45)

Taiwan Series The 2012 Taiwan Series featured a rematch of the UniPresident Lions (2011 Taiwan Series champions) and the Lamigo Monkeys. This time, Lamigo wound up on top, winning 4 games to 1. The Taiwan Series MVP was Lamigo shortstop Chih-Sheng Lin. Uni-President Lions The Lions were led by Terushi Nakajima. They were 31-22-7 to win the first half but fell to 30-29-1 in the second half. They had batting champion Wu-Hsiung Pan (.388/.506/.596) and RBI leader Tai-Shan Chang (.333/.3870/.527, 36 2B, 17 HR, 96 RBI, also 3rd in home runs and 5th in RBI). Jon Leicester (12-5, 2.48) led the 2012 CPBL in ERA and was second in wins while Yuya Kamada (16-7, 3.15) led in wins and was third in ERA. Yueh-Ping Lin (1-4, 23 Sv, 4.50) tied for the lead in saves despite a relatively high ERA. Lamigo Monkeys The Monkeys were guided by Yi-Chung Hung. They won the second half title at 38 -22 after a 29-27-4 first half. Their top batters were home run leader Chih-Sheng Lin (.317/.413/.579, 24 HR), Kuan-Jen Chen (.369/.431/.466, would have ranked 3rd if he had qualified for the batting title) and Yen-Wen Kuo (.299/.350/.484, 15 HR, 4th in the league in homers). Matt DeSalvo (11-6, 2.77) was second in the league in ERA and tied for third in wins as their top hurler. Games October 13: Monkeys 4, Lions 1. The Monkeys burst to an early lead, scoring a first-inning run on three hits off Jon Leicester. SS Chih-Sheng Lin hit a solo homer in the third to make it 2-0. Mike Loree cruised through five shutout innings before giving up the first Lions tally, in the 6th, on a double by CF Fu-Hao Liu followed later by a sacrifice fly from LF Wu-Hsiung Pan. The game remained 2-1 until the 9th, when DH Hung-Yu Lin hit a two-run homer for insurance for Lamigo. Loree finished the win with only 3 hits and one run in 7 1/3 IP then Paul Phillips wrapped it up for the save. The game MVP was Chih-Sheng Lin, who was 3 for 4 with the homer. October 14: Monkeys 6, Lions 4. The Monkeys again started off strong, in front of 12,056 fans, scoring three first-inning runs off Eulogio De La Cruz. Chao-Hao Tseng gave them a good start, with one run in five innings. They were still up, 4-2, in the bottom of the 8th, when 3B KuoChing Kao smacked a 2-run homer off closer Phillips to tie the game. The tie was short-lived, thanks to a 9th-inning triple by LF Kuan-Jen Chen to hand the loss to Wei-Hua Lee. October 16: Lions 9, Monkeys 3. A mix of old and new got the Lions their first win of the Series, as rookie 1B ChihWei Deng homered and drove in four to win gave MVP, while veteran hurler Wei-Lun Pan allowed two runs in six for the win. SS Yung-Chi Chen also did his share, scoring three times. In a losing effort, SS Chih-Sheng Lin was 2 (Continued on page 53)

me,” he demanded. “Don‟t worry, it‟s under glass. Won‟t bite. This one, though…” This time he pulled out the third-base bag the Reds had given him. “Stop,” said Hate Corner. “Or maybe you meant…?” Another base, this one from Pittsburgh. This time Hate Corner managed only a strangled cry. “It sounded like you said you wanted to see…” He retrieved a fourth third-base bag, courtesy of the Nationals. “WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME?!” Hate Corner screamed. “Your vote,” said Jones. Hate Corner hesitated. “Or maybe you need to see one more…?” He revealed his fifth and final third-base bag, this one from the Braves. Now he was out of commemorative third bases, but he started to pull out the plaque shaped like home plate and made out of Turner Field bricks that the Braves had given him. On one side, it was shaped just like a third-base bag would be. That was when Hate Corner cracked. “FINE! Fine! Just put it away. Please, just put it away.” “Glad we could come to an agreement,” Chipper said. “I‟ll take these with me, but I can come back. You don‟t want that to happen. And here, have a photo,” he said for the second time in two days, as he pulled out a framed gift from the Nationals. “This is me with Adam LaRoche and Mark DeRosa.” “What does that have to do with anything?” Hate Corner asked, exasperated. “I just like looking at it,” he said. “Good times.” *** Induction Day The reporters were back, in greater numbers than ever. They gathered around him in his trophy room, ready to relay the news. The phone rang. The reporters went still. Jones flashed them a confident look and picked up. “Hello? Yes, this is Chipper.” He smiled and celebrated with a sausage. *** This short story was taken from the baseball site Baseball Prospectus www.baseballprospectus.com * Ben Lindbergh is an author of Baseball Prospectus. Explanations according to Chipper Jones’s Twitter account: (1) yicketty means “homer” (2) mammo means “big bomb”


