#4 best MLB game of 2018: OAK/SEA 8/15

The #4 entry for this year’s countdown involves Oakland and Seattle, August 15. The Mariners posted a 2-0 6-hit shutout at Oakland-Alameda. Attendance was just over 17k, seeing the game go 3:13.

MIke Leake would go 8 for Seattle, allowing just 2 hits and a walk, striking out 6. The bullpen would go the next 4 allowing 3 hits, 2 walks, 6 Ks.
The Athletics countered with Brett Anderson. He allowed 5 hits over 7.2 IP, striking out just 2. Yusmeiro Petit surrendered the lone runs of the game, a go-ahead homer by Dee Gordon.

Jean Segura for Seattle went 4 for 5, all singles. The team struck out just 6 times in 47 ABs. Dee Gordon himself had struck out twice, the high number for the Mariners. Each hitter except pinch-runner Andrew Romine and Guillermo Heredia faced above average aLI. Denard Span had the toughest assignment during the game in his 2 plate appearances.
Oakland fared worse at the plate, with 12 strikeouts. Marcus Semien did so 3 times alongside 1 walk. Nick Martini managed 2 singles and a triple.
Each player except Mark Canha had above average aLI. The high score in that category for this game went to Ramon Laureano, 4.37.

Both sides did not have an RISP hit.

Top 1st: back to back singles by Cano and Segura, the threat erased by a 5-3 DP, grounded by Nelson Cruz.

Top 4th: Segura singled, advanced to 2nd on an E5, but failed to advance on succeeding infield grounders.
Bottom 4th: Nick Martini tripled to lead off. Matt Chapman walked. MIke Leake would strike out the side in order from there.

Bottom 6th: Chapman doubles with 2 out, Jed Lowrie grounds out.

Top 7th: Kyle Seager doubles, Ryon Healy lines out.

Top 9th: With a pitching change from Trivino to Rodney, Mariners bat. Segura singles with 1 out. Cruz gets an HBP. A deep fly by Seager advances Segura to 3rd. Denard Span, in a big pinch hit role, struck out swinging.
Bottom 9th: Athletics make 5 fielding change, as Alex Colome takes the mound. He allowed a leadoff single to Martini, but that threat was quashed by a Chapman lineout, and a GDP by Lowrie.

Bottom 10th: Zach Duke replaces Colome with 1 out. Matt Olson doubles. Nick Vincent in to pitch…he gets 2 strikeouts in between an IW to Semien.

Top 11: Mariners fly out, then get 2 singles from Cano and Segura, Cano moving to 3rd. Romine pinch runs for Cano. Cruz K’s, then Seager pops out.

Bottom 11th. Romine now the first baseman. Vincent allows a 1 out single to Martini. Pazos allows a walk to Lowrie but strikes out Khris Davis.

Top 12: Yusmeiro Petit the pitcher, gets Denard Span to ground out, allows a walk to Zunino. Dee Gordon gets a deep fly to RF, 367 ft, and just enough for a 2-run homer, only his 13th in the majors through 8 seasons. Petit would allow a 2 out double to Haniger.

Bottom 12th: Edwin Diaz to close. Leadoff single by Matt Olson, but Diaz strikes out the side, including pinch-hitter Chad Pinder.

Box score:

Condensed game:

2018-2019 Enlightened Trails update

It’s about time I got you an Enlightened Trails update! I’ve drawn out the divisions, first determining which races were Graded, and then waiting until all tracks have announced their stakes schedule for the upcoming 3YO season. With the 2YO season just about done, I’ve compiled a list of who ranks currently in each division.

The division are geographical, 4 in each, with one big Minors category for all tracks that do not have a Graded race that would logically fit on the real Trail. Top 4 in the Derby Trail per division get into my mythical Derby. Top 3 (top 2 for Minor) get into my mythical Oaks.

I’ve outlined in the spreadsheet who would get in, updated here and after each forthcoming race.
Here’s how the Oaks Trail looks.

