Right Field

Brief chronicles of our sporting times.

Reveille 1/14/13


Good morning.

Here are several go-to links to make the second Monday of 2013 a bit more bearable:

Perhaps the clearest effect of the crowded ballot, however, was realized among candidates who were returning to the ballot from last year. Of the 13 players who carried over from the 2012 ballot, nine received a lower share of the vote, including Lee Smith, Alan Trammell, Fred McGriff, Don Mattingly and Bernie Williams.

This is atypical; instead, players usually add votes with each additional year they spend on the ballot. Since 1967, when the Hall of Fame adopted balloting rules similar to the ones it uses now, about two-thirds of holdover players gained ground from their prior year’s vote percentage.

  • In his third year on the Cooperstown ballot, Larry Walker pulled in a disappointing 21.6 percent of the BBWAA vote. In a message to Sports Illustrated’s Joe Lemire, he expressed gratitude to those who backed him:

I was actually shocked by some of the articles I read in which people supported me. They studied my home and road splits and the Coors Field effect and how they would compare to other people’s numbers after doing all that analysis. I don’t know how they do it all and what it involves, but I saw the final result and I thought, ‘OK, cool, I like that.’ Somebody took that time to try and figure out the reasons why I should be in.

We want to offer an alternative to sports writing that has too often either congratulated itself for its ignorance (“I don’t use the Tweeter.”) or dismissed the unknown as unworthy of attention before giving it any whatsoever (“I don’t understand it. Therefore, it’s scary and stupid.”).

  • Trish Vignola of Full Spectrum Baseball looks back at the Baker Bowl in Philadelphia, home to the Philies from 1887 until the middle of 1938. Regarding the park’s high wall in right field, Vignola writes:

In 1915, the right field wall was raised to forty feet in an attempt to keep deadball home run hitters, the few that there were, in the ballpark. By 1929, the Phillies added a screen. Frank Jackson of “The Hardball Times” attributes these renovations to the introduction of a livelier baseball. The total height of the wall was now sixty feet.

There is evidence that the Baker Bowl’s right field wall set precedence and was a forerunner to such classic ballparks as Fenway Park. We see evidence in the right field wall at Baker Bowl in what would become the Green Monster of Fenway. Like the Green Monster, the Bowl’s right field wall was initially cluttered with ads. Eventually, that gave way to a well-documented enormous Lifebuoy soap advertisement. The ad boasted that “The Phillies Use Lifebuoy.” The iconic ad was known to prompt the response from a local vandal, “And they still stink.”

  • A five-episode, 30-minute series, Costas at the Movies, starring, yup, Bob Costas premiers tonight at 8 p.m. EST on the MLB Network. As told by the Hollywood Reporter, the “broadcaster will interview the stars and filmmakers behind classic baseball movies.”

That’s it. Have a walk-off week!

Tags: MLB


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