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Puttin‟ the ball in play

T&A SAN MARINO WINS THE 2012 ITALIAN SERIES The 2012 Italian Series was won by T&A San Marino, their third title in four years. The Series MVP was Francesco Imperiali, who hit a 3-run homer in the finale, then delivered the winning double in the bottom of the 9th. San Marino beat Rimini, 4 games to 2. San Marino went 31-11 to tie for first in the regular season with Unipol Bologna then had the best record (6-3) in the round-robin playoffs. In the regular season, they outscored opponents 272-148, showing the best offense in the Italian Baseball League while finishing 4th in the 8team league in pitching. The potent offense was led by Joe Mazzuca (.278/.410/.507), Marco Yepez (.318/.403/.480), Mattia Reginato (.307/.375/.475) and Carlos Duran (.315/.358/.492). The pitching staff was led by Darwin Cubillan (2-0, 5 Sv, 1.23), Yulman Ribeiro (2-3, 3 Sv, 1.57), Tiago Da Silva (6-1, 2.10, 4th in the league in ERA), Chris Cooper (7-2, 2.27, tied for 3rd in wins) and Rodney Rodriguez (6-2, 2.28, 98 K in 75 IP, 2nd in strikeouts). Rimini was 28-14 to tie for third in the regular season and was 5-4 in the playoffs to pass Bologna, which was only 2-7 in that round. Rimini had the league's secondbest offense after San Marino (264 R) and had slightly better pitching (142 runs allowed, 3rd place). Their top producers at the plate were Mario Chiarini (.305/.395/.549, a league-high 17 doubles and 41 runs), Max De Biase (.321/.425/.455), Luis Maza (.304/.394/.466) and Joe Persichina (.335/.401/.437). Their top hurlers were Carlos Pezzullo (2-0, 5 Sv, 1.00), Marcos Tabata (3-0, Sv, 1.23), Mark DiFelice (1-0, 3 Sv, 1.85), Francisco Cruceta (6-5, 2.60, a league-best 119 K in 79 2/3 IP, .171 opponent average) and Enorbel Márquez (7-2, 3.15, tied for third in the league in wins). Games August 10: San Marino 8, Rimini 5. San Marino began their title defense in exciting fashion, with a 9th-inning comeback win. They went ahead 3-0 in the bottom of the 4th against Marcos Tabata. LF Lorenzo Avagnina and CF Carlos Duran both singled, bringing up 41-yearold cleanup Jairo Ramos Gizzi, who contributed a 2-run double. 3B Joe Mazzuca then singled and an error on PHOTO CREDIT: BASEBALL REFERENCE BULLPEN WIKI

The T&A San Marino team celebrates the title in the Italian Series

the play by Rimini CF Filippo Crociati scored Ramos. Through five innings, Rodney Rodriguez allowed only one hit and no runs for San Marino. He faded, giving up 3 hits but no runs in the 6th then a leadoff single to RF Mario Chiarini to open the 7th. He was relieved by former major leaguer Darwin Cubillan, the 2011 Italian Baseball League ERA king, but Cubillan did not have his best stuff today. Poor defense didn't help. With one out, Rimini C Juan Pablo Angrisano hit into an error by SS Daniel Bittar. After another out, Crociati hit into a miscue by 3B Giuseppe Mazzanti to make it 3-1. In the 8th, Rimini pulled ahead. With one out, 2B Joe Persichina hit into an error by Bittar. Persichina advanced on a fly out. That brought up DH Max De Biase and the Argentinian singled in Persichina. Angrisano singled as well, as did LF Riccardo Suardi to tie the game. 1B Giuseppe Spinelli then cracked a 2-run double, one of 3 hits for himself on the day, to put Rimini ahead 5-3 and knock out Cubillan in favor of Yulman Ribeiro. In the bottom of the 9th, San Marino rallied for the home crowd. Against former major leaguer Francisco Cruceta, Ramos singled. Mazzuca struck out but RF Laidel Chapellí singled. 2B Francesco Imperiali drew an intentional walk to load the bases. Mark DiFelice, another ex-major leaguer, relieved Cruceta. He provided no relief whatsoever, as 1B Giovanni Pantaleoni greeted him with a 2-run single to tie it at 5. Marco Yepez (2010 Italian Series MVP) then pinch-hit for C Simone Albanese and clobbered a 3-run homer to end the game. August 11: San Marino 2, Rimini 0. In a change of pace from the opener, game 2 was a pitching duel, but the outcome was no better for the hosts. Both clubs turned to import hurlers, Rimini going with Cuban-born Enorbel Márquez, a German national team regular, while San Marino used Chris Cooper, a Pittsburgher. Márquez made the game's lone mistake, in the first inning. With two away, he gave up a single to CF Carlos Duran and DH Jairo Ramos Gizzi followed with a 2-run jack. That (Continued on page 49)


Yearbook 1, 2012|Let‟s make baseball a more universal game. (Coming from page 48)

was all Cooper and his bullpen needed, as he, Iván Granados (Venezuela) and Tiago Da Silva (Brazil) combined on a multinational 5-hit shutout. Rimini got their only runner as far as 3rd in the 8th inning when SS Jack Santora walked, advanced on a wild pitch by Granados and took third on an error by C Mattia Reginato but was stranded. August 16: San Marino 7, Rimini 3. San Marino went up 3 games to 0. Rimini went ahead first, with two firstinning runs off Tiago Da Silva. SS Jack Santora laid down a bunt hit and 3B Joe Mazzuca made an error on the play. 3B Luis Maza bunted Santora over then 2B Joe Persichina singled him in. RF Mario Chiarini grounded Persichina to second and DH Max De Biase singled in the run to make it 2-0. Da Silva would allow only 3 hits and one run in the next 8 innings, though.