And here’s the Derby Trail:


2018 sports dynasty update

I believe that the best teams and players are those who reach the top levels
and defeat the top competition, and get knocked down, and get back up again.
A dynasty is established by a player or sport who leads their group,
team/league through to the highest level of competition, through playoffs,
up the title game/series, for a period of at least 3 consecutive years.
Should that period be interrupted for 2 years, the dynasty continues, until
he/she/they cannot reach the top level a 3rd year. The dynasty can still
continue, tho, if our subject reclaims the top level from another, and only
one other to have at least 2 consecutive years at the top. Again, top
meaning league/conference title, up to the overall league championship
(World Series, Super Bowl, Stanley Cup), or, for an individual sport that
doesn’t have eliminations, winning outright.

American League:
Detroit 1907-1909
Philadelphia 1910-1914
Boston 1912-1918
NY Yankees 1921-1943
Washington 1924-1933
Philadelphia 1929-1931
Detroit 1934-1940
NY Yankees 1947-1964
Orioles (1966-1971)
Athletics (1972-1974)
Yankees (1976-1981)
Yankees (1996-2003)

National League:
Chicago White Stockings 1880-1886
Boston Beaneaters 1891-1898
Baltimore Orioles 1894-1896
Brooklyn (Bridegrooms-Superbas) 1890-1900
Pittsburgh Pirates (1901-1909)
NY Giants (1904-1913)
Chicago Cubs (1906-1910)
NY Giants (1921-1924)
St. Louis (1926-1934)
Chicago (1929-1938)
NY Giants (1933-1937)
Brooklyn/LA (1947-1959)
St. Louis (1942-1946)
NY Giants (1951-1954)
St. Louis (1964-1968)
LA (1963-1966)
Reds (1970-1976)
Dodgers (1974-1981)
Cardinals (1982-1987)
Braves (1991-1999)
Giants (2010-2014)

Current eligible teams to build dynasties:
Chicago Cubs (by 2020)
Los Angeles (by 2021). They will have formed one if they win the league pennant in 2019.
Indians (by 2019)
Astros (by 2020)
Red Sox (by 2021)

Dynasties meeting in the World Series:
1907, 1908: Cubs/Det
1909: Det/Pitt
1910: Phila/Cubs
1911: Phila/Giants
1912: Boston/Giants
1913: Phila/Giants
1921, 1922: Giants/Yankees
1923: Yankees/Giants
1924: Washington/Giants
1926: St. Louis/Yankees
1928: Yankees/Cards
1929-30: Yankees/Phila
1931: St. Louis/Phila
1932: Yankees/Cubs
1933: Giants/Senators
1934: Cards/Tigers
1935: Tigers/Cubs
1936-7: Yankees/Giants
1938: Yankees/Cubs
1942: Cards/Yankees
1943: Yankees/Cards
1947: Yankees/Dodgers
1949: Yankees/Dodgers
1951: Yankees/Giants
1952-3: Yankees/Dodgers
1955: Dodgers/Yankees
1956: Yankees/Dodgers
1963: Dodgers/Yankees
1964: Cards/Yankees
1970 (Orioles over Reds)
1972 (A’s over Reds)
1974 (A’s over Dodgers)
1976 (Reds over Yankees)
1977, 1978 (Yankees over Dodgers)
1981 (Dodgers over Yankees)
1996, 1999 (Yankees over Braves)

NFL football dynasties in the Super Bowl era:
Packers (1961-1967)
Baltimore Colts (1961-1970)
Cleveland Browns (1963-1968)
Oakland Raiders (1967-1969)
Miami Dolphins (1971-1973)
Vikings (1973-1976)
Steelers (1974-1979)
Cowboys (1975-1978)
Denver Broncos (1986-1989)
Bills (1990-1993)
Cowboys (1992-1995)
Patriots (2001-present)
Steelers (2005-2010)
Indianapolis Colts (2006-2009)
Broncos and Ravens are eligible to build dynasties out of the AFC, and Panthers, Falcons and Eagles out of the NFC.

Football dynasties have clashed in the Super Bowl in these years, Roman
numerically speaking:
I (1966 season): Packers over Chiefs
VIII (1973): Dolphins over Vikings
IX(1975): Steelers over Vikings
X (1976): Steelers over Cowboys
XIII(1978) : Steelers over Cowboys
XXVII (1992): Cowboys over Bills
XXVIII (1993): Cowboys over Bills. These two also had met in the 1993
regular season, week 2. Buffalo would go 2-0 with a late 13-10 victory in
Big D.
Counting Stanley Cup finals-participants from 1967-68 to the present (the
first big expansion of the league):
Toronto (1958-66)
St. Louis (1968-1970)
Boston (1970-1978)
Philadelphia (1974-1976)
Montreal (1967-1978)
NY Islanders (1980-1984)
Edmonton (1982-1990)
Detroit (1995-1998)
NJ Devils (2000-2003)
Chicago (2009-2015)

Eligible to build or continue dynasties: Penguins, Capitals, Sharks, Predators, Knights

Stanley Cup finals between dynasties:
1968-9: Montreal/St. Louis
1970: Boston/St. Louis
1974: Philly/Boston
1976: Montreal/Philly
1977-8: Montreal/Boston
1983: NY Islanders/Edmonton
1984: Edmonton/NY Islanders
Philly, Boston, Montreal were running dynasties at once from 1974 to 1976.
Was hockey any better than this period?
And here’s some 1974 history: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GSLXSxIjfok

Minneapolis Lakers (1949-1954)
Syracuse Nationals (1950-1955)
St. Louis Hawks (1957-1961)
Boston Celtics (1958-1969)
Minn./LA Lakers (1959-1973)
NY Knicks (1970-1973)
Washington Bullets (1975-1979)
Philly (1977-1983)
LA Lakers (1980-1991)
Boston (1981-1987)
Detroit (1988-1990)
Chicago (1991-1998)
San Antonio (1999-2007)
LA Lakers (2000-2004)
LA Lakers (2008-2010)
Miami (2011-present)
Cleveland (2015-present)
Golden State (2015-present)

Eligible teams to complete a dynasty: Celtics, Heat, Cavaliers, Thunders, Spurs, Warriors.

NBA Finals that included a pair of dynasties:
1950: Minn/Syracuse
1954: Minn/Syracuse
1958: St. Louis/Boston
1959: Boston/Minn
1960-1: Boston/St. Louis
1962-3, 1965-6, 1968-69: Boston/LA
1970: NY Knicks/LA
1972: LA/NY Knicks
1973: NY Knicks/LA
1980, 1982: LA/Philly
1983: Philly/LA
1984: Boston/LA
1985, 1987: LA/Boston
1988: LA/Detroit
1989: Detroit/LA
1991: Chicago/LA
2015-2018 Golden State/Cleveland

Along with the recent Miami/Cleveland/Golden State troika, there were 3 rivalries ongoing in 1959-1561, and in 1981-1983. Imagine the
vitriol between the Sixers and Celtics. Actually, do more than imagine:

Now we’ll swing over to NASCAR, focusing on the Sprint Cup and its own
Ned Jarrett (1961-65)
Richard Petty (1964-67)
David Pearson (1966-69)
Richard Petty (1971-79)
Cale Yarborough (1976-78)
Darrell Waltrip (1981-1985)
Dale Earnhardt, Sr (1986-94)
Jeff Gordon (1995-2001)
Tony Stewart (2002-11)
Jimmie Johnson (2006-present)
Drivers who can build a dynasty: Truex Jr., Logano

The Stewart/Johnson battle, 6 years in all) was the first battle of
dynasties since Petty/Yarborough, which put the sport on the national map
and beyond, 1976-1978.
http://www.racing-reference.com says that Stewart and Johnson have raced in the
same 420 races. In that span, Johnson managed the better positioning, wins,
top 5s and 10.
Here are the 3 races where either of them finished 1-2 to each other with
the closest finishes:
2013 Coke Zero 400 at Daytona http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AKN4Wwc5qS8
2006 Aaron’s 499 at Talladega http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CD5zKeqOZ6o
2009 Coke Zero http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lgd23wLlltw
And as for Petty/Yarborough, they dueled for 520 races, from 1959 to 1988.
And the stats are quite even:
Petty had 274 better finishes to Cale’s 246, and had more top 5’s (255-243),
top 10s (324-300), and better finishing position (11.4-12.3). Cale outpoints
the King in actual wins, though: 82 to 75.
The closest finish between them in a 1-2 finish was in 1976, the Music City
USA 420, in Nashville:

