Happy Birthday, Babe!

babe-ruth-red-rock-cola[1]Babe Ruth was born on February 6, 1895, in Baltimore, Maryland. He may be known as a Yankee, but he will always belong to Baltimore!

Happy Babe’s birthday!

~ baseballrebecca


Baseball en Español


Photo courtesy of Leones del Caracas (www.leones.com)

In 1940, Graydon S. DeLand published “A Glossary of Baseball Terms in Spanish,” in The Modern Language Journal, the journal of the National Federal of Modern Language Teachers Associations. The idea of the article was to capture the attention of “sports-minded” students in Spanish classes and provide them with a vocabulary that would interest them. Graydon certainly was a visionary!

More recently, other English-Spanish and Spanish-English baseball dictionaries have been developed and posted online. These include:

I put together this nice little reference list because I’m still searching for an appropriate sociological explanation to explain the lack of news coverage of the Serie del Caribe (Caribbean Series). Is it that we don’t know most of the players? (Although we know several, including Dariel Alvarez). Is it that it’s taking place so far away? Or is it, simply, that not enough folks speak Spanish. If that’s all it is, Graydon and I have come up for a solution for that.

I’ve put some of the more common terms in a table below. After you study the list, you can take a Spanish baseball vocabulary quiz on Quizlet.

¡Viva el beisból!

~ baseballrebecca

Spanish English
Aficionado Fan
Bateador Batter
Batear To bat
Campeonato Championship
Carrera Run
Capturer, atrapar Catch
Receptor or catcher Catcher
Circulo de espera On-deck circle
Corredor Runner
Cuadrangular Home run (see also jonron)
Cuadro, entrada Inning
Equipo Team
Error Error
Estadio Stadium
Esquina caliente Third base; the hot corner
Ganador Winner
Guante Glove
Guardabosque Outfielder (see also jardinero)
Hit doble Double
Hit tripe Triple
Jardín Outfield
Jardinero Outfielder (see also guardabosque)
Jonrón Home run (see also cuadrangular)
Jonronero Home run hitter
Lanzador Pitcher
Linea de foul Foul line
Parte baja de la septima Bottom of the seventh
Pasból Passed ball
Sencillo single
Partido Game
Ponche strikeout
Turno al bateo At bat

Home Run Derby, 1960-style

HR Derby

Photo courtesy of Amazon.com

Felicitaciones to the winner of last night’s Caribbean Series home run derby, Felix Perez! Today’s blog post honors that historic event by paying homage to the 1960s television show, Home Run Derby. The show was created and produced by sports broadcaster Mark Scott. Each episode of the show featured a contest between two Major Leaguers. The game took place over nine “innings” – each player was give three outs per inning. He who hit the most home runs, won the contest and was invited back for the next episode. The winner of each episode was awarded $2,000; the other player received $1,000. If a player hit three consecutive home runs he would receive a $500 bonus. Four home runs in a row earned $1,000. Each additional consecutive home run was worth $1,000. Hank Aaron won $13,500 over six episodes – the most of any player on the show.

Nineteen major league players competed on the show, including: Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, Ernie Banks, Harmon Killebrew, Rocky Colavito, Hank Aaron, and Frank Robinson. The show was filmed during the off-season in 1959 at Wrigley Field in Los Angeles, former home of the Los Angeles Angels of the Pacific Coast League (and home to MLB’s Angels during the first season in 1961). Home Run Derby aired from January 2 through July 2, 1960.

Unfortunately, Mark Scott died of a heart attack at the age of 45 on July 13, 1960. Without his vision and enthusiasm, the other producers decided to cancel the show. In the late 1980s, ESPN bought the rights to show. Episode one – Mantle v. Mays – appears below.


~ baseballrebecca

The Derby Must Go On


Miguel Cabrera, 2012 (photo courtesy of Cbl62 via Wikipedia)

Despite previous announcements that David Ortiz, Robinson Cano, and Miguel Cabrera would be participating in the Home Run Derby for the Caribbean Series tonight, MLB and the MLBPA announced on Monday that they would not be allowed to participate, reminding us yet again of the business aspects of the game.  As reported by ESPN, the MLBPA executive director explained that participation in the derby would be contrary to the players’ best interests because, “Unfortunately, the people in charge of the event didn’t follow the necessary protocol to ensure that any major leaguers participating in an event like that one is protected from a possible injury.” Nonetheless, the derby will go on. Remaining in the contest are: Alfred Despaigne and Yosvani Alarcon of Cuba’s team, Felix Perez of Venezuela, Cyle Hankerd of Mexico, Kennys Vargas of Puerto Rico, and retired MLB player, Vladimir Guerrero. ESPN noted that Vargas is also an MLB player, but will be permitted to participate in the home run derby, unlike the other, higher paid, MLB stars.


