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VOLUME:XLVIII ... Aug 1, 2022





Everyone checked in with all their games before the 28th... We had our 7th no-hitter of the year, this time Bennett Run turned in a combo version at Albuquerque... I don't remember having so few trades during any in season trade window as this one. Just two... Not much else to say in this section so let's move on to the pennant races and stats.


HARWELL div: khead2

Knob Noster went 17-10 (8-5h) last month and lost a couple of games of their lead but still it's 10 games. The Knobbies have a wins record of +34h/+12, of which on-line it's 35-13. In series play they are 10-1-1 home/8-2-2 away. Albuquerque holding onto second place after their 19-8 (11-2h) month. The Horsemen have an on-line record of 26-22 and a +20h/+6a win record while their series record stands at 10-2-0h/5-6-1a. Kentucky, 15 out of first and now well over 500 is in third after their tidy 20-7 (9-4h) record last month. The Bourbons have a +10h/+6a record in wins. They are 25-23 on line and the series mark is 8-3-1h/8-4-0a. Havre de Grace is fourth and 31 from first after posting a 14-22 (7-11h) record last month. The Bucs have a wins record of -6h/-10a and a series record of 4-7-1h/3-6-3a. Uniontown is last but just three behind the Bucs after their 9-18 (2-11h) record last month. The Raiders are -18h/-4a in winning and their series record is 2-9-1h/4-6-2a along with an on-line record of 19-29.


CARAY div: lincoln2

Lincoln still top dog in the division despite losing a couple games of their lead but it's still six games. The Lightning were 17-10 (10-4h) last month and have a +26h/+18a record in wins and a series mark of 11-1-0h/7-4-1a. Syracuse is second and slowly closing the gap after a 19-8 (9-5h) July record. The Blue are +18h/+14a in winning including their 25-12 on-line record. Their series record is 8-3-1h/8-4-0a. In third and 19 out of first is Western NY. The North Stars posted a 14-13 (9-5h) record last month and have a +12h/-6 wins record along with a series mark of 8-2-2h/5-5-2a and are 3-6 in on line play. Centralia is fourth and now 40 out of first. The Minefires were 14-22 (7-11h) last month and their win record is -18h/-18a along with a series record of 1-7-4h/4-8-0a. In the basement now 44 out of first is Laurel Highlands. The Mustangs had a horrible 6-21 (3-11h) record in July. They are -16h/-28a in wins, a really bad on-line record of 9-37 and have a series record of 3-6-3h/1-10-1a.


ALLEN div: blaze2

Burnsville continues leading here and it's still 9 games. The Blaze had a not exciting 10-8 (5-4h) record last month and their wins mark comes from being +20h/+4a along with a series record of 10-1-1h/6-4-2a. In second it's Etiwanda who were also a not exciting 10-8 (6-3h). The Anteaters are +10h/-4a in wins and their series mark is 7-4-1h/4-5-3a. Third place, 21 out of first, belongs to Ottawa who put up a 18-18 (9-9h) record in July. The Fat Cats wins record is -12h/-6a and in series play it's 2-7-3h/2-9-1a. In Fourth just three back of Ottawa is Bennett Run after their sad 4-14 (2-7a) July. The Boilermakers are 4-7-1h/2-8-2a in series' and get their wins record from being -6h/-18a. Dead last is Sin City who are now 32 out of first after going 7-11 (3-6h) last month. The Knights are -22 at home/-18 away and their series record stands at 0-10-2h/2-9-1a.


WILDCARD: syracuse2albu2bourbon2

Still a five team race for these three playoff berths. Syracuse has #4 slot. Holding slot #5 just 3 back of Syracuse is Albuquerque. The final slot, five back of Albuquerque is now being held by Kentucky. Five games out of the playoffs is a dead heat between Etiwanda and Western NY. No other team is playing 500 ball and highly doubtful of making the playoffs.



Be it overall or just home stats pretty clearly show that the Knob Noster boys can hit. Nobody hits more homers or scores more runs. They are the only team with +1900 total bases and +500 extra bases hits. Lincoln has a couple more hits than the K'heads. They are also the only one with +400 walks and +1400 runners on base. Etiwanda the best at making contact with only 807 whiffs. Sin City and Knob Noster the best two in stealing. Havre de Grace doesn't hit into many double plays. It's pretty rare when Lincoln players make an error. At the other end of hitting be it overall or only home, Uniontown is the worst. They have the fewest hits and have put the fewest runners on base, make the most errors and almost the worst at scoring runs. Bennett Run is the one worst at scoring runs plus being the only one with under 300 walks. Pretty tight battle between Ottawa & Centralia to see who can't hit homers and the Fat Cats are worst at total bases. Centralia is dead last in extra base hits and ISO%. Stealing isn't thought of very much by Burnsville or Bennett Run. Ottawa is best at hitting into double plays..... On the mound Albuquerque overall the best of five with ERA in the three's and Burnsville pitchers are way better at home than they are away. Sin City is going hard for the team complete games record. Albuquerque & Ottawa with most shutouts. Etiwanda the lone team that has given up +200 dingers while Albuquerque is far better than everyone in not doing that. Three teams have +1000k, Syracuse leading them. Ottawa way better than the rest in not giving out free passes to first.