IndyCar (since 1996):
Dario Franchitti (2007-2011)
Scott Dixon, Dario’s teammate for Target Chip Ganassi Racing. (2013-present)
Eligible to build a dynasty: Simon Pageneau, Josef Newgarden.
Scott Dixon had 3 years to build a dynasty, but finished 3rd in the season.
The clash of these 2 dynasties all took part during Dario’s reign. They would finish 1-2 in these races:
2009 SunTrust Indy Challenge (Dixon, winner, by .31 seconds)
2009 Indy Japan 300 (Dixon, by 1.44)
2010 RoadRunner Turbo Indy 300 (Dixon by 3.05)
2011 First of the two Firestone Twin 275s (Dario, by just .05) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S2M_gW6NgcM
2011 Honda Indy Toronto (Dario by .73)
2011 Honda Indy 200 (Dixon by 7.6)

F1 (since 1950):
Juan Manuel Fangio (1951-57)
Jackie Stewart (1969-73)
Alain Prost (1985-89)
Ayrton Senna (1988-1991)
Michael Schumacher (2000-04)
Sebastian Vettel (2010-2013)
Lewis Hamilton (2014-present)
Eligible to build a dynasty: Nico Rosberg

Interesting that the Prost/Senna duel were the only dynasties that ever
clashed here. How did they do in the head-to-head? Glad you asked: They
were part of 141 races together, with Prost getting the better of Senna 71
to 70. Prost also ranks ahead on all the other categories. In 1988, either
driver finished 1-2 to each other 10 times; in 1989, 4 such races.
The closest 1-2 finish between the McLaren-Honda owned racers was the 1988
Hungarian Grand Prix. You watch and guess who won. Here’s Part 1

Part 2:

For tennis I’m focusing on the men’s singles Tour championship, currently
stylized as the ATP World Tour finals.
Ilie Nastase (1971-1975)
Ivan Lendl (1981-1987)
Pete Sampras (1991-1999)
Boris Becker (1992-1995)
Roger Federer (2003-2011)
Novak Djokovic (2012-2015)
1994 and 2012 were the only times two players currently in a dynasty met in
the finals of the ATP championship match

1994: Sampras/Becker: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8fAh3_T5EZ0

2012: Federer/Djokovic: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q-HgQD61IMc

As for the ladies, here’s the WTA Championship dynasties:
Chris Evert (1972-1977)
Martina Navratilova (1978-1986)
Steffi Graf (1987-1996)
Monica Seles (1990-1992)
Serena Williams (2008-2014)

Graf/Seles never met in the WTA Final but they’ve locked horns 6 times in
Grand Slam finals: Seles won twice at the French, once at the Australian.
Graf was the victor in their lone matchup at Wimbledon, and two wins at the
US Open.

Here’s how the 1992 French Open turned out between them:

#5 best MLB game of 2018: OAK/DET, 8/3/18

#5 August 3, 2018: Athletics 1, Tigers 0, in 13.
Game was at Oakland, 3: 32 with nearly 15k on hand.

Tigers: Blaine Hardy started, going 7 IP, 1 hit, 2 walks, 6 Ks. GS: 79. Buck Farmer closed and lost the game, meeting 8 batters, allowing 2 hits, 1 BB in 1.2 IP.
Athletics: Brett Anderson went 7 also, allowing 2 hits, 1 BB, 2Ks, for a GS of 74. Blake Treinen would strike out 4 of 8 batters, and Yusmeiro Petit 3 of the 6 he faced. Emilio Pagan got credit for the win, and remained undefeated on the year so far.

Tiger batters struck out 10 times vs 1 walk. Victor Martinez had 3 Ks. Jose Iglesias did not strike out, and managed a single and double. Rodriguez and Hicks were part of all 3 DPs.
Athletics had 3 players who would go 0 for 5. Jed Lowrie earned 2 singles, Stephen Piscotty a double. Team did not get their first hit until the top of the 7th, Nick Castellanos leading off with a single. Niko Goodrum followed with a BB. Hicks would hit weakly to 3rd, starting a classic 543 DP, tho Castellanos did advance to 3rd. Victor Martinez grounded to SS.
Tigers did not get their first hit until the 6th. McCann attempted to lead off with a bunt. Jose Iglesias did ground a double. JaCoby Jones and Ronny Rodriguez each grounded weakly to 3rd.
Bottom 8th: Louis Coleman in for Hardy…allows a double to Piscotty but the A’s cannot push him home.
Top 9th: Treinien replaces Familia…Castellanos with a 1 out single, then steals 2nd. Goodrum grounds out, and Hicks fails again in with runners on and strikes out. Team goes 0-7 in RISP, while the A’s were 1-6.
Bottom 9th: Alex Wilson allows singles to Matt Chapman and Jed Lowrie, and induces Khris Davis to hit into a 643 DP.

