I went to McKechnie Field, spring training home of the Pittsburgh Pirates in Bradenton, Florida, this past weekend. Using these five strategies, I got a ball and three autographs. You don’t always get something, but try these tips to increase your odds. (These are good things to keep in mind during the regular season, too!)
Texas baseball fans know they can find big league teams in Arlington (Texas Rangers) and Houston (Astros). But for two days last week, San Antonio became the state’s third major league city.
On March 20 and 21, the city hosted the Rangers and the Los Angeles Dodgers in an exhibition series called Big League Weekend. The games — the Dodgers won both — were played in the Alamodome, which underwent a considerable transformation to host baseball in a stadium originally designed for football.
In each issue of Sports Illustrated Kids, we feature three kids who excel in sports, does well in school, and gives back to the community. These young athletes do it all — on and off the field! Meet this month’s SportsKids of the Month!
Ethan Leach, 10
Pleasant Hill, CA
Last spring, Ethan hit for the cycle as a pitcher for the Pleasant Hill Baseball Association's Rangers team. He scored five runs, stole two bases, and retired the side twice in two innings pitched.
Jim Abbott, a former MLB pitcher who played for the Angels, Yankees, Brewers, and White Sox, was born without his right hand. Despite the birth defect, Abbott is a College Baseball Hall of Fame inductee and pitched for the U.S. gold medal Olympic team in 1988. Abbott's most memorable accomplishment is throwing a no-hitter in 1993 for the Yankees.
You might wonder how Abbott was able to play baseball — especially at the pro level — with only one hand. Well, when he learned the game, he also developed a way to throw with his left hand, then move the glove to his left hand in order to make a catch.
Today, as a motivational speaker, Abbott talks about his days playing baseball and inspires others to never give up on their dreams. I recently caught up with him to talk about overcoming obstacles, baseball rituals, and his favorite present day pitchers.
Texas Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre is all about celebrating with teammates after a big play. Give him a high-five. Fist-bump away. But DO NOT touch his head. Ever. He hates it so much, that his fellow Rangers — and even players on other teams — try to pat his dome just to be funny. But he doesn’t like it. At all.
Which makes the idea of Beltre playing duck-duck-goose with a bunch of elementary school kids so much fun. The Rangers released a video today promoting the team that hints at the hijinks. It needs to be a much, much longer clip:
One of the high points for me as a SABR Analytics Correspondent this year was attending the conference with my friend, Max Melamed. He’s the person I went to my first baseball game with (Yankees Old Timers Day 2009), and he founded the Sabermetrics Club at our school. It’s the first-ever high school SABR Club, and last season we worked together on the Sabermetrics Fantasy League. Here is our recap of the Analytics Conference.
Before we get to the second day of the SABR Analytics Conference, there was a cool panel to end day one. It focused on analytics in the broadcaster’s booth. One interesting point that was emphasized was that broadcasters actually don't try to discuss sabermetrics during broadcasts. Why? Because the stats are complex and they might confuse the viewer. After the panel, I caught up with the moderator, Joe Block, the radio voice of the Milwaukee Brewers, to find out more: