Friday, September 11, 2015

"Strategy First" 4-part Interview Series with mlb exiled baseball player, Bill "The Spaceman" Lee

In 2012, Youtube Channel "StrategyFirstGames" uploaded these four long interviews with MLB exiled baseball player Bill "The Spaceman" Lee.

You can figure out where and in what year each interview is filmed by listening for references. Seems to have been shot at different locations in Canada and the US in the northeast and the northwest over three years.

Michael Holloway Playlist: "Strategy First" 4-part Interview Series with Baseball Player, Bill Lee -

Part 1 Strategy First Bill "The Spaceman" Lee Interview Part 1 (48:34 - Toronto, Ontario - guessing summer 2007) -
Part 2 Strategy First Bill "The Spaceman" Lee Interview Part 2 (1:22:43 - Swanton, Vermont - fall/winter 2007) -
Part 3 Strategy First Bill "The Spaceman" Lee Interview Part 3 (1:15:56 - Northern California, summer 2008) -
Part 4 Strategy First Bill "The Spaceman" Lee Interview Part 4 (1:48:57 - Swanton, Vermont - spring 2009) -


Thursday, September 10, 2015

Hutchison tested - and fails; as Gibbons sets aside Gm 3 in Boston in preparation for Yankees series, Jays' Playoff run

(No sources, no quotes - just gleaning as much as I can glean from beside a radio in Leslieville, Toronto, Canada.)

Over the last 4 Drew Hutchison Starts* I've seen Jays management first, do everything they could to help Mr Hutchison succeed - and then after some success in that regard - begin to expose him to higher and higher leverage situations.

This start on the road against the Boston Red Sox was likely the last step in that process for Hitchison as Starter - and with minor league pitchers now up from Buffalo auditioning (badly) for the Jays' bullpen - we have likely seen Hutchison's last start in the Jays' rotation; and the beginning of his next life this season - as a member of the Blue Jays' bullpen.

This wasn't a plan etched in stone I don't think - but it must have been part of the way of going about these things for Jays' management that included an eye on the progress of Marcus Stroman (rehabbing since a ACL tear in spring training). Perhaps if Stroman wasn't progressing as fast as he appears to be, Hutchinson may have been left at home again on this road trip (as the Jays did on their last road trip - August 18th to 27th).

With Stroman on the Blue Jays bench since Hutchison's last start in Toronto, on August 29th (part of an array of increased leverage in the last application of it), it must have seemed serendipitous to start Hutchison in this second last road trip of the Blue Jays regular season.

This evening in Boston Hutchison was posting zeros, helped by his defense and luck, for 2 innings before getting shelled for 4 in the 3rd Inning. In the 4th all hell broke loose.

Hutchison lasted 3.1 Innings giving up 5 runs while in the game, plus leaving a runner on for Aaron Loup (inherited run NOT allowed), and Liam Hendricks (one inherited run allowed - on a double).

Steve Delabar, up from the farm auditioning for a playoff roster spot, got slammed in the 5th, giving up 4 runs on 4 hits while posting only 1 out. Jeff Francis (one inherited run scored) had to bail out Delabar, and continued to pitch for the rest of the game.... and looked good doing it; albeit in a laugher by that time, as by the bottom of the 6th Gibbons had substituted the Toronto Blue Jays for the Buffalo Bisons.

The question I'm looking to answer on the rest of this road trip: are the Jays really a .700 Ball Club (their pace since the trades) ... Or are they in fact mortal after all? With the Drew Hutchison as high leverage Starter experiment likely over - the Jury in that case, is still out. Time will tell.

On to New York City for 4, where the (really playing rather well right now) Evil Empire awaits.

* Baseball Reference | Drew Hutchison | 2015 Pitching Gamelog |

Box score for this game: ESPN |


Saturday, September 5, 2015

Tomorrow: another opportunity to be, in the swirl that is a universe of chaos

Orioles at Jays - September 4, 2015

Jays loose 10 - 2; Yankees win - Jays are .5 a game up in the Al East

I can think of dozen reasons this game played out the way it did:
  • the Umpire's wild strike zone;
  • plays not made by the defense;
  • Stroman arriving on the bench on a Hutchison Start day;
  • Jays line-up (uncharacteristically) swinging at balls outside the strike zone;
  • Jimenez's (Tactic?) of delaying throwing the ball in the early innings;
  • a bad read by Goins of a hit ball to right - where he didn't advance to 3B with no outs;
  • Goins triple clutch on a DP ball that went from a sure 2 outs, to perhaps one out, to no outs;
  • Bo Shultz first time out in a hold-the-deficit-where-it-is situation (blows the game wide open giving up 4);
  • On any given day Baltimore is better than the standings reflect.

