Its Like They Never Left

When it comes to coming up with the opening and final series of each season, the MLB schedule makers generally try for natural intradivision rivalries . . . Red Sox and Yankees, Cubs and Cardinals, Dodgers and Giants.  In the era of daily interleague play, that becomes a bit harder.  For example, the Phillies are opening this season not against the Mets or Nationals, but the Texas Rangers.

Last year, the Yankees finished up the regular season with a three-game series in Houston, an interdivision tilt.  Tomorrow, they will open the season, once again, in Houston.

I was curious to find out how many times a team ended the season in an interdivision matchup, and then started the next season with the same matchup in the same city.  I parsed the game logs in the “division era” from Retrosheet, filtering the first and last series of each year from 1969-2013.

Amazingly, the Astros and Yankees appear to be the first such matchup in history (there have been no interleague matchups with similar scheduling).  So, let’s hear it for the quirky schedule makers.

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The VORG’s All-Haiku 2014 Season Preview

At ESPN.COM and around the web, you’ll see season previews full of projections, tables, diagrams and paragraphs explaining why your team will or will not be playing in October. I offer you this condensed analysis, via traditional Japanese poetic verse.

Orioles

O’s sign up for Cruz
But its their pitching that will
Stall their ship at sea

Red Sox

Raise your hand if you
Had Sizemore in center field
But Bogaerts key guy

Yankees

Horrendous infield
Improved starting pitching mean
Hope no groundball outs

Rays

Price stays here (for now)
Bullpen shuffled once again
Don’t count Maddon out

Jays

Rotation questions
But potent offense makes for
Many 9-8 games

White Sox

Jose Abreu
Makes this team fun to watch while
Farm system rebuilds

Indians

Lost two-fifths of staff
Can Santana handle third?
They need (Jack) Bauer

Tigers

Prince is gone, Miggy
Back to first but defense lacks
Iglesias’ glove

Royals

One more year of Shields
Hope that Ventura can shine
Offense is legit

Twins

Buxton and Sano
Can Twins petition league to
Just jump to next year?

Astros

Appel, Correa
Can they petition league to
Jump to two years hence?

Angels

Trout locked up but
He can’t pitch and barren farm
Can’t help them this year

Athletics

Parker injury
Puts pressure on Kazmir, Gray
Stadium still smells

Mariners

Why pitch to Cano?
No other scares in lineup
Pitchers must step up

Rangers

Decimated staff
Injured Profar and Soto
Do they have the depth?

Braves

Speaking of bad health
No Beachy or Medlen mean
Untested kids get starts

Marlins

Three great young pitchers
Can’t hide awful offense
Lose all 2-1 games

Mets

Get Harvey healthy
Bring Syndergaard along slow
Top 3 staff next year

Phillies

Fillies: young horses
Phillies: old roster, makes for
Big crash soon to come

Nationals

Fister’s injury
Slight concern, but all eyes on
Harper … MVP?

Cubs

Baez, Almora
Soler, Villanueva
Alcantara . . . whew!

Reds

Hamilton’s on-base
Most watched number in Cincy?
If he’s on, Reds win

Brewers

Wretched defense
And suspect starting pitching
Braun can’t carry load

Pirates

No ninety-four wins
But Polanco and (maybe)
Taillon bring more hope

Cardinals

Taveras delayed
But Wong right on time, Cards are
Class of division

Diamondbacks

Corbin out for year
Shaky staff needs Bradley soon
Trumbo in left? Yikes!

Rockies

Watch Arenado
He’s a star in the making
Otherwise, snorefest

Dodgers

Kershaw must be right
Or it won’t matter how
Much they spent this year

Padres

Cashner’s stuff nasty
Will they let Chase Headley go?
Quentin injured? Yup!

Giants

Slimmed down Panda
As he enters his walk year
Gets a Pence deal? No.

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VORG Opening Day 2014 Crossword Puzzle

Happy Opening Night!  Baseball is finally back, and to celebrate the VORG offers a crossword puzzle over at ESPN’s SweetSpot.

 

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Auction Drafts with a Truly International Spin

With Opening Day (stateside) coming up, the last of the fantasy baseball drafts are taking place.  There are many types of drafts to take part in, but perhaps the most challenging is the auction draft.  Well, the VORG wondered if you could make the auction draft even MORE challenging (and/or nerdy) by requiring participants to bid on players using the currency of that player’s country of birth.  Of course, you can bid on Mike Trout in good old American dollars, but what about (for example) Aruban-born Xander Bogaerts?

To assist you in this regard, we present the following Google Drive table, which takes all foreign-born players active in 2013 and converts their birth country’s currency into US dollars.  We also give you the corresponding currency conversion for each US dollar up to $40.

Let us know if any of you wild and crazy fantasy baseball folks incorporate this into your draft!

p.s. Xander Bogaerts “exchange rate” is 1.79 florins for $1US.  So you’d need to bid 35.80 florins for a $20US bid.

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The Complete List of “Spoonerized” MLB Names

Last month we introduced the concept of “spoonerized” names.  A “spoonerism” is an error in speech or deliberate play on words in which corresponding consonants, vowels, or morphemes are switched (see metathesis) between two words in a phrase.  Fans of the VORG apparently love them:

Craig Goldstein @cdgoldstein

Wandy Rolf

So, using the Lahman Baseball Database as my name source, I “spoonerized” every name three ways:

  • swapping the first letter of the player’s first and last name
  • swapping the first two letters of the player’s first and last name
  • appending the first letter of the player’s last name to his first name (and vice-versa)

You can access the complete list in this Google Drive document.

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The VORG’s All-”Baseketball” Team

With NCAA March Madness underway, let’s put together a team of MLBers who have played Division 1 college basketball:

C: Dave Ricketts

1B: Tony Clark, Chuck Connors, Cotton Nash

2B: Danny Ainge, Jackie Robinson

SS: Dick Groat

OF: Dave Winfield, Tony Gwynn, Kenny Lofton, Frank Baumholtz, Curtis Pride

SP: Chris Young, Mark Hendrickson, Gene Conley, Dick Ricketts, Robin Roberts

RP: Tim Stoddard, Dave DeBusschere, Ron Reed, Steve Hamilton

We need a third baseman . . . Robinson DID play some third . . .

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The VORG is Rooting for Dean Anna

In the days leading up to, and the weeks after the Robinson Cano deal with the Mariners, the Yankees have seemingly turned over every stone looking for a live body to man second base.  One small move, made primarily for infield depth, occurred in November, when they traded for minor leaguer Dean Anna.

If Anna sees time in the Majors, he’ll become the 12th palindromic player in history, joining this group:

Truck Hannah
Toby Harrah
Eddie Kazak
Dick Nen
Robb Nen
Dave Otto
Johnny Reder
Fernando Salas
Juan Salas
Mark Salas
Marino Salas
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