The Bill Chuck Files of February 23, 2020

Let’s disappear the Astros 2017 World Championship

Everybody these days has suggestions as to how to further punish the Astros for their cheating resulting in the 2017 World Championship. Buster Olney wants to censure the team. Paul Hembikides wants to ban the Astros from the 2020 postseason. Numerous people want the commissioner to declare that there was no 2017 champion in a changing of history the way the NCAA treats its swindlers. I propose a different tack.

I want to disappear the 2017 World Championship.

Okay, this is not a Samantha Stevens idea where I can wiggle my nose and the event hasn’t taken place. Although with a nose of my magnitude, I could make Iceland disappear.

I’m suggesting that Houston loses the opportunity to glorify and prosper as a result of their grift. Here’s what I mean.

Make them remove this giant ring from in front of Minute Maid Park
Get rid of the signage as well
Get rid of this inside Minute Maid Park
Great rid of it outside their spring home
And STOP SELLING commemorative souvenirs in the ballpark and on MLB.com
The Astros should not be profiting from this merchandise
And when a child asks, “Why can’t I get a Championship hoodie?” Parents should answer, “Because the Astros cheated and cheating is wrong.”
Evidence of cheating should not be used for profit.

Astros paraphernalia and championship signage and graphics are glorifications of crimes against the sport. This team should not be extolled for their crime and they certainly shouldn’t be profiteers.

One final thought. we can’t rewrite history for the better (otherwise we would be encouraging the reelection of Hilary Clinton right now), so the record books will always say the 2017 World Champion Astros, but take the Commissioner’s Trophy away Mr. Manfred. Just put it out of sight and certainly unavailable for display in Houston. But please…leave the display case empty as a cautionary tale.

After 3-0 counts

This is the time of the year to look at last season stats, just for the fun of it. So, I was looking at the BA of players with at least 30 PA in which they started with a 3-0 count. It was actually interesting enough to share. The average batter in that setting had a .306 batting average, a .761 OBP, a .598 slugging pct. and a 1.359 OPS.

Eight players hit over .450

Player PA AB H HR XBH BB K BA OBP SLG OPS
Eugenio Suarez 31 13 8 4 4 18 1 .615 .839 1.538 2.377
Austin Meadows 30 10 6 2 3 20 1 .600 .867 1.300 2.167
Anthony Rendon 43 12 7 1 3 31 2 .583 .884 1.000 1.884
Christian Walker 32 9 5 1 2 23 0 .556 .875 1.000 1.875
Jorge Soler 32 16 8 3 6 16 4 .500 .750 1.250 2.000
Josh Bell 40 17 8 2 6 22 1 .471 .750 1.059 1.809
Maikel Franco 38 13 6 1 2 25 1 .462 .816 .769 1.585
Max Muncy 44 11 5 3 5 33 2 .455 .864 1.455 2.318

Ten players hit under .150

Player PA AB H HR XBH BB K BA OBP SLG OPS
Justin Smoak 32 8 0 0 0 24 6 .000 .750 .000 .750
Tommy Pham 33 11 1 0 0 21 1 .091 .697 .091 .788
Jorge Polanco 31 10 1 0 1 21 1 .100 .710 .200 .910
David Fletcher 44 18 2 0 0 26 1 .111 .636 .111 .747
Mike Moustakas 43 16 2 1 1 27 3 .125 .674 .313 .987
Luke Voit 30 8 1 0 0 22 2 .125 .767 .125 .892
Carlos Santana 59 15 2 0 2 44 2 .133 .780 .267 1.046
Kyle Schwarber 40 15 2 1 1 25 3 .133 .675 .333 1.008
Freddie Freeman 47 14 2 0 0 33 3 .143 .745 .143 .888
Andrew Benintendi 32 7 1 0 0 24 2 .143 .781 .143 .924

“I watch a lot of baseball on the radio.” Gerald R. Ford

It will be harder for Oakland A’s fans to watch baseball on their favorite radio station this season as the A’s have opted to not return to the public airways and will be streaming their games on A’s Cast on TuneIn. Ken Korach and Vince Cotroneo will continue to announce the games for those listeners who are able to access the service. The streams are free but gone are the days of driving in your car listening to a game and for those of the age that are not part of the digital generation, the games will be lost. A’s games will still be broadcast over the radio outside of the Bay Area. I love baseball on the radio and while I comfortably use a digital service to access games around the country, this just feels sad and self-destructive.

D.B. Firstman has written a really fun book

Here’s a really great gift idea to prepare yourself for the baseball season: D.B. Firstman‘s Hall of Name: Baseball’s Most Magnificent Monikers from ‘The Only Nolan‘ to ‘Van Lingle Mungo’ and More. The book has a forward by Jayson Stark, who I never consider forward but certainly forthright when he writes, “But then along came D.B. Firstman, to write a whole book about names – and quite an amazing, entertaining book at that.” I concur.