Tonight’s home run derby will also make history as the first one conducted as part of the Caribbean Series. That made me wonder how long the concept has been around. The first home run derby I can remember is, naturally, the one Cal Ripken won in 1991. The other memorable HR derby, for me, was part of last year’s AAA All-Star Game, where another of my Orioles, Dariel Alvarez, won with a total of 21 home runs over three rounds.

So when did “home run derby” first become part of our lexicon? Although the first MLB home run derby was conducted in 1985, it wasn’t televised until 1993. Unfortunately, minor league baseball home run derbies were not so easily Googled, so they will require more research. I did, however, find out about a TV show from the 1960s called, “Home Run Derby.” (I’ll post more about that tomorrow.)

One of the coolest things I uncovered was this footage from 2009 with 16-year-old high schooler, Bryce Harper, competing against minor leaguers – and winning – a home run derby in Salt Lake City, UT.


 ~ baseballrebecca

Dariel Alvarez in the Serie del Caribe


Dariel Alvarez with the Orioles in September 2015 (photo courtesy of Keith Allison, originally posted to Flickr).

Dariel Alvarez is not only representing Venezuela in the 2016 Serie del Caribe, he’s representing the Baltimore Orioles. The 27-year old Cuban-born outfielder signed with the O’s in 2013, after defecting to Mexico in 2012. As one of the O’s up-and-coming prospects, I’ve been following his career closely from his 2013 debut with Frederick Keys, to his participation in the All-Star Futures Game in 2014, to his most recent stint with the Orioles in September 2015.

Before we knew him, Alvarez played for the Ganaderos de Camaguey in Cuba from 2006 to 2011. During those six seasons he hit 45 home runs and had a batting average of .292. In the summer of 2012, he defected from Cuba to Mexico where he hit .317 for Tuxpan in Mexico. In January 2013 MLB declared him a free agent and in February 2013 he was approved by the U.S. government to enter into an MLB contract. The Orioles signed him in July 2013 for $800,000.

After signing, Alvarez was sent to Sarasota where he played three games for the Gulf Coast Orioles, hitting .444 with 4 home runs. Next he went to the single-A Frederick Keys where he hit .436 and 2 home runs in 10 games. Alvarez finished off the 2013 season in class AA Bowie, where he hit just .194 in nine games. He spent the off-season with the Surprise Saguaros in the Arizona Fall League.

In 2014, Alvarez started the season with the Bowie Baysox where he hit 14 home runs in 91 games and had a batting average of .309. That July he represented the Orioles in the All-Star Futures Game at Citi Field and then finished the season at AAA Norfok with a batting average of .301 in 44 games. Back in Norfolk for e 2015, Alvarez played in 130 games, hitting .275 with 16 home runs. In July 2015, he won the Home Run Derby at the AAA All-Star Game. At the end of the season he was called up to the Orioles, making his major league debut on August 28, 2015.

This winter, Alvarez played for the Tigres de Aragua in the Venezuelan League. There he hit .295 with 13 home runs. Aragua won the league championship over Magallanes on January 28, 2016, propelling them into the Serie del Caribe.

I’m looking forwarding to watching Alvarez this week during the Serie and next month at Spring Training. With any luck, we’ll be seeing him in Baltimore real soon!

~ baseballrebecca

Serie del Caribe 2016

Serie 16Baseball’s Caribbean Series starts today and runs through February 7. The games will be played in the Dominican Republic and televised on ESPN Deportes. Participants in the series are the championship teams from Cuba, Venezuela, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic: Tigres de Ciego de Ávila, Tigres de Aragua, Venados de Mazatlán, Cangrejeros de Santurce, and Leones de Escogido, respectively. Members from other teams in each league can be added to that country’s roster. In addition, for the first time the festivities will include a Home Run Derby, which will occur on Wednesday. The derby will feature current MLB players Miguel Cabrera, Robinson Cano, and David Ortiz; Cuban baseball star Alfredo Despaigne; and former major leaguer (and one-time Baltimore Oriole) Vladimir Guerrero. (See my previous post from today for the schedule and rosters.)

The interesting thing, sociologically speaking, is that information on the Caribbean Series seems to be hard to come by. Sure, ESPN and a variety of websites have posted the schedule, but that’s about it. MLB has a web page on the Winter Leagues and the Caribbean Series, but they haven’t updated it for this year’s series. One of the best sources of info comes from Society of American Baseball Research member Monte Cely who is posting updates on the series daily on the SABR website. Without him, I might not have even known baseball was being played in the Dominican Republic this week.

The most frustrating thing to find was team rosters. ESPN appears to have them on their website, but its unclear which year they are from, since the names do not match up to what I was able to find online. I painstakingly cobbled together the rosters from a variety of different sources. Cuba’s roster was the easiest to find, since Baseball America very kindly posted it for us. The Venezuelan League roster also wasn’t too hard to find, after I got to the league’s website. Once I realized that the league websites might have the info I wanted, I found the Puerto Rico roster on the Puerto Rican League’s website, though it wasn’t neatly listed like the other two – I had to pull out the names from an article about the team. The Mexican League’s website is part of the MiLB website, so I found their website rather easily by Googling “Mexican League.” I pieced together their roster, as well, from an article on the website. I never did find an official Caribbean Series roster for the Dominican Republic. What I posted previously was the regular season roster for the Leones de Escogido. The Series roster is likely bolstered by players from other D.R. teams.

Of course after I spent, literally, hours trying to find the rosters, the Series official twitter account, @Serie2016, began tweeting out the rosters on Sunday. But at 140 characters per post, that’s a lot of tweets to have to read.

As the Baseball Sociologist, I want to know why information on the Series is so hard to come by. Is it because American news outlets don’t care or don’t think there are enough people interested in the Caribbean Series? Are there not enough reporters and writers to cover this? Or is it because I am applying my own cultural (i.e., American) values and expectations to something that represents other cultures? Or, perhaps, could the information be there on information outlets such as Twitter, but not in the places I normally look for information, such as the internet?

Whatever the reasons are, I look forward to watching the games all week. Baseball is back!

~ baseballrebecca



Caribbean Series Schedule and Roster

The Caribbean Series begins today! See my other post today for more info!

Date Teams Time
2/1 Venezuela at Puerto Rico 3:00 pm
Dominican Republic at Mexico 8:00 pm
2/2 Mexico at Cuba 3:30 pm
Venezuela at D.R. 7:50 pm
2/3 Mexico at Venezuela 3:30 pm
Homerun Derby 7:00 pm
Cuba at Puerto Rico 7:50 pm
2/4 Cuba at Venezuela 3:30 pm
Puerto Rico at D.R. 7:50 pm
2/5 Puerto Rico at Mexico 3:30 pm
Dominican Republic at Cuba 7:50 pm
2/6 Semi-final (teams TBD – third place v. second place) 3:30 pm
Semi-final (teams TBD – fourth place v. first place) 7:50 pm
2/7 Championship game
(winner of semi-final game 1 v. winner of game 2)
4:00 pm



Catchers: Osvaldo Vazquez, Yosvani Alarcon, Frank Morejon

Infielders: 1B Ariel Borrero, Yorelvis Charles; 2B/3B Raul Gonzalez; SS Yorbis Borroto, Yordan Manduley; 3B Yeniet Perez, Yulieski Gurriel; SS/3B/OF Yurisbel Gracial

Outfielders: Yorelvis Fiss, Jose Garcia, Alfredo Despaigne, Lourdes Gurriel, Guillermo Aviles, Stayler Hernandez

Pitchers: Vladimir Garcia, Yander Guavera, Yunier Cano, Livan Moinelo, Vladimir Banos, Yaifredo Dominguez, Yoanni Yera, Wilber Perez, Miguel Lahera, Dachel Duquesne, Jose Angel Garcia


Catchers: Sandy León, Guillermo Quiroz, Jairo Rodriguez

Infielders: Félix Pérez, Hernán Pérez, Adonis García, Oscar Salazar, Juniel Querecuto