ohtanitatis There is one player hitting 300. One player with +400 OBP. One player with +1000 OPS. That player is Shohei Ohtani (Syr) plus he's tops in Slugging Pct and top 10 in homers. We have two players with +90 RBI and Fernando Tatis Jr (Lin) is at 95. He's also the leader in dingers with 38 of 'em & tied with Sal Perez (Alb) for the most extra base hits. That's a pretty good fight going on with homers. All eleven are in the 30's. Kyle Tucker (Sin) is providing Sin City's only joy this season as the leader in hits plus doubles. Starling Marte (WNY) with a decent lead in stolen bases and Juan Soto (Lin) has a pretty good lead in drawing walks. Not so pretty is looking at Joey Gallo's (Ken) strikeout total or Hunter Dozier's (Ott) batting average..... Just Robbie Ray (Syr) with ERA in the twos. He's also the league leader in K's. Adam Wainwright (Kno) top man in wins with 15. Jose Berrios (Bur) still tops in WHIP and H/9 board. Gerrit Cole (Syr) leading K/9 and K/BB ratios. Josh Hader (Syr) and Liam Hendriks (WNY) tied for the Saves lead. Hyun-Jin Ryu (Ott) not only has the worst ERA but has lost more games than anyone else.



mortontucker Alex Kirilloff (Sin) & Kyle Lewis (Utw) both hitting 1000 (1ab/1h) while Victor Robles (LHi) is 0 for 8 and Miguel Sano (Kno) is 2/25 and has nothing to brag about. Jose Ramirez (Kno) has scored 88 runs and Kyle Lewis (Utw) has never scored in his 9 games. Bryce Harper (Alb) has been caught stealing in 8 of his 12 attempts which has never happened to Ronald Acuna (22sb/0cs). Austin Riley (Sin) & Randy Arozarena (Bur) have been hit 19 times while Kyle Tucker (Sin) has never been hit in 507pa. Jake Cronenworth (Ken) has 6 sac flies. We've had 8 sac bunts this year and Lincoln has 5 of them. Jose Altuve (Bur) & Josh Donaldson (Ott) have hit into 17 double plays and DJ LeMahieu (Cen) has hit into 0 in 182pa. Bo Bichette (Sin) and Willy Adames (Hav) have 27 errors. Fernando Tatis Jr (Lin) has 254 total bases. Wil Myers (Cen) has 0 extra base hits in 59pa..... Kenta Maeda (Kno) & Ryan Tepera (Ken) have 4-0 WL mark while Tyler Alexander (Cen) is 0-6. Brogdon Connor (Ott) has a 0.49 ERA (36.7ip) and Dallas Keuchel (WNY) has a 12.00 (6.0ip). Dylan Floro) (Cen) has been in 60 games. Charlie Morton (Sin) has 13 complete games and has walked a league worst 69. Yu Darvish (Ott) has 3 shutouts. Hyun-Jin Ryu (Ott) has the world's worst ERA and the 40 bombs he's given up in 22 games might have something to do with that. Victor Gonzalez (Sin) has 10.3ip and has given up 16 hits, 17 runs, walked 14, has a 2.90 WHIP and has somehow saved 2 games.


RULES OF THE GAME: We follow the MLB rulebook and so the extra innings "ghost" runner is in effect, for extra innings. Remember that if he or a replacement scores it is an unearned run. Roster size is back to being 26. There is NO limit on the number of pitchers on your active roster. The relief pitcher requirement of facing 3 batters is in effect because it is a permanent MLB rule... The doubleplay stat we track is GiDP (Ground into) and only includes force or reverse force doubleplays. A lineout DP is actually looked at as two separate plays, as is a flyout DP where a runner gets nailed... A triple play is a separate stat from double plays.


RCMBA new rules and stuff: At the end of each MONTH there are 3 days rest... September max roster is 30 for each series... Please now separate pitcher innings into two columns of one for starting innings and the other for relief innings... If some question comes up regarding our two balls/strikes rule due to a board stating other action, such as stolen base, that action happens on the first pitch followed by the second pitch... The Download page (via upper left of Teams page) has the new recap, UPC/Error cards, blank score sheets. If you want my Excel APBA boards (11x8) just let me know.





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He’s Baseball’s Only Mud Supplier.


It’s a Job He May Soon Lose. Jim Bintliff collects the Delaware River mud that is smeared on Major League baseballs to make them less slippery. But that tradition is in jeopardy. Jim Bintliff and his family have been selling Delaware River mud to Major League Baseball for decades. Here, he fills a bucket in New Jersey. This particular mud, hauled in buckets by one man from a secret spot along a New Jersey riverbank, is singular in its ability to cut the slippery sheen of a new baseball and provide a firm grip for the pitcher hurling it at life-threatening speed toward another human standing just 60 feet and six inches away.


Bintliff will drive his Chevy Silverado pickup 70 miles or so to the secret spot and walk 50 yards through woods. Along with his shovel and buckets, he will have a machete for any overgrowth and a few fibs for any inquisitors. The mud does miracles for his garden, he might say. Then back to his Jersey Shore home. The drive takes longer than the harvest. "Within the last six weeks, I’ve shipped to the Diamondbacks, the Rangers and the Blue Jays" Bintliff said. For the next four weeks, Bintliff will strain the mud into the rubber barrel, skim the river water rising to the top, use plenty of tap water to eliminate odor, apply a “proprietary treatment” he declines to describe — and let the stuff settle. "It ages like a fine wine" he said. When the mud has achieved its optimum vintage, he fills the outstanding orders — $100 for the 2.5-pound professional size, $65 for the 1.5-pound institutional size, and $25 for the 8-ounce “personal” size — and heads to the post office to ship some more mud-