Thursday, May 30, 2013

Sometimes you scorecard a game; sometimes the game scorecards you

'Game Notes' from Thursday night's finale of the home, at-home series at Turner Field in Atlanta - Jays at Braves - Game 4 - scorecard is here -

Game Notes

Sometimes you scorecard a game; sometimes the game scorecards you.

I was eaten by a scorecard today.

You can see in the bottom of the 3rd - I had the order out of whack. Missed the last out in the bottom of the 2nd - had to erase 9 at-bats - a HR included - and move every play down one for an inning and a half. Happened again later but I caught it before the inning ended and no homer to contend with (they take a lot of time, colouring four corners, plus any RBI-ed runs).

Hate when that happens.

Jays got eaten up today too --- by baseballs.

JP Arencebia plated one run with a pass ball and one more that wasn't in scoring position when the subsequent "BH" rolled under Edwin Encarnacion's glove (for the second time tonight) - plating two runs. (Scored a base hit by the home town scorekeeper.)

Manager John Gibbons might have put more defence on the field in this game - instead of worrying about right-y left-y match-ups against the great Mike Minor - that's my take-away anyway. See it as a pitching duel with very few runs - which is what it was - 'till the roof caved in with errors and battery problems in the 6th.

At any rate - it's all there - scored properly I think (see link at the top).

The Jays still haven't had their 'dream team' on the field yet this year. Aside from the fielders who have gone down (Reyes, Davis, Lawrie) - the Jays have now used 29 different pitchers. But, on the other hand several of the starting weeks injuries are getting close to returning to the Show: Josh Hamilton is pitching games at AAA Buffalo; Jose Reyes ran sprints on the field today... . (From reports I heard the radio crew - Jerry Howarth, Jack Morris and Mike Wilner - talk about during the game.)

That's eight games in a row without TV (my TV just died, and minor league hockey was on SportsNet basic cable for 4 days before that).

Anyways, I really cannot abide the on-again, off-again television broadcaster.

Radio:  It really ties the room together --- Dude. :)

"The Big Lebowski" Official Trailer


Monday, May 27, 2013

This Line-up is HOT! Now... What's wrong with the Pitching?

'Game Notes' from tonight's scorecard, Braves at Jays - Game 1:

Game Notes

This team is hot at the plate and has been since the thumping of Boston (Sunday, May 12) where Gibbons hit Melky Cabrera, Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion 1,2,3. And, I should point out - when Gibbons started batting Bonifacio 8, and Kawasaki 9.

Watch these line ups over days ... the four batters in the 4,5,6,7 spots rotate about based on who's hot and perhaps pitcher vs batter stats).

Now how to find Maicer Izturis some playing time, find a role for him on this team.

If I was Maicer Izturis I would be practicing eight hours a day to become, Bunting Superstar! Mirror what Kawasaki does - Reed Johnson does [yes TO fans, that was THE Reed Johnson tonight in RF]. Study pitcher's pick-off moves; do the whole specialist, speed thing.

Now with the line-up clicking, 'What's wrong with the pitching department?! :)

There's always something.

If this team gets cooking together, I don't see that there is a time soon when Jays fans need to begin to worry the team is too far out. I like the idea that even 2/3rds of the way through (game 108 !?!) is not too late for this team to get back into a play-off race (with the balance we have across the leagues these days).

Hovering around 10 games out - this team has the power to put together a 10 game win streak (with the pitching they think they have). Do that in late August and every April and May is forgiven.


Sunday, May 26, 2013

Kawasaki smacks walk-off double - Jays split Baltimore series

Game Notes from Sunday afternoon's scorecard, Game 4 between the visiting Baltimore Orioles and the Toronto Blue Jays --- the complete scorecard of which, is here: "Orioles at Jays - Game 4" -

Game Notes

Bottom 8th

Tommy Hunter makes a barehanded catch of the Bautista line-drive ground ball ends the 8th Inning. Down by 1one with the bases loaded, rallying once again in this game that the Jays have never lead - Hunter's catch and assist is a deflating game changer.

At this point - Hunter's play seemed likely to be the play of the game in another Blue Jays' loss..

Here's the video from MLB of Tommy Hunter's amazing barehanded catch. You can hear a *smack* - as he grabs the hurtling ball from it's path. Lucky.

"Hunter's slick defense"
(Embed code seems not to be working - see at the mlb link under this article.)