Top 10th: Candelario singles and steals 2nd, but again the A’s find themselves unable to get the runner in.
Bottom 10th: Olson doubles down the RF line, Piscotty hits into a fielder’s choice at 2nd, and Canha hits into a 543 DP.
Both sides are retired in order in the 11th and 12th. Top 13th: Jose Iglesias singles, then steals 2nd. JaCoby Jones at bat. Ron Gardenhire argues Iglesias is safe on a play at 3rd, but umpire’s original call of out is upheld.
Bottom 13th: Buck Farmer surrenders a leadoff walk to Nick Martini. Piscotty and Canha fly out. Lucrow singles, and Laureano does likewise to end the game. For Laureano, the walk-off single is his first MLB hit!

Box score: https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/OAK/OAK201808030.shtml

Condensed game: https://www.mlb.com/video/c-2345903283

#6 best MLB game of 2018: BAL/BOS, 6/11/18

6/11/18: Red Sox 2, Orioles 0, in 12 innings.
Game was at Oriole Park, lasting 3:45 in front of nearly 16k fans.
Only runs in the game were in the 12th. The game was right around the 50% win probability area until that time.
For Boston, Steven Wright pitched a respectable 6.2 IP, allowing 4 hits and 3 walks, striking out 5. The bullpen would allow just one hit thereafter between Joe Kelly, Brian Johnson, Brandon Workman, winner Heath Hembree, and closer Craig Kimbrel.
Brock Holt’s pinch sacrifice fly came with a 2.69 aLI, tops on the team. Bottom 3rd of the order went hitless. Mitch Moreland struck out 3 times. Boston managed one extra base hit.
Baltimore’s Dylan Bundy pitched 8 innings, 3 hits, 2 walks, 7 strikeouts, for a very nice 81 Game Score. Mychal Givens faced 8 batters at the end and took the loss.
Orioles also managed to get just the one extra base hit. Chris Davis struck out 3 times.

Bottom 2nd: Jace Peterson lines out to LF with men on first and 2nd, 2 out.
Bottom 3rd: Adam Jones lines a single to RF, advances to 2nd on a PB, then to 3rd on a deep fly to right,…..then Danny Valencia grounds out to the 3rd base side of the hole.
Top 6th: Benintendi walk and then steals 2nd. JD Martinez strikes out.
Bottom 7th: Chance Sisco gets hit with an errant Steven Wright pitch. Jace Peterson bunts him to second and reaches likewise. Joey Rickard earns a walk. Joe Kelly replaces Wright and promptly strikes out Adam Jones.
Bottom 10th: Danny Valencia gets a 2 out double. Mark Trumbo walks, and Trey Mancini strikes out swinging.
Top 11th: Mooke Betts grounds a 2 out single; WP by Brach allows Mookie to advance to 2nd. Brach walks Benintendi. Givens enters, and then walks JD Martinez, but strikes out Mitch Moreland with the bases loaded.
Bottom 11th: Hembree makes it 4 straight Orioles to strike out.
Top 12th: Bogaerts singles and Devers doubles to start the rally off. Nunez earns an HBP. Brock Holt earns the RBI with a sac fly, and Jackie Bradly does likewise right after.
Bottom 12th: Kimbrel enters, strikes out the side betwen a walk and a steal.
Box score:

Condensed game:

2019 Baseball Hall of Fame & Museum ballot thoughts and selections

What a racket.
It’s the sort of phrase my
dad would utter when
faced with the reality of
something rather
unpleasant that appeared
I felt this phrase in my
head while working on
the stats for this year’s
HOF ballot. Granted I
have to work on this
using the stats that are
hear. My logical mind
won’t let the heart enter
into it and play the fan
and just go with whatever
player seems most
fitting. The advancment
of sabermetrics
continues to explain
what was once
unexplainable. No racket
to be found here. Or is
there? Moneyball is
everywhere. And slowly,
too, the welcoming of the
latter-day efforts of
making the game more
compact, thoughtful,
even specialized. The
tough part for this vote is
hoping that the writers
with ballots will look
favorably upon those that
truly deserve to be in,
examining against the
current era and not so
much on the previous
era. Nevertheless, the
total sum of baseball
history must be used as a
yardstick to compare
today’s players. It’s this
mass of history that
works against
sabermetrics to a degree.
It also works against the
recently created DH and
RP positions. Yes, both
positions are 40+ years
old compared to the
standard 9 positions, yet
they have a growing
influence on the game
and its flow.

The problem that lies in
the ballot is that we must
compare RPs with all
positions, as well as the
DH. If the ballot were
segmented so that
writers should vote a
proportional amount per
offense, starters and
relievers, fairness would
return to the vote results.

Further, if fans, and
HOFers each had their
own composite 10 to
vote for, along with a
consensus top 10 by the
writers, we’d eliminate a
lof of controversy.

While creating the ballot
spreadsheet, I decided to
segment together sets of
variables that are
presented at baseball-
reference.com: Black Ink,
Grey Ink, and HOF
Monitor and
Standards….then a
segment for WAR and
JAWS stats, and finally
one segment for
similarity scores, divided
by age, one by career.
I checked who ranked in
the top 10 in each
category, and credited
each player with the most
top 10s of each segment
with a vote. The most
players with the most
votes per segment would
be in, capping the total at

I had hoped not to leave
Mariano Rivera off the
list, but, having to
compare him with all on
the ballot, I had no
choice in the matter. Mo
might have been the best
at his position in the
game, but his WAR stats
are lower than other, and
he doesn’t rank in the top
10 in much compared to
others. He’s one
dimensional, and that
works against him, if we
simply compare the

Results of Sheet 1

You’ll note that I have a
second spreadsheet that
does use different
variables, those that truly
speak toward a player’s
greatness. I use the
following for batters:
Games played, WPA/LI,
MVP shares, # franchises
played for, HR per PA, #
of postseason games
involved in, and my own
Fear Factor creation
(measuring dominance at
the plate, contact plus
For pitchers, I use games
played, WPA/LI, MVP and
Cy Young award shares, #
franchises, K per batters
faced, postseason games
involved in, and the
pitcher version of Fear
In Sheet 1, I have the
results of the standard
HOF vote, comparing by
the numbers from
each player compared to
each other, and the
segments of variables,
and who ranked top 10
for each segment. Those
who placed in 2 or all 3
segments the most are in
the HOF, with the notable
exception of Gary
Sheffield; his WAR/JAWS
stats are just fine but
pale compared to those I
ultimately went with.

Of the first-timers, I
easily chose Halladay and

For Sheet 2, I first
defined the proportions
for voting Since 21 of
those on the list of 35
(60%), I allowed up to 6
batters to rank and
choose from. With just 3
RPs out of the 35, I left
one spot for that player.
That leaves 3 spots for
Batters I’d vote for : Sosa,
Walker, Sheffield, Andruw
Jones, Bonds and Manny
Ramirez. Andruw
narrowly beat out McGriff
for the last spot.
Starters: Clemens,
Schilling, Halladay. On
the outside looking in
but good for a future
class: Pettitte.
Reliever: Rivera, in
spades over Billy The Kid

As an afterthought, I
wondered if there are
variables that transcend
between all positions
that would be most
useful to determine a
HOF-worthy player. I
decided to focus on
sheet 2, and use MVP
Shares, # franchises
played for (lower the
better) and postseason
games played in. Most
appearances within the
top 6 (batters) or 3
(pitchers, or top reliever
per list among each
grouping deserves their
plaque. Perhaps this
could be a viable
shortcut for historical
players. Using this sort
of shortcut method, I did
arrive at this shortlist:
Bonds, Manny, Berkman,
and Walker for the
batters, and Clemens,
Halladay, Pettite and
Rivera for the pitchers.

Bona fides I’d vote for
across the 3 lists:
Bonds, Clemens,
Schilling, Halladay,
Manny, Sosa, Walker.
Just below this list I put
Rivera, Andruw Jones,

Longshots: Edgar,
Mussina, Helton.