These are exciting times for the family of our fearless leader here at Baseball Analysts. Rich's father George, profiled here and here in the past on this site, will be inducted into the Long Beach Baseball & Softball Hall of Fame a week from Saturday night. I mention this today in this space because the publicity surrounding George’s induction tells you a lot about Rich Lederer, his priorities and his character.
This Long Beach Press-Telegram article offers a glimpse into Rich’s upbringing and how his values came to be. He spent his childhood hanging around Major League ballparks, and most of that time was in the company of his father and brothers. To this day, Rich’s love of family and baseball shine through for anyone lucky enough to call him a friend.
Rich will have a recap of the ceremony itself one week from Monday.
Given Rich's past work on payroll efficiency, I found this graphical look at the current MLB standings to be fascinating. Great stuff from Kevin Dame at Hardball Times. Oh, those Cubs.
Ben Kabak has a great write-up on Brett Gardner at River Avenue Blues.
On the season, Garnder is now at .284/.390/.384 through 504 plate appearances. He’s seventh in the AL in on-base percentage, ninth in walks with 70 and fourth in steals with 40. As a defender, too, his numbers are steller. His left field UZR is 16.9, and his arm is 5.3 runs above average. His eight outfield assists are second in the American League, and opposing teams have stopped running on his arm. Have I mentioned he’s making just $452,000 this year?
That Gardner has played as much as he has for the Yanks is Exhibit A that these aren't the mid-aughts Yanks, throwing money at anything and everything when they have a hole to fill. Gardner has subtle skills, and could easily be passed over by a dumber team with championship hopes. But the Yankees aren't dumb, and their ability to pay a very good player the minimum allows them the financial freedom to flex their financial muscles elsewhere.
This is the most incredible thing I've read all year. Joey Votto does not have one single infield pop-up this season. I just don't even know what to say about that. Here's 'Duk from Big League Stew:
It's difficult to get your head around, but the above headline is true: Joey Votto has not hit an infield popup all season.
Enjoy the start of the NFL season this weekend, and tomorrow has an excellent slate of college football. Even though the AL playoff slots are more or less wrapped up, the NL picture remains wide open. The two series to keep your eye on are the Cards in Atlanta and the Padres hosting the Giants.
San Francisco is just a game back of San Diego, and if the Cards have a miracle comeback in them, they'll have to make a dent this weekend.