Michael Rand started RandBall with hopes that he could convince the world to love jumpsuits as much as he does. So far, he's only succeeded in using the word "redacted" a lot. He welcomes suggestions, news tips, links of pure genius, and pictures of pets in Halloween costumes here, though he already knows he will regret that last part.
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Per SI.com, this is the weirdest thing ever:
Well, MLB and the Players' Association have come up with a one-year experiment in an attempt to clean up home plate collisions. On the one hand, this is probably a good idea since they can cause unnecessary injuries. On the other hand, the place they arrived in seeming to try to placate all sides leaves far too much for an umpire to process in seconds or split-seconds.
The highlights, per MLB.com:
• A runner may not run out of a direct line to the plate in order to initiate contact with the catcher, or any player, covering the plate. If he does, the umpire can call him out even if the player taking the throw loses possession of the ball.
• The catcher may not block the pathway of a runner attempting to score unless he has possession of the ball. If the catcher blocks the runner before he has the ball, the umpire may call the runner safe.
• All calls will be based on the umpire's judgment. The umpire will consider such factors as whether the runner made an effort to touch the plate and whether he lowered his shoulder or used his hands, elbows or arms when approaching the catcher.
• Runners are not required to slide, and catchers in possession of the ball are allowed to block the plate. However, runners who do slide and catchers who provide the runner with a lane will never be found in violation of the rule.
• The expanded instant replay rules, which also go into effect this season, will be available to review potential violations of Rule 7.13.
Well-intended, but way too complicated. The phrase "all calls will be based on the umpire's judgment is a particular red flag. There is already so much scrutiny on umpires and so much on their plates (no pun intended ... or was there?). This is just one more thing to cause inevitable flare-ups and friction, even if it is part of expanded replay.
The numbers have been crunched, and based on the Twins' current roster ... er, well, thinks aren't looking good. Again.
Friend of the blog Parker Hageman notes on Twins Daily that Baseball Prospectus co-founder Clay Davenport projects the Twins to finish with 72 victories this season.
Now, that would be an improvement over the last three seasons, but it would also leave their record at 72-90 ... their fourth-consecutive 90-loss season.
Interestingly, the projection includes a major drop-off for Joe Mauer even though he is moving to first base. Overall, it has the Twins scoring the fewest runs in the AL while allowing the second-most.
Again, these are initial projections -- more roster upgrades could change things.
We'll have to see how it looks at the end of March.
Forbes does valuations for teams in all four major U.S. pro sports leagues, and the figures for the NBA were released today. As we know by now, we whisked quickly through the slide show, almost all the way to the end, in order to find the Timberwolves.
That's status quo with the chief tenants at Target Center. And it's status quo with all Minnesota teams.
The Wolves rank 26th in the NBA with a value of $430 million. Maybe that will improve a little once renovations to Target Center are complete, but they will still be playing in one of the NBA's oldest buildings.
In other words, all four squads are below average ... and none of them eclipse our TV market size rank (15th).
There are people more qualified to discuss what this means when it comes to overall economics as well as how it correlates to winning and losing. Certainly low-value teams have won titles while large-value teams have struggled.
But we're willing to bet there is at least some connection between those low numbers and this one: 1991. That's the last year a Minnesota team even played for a championship, let alone won one.
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