Sunday, August 17, 2008

This blog is dead. I doubt I will update it again in the future. I will keep it online for as long as possible, mostly to preserve the huge list of links on the side.

I may begin a new blog in the near future. If I do so, I will post the new address to this blog. Any new blog would be geared more toward life in general, though I anticipate there will be several baseball related posts.

For those who are not aware, my wife and I are moving to China in four days. I'm not certain whether I can access Blogger while I'm there. If not, I may have to move to a different page, perhaps even one based in China. Don't worry -- I'll try my hardest to fill it with photos from our adventures in the Far East.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Not dead yet

My apologies for not posting in nearly a month. School has taken its toll, as did the recent business drama over at Diamond Mind. I should get back to posting regularly again soon, though I might not post in the same style I had been in the past.

My project has fallen behind schedule, and will likely continue to do so until around the middle of June. But I'll still be here, and I'll try to post as frequently as possible.

For those who are not yet aware, a group is working on reviving the old Pursue the Pennant board game under the original brand name (i.e. not DLBB, or the free PDF alternative). You can read more here. I never played the PtP board game, but will probably start after my upcoming stay in China.

One more thing: I just saw this auction on the Table Top Sports forum. Looks like a scam to me. EBay scammers are easily discernible by their poor English skills, incredible promises and strange "strings" tied to the item. Seriously, if this guy really wanted $50,000 that bad, he might as well join the crowd and start counterfeiting old Ty Cobb and Joe DiMaggio cards.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Posting Hiatus Continued

I've still been playing games each day, but there hasn't been enough time to post. We had a few friends from Taiwan over this evening, and we're going up tomorrow afternoon to my parents' house in Salt Lake City tomorrow for the weekend. As such, I doubt I'll get in any post until Sunday evening, at the earliest. Sorry again for this! Real life, unfortunately, takes priority over online life. And, hey, we're still only in May; there's still plenty of pennant race left.

I recently bought a used copy of the 1985 Strat-o-matic cards on Ebay. I got them yesterday and played my first game, Cardinals at Mets, today. Dwight Gooden struck out 16 in a complete game win. It was a lot more entertaining than playing with the newer (2005 and 2007) Strat seasons. I just get so tired of changing pitchers every inning! Anyway, now I own both the '85 APBA and Strat seasons. Gooden's Strat card is just simply wicked, with Ks all over columns 4 and 6, and that A&C XY APBA card (I think there's also a Z, but I don't have the card in front of me) is pretty intimidating, too.

Anyway, until Sunday!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Sorry for lack of update

Sorry for not updating yesterday and today. As my schoolwork load has increased, everything extra has temporarily gone on hold. Hopefully I'll be able to update tomorrow, though I'm not making any promises.

Monday, May 5, 2008

May 5th, 2008 Wenzhou at Suzhou

It's a bit late now, so my writeups weren't especially good. My apologies.

May 5th, 2008

Wenzhou Merchants at Suzhou Artisans

SUZHOUSuzhou blew an excellent chance to take sole possession of first place in the Southeastern League today, as last place Wenzhou surprised everybody with a 10-inning win.

Down 3-1 in their half of the 8th, Wenzhou began to strike back. Babe Hermans’ single to right brought the deficit down to a single run. In the top of the ninth, the rallying continued. Wenzhou used a total of 5 pinch hitters and one pinch runner to manufacture the tying run.

With the score knotted at 3 in the top of the 10th inning, the hapless Merchants suddenly exploded for four runs. Two walks, a double, another walk, a single, and Suzhou’s chances looked slim.

Dale Murphy hit a three-run shot in the bottom of the tenth to bring the score within one, but it proved to be too little, too late. And thus, Vida Blue’s excellent start (three hits in seven innings) was wasted, and the chance to capitalize on a Nanjing loss was lost.

The win was Wenzhou’s third of the season, against 13 losses.

Click here for boxscore.

Today’s Other Games

Northeastern League

Beijing Mets 4, Harbin Icecaps 3 At Beijing. Grantham’s two run homer in the bottom of the 8th secured a win for first-place Beijing.

Nishinomiya Tigers 7, Seoul Blue Dragons 6 At Seoul

Shenyang Defenders 5, Beijing Red Dragons 4 (10) At Beijing. Shenyang’s ten-inning victory put them tied for second place with Tokyo, three games behind the red-hot Mets.

Tianjin Lions 8, Tokyo Giants 6 At Tianjin

Southeastern League

Ningbo Stallions 2, Nanjing Monarchs 1 At Nanjing. Ningbo twirler Bozo Wakabayashi held the Monarchs at bay.

Hefei Hope Stars 5, Shanghai Red Sox 4 (11) At Shanghai

Hangzhou Eagles 6, Shanghai White Sox 4 (11) At Shanghai

Northwestern League

Jinan Leopards 3, Luoyang White Horse 1 At Jinan

Zhengzhou Dragons 6, Lanzhou Refiners 1 At Lanzhou

Xi’an Wild Geese 2, Taiyuan Kylin 1 At Taiyuan

Southwestern League

Chengdu Spice 3, Yunnan Bulls 2 (10) At Chengdu

Chongqing Fog 3, Lhasa Monks 2 At Chongqnig

Taibei Brother Elephants 5, Fuzhou Whales 4 At Fuzhou

Xianggang Reds 4, Guangzhou Fire 3 At Guangzhou

May 4th, 2008 Harbin at Beijing

May 4th, 2008

Harbin Icecaps at Beijing Mets

BEIJING – Seventh place Harbin feasted on Beijing pitching this afternoon, defeating the hometown Mets 11-3 in a laughter.

At the beginning, the odds appeared in Beijing’s favor. Harbin started Ben McDonald, who had been unimpressive in his pervious three starts. Beijing, meanwhile, started Milt Pappas on the spot (due to Dizzy Dean’s injury), hoping for another good performance from their half-reliever, half-starter.

The pitching matchup didn’t last long, as Pappas was knocked out in the third, having given up six runs in the first three innings. Harbin didn’t stop there, either, as they put up two tallies in the top of the fifth and three in the top of the eighth. The impressive offensive outburst included two long home runs by Icecap slugger Jim Thome, who now has three on the season.