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August 18: Rimini 8, San Marino 2. Rimini won a second straight, this time in less dramatic fashion. In the top of the first, San Marino got their only runs. SS Daniel Bittar led off with a single off Sandy Patrone. Bittar stole second, took third on a wild pitch and came around on a triple by LF Lorenzo Avagnina. Another wild pitch brought Avagnina in. Rimini would retire 27 more San Marino players without giving up another run, with another excellent bullpen outing, as Mark DiFelice and Enorbel Márquez combined for 6 2/3 shutout innings with 3 hits.

Rimini went ahead for good in the bottom of the opening inning against Chris Cooper. SS Jack Santora singled and RF Mario Chiarini walked. 2B Joe Persichina bunted into an error by 3B Joe Mazzuca. After an out, DH Max De Biase slugged a 3-run homer. De Biase would finish 2 for 2 with two walks and the 3 RBI, while Chiarini would score 3 times in the win. August 24: San Marino 5, Rimini 4. In front of 2,000 In the 4th, San Marino began their comeback against home fans, San Marino defended their title behind a Roberto Corradini. Mazzuca hit a one-out double; an superstar effort from 2B Francesco Imperiali, their #7 out later, 2B Francesco Imperiali singled him in. In the batter. fifth, San Marino took the lead. SS Daniel Bittar and LF Lorenzo Avagnina hit back-to-back singles. CF Carlos Rimini came close to scoring in the second off Tiago Da Duran hit into an error by Santora, scoring Bittar. After Silva. DH Max De Biase led off with a double and C a passed ball by C Juan Pablo Angrisano, DH Jairo Juan Pablo Angrisano singled in a series of at-bats feaRamos Gizzi hit a sacrifice fly to make it 3-2. 1B Marco turing two Argentinians against a Brazilian, some of the Yepez then singled in Duran. best South America (outside Venezuela) had to offer Rimini closed the gap to one in the 7th when Da Silva baseball in 2012. LF Riccardo Suardi grounded to 3B plunked Angrisano and 1B Giuseppe Spinelli hit a one- Joe Mazzuca, who threw home to get De Biase. Suardi out RBI double. In the 8th, though, San Marino built was then caught stealing by C Simone Albanese to end their lead further. Imperiali led off with a double off that threat. Carlos Pezzullo. Sandy Patrone relieved but did not fare In the bottom of the second, San Marino got to work well. C Simone Albanese greeted him with a bunt single. against Roberto Corradini. RF Carlos Duran singled. Bittar grounded to Sahntora, who threw home to retire With one out, 40-year-old CF Laidel Chapellí did the Imperiali. Avagnina, who already had 3 hits, reached on same. After a passed ball by Angrisano, Imperiali a force at second. Duran then slammed a 3-run homer smacked a 3-run homer. They got insurance in the 6th. to put it out of reach, 7-3. 1B Marco Yepez singled, knocking out Corradini. Carlos August 17: Rimini 3, San Marino 2. With their backs to Pezzullo relieved and allowed a single to DH Jairo the wall, Rimini stayed alive with a come-from-behind, Ramos Gizzi, sending Yepez to third. Duran then hit a extra-inning win. In the first, San Marino scored off sacrifice fly for a 4-0 lead. Marcos Tabata when DH Jairo Ramos Gizzi singled in CF Carlos Duran. In the 6th, old-timer Ramos Gizzi Rimini tied it with a big 7th. Angrisano grounded into went deep for a 2-0 lead, knocking out Tabata. Fran- an error by Mazzuca, then the next three batters (hitters cisco Cruceta and Enorbel Márquez would toss shutout 7 through 9 in the order) singled: Suardi, 1B Giuseppe ball over the next six innings for Rimini, fanning 9 Spinelli and CF Brandon Chaves. That makde it 4-2. SS while allowing only 3 hits. Jack Santora bunted the runners over, then 2B Joe Persichina hit a 2-run single to right to tie the game. DeIn the bottom of the 6th, Rimini finally got to Rodney spite the rally, San Marino struck with Da Silva, who Rodriguez as RF Mario Chiarini and DH Max De Biase allowed no more runs. For the day, he gave up 12 hits, 3 hit back-to-back singles. Darwin Cubillan relieved but of them to RF Mario Chiarini. served up a 2-run double to LF Riccardo Suardi with With the game still even at four in the bottom of the one out to tie it. Things remained deadlocked until the 9th, Chapellí singled off Pezzullo. Sandy Patrone was bottom of the 11th. Rimini C Juan Pablo Angrisano hit summoned from the bullpen, but the move backfired into an error by SS Daniel Bittar. Suardi singled and Yulman Ribeiro relieved Cubillan. 1B Giuseppe Spinelli when Imperiali greeted him with a RBI double to end bunted into an error by 1B Marco Yepez, then CF the Series. Filippo Crociati hit a grounder to Santora, who threw Taken from http://baseball-reference.com home to get Angrisano. SS Jack Santora singled in Suardi to keep Rimini's hopes alive.


