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An All-World Lineup

All-World Fantasy: Cherry picking the best for a global lineup

First of all, you people are crazy. When I put out the baseball challenge here asking people to try and beat my all-world lineup (a lineup of current players all from different countries) and my all-world roster (25 players in history from 25 different countries), I didn’t really expect many to do it. It’s so nerdy. I figured that I would get 10 or 20 responses from people with the same obsessive tendencies that I have.

Instead: Hundreds and hundreds of people sent in lineups.

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Italian Baseball Superstar

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Greinke

Greinke is one of a kind.

It began thusly:

Me: How did you feel today?
Zack: Really? That’s what you want to ask?
Me: Yeah not really.

And so … another Greinke story begins.

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The New Walk Rule

10 questions about the Automatic Intentional Walk rule

Here is everything — and I do mean EVERYTHING — any sane person would want to know about the new intentional walk rule. OK, let’s be honest, a sane person would not have more than two questions about it.

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Landing page!

As you can see above, I now have a landing page over at MLB.com with all my stories.

Here is the link to the page if you’re too lazy to go up to the top.

I’m looking into whether or not there’s an RSS Feed there that would work.

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The Accidental Pitcher

Jake Diekman’s story inspires beyond baseball.

When you have a child with a disease you’ve never heard of before — our daughter Elizabeth has Crohn’s Disease — you madly research everything you can. And then, you look for inspiration. You look for people who have endured, but more than that, have found ways to live extraordinary lives.

Meet Texas Rangers’ reliever Jake Diekman. 

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PosCast Draft: Road Signs

Michael and I talk about famous people and draft road signs. We close in on our goal: Peak meaninglessness.

On iTunes, Stitcher, audioBoom and a podcast distributor near you.

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King Felix’s Fight

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All Business: Felix Hernandez focused on return to form

Mariners’ GM Jerry DiPoto: “Everybody sees it .His teammates see it. There’s a different fight to Felix. He’s in great shape. And he’s driven in a way that I think is different. I keep telling people, the demise of Felix Hernandez has been greatly exaggerated.”

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Trust the Process

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About Dayton Moore, fist bumping Eric Hosmer and the Royals future

Dayton Moore already has been enshrined in that imaginary Kansas City Hall of Legends, there with Len Dawson and George Brett, Hank Stram and Buck O’Neil, Buck Buchanan and Willie Lanier and Bobby Bell and Frank White and Tony Gonzalez and a dozen or so other people. He took the Royals from nowhere to the pinnacle, built a World Series champion in a place where hope for so many had long faded. He did it in a way that inspired countless cynics and critics, myself included. His place in Kansas City sports history is secure.

And now that team seems on the brink of being broken up. Four of the Royals key players become free agents at the end of the year. The rotation is already almost entirely different; the bullpen has mostly disbanded.

What do you do after you’ve won it all? Where do you go from there?

The Royals’ plan: Try to win one more time and hope for the best.

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Judgmental Stats: ERA

A few years ago — well, yikes, it’s actually more than 15 years now — a guy named Voros McCracken developed a fascinating and counterintuitive theory. He couldn’t help but think that while pitchers have firm control on some parts of pitching (walks, strikeouts and home runs) they have much less control, if any, on balls actually hit into play.

As he worked on it, he found that the numbers backing his theory were even starker than he expected.  Understand that at that point, everyone believed — as many still believe — that great pitchers must give up fewer hits on balls in play than merely good or average or below average pitchers. It was more than belief, it was obvious fact. It went without saying that Greg Maddux or Randy Johnson were much less likely to give up hits on balls in play than, say, Marco Estrada or Jeremy Hellickson.

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