Category Archives: Cheap MLB Jerseys

George Baumgardner Jersey

What’s more rare than a no-hitter? A game with both teams finishing hitless.

Some of these uncommon games concIuded early because of darkness, while others were won by teams that scored on errors, sacrifices, walks or other methods.

MORE: Greatest individual pitching performances in MLB history

There has never been a complete-game double no-hitter in the major leagues. It has occurred 10 times in the minors:
George Baumgardner Jersey

Aug. 7, 1886: Oakland’s George Van Haltren beat San Francisco’s Jim McMullin 4-2 in a California League game that featured a lot of runs when you consider neither team had a hit.

Aug. 10, 1902: Convicts, Lunatics and zeroes. Jim Courtwright and the Nevada Lunatics locked up Eli Cates and the Jefferson City Convicts 1-0 in a hitless Missouri Valley League matchup. “Only two or three balls were hit to the outfield during the game,” according to The Sedalia Democrat.

MORE: Pitcher allows home run in no-hitter

Aug. 1, 1903: Greenville’s Forrest Wright bested Baton Rouge’s Dick Harley 1-0 in this Cotton States League double no-hitter. “Wheeler had the satisfaction of scoring the only run of the game,” The Times-Democrat wrote.

May 1, 1907: In Game 2 of a Cotton States League doubleheader, Meridian Ribboners mystery man Henry Schultz and Jackson Senators lefty Harold Christman both pitched five-inning complete-game no-hitters in a 0-0 tie that took 44 minutes to play.

Aug. 5, 1908: It was also the back end of a doubleheader when neither Bloomington’s Ed Higgins nor Springfield’s S. Grandy allowed a hit in Bloomington’s 1-0 Three-I League victory.

Sept. 5, 1910: The Huntington Johnnies and Wabash Rockeries couldn’t get their bats going in Game 2 of a Class D doubleheader in Wabash, Ind. Huntington’s hurler was named Wentz and Wabash’s was named Scott. “Both pitched airtight ball. Hitless and runless they held their opponents,” the Daily News-Democrat recapped. “At the end of the sixth the gathering shadows and low hanging clouds caused the umps to call the game.”

MORE: A birthday letter to the no-hitter

June 8, 1911: Two aces combined for 30 strikeouts in an 11-inning hitless Class D Mountain States League contest. Charleston’s Dick Niehaus and Huntington’s George Baumgardner both lasted into the 11th inning in Huntington’s 1-0 win.

July 26, 1913: These Blowhards must’ve been lying about their offensive prowess. A pitcher named Manchester threw for the Waycross Blowhards and was countered by Cleo Wilder of the Cordele Babies. Neither team had a hit in the 0-0, five-inning Class D Empire State League game.

Aug. 20, 1952: The first dual no-hitter in 39 years came when Franklin Etchberger of the Bradford Phillies and James Mitchell of the Batavia Clippers dealt in Bradford’s 1-0 win. At least one person thinks there should’ve been a hit that night; the batter who made the final out says he was safe.
George Baumgardner Jersey

Aug. 23, 1992: The most recent hitless game was seen by only 1,000 spectators because it was played on the Florida coast the day before Hurricane Andrew. Andy Carter and the Clearwater Phillies snuck past Scott Bakkum and the Winter Haven Red Sox 1-0. The game garnered national attention and the Baseball Hall of Fame called the next day to collect and display game balls and equipment.

Some of these dual duels were discovered by Chuck McGill, the no-hitter expert we profiled in 2015.

Tim Hagerty is the broadcaster for the Triple-A El Paso Chihuahuas and is on Twitter at @MinorsTeamNames. He is also the author of “Root for the Home Team: Minor League Baseball’s Most Off-the-Wall Team Names.”

Harry Matuzak Jersey

The former Orlando Magic executive held a press conference this past week to talk about trying to land a baseball team for the theme park mecca.

Williams’ contention is that Orlando is ready for MLB because it has 2.5 million residents in its metropolitan area. Furthermore, the city attracts 75 million tourists each year.
Harry Matuzak Jersey

Williams said he believes Orlando is a better market than those mentioned as possible expansion cities or places where a team with stadium issues like the Oakland Athletics or Tampa Bay Rays could relocate. Among the cities he mentioned where Charlotte, Las Vegas, Montreal, Nashville, Portland and Vancouver.

Not to burst Williams’ bubble but it’s certainly hard to make any kind of case to place a third team in Florida or even move the Rays across I-4 to the land of Mickey Mouse.

Today In: Business
The Sunshine State has proven it can’t even support one MLB franchise. The Rays and Marlins are annually among the lowest franchises in attendance.

The Rays drew just 1,178,735 this past season to Tropicana Field. That was pathetic considering Tampa Bay won 96 games, beat the Athletics on the road in the wild card and pushed the Houston Astros – who had the best regular-season record in the major leagues – to the full five games before losing in an American League Division Series.

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The Rays drew 2.5 million fans during their expansion season in 1998. They cracked 1.9 million in a season since then.

Beyond being the only stadium in the major leagues with a permanent roof, the complaint about Tropicana Field is its location in south St. Petersburg. That represents nearly an hour’s drive for fans in the northern part of Tampa.

