Mariano Rivera’s cutter

Here’s a video from The New York Times I came across that describes what made Mariano Rivera such an effective closer.  The video is wonderfully concise, yet explains the mechanics of Rivera’s cutter in an easy-to-follow manner complete with some excellent graphics.

 

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A Front-Row Seat

This is a cool piece put out by the New York Times, which revolves around this photo taken during Game 5 of last year’s World Series, when Eric Hosmer made his now-infamous mad dash to the plate to tie the game.

metsfans-callout-pic-superJumbo

The Times managed to track down eleven of the folks sitting in the stands in this photo and asked for their perspectives on how it all went down.  They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and I think that definitely applies in this case.  All the same, I still find it interesting to explore the responses of the fans that the Times managed to interview.

You can see the frustration on our faces. It was just: ‘I can’t believe this just happened.’ Everyone was in the same shocked state of mind. This can’t be! It just can’t be! The game should be over.

~Sal Monaco

You can find the complete collection of interviews, including audio recordings, here: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/04/01/sports/baseball/ny-mets-kansas-city-royals-opener.html

This day in baseball: Challenging the reserve clause

On December 29, 1969, the New York Times reported that Curt Flood planned to challenge the reserve clause by suing Major League Baseball.  According to the Times:

A major attack on the reserve clause, a feature of baseball contracts that binds a player to his original team and makes trades possible, is being mounted by Curt Flood, with Arthur Goldberg, a former United States Supreme Court Justice, as his counsel.

The case made its way to the Supreme Court, which ruled in favor of Major League Baseball, but the Court’s decision left open the possibility for closer examination and further challenges. The reserve clause was finally struck down in 1975.

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The time Babe Ruth played chicken with a concrete wall

Babe Ruth knocked out, 1924 (Library of Congress)

On July 5, 1924, the Yankees found themselves in Washington’s Griffith Stadium for a doubleheader against the Senators.  In the fourth inning of game one, the Senators’ Joe Judge lined a ball just into the seats down the right-field line.  In pursuit of the line drive, Yankees right fielder Babe Ruth slammed right into the concrete wall and was knocked completely unconscious.  The New York Times described the event as follows:

The Babe ran into the pavilion parapet with the full force of his body, and dropped unconscious to the grass. Uniformed policeman ran to his assistance and kept back the crowd that seemed disposed to leave the chairs and get a close-up of the injured warrior. Several photographers happened to be on the spot and they snapped the Babe as Trainer Doc Woods ran up with the water bucket and the little black bag of first aid preparations.

At first it was thought that Ruth had been knocked out by a blow from the concrete on his chin, but it was sooon discovered that he had been knocked out by a jolt in the solar plexus. His left leg was also hurt at the hip.

In spite of the collision, once revived, Ruth refused to come out of the game.  He finished the game 3-for-3, and even went on to play the second game of the doubleheader.  According to the Washington Post:

The Bambino was knocked unconsciuos [sic] for about five minutes and badly bruised his left hip, but gamely insisted on sticking in that game and also in the second.

Talk about nerves of steel!  Any player knocked unconscious for five minutes today would be given no choice in the matter — he’d be carried off the field on a stretcher.

New York Times baseball map

Feeding my seemingly growing obsession with baseball fan maps, the New York Times published this interactive map a couple days ago — again, based on Facebook data — that allows us to to zoom in on which team fans root for, down to the zip code.  For example, I can tell you that my hometown contains 69% Royals fans, and my current neighborhood comprises 49% Royals fans.  After the Royals, 12% of my current neighbors root for the St. Louis Cardinals, while 7% pull for the Boston Red Sox (…really?).  Things get especially interested along both coastlines, where a greater saturation of teams results in a greater conflict of loyalties.

In addition to the large, nationwide map, the Times generated fourteen smaller maps, highlighting baseball’s biggest rivalries.  If you would like to read the article and explore the interactive map, just click on the image below, and it will direct you to the site.  Enjoy!

Click on the map to link to the article