Saturday Morning Breakfast & Baseball: Bad News Bears, Astros Edition, Territorial Rights, & Taking It Slow

Of course you remember Joe Mauer's 9th inning, go-ahead home run against the Red Sox last Saturday. After the game, one of my usher buddies (we'll call him "Brendan," because that's actually his name) tweeted his amazement at how Mauer could hit a ball over the Green Monster, but struggles to get the ball out of Target Field. Well, on the Home Run Tracker website, they have a nifty tool where you can not only look at a 2D overhead trajectory of every home run hit in the major leagues, but you can also superimpose another ballpark's dimensions onto the home run to see if it would have gone out in another stadium. Using this, I was able to put Target Field on Mauer's Fenway Park home run, and I discovered that if he had hit the very same ball in Minneapolis, it likely would have resulted in any of the following three: A wall-scraping home run, a double off the fence, or an out.

Note: The blue dot is where the ball landed atop the Green Monster. The green dot is where the ball would have landed had it continued unimpeded back to field level.

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Click to embiggen to a size about 1/100th as big as Danny Valencia's ego.

How does blame mauer bot feel about this?

  • The Houston Astros are a terrible team this year, just like they were last year. When you have the worst record in baseball, you often find yourself losing games in new and more exciting fashions. Monday night featured one of those ways, when the Astros threw away the game (pun intended). The scene is too hilarious to not explain, so here I go: In the top of the 11th inning, scored tied 4-4, the Nationals had Roger Bernadina on 1st base with nobody out. Newly acquired catcher Kurt Suzuki had one job, and that was to bunt Bernadina to second base. Suzuki had trouble handing the pitch from Wilton Lopez, and bunted the ball in the air. The ball landed in front of first baseman Steve Pearce, who was attempting to get to the ball at the same time as the pitcher Lopez. The ball hit off Pearce's shin and bounced towards the pitcher's mound as Pearce collided with Lopez. Pearce ran after the ball and got to it just before third baseman Matt Downs. Downs' momentum would have taken him right into Pearce, so he attempted to jump around Pearce, who had to avoid Downs with his throw and ended up firing the ball into foul territory down the right field line. Bernandina bolted around the bases and ran through the stop sign at 3rd base, but scored anyway when right fielder Brian Bogusevic's throw ended up sailing over catcher Chris Snyder's head. Final scorer's decision: Bunt single for Suzuki and throwing errors by Pearce and Bogusevic. Also, one hilarious picture.

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  • The Oakland Athletics want to move out of Oakland and into San Jose, but there's one significant issue standing between them and freedom. That issue would be the San Francisco Giants and territorial rights. You see, the Giants own territorial rights for Santa Clara County, a gift from former Athletics owner Walter Haas (for a lengthier history on the territorial rights, check out this post from Athletics Nation. Just to warn you, it's about as long as Hogwarts, A History), and they don't want to give those rights back to the A's. Thus, if MLB chooses to interfere, the Giants are threatening to sue Major League Baseball. Would they actually do it? I have no idea. However, I am certainly one that believes that the move to San Jose would be for the best, even though it would make my dream of visiting all the major league ballparks in one summer slightly more difficult. On the plus side, the Giants will take action faster than Bud Selig's Blue Ribbon Panel.
  • In honor of the slower-than-molasses Blue Ribbon Panel, I have two things that honor those that are patient. In yesterday's Brewers/Reds game, Brewers pitcher Randy Wolf decided that his high-80s/low-90s fastball was not adequate for second baseman Brandon Phillips, and thus chose to lob in a curveball that traveled 49 miles per hour. That is not a typo. If you prefer not to watch the eephus-that-was-not-an-eephus, and are curious as to what Phillips did to said junkball, the answer is... nothing. Phillips just stood there and watched the ball sail float into the lefthanded batter's box for a ball. As it turns out, it's possible that Wolf was continuing a contest that he competed with former teammate Zack Greinke. In this contest, they wanted to see which one of them could throw the slowest. Wolf has averaged a lower velocity in both his fastball and curveball over his career, so you'd think that he would have this one in the bag, but apparently Greinke had the lead for quite a while prior to that 49 MPH pitch. Something to keep an eye on for the rest of the season...
  • Finally, you know how we hear all these complaints about keeping the game moving, and how pitchers and hitters take too long in between pitches? Well, looks like we found our first culprit, and it's not who you'd expect. Some might say Josh Beckett or Daisuke Matsuzaka, but it's... Mike Ekstrom? Yep, the reliever that you've probably never heard of (#HipsterKevinSlowey) apparently took too long during his allotted 8 warmup pitches, and on two separate occasions! Such a rebel! Along with the warning letter sent to Ekstrom, Baseball Prospectus also has a commentary of what was going on inside Ekstrom's head when he took his unfathomed extra minute of warmup tosses.

Folks, by the time you read this, I will be off to Niagara Falls, Toronto, and Montreal on a family vacation. Thus, I will not be on duty for the Breakfast and Baseball post next week. What ever will you do without it?!?!?

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