The Rays have also unsuccessful tried to get a new ballpark built in the Tampa/St. Pete area for year. The latest failed attempt came last December when a proposed facility in Tampa’s Ybor City section fell through.

Yet speaking of driving, have you ever tried to navigate I-4 in the Orlando area during tourist season? There are few experiences you can have in a vehicle that are worse.

The Marlins’ situation isn’t any better as fans haven’t exactly flocked to Marlins Park since it opened in 2012. In fact, interest is so low in professional baseball in the city that the Marlins have yet to secure a naming rights’ deal for the 7-year-old facility.

The Marlins haven’t come close to drawing one million fans the last two seasons. This year, the total attendance was 811,302. That was up all of 198 fans from 2018. Of course, Miami lost 98 games last year and 105 this year.
Harry Matuzak Jersey

Miami also had the lowest attendance in the major leagues in 2019. Tampa Bay was second.

It is hard to blame the citizens of Miami for not supporting their team. Though the Marlins produced World Series winners in 1997 and 2003, they have usually not been competitive since joining the National League as an expansion franchise in 1993.

Williams, though, is undeterred. He even has a nickname already selected for the Orlando team – the Dreamers.

Quite ironic in a state that has turned out to be a nightmare for MLB.

Paul Meloan Jersey

With the Major League Baseball Hot Stove season almost at its boiling point, many fans across Dodgertown can’t help but recollect the most notable trades in the history of the Los Angeles Dodgers franchise.

Since officially moving to Los Angeles in 1958, many player trades occurred that were instrumental in winning nine National League pennants and five World Series championships. However, along with the deals that were beneficial came the deals that were dreadful, and people wonder what may have transpired if a number of these trades could have been undone.
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The following slides rank the 50 worst trades in the history of the Los Angeles Dodgers organization, as well as offer a bit of commentary for each transaction. Please note that the rankings don’t include any free-agent signings, nor do they contain any deals made prior to the Dodgers moving to Los Angeles. The list is not syndicated in any fashion and it is purely opinionated and subjective.

Although some of the transactions listed may seem more prominent than others, the logic used in the rankings is based on the players ability at that time and into the future, weighted against what the Dodgers actually received in return.

Fasten your seat belts and enjoy the ride through 52 years of Dodgers history.

50. Eric Davis Traded for John DeSilva—9/7/1993
1 OF 50
11 May 1993: Outfielder Eric Davis of the Los Angeles Dodgers looks to throw the ball during a game against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Daniel /Allsport
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
From a logistics standpoint, it clearly made sense at the time for general manager Fred Claire to move Eric Davis. At 36-years-old, Davis’ production didn’t warrant his $3-million salary and Los Angeles hoped to get a profitable return while his value was still relatively decent.
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On September 7, 1993, Davis was dealt to the Detroit Tigers for relief pitcher John DeSilva, and as it turned out, the 1993 season would be DeSilva’s last pitching in the majors. Davis went on to play another seven seasons—two of which he hit 25-or-more home runs.

Dealing Davis may have been a productive idea at the time, but clearly the Dodgers should have shopped him much more carefully.

Hoping that Manny Ramirez would rebound from his suspension and contribute on an everyday basis in 2010, general manager Ned Colletti believed that by dealing Juan Pierre, the Dodgers had an excellent opportunity to upgrade their pitching staff.

On December 15, 2009, Pierre was dealt to the Chicago White Sox in exchange for a pair of young pitchers—reliever Jon Link and starter John Ely.

The verdict is still out on Link and Ely. However, the trade never made much sense from a financial viewpoint. Los Angeles picked up all of Pierre’s $7 million salary in 2010, and it is on the hook for another $3.5 million in 2011.

Considering the Dodgers’ offensive production in 2010, Pierre’s 68 stolen bases and 96 runs scored may have made a difference in the overall performance of the squad.

Bob Lawrence Jersey

HOUSTON — The assistant general manager of the Houston Astros apologized Tuesday for using “inappropriate language” after a Sports Illustrated report said he repeatedly yelled toward a group of female reporters about closer Roberto Osuna during a clubhouse celebration.

Brandon Taubman released a statement through the Astros hours before they played Game 1 of the World Series against Washington. Major League Baseball said it will interview those involved before further commenting.

Taubman’s remarks after the Astros clinched the AL pennant reportedly referenced Osuna, who was suspended for 75 games last year for violating MLB’s domestic violence policy before being traded from Toronto to the Astros.

According to SI, Taubman shouted “Thank God we got Osuna!” and made similar remarks several times, punctuating them with an expletive.

SI said one of the reporters was wearing a domestic violence awareness bracelet. The incident occurred after the Astros beat the New York Yankees at Minute Maid Park on Saturday night in Game 6 of the AL Championship Series.

On Monday night, after the SI story was published, the Astros called it “misleading and completely irresponsible.” The team said SI had tried to “fabricate a story where one does not exist” and said Taubman’s comments weren’t directed at the reporters.

