Monday, February 29, 2016

Monday Mopup 2/29/2016

The 88th Academy Awards were held in Los Angeles last night, and to be honest, I saw only one of the nominated movies last year, and that was Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

I thought host Chris Rock was terrific, and that the best dressed award went to Sylvester Stallone's wife, former model and actress Jennifer Flavin.


Here's some baseball stuff I saw over the past few days, or so.

⚾ There were a few notable transactions last week, with free agents Ian Desmond signing with the Texas Rangers and Yovani Gallardo with the Baltimore Orioles, and Dexter Fowler, Jr. re-signed with the Chicago Cubs. has all your trade news right here.

⚾ Spring Training is well underway...

I like the teams logos highway signs using the city where the team is training.

⚾ Current University of Michigan Head Football Coach Jim Harbaugh will coach first base for the Tigers in a game this week vs the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Harbaugh grew up a Tigers fan in the mid 1970s when he lived in  Ann Arbor while his Dad, Jack Harbaugh, was a coach for the Wolverines.

⚾ The Tigers were also in the news, as the team announced it will wear two different versions of the Olde English D.

I grew up with the skinny Tigers logo, so it's gonna be cool to see it on the uniforms again.

                                   Thanks to

⚾ Beginning this week the MLB Network will begin its annual 30 Clubs in 30 Days, starting with the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday,  March 1st at 7:00 pm Eastern time.

⚾ You can get a poster of every big league ballparks dimentions  at

⚾ My new favorite baseball logo belongs to the Savannah Bananas.

⚾ The White House announced that President Obama will head to Cuba in March as part of the renewing of relations with the island country where baseball is the National Sport.

It just so happens that the Tampa Bay Rays are scheduled to be in Cuba to play an exhibition against the Cuban National Team on March 22nd.

The announcement of the game is expected this week.

Let's hope the game, to be televised by ESPN, gets the go ahead, and that President Obama stops on his way to Cuba too pick me up.

I'd love to see more of Cuba than I have, the viewpoint from Guantanamo Bay Naval Base that I saw in the winter of 1985.

⚾ Have a great week everyone, and Play Ball!

Sunday, February 28, 2016

My venture into Baseball Prospectus

Big league baseball is a little more than a month away, and Im hoping that in that small amout of time I'll learn, and understand, something new about baseball analytics. 

Thanks to the awesome folks at Turner Publishing , who sent me a free copy of Baseball Prospectus, I'm jumping...into the shallow end at first, the world of analytical baseball, hoping to learn how all the numbers they've created can help fans who love the greatest game ever invented, the game of baseball.

⚾ Here's how I'm going to study my Baseball Prospectus book...

...first, I'm an old school baseball fan who believes in the Holy Grail of batting average, home runs, runs batted in, pitching wins, earned run average, walks, and strikeouts. 

Now, I do understand some Sabrmetrics and analytical baseball stats, such as WHIP and OPS, and find others, like BABIP, FIP, and WAR, mostly ridiculous.

My main problem with the  baseball analytics community is that they want the analytical stats to replace traditional stats, instead of taking the new statsand adding them to the traditional stats that have been used for over 100 years.

I can tell you this...Hall of Fame and 12 time batting champion Ty Cobb has a WAR of 150...but to me, it's nowhere near as important as a .367 lifetime batting average or 4,191 base hits.

I just don't understand why baseball analytics cares more about a pitchers FIP...Field Independent Pitching, instead of his ERA and WINS.

I love the analytical passion their community has, but it seems to be contrived analysis most of the time.

I'm hoping that the Baseball Prospectus book will teach me how to understand the analytical baseball statistics. 

⚾ I've picked the Chicago Cubs, Detroit Tigers, Los Angeles Dodgers, Miami Marlins, and Tampa Bay Rays as teams I'll focus on the most...the Cubbies are the most popular young team, my Tigers...I've been with them all my life...the Dodgers, well, I've been a fan of the old Brooklyn Dodgers, and I've been a fan of them as my National League team since the early '70s...with the Cubbies as well...and I live on Florida,  and have the Rays and Marlins on my TV every day during the season.

It's gonna be a long baseball season, and a very, very long year of me reading Baseball Prospectus and trying to apply it to my baseball understanding.

⚾⚾⚾ Thanks again to Turner Publishing for sending this book too me, I sincerely appreciate it and look forward to reading it.

⚾⚾⚾ Thanks also to all those who contribute to the book and their undying love and passion
for our National Pastime.

Play Ball! ⚾⚾⚾⚾

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Archer pays tribute to Magnum P.I. and the Olde English D

The TV show Archer opens up its 7th season on March 31st, and in the episode the show pays homage to one of the best ever, Magnum, P.I. 

That means, of course, that legendary private eye Thomas Magnum, and the Olde English "D" Detroit Tigers ballcap he wore in the hit CBS Series.

Tom Selleck was born in Detroit, growing up a Tigers fan, and incorporated his love of the Tigers by donning the famous ballcap many times during the show.

Although I have seen the show before, it's been awhile, but count me in on March 31st.

Here's the trailer for the new season of Archer, on FX.


Thursday, February 25, 2016

Happy Baseball Birthday...Andy Pafko

Today's Happy Baseball Birthday! is former big league ballplayer Andy Pafko.

There are, at times, when baseball fans remember a ballplayer for more than just their play on the field, and that's the case, for myself, at least, of Andy Pafko.

Andrew Pafko was born on February 25, 1921, in Boyceville, Wisconsin, to Checkoslovokian parents.

For 17 seasons between 1943-59, Andy Pafko played big league baseball for the Chicago Cubs, Brooklyn Dodgers, and Milwaukee Braves.

A four time All-Star with the Cubs in 1947-50, Pafko played in the World Series four times, with the Cubs in '45, the Dodgers in '52, and in '57-'58 with the Braves, winning with the '57 Braves.

Pafko batted .285 with 213 Home Runs and 976 RBIs.

Pafko was hit by a pitch 76 times in his career, leading the National League three times, "45''49-'51.

Andy Pafko was a good ballplayer, but when I hear his name I automatically think about his 1952 Topps #1 Baseball Card.

Baseball cards have been part of my life almost as long as I've been a baseball fan, and for about 30 years I've known that Andy Pafko is a baseball card legend.

In 1952 Topps issued a then record 407 baseball cards to kids in a 5 card pack that cost 5 cents...yes, baseball cards were once just a penny apiece

Traditionally Topps has issued card #1 to big time players, including this years #1 card, Angeles CF Mike Trout.

Many observers were bewildered for years on just why Topps selected Pafko for the card, instead of Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, Jackie Robinson, or Stan Musial. 

Pafko was playing for the popular Brooklyn Dodgers in '52, so that could've been the reason.

Like myself, kids wrapped their baseball cards with rubber bands, starting with card #1 on the top...this caused damage to the cards, especially the top and bottom cards, so the #1 Pafko card is rarely seen in pristine condition, and when it is, collectors will pay alot of money...tens of thousands of dollars for a Pafko card in Mint condition.

Pafko has several baseball cards over his career, much less costly than the '52 Topps.

Andy Pafko was a scout in his post playing days, and passed away at the age of 92 in Stevenson, Michigan on October 8, 2013.

Happy Baseball Birthday! to the late big leaguer and baseball card Icon, Andy Pafko. 


Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Twitter Tuesday

Twitter...if you're a baseball fan you can find plenty of good stuff to read about, have friendly baseball conversations, and follow your favorite baseball players and teams.

If you're on Twitter, give me a shoutout at @freehan11 ⚾

Some stories I came across today on Twitter...

⚾ The Academy Awards are this Sunday Night on ABC, which means someone is going to write about the Best Baseball Movies of All-Time. 

The Sporting News is having a vote on the subject on their Baseball Home Page.

Just so you know, here's my Top 5 All-Time Baseball Movies...

1. The Natural

2. Pride of theYankees 

3. Field of Dreams 

4. 42

5. Major League 

The Natural should always, always, be #1 on any list of the best baseball movies.

42 moved up into my Top 5 this year, it's just a magnificent story about two remarkable baseball men, Branch Rickey and Jackie Robinson. 

One of my favorite baseball Twitter follows is writer Graham Womack, who wrote this terrific piece on theHall of Fame candidacy of Tommy John.

⚾ Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump has a problem with Chicago Cubs owners and their Political partners.

⚾ According to Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX/MLB Network, the American agency representing Cuban player "Lazarito" no longer represents the prospect after receiving death threats.

⚾ Washington Post beat writer Barry Svrluga has a terrific article on why shortstop Ian Desmond is still looking for a big league contract. 

⚾ That's about it for Twitter Tuesday... but,  just one thing in closing...

⚾⚾⚾⚾ I bought this for my Birthday last week, and it arrived today.

Thanks to for getting my purchase here in good time. ⚾

Have a great week of baseball on Twitter, see ya next time!


Monday, February 22, 2016

Monday Mopup...2/22/16

Spring Training is well underway in Florida and Arizona, with all big league clubs reporting to the Grapefruit and Cactus Leagues since last Thursday.

I turned 56 on Friday...yes, 56 years old.

My Birthday weekend was terrific, spending time with my wife, eating some great food, and, finally, seeing Star Wars: The Force Awakens...and it was awesome! 

A few baseball things I noticed over the past few days...

⚾ Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia passed away this weekend at the age of 79.

Judge Scalia was a baseball fan who grew up a Yankees fan, and who would often sit in the stands at Camden Yards in Baltimore watching his Bronx Bombers play the Orioles.

Judge Scalia liked to brag to fellow Judge Sonia Sotomayor, a native of the Bronx, that he, not her, was the first Yankees fan on the Supreme Court.

⚾ New Miami Marlins skipper Don Mattingly has jumped right in to his new job by instituting the old school Yankees clean shave policy that he played under...and didn't like... during the days of George Steinbrenner and Billy Martin.

⚾ Marlins new hitting coach Barry Bonds spoke with the baseball media for the first time over the weekend, and, as expected, talk of his credentials as a HOF player came up, with Barry saying that "God knows I'm a Hall of Famer."

Sorry Barry, the last time I checked, the Creator of the Universe didn't turn in a HOF ballot to the BBWAA this past Winter.

⚾ As a Tigers fan, its a great Birthday weekend because I share it with a few Motown greats, including Tigers hurler Justin Verlander , who turned 33 on Saturday, All-Star shortstop Alan Trammell, who turned 58 on Sunday, and the late Sparky Anderson, who celebrates a Birthday today along with The Father of our Country, George Washington. 

⚾⚾⚾For all of the February 22 Happy Baseball Birthday's go here...

⚾ The folks over at Awful Announcing have comiled a list of the 25 BEST Sports Center Anchors of All-Time.

⚾ Ken Griffey, Jr., newly elected member of the Baseball HOF, waved the Green Flag to start Sunday's Daytona 500.

⚾ There's an article over at the Sporting News that recognizes the best catcher in the history of all 30 ball clubs.

The list is pretty good, and, well, they got the Tigers backstop right, and that makes it a good read.

⚾ One of my favorite baseball friends made me this great screen saver last week...

Thanks Jess!

⚾ I'd like to finish on a serious note, about the shootings on Friday night and early Saturday morning in my hometown of Kalamazoo, Michigan.

My heart goes out to all the victims and their families, as well as all the citizens in Kalamazoo County that were affected by this senseless attack.

May God watch over the survivors of this tragedy, and may He bless those who perished.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Happy Baseball Birthday...Jeff Daniels

Today is a special day in my life.

I was born 56 years ago today in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and for as long as I can remember, I've loved the great game of baseball, its players, history, and of course my beloved Detroit Tigers.

I also love celebrity fans of all things Michigan and Detroit sports, like today's Happy Baseball Birthday! Emmy Winning actor, musician, and long time Tigers fan, Jeff Daniels.

Jeffrey Warren Daniels was born in Athens, Georia, on February 19, 1955.

His parents moved to Chelsea, Michigan when Jeff was young, and he  loves the State of Michigan, and still  lives in Chelsea.

Jeff is 61 years old today, exactly 5 years older than I am, and is a huge fan of the Tigers.

Jeff briefly attended Central Michigan University in Mt. Pleasant before getting the acting bug and heading to Los Angeles.

Jeff's many movies and television credits include Hawaii Five -0, Terms of Endearment, The Purple Rose of  Cairo, Arachnaphobia, Gettysburg, Speed, Dumb and Dumber, God's and Generals, Steve Jobs, and the HBO series The Newsroom, which earned Jeff and Emmy Award in 2012.

When searching for info on Jeff for this post today, I came across a song called Tiger Fan Blues, a song I've never heard of.

This is from 2006, a magical year in Tigers Baseball history...enjoy!


That was terrific!

Happy Baseball Birthday! and thank you to a great Detroit Tigers fan, Jeff Daniels! 

GO Tigers! 

Play Ball! 

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Baseball Bulletin...February 18, 2016.

It's baseball time again fans, pitchers and catchers have reported to the Cactus League in Arizona, and the Grapefruit League here in Florida.

I've always used the 1967 baseball season as my starting point to being a Detroit Tigers fan, so this year will mark the 50th year I've been a big league baseball fan.

My Uncle Bob started taking me and my brother Robert to old Tiger Stadium in Detroit in 1967, so even though I probably knew about baseball and maybe even the Tigers, before '67 , that has always been the year I've used when talking baseball history with other fans.

Baseball fans have endured months of frozen winter days of Hot Stove talk, on Twitter, blockbuster trades, and free agent signings.

I'm starting "Baseball Bulletin" here on the blog, a way to talk about things going on across the baseball landscape.


Here are a few notes I came  across this week in the world of baseball....

⚾ The Southern League announced four new members of the leagues Hall of Fame , including Peter Bragan, Jr., who ended 31 years of ownership of our Jacksonville Suns last fall.

Pedro and his Dad bought the Suns just before the 1985 SL season, and brought exciting family fun to our city, including 5 SL Championships, and future big league ballplayers like Andres Galaraga, Randy Johnson, Gabe Kapler, and Giancarlo Stanton.

Congratulations! to all these fine contributers to baseball in the Southern League.

 ⚾ Detroit Tigers manager Brad Ausmus has named veteran RHP Justin Verlander to open the season, his 8th Opening Day start in his Tigers career.

⚾  Mets RHP Matt Harvey reported to Mets camp in Port St. Lucie and stated that he's open to signing a contract extension with the ballclub.

⚾ Mets RHP Jennry Mejia was permanently banned from the big leagues after his 3rd positive test for PED's.

⚾ The Pittsburgh Pirates will celebrate the 1979 "We are Family" World Series Champions by wearing these awesom throwback uniforms and caps on Sundays.


⚾ The Tigers announced that the clubs announcers will alternate between radio and television throughout the year.

Mario Impemba, Rod Allen, Jack Morris, and Kirk Gibson will cross over from TV to broadcast games on the Tigers radio network , and radio guys Dan Dickerson and Jim Price will leave the radio booth to do games on Fox Sports Detroit.

⚾ My 2016 Baseball Prospectus arrived in the mail this week.

I'll be reading throughout the 594 page book and posting reviews on the analytical Bible trying to better understand the Sabrmetrics of the game.

It's going to be a struggle for me, but I'm going to do my best to embrace, I'm hoping, the understanding, at least, of the brianiacs of baseball.

Here's to another great season of baseball, a sport that has given me passion in my life since I was a little boy playing catch with my Uncle Bob,  dreaming of playing for my heroes in the Motor City.

Play Ball!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Justin Verlander to make 8th Opening Day start

According to Detroit Tigers beat writer Jason Beck right hander Justin Verlander will start for the Tigers when they begin the season on April 5th in Miami vs the Marlins.

It will be the veteran Verlander's 8th Opening Day start for the Tigers.

Verlander enters his 12th year (11th full year) in the big leagues with a 157-97 W/L record, and a 3.52 ERA in 2,111 1/3rd innings pitched in 318 starts.

Verlander will lead a Tigers starting  staff of both veteran pitchers like Anibal Sanchez, Mike Pelfrey, and Jordan Zimmermann with a mix of young arms in Daniel Norris and Matthew Boyd.

The Tigers report to Spring Training this Friday, February 19th.

Play Ball!

Monday, February 15, 2016

Happy Presidents Day!

Today is Happy Presidents Day! in the United States, a celebration of the 44 men who have led our country as Commander in Chief for 240 years, from George Washington to Barack Obama.

The Monday in between the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln on February 12th, and Washington on February 22nd, is a Federal Holiday, where all banks and schools are closed, and you can get a great deal on a new mattress or a brand new car.

Usually I've posted pictures of famous Presidents playing baseball, throwing out a first pitch during a ballgame, but this is an election year, and so I've scoured the Internet for the Republican and Democratic candidates for President in 2016, and their ties to baseball.

This photo of President Barack Obama and the Raving Presidents is probably my favorite Presidential Baseball photo of All-Time.

So, lets get started...

First off, the Democrats...

...why the Dems first you ask...its simple, there are only two candidates left in the race, Senator Bernie Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.


Bernie Sanders, 74, was born in Brooklyn, New York,and is a Senator from the State of Vermont.

Growing up in Brooklyn during the heydey of the old Brooklyn Dodgers, 16 year old Bernie was devastated that his beloved childhood ballclub, Dem Bums, were leaving for Los Angeles.

As the Mayor of Burlington, Vermont, in the 1980s, Mayor Sanders helped bring Minor League Baseball to the city with the Vermont Reds, an affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds.


Hillary Clinton, 68, was born in Chicago, Illinois, served as First Lady of the United States, was a Senator from New York, and served as Secretary of State under President Obama.

Ms. Clinton grew up a fan of the Chicago Cubs, and, as any fan of the Cubbies would've loved to have done, she sang Take Me Out to the Ballgame with Harry Carey. 

Mrs. Clinton also likes, as she's said previously as a Senator from New York, a Yankees fan...not a popular choice for Cubs fans.

Like her or not, she swings for the fences...


The Republican Candidates....and there are quite a few...

Donald Trump, 69, was born in Queens, New York, and could've grown up rooting for any of the great teams in Brooklyn, Manhattan, or Coogan's Bluff.

As a young man Trump was apparently quite a baseball player, having been scouted by the Philadelphia Phillies and Boston Red Sox in the 1960s.

In 1962 the New York Mets came into the National League, in Trump's hometown in Queens, replacing the Dodgers and Giants after they left for California in 1958, so a young baseball fan could've become a Mets fan.

As a high flying businessman, Mr. Trump had many occasion to throw out a first pitch at a ballgame.

Jeb Bush, 63, was born in Midland, Texas, and his family has a long love of baseball going back to President George Herbert Walker Bush, a terrific baseball player at Yale.

Meeting Babe Ruth has to be the elder Bush's finest memory as a young man.

Jeb's brother, President George W. Bush, once owned the Texas Rangers.

President Bush did say he still regrets trading Sammy Sosa to tge Cubs.

Governor Bush did Tweet out this picture last year...

" #TBT to my Little League days."

I'm sure Governor Bush has lots of pictures from his baseball past, especially as Florida's main poitician during Grapefruit League action, unfortunately, the Internet didn't give me more than this in action photo...


I didn't Florida Senator Marco Rubio, Ohio Governor John Kasich, or Neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson, it's just I couldn't find any evidence they like baseball, or any picture of them in action...throwing out a first pitch, playing baseball, etc.

So, I hope you all enjoyed this Happy Presidents Birthday!


Sunday, February 14, 2016

Happy Valentine's Day 2016

Happy Valentine's Day! to all baseball fans and their battery mates today, may you both continue to knock it out of the ballpark in your L-O-V-E for one another.


Saturday, February 13, 2016

Happy Valentine's Day! from the Chicago White Sox

The Chicago White Sox want you to be their Happy Valentines! in 2016.

I came across these Valentine's wishes to the clubs fans on the ChiSox Twitter page, @WhiteSox

I'm no fan of the South Siders, but it's a pretty clever promotion by the team, who, after their play the past few years, could really use some L-O-V-E.

White Sox fans can also win prizes by using the hashtag #SoxLove in contestson Twitter as well.

As for me, well, I've been with the love of my life for 49 years... Go Tigers!


Friday, February 12, 2016

Happy Baseball Birthday...Abraham Lincoln

Today we celebrate the Happy Baseball Birthday! of our 16th President,  Abraham Lincoln, born 107 years ago today, February 12, 1809, in Kentucky.

Lincoln has always been my favorite President, and, in my opinion, also our country's greatest President.

Lincoln was also a baseball... base, and played the game as a young man in Springfield, Illinois.

Lincoln, upon hearing of his forthcoming Republican Nomination for President in 1860, supposedly was quoted as saying...

"I am glad to hear of their coming, but they will have to wait a few minutes until I get my turn at bat."

Happy Baseball Birthday! Mr. President...PLAY BALL! 

My email inbox: I won a lawsuit against

Last year around opening day I went into my Comcast account and ordered MLB Extra Innings for the 2015 big league season.

I had ordered both the MLB Extra Innings and in the past, depending on weather or not I had cable TV at the time.

I had never, until last year, ever had a problem with the MLB Extra Innings package. 

The thing that attracted me to the MLB Extra Innings package was that, according to the selling points, on my tabket and phone was going to be FREE of charge for ordering MLB Extra Innings...SOLD! 

I order the baseball package in order to watch my Detroit Tigers play baseball....and, I also like watching a Wednesday afternoon game between the Dodgers and Phillies, or a late night West Coast game between the Giants and Cardinals.

I have also gone the route of just paying $2.99 per month and getting all the big league games on local radio calls...listening to almost all Tigers games broadcast by Dan Dickerson and Jim Price. 

I've also listened to the great Vin Scully...what a joy it is! 

OK, so, the first part of 2015 went just well, then, sometime in May, I tried to access on my didn't work....for the rest of the big league baseball season.

I also had Comcast on the phone multiple times in the second half of the year because my MLB Extra Innings package wouldn't work.

Finally someone at told me...months after the trouble started, that my provider, Comcast, wouldn't honor my FREE subscription, even though I was paying for the MLB Extra Innings...which came with the FREE

So, it was quite a surprise when I opened my email tonight to find out that I'll be, along with all baseball fans, receiving my 2016 MLB Extra Innings package at a discount of 12.5%...pretty cool. subscription rates at are $109.99, $20.00 off the usual price of $129.99

There will alao be options so that if you just want games involving your favorite baseball team, you can get that for $89.99.

The guys over at SB★Nation have it all figured out, and is a great read for fans.

Apparently MLB had quite a few baseball fans unhappy during the 2015 season with all the things that I had complained about, plus, Im sure, many, many other issues.

I love baseball, and I will watch as many games on television that I can every season.

It has been very troublesome over the years with poor quality on both big league services...both on my computer or tablet,  and on my TV.

Big league baseball takes in hundreds of millions of dollars, and you'd think that in the year of 2016 that the people running things on the big league level could figure out how to get their product to consumers willing to pay to watch baseball.

Al you have to know about the problems with baseball and its fans, is to create a Twitter account, or a Facebook page...then follow baseball fans, and read the results.

I hope this class action suit has gotten MLB's attention, and that all baseball fans will be able to watch their favorite big league ball it's a Cubs fan in Idaho, a Red Sox fan in New Mexico, or a Tigers fan watching his team from his home in Northeast Florida.

Thanks to all those who took the time to fight for the rights of all baseball receive exactly what we paid watch tge greatest game ever invented.