Utility players: Luis Ugueto, Alex Núñez

Outfielders: Teodoro Martínez, José “Cafecito” Martínez, Alex Romero, Dariel Álvarez, Herlis Rodríguez

Pitchers: Freddy García, Austin Bibens-Dirkx, Marcus Walden, Omar Bencomo, Alexis Candelario, Ronald Belisario, Arcenio León, Gumercindo Gonzalez, Wilfredo Ledezma, Renee Cortez, Pedro Hernández, José Mijares, José Flores, Jesús Sánchez, Osmer Morales

Puerto Rico

Catchers: René García, Roberto ‘Bebo’ Peña

Infielders: Neftalí Soto, Yadiel Rivera, José Lozada, Jesmuel Valentín, Thomas Javier ‘TJ’ Rivera, Osvaldo Martinez

Outfielders: Rubén Sosa, Juan Silva, Jorge Padilla, Danny Ortiz, Henry Ramos.

Pitchers: Adalberto Flores, Joseph Colón, Fernando Cabrera, José De La Torres, Ricardo Gómez, Andrew Barbosa, Alex Claudio, Alex Burgos, Efraín Nieves, Miguel Mejías, Mario Santiago, Hiram Burgos, Fernando Cruz, Chris Smith


Catcher: Jose Felix

Infielders: Heber Gomez, Agustin Murillo, Mike Jacobs, Carlos Munoz, Isaac Rodriguez

Outfielders: Albino Contreras, Jose Augusto Figueroa, Jesus Fabela, Chris Roberson

Utility Players: Luis Juarez

Pitchers: Amilcar Gaxiola, Andres Meza, Walter Silver, Jesus Alfonso Sanchez, Jose Cobos, Antonio Garzon, Kenneth Sigman

Dominican Republic

Catchers: (none listed)

Infielders: Pedro Ciriaco, Julio Lugo, Ramon Santiago, Erick Almonte, Pedro Lopez, Jordan Lennerton, Carlos Santana

Outfielders: Melky Mesa, Gregory Polanco, Freddy Guzman, Eury Perez, Jesus Feliciano

Pitchers: Edward Valdez, Carlos Perez, Zach Segovia, Joel Carreno Decena, Ramon Garcia, Jorge de Leon, Logan Williamson, Julio de Paula, Roberto Novoa, Armando Rodriguez, Pedro Feliciano


Week of January 24-30, 2016

The website, Baseball Essential, had the best headline of the week:

L.J. Hoes Sends the Saddest Baseball Tweet of the Year


Hoes with the O’s in 2013. (Photo courtesy of Keith Allison via Wikipedia)

The article notes that L.J. sent a message on Twitter to Baltimore’s Adam Jones that simply stated, “@SimplyAJ10 maybe next time.” The tweet appears to have been deleted since, but a quick look at L.J.’s timeline on Twitter shows a lot of folks unhappy with the O’s decision. Maybe not Nick Markakis unhappy, but they probably should be.

After recently being re-signed by the Orioles, L.J. Hoes was designated for assignment on Tuesday. Generally, this means that the player will be placed on waivers – at which point another team can claim the player. If no other team claims him, Baltimore can outright him to one of its minor league teams, likely the AAA Norfolk Tides.

The sad thing about it is that L.J. was super excited to be back with the O’s, his favorite team. In fact, L.J. was from Bowie, Maryland, and I was there for his AA debut with the Bowie Baysox, on May 31, 2011. I’m certainly hoping we see him with Norfolk this year, but all we can do is wait and see.

These decisions remind us that baseball is not just a game, but a business.

~ baseballrebecca


Waiting for Spring …

 As we count the days until pitchers and catchers report, I though I’d share this picture of Babe Ruth at Spring Training in St. Petersburg, FL, ca. 1930. 

~ baseballrebecca

First Hall of Fame Elections


Eighty years ago today, on January 29, 1936, the first five members of the Baseball Hall of Fame were selected by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner, Christy Mathewson, and Walter Johnson, each received at least 75 percent of the votes cast. This standard for admission is still used today. The selections were announced to the public on February 2, 1936.

Although selected, these charter members would not be formally inducted into the Hall of Fame until 1939, when the Hall of Fame opened in Cooperstown, New York. More than 20 hall-of-famers were inducted into the hall during the first Induction Ceremony held on June 12, 1939.

~ baseballrebecca

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