Taubman, on Tuesday, said he was “deeply sorry and embarrassed.”
Bob Lawrence Jersey

“In retrospect, I realize that my comments were unprofessional and inappropriate. My overexuberance in support of a player has been misinterpreted as a demonstration of a regressive attitude about an important social issue,” he said.

MLB said in a statement that “everyone in baseball must use care to not engage in any behavior — whether intentional or not — that could be construed as minimizing the egregiousness of an act of domestic violence.”

“The Astros have disputed Sports Illustrated’s characterization of the incident. MLB will interview those involved before commenting further,” it said.

Astros manager AJ Hinch said Tuesday that he wasn’t aware of the incident until the story came out and that he hadn’t spoken to everyone involved in it but that “we all need to be better across the board, in the industry” when it comes to matters such as these.

“I’m very disappointed for a lot of reasons,” he said. “It’s unfortunate, it’s uncalled for. For me as a leader in this organization down here in the clubhouse, on the field, I take everything that happens in the clubhouse to heart.”

“No one, it doesn’t matter if it’s a player, a coach, a manager, any of you members of the media, should ever feel like when you come into our clubhouse that you’re going to be uncomfortable or disrespected,” he continued.

Canadian prosecutors dropped a domestic assault charge in September 2018 against Osuna, who agreed to stay away from a woman identified by authorities as the mother of his child for one year and continue counseling. The prosecution said the woman, who lived in Mexico, had made it clear she would not travel to Toronto to testify against Osuna.

Osuna was charged with assault in May 2018. The Blue Jays traded him to Houston two months later.

Astros owner Jim Crane, in a statement, said the team has mandatory training for its employees and “we fully support MLB and baseball’s stance and values regarding domestic violence.”

Also Tuesday, the Baseball Writers’ Association of America denounced the incident and the team’s handling of it and called for multiple members of the Astros front office to issue a public apology to the media outlets involved in the story.

The BBWAA’s statement said it was “alarmed and dismayed by the actions” of the team and its public relations department and said the team’s denial of the incident was “an unethical and intentional fabrication, designed to discredit our members and all journalists.”

The Association for Women in Sports Media called on the Astros to retract the statement that the story was fabricated.

“As a watchdog organization, we demand fair treatment and positive workplace environments for women working in the field,” the statement said.
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Bob Lawrence Jersey

Pink Taco founder Harry Morton, 38, found dead in Beverly Hills
Pink Taco founder Harry Morton, 38, found dead in Beverly Hills
2
More rain and snow in the forecast for Thanksgiving
More rain and snow in the forecast for Thanksgiving
3
Not really homeless, man makes Boulder City mine shaft his castle
Not really homeless, man makes Boulder City mine shaft his castle
4
Deontay Wilder knocks out Luis Ortiz to retain heavyweight title
Deontay Wilder knocks out Luis Ortiz to retain heavyweight title
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Thanksgiving weather in Las Vegas Valley: cold, wet, white (?)
Thanksgiving weather in Las Vegas Valley: cold, wet, white (?)

Andrew Triggs Jersey

In a transaction that flew under the radar back on August 30, the Giants signed righty Andrew Triggs to a minor league deal, as per Roster Roundup (Twitter link).

Triggs hasn’t pitched since an April 10 appearance for Oakland’s Triple-A affiliate. It was almost a full year ago that Triggs underwent thoracic outlet syndrome surgery, and he pitched in just three games for Triple-A Las Vegas before going on the injured list for the remainder of the season. The A’s released Triggs in early August.
Andrew Triggs Jersey

It stands to reason that Triggs’ Giants deal could be a two-year contract, as the team didn’t get an opportunity to see him in any sort of competitive environment in their system, and a deal that covers the 2020 season would allow the Giants to more fully evaluate the 30-year-old’s health and readiness to possibly contribute next season.

Prior to his TOS surgery, Triggs posted a 4.53 ERA, 8.17 K/9, 49.6% grounder rate, and 2.96 K/BB rate over 163 innings for the Athletics from 2016-18, starting 27 of his 45 career Major League games. He also went under the knife in 2017, as his season was cut short by hip surgery in July of that year.

Orlando Merced Jersey

The Pittsburgh Pirates have a working agreement with the Gigantes de Carolina of the Puerto Rican Winter League. That seems like a natural match-up for the Pirates, whose most famous player is from Puerto Rico, and the actual name of the league is Liga de Béisbol Profesional Roberto Clemente, which translates to the Roberto Clemente Professional Baseball League. The Gigantes play at Roberto Clemente Stadium.

The Pirates sent several players to Puerto Rico last year in the first winter of their agreement, including Gage Hinsz and Rodolfo Castro. This year they are already sending outfielder Chris Sharpe, pitcher Ike Schlabach and third baseman Dylan Busby. The season there opens up on Friday. More prospects will likely be added during the winter season, which runs into January, and possibly early February if the Gigantes win their league and move on to the Caribbean Series.

I wanted to take a look at the history of the Pirates in Puerto Rico. Having Roberto Clemente made the Pirates popular in the country, and they are still to this day due to that connection. That could have given them an advantage to sign players from the country, but any advantage would have been taken away when Major League Baseball added Puerto Rico to the amateur draft back in 1989. In recent years (the Neal Huntington era), the Pirates have only drafted three players from the country, Edwin Roman, Bengi Gonzalez and Nelson Jorge. None of them made the majors, Roman didn’t get out of the GCL, and Jorge made almost zero progress in five years, never making it above Bristol.

