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Thursday, February 7, 2013

Monday, January 21, 2013

This appeared on the Baseball Prospectus website on January 21, 2013...

January 21, 2013

108 Stitches

A Chat with Earl Weaver

Earl Weaver was a winner. His .583 career winning percentage as a manager is the ninth-best all-time, and only Al Lopez has posted a better winning percentage since World War II. Weaver's first three full-season Oriole clubs all advanced to the World Series, winning 318 games in that span. Baltimore averaged 96 wins in his first 12 seasons as skipper, and he managed for 27 years in the majors and minors before his club posted a losing record.
Sure, his Oriole clubs were loaded with stars like Frank Robinson, Brooks Robinson, and Jim Palmer, but Weaver was an impact manager independent of his players. He won because he was able to combine his baseball genius with the ability to keep his talented club focused and motivated.
Weaver took over the helm of the Orioles from Hank Bauer in the middle of the 1968 season, when he was just 37 years old, and he was the perfect manager for an organization that prided itself on pitching and defense. But Weaver was an innovator and a contrarian, too. In 1975, he used radar guns in the Orioles' spring training preparation and also relied on in-depth advance scouting reports long before that practice was popular.
In July of 1982, I was in my first month as a full-time traveling member of the Chicago White Sox and their great field staff that included Tony La Russa, Charley Lau, Ed Brinkman, and Jim Leyland. We were in Baltimore for a three-game series and dropped the second game of the series when a rookie shortstop named Cal Ripken, Jr. hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth to produce some Oriole Magic in Memorial Stadium.
Hall of Famer Don Drysdale was one of the White Sox announcers at the time, and he was quickly becoming one of my mentors. We talked immediately after the tough loss, and Drysdale mentioned that Weaver was a master, a manager I should pay close attention to and learn from.
Early the next morning, Don called my room and asked if I would like to meet Weaver. I jumped at the opportunity.
Drysdale and I wandered over to the batting cage as the Orioles began batting practice that evening, and the next 20 minutes were incredible. It was apparent that Weaver and Drysdale were on good terms. Weaver was engaging, eager to talk about the game he loved. He spoke about how essential pitching and defense were to a winning club, because the two components never went into extended slumps. He talked about the need to keep extra players sharp, but more importantly, make them feel they were part of the team by finding spots for them to perform. He stressed that he was constantly trying to find favorable match ups, whether through an in-game substitution or a start for an extra player. Weaver said that his legendary index cards tipped him off to info that would reinforce his gut hunches and also would be used in conversations with players about whether they were playing or going to sit. He mentioned that every player is flawed, and that the key is finding situations where their strengths have the best chance of being best utilized, and not to dwell on their weaknesses.
Then Weaver looked right at me and said, "this game is all about outs." He said that you had to convert potential defensive outs to win regularly and had to maximize your offense's ability to score runs. He and Drysdale talked about how important instincts were, and how nearly all the great defenders in baseball history were equipped with great instincts. Weaver kept mentioning intelligence and instincts being critical elements of players who touched the ball the most on defense, because it was their decisions that would often affect the game's outcome.
Our conversation moved to Ripken, who was in the cage at the time and would win the AL Rookie of the Year Award after that season. Weaver had decided to move Cal to shortstop just three weeks earlier, and he made a couple of terrific plays against us in the first two days of the series. He told us that Ripken was one of those examples of intelligence and rare instincts. Weaver said that Ripken would be outstanding down the line, that he was just learning the position but seemed to be in the right place all the time. He and Drysdale tried to list all the "big" shortstops, and they struggled. Then Weaver added, "plus, this guy is going to hit, and hit a lot."
That is the evaluation side of Weaver that separated him from most of his peers. Not only could he identify talent, but he also knew how to squeeze the most out of his players, and not ask them to do things they were incapable of doing.
I thanked Weaver for his time and mailed him a thank-you note the next day.  We played the O's a couple weeks later in Chicago and exchanged hellos. I was 22, and I knew I had enjoyed a rare opportunity to learn from one of the all-time greats. His words have influenced me to this day.
Yes, Weaver was feisty, and some of his arguments with umpires are legendary. He was tossed from 98 regular-season games. I worked with former umpire Bill Haller in 1986 when he scouted for the White Sox, and Haller told me some great stories about Weaver. Funny as hell, so entertaining.
They even had to amend the Designated Hitter rule when Weaver found a loophole and listed a pitcher as the DH when the lineup cards were exchanged, giving him the opportunity to make his mind up when that spot in the order arrived.
When he was inducted into the Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee in 1996, I remember recalling how great he was and how much preparation La Russa (who was absolutely amazing to work for) and his staff would go through to be ready to battle with Weaver.
The news Friday that Weaver had passed away saddened me, as I appreciate how great he was in that Oriole dugout. His rare combination of baseball acumen, a fiery personality, and confidence to go with his gut hunches made him one of the game's all-time dugout masters.
Thanks for the chat, Earl. I so appreciate that you took the time to talk with me at the onset of my career. Rest in peace, no. 4.
Dan Evans is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Dan's other articles. You can contact Dan by clicking here