D.B. focuses on one of my joys of the game, the great (and often odd) names in baseball history and they don’t make fun of the names, they make the names more fun by giving you a brief history of the player lurking behind the moniker. Each name comes with D.B.’s equivalent of the back of a baseball card – a pronunciation guide of the difficult parts Ooo-GETT Ooor-bee-NAH (Ugueth Urbina). Name etymology/Definitions: “Arquimedez” is a Spanish variant of “Archimedes,” the Greek mathematician, physicist, engineer, inventor, and astronomer. “Pozo” is the Spanish word for (water) well. (Arquimedez Pozo). The player’s best game. The wonder of his name- – “Really now…how is anyone supposed to see “Chone” and at first glance think the “”Ch” is pronounced “Sh?” It’s just not instinctual when seeing that letter grouping. On the other hand, there is “Michonne,” a character on “The Walking Dead” and the name is pronounced “Me-shone”… so go figure” (Chone Figgins). There are sections for each player like “not to be confused with,” and “fun anagrams” (those long-time readers of Billy-Ball.com know that those were a regular favorite feature of mine) and ephemera for the players and anyone who uses the word “ephemera” is always a favorite of mine. And, of course, nicknames. It pleases me to no end that the nickname for Doug Gwosdz (pronounced “Goosh”) was “Eyechart.”

Far be it from me to tell you what to do, but place your pre-order now on Amazon for this really fun and informative book and after you thank D.B, you can thank me as well.

Marshall Brennaman

Marty Brennaman, who retired last season after 46 years of broadcasting Reds games, will be the grand marshal for the 101st Findlay Market Opening Day Parade March 26. Brennaman says it “will be the official kick-off to my retirement.” Marty will be inducted into the Reds Hall of Fame during a pregame ceremony at Great American Ball Park on Sunday, April 26.

Billy-Ball Portmanteau of the Week

The Supremely great- Babe Ruth Bader Ginsburg

On this date: February 23, 1960 – the demolition of Ebbets Field begins

Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Frank Sinatra.

Ty one on

A life-sized statue of Hall of Famer Ty Cobb has been gifted to Lakeland’s Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium, the spring training home of the Detroit Tigers. The gift arrived via truck from the Ted Williams Museum & Hitters Hall of Fame at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg. The late Joker Marchant, Lakeland’s longtime parks and recreation director announced to the fans prior to the first spring training game played at the eponymous stadium in 1966, that they needed to “put their peanut shells in their pockets on the way out and not leave their trash in the stadium.”

Did the Ryans know what was going with the Astros?

In November of last year, Reid Ryan was abruptly demoted and his dad, Nolan Ryan, an “executive adviser” to Astros owner Jim Crane since 2014, left the ballclub. A text from Nolan Ryan to Houston sports reporter Mark Berman said: “I will not be back with the club and leave it at that.” Reid Ryan was given a lesser role with the club in favor of owner Jim Crane’s son, Jared. Let’s remember this was in November before the contents from the garbage pail hit the fan.

Happy birthday leap year boys

Stefan Crichton is the only active major leaguer who is an ultimate leap year baby. Crichton, born on February 29, 1992, will celebrate his seventh birthday this year.

Major leaguers born on February 29

RkNameBornYrsFromToWARASG
1Stefan Crichton19922201720190.20
2Gerardo Concepcion19921201620160.00
3Terrence Long19768199920065.10
4Bill Long19606198519912.40
5Jerry Fry1956119781978-0.40
6Al Autry19521197619760.00
7Steve Mingori194410197019798.40
8Al Rosen1924101947195632.64
9Pepper Martin1904131928194417.54
10Ralph Miller1896319201924-1.50
11Roy Parker1896119191919-0.50
12Ed Appleton1892219151916-1.00
13Sadie Houck18568187918878.70
14Dickey Pearce18367187118778.10

Remembering Nick Cafardo

February 21 marked a year since we lost my friend and mentor Nick Cafardo. What a crazy year it has been in baseball and the absence of Nick’s voice in Boston especially, and throughout the baseball universe in general, has been sorely missed. You can’t help but wonder what Nick would have thought about the juiced baseball, the disgraceful Astros, the proposed removal of minor league teams, and the salary dumping Red Sox.

Nick loved baseball and baseball loved Nick. I wouldn’t have imagined I would have even been amongst Nick’s five hundred closest baseball friends, but when we spoke, he always, always, made me feel I was a close buddy. That is why for the past year I have dedicated this column to him writing “Each Sunday, in remembrance of my friend and J.G Spink Award winner Nick Cafardo, I post “the Bill Chuck Files” (named by Nick in his Sunday Baseball Notes column).” But the time has come to move on. I never would want to appear to be overly sentimental, I just want his family and all his dear friends to know how appreciative I am to him for his influence, his guidance, and his friendship.