Here’s a list and brief summary of the MLB players from Puerto Rico who have played with the Pirates. This includes all of the players to put on a Pittsburgh uniform, but I noted which ones were actually signed by the Pirates, which is obviously a much smaller list.

Clemente is far and away the best player from the country according to Baseball-Reference WAR. His 94.4 career WAR is 24.9 points higher than Carlos Beltran, who has the second best WAR from the country. That doesn’t mean that they didn’t have other great players though. Hall of Famers Roberto Alomar, Ivan Rodriguez and Orlando Cepeda were all from the PR.

To find the second best player by WAR from Puerto Rico who played on the Pirates, you have to go down to 15th overall with outfielder Sixto Lezcano, who played the final 72 games of his career with the 1985 Pirates. One spot lower is Benito Santiago, who spent his last six games with the 2005 Pirates after an ill-advised trade. Two good players, but neither really did much for the Pirates.

The first player to see somewhat significant time after Clemente was pitcher Juan Pizarro, who was teammates with the Great One in 1967-68, then returned to end his career in 1974. He made 11 starts and 58 relief appearances for the Pirates, picking up nine saves and ten wins. Even though Pizarro ranks 22nd in WAR on this list, he’s actually the second highest pitcher, trailing only Javier Vazquez. It has clearly been an offense-first island for baseball.

Next for the Pirates is reliever Roberto Hernandez, who celebrated a birthday yesterday and got me thinking about this article. His time in Pittsburgh was brief, with 46 relief appearances in 2006 before he was traded to the New York Mets. He picked up 326 career saves.

Finally, down in the 32nd spot with 16.2 WAR, we get to 1B/OF Orlando Merced. He’s the highest ranked player for the Pirates, who was actually signed by the Pirates. Just in case anyone doesn’t know, Clemente was originally signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers. Merced signed with the Pirates in February of 1985 as an amateur free agent and spent seven seasons with the team, including the 1990-92 playoff run.

After Merced, you have another vet in the Lezcano/Santiago mold, who finished off his career with the Pirates and didn’t play up to his standards. Omar Olivares ended his 12-year career with a 6.55 ERA in 110 innings for the 2001 Pirates.

I apologize for mentioning the next player. Jose Hernandez was with the 2003 and 2006 Pirates, playing 125 games total. No need to bring up how he got to Pittsburgh.

Next up is outfielder Carmelo Martinez, who played briefly for the 1990-91 Pirates near the end of his nine-year career. He ranks 47th all-time for the country in WAR at 11.0, though his time in Pittsburgh just dragged that down a little with an -0.2.

Pitcher Ramon Hernandez was signed by the Pirates and played six seasons for them (1971-76), but he played for four different MLB teams, mostly in the minors, before the Pirates acquired him from a Mexican League team in 1971. He was signed originally by them in 1959 and was sold to the Los Angeles Angels two years later.

Wil Cordero played part of the 2000 season for the Pirates in the middle of his 14-year career. His 6.0 WAR is just ahead of the 5.7 put up by Jose Pagan, who was with the Pirates from 1965 until 1972 after being acquired in an even up trade with the San Francisco Giants for Dick Schofield. Pagan played 15 years in the majors, with nearly half of his 1,326 games coming with the Pirates.

Down in 84th place in WAR is the second player who was signed by the Pirates, then worked his way through their system to the majors. Jose Lind was a member of the 1990-92 playoff run along with fellow countryman Orlando Merced. Lind was signed as an amateur free agent in 1982 and played 779 games with the Pirates from 1987 until 1992. He won a Gold Glove in 1992.

Pitcher Luis Arroyo played for the 1956-57 Pirates after he was acquired in a trade with the St Louis Cardinals. Another unfortunate trade piece in Armando Rios played for the 2001-02 Pirates. He was born in Puerto Rico, but went to college at LSU and North Carolina Charlotte to get drafted. Pitcher Jonathan Sanchez wrapped up his eight-year career with a brief appearance on the 2013 Pirates.

The third player mentioned here to go from the PR to minors to Pirates lasted a very short time in Pittsburgh. Angel Mangual was signed in 1966 and played four games for the 1969 Pirates. He would have some value for the team as part of a trade with the Oakland A’s for pitcher Mudcat Grant.

First baseman Willie Montanez turned being a replacement level player into a 14-year career, with a stop in Pittsburgh late in 1981 and early in 1982 for 65 total games. He had a career 1.7 WAR. Infielder Ramon Vazquez signed a two-year deal prior to 2009 with the Pirates, then was finished in the majors after 101 games that season. Julio Gotay was an infielder who played seven games total for the 1963-64 Pirates. He’s slightly known for being part of the Dick Groat trade with the St Louis Cardinals.

First baseman Eddie Vargas signed with the Pirates in 1977 and played briefly for them in 1982 and 1984. He spent nine years in their farm system. The Pirates went 11 years after Mangual without signing a player from the PR who played for them, but then they got two in one year (see the second one below).