Ben McDonald was more impressive than anticipated, giving up only 3 runs on 5 hits in 8 full innings of work.

Click here for boxscore.

Today’s Other Games

Northeastern League

Seoul Blue Dragons 11, Nishinomiya Tigers 8 At Seoul. The last place Blue Dragons embarrassed Nishinomiya. The Tigers are now one game under .500, and 6 games out of first place.

Beijing Red Dragons 7, Shenyang Defenders 3 At Shenyang

Tokyo Giants 9, Tianjin Lions 7 At Tianjin. Tokyo inched another step closer to first place, as they came from behind to beat the Lions.

Southeastern League

Nanjing Monarchs 10, Ningbo Stallions 7 At Nanjing. The Monarchs exploded for 5 in their half of the fifth inning, overcoming an early 2-1 deficit and holding on to a first-place tie with Suzhou.

Hefei Hope Stars 3, Shanghai Red Sox 1 At Shanghai

Shanghai White Sox 8, Hangzhou Eagles 3 At Shanghai

Suzhou Artisans 5, Wenzhou Merchants 1 At Wenzhou. Kevin Millwood pitched a gem for the Artisans, giving up only a single run on four hits in a complete game effort against the last-place Merchants. Suzhou remains tied for first place with Nanjing.

Northwestern League

Jinan Leopards 5, Luoyang White Horse 3 At Jinan. Ed Walsh threw a complete game in support of Luoyang’s losing cause. Jinan remains tied for second place with Lanzhou, two games behind league leading Wuhan.

Lanzhou Refiners 7, Zhengzhou Dragons 6 (11) At Lanzhou. Chipper Jones drove in the winning run in the bottom of the eleventh, as Luoyang won their fifth straight.

Taiyuan Kylin 3, Xi’an Wild Geese 2 (13) At Taiyuan. A potential marathon was avoided, as Xi’an reliever Tom Gordon gave up a base hit, a stolen base, an intentional walk, an unintentional walk and then a wild pitch to give the game away.

Wuhan Turtles 6, Urumqi Flying Tigers 4 At Wuhan. Wuhan starter Smokey Joe Wood was unable to pitch following an 80 minute rain delay, but the Turtles managed their bullpen exceptionally well, earning the win and remaining in first place.

Southwestern League

Yunan Bulls 5, Chengdu Spice 2 At Chengdu.

Lhasa Monks 7, Chongqing Fog 2 At Chongqing. Lhasa secured another offense-powered victory, overwhelming Chongqing pitching.

Fuzhou Whales 14, Taibei Brother Elephants 4 At Fuzhou. Taibei starter Tom Glavine didn’t get out of the first inning, giving up 6 runs while only earning two outs. (Similar to this start, no?)

Guangzhou Fire 4, Xianggang Reds 1 At Guangzhou

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Team Review: Taiyuan Kylin

I'm finally back with another team review! I thought I'd have these done by now, but, as it stands, I'm not even halfway through. It's harder than you think to write this sort of thing up for 32 teams.

Once again, in the interest of time, I have chosen to make this process quicker by not linking to the players on Baseball Reference, Japan Baseball Daily or other stat sites. I'm trying to cut this process down from around an hour per team, and these team reviews don't seem to be extremely popular anyway. Furthermore, there are a few Negro Leaguers who are literally impossible to locate online. However, if you're absolutely dying to learn more about each player, I recommend browsing a few of the links on the right.

Anyway, here we go with the Taiyuan Kylin:


Taiyuan is located in Shanxi province (not Shaanxi), a bit south and quite a ways west from Beijing. The team is named "Kylin" after the Chinese Basketball Association Shaanxi Kylin, which complicates things a bit. With characters, the difference between Shanxi "山西" and Shanxi "陕西" is easy to distinguish, but it's not possible with any romanization system. Hence, the second "a" in Shaanxi. Anyway, a Kylin is a mythical Chinese bird.

Taiyuan plays in Wrigley Field, renamed Wutai Field.

1. Cy Young
2. Dazzy Vance
3. Steve Carlton
4. Andy Benes
5. Charlie Root
SS. Daisuke Matsuzaka
SS. Hooks Wiltse
SS. Curt Davis
SS. Double Duty Radcliffe
SS. Dave Righetti

As usual, Diamond Mind's default Computer Manger makes spot starters out of the entire bullpen. This is no problem, of course, though I can't imagine any self-respecting big league manager carrying a list of five spot starters around.

Like most Japanese players in this league, Matsuzaka is based on his excellent Japanese statistics, not his American ones. Those stats haven't done him much good, though, as the CM has only used him for 3 innings thus far. Ted "Double Duty" Radcliffe had that nickname because he was both pitcher and catcher in the Negro Leagues. He hasn't caught yet in this league, though.

Hitoki Iwase

Once again, the rest of the bullpen can be found as Spot Starters.

1 Peewee Reese SS / Shigeru Chiba 2B
2 Shigeru Chiba 2B / Vic Harris LF
3 Joe DiMaggio CF
4 Willie McCovey 1B
5 Lonnie Smith LF / Bob Abreu RF
6 Kip Selbach RF / Robin Ventura 3B
7 George Kell 3B / Peewee Reese SS
8 Hank Gowdy C / Biz Mackey C

There are so few lefty starters in this league that you can forget the starting lineup on the left hand side. In my mind, that ought to work in Taiyuan's favor, because that gives fewer starts to the inept Lonnie Smith.

Dink Mothel
Dave Malarcher
Michiyo Arito
Freddy Lindstrom
Atsushi Nagaike
Roy Sievers
Sam Rice

Taiyuan is currently in sixth place in the Northwestern League, with a 7-9 record, four games out of first. They have scored 76 runs and given up 80. Steve Carlton leads Kylin starters with a 2-0 record and a 2.70 ERA. Cy Young comes in close behind, with a 1-0 record and a 1.88 ERA. Still, that and an effective bullpen haven't been enough to compensate for the awful pitching of Davis, Root and Benes.

As one would expect, Joe DiMaggio is hitting very well, at .319 / .324 / .493 in 69 at-bats. Still, it's not enough to carry the entire team, which has been hitting at a .256 clip, seventh in the league.