Baseball Universe | 50 (Coming from page 31)

On the mound, Tim Lincecum had long been the Giants' ace, winning the Cy Young Award in 2008 and 2009, but he had had an uncharacteristically poor season in 2012, going 10-15, 5.18. Thus, Matt Cain (16-5, 2.79) had become the team's ace, finding a knack for the spectacular: he pitched a perfect game, won the All-Star Game, and pitched shutout ball during Game 7 of the NLCS. Backing him was Ryan Vogelsong (14-9, 3.37), who had become an overnight pitching sensation in his mid-30s, and Madison Bumgarner (16-11, 3.37). Bumgarner had been hit hard in the postseason, however, prompting Bochy to go with the reborn Barry Zito (15-8, 4.15), a choice that had turned out to be inspired when Zito pitched a great game in Game 5 of the NLCS with the Giants' backs to the wall. In the bullpen, the Giants had never found a closer to replace Brian Wilson when he was injured midway through the 2011 season, but they had plenty of good arms: Santiago Casilla (7-6, 2.84, 25 saves), Sergio Romo (4-2, 1.79, 14 saves), Jeremy Affeldt (1-2, 2.70), Javier Lopez (3-0, 2.50) andGeorge Kontos (2-1, 2.47). The Giants did not allow a lot of runs, and their pitchers knew how to keep the ball within the confines of spacious AT&T Park. With the bat, the Giants were less intimidating. They only hit 103 home runs on the season, last in the major leagues. Their best offensive player, LF Melky Cabrera, had run afoul of Major League Baseball's PED policy during the season and was no longer with the team. Their star was now MVP candidate C Buster Posey (.336, 24 HR, 103 RBI), although 2B Marco Scutarohad been red hot since being acquired in mid-year, hitting .362 in 61 games and being named MVP of the NLCS. Other dangerous hitters included leadoff hitter CF Angel Pagan (.288 with 38 doubles and 15 triples), 1B Brandon Belt (.275) and 3B Pablo Sandoval (.283, 12 HR, 63 RBI). None of them were easy outs, but they were not as fearsome as their opponents from the motor city. And the rest of the line-up had significant holes: SS Brandon Crawford hit .248 with no power, LFGregor Blanco was a .244 hitter, and RF Hunter Pence had hit only .219 after his mid-season acquisition. On the bench,Aubrey Huff, one of the heroes of the 2010 title run, was down to pinch-hitting at a clip below .200, with Joaquin Arias,Ryan Theriot and Hector Sanchez being the other main options off the bench, leaving a likely hole at DH when the Series moved over to Comerica Park. Defensively, the Giants were average, with none of their players Gold Glove candidates, but no obvious holes either - even the pudgy Sandoval at third base was much more agile than he looked. Results Game 1 @ AT&T Park: Giants 8, Tigers 3 Heading into Game 1 in San Francisco, the Tigers were concerned that their long lay-off following a quick four-game sweep of the Yankees in the ALCS would cost them, and cost them it did. They looked out of sorts, and were completely dominated by the Giants, who won the game handily, 8-3, thanks to a tremendous performance by 3B Pablo Sandoval in support of another solid start by Barry Zito. On paper, the game featured a duel of former Cy Young Award winners, but in the case of the Tigers' Justin Verlander, the award was barely a year old, and he had followed up that season with another great one this year; in contrast, Zito had won his award in another lifetime, with the Oakland Athletics in 2002, before he had signed a big free agent contract with the Giants and seemingly lost his ability to dominate. However, for the second straight start in the postseason, Zito was outstanding, while Verlander had one of the poorer outings of his career. Zito put a couple of baserunners on in the 1st inning, but got out unscathed, while Verlander allowed a solo homer to Sandoval after two outs. It was ominous, but Verlander had allowed 1stinning homers before, most recently in Game 1 of the ALDS when Coco Crisp had taken him deep, only for him to recover and dominate the rest of the way. Indeed, he seemed

Puttinâ€&#x; the ball in play

headed that way when he got the Giants out in order in the 2nd and retired the first two batters in the 3rd. Then, a strange play sunk the Tigers. Angel Pagan hit a soft liner towards third base that Miguel Cabrera was in position to field until it hit the corner of the third base bag and scooted into the left field corner for a double. The Giants turned that lucky break into a threerun outburst, as NLCS MVP Marco Scutaro hit a single to drive in Pagan, and Sandoval followed with another long ball. Zito then retired the Tigers in order in the 4th, and Brandon Belt led off the bottom of the frame with a walk. He moved to second when Brandon Crawford hit a grounder to the right side for the second out, and Zito then helped his own cause with a single to left. It was the fourth straight postseason game in which a Giants pitcher had collected an RBI, and this timely hit now made it 5-0 for the Giants. Tigers manager Jim Leyland decided to pinch-hit for Verlander in the top of the 5th, giving his ace his shortest outing for reasons other than weather since 2009. The Giants dug the hole a little deeper when Sandoval homered again in the 5th off reliever Al Alburquerque, making the score 6-0. Sandoval was just the fourth player to hit three homers in a World Series game, following Hall of Famers Babe Ruth, twice, in the 1926 and 1928 series and Reggie Jackson in 1977, and Albert Pujols in last year's series. He was the first to do it in a Game 1, and the first to homer in his first three at-bats of a World Series as well. He was not done for the night, however; when he singled in the 7th, he brought his total bases for the day to 13, one short of Pujols' record set last year. The Tigers finally showed a bit of life in the 6th when Austin Jackson led off with a double, moved to third on a fly ball and then scored on Cabrera's single. When Delmon Young, playing left field today, singled with two outs, manager Bruce Bochytook Zito out of the game. He had given up 1 run on 6 hits and a walk in 5 2/3 innings and would be credited with the win.Tim Lincecum, the third former Cy Young Award winner to pitch on the night, relieved Zito, and in 2 1/3 brilliant innings of relief, gave up nothing while striking out 5 opponents. By the time he left the game, the Giants' lead had increased to 8-1, as they pounded beleaguered closer Jose Valverde for 2 more runs on 4 hits in only a third of an inning in the 7th; if Leyland thought that rest would soothe whatever was ailing his former star, it did not work, and that outing would convince him to keep away from Valverde in any game situation going forward, The Tigers scored a couple of late runs in the 9th, when George Kontos gave up a solo homer to Jhonny Peralta after a single by Young; when Kontos walked Alex Avila one out later, Bochy brought in lefty Jeremy Affeldt to get the last out, which he did when Ramon Santiago hit into a force play. The Giants had won Game 1 with emphasis, looking like the 2010 World Champions all the way. Game 2 @ AT&T Park: Giants 2, Tigers 0 Game 2 was a classic pitchers' duel. The Giants may have had some concern about their starter Madison Bumgarner coming into the game, because he had been hit hard in his two previous postseason starts, but there was no doubt that on a good day both he and Tigers starter Doug Fister could take care of any opposing hitters. Fister had just set a record by fanning 9 straight batters during a September game, and had pitched very well in his two postseason starts even though he was not involved in the decision either time. And both starters were on their game today. Major League Baseball took the opportunity of this game to pay tribute to veterans on a national stage, with U.S. Marine Nicholas Kimmel, a former top high school player now a triple amputee from the war in Afghanistan throwing out theceremonial first pitch, and by organizing a special salute to four major league World War II veterans - Bobby Doerr, Tommy Lasorda, Jerry Coleman and broadcaster Bob Wolff. When the game started, the two starting pitchers were dealing. The hardest-hit ball in the early going was likely the liner which Gregor (Continued on page 51)