The final game in the career of shortstop Onix Concepcion was also his only game for the Pirates. He contributed a pinch-hit single for the 1987 Pirates. First baseman Ivan Cruz played 41 MLB games spread out over four seasons, with 13 of those games coming with the 1999-2000 Pirates.

Carlos Bernier was an outfielder for the 1953 Pirates and the first player from Puerto Rico to play for the team. He wasn’t signed by the Pirates out of the country though. He was drafted from a minor league team in 1951. He hit .213 over 105 games in his only season of pro ball.

Luis Figueroa was signed by the Pirates in 1997, went through their system and lasted four game and two at-bats with them in 2001 before being lost on waivers. He was draft eligible, but went undrafted and was signed as a free agent.

Danny Ortiz (pictured above) played nine games for the 2017 Pirates after he was signed as a minor league free agent. That ended up being his entire big league career, though he’s still an active player, spending 2019 in Mexico.

One of the more well-known players lower on this list is catcher Junior Ortiz, who is the sixth player mentioned here who was signed/trained/played for the Pirates. He was signed in 1977 along with Eddie Vargas and debuted in 1982. He was then traded to the Mets before being a Rule 5 pick from the Mets, coming back for five more seasons in Pittsburgh. Ortiz was a nice backup, but it only earned him a -0.3 WAR during his career.

Luis Marquez was a 1954 trade acquisition, who played 14 games with the Pirates that season, making him the second player from Puerto Rico to play for the Pirates.

Javier Martinez pitched 37 games for the 1997 Pirates at age 21, which ended up being his entire big league career. He was drafted by the Cubs and also spent time with the A’s, before joining Pittsburgh.

You need to get all the way down to -0.9 WAR to get to the first draft pick out of Puerto Rico for the Pirates to make it to the majors with them. First baseman Carlos Rivera was a tenth round pick in 1996, who played 85 games for the 2003-04 Pirates. He was the second draft pick from the PR by the Pirates to make it to Pittsburgh after 1995 fourth round pick/first baseman Alex Hernandez, who put up a -1.0 WAR in 27 games for the 2000-01 Pirates.

Infielder Fernando Gonzalez wasn’t originally signed by the Pirates, but he did debut in the majors with them in 1972, spending parts of four seasons with them. He hit .257 over 129 games with the Pirates. Pittsburgh was one of four teams that he posted a negative WAR with, on his way to a -3.0 career mark, which ranks last among the players on this list.

Puerto Rico has produced 268 players so far in Major League history. They had two players before Jackie Robinson made the majors, and numerous players throughout the 1950’s. The island didn’t start mass producing MLB players until 1969 when things really took off. There were some light years in the early 2000s, and that brought some backlash against the draft in the country.

There has been a resurgence of sorts as of late, with 28 players from Puerto Rico in the majors this season. That includes the last player on our list of 33 Pirates, pitcher Yacksel Rios, who was a waiver pickup from the Phillies in August. He will be playing this winter in Puerto Rico as well, though as a native of the country, he had to go through the league’s winter draft, so he won’t be on the same team as the other players from the Pirates.

It’s not great results over the years from the country. Only two draft picks made it through the system to the Pirates in 31 drafts, and a third player signed undrafted out of the PR during that time. There’s no one in the farm system right now, so that won’t change any time soon. Combined those three players had a -1.9 WAR with the Pirates and played just 116 games. There were some good results prior to the draft with Jose Lind, Orlando Merced and Junior Ortiz, plus Angel Mangual being a nice trade piece, but other than Eddie Vargas, they were the only players who were signed, trained by, and played with the Pirates over the years.

At least for now, the Pirates will look to get some value out of the country by partnering with their winter league to help improve their minor league players. It’s a strong competition level down there, so it’s a good experience for a group of players who spent most or all of 2019 in High-A ball.

Tom Raftery Jersey

The sweet words of “Game 7” once again delivered for FOX Sports, as the Nationals’ victory over the Astros on Wednesday night delivered 23,013,000 viewers with a 13.1 Nielsen rating to rank as the network’s best performance for a primetime telecast this broadcast season and ranking as FOX’s top Wednesday night telecast since Game 7 of the 2017 World Series. Overall, for the full 2019 MLB postseason saw FOX and FS1 average 7,835,000 viewers, up 12% compared to last year’s average.

In addition, Tunity Analytics reports that Game averaged 5,522,830 OOH viewers to mark a rise of 93% over the average for games 1-6. The game peaked at 9:05 with an OOH audience of 6,978,855. Let me know if you have any questions.

PROGRAMMING

With college basketball tipping off on Nov. 5, FOX Sports revealed its lineup of broadcasters who will be calling games and providing studio analysis for the 2019-20 season, anchored by Gus Johnson returning as the network’s lead play-by-play announcer with analyst Bill Raftery and Jim Jackson serving as FOX Sports’ lead game broadcasters. In studio, hosts Rob Stone, Mike Hill and Kevin Burkhardt work alongside a rotation of analysts, highlighted by Steve Lavin, Casey Jacobsen, Donny Marshall and Jackson. In addition, Former NCAA head coach Tim Miles joins FOX Sports as a game analyst this season. Lavin, Marshall, Jacobsen, Nick Bahe and Len Elmore also call games on FOX, FS1 and FS2 this season, while Burkhardt, Tim Brando, Joe Davis, Brian Custer, Aaron Goldsmith, Brian Anderson, Kevin Kugler and Brandon Gaudin serve as play-by-play announcers.