It's interesting to see how different teams have different personalities, by the way. Last in the Northwestern League in batting are the Zhengzhou Dragons, who, conversely, lead the league by far with 27 stolen bases.


Here are text files for the league standings thus far:

Northeastern League

Northwestern League

Southeastern League

Southwestern League

May 3rd, 2008 Luoyang at Wuhan

May 3rd, 2008

Luoyang White Horse at Wuhan Turtles

WUHAN – A tight pitchers duel exploded in the final innings, as both teams combined for seven runs in the 8th and 9th. The visiting White Horse held on to win, 6-5, bringing them within 2 ½ games of first place.

Originally, the story of the afternoon was a pitching duel between Luoyang’s Robin Roberts and Wuhan’s Bob Rush. Neither pitcher was brilliant, but they were nonetheless effective, Roberts giving up only 2 runs in 6, and Rush only 2 in 7.

The late inning scoring started with the Turtle’s bottom of the 8th. Wuhan gave reliever Rick Honeycutt an unfriendly greeting, as Frog Redus and Mark McGwire hit back-to-back homers to left. With a 4-2 lead at home, and ace John Smoltz on the mound, the game looked safe.

Smoltz, however, quickly gave up the lead. Nish Williams hit a leadoff double, and was driven in on the very next pitch by Jeff Kent’s deep drive to left. Mike Stanton came on in relief, got one out, and then it all fell apart. A walk to Bob Johnson was followed by Wild Bill Wright’s triple and Ben Taylor’s single. By the time the inning was over, four runners came across for the visitors, and a 4-2 lead had suddenly become a 6-4 deficit.

Wuhan kept it close, with a solo homer by Fielder Jones in their half of the ninth, but it was too little, too late.

Click here for boxscore.

Today’s Other Games

Northeastern League

Beijing Mets 9, Nishinomiya Tigers 1 At Beijing

Seoul Blue Dragons 5, Harbin Icecaps 1 At Seoul

Shenyang Defenders 5, Tokyo Giants 4 At Shenyang. The Giants fell to three games behind the Beijing Mets with this loss, their first after winning ten in a row.

Tianjin Lions 12, Beijing Red Dragons 8 At Tianjin

Southeastern League

Nanjing Monarchs 3, Wenzhou Merchants 2 (10) At Nanjing. Nanjing propelled themselves into a first place tie with Suzhou with this victory. Sandy Koufax pitched a 10-inning complete game, mowing down 13 Merchant hitters in the process.

Shanghai Red Sox 5, Hangzhou Eagles 3 At Shanghai. The Eagles lost their second straight and fell to second place.

Shanghai White Sox 7, Hefei Hope Stars 4 At Shanghai.

Ningbo Stallions 9, Suzhou Artisans 4 At Suzhou.

Northwestern League

Urumqi Flying Tigers 10, Jinan Leopards 5 At Jinan

Lanzhou Refiners 12, Xi’an Wild Geese 7 At Lanzhou

Zhengzhou Dragons 4, Taiyuan Kylin 3 At Taiyuan

Southwestern League

Lhasa Monks 1, Chengdu Spice 0 At Chengdu. Despite the fact that they lead the world in runs scored (124 after 16 games), Lhasa showed that they can win low-scoring games as well, their only run coming on a walk, a bunt and a double.

Xianggang Reds 9, Fuzhou Whales 3 At Fuzhou

Taibei Brother Elephants 2, Guangzhou Fire 1 (10) At Guangzhou

May 2nd, 2008: Taibei at Guangzhou

Sorry for not posting this last night. It was a long night. At least the Jazz won!

May 2nd, 2008

Taibei Brother Elephants at Guangzhou Fire

GUANGZHOU – Taibei won its fifth straight game, bursting suddenly into first place in the Southwestern League, by defeating Guangzhou on the road, 2-1.

The game was marked by god pitching on both sides. Taibei starter John Donaldson went seven innings, giving up only a single run on five hits and racking up nine strikeouts in his best start of the season. Nolan Ryan, Guangzhou’s starter, was equal to the task, giving up two runs on six hits in seven innings.

Taibei’s winning run came in the top of the sixth inning, as Michihiro Ogasaawra lined a base hit to right field with two outs. After Gabby Hartnett, the next batter, stuck out, the rains fell, and the game was delayed for another hour.

Taibei’s record is now 10-4, as they have won their last five in a row. Guangzhou fell to 8-8 and currently hold fifth place.

Click here for boxscore.

Today’s Other Games

Northeastern League

Beijing Mets 6, Nishinomiya Tigers 4 At Beijing

Tokyo Giants 4, Shenyang Defenders 3 At Shenyang. The Giants have now won ten straight.

Southeastern League

Nanjing Monarchs 5, Wenzhou Merchants 4 (11) At Nanjing

Shanghai White Sox 4, Hefei Hope Stars 2 At Shanghai

Suzhou Artisans 3, Ningbo Stallions 2 At Suzhou

Northwestern League

Urumqi Flying Tigers 8, Jinan Leopards 4 At Jinan

Lanzhou Refiners 10, Xi’an Wild Geese 7 At Lanzhou

Taiyuan Kylin 6, Zhengzhou Dragons 2 At Taiyuan

Wuhan Turtles 4, Luoyang Wild Horse 2 At Wuhan

Southwestern League

Chengdu Spice 3, Lhasa Monks 2 At Chengdu

Chongqing Fog 8, Yunnan Bulls 5 At Chongqing

Fuzhou Whales 7, Xianggang Reds 4 At Fuzhou

Thursday, May 1, 2008

May 1st, 2008 Urumqi at Lanzhou

A friend of my wife's is visiting tonight, so this will be a shorter post. Enjoy!

May 1st, 2008

Urumqi Flying Tigers at Lanzhou Refiners

LANZHOU – After a huge six-run first inning outburst, Lanzhou held on to beat the visiting Flying Tigers by a 11-8 score.

Good pitching was in short supply this afternoon. Both teams used a combined total of 10 pitchers, gave up 26 hits in all, including 19 runs total. Somehow, Urumqi was able to score 8 runs despite not drawing a walk the entire afternoon.

