erik lundegaard

Baseball posts

Sunday June 16, 2013

And the Last Shall Have a 5-Game Win Streak

Here's an oddity in Major League Baseball that probably won't repeat itself soon: Any team with a winning streak longer than one game has a negative run differential (indicating they're bad), while the two teams with the longest losing streaks, the Texas Rangers and the New York Yankees, have positive run differentials (indicating they're good).

Click on the image for a bigger version:

MLB streaks as of June 16, 2013


Goes to show how much things even out in baseball over the long months.

If I were a Yankees fan, by the way, I wouldn't be worried that my team is only six games over .500. I'd be worried that it barely has a positive run differential. It indicates they've been lucky so far. +3? The 2013 Yankees are basically a .500 team.

Posted at 09:12 AM on Jun 16, 2013 in category Baseball
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Tuesday May 07, 2013

Ranking Baseball Movies with John Rosengren

John Rosengren may not have seen a lot of baseball movies but he's written enough baseball books. He's the author of “Hammerin' Hank, George Almighty and the Say Hey Kid: The Year that Changed Baseball Forever” (Sourcebooks, 2008), which is about 1973, my 10-year-old, Baseball-Digest-reading, Harmon Killebrew-loving sweetspot; and “Hank Greenberg:  The Hero of Heroes” (New American Library, 2013), which is incredibly well-researched and sorts out myth from fact about the first Hammerin' Hank. John is white-haired, mild in temperament, and lives by Lake Harriet in south Minneapolis. He's a member of the American Society of Journalists, Society for American Baseball Research, and Internet Baseball Writers Association of America. But he really needs to see “Catching Hell.” And apparently I really need to see “The Perfect Game.”

John's Baseball Movie Rankings

1. Moneyball (2011)
2. The Perfect Game (2009)
3. Ken Burns’ Baseball (1994)
4. Bang the Drum Slowly (1973)
5. Field of Dreams (1989)
6. Bull Durham (1988)
7. The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg (1998)
8. The Sandlot (1993)
9. Jews and Baseball: An American Love Story (2010)
10. Cobb (1994)
11. 42 (2013)
12. Bad News Bears (2005)
13. A League of Their Own (1992)
14. Angels in the Outfield (1994)
15. The Scout (1994)

John's Comment

Sorry. Haven't seen that many baseball movies, I guess.

Your turn

Rank the Baseball Movies.


Posted at 07:11 AM on May 07, 2013 in category Baseball
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Thursday May 02, 2013

Ranking Baseball Movies with David Schoenfield

David Schoenfield has been with since 1995 and has served as baseball editor, Page 2 senior editor, interim soccer editor, and now SweetSpot blogger. He grew up in Seattle, rooting for the Mariners, and believes that Edgar Martinez should be in the Hall of Fame.

David's Baseball Movie Rankings

1. Bull Durham (1988)
2. The Bad News Bears (1976)
3. Field of Dreams (1989)
4. Moneyball (2011)
5. The Natural (1984)
6. Eight Men Out (1988)
7. Sugar (2008)
8. A League of Their Own (1992)
9. 61* (2001)
10. 42 (2013)
11. Ken Burns’ Baseball (1994)
12. Major League (1989)
13. Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars and Motor Kings (1976)
14. The Sandlot (1993)
15. Mr. Baseball (1992)
16. The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg (1998)
17. The Bad News Bears in Breaking Training (1977)
18. Bang the Drum Slowly (1973)
19. The Rookie (2002)
20. Little Big League (1994)
21. The House of Steinbrenner (2010)
22. Fear Strikes Out (1957)
23. The Pride of the Yankees (1942)
24. Pastime (1990)
25. The Babe Ruth Story (1948)
26. Cobb (1994)
27. Talent for the Game (1991)
28. For Love of the Game (1999)
29. Mr. 3000 (2004)
30. The Scout (1994)
31. Rookie of the Year (1993)
32. It Happens Every Spring (1949)
33. Major League II (1994)
34. Major League III: Back to the Minors (1998)
35. Angels in the Outfield (1951)
36. The Bad News Bears Go to Japan (1978)
37. Damn Yankees! (1958)
38. The Babe (1992)
39. Long Gone (1987)

David's Comment

Fun list. It's been a lot of years since I've seen many of these movies so it was a test to remember how much I liked — or disliked — some of them. I give Bull Durham the edge even though Tim Robbins didn't exactly have a believable pitching delivery. Still, he was better than the father at the end of Field of Dreams (the guy had one line; they couldn't find an actor who could throw a baseball?) and Robert DeNiro impersonating a catcher in Bang the Drum Slowly. DeNiro's lack of baseball ability nearly ruins what is otherwise a decent movie. Two horrible movies not listed here: Chasing Dreams (1982), which I rented once because it billed Kevin Costner on the VHS tape cover. He had a cameo at the beginning but the movie was dreadful. I think that one may have been shot as a high school project with a budget of $18. So that makes The Slugger's Wife (1985) even worse because it had real actors in it — William O'Keefe and Rebecca De Mornay — and a real director (Hal Ashby). A friend of mine in college made me watch it because the slugger plays for the Braves and my friend was a Braves fan. Which means he watched this thing at least twice. Unwatchable.