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Dan Evans Named One of 50 Top Twitter Accounts by Baseball America

This appeared on Baseball America's website on December 27, 2012

Top 50 Baseball-Related Twitter Accounts

Follow me on Twitter

If you haven't noticed by now, we really love lists here at Baseball America. Mostly we rank tools and prospects, but we've also done rankings of the best baseball books and movies and there are frequent debates around the office about the best American rock bands or lunch spots around town.

With that in mind, here is a list of the 50 best Twitter accounts for baseball fans. A few of them are ranked because they frequently tweet breaking news, others provide insightful analysis and some are just funny and entertaining, but they're all worth following.

It should be noted that accounts for full-time staffers at Baseball America were not considered for the list, but make sure to follow us, as well. Our accounts are: @BaseballAmerica@willingo@johnmanuelba@jimcallisBA,@BenBadler@jjcoop36@eddymk@aaronfitt@conorglassey,@joshlev44@BAHighSchool & @jimshonerdBA.

Here is the list, in alphabetical order . . .

16. Dan Evans (@DanEvans108)

Evans offers a unique perspective as a former general manager and agent.

Sample Tweet: Adam Dunn has 202 strikeouts in 2012. By the time Joe DiMaggio fanned for the 202nd time in his career he had played in six World Series.

1. Sandy Alderson (@MetsGM)

The Mets general manager doesn't tweet often, but when he does, it's usually funny.

Sample Tweet: Can't decide on a Valentine's Day gift for my wife: Spa day or iHOP gift card?

2. Brett Anderson (@BrettAnderson49)

Funny updates from the Athletics lefthander.

Sample Tweet: The water pressure that the showers have at Angel stadium might be able to chip paint off a car.

3. Collin Balester (@ballystar40)

It's like he was meant to be a lefthander with these off-the-wall observations.

Sample Tweet: Just saw 27 lizards,(New record) 1 smashed armadillo, 1 natty ice 24 ounce can, and 1 Virginia slims cigarette box. Pretty good morning walk

4. Baseball Factory (@BaseballFactory)

Scouting reports and videos from high school players around the country.

Sample Tweet: Here's video of George Springer from 2007 at the Cape Cod High School Classic:

Tweet Date: 6 Jun 11

5. Baseball Hall of Fame (@BaseballHall)

News and interesting trivia from the mecca in Cooperstown, N.Y.

Sample Tweet: Here's video of Harmon Killebrew's 1984 Induction Speech @Twins@Royals@MLB

6. Brandon Beachy (@Brandon_Beachy)

An entertaining peek into the life of the Braves righthander.

Sample Tweet: Something about a large man with a powerful mustache getting into a tiny two door car makes me smile

7. Dan Brooks (@brooksbaseball)

Interesting PITCHf/x analysis.

Sample Tweet: Brandon McCarthy gets more cutter heavy as the game goes on:…

8. Maury Brown (@BizballMaury)

Stay informed about the business side of baseball.

Sample Tweet: The Red Sox have seen 27 players make 34 trips to the DL this season.

9. Dave Cameron (@DCameronFG)

Opinions and analysis from the editor of FanGraphs and co-founder of USS Mariner

Sample Tweet: If Molina isn't the best defensive catcher of my lifetime, I don't know who is. Pudge was good. He wasn't this good.

10. Jose Canseco (@JoseCanseco)

Hubristic entertainment from the six-time all-star with 462 career home runs.

Sample Tweet: Maybe my buddy pete rose and I will be in the same hall of fame class

11. College Splits (@collegesplits)

One-of-a-kind analysis on college baseball statistics.

Sample Tweet: New blog post: Batted ball tendencies of each college hitter. Much more on this coming for next season:…

12. Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick)

Breaking news and analysis from one of the game's best reporters.

Sample Tweet: A scout in Arizona today told me the #Reds are his big sleeper team for 2012. "They're going to be fun,'' he said.