Number are in for Sunday’s National Women’s Soccer League Championship, which saw the North Carolina Courage take the title, and was seen by an average audience of 166,000 viewers on ESPN, ranking as the most-watched NWSL match in three years. The audience was up 43% over the 2018 Final and the ranked as NWSL’s best audience since the 2016 Final. Overall, the playoffs on ESPN2 averaged 148,000 viewers overall, up 66% from 2018.

CBS Sports hired Jonathan Jones to serve as an NFL Insider. The former Sports Illustrated writer will contribute to NFL coverage across multiple CBS platforms including CBS Sports HQ, CBSSports.com and CBS Sports Network providing year-round, in-depth reporting and analysis of all the latest news and notes surrounding the NFL.

MLB Network saw growth for its two ALDS game telecasts and live coverage before and after every Postseason game leading up to World Series Game 7. The 2019 MLB Postseason led the channel to viewership increases in Q4 in both prime time (avg. 178,000 viewers) and in total day (74,000 viewers), to mark rises of 51% and 7% over 2018, respectively.

Amazon unveiled the hosts, pundits and commentators for Prime members (excluding those in the U.S.) when Amazon Prime Video streams 20 live and exclusive Premier League football matches for the first time in December. Prime Video’s hosts for Premier League coverage in December will include Gabby Logan, Eilidh Barbour and Jim Rosenthal who will be joined by pundits that includeThierry Henry, Alan Shearer, Peter Crouch, Roberto Martinez, Lee Dixon, Harry Redknapp, Jermaine Jenas, Alex Scott, Peter Schmeichel and Michael Owen. Commentary across all 20 live and exclusive matches will be delivered by: Clive Tyldesley, Jon Champion, Connor McNamara, Guy Mowbray and Ian Darke alongside Andy Townsend, Ally McCoist, Glenn Hoddle, Sue Smith and Kevin Kilbane. Prime members will also be able to tune in to an exclusive goals show hosted by Steve Bower alongside Dion Dublin, Robbie Savage, Tim Sherwood, Joe Cole and Dermot Gallagher, that will bring Prime members footage from all of the best Premier League action as it happens across the UK.

The Hula Bowl is back and the event and CBS Sports Network inked an exclusive television partnership to carry the college football event. After a 12-year hiatus, the game returns to aloha stadium on Jan, 26, starting with a pregame show at 10p and kickoff at 10:30p, featuring some of college’s top Senior football players in an all-star game.

ESPN studio shows saw audience upticks in October in to continue monthly streaks, driven by Get Up, First Take, Pardon the Interruption and select editions of SportsCenter while Sunday NFL Countdown and NFL Monday Night Countdown were also up for the month. The period was particularly strong for the 11p SportsCenter which saw viewership rise 70%. Sunday NFL Countdown was up 20% and NFL Monday Night Countdown was up 9%.

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski locked in a multi-year extension to continue hosting his exclusive show, Basketball and Beyond with Coach K, on SiriusXM. His new season on the platform debuted yesterday at 6p. Throughout the college basketball season, a new edition of Basketball and Beyond will air every Thursday at 6p on both the ESPNU Radio on SiriusXM and SiriusXM ACC Radio channels

RIP to Barry Frank, a sports media pillar who negotiated Olympic TV deals and represented talent that included John Madden, Bob Costas and Jim Nantz. He died at the age of 87. “Barry was a visionary with guts and incredible instincts, seeing what no one else saw and bringing new deals and formats to life with drama, excitement and style. His extraordinary talents made IMG what it is today, and his fighting spirit was with him until the end. We will all miss him dearly,” Endeavor president Mark Shapiro said in a statement, per the AP. Frank was inducted into the Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame in 2009 and received the Lifetime Achievement Award for Sports last year at the Sports Emmy Awards.

Josh Stinson Jersey

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

Remember when the Orioles clinched the AL East title in 2014? I get goosebumps just thinking about it. Out-of-nowhere 2014 sensation Steve Pearce fielding a grounder unassisted for the final out. Orioles pouring out onto the field and mobbing each other in the middle of the diamond. Buck Showalter and John Russell giving each other a big bear hug in the dugout. Fireworks and confetti raining down on Camden Yards, where a raucous crowd partied well into the night, as Adam Jones obliged a few lucky fans with a celebratory pie to the face.

What a magical night. What a magical season. It almost seems like yesterday, doesn’t it?

Well, it wasn’t yesterday. It was … (furiously types numbers into calculator) … five years ago. And as far as the Orioles are concerned, it might as well have been an eternity ago. Because the team as it stands today has almost nothing in common with that 2014 squad.