Yearbook 1, 2012|Letâ€&#x;s make baseball a more universal game.

Sergio Romo kisses Marco Scutaro (who gets a splash of champagne) celebrating the Giants’ World Series title

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Blanco hit off the side of Fister's head with two outs in the 2nd. Fister was examined by the Tigers' medical staff, but stayed in the game, and was unaffected, as he allowed only three hits and a walk through the first 6 innings. For his part, Bumgarner was just as solid, with two hits and two walks allowed through the first seven, during which he struck out 8 opponents. Thus, after 6 1/2 innings, the game was still scoreless. The Tigers had wasted an opportunity in the 2nd inning, however, when Prince Fielder was hit by a pitch to lead off, and then tried to score on Delmon Young's double down the left field line. He was thrown out on a relay from LF Blanco to 2B Marco Scutaro to C Buster Posey. Third-base coach Gene Lamont was questioned after the game about his decision to send in Fielder with no one out; the fact that Posey was known not to block the plate, following his near career-ending collision on a similar play last season, may have influenced his decision. Lamont expressed regret, but it is hard to fault him: it had taken a perfect play, with Scutaro instinctively moving out of his normal position to act as a back-up to the cut-off man, SS Brandon Crawford, to nail the huge first baseman barreling home; had Fielder scored, the game would have unfolded completely differently. The tide finally turned in the 7th inning. Hunter Pence led off with a single to left, and manager Jim Leyland replaced Fister with rookie Drew Smyly. Smyly inmmediately walked Brandon Belt and Blanco surprised everyone by laying a perfect buntdown the third base line, which the Tigers could only watch helplessly as it stopped halfway to third without leaving fair territory, loading the bases with no one out. Crawford then grounded into a 4-6-3 double play, allowing Pence to score the game's first run. Once again, there was some question about the Tigers' strategy, as Leyland as elected not to bring his infielders, which would have been the more orthodox approach and could have prevented the run. After that, Ryan Theriot, pinch-hitting for Bumgarner, struck out to end the inning. Santiago Casilla came in to pitch the 8th and retired the Tigers in order. In the bottom of the 8th, Angel Pagan led off with a walk, then stole second base as Scutaro struck out. Leyland elected to issue and intentional pass to Game 1 hero Pablo Sandoval and made a double switch, bringing in veteranOctavio Dotel to pitch. Dotel walked Posey to load the bases and Pence followed with a sacrifice fly, giving the Giants an insurance run without the benefit of a hit. Giants manager Bruce Bochy made a double switch of his own to bring in Sergio Romo to pitch the 9th; he got Quintin Berry to fly out, struck out Austin Jackson and retired Jhonny Peralta on a foul pop-up to end the game. The two teams were headed to Detroit with San Francisco leading the Series, two games to none.

