News and Notes: Playoff Off Day (for us)

Props to the Pirates. Good luck in the playoffs.

I’m really looking forward to tonight’s Cle/Tampa game. I’m going to pull for Cle.

A few interesting tidbits from the WSJ last week:

– According to Baseball Info Solutions there have been more than 7,800 “defensive shifts” in 2013, up from 4,500 in 2012.

– The frequency of sacrifice bunts and intentional walks fell to record lows this year. Stolen-base attempts sank to their lowest since 1973. The stats guys are winning out.

I heard this during a radio broadcast (can’t remember which game)

– There were 12 guys with 100+ RBI this year, two on the Tigers. In 2000 there were over 51 (including Bobby Higginson and Dean Palmer)

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And a thought which I’m carrying over from a Coleman/Smoking Loon exchange last week.

– I had a Strat-0-Matic set when I was young. Actually, it was my father’s and the player cards were from ’77-’79. Not the best Tiger years, but the Yankees and A’s could kill it. I remember playing whole games and keeping score. When I was very young, the great Jon Miller did play-by-play for the Rangers and lived a few houses down from us. I didn’t have any baseball consciousness then, but my parents buddied up with the Millers. Several years later he was in Arlington for an Orioles/Rangers series and he came by the house. Strat-O-Matic came up and he told me that he use to simulate entire seasons with one team, and would call the play-by-play and do the PA as he progressed through the games.

– With that in mind, can we talk for a bit about baseball video games? When I was six, my next door neighbor, Kyle, had baseball for his Atari. He used to dominate me when we played and would turn to me and do a menacing laugh every time he hit a home run. In fact, he’d load up the bases on purpose and then hit a grand slam. Over and over and over. Finally, he turned to me to start his laugh and I punched him in the nose. The laughs stopped and my team’s performance improved.

– I would like to single-handedly claim responsibility for the incredible Matt Williams 1990 season. If you’ll remember, Baseball Stars came out in 1989. Unless you wanted to play with the Lovely Ladies or the Japan Robins, you had to name your own teams (playing with the American Dreams just wasn’t fair). My buddy and I named every MLB team, including a 3B for the Giants named Matt Williams whom we had never heard of. He hit about .660 with 54 home runs in our first Baseball Stars season, and in 1990 he became an All-Star for the first time. Coincidence?

– I played RBI Baseball when I went to my friends’ houses who weren’t as fortunate to have Baseball Stars like me, but I felt sorry for them.

– I also played a lot of Tony La Russa baseball in the early 90’s on my PC. In fact, that’s how I really came to know many of the all-time Tiger greats. This was, of course, when I wasn’t playing Leisure Suit Larry.

– Baseball games kind of got lost for me once the consoles improved, as the focus shifted to Madden and NHL.

– I did, however, pick up MLB The Show a few years ago, and that game is unbelievable. I’d play more if the games just didn’t take so long. Plus, that was 2 years ago so I’m tired of trying to win with Brad Penny. They really have done an amazing job of making sure that you buy the new edition every year.