Another link to that outstanding club left the nest yesterday when Caleb Joseph, who was a solid contributor as a rookie that season, signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks. The O’s non-tendered Joseph in November, so technically he’d already left the club, but now it’s official that he won’t be back. Mark Brown penned a Birdland Salute to everyone’s favorite scrappy, quick-witted catcher.

Only one player from the 2014 Orioles remains with the team, and he’s now their very worst player: Chris Davis. All the rest have been scattered to the winds, some still playing baseball elsewhere, some out of the game. Here, take a look.

Still active in MLB: Brad Brach (Cubs), Zack-not-Zach Britton (Yankees), Wei-Yin Chen (Marlins), Nelson Cruz (Twins), Ryan Flaherty (Indians), Kevin Gausman (Braves), Preston Guilmet (Twins), Nick Hundley (Athletics), Tommy Hunter (Phillies), Joseph (Diamondbacks), Nick Markakis (Braves), T.J. McFarland (Diamondbacks), Andrew Miller (Cardinals), Darren O’Day (Braves), Steve Pearce (Red Sox), Jonathan Schoop (Twins), Christian Walker (Diamondbacks)

Unsigned free agents: Adam Jones, Manny Machado, Bud Norris, Matt Wieters

Retired/not playing anywhere in MLB: Quintin Berry, Alexi Casilla, Steve Clevenger, Alejandro De Aza, Miguel Gonzalez, J.J. Hardy, Ubaldo Jimenez, Kelly Johnson, Steve Lombardozzi, David Lough, Brian Matusz, Evan Meek, Jimmy Paredes, Troy Patton, Cord Phelps, Ramon Ramirez, Joe Saunders, Josh Stinson, Chris Tillman, Ryan Webb, Jemile Weeks, Delmon Young

Those players, whether key contributors or no-name roster fillers, formed the best Orioles team of the last 20 years. It might be quite a while before we see an O’s team that good again.

Links
In slow market, Adam Jones’ free agency confounds former Orioles teammates: ‘Unfortunately, it’s where we’re at’ – Baltimore Sun
Count me among those who are confounded. You’re telling me not one team could use an outfielder who’s a reliable hitter and a leader in the clubhouse? Have you seen the projected outfield for, like, the Indians?

The word for Hyde’s first Orioles day is competition – BaltimoreBaseball.com
Rich Dubroff wraps up the first workout day for Orioles pitchers and catchers, in which some pitchers pitched and some catchers caught. Look, the exciting stuff isn’t going to be happening for a while.

Susac on second chance with Orioles – School of Roch
I figured Andrew Susac’s Orioles career was finished last year when he just went home instead of reporting to his rehab assignment, but here he is again. Even Susac says, “Yeah, I’m a little bit surprised that I’m back.”

Farmhand Yastrzemski invited to take his shot – Steve Melewski
Could this be the year that grandson-of-a-Hall-of-Famer Mike Yastrzemski finally makes it to the majors? It’d be a nice story, but I’m not looking forward to having to type out his name in game recaps.

Baltimore Orioles: 3 Pitchers Who’ll Surprise us in Spring Training
But if you’re predicting it to happen, can it really be considered a surprise? … Or did I just blow your mind?

Orioles birthdays and history
Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but there isn’t a single Orioles player in their 65-year history who was born on this date. Maybe you’ll be the first! Keep practicing, and never give up on your dreams.

On this date in 1959, the Orioles acquired Whitey Lockman from the San Francisco Giants. Basically what I’m saying is this has been an incredibly boring day in Orioles history.

Chris Stratton Jersey

On Wednesday, the Pittsburgh Pirates designated four players for assignment to make room on their 40-man roster. Who else could get DFA’d this offseason?
The MLB offseason is now in full swing. With that, teams had to add players to their 40-man roster in order to protect them from next month’s Rule 5 Draft by this past Wednesday. This led to the Pittsburgh Pirates adding five players – Blake Cederlind, Cody Ponce, Ke’Bryan Hayes, Oneil Cruz, and Will Craig – to their 40-man roster.

Prior to adding these five players to the roster the team’s 40-man roster was at 39. Due to this, the team needed to designate four players for assignment to make room on the roster. Dario Agrazal, Luis Escobar, Montana DuRapau, and Williams Jerez were the four players who were DFA’d by the team.

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With the Pirates’ 40-man roster now full that raises the question of which players could be next to be DFA’d? In order to add anyone in free agency or via the Rule 5 Draft, the Pirates will need to designate someone for assignment. Also, if they add a player via a trade that does not send a player currently on the 40-man roster to the other team in return, they will also need to make a roster move.

So, who are other candidates to be designated for assignment by the Pirates this offseason?

Most of the obvious DFA candidates, as is often the case, are pitchers. Relievers Chris Stratton, Dovydas Neverauskas, Sam Howard, and Yacksel Rios are all candidates to be DFA’d this offseason.

Stratton is out of minor league options and will have to clear waivers if he fails to make the team out of Spring Training. Neverauskas has never been able to find consistent success at the MLB level, and Howard and Rios were both DFA’d by other organizations in the last calendar year for a reason.

NEXT: Kotsay, Shelton Remain In Managerial Mix
Two under the radar candidates to be designated for assignment are infielder Kevin Kramer and catcher Elias Diaz.