PHOTO CREDIT. DAVID J. PHILLIP/AP

Baseball Universe | 51

Game 3 @ Comerica Park: Giants 2, Tigers 0 The World Series moved to Detroit for Game 3, but apart for Tiger Hall of Famer Al Kaline throwing the ceremonial first pitchbefore the game, it could just have well been a rewind of Game 2. Facing each other on the mound were the late bloomerRyan Vogelsong for the Giants and Anibal Sanchez, a victim of poor offensive support all season, for the Tigers. Both pitchers would live up to their billing on this night. As for the line-ups, Bruce Bochy had a choice to make regarding his designated hitter and picked back-up catcher Hector Sanchez over veteran Aubrey Huff for San Francisco, while Jim Leylandmoved Delmon Young back to the DH spot, opening left field for the speedy Quintin Berry, while Andy Dirks took over in right with a right-handed pitcher on the mound for the first time against Detroit. Sanchez was excellent through 6 of the 7 innings he pitched, hardly yielding anything more serious than a single. However, the 2nd inning proved to be his undoing. He appeared off his game from the first pitch of that frame, walking lead-off hitterHunter Pence on four pitches. Pence then stole second as Brandon Belt struck out and advanced to third on a wild pitchwith Gregor Blanco at the plate. In one of the game's key at -bats, Blanco then lifted a fly to deep right field, which hit the wall and landed for a triple and a first run. Sanchez came back to strike out his namesake Hector (the television coverage helpfully advised viewers that it was the first time batter and pitcher shared a first name in a World Series since Mariano Rivera faced Ruben Rivera in the 1998 Fall Classic), but Brandon Crawford then singled to center for a second run, the ball bouncing past Austin Jackson for an error. However, Angel Pagan hit a ground ball to Prince Fielder at first base to end the inning, but it was enough for the Giants. The two runs would hold for the rest of evening, even though they managed only 4 hits the rest of the way. In the meantime, Vogelsong was not exactly sharp, but his few mistakes were erased thanks to a solid defense playing behind him. He walked Berry and gave up a single to Miguel Cabrera in the 1st, but Fielder grounded into a double play to end the inning. In the 3rd, Omar Infante and Jackson singled, but Berry hit into an inning-ending twin killing. In the 5th,Alex Avila and Infante singled after one out and Jackson drew a walk to load the bases, but Vogelsong struck out the rookie Berry and got Cabrera to pop up to shortstop after lining a hard foul ball just outside the right field line; 3B Pablo Sandoval had started that inning by making a tremendous diving catch on a line drive by Jhonny Peralta that was headed for a double, so the Tigers were only a couple of inches from having a big inning, but, alas, it wasn't to be. In the 6th, Vogelsong walked Dirks with two outs and Bochy brought in his former ace, Tim Lincecum, now relegated to bullpen duty. Lincecum was outstanding once again, as he had been in Game 1, giving up only a walk in two and a third innings (another runner reached on an error by SS Crawford). Indeed, Lincecum was pitching so well that there was a question whether he would get to close the game, but Bochy turned to his best short reliever, Sergio Romo, who easily retired the side in the bottom of the 9th on a pair of fly balls and a strikeout of Infante that ended the game. The Giants were one win away from a second World Championship in three years, with the Tigers' bats in deep hibernation. Indeed, the Tigers are the first team to be shut out in back-to-back World Series game since the Baltimore Orioles pulled the trick three consecutive times against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 1966 World Series. Game 4 @ Comerica Park: Giants 4, Tigers 3 (10 innings) The San Francisco Giants were confident heading into Game 4, with their ace during the regular season, Matt Cain, taking the mound, and holding on to a three-games-to-none lead. The only question was who would be their designated hitter, which Bruce (Continued on page 53)


Baseball Universe | 52 (Coming from page 7)

Kyojin to win the Japan Series title, and he was the MVP on the Asia Series. Honorable mentions: Derek Jeter (New

York Yankees), Marco Scutaro (San Francisco Giants), Hiroyuki Nakajima (Seibu Lions) and Yordán Manduley (Holguín). Left fielder: Granma‟s Alfredo Despaigne set a new homerun record in Cuba‟s National Series. His 36 roundtrippers became a record that would last a long, mainly taking into account that the Cuban championship has been shortened to nearly half the games. Honorable mentions: Josh Hamilton (Texas Rangers), Ryan Braun (Milwaukee Brewers), Yoenis Céspedes (Oakland Athletics) **, Katsuya Kakunaka (Chiba Lotte Marines) and Wladimir Balentien (Tokyo Yakult Swallows). Center fielder: Is there any doubt at all? The Supernatural Mike Trout, playing for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, was with no question a monster in the 2012 season. He was second in hitting, first in runs scored, apart from becoming the first rookie to heat at least 30 homers and steal at least 40 bases, and ended second in the MVP voting only behind Cabrera and his Triple Crouwn. Honorable mentions: Andrew McCutchen (Pittsburgh Pirates), Yohei Oshima (Chunichi Dragons), and Guillermo Heredia (Matanzas).

Puttin‟ the ball in play

wins agaisnt 5 losses, plus three shutouts and a Best Nines‟ selection along with the Pacific League MVP award, NipponHam Fighters‟ new ace Mitsuo Yoshikawa was also a contribution for his team to win the pennant and play the Giants in the Nippon Series. Honorable mentions: David Price (Tampa Bay Rays), C.C. Sabathia (New York Yankees), Tetsuya Utsumi (Yomiuri Giants), Toshiya Sugiuchi (Yomiuri Giants), Hyun-Jin Ryu (Hanwha Eagles) and Clayton Kershaw (Los Angeles Dodgers). Relief pitcher: With the league lead in ERA (a minuscule 1.52), plus 7 wins and 4 losses, 18 saves, and seven participations in shutouts, including that of the first-ever SchillerRule-bound no-hitter, Holguin‟s Pablo Millán Fernández was a very important performer at relief, to the point of impressing everyone in Cuba, mainly because of his control, with an impressing 0.905 WHIP. Honorable mentions: Aroldis Chapman (Cincinnati Reds), Kentaro Nishimura (Yomiuri Giants), Craig Kimbrel (Atlanta Braves), Danni Aguilera (Isla de la Juventud), Hisashi Takeda (NipponHam Fighters), Fernando Rodney (Tampa Bay Rays) and Jim Johnson (Baltimore Orioles). Manager: With no doubt, a skipper that takes a cellardwelling team and puts it at the top the next year, with the same players and with a very new managing style, deserves all admiration. That is precisely what Matanzas‟ Victor Mesa did when he took over the team. Despite dropping three games in Asia with the Cuban National Team, his work with Matanzas was worth admiring. Honorable mentions: Bob Melvin (Oakland A‟s), Davey Johnson (Washington Nationals), Tatsunori Hara (Yomiuri Giants), Roger Machado (Ciego de Ávila) and Bruce Bochy (San Francisco Giants).