Six home runs were hit in all, including two for unheralded Urumqi slugger Turkey Stearnes. Stearnes, who hits behind legendary slugger Babe Ruth, hit his third and fourth homers of the season in a losing cause.

Lanzhou’s win didn’t help them much in the Northwestern League standings, as both first place Wuhan and second place Jinan won. Urumqi, despite all the slugging and an extremely hitter friendly ballpark, fell to seventh place.

Click here for boxscore.

Today’s Other Games

Northeastern League

Beijing Red Dragons 5, Beijing Mets 0 At Mets. The Mets’ nine game winning streak ended at the hand of their cross-town rivals. Red Dragons ace Hisashi Yamada out-dueled Lefty Grove, holding the potent Mets offense to a mere two hits.

Shenyang Defenders 9, Harbin Icecaps 2 At Shenyang

Nishinomiya Tigers 8, Tianjin Lions 4 (10) At Tianjin

Northwestern League

Jinan Leopards 9, Xi’an Wild Geese 3 At Jinan

Taiyuan Kylin 4, Luoyang White Horse 3 At Taiyuan

Wuhan Turtles 8, Zhengzhou Dragons 6 At Zhengzhou. The Dragons have now lost six in a row.

Southwestern League

Lhasa Monks 4, Chengdu Spice 1 At Chengdu

Chongqing Fog 6, Yunnan Bulls 1 At Chongqing

Fuzhou Whales 4, Xianggang Reds 3 At Fuzhou

Taibei Brother Elephants 7, Guangzhou Fire 3 At Guangzhou

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

April 30th, 2008: Guangzhou at Chengdu

April 30th, 2008

Guangzhou Fire at Chengdu Spice

CHENGDU – The Fire won their fourth straight contest today, beating Chengdu, 4-3, on an Edgar Martinez single in the top of the 9th inning.

The late Guangzhou rally knocked Spice starter Jim Bunning out of the box. Bunning threw 8.1 strong innings, giving up only 4 runs. Alas, those bases on balls, the plague of all pitchers, came to haunt Jim. Jim gave up 5 walks in his stint, including three in the top of the 7th. Those three led to three Fire runs. Bunning did toss nine strikeouts, but it was too little in the end.

Fire starter Jack Taylor was equally brilliant, though his walk and strikeout totals were relatively low. Taylor gave up five hits and three runs in 8 innings, earning his first win of the season.

The come-from-behind victory, their fourth in a row, puts Guangzhou in fourth place, a game and a half behind Lhasa.

Click here for boxscore.

Today’s Other Games

Northeastern League

Beijing Mets 2, Beijing Red Dragons 0 At Mets. The 13-2 Mets continue their domination of the Northeastern league, shutting out the Red Dragons on three hits.

Tokyo Giants 7, Seoul Blue Dragons 3 At Seoul. Tokyo has won nine straight. The pathetic Blue Dragons have lost their last ten, and are now only 2-13, allowing 43 more runs than they score (55-98).

Shenyang Defenders 4, Harbin Icecaps 2 At Shenyang

Nishinomiya Tigers 8, Tianjin Lions 4 At Tianjin

Southeastern League

Shanghai White Sox 2, Nanjing Monarchs 1 At Shanghai

Suzhou Artisans 7, Shanghai Red Sox 4 At Suzhou

Ningbo Stallions 7, Wenzhou Merchants 0 At Wenzhou. Ningbo’s Greg Maddux won his third straight game of the season, shutting out last place Wenzhou on five hits, all on 87 pitches.

Northwestern League

Jinan Leopards 11, Xi’an Wild Geese 10 At Jinan

Lanzhou Refiners 4, Urumqi Flying Tigers 3 At Lanzhou

Taiyuan Kylin 3, Luoyang White Horse 2 At Taiyuan

Wuhan Turtles 7, Zhengzhou Dragons 3 At Wuhan

Southwestern League

Chongqing Fog 5, Fuzhou Whales 3 At Fuzhou

Lhasa Monks 13, Yunnan Bulls 2 At Lhasa

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

April 29th, 2008: Nanjing at Shanghai

Honestly, I wish the time wouldn't fly by so quickly. I can't believe April's almost over. I've got a German independent study class to finish by July, and school just started again. At least baseball still feels slow in April.
This was a day of injuries in my league. Has anybody else noticed a rather large number of injuries with the setting on "random"? Seems that every time I turn around another star player is out for a month or so.

April 29th, 2008

Nanjing at Shanghai

SHANGHAI – Despite losing their ace starter to a beanball, the Nanjing Monarchs shut out the Shanghai White Sox this afternoon, 2-0.

Both teams played to a scoreless draw through the first five innings. Shanghai’s intense heat, combined with high humidity, shut down hitting all day long. No White Sox batter was able to reach third base the entire game, and both teams suffered from severe hitting problems.

Disaster struck the top of the sixth inning. Pedro Martinez, leading off for the Monarchs, was hit by a Joe McGinnity fastball to the face. Pedro, the Monarch’s ace, was leading all of baseball in strikeouts and was throwing a one-hitter at the time. He will miss the next 37 days, and it will be a miracle if he returns.

Rickey Henderson, who has been in the middle of a hitting slump lately, came in to pinch-run. Henderson was sacrificed to second and then driven home by Honus Wagner’s double to center. Later, in the top of the 8th inning, Henderson scored the second Monarch run. After reaching first on an infield hit, Rickey stole second, was sacrificed to third, and then was driven in by pinch hitter Tilly Walker’s single. Yet, despite the speedster’s obviously positive influence as a pinch runner, the Monarchs certainly would rather have their ace back.

Iron Joe McGinnity pitched a brilliant game for the White Sox, despite the hit batsman. McGinnity gave up four runs in eight innings, striking out seven and lowering his ERA to 5.40, all in another losing effort. Iron Joe was plagued by walks, as he gave up four free passes during the contest. Joe’s pickoff move also proved helpful, as he caught Ichiro Suzuki leaning too far off first twice in the game. In fact, aside from Henderson’s steal, Shanghai completely shut down Nanjing’s running game, catching Wagner trying to steal third and intimidating all other baserunners.

Christy Mathewson comes off the disabled list for the Monarchs tomorrow, and is expected to start here.