Kramer has long been a highly touted prospect in the Pirates’ system, but he owns a .152/.222/.165 slash line and a 41.1% strikeout rate in 90 MLB plate appearances across the past two seasons. While 90 PAs is just about the smallest of sample sizes, Kramer was also a poor hitter at Triple-A last season. Additionally, it is tough to find a spot for him in the Pirates’ middle infield equation with Kevin Newman having locked up a spot and the team remaining high on Cole Tucker. Adam Frazier is a factor there, too.

As for Diaz, like Stratton, he is out of minor league options. So is fellow catcher Jacob Stallings. The Pirates need to add a catcher this offseason and will likely pair Diaz or Stallings with that catcher. Stallings looks like the far superior option to Diaz at this point, making Diaz a legitimate DFA candidate.

Joe McGinnity Jersey

Another way to look at it: those same six pitchers were all top 15 in Fangraphs’ pitching Wins Above Replacement: Cole (1st), Verlander (5th) and Greinke (9th), opposite Scherzer (4th), Strasburg (7th) and Corbin (T-12th).

This is just the third World Series to feature six of the top 15 pitchers in Fangraphs’ pitching WAR. The last time it happened? 1945. That’s when the Tigers, with Hal Newhouser (1st) and Dizzy Trout (T-10th), faced the Cubs, who had Claude Passeau (4th), Paul Derringer (T-10th), Hank Wyse (T-15th) and Ray Prim (T-15th).

The only other World Series to feature six of the top 15 such pitchers in a single year was 1905, between the Giants — Christy Mathewson (2nd), Red Ames (9th) and Joe McGinnity (12th) — and the A’s — Rube Waddell (3rd), Eddie Plank (4th) and Andy Coakley (15th). No World Series has ever had more than six of the top 15.

It’s safe to say that pitching was pretty different in 1945, and even more so back in 1905 — meaning that the fact this hadn’t happened again at any point until now is certainly notable.

And none of those individual rankings even include Aníbal Sánchez, who was 27th in ERA among qualifiers this year, with a 3.85 ERA, and has allowed one run in 12 2/3 innings this postseason — with a deep no-hit bid, to boot. But he contributed to the Nats’ overall rotation strength, noted below.

Plenty of strikeouts

Let’s zero in on strikeouts. Five of the six pitchers mentioned above were in the top 10 in strikeouts this season: Cole (1st), Verlander (2nd), Strasburg (6th), Scherzer (8th) and Corbin (T-10th). This is the first postseason series ever to feature at least five of the top 10 pitchers in strikeouts from that season. That’s right — series — not just World Series.

Cole’s 300th K of the season
Cole’s 300th K of the season
00:27
Sep. 18th, 2019
In fact, these two teams combined for 2,073 strikeouts this season. That’s by far the most combined regular-season strikeouts by starters in a World Series matchup, according to Elias. And given the recent trends with strikeouts, it should come as no surprise that this record has been set each World Series since 2016.

Most combined regular-season Ks from SP, WS matchup
2019: Nationals vs. Astros — 2,073
2018: Dodgers vs. Red Sox — 1,870
2017: Dodgers vs. Astros — 1,843
2016: Indians vs. Cubs — 1,806

Speaking of those strikeouts, something else worth noting on the Nationals’ side is the fact that they’ve used each of their 200-strikeout starters from the regular season in relief this postseason: Scherzer, Strasburg and Corbin. No other team in postseason history has ever used more than one pitcher in the postseason in relief that had 200 regular-season strikeouts for them that year. And the Nationals have used all three of theirs.

Team rankings

Another way to look at those 2,073 strikeouts? This World Series is a matchup between the two teams that ranked first (Astros) and second (Nationals) in strikeouts from starting pitchers this season. This is just the sixth World Series between the top two teams in starting pitcher strikeouts from that regular season, according to Elias. The last time it happened was 2001, when the D-backs led the Majors and the Yankees finished second.

Before that, this hadn’t happened in a World Series since 1930, between the A’s (1st) and Cardinals (2nd). The other instances: 1929, 1911 and 1905.

Looking for a trend? The team that had more regular-season strikeouts from its starters won three of the previous five such World Series — after the team with fewer such strikeouts won the first two such matchups.

Another area where these two teams’ entire starting staffs ranked favorably? Earned run average. The Nationals were second and the Astros were third in rotation ERA this season. It’s just the fifth World Series in the Divisional Era (since 1969) to be between teams who ranked in the top three in starters’ ERA in the regular season, according to Elias.

The last time it happened was in 1981, between the Yankees (3rd) and Dodgers (2nd). Before that, it was the 1978 World Series, and before that 1974 and then 1969.

In each of the four prior instances, the team with the lower starters’ ERA in the regular season won the Series. Perhaps that’s a good sign for the Nationals, whose rotation’s 3.53 ERA outpaced the Astros’ 3.61, ever so slightly.

Sarah Langs is a reporter/editor for MLB.com based in New York. Follow her on Twitter @SlangsOnSports.

Read more: Washington Nationals Houston Astros Gerrit Cole Zack Greinke Justin Verlander Max Scherzer Stephen Strasburg Patrick Corbin