Right fielder: Many Cubans were impressed in the Samurai Japan Match 2012 by the playing style of Nippon-Ham Fighters‟ outfielder Yoshio Itoi, who also impressed everyone back in his league, mainly for posting an OBP about .100 points above his batting average, proving to have excellent discipline at the plate, mainly in a league in which pitchers throw with so much control. Honorable mentions: Hisa- The best of them all… With no doubts and although the yoshi Chono (Yomiuri Giants), Jason Heyward (Atlanta BBWAA voted Miguel Cabrera as the American League Most Braves), and Rusney Castillo (Ciego de Ávila). Valuable Player, outfielder Mike Trout was the best thing Designated Hitter: Despite Billy Butler‟s grat job this in baseball last year. His incredible WAR of 10.7, or the acyear, Fukuoka Softbank Hawks‟ Wily Mo Pena had a complishments he had as a hitter (.326 AVG, 129 R, 30 HR, 83 RBI, 49 SB, .399 OBP, .564 SLG, .963 OPS and 171 higher impact in a league that featured only ten hitters above .300. Pena hit .280 (12th) with 21 homers and 76 runs OPS+—all Bold and Italics were AL best) are numbers that batter in. he also posted a .339 OBP and a .490 slugging per- palce him at the top of the baseball world. At just 21, Trout centage. Honorable mention: Billy Butler (Kansas City was the Rookie of the Year, second in the MVP voting, and also won a Silver Slugger and in the opinion of many exRoyals). perts, he deserved the Gold Glove he did not win. Rightanded starting pitcher: In what has been a revelaNote: The Baseball Universe All-Star is a project that tion, R.A. Dickey led the National League with 230 strikewill be socialized and subjected to popular vote startouts while winning the Senoir Circuit‟s Cy Young award, ing next issue in early 2014. baffling opposing hitters with his kuckleball, and winning 20 games while also leading the league in started games (33), References:________________________ complete games (5) and shutouts (3). He was also close from * Pablo Sandoval was the World Series MVP, and his three homers in throwing a no-hitter. Honorable mentions: Kenta Maeda one game were very important, yet Cabrera‟s feat was at the top (Hiroshima Carp), Matt Cain (San Francisco Giants), Justin ** Yoenis Céspedes played more tan one outfield position in his MLB Verlander (Detroit Tigers), Vladimir García (Ciego de Ávila), debut, but we placed him at LF because it was the last one he played. Rob Cordemans (LD&D Amsterdam) and Jered Weaver (Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim). Lefthanded starting pitcher: With a 1.71 ERA, and 14


Yearbook 1, 2012|Let‟s make baseball a more universal game.

Baseball Universe | 53 (Coming from page 39)

(Coming from page 47)

for 3 with a homer, two runs and two RBI. October 17: Monkeys 7, Lions 5. Down 3-1 after 4 1/2 innings, Lamigo took control with a 5-run fifth to knock out 2012 CPBL win leader Yuya Kamada. Mike Loree improved to 2-0 on the Series and Paul Phillips got his second save. The game MVP was SS Chih-Sheng Lin, who was 2 for 4 with a double and 3 runs produced. LF Kuan-Jen Chen homered, scored twice and drove in two while 3B Chih-Ping Lin is 3 for 5. In a losing cause, LF Wu-Hsiung Pan is 3 for 5. October 18: Monkeys 3, Lions 2. Chao-Ho Tseng allowed two first-inning runs to the Lions but gave up nothing further and wound up with the decisive win, while Phillips notched his third aave, a two-inning deal. Jon Leicester took the loss, giving up 3 runs in 4 2/3 IP to go 0-2 after leading the league in ERA in the regular season. LF Kuan-Jen Chen was 2 for 4 with a double, two runs and a RBI to lead the Lamigo attack. Taken from http://baseball-reference.com

Neptunus got their last run in the top of the 8th when CF Shaldimar Daantji hit a one-out single and LF Adrian Anthony doubled him in with two outs. In the bottom of the 8th, Kinheim made a 4 -2 game into a 9-2 blowout. It started when Engelhardt drew a leadoff walk and stole second. C Ramiro Balentina hit a fly to right, which was dropped by Lennart Koster. Van Driel intentionally walked de Cuba to load the bases. Dushan Ruzic was summoned as the 4th Neptunus hurler. Seltenrijch grounded into a forced at home. Henrichs singled to make it 5-2, then Draijer hit a sacrifice fly for a 6-2 edge. DH Niels van Weert grounded into a three-base, two-run error by Ruzic. Van 't Klooster then singled him in to close the scoring. Arshwin Asjes relieved Bergman in the 9th with the game already put away and wrapped it up, allowing only a single to Dwayne Kemp. Taken from http://baseball-reference.com