Click here for boxscore.

Today’s Other Games

Northeastern League

Beijing Mets 4, Beijing Red Dragons 2 At Red Dragons. Despite an abbreviated start by Dizzy Dean, the Mets continued their tear across the Northeastern League, beating their cross-town rivals 4-2. Dean was injured in the top of the third inning after striking out Willie Mays, and will be on the DL for 9 days.

Tokyo Giants 8, Seoul Blue Dragons 4 At Seoul

Shenyang Defenders 6, Harbin Icecaps 3 At Shenyang

Tianjin Lions 8, Nishinomiya Tigers 4 At Tianjin. Lions starter Tommy Bridges was injured in the top of the second inning and will miss 20 days.

Southeastern League

Hefei Hope Stars 3, Hangzhou Eagles 1 At Hangzhou

Suzhou Artisans 4, Shanghai Red Sox 2 At Suzhou. In a day that saw several star pitchers injured, Shanghai superstar pitcher Bartolo Colon was injured in the bottom of the 4th inning and will miss 20 days.

Ningbo Stallions 2, Wenzhou Merchants 0 At Wenzhou. Ningbo’s Bozo Wakabayashi was absolutely brilliant, giving up two hits on only 94 pitches in a complete game shutout.

Northwestern League

Jinan Leopards 5, Xi’an Wild Geese 4 At Jinan

Urumqi Flying Tigers 8, Lanzhou Refiners 4 At Lanzhou

Luoyang White Horse 8, Taiyuan Kylin 4 At Taiyuan

Wuhan Turtles 7, Zhengzhou Dragons 1 At Wuhan. Zhengzhou has lost their last four, dropping into forth place.

Southwestern League

Guangzhou Fire 8, Chengdu Spice 7 At Chengdu

Fuzhou Whales 6, Chongqing Fog 5 At Fuzhou

Lhasa Monks 10, Yunnan Bulls 8 At Lhasa

Taibei Brother Elephants 7, Xianggang Reds 6 At Xianggang.

Monday, April 28, 2008

April 28th, 2008: Shanghai at Suzhou

April 28th, 2008

Shanghai Red Sox at Suzhou Artisans

SUZHOU – The Artisans kept themselves right in the thick of the early pennant race this afternoon, defeating the Shanghai Red Sox 11-1.

Starter Kevin Millwood was the star for the Artisans. He went the distance against a good Shanghai lineup, limiting them to a single run on five hits and winning his first game of the season. Millwood needed only 102 pitches to complete the task, the only Shanghai run coming off Johnny Bench’s 7th inning double to left.

As usual, Frank Chance lead Suzhou’s offense, going 5-for-3 with two runs batted in. Chance is now hitting .356 and is an expert at leading off early Suzhou rallies.

Shanghai starter Dave Stieb had his first bad start of the season, giving up six runs in four innings.

Click here for boxscore.

Today’s other games

Northeastern League

Shenyang Defenders 5, Harbin Icecaps 4 At Shenyang.

Southeastern League

Hangzhou Eagles 7, Hefei Hope Stars 0 At Hangzhou. Eddie Cicotte’s knuckleball shut out Hefei on six hits.

Nanjing Monarchs 4, Shanghai White Sox 2 At Shanghai

Ningbo Stallions 2, Wenzhou Merchants 1 At Wenzhou

Northwestern League

Lanzhou Refiners 11, Jinan Leopards 9 (10) At Jinan. Visitng Lanzhou won in dramatic fashion, scoring three in the top of the ninth to tie the game, and then two more in the top of the tenth. Jinan, meanwhile, had a wild bottom of the 8th inning, scoring seven tallies in all, the big blow a Roy Campanella 3-run homer.

Taiyuan Kylin 6, Wuhan Turtles 1 At Wuhan.

Southwestern League

Guangzhou Fire 6, Chengdu Spice 1 At Chengdu

Fuzhou Whales 4, Chongqing Fog 3 At Fuzhou

Yunnan Bulls 9, Lhasa Monks 7 At Lhasa

Taibei Brother Elephants 12, Xianggang Reds 3 At Xianggang.

That Boring Game of Baseball

While trying to find a few articles to help my younger brother understand the current economic recession, I ran across this post at the Freakonomics blog. The post is another argument about how boring baseball has become, the sort of thing you always read about in the spring. I've found similar articles in newspapers from the 1980s, 1970s, 1960s, 1950s and earlier, even one in a 1903 Sporting News, if you can believe it.

Dubner's article makes a few assumptions that I find extremely strange. Baseball, according to Dubner, is boring because it's remained unchanged for so long. "Football and basketball may be more innately exciting than baseball," he says, "but just as important, they’ve also changed a lot over the past 40 years. They are full of innovation." Never mind the influx of new, hitter-friendly stadiums, the Designated Hitter rule, inter-league play, expansion, the wild card structure, an influx of young pitching stars from Asia and so on. Also never mind critics of modern football and basketball, who point out how boring and slow those games have become (Dubner has apparently forgotten that the World Series still attracts more viewers than the NBA playoffs). Don't pay attention to the fact that television ratings are down across the board for every single type of program. Furthermore, never mind the fact that football and basketball honestly haven't changed much fundamentally lately. Baseball doesn't change, other sports do, and, as a result, baseball has become a slow sport more fit for the 1960s than today.

It's hard to argue against Dubner's article without directly challenging his faulty assumptions (a technique economists like him are certainly used to). You could argue against every innovation he lists. He quotes an article written by Darren Everson (no relation, despite similar-looking names), which explains new techniques some managers use to liven things up. Dubner lists a few modern managerial techniques, such as having relief players play in the field to avoid baseball's "archaic" single substitution rules (which, naturally, have rendered soccer obsolete across Europe and Asia), putting an infield shift on every hitter, using bullpen pitchers rather than dedicated starters for poor weather games, and having the pitcher hit eighth.