Goins appears a lot in that list, but don't get me wrong, a cusp player who plays great with a winning team - that's winning - often looks much better than he actually is, especially on a team that's experiencing the inevitable losses that even great teams must suffer; the great team itself often better than the Team - against any team than is actually is.

These are the wages of excellence.

Key moments in a game often get magnified later. One was the odd play in LF in the 6th, when the Baltimore's re-took the lead just after the Jays had tied the game - when on a jump at the wall for an out, became a HR when the ball ricocheted out of Revere's glove in an unlikely, seemingly impossible single-bullet-theory bit of physics, finding itself on the other side of the wall.

MLB Advanced Media Embed

Baltimore Orioles  IP   H  R ER BB SO HR  PC-ST  ERA
Jiménez(W, 10-9)   5.2  4  2 1  6  4  0   95-54  4.24

A test of faith in a game that offers a lot of that; tomorrow another opportunity to be.


Thursday, September 3, 2015

Series Win over Tribe likely a Social Engineering play - courtesy of Jays Front Office

Indians at Jays September 2, 2015 - 7:07p

R A Dickey / Josh Thole batteried win tonight likely a brilliantly engineered, physiological management win - courtesy of the Blue Jays front office.

In keeping Thole on the roster for Dickey starts - by any-means-necessary (by optioning him first to AAA Buffalo in the last rotation which included 3 off days, and then to A Ball Lansing Lugnuts this week (which shortened his option because the league season ended - and that meant that - by MLB rules - his necessary stint there ended; which allowed the Jays to recall him to the 40-man roster early ... as in - for Dickey's next start) - allowed this feel-good start by the veteran knuckle-baller who goes to 10 Wins and 10 losses with a 4.09 ERA over 28 starts with a 7 win and no loses run starting after a July 18th loss to Tampa Bay that had the veteran at 3 and 10.

The importance of the 'Battery' when it comes to knuckle ballers was front and centre tonight. Through-out the game I recorded moments when Thole pulled into the strike zone, pitches that were called strikes - but which were in fact, balls.

The pitches that were fooling the Tribe, I thought, were also in the coarse of events, fooling Umpire Andy Fletcher. In one such instance - in the 3rd - the erratic-ness of the knuckle ball/fastball/change-up combination resulted in a 13-pitch inning - and that - the inning after Dickey fooled the opponents in a 3-up 3-down, 6 pitch inning in the 2nd - together which undoubtedly helped shut down the Indians over all but for 1 run in the 4th - their only run.

Image: BrooksBaseball | R. A. Dickey against Indians, September 2, 2015 - Inside/Outside pitch zone with number in at-bat |

Also of note in this game was the running play by Josh Donaldson in the 2nd with the bases loaded - that intuited the fact that the Jays weren't scoring a lot of runs against this hot Indians team* - Donaldson at third decided to make a try for a run with 2-out (after the hit-ball-out) with a 4-0 lead - to steal home on a high pop to shallow right-centre which Kipnis was peddling backward on when he made the catch - and beat the throw just up the third base line by jumping over the catchers' arm-swinging tag and landing with his left hand on the plate!

MLB Video:

On the defensive side of the equation - of note was the play by Goins in the 7th in which he tracked the ball hit to the deep hole at second (in shallow right-centre), made the catch of the ground ball and then planted and turned 270 degrees with his next step and panted a throw to the outside corner of the 1B bag - which Smoak scooped nicely for the out.

MLB Video:

* By "a lot" I refer back to my previous "Tweet-post" (see embed below) about the jays' scoring 'slump' following the Yankess series loss at the end of their 11 game winning streak - which meant they weren't scoring more than 5 runs per game; which matches their god-like scoring performance through that streak and in fact through the entire season (5.49 Runs/Gm).


Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Jays' experience essential play-off-team Learning Moment in loss to hot Cleveland Indians

The first indication that the Team was letting the recent record of this hot Indians Team effect them (which since August 15th mirrors the performance of the Jays in all of August), was the Goins throw in the first inning to 3rd to erase a lead-off double instead of going for the sure out at 1st. The throw to 3rd - which Donaldson couldn't clutch on the bounce - resulted in runners on 1st and 3rd (the next at-bats' double-play scored the runner which until the 9th was the game's margin of scoring).

That was the end of scoring in this game until the Bottom of the 5th when the Jays scored 2 - which was answered by the Clevelands in the 7th.

The next indication that Jays were trying to do too much was in the Top of the 9th when Donaldson cut in front of Tulowinski (the standard play - it's 3rds' ball if they can get to it) and tipped a hit ball to his left, which he then corralled and (as it was his only play) hurriedly threw (high) to third to try and get the lead runner - which tipped off Troy Hawkins' glove (covering) and ended up in the third base camera bay - resulting in a two bases for the runners on - a run scored (4-2) and the batter-runner to 3rd.

Interesting to see if the Jays can turn this Zeitabschnitt* around in game two.

* Zeitabschnitt |


Sunday, August 30, 2015

Umpire Bob Davidson miss-uses Bench Warning in 1st after Detroit Purpose Pitch up-and-in to Troy Tulowitzki

Umpire Bob Davidson issues warnings to both benches after the Jays hit two home runs in the 1st - which results in Detroit pitcher throwing an message pitch high and inside to Troy Tulowitzki.

Now if Toronto pitcher Mark Buehrle hits a Detroit batter the Umpire will have to decide if it was intentional or not and perhaps choose to throw a Jays pitcher out of the game! This means the Blue Jays pitching now can't throw message pitches.

Moving a batter off the plate is part of the game - and because this Blue Jays team is hot and hitting the ball out of the park at an unprecedented pace as well, the advantage goes to the Blue Jays. On the other hand, if the Detroits start teeing off on Buehrle, he won't have the option of using the brush-back pitch.

The result of this early warning will likely be a greater slam-athon by the Jays  than might of otherwise been a normal slam-athon - which Toronto's fans of winning Toronto sports teams will love. but which takes away from the quality of baseball game which we will witness today.

Rule 8.02: Throwing at the Batter
     Rule 8.02 states as follows:

    d. The pitcher shall not intentionally pitch at the batter.

        If, in the umpire's judgment, such a violation occurs, the umpire may elect either to:
        1. Expel the pitcher, or the manager and the pitcher, from the game, or
        2. may warn the pitcher and the manager of both teams that another such pitch will result in the immediate expulsion of that pitcher (or a replacement) and the manager.

If, in the umpire's judgment, circumstances warrant, both teams may be officially "warned" prior to the game or at any time during the game.

(League Presidents may take additional action under authority provided in Rule 9.05)

Rule 8.02(d) Comment: Team personnel may not come onto the playing surface to argue or dispute a warning issued under Rule 8.02(d). If a manager, coach or player leaves the dugout or his position to dispute a warning, he should be warned to stop. If he continues, he is subject to ejection.

To pitch at a batter's head is unsportsmanlike and highly dangerous. It should be - and is - condemned by everybody. Umpires should act without hesitation in enforcement of this rule.

On this continuing power and run scoring show by this Blue Jays team - game, after game, after game - is starting to travel into a surreal universe.

Score after 4 innings: Tigers 0 - Jays 6

ESPN Boxscore - Tigers at Jays - Sunday, August 30, 2015 - 1:07pm start |


Sunday, August 23, 2015

Indications that Blue Jays run scoring slump may be easing:

Jays Phoenix over immolating Angels

Toronto Blue Jays were the Dark Angels of mercilessness for the faithful at Angels Stadium tonight, scoring 15 runs on 20 hits. Only 2 home runs (plating 5 runs) as this 9-cyclindar offense catches fire.

Toronto starting pitcher Marco Estrada (W, 11-7) threw an excellent five and two thirds innings relinquishing 2 solo home runs late as he challenged the Angels hitters with a 10 run lead. Brett Cecil worked out of a jam caused by a Donaldson throwing error in the 6th - with one pitch. Then the team of Hawkins, Hendriks and Schultz held the Angels down for good, giving up just 1 hit over three innings stellar relief.

Felt guilty at the end.

(Not one of my worst quadruple-mixed metaphors).

Image re-purposed from screen capture of the game's scoring summary at espn boxscore: