Jul 9, 2013; Bronx, NY, USA; Kansas City Royals former player George Brett talks with the media about his pine tar bat incident thirty years ago before a game between the New York Yankees and the Kansas City Royals at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
The Yankees and Royals had a storied rivalry in the late-70’s and into the 80’s and George Brett, no surprisingly, was at the heart of most of those encounters.
Thirty years ago this month (July 24th, in fact), Brett hit the infamous pine tar home run. With the Royals back in New York for the current series, that’s putting an early spotlight on the Pine Tar Game and Brett spoke at a press conference which was carried on 610 Sports to talk about the incident, the game, as well as the Yankees rivalry.
There was also a great feature in the Wall Street Journal that shows the chain of events that led to the bat being inspected in the first place. It’s one of those “what if” moments – what if the bat boy had rushed back to the dugout faster? In the end, it didn’t turn out to matter since the game was later held up as a Royals win, but the tension in the post-game chaos is described very well. It’s a seldom-noted side of the story and an interesting read.
Brett also apparently decided to take in the Metropolitan art museum. According to his son on Twitter, he decided to touch a few things.
-In other news, recent international signee Marten Gasparini talked with David Laurila at FanGraphs and talked more about his introduction to the game and his path to choosing baseball over soccer.
He also discussed the level of competition he’s faced in his young career, including the various pitches he’s seen in different world competitions.
–Baseball America put out their midseason organizational reports and Yordano Ventura was highlighted as the best player in the first half of 2013. They also discussed Kyle Zimmer, Christian Binford, Logan Davis and Jorge Bonifacio.
BA also put out their overall top 50 prospect list, and the Royals landed three in the rankings – Ventura (#26), Zimmer (#28), and (Raul) Adalberto Mondesi (who some have started to refer to as R.A. Mondesi, which I kind of like – Mondesi was #50).
-Finally, an interesting look at Guy Stevens, an intern in the Royals organization working as an analyst under Mike Groopman, the Royals director of analytics. Stevens was a pitcher for Pomona College in California. The article looks over the development of statisical measurements and the paths of interns and analysts becoming more and more important to an organization’s operations.
The Royals have a reputation of being anti-stat, but they’re still a business and the data is information every other team uses and the Royals, even while heavily leaning towards the scouting side of things, have to use them and have increased those sorts of measurements in the last few years. Ned Yost referred to his asking the stats crew to put together a lineup for him that would be optimized for platoon splits and used it (for a while). The team regularly employs infield shifts against batters in accordance with the data, and part of the acquisition of Felipe Paulino hinged on recognizing that his peripheral numbers suggested he could turn things around in the right environment. Maybe they’re just keeping up rather than breaking new ground, but I suppose that’s better than lagging behind everyone else.