I can see how having your LOOGY play in the field until the next favorable platoon matchup comes up could cut down on dead time while new pitchers warm up, but it obviously could also severely damage a team defensively. If somebody hits a hard line drive out to the pitcher-turned-outfielder, you'll see some awful fielding, more runners on base, and longer innings as a result. The other four innovations have absolutely nothing to do with how long or how sluggishly games are played. Dubner is certain that these changes will "make the game a bit more fluid and fun to watch," but I don't follow his logic. Who wants to watch a relief specialist start a game because there is rain in the forecast? Who wants to see exaggerated infield shifts for every power hitter? Wouldn't that slow the game down even more, not speed it up?

There is, of course, truth to what he's writing. Baseball has slowed down over time, as we all know. I'm not sure what more can be done to speed the game up, other than forcing hitters off the plate and giving them thicker bats (ala Bill James' New Historical Baseball Abstract.) I guess you could bring back the spitball, which will probably result in more walks, since it's always been considered one of the most difficult pitches to learn. We could build bigger stadiums, but low homerun totals traditionally doesn't do much to draw fans to the park.

We could also improve how the game is broadcast. Of my sports-minded friends, many have commented that baseball is exciting to watch live, but an absolute snooze on television. I'd have to agree, and the FOX/ESPN era has been especially damaging to how the game has been televised (ESPN less so, in my opinion). If we could bring back the sort of game NBC showed America in the 1980s, maybe things would improve.

Still, even the mindless bantering of Joe Buck, Tim McCarver, Joe Morgan and Chip Caray is nothing all that new. Have you ever tried to watch old DVDs of World Series games from 1968 to 1974? Curt Gowdy wasn't exactly Vin Scully, and the announcer accompanying him was rarely any better (with the exception of Harry Caray and Vin Scully, of course). Not every guy is going to be as fun to listen to as Joe Garagiola or Dizzy Dean. Other annoyances, such as incessant close-ups and constant crowd shots, were very much a part of NBC and ABC broadcasts in the 1980s. If you go back to games shown in the 1960s, crowd shots are few and far between, and close-ups even rarer, but you honestly start to miss that sort of thing. It's not exactly clear what baseball should do to improve how games are broadcast.

My solution would be to wait off the slew of "baseball is so boring" articles that come around every spring. Once the pennant races start heating up, and inter-league play provides a distraction from the sleep-inducing NBA playoffs, these articles will disappear.

A good contrast to this article can be found here, where Jayson Stark argues that a lot has changed in baseball over the years.

Oh, and the comments to that blog piece are a waste of time. People are complaining about lack of competitive balance in baseball? Did they forget that the Colorado Rockies went to the playoffs last year for the first time since 1995? Have they missed out on the fact that Tampa Bay and Baltimore are on top of the AL East? Do all these people root for Pittsburgh or what?

Sunday, April 27, 2008

April 27th, 2008: Nishinomiya at Tokyo

Here's today's game. Enjoy!

April 27th, 2008

Nishinomiya Tigers at Tokyo Giants

TOKYO – After 13 innings, 23 runs, 32 hits, 8 home runs and a good five hours of mayhem, Tokyo outlasted Nishinomiya, 12-11.

The initial Randy Johnson – Minoru Murayama pitching duel didn’t last very long. By the time Randy Johnson was yanked in the third inning, he had given up six runs, and the Tigers were trailing, 6-1. Murayama lasted only through the beginning of the fifth inning, however, exiting the game trailing 7-6. Both pitchers find their ERAs over 6 after this game, with hopes of fewer pinball games to come.

Down 7-6, the Giants mounted a big, 4-run 5th inning rally to retake the lead. The big blow came on Roberto Clemente’s three run shot off Roy Face. For good measure, Barry Bonds added a solo shot for the Giants in the bottom of the 6th, placing the Tokyo lead at 11-7 with only three frames remaining.

However, in the top of the 11th inning, the Tokyo pitching fell apart. The visiting Tigers managed four runs in the inning, the big blow a three run blast off the bat of Shosei Go.

Then, somehow, the pitching returned. From that last score in the top of the 7th to the bottom of the 13th, not a single run was scored. Both teams rallied, but couldn’t manage to put the winning run over the plate. The Tigers had the bases loaded with only one out in the top of the 8th and couldn’t score. Shortly thereafter, they had runners on first and third in the top of the 10th, and still came up short. And then, as if fate were teasing the hometown Giants, they found themselves stranding a bases-loaded chance in the bottom of the 11th, as Robert Clemente struck out after fouling off three consecutive pitches.

The winning run scored on a Josh Gibson single with runners on first and second. Rube Waddell, Nishinomiya’s eccentric pitcher, wound up with the loss. Tokyo advanced to 7-3 on the season, improving from an awful 0-3 opening series against the Beijing Red Dragons, and good enough for second place, 2 ½ games behind the Beijing Mets. Tokyo’s April has been especially impressive due to its runs scored / runs against ratio. The Giants have scored only 53 runs, despite an offense that was widely considered the best in baseball. They have given up 56, for a -3 margin and a projected .472 winning percentage (vs .700 actual).

Nishinomiya finds themselves relegated to forth place, 4 games out of first, with a 6-5 record.

Click here for boxscore.

Today’s Other Games

Northeastern League

Beijing Mets 7, Seoul Blue Dragons 4 At Beijing. Eight straight loss for the hapless Blue Dragons, who are now 2-11.

Beijing Red Dragons 6, Harbin Icecaps 4 At Harbin.

Shenyang Defenders 4, Tianjin Lions 2 At Shenyang

Southeastern League

Suzhou Artisans 3, Nanjing Monarchs 2 At Nanjing. Randy Johnson pitched a complete game for the Monarchs, losing despite only giving up five hits.

Ningbo Stallions 7, Hangzhou Eagles 6 At Ningbo

Shanghai White Sox 9, Shanghai Red Sox 2 At White Sox

Wenzhou Merchants 3, Hefei Hope Stars 2 At Wenzhou.

Northwestern League

Lanzhou Refiners 7, Jinan Leopards 2 At Jinan

Wuhan Turtles 15, Taiyuan Kylin 12 At Wuhan. Despite a 13-1 deficit in the top of the 6th inning on the road, Taiyuan nearly made the comeback, scoring 11 times in the final three innings.

Luoyang White Horse 3, Zhengzhou Dragons 0 At Zhengzhou. Robin Roberts shut out the Dragons on five hits.

