Author Archive

In the Elements

For the most part, baseball manages to avoid bad weather.  Other sports might tough it out through a monsoon but baseball politely tips it’s cap and says “another day, mother nature.” There is one type of less-than-ideal weather that players and fan do have to tolerate, and that is butt-numbing cold. Last year, Twins fans showed up for opening day and probably came to the horrifying realization that they were about to witness their first outdoor Twins game in 28 years. In April. In Minnesota. Thankfully the temperature was a kind 65 that day, but that isn’t always the case in some baseball towns. Here is a chart of the average temperatures in the colder baseball locales in the opening weeks of baseball, and their percentage of capacity filled during that time (indoor stadiums don’t count, wusses!!!!)

Normally you see a pretty steady trend upwards in attendance as the weather warms up, though there are other factors involved in that trend, such as basketball ending.

A Bird in the Hand

What happens when local wildlife decides to interfere with a baseball game? A stadium full of peanuts, popcorn and other leftover morsels is hard for local flocks to pass up, so it’s actually quite shocking that more bird to baseball collisions haven’t happened over the years. The rules regarding wildlife obstruction vary from situation to situation, and if an animal encounter happens in the stands, all you can do is run for your life. Let’s look at a few of the most famous examples of the meetings between the animal kingdom and baseball.

1. Randy Johnson murders a bird Everyone knows this one. In a 2001 Spring Training game, the Big Unit unwound one of his patented sidearm fastballs and it collided mid air with an unfortunate bird, resulting in a fantastic explosion of feathers and a stadium full of dumbfounded ballplayers. So, what’s the ruling from the umpire? Ball, strike, or no pitch? There is no specific rule in the MLB rulebook regarding an animal interrupting the flight of a pitched ball before it reaches the batter, so in that case Rule 9.01(c) comes into play. Rule 9.01(c) basically gives the Umpire discretion to make the “fairest” ruling, which in this case is to call a no-pitch.

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The Grass Is Always Greener

Baseball turf is something we all probably appreciate when we go to a game, but what kind of grass is it, exactly? Surely it isn’t the same sod we go out and purchase for own own lawns. Different sports require different types of grasses, and a baseball field needs grass that will look lush, withstand the punishment of cleated feet flitting about, and be easy to grow. No one wants to look out of a dead field! Different parks choose different turfs due to climate, the style of play of the team, and the personal preferences of the team field manager. Here is a breakdown of the types of turf used in Major League parks:

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Little Black Book

We’re very pleased to introduce our newest contributor, Bethany Heck. As Ms. Heck notes here, she’s the proprietor of the Eephus League, a site that Andy Warhol has posthumously described as “the best thing available on your futuristic technology screens.” In what follows, she promotes shamelessly a thing the she herself invented. Prepare to exchange American currency for it!

Greeting, NotGraphs community! I have been blessed enough to be asked to join this wonderful writing staff; certainly not an offer I could refuse. I will commence my tenure with a bit of shameless self promotion.

My foray into the baseball ethos is centered around the Eephus League, a site with a growing community centered around baseball minutiae. I built the site from the ground up with the goal of creating an oasis of random facts, photographs, scorekeeping insights, stories, verbiage and product patents related to baseball. I particularly enjoy making graphic illustrations and infographics related to baseball, and that’s the main reason I have ended up here. The other reason, of course, is to convince you to buy my baseball related stuff, most importantly my scorebook.

I love scorekeeping. I don’t consider myself an expert by any means, but I am fascinated by the development of the art of keeping score and how intensely personalized it is. You can look at 10 different scorecards from the same game and though they will all have the same information, they will all tell it in a different way. It is a travesty that so many people have fallen out of the habit, or never got started in the first place. I want to change that. I want to make scorekeeping fun, easy and a natural part of going to the ballpark. That’s where my scorebook comes in. Here are some photos to get you excited.

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