9th Inning

Both teams left base runners all over the base paths today, but especially the Jays. In the 4th the Blue Jays have runners on first and second with no outs, and could only muster one run on a sac-fly. Then in the 7th the Jays' leave the sacks full, without plating a run in a two out rally. In the eighth they again plated only one while batting at one point with the bases loaded and one out.

Jay's were not getting that key base hit of late that would put them in charge in this series. The Blue Jays since opening day are 7-17 in one-run games. (Baseball Reference 2013 Jays: .)  The Jays are more apt to lose rather than win - close games.

So it was typical of this game - and of the Blue Jays season in general - that when Munenori Kawasaki came to the plate with one out in the 9th, with the tying and winning runs on the bases, an aura of doom was swimming with this reporter's thoughts. The Jays had, after all, just given up two insurance runs to the Baltimores in the top of the inning.

Kawasaki was in a place of much tension - set up where he could succeed at exactly what he was good at doing: turning the line-up over, getting the clutch base hit - and in doing so in this instance, likely plate the tying run and keeping the rally wheel rolling. Or he could fail at exactly what he does best, and end the game the goat after an otherwise fairly good day at the plate.

Munenori Kawasaki did neither --- instead he slapped an Ichiro-style line-drive towards the left centrefield gap, right between the left and centre fielders - and it skips off the turf and scoots to the wall! The hit not only plates the tying run - but the winning run too (all the way from 1st in the person of not-so-fleet-a-foot (but off on the 3-2 pitch) Mike DeRosa)!

Kawasaki could have taken the extra bag for the official triple (Balitimore centre fielder Adam Jones had no play on DeRosa and made no throw)... but on his way around second Kawasaki veers off towards the team celebration that is erupting out of  the third base dugout, just as Mike DeRosa crosses the plate... .


Video of Kawasaki's walk-off double is presently not available for embed.

"Kawasaki's walk-off double" 
(Embed code seems not to be working - see at the mlb link under this article.)

You may watch these videos at this MLB page:
(Click the video tab, top-right, scroll down the list on the right.)

 Line-ups pitching totals via:


Sunday, May 12, 2013

Jays' manager Gibbons' outrageous 'Cycle of Hitters' lineup works brilliantly in romp of BoSox

Game Notes from Sunday afternoon's scorecard - Game 3 between the visiting Toronto Blue Jays, and the Boston Red Sox --- the complete scorecard of which, is here: "Jays at Red Sox - Game 3" -

I've managed at the Co-ed Rec league level, and sitting around on game night's drinking and talking with your best baseball friends about line-ups can be fascinating and fun. Understanding who is who on a team is one of the great challenges of managing. Sometimes moving one player up one spot in the lineup changes everything.

Sometimes it changes nothing.

But in baseball - as in life - there are so many variables you often don't know if what you did was the reason the team began to win; so you're usually left with little myths that become apparent are in function --- like grouping all the outfielders together in the order; never play her starting in that ball yard; always drinking at a different bar after each win ... stuff like that.

Usually what happens on winning teams is the team begins to believe in stuff that is absolute BS - but because the team believes these things... they become true. And you don't mess with them - and the team goes all the way to the finals (and loses; because they drank too much all year. :)

Today as I was filling in the lineup in the scorecard I imagined John Gibbons getting really drunk with his favourite baseball brain trust mind and coming up with today's outrageous lineup:

Toronto Blue Jays Lineup - Sunday, May 12, 2013

1. M Cabrera LF
2. J Bautista RF
3. E Encarnacion DH
4. J Arencibia C
5. A Lind 1B
6. B Lawrie 3B
7. C Rasmus CF
8. E Bonifacio 2B
9. M Kawasaki SS

Its a variation his lineups all year - but with one revolutionary difference - what he's done is moved all the lead off style players to the Bottom of the order - and moved the *almost* NL Batting Champion, and the AL *almost* Home Run Champions into the 1,  2, 3 spots.

If you look closely, it's my line up proposal from April 29th --- on it's head.

Optimal Blue Jays' Line-up

1. C Rasmus CF, or R Davis RF
2. E Bonifacio 2B, or R Davis RF, or M Izturis 2B, or M Kawasaki SS
3. M Cabrera LF
4. J Bautista RF
5. E Encarnacion DH
6. A Lind 1B
7. B Lawrie 3B, or Mark DeRosa 3B
8. J.P. Arencibia C, or Henry Blanco C
9. M Kawasaki SS

From my April 29th blog,
"What's wrong with the Blue Jays' Line-up?"

And as I wrote in an article a week later - on May 5th - in "Munenori Kawasaki, through the Looking Glass" (

"There is after all - once through the batting order (through the looking glass, if you wish) - no 1 or 9 hitter, but simply a cycle of hitters."

Well, this cycle of hitters lineup worked fantastically today.

(Or is it that the Boston's just beginning to stink up the joint?)

Whatever version of ethereal real is the truth - the Jays are now stuck with this lineup until another mythos begins to present itself.


Friday, May 10, 2013

Jon Lester 1 hits Jays in complete game shut out win for Boston

Game Notes from Friday evening's scorecard - Game 1 of 3 between the visiting Toronto Blue Jays and the Boston Red Sox --- the complete scorecard of which, is here: "Jays at Red Sox - Game 1" -

Game Notes

Final in 9
Toronto Blue Jays: 0
Boston Red Sox: 5

Boston Red Sox
J Lester
(W, 5-0)	9.0	1	0	0	0	5	0	118-79	2.73

Not much one can say. I'll let Brooks Baseball tell the story.

Brooks Baseball - Jon Lester, Release Point, All Pitches

Brooks Baseball - Jon Lester, Strikezone Plot, All Pitches


Thursday, May 9, 2013

Disrupting MLB Advanced Media's no-embed meme with HTML5 'iframe'

For a while there it looked to me like MLB Advanced Media had convinced all the MLB Clubs to allow sharing of the locally produced content --- thus making the site truly a place of advanced media ...

But over the past few days I've run into the same old fallacious content hording meme at that results in video content being unavailable for embed.

For example, in last night's 'Game Notes' post I talked about the Izturis foul ball call - the article relied very much on my memory of the event (and later, after MLB posted video content on the subject) - seeing a replay of the event. As it was I was left with adding a boring link at the bottom of the post, rather than an nice embed. An embed would have 'blinged' the article beautifully (worked well with the content I wrote).

Embedding video on blogs and in social media networks ensures readers have an excellent user experience - and thus leave them with a 'warm glow' after experiencing my content production - about MLB's content production.

It's a win-win for producers all the way down the line - and adds value to both producers content.

Without embeds, that key Live feel that makes internet media experiences truly great - falls down to mediocre, lame, a 'loser', Web 1.0 - kind of experience where the reader is left wondering why the writer didn't embed the video - or wondering why MLB is so lame that they don't allow embeds.

Bad taste in the mouth - no warm glow = Internet #Fail.

So I thought I'd stop waiting for MLB clubs to catch up to the new Now - stop waiting for MLB to stop ruining my baseball writing presentations --- and do something about it!

The world of internet technology is all about Sharing --- it's THE foundation stone of the thing. And as we are at the very beginning of a long period of revolution about communications, the technology of the internet is seemingly, forever moving forward.

So even while the clubs of MLB dither and prevaricate about signing content deals with their media production partners that allow widespread sharing - I've been learning more and more about with the possibilities in the new and game-changing HTML5 protocols. I've discerned from my limited understanding of iframes - that an iframe basically allows one to open any page on the web inside of a styled box in a html document - and that I could end-run any coding that does not allow embedding videos by housing the entire MLB page inside an HTML5 iframe tag

Below is an 'iframe' that houses an page that is running the video I wanted - on page load. It's the Rays' video of last night's game where Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon gets ejected for arguing the Izturis foul ball call.

MLB won't allow embedding of this video - they only offer a link to the page.

That link to the MLB page is coded so that it renders inside an HTML5 iframe. Around that iframe I added an 'outer container' - that has an 'overflow hidden' element in it, and thus only shows a relatively small 'keyhole' - a window through which you can see - that reveals a small portion of the web page behind it. By tweaking the position of that page behind the keyhole, I can position that page so the video lines up exactly in the keyhole. So now it looked like it's a video embed.

Now I said to myself triumphantly, I can embed any video from any web page on the planet - coded for sharing or not. If it's up online - it's embeddable in any blog or website - period.

Take that, you dinosaurs of the broadcast era. :)

(You need to be running an HTML5 Browser or this post is likely a bloody mess --> Chrome 25, Firefox 19, IE8, Opera 12.1, Safari 5.1)

MLB - 05/08/13 "Maddon tossed for disputing call" (02:29)

Update 2013-05-12:
This Experiment failed after several attempted work-arounds; so I've place the coding in a textarea - if you want to try fiddling with it.