13. Eric Cressey (@EricCressey)

Workout and nutrition tips from a performance coach to more than 100 pro players.

Sample Tweet: To the 80-82mph pitchers who just had a Pop Tart for breakfast this morning: remember Mass = Gas. Get back in the kitchen and eat real food.

14. Cody Decker (@Decker6)

The minor league baseball equivalent of Zach Galifianakis.

Sample Tweet: How do you know chicken isn't actually tuna of the land?....

15. John Dewan (@FieldingBible)

Unique insight from the author of the Fielding Bible.

Sample Tweet: Adam Jones: one of the worst CFers in baseball on deep hit balls (20 fewer plays than an average center fielder on deep hit balls in 2012)

17. Peter Gammons (@pgammo)

It's easy to laugh off Gammons' accidental jibberish tweets because he's one of the all-time greats.

Sample Tweet: #hbtif Craig Breslow throws to Ryan Lavarnway, it will be the first Yale battery since the 19th century

18. Kevin Gausman (@KevinGausman)

The Orioles' 2012 first-rounder has a plus-plus sense of humor to go with his frontline stuff.

Sample Tweet: I've gotta be the best grocery bag carrier ever!! #BagsOnBags#LongArmsSwag....... Get the door though lol

19. Doug Glanville (@dougglanville)

Offers a unique perspective as one of the smartest players to play the game.

Sample Tweet: Understanding Alex Rodriguez and the harsh cycle of life in baseball. Story.…

20. Aaron Gleeman (@AaronGleeman)

Entertaining analysis from NBCSports writer and Twins blogger.

Sample Tweet: Mike Trout is the first player with 10 WAR since Barry Bonds in 2004 and on pace for the most WAR since 1967:

21. Dirk Hayhurst (@thegarfoose)

Former pitcher, Baseball America diarist and New York Times bestseller.

Sample Tweet: Farrell made me uncomfortable. I felt like I was in the principle's office every time I had to speak with him. An animated statue.

22. Tim Kurkjian (@Kurkjian_ESPN)

Breaking news and analysis from one of the game's best reporters.

Sample Tweet: A's coach Mike Gallego teaches focus to his infielders by having them count each bounce of each ground ball hit to them.

23. Joe Maddon (@RaysJoeMaddon)

Great tweets from one of the most intelligent, funny and media-savvy managers.

Sample Tweet: Our rookie hazing took a different twist tonight at Fenway. It was tremendous. A James Shields production.

24. Brandon McCarthy (@BMcCarthy32)

One of the most entertaining player profiles around…his better half is pretty great, too!


25. Matt Meyers (@mtmeyers)

Smart and funny analysis from former BA editor, now with ESPN.

Sample Tweet: Pretty amazing that Dylan Bundy is pitching meaningful MLB innings this September and Stephen Strasburg is not.

26. Bill Mitchell (@billazbbphotog)

Very few people attend more instructional league games than Bill.

Sample Tweet: Javier Baez hits a 440 foot bomb to CF on his 1st AFL AB. Wow! #Cubs

27. MLB Public Relations (@MLB_PR)

Feel-good tweets from MLB's official public relations team.

Sample Tweet: Curtis Granderson now has 40 HR in consecutive seasons. Only other @Yankees to do so were Ruth, Gehrig, Mantle & Giambi.

28. MLB Stat of the Day (@MLBStatoftheDay)

Pretty self-explanatory, isn't it?

Sample Tweet: A.J. Burnett's 16 wins are the most for the @Pirates since John Smiley had 20 and Zane Smith had 16 in 1991.

29. MLB Trade Rumors (@mlbtraderumors)

Follow them on Twitter, so you don't have to refresh their site every 10 minutes!

Sample Tweet: Red Sox To Sign Shane Victorino

30. Jon Paul Morosi (@jonmorosi)

Breaking news and analysis from one of the game's best reporters.

Sample Tweet: Asked Adam Jones to name his favorite CF to watch. His answer today was the same as it was last year: Austin Jackson. "He's smooth."

31. Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN)

Breaking news and analysis from one of the game's best reporters.

Sample Tweet: Red Sox poised to shatter record for DL postings. Most in last 25 years: 2008 Nats, 30; '04 Rangers, 29, '12 Boston, 27, tied with 4 others.

32. Josh Orenstein (@joshorensteinTM)

Unprecedented analysis from TrackMan Baseball employee.

Sample Tweet: #Angels Randal Grichuk, a former #ArizonaWildcats commit, hit a HR 109 mph, 4.7 hang time, max height of 74'. Went 445 ft. #AFL12#TrackMan

33. Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan)

Breaking news and analysis from Yahoo! Sports columnist.

Sample Tweet: Adrian Gonzalez is in the midst of a 23-game, 97-AB homerless streak. Since his first Dodgers AB, a HR, he is slugging .351.

34. Brandon Phillips (@DatDudeBP)

A look into the life of the all-star second baseman.

Sample Tweet: Well... It's time for #BPGiveaway! This is a new game called #DatDudeHunt! I will tweet the address #FIRSTcomeFIRSTserve! Stay tuned!

35. Nick Piecoro (@nickpiecoro)

Good insight on the Diamondbacks and their prospects.

Sample Tweet: Archie Bradley's line: 2 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K. Fastball 93-96 mph. Curve 79-81. One change-up at 84. #instructs

36. David Price (@DAVIDprice14)

One of the most fan-friendly players in the game.

Sample Tweet: Yes send me a picture of it RT @BigWillieL: @DAVIDprice14 in Lids.... Should I get a Rays hat?

37. Old Hoss Radbourn (@OldHossRadbourn)

A hilarious, satirical account from the Hall of Fame 19th-century hurler.

Sample Tweet: In my day we used to mock the runty fellows of the Protractor Society and their new-fangled stats like Runs Batted In and Batting Average.

38. Reddit Baseball (@baseballreddit)

Links that are posted to the baseball subreddit on

Sample Tweet: If you thought Matt Holliday's slide was bad, watch Joe Morgan break up a double play in the '...

39. Craig Robinson (@FlipFlopFlying)

Fun infographics from a talented artist.

Sample Tweet: My new infographic thingy, From A.J. Burnett to Z.H. Taylor: Players who use two-initial names.…

40. Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal)

Breaking news and analysis from one of the game's best reporters.

Sample Tweet: Yes, Oswalt allowed a grand slam to top #Royals prospect Wil Myers last night, but scouts said he threw well, up to 94 MPH. #Rangers

41. Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell)

Not all tweets are about baseball, but has a unique perspective on the marketing and business side of the game.

Sample Tweet: MLB's Web site now selling Miguel Cabrera Triple Crown Dirt: $39.99

42. Greg Rybarczyk (@hittracker)

All kinds of facts about home runs in the big leagues.

Sample Tweet: Between April, 2006 and this morning, there had only been 26 homers over the CF wall at Comerica Park. Miguel Cabrera did it twice tonight.

43. Eric Sondheimer (@latsondheimer)

No newspaper reporter covers high school baseball better than how Sondheimer covers SoCal.

Sample Tweet: Baseball: UCLA loses pitcher Felipe Perez to Diamondbacks… via @latimessports

44. Alex Speier (@alexspeier)

The beat writer for has a very good grasp on Red Sox minor leaguers.

Sample Tweet: #redsox intl scouting dir Eddie Romero and Pacific Rim scouting coord Jon Deeble met w/Japanese HS phenom Shohei Otani…

45. Steve Springer (@qualityatbats)

Hitting tips from the Blue Jays motivational coach.

Sample Tweet: Good Mechanics r good to have but thinking about them to much will bring peralisis by analysis-hitting is-slow feet-fast hands-quiet head-

46. Jayson Stark (@jaysonst)

Breaking news and analysis from one of the game's best reporters.

Sample Tweet: Last time team from Washington clinched a spot in the postseason the manager matchup was Joe Cronin vs. Rogers Hornsby. So it's been a while


Interesting statistics and information

Sample Tweet: Granderson is the fifth #Yankees outfielder to hit at least 42 home runs, joining Maris, Ruth, Mantle and DiMaggio. #RedSox#MLB

48. Tom Tango (@tangotiger)

One of the most well-respected sabrmetricians.

Sample Tweet: Broken bats: By Tangotiger What would happen if we made a rule that any broken bat swing is an automatic foul ba...

49. This Date In Baseball (@ThisDateInBBall)

Facts and highlights on the anniversary of historic events.

Sample Tweet: 1973 #Angels fireballer Nolan Ryan establishes a major league record striking out 383 batters in a season.

50. USA Baseball (@USABaseball)

The official account for the national governing body of amateur baseball in the United States.

Sample Tweet: MLB 20-game winner R.A. Dickey was on 1996 @USOlympic Team. A look back at USA Baseball unis including 1996.