Your turn

Rank the Baseball Movies.

Tim Robbins and Kevin Costner in "Bull Durham" (1988)

David's No. 1 movie ... even though, as a pitcher, Tim Robbins wasn't exactly No. 1 with a bullet.

Posted at 06:53 AM on May 02, 2013 in category Baseball
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Tuesday April 30, 2013

Ranking Baseball Movies with Jack Bradbury

After spending his early years in California and Arizona, Jack Bradbury arrived in the Pacific Northwest in 1960, at the age of 7, where the baseball cards he had begun collecting came to life with trips to Sick's Stadium in Rainier Valley. The Pacific Coast League Seattle Rainers had recently become a Boston Red Sox franchise, and Jack remembers watching the likes of Rico Petrocelli and Tony Conigliaro play ball. “Funny,” he says, “I still liked baseball cards better.”When the Seattle Mariners arrived in 1977 he went down to the Kingdome to watch, but it wasn't until the arrival of Ken Griffey, Jr., Edgar Martinez, Randy Johnson and company that the live game supplanted the thrill of baseball cards for him. “Sure wish my Mom hadn't chucked all my cards along with my comic books,” he adds. “Oh well.”

Jack's Baseball Movie Rankings

1. Bang the Drum Slowly (1973)
2. The Scout (1994)
3. Major League (1989)
4. Bull Durham (1988)
5. The Bad News Bears (1976)
6. The Rookie (2002)
7. The Natural (1984)
8. A League of Their Own (1992)
9. Eight Men Out (1988)
10. Bad News Bears (2005)
11. Mr. Baseball (1992)
12. The Sandlot (1993)
13. Ken Burns’ Baseball (1994)
14. Little Big League (1994)
15. Angels in the Outfield (1994)
16. Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars and Motor Kings (1976)
17. Field of Dreams (1989)

Jack's comment

Man! There are a lot of baseball movies I haven't seen!

Erik's comment

“The Scout”?

Your turn

Rank the Baseball Movies.

Bang the Drum Slowly (1973)

Posted at 06:58 AM on Apr 30, 2013 in category Baseball
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Sunday April 28, 2013

Ranking Baseball Movies with Tim Harrison

Besides doing most of the dirty work on this site (with clean code), Tim Harrison draws a comic strip (“Cloud Five,” for when Cloud 9 isn't within reach), produces magazines (including “The Grand Salami,” the alternative Seattle Mariners program), and builds even more websites (examples). He has nuanced opinions on the virtues and failings of each iteration of “Star Trek.” He appreciates great indy comic books but his favorites are still Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four. He prefers a double-steal to a home run and a squeeze-bunt to a sac fly.

Tim's Baseball Movie Rankings

1. Bull Durham (1988)
2. The Natural (1984)
3. Ken Burns’ Baseball (1994)
4. Eight Men Out (1988)
5. Moneyball (2011)
6. A League of Their Own (1992)
7. Major League (1989)
8. 42 (2013)
9. Fever Pitch (2005)
10. Field of Dreams (1989)
11. Game 6 (2005)
12. Mr. Baseball (1992)
13. Sugar (2008)
14. The Perfect Game (2009)
15. For Love of the Game (1999)
16. American Pastime (2007)
17. The Bad News Bears (1976)
18. Major League II (1994)
19. The Sandlot (1993)
20. Mr. 3000 (2004)
21. Cobb (1994)
22. The Babe (1992)
23. The Bad News Bears in Breaking Training (1977)

Your turn

Rank the Baseball Movies.

Pitching mound conference in "Bull Durham"

“Well, Nuke's scared because his eyelids are jammed and his old man's here. We need a live... is it a live rooster? ... We need a live rooster to take the curse off Jose's glove. And nobody seems to know what to get Millie or Jimmy for their wedding present.”

Posted at 08:01 AM on Apr 28, 2013 in category Baseball
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Twitter: @ErikLundegaard


All previous entries

Jeffrey Wells
The Film Experience
Roger Ebert
Rob Neyer
Joe Posnanski
Cardboard Gods
Andrew Sullivan
Alex Pareene
Hendrik Hertzberg
Cloud Five Comics
Copy Curmudgeon
Deb Ellis
Andrew Engelson
Jerry Grillo
Tim Harrison
Eric Hanson
Ben Stocking
Jim Walsh