I believe the hidden page behind the overflow hidden keyhole element, extended beyond the right border of the main-wrapper (the body of the blog), and thus kicked the sidebar wrapper down under the body.

But as a proof of concept this 'faux-embed' did work. But the concept doesn't have the flexibility to work anywhere but in a blog or website that has it's body width set specifically to house the MLB Gameday defaults.

Update II: MLB has the video available for embed now. :)

Update III:: Oh. Now I see on render, that this is not the case.

Another kind of faux-embed. :)


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Izturis's foul ball - did the Umpire get it right?

Game Notes from Wednesday evening's scorecard - Game 3 of 4 between the visiting Toronto Blue Jays and the Tampa Bay Rays --- the complete scorecard of which, is here: "Jays at Rays - Game 3" -

Game Notes

Final in 9
Toronto Blue Jays: 4
Tampa Bay Rays: 10

Izturis's foul ball - did the Umpire get it right?

This was a weird one.

I sat down to score tonight's game hoping to see the Tampa Bay Rays' phenom Matt Moore (5-0, 1.94 ERA) pitch towards his 6th win with whatever he does to get those kind of numbers. Instead I watched two teams play sloppily on the base paths and a couple of pitchers barely avoid being crushed by avalanches of their own design.

Ricky Romero had one out and the sacks full with three runs in, in the first before Gibbons pulled him in favour of veteran starter Edgar Gonzalez - today's call-up from AAA Buffalo to replace line-drive-to-the-head starter J. A. Happ (on the DL - he's OK; was at the ball park, gave press conference) - and Moore - the 6 win Moore - was just awful ... but just awfully wild enough that the Jays couldn't get that key hit all night long - with the bases full of runners - all night long. And when they did string together hits late, against the Tampa bullpen, ran themselves out of the inning with stupid base running and at one point actually scored a run on insane base running by two runners on the same play! (Arencebia and Davis in the 7th)

The foul ball

In the 6th the Umpires got into the act, calling a ball hit into the field of play a foul ball.

With the ball hit to 1st baseman James Loney fielding *behind* the 1st base bag, that ball should have been seen by the Umpire as a ball in play, a fair ball --- should it not?

On the replay though, the ball seemed to hit first in the left handed batter's, batters box - foul - before lining to the fair side of the bag at first to the waiting Loney.

The thing is, the batter's box is in foul ground - so therefore isn't that immediately a foul ball? Like when the batted ball hits the batter - still in the batters box - isn't is called a foul?

But then a ball in play can roll foul and then roll fair again along the fouls lines; the call - fair or foul - only happens after the fielder touches the ball (that's why you see corner fielders - who think they don't have a play at first on a slow rolling ball down the line - scoop the ball in foul ground away from the field of play - they're making sure there is no mistake, that they don't let it run fair again and allow the runner a base hit).


I have never seen a ball hit first foul and then on a seemingly straight line end up passing into the outfield fair.


I think that a hit ball has to hit in fair ground *first* before it can then go foul - and perhaps come back fair again.

I think the Umpire may have gotten it right after all.

But that's not what all the experts on the broadcast thought - and Joe Maddon the Rays' skipper got thrown out of the game by Home plate Umpire Scott Barry for arguing it.

What say you?

MLB - 05/08/13
"Maddon tossed for disputing call" (02:29)


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

"The Horrific Line Drive"

Game Notes from Tuesday evening's scorecard - Game 2 of 4 between the visiting Toronto Blue Jays and the Tampa Bay Rays --- the complete scorecard of which, is here: "Jays at Rays - Game 2" -

Game Notes

Final in 9
Toronto Blue Jays: 6
Tampa Bay Rays: 4

Bottom of the 2nd:

"The Horrific Line Drive"

Tampa Bay centre fielder Desmond Jennings hit a line drive back up the middle that hit J. A. Happ in the right side of his head. The ball was hit so hard it ricocheted off Happ and out to the Rays' right field line bullpen. Bautista got it back into the infield to hold Jennings to a triple. (read more in the scrolling south east text box, top At-Bat box - bottom of the 2nd inning)

As the medical crews from both teams stabilized James Anthony Happ on the side of the mound the entire stadium was dead quite - it was like there was no one there - everyone on the edge of there seats, whispering as they watched.