Southwestern League

Chongqing Fog 8, Chengdu Spice 1 At Chengdu. Leo Day went the distance for Chongqing, striking out 11.

Guangzhou Fire 4, Fuzhou Whales 0 At Guangzhou.

Taibei Brother Elephants 10, Lhasa Monks 2 At Taibei. Bob Shawkey threw a complete game for Taibei.

Xianggang Reds 3, Yunnan Bulls 2 (12) At Xianggang. With the score tied 1-1 going into the top of the 12th, Yunnan’s Al Simmons smacked a homerun to left field. However, after a single and a botched bunt attempt, Xianggang’s Judy Johnson hit a long ball to win it.

League Leaders

We’re not far enough into the season to start talking about batting average (quite a few players are hitting over .400, and the current leader is Wenzhou’s Vada Pinson, at .500 after 24 at-bats), but we can take a peek at a few other categories. Here are a few top threes:

Home Runs: 1) Eddie Mathews, Xi’an Wild Geese, 7. 2) [tied] Sammy Sosa, Lhasa Monks, 6, and Hank Greenberg, Xianggang Reds, 6.

Stolen Bases: 1) Chester Williams, Zhengzhou Dragons, 8. 2) [tied] Jelly Gardner, Xianggang Reds, 6, and Tetelo Vargas, Zhengzhou Dragons, 6.

Earned Run Average: 1) [tied] Sandy Koufax, Nanjing Monarchs, 0.00 (14.1 IP) and Charley Radbourn, Hefei Hope Stars, 0.00 (8.2 IP). 2) 4 tied with 0.56.

Batting Average Against: 1) Sid Fernandez, Xianggang Reds .093 (13.0 IP). 2) Alex Fernandez, Wenzhou Merchants, .109 (13.1 IP). 3) Hideo Fujimoto, Nishinomiya Tigers, .115 (16.0 IP).

Strikeouts: 1) Pedro Martinez, Nanjing Monarchs, 29 (23.1 IP). 2) Jimmy Key, Zhengzhou Dragons, 27 (23.0 IP). 3) Mike Mussina, Zhengzhou Dragons, 24 (23.2 IP).

Team Offense (sorted by BA, includes OBP / SPC): 1) Wuhan Turtles, .305 BA, .357 / .560. 2) Lhasa Monks, .304, .378 / .541. 3) Taibei Brother Elephants, .289, .360 / .482.

Team Pitching (sorted by ERA): 1) Hefei Hope Stars, 2.22. 2) Nanjing Monarchs, 2.67. 3) Shanghai Red Sox, 2.73. All three teams come from the Southeastern League, which is using a pitcher-friendly era and has more pitcher-friendly parks.

April 26th 2008: Lanzhou at Jinan

Here's yesterday's action, summarized really quickly.

April 26th, 2008

Lanzhou Refiners at Jinan Leopards

JINAN – With a seven run outburst in the bottom of the 7th inning, the hometown Leopards overcame a four run deficit to overwhelm Lanzhou. And, for insurance, Jinan added three runs in the bottom of the 8th, putting the game out of reach for once and for all, winning 10-6 in definitive fashion.

On a warm spring day when the ball seemed to fly out of the yard at will, seven players in all hit homeruns, leaving high ERA and pitch counts in their wake. And yet, the hitting star of the afternoon, Jinan’s Jackie Robinson, didn’t hit a single dinger all afternoon. Robinson went 4-for-5 with a single double and three singles for the Leopards, and yet didn’t pick up even a single RBI for his efforts.

The teams meet again tomorrow afternoon.

Click here for boxscore.

Today’s Other Games

Northeastern League

Tianjin Lions 3, Beijing Mets 2 At Beijing

Harbin Icecaps 4, Beijing Red Dragons 2 At Harbin

Shenyang Defenders 14, Seoul Blue Dragons 0 At Shenyang

Tokyo Giants 5, Nishinomiya Tigers 4 At Tokyo

Southeastern League

Nanjing Monarchs 3, Suzhou Artisans 1 At Nanjing

Hangzhou Eagles 4, Ningbo Stallions 2 (10) At Ningbo

Shanghai Red Sox 5, Shanghai White Sox 0 At White Sox

Hefei Hope Stars 9, Wenzhou Merchants 1 At Wenzhou

Northwestern League

Xi’an Wild Geese 11, Urumqi Flying Tigers 4 At Urumqi

Wuhan Turtles 6, Taiyuan Kylin 1 At Wuhan

Luoyang White Horse 4, Zhengzhou Dragons 2 At Zhengzhou

Southwestern League

Chengdu Spice 6, Chongqing Fog 2 At Chengdu

Fuzhou Whales 5, Guangzhou Fire 2 At Guangzhou

Lhasa Monks 6, Taibei Brother Elephants 5 At Taibei

Xianggang Reds 4, Yunnan Bulls 3 At Xianggang

One day delay

This will be the first of what may be a number of slight update delays. We spent the majority of the day having lunch, shopping, and playing UNO with a few friends. After they left (around 8 PM), I let my wife use our desktop to watch a Taiwanese music program on YouTube, and sat down to watch the Jazz - Rockets game and play some baseball.

I got in three APBA basic games before the 4th quarter, took a deep breath, and decided to try my hand at the Super Advanced Strat-O-Matic baseball game. I haven't played Strat for very long (I can only get a game in once in a while), so I was worried that the system would be too foreign for me. I was hoping that my experience with the APBA Master Game would help at least a little. Well, I was more than pleased with the result. In a replay of last year's Wild Card play-in game, Colorado came from behind to beat San Diego, 8-6. Strat's Super Advanced game is a lot of fun, especially with the "optional" steal and wild pitches / balks system (Kaz Matsui got a couple of steals that way, especially since San Diego's starting catcher had a +3 arm rating, and Jake Peavy threw a crucial wild pitch with runners on first and second), and I really like the fielding system. It took me almost an hour to finish the game, but I still thought the flow was nice. I'm pretty sure I could get the hang of it!

Anyway, I'll write a "real" post tomorrow. Hopefully I can fit two in. Oh, and I'm very happy that the Jazz won again. I don't know if we'll be able to beat L.A. in the second round, though, and I'm afraid we still don't stand much of a chance against San Antonio.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Random comments

Simulation bickering

One thing I've learned is that people who enjoy games like Diamond Mind, APBA, Replay, Strat-O-Matic and so on tend to become extremely defensive of their favorite game. For example, I can remember reading APBA Journal articles years ago about how lefty-righty splits, a Strat-O-Matic specialty even then, didn't really add much to the realism of the simulation. You can see similar bickering occasionally between fans of competing games like OOTP Baseball and Action PC Baseball. And, as I learned last week, you can still find an 11-year-old article on the official Strat-O-Matic website about why Strat's computer game is better than APBA and DMB.

As I've noted before, my purpose here is not to recommend one game over another. Whether you play Replay Baseball or Baseball for Windows homebrew disks created by Skeetersoft, I think you should play whichever game you feel is right. Still, something irks me about a company willing to claim statistical superiority just because Gold Glove winners tend to receive better fielding ratings for its product, and because you can see the player's "cards" during the game (see above article). It's a silly marketing strategy, one that makes you feel like you're reading about the Jehovah's Witnesses and not a game intended to simulate baseball. Notice, of course, that there is no mention of the awful Strat copy-protection system that puts you out of luck if you ever dare change computers. Honestly, I'm surprised (and a bit shocked) that this article is still on Strat's website.

Then again, at least Strat-o-Matic is still actively advertising their product. I don't know how Diamond Mind expects to sell its stand-alone game to new customers with no advertising whatsoever, not even a link on the popular Simnasium website. Heck, even the bland and repetitive John Madden series gets a tournament aired on ESPN2 (just watched the finale a few minutes ago); why can't a more realistic sports simulation get at least some mainstream advertising? I remember seeing APBA Baseball for Windows ads in computer magazines over 10 years ago, and I know that Diamond Mind used to have an ad under "fantasy" in Baseball Weekly as recently as five years ago. What happened?

If the head honchos at DMB were smart, they would have capitalized on all the free advertising they were getting on Baseball Think Factory threads a few years back. I mean, when Dan Szymborski uses DMB to create extremely accurate projection disks every year, and when the boys over at "Count the Rings" used DMB to run this multi-era simulation, you'd think Diamond Mind would try to at least stick up a banner ad or two. It's a little bit too late now, though, especially after all the message board bans and widespread criticism.


I guess my league is about as far from "realistic" as possible, especially since it's not even logically feasible. Still, it's important to me that the numbers feel right in the end, that nobody throws 10 no-hitters, hits over .500, etc. In short, I'm trying to avoid the situation in the above mentioned multi-era simulation, where the champion 1954 Indians were led by Joe Ginsberg (.496/.672/1.344) and Jim Dyck (.812/.867/.826). Ginsberg, of course, hit .500 in two real life at-bats, but was used in 131 simulation at-bats. Dyck hit 1.000 in one at-bat in real life, but had 69 at-bats in the simulation. Something just doesn't feel right there.
It would be like using this 1960 APBA Fred Green card as a pinch hitter. Granted, Green did hit two home runs in 8 at-bats in real life, but it doesn't seem right that he have one of the greatest offensive hitter cards of all time.

I guess this brings up the old debate between creating cards based on a player's season or on a player's projected (or retro-jected) performance. People usually mention the 1980 George Brett problem. Brett hit .390 in 1980, as you already know, but hit only .305 lifetime, never even coming close to .390 in any other season. Would it be fair to give him a card that could potentially earn him an average north of .400? It all depends on your philosophic attitude toward these baseball simulations, I guess.

Anyway, I'd better get going. We've got company coming over tonight.

April 25th, 2008: Luoyang at Zhengzhou --NO HITTER--

I had a feeling we were going to see a no-hitter pretty soon. Red Ruffing never threw one in real life, but he accomplished the feat against some of the most intense competition anywhere.

April 25th, 2008

Luoyang at Zhengzhou

ZHENGZHOU – White Horse pitcher Charles Herbert “Red” Ruffing shocked first place Zhengzhou this afternoon, twirling a no-hitter in front of a packed, hostile house.

Ruffing came oh-so-close to throwing a perfect game in the process. Red retired the first 18 men he faced before giving up a 7th inning walk on four pitches to King Kelley. Kelley wound up as part of a Rafael Palmeiro double play to end the inning. The only other Dragon hitter to reach base was Tetelo Vargas, who fouled off pitches to force a walk in the bottom of the 8th inning.

Zhengzhou starting pitcher Octavio Dotel was injured after facing one hitter, continuing an odd trend that has plagued all four leagues. As such, not a single Dragon pitcher came to the plate, making matters even more difficult for Ruffing. Although Luoyang only scored four runs, a total of six Zhengzhou pitchers entered the game.

Ruffing struck out 11 Dragons in the process, completing the feat on only 101 pitches. His era is now at 1.08 for the 5-5 White Horse. Zhengzhou’s record dropped to 8-4, but they still enjoy a hold on first place in the Northwestern League.

Click here for boxscore.

Today’s Other Games

Northeastern League

Beijing Mets 3, Tianjin Lions 2 At Beijing. Shoichi Busujima’s single in the bottom of the ninth drove in the winning run, as Beijing scored two to beat the visiting Lions.

Tokyo Giants 5, Beijing Red Dragons 4 At Beijing. In a wild ending, Tokyo scored three times in the top of the ninth, then weathered a two-run Beijing rally in the bottom of the ninth, winning 5-4.

Harbin Icecaps 2, Nishinomiya Tigers 1 At Nishinomiya

Shenyang Defenders 3, Seoul Blue Dragons 2 At Seoul. Johnny Pesky’s double down the right field line in the bottom of the ninth secured a Shenyang victory.

Northwestern League

Wuhan Turtles 5, Lanzhou Refiners 1 At Lanzhou

Taiyuan Kylin 6, Jinan Leopards 2 At Taiyuan

Urumqi Flying Tigers 10, Xi’an Wild Geese 9 At Urumqi. Babe Ruth’s homer to right in the bottom of the ninth broke open a 9-9 tie. The homer was the Bambino’s second of the game and third of the season.

Southwestern League

Fuzhou Whales 3, Guangzhou Fire 1 At Guangzhou.