“I would go through hell in a gasoline suit to play baseball.” _ Pete Rose and after one out, another of the batters whose lumber had gone to sleep since the Series started, C Buster Posey, hit one out down the left field line for a 3-2 Giants lead. With two outs in the bottom of the 6th, it was Delmon Young's turn to homer off Cain, tying the score at 3-all. That's how the score remained until the end of the 9 regulation innings. Cain left after 7 innings, while Scherzer was replaced by Drew Smyly after one out in the 7th. With two outs in the bottom of the 9th, Santiago Casilla threw a fastballthat caught 2B Omar Infante on the left wrist, causing a nondisplaced fracture. Danny Worth ran for him and took over at second base in the top of the 10th as the score remained tied. With Phil Coke, who had struck out the first seven batters he had faced in the Series including three in the top of the 9th, on the mound for Detroit, Theriot led off with a single on a soft fly to right field. Brandon Crawford followed by laying down a sacrifice bunt for the first out, moving Theriot to second base. Coke then struck out Angel Pagan for the second out. That brought up Scutaro, who had had a tremendous second half and postseason for the Giants. True to his recent past, he softly lined a ball to center field for a single to score Theriot with what would turn out to be the Series' winning run. Sergio Romo came out to pitch the bottom of the 10th for the Giants, and had some filthy stuff once again. He struck out Jackson to start out the inning; Tigers manager Jim Leyland sent out Don Kelly to pinch-hit for Berry, but Kelly struck out as well. Cabrera was the Tigers' last hope, but down he went on strikes too, and the Giants were World Champions for the second time in three years. Casilla was the winner, Romo had his third save, and Sandoval, with a .500 batting average, a double and three homers and a number of fine plays on defense, was the recipient of the World Series Most Valuable Player Award.

Marco Scutaro hits the go ahead single in th top of the tenth inning to give the Giants their second World Series title in three years.

(Coming from page 51)

Bochy answered by putting in infielder Ryan Theriot, who was making this first career start in the role. For the Tigers, Max Scherzer, runner-up to Justin Verlander for the American League strikeout title was on the mound, while Gerald Laird replaced an ailing Alex Avila at catcher. Once again, the Giants took an early lead, when Hunter Pence hit a one-out double in the 2nd, which was followed by a triple by Brandon Belt, his first hit of the Series. But Scherzer did not allow Belt to score, and in the bottom of the 3rd, the Tigers finally showed some life. Austin Jackson walked with one out, Quintin Berry tried to surprise the Giants' defence with a bunt down the third-base line, but Pablo Sandoval fielded it quickly and threw out the rapid Berry at first for the second out; up came Miguel Cabrera, and he ended his World Series torpor by pushing a ball into the wind blowing out to right field, and it sailed over the fence for a two-run homer. The Tigers were up, 2 -1, their first lead of the World Series. The score stayed that way until the 6th inning, when Marco Scutaro hit a lead-off single

PHOTO CREDIT: LEON HALIP/GETTY IMAGES

Taken from http://baseball-reference.com


Baseball Universe Let’s make baseball a more universal game. Address: Calle 3, #16 Altos, entre 2 y 4 Reparto José Díaz (Palomo) Holguín, Holguín, Cuba CP 80100

EXTRA INNINGS

There’s me in the front row, blue and white in the black and white, shy; in jeans and baseball jacket, blue with a white stripe on the collar holding with both hands the blue and white cap they wouldn’t let me wear in the picture. Where do they come from Ripken and Wiggins Rudolph Trammel Wade Boggs and Randy Ready Orel Herishiser Alfredo Griffin and Steve Bedorosian Geronimo Pena Odibbe McDowell the hot hand at second base the eagle eye in left? What histories and biographies continents and geographies, street corners, corner lots, back seats of cars, wars and revolutions, discoveries and chance meetings lead to the diamond? Names demand language, command words, a song of their own.

In the order the batter steps in: Wind up or go to the stretch an off-speed slow freight right down the pipe setting the table. A hanging curve a chopper popped up a split finger double clutch grounded out. The pitch that jammed him, behind the count, a delayed steal went up the ladder busted squeeze a sacrifice fly 5-4-3 room service job and double play turned oh and one. Any inning makes an outing and 3 outs make an inning. Rule 8.02.a2 The pitcher shall not apply a foreign substanceof any kind to the ball. How easy it is in the stands alone with your score card or cuddling – sex with mustard a collectivity of beer and popcorn, collusions of bodies collisions of kaons round atomic bases. At home, the catcher

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crouches, thighs wide. Straight from the bullpen, the pitcher paws the mound. Day games lost in the sun, sky so blue you could set it in your ring. Twilight pitchers in the light, batters in the dark which grows toward the mound. The ball is thrown into the dark comes out of the light. Long shadows old as skeletons look up into the Chicago night. The Player of the Game gets an Inuit sculpture. What could I make for you to compete with the rooms full of roto-tillers and fully automatic cameras? Can I catch your eye, develop an irresistible need to follow my curves, calculate my average? Like the old photograph history is caught in baseball. The year it happened… in the World Series… 1919 thrown away and 1989 lives saved, San Francisco Giants and Oakland A’s. And before, the longest time

a Series was postponed: 1911 a week rained out – between the A’s of Philly and the Giants of NY. Games within the game. Statistics nuances of numbers numbness of numbers, no hits and one run, four-out inning. Flashing the signs, autistic grimaces of stealth and purpose. Who’s playing, who wins? It’s the weave within which counts like words in a poem patterns soothing as Persian rugs: as sure as taxes as different as snowflakes infinite chances at a first time. Top of the ninth or extra innings like the game itself the poem remains unfinished a whole new ballgame.

This poem was written and kindly sent to us by our friend and baseball enthusiast Katharine Beeman


Baseball Universe 2012