Soon after Happ was off the field in a wheeled stretcher, news came that he had been taken directly to a waiting ambulance and then immediately to the nearest hospital.

I've never seen anything like this before, and it shook me up pretty good. I think it shook up everyone - even the game took on a going-through-the-motions feel for at least four innings.

I'm still shaky, and my adrenaline is pumping as I begin to write this after completing the scoring in the bottom of the 2nd.

It's just that - we still don't know what going to happen here.

I wish James Happ a speedy and uneventful recovery.

Every infielder's worst nightmare.


'The Horrific Line Drive' is from Gregg Zaun - during the 4th inning break on Sportnet's 'Blue Jays Central', with host Jamie Campbell.

Video via NewsJCM's Youtube Channel


Sunday, May 5, 2013

Munenori Kawasaki, through the Looking Glass

Game Notes from Sunday afternoon's scorecard - Game 3 of 3 between the visiting Seattle Mariners and the Toronto Blue Jays --- the complete scorecard of which, is here: "Mariners at Blue Jays - Game 3" -

Game Notes

Final in 9
Seattle Mariners: 2
Toronto Blue Jays: 10

Munenori Kawasaki, through the Looking Glass

I missed today's game; this scorecard was produced after the game from the MLB, 'Gameday', Play-by-Play page (

As I was filling in the line-ups I said to myself, 'Holy cow what is Gibbons doing now - batting Bonifacio 8th? Doesn't he read my blogs? Doesn't he understand that Bonifacio is a top-of-the-order kind of player?'

But was I wrong, this line-up - with the turn-the-line-up-over 8 and 9 hitters (Bonifacio and Kawasaki) - really worked against Seattle pitcher Joe Saunders today (although with the exception of St Louis Cardinals' manager, Tony La Russa - where pitchers hit eighth - I've never seen this done before).

Admittedly, Bonifacio went 0 for 4 in the 8 spot - but his presence down there seemed to bring out the best in Kawasaki - who had a great game at the bottom of the order.

In 4 plate appearances Kawasaki sacrificed, which drove a run in; walked; then singled, driving in another run, and in turning the line-up over, allowed Encarnacion to plate Kawasaki himself; singled again to turn over the line-up again, which resulted in another run scored later that inning. Over-all Kawasaki went 2 for 2, 2 RBI, and a run scored.

I still believe that batting Cabrera 3, Bautista 4, and Encarnacion 5 is the better order - but if you want to start with the 8 hitter as your - of several lead off batter - well then, OK. There is after all - once through the batting order (through the looking glass, if you wish) - no 1 or 9 hitter, but simply a cycle of hitters.

Put 'em anywhere you wish Mr. Gibbons, as long as there's more guys who are capable of getting on in front of the nuclear-ball aided dynamic duo.


Saturday, May 4, 2013

Skipper Gibbons likely fired after Jays leave town

Game Notes from Saturday afternoon's scorecard - Game 2 between the visiting Seattle Mariners and the struggling Toronto Blue Jays --- the complete scorecard of which, is here: "Mariners at Blue Jays - Game 2" -

Game Notes

Final in 9
Seattle Mariners: 8
Toronto Blue Jays: 1

In some years of baseball writing I have learned never to make predictions; but today I'm going to go out on a limb and make the great leap. Gibbons is already fired - the Jays are waiting for the correct time to make the announcement.

This is not a surprise to this writer - I've been calling for Gibbons' head since an April 16th game against the White Sox, when Gibbons pinch hit Rajai Davis for Colby Rasmus in the 7th in a close game. The move weakened Gibbons' defence going into the late innings (- and the move cost him the game as the winning hit (White Sox, seventh hitter - in the ninth) sailed over the second-string centre fielder's head. (see complete game scorecard for that game -

Listening to the TV Play-by-Play today - and having watching the team closely through the year so far - I agree with Buck Martinez's take on the level of over-all team 'elan' (today, catcher Henry Blanco not knowing how many outs there were - and the entire team not seeming to know how many outs there were).

I have also learned in some years of baseball writing, that road trips are great places for bad news.

Toronto leaves town for Florida after tomorrow afternoon's finale with the Mariners - I expect the Blue Jays will release Manager John Gibbons at the beginning of this road trip - likely after the papers have gone to bed in the wee hours of Monday morning, May 6th.

It's always nice to let someone off the bus near their home (Texas).

All Scorecard 'Game Notes' are cross posted at Michael Holloway's Baseball Blogs -