Blogs: Dugout Dispatch

SABR 45: Highlights of the Past 24 Hours

sabr 45 baseball project

On Thursday night, tons of baseball fans in attendance at SABR 45 flocked into the Palmer House Grand Ballroom to see a concert performance by the Baseball Project. The group got together in 2007, and was founded by two members of famous rock band R.E.M.

The group writes and performs songs that are all baseball-themed, such as “Box Scores,” and “Stuff.” In fact, “Stuff” was being debuted at the SABR 45 concert, and this crowd was an appropriate first audience.

Can you guess what “stuff” is? The song title is the nickname used by pitchers for  =what they illegally put on the ball to make it move unpredictably, making it more difficult for the batter to hit. This “stuff” can range from Vaseline to pine tar to a thumbtack. Apparently, the members of the group had asked a former major league pitcher how many pitchers doctor the ball like this. They were shocked to hear him estimate that 90 percent of pitchers do just that.
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SABR 45: A Trip to Wrigley

sabr 45 wrigley field

My visit to Chicago for the 2015 SABR Convention couldn’t be complete without a visit to the legendary Wrigley Field for a Cubs game. And on Thursday, I did just that.

To make it extra special, I was lucky enough to go on the field before the game. It was amazing experience to stand on the dirt behind home plate in what many consider the cathedral of MLB stadiums. As my Nikes shifted in the dirt, I could imagine Babe Ruth calling his shot in the 1932 World Series just feet away from where I was standing.
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SABR 45: Chicago Broadcasters Talk Cubs Baseball

sabr 45 broadcasters panel

Yesterday was the first official day of the 2015 SABR Convention. Since there was an afternoon ballgame to attend, the morning only featured one panel. It focused on broadcasters, featured current Cubs voices Len Kasper, Ron Coomer, and Jim Deshaies, and was moderated by Curt Smith.

Smith posed many questions to the panelists and got them talking about their favorite Cubs season, Kris Bryant’s arrival to the Windy City, and how previous Chicago broadcaster greats influenced them as professionals and the city of Chicago as a whole. In between their comments, Smith added fun anecdotes of his own that added to the attendees’ enjoyment of the panel. 
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SABR 45: Chicago Baseball History Walking Tour

max mannis sabr 45 chicago walking tour

I am currently in Chicago covering the annual SABR National Convention, SABR 45. The actual panels and presentations begin today, but because it is in Chicago, a huge baseball town, there is always something to do that is related to baseball. So, yesterday, I went on a baseball history walking tour that stretched a course of two miles of the Windy City. The tour was especially great because it was led by SABR's Web Content Editor/Producer and baseball author Jacob Pomreke, who just last week published Scandal on the South Side, a new book about the 1919 Chicago Black Sox scandal. He was just the right guy to show us around this town from a baseball perspective. 

This walking tour was a great way to start the convention, but was obviously just a little taste of what is soon to come in this great baseball town. There’s so much local and national baseball history in this city.

Click the image below to check out a slideshow of the places we visited and their importance in baseball history!
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Virginia Wins Its First College World Series Title!

virginia 2015 college world series

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Six weeks ago, it looked as though Virginia might not even qualify for its conference tournament, let alone the NCAA tournament.

Look at the Cavaliers now.

They're baseball national champions for the first time after finishing a magnificent postseason run with a 4-2 victory over Vanderbilt on Wednesday night.

"This team was a crazy ride this year," said coach Brian O'Connor, who was born in Omaha. "Certainly, we had a lot that went against us through the year, but this team found a way and got into the NCAA tournament. It's an amazing example of what you can do if you put your mind to it, play for each other and have each other's backs.

"Not many people thought this could happen. I couldn't have forecast it. But we're darn glad we're sitting up here with this trophy."
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MLB's Big Weekend: A-Rod’s 3000th Hit, Scherzer’s No-Hitter

alex rodriguez max scherzer yankees nationals

Summer officially arrived this weekend, so of course the baseball gods gave fans a lot to remember.

Let’s start in the Bronx, where New York Yankees DH Alex Rodriguez made history. After serving a year-long suspension in 2014 for using performance-enhancing drugs, A-Rod has been making for lost time. Through Sunday, he’s hitting .282 with 14 home runs, and earlier in the season one of those blasts pushed him passed Wille Mays to fourth all-time in homers.

His home run in the bottom of the first in Friday night’s game against the Detroit Tiger brought Rodriguez into more elite company. The solo shot was his 3.000th career hit, making him the 29th player in MLB history to join the 3,000 Hits Club. He’s also only the third player to ever reach the milestone on a home run (the others were Wade Boggs in 1999 and Derek Jeter in 2011).
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SABR 45 Rolls Into Chicago Next Week

sabr 45

As the school year winds down and the weather gets warmer, kids around the world are able to enjoy themselves by playing and watching sports. Another way to enjoy sports is by learning more about the ones we love.

That’s exactly the opportunity available in Chicago from June 24-28. That’s when the 45th Annual Society for American Baseball Research, or SABR, convention hits town. SABR has more than 6,000 members who love the game of baseball from different angles: as players, writers, historians, fans, or statisticians. SABR has 69 local chapters, but this is the biggest convention of the year, with people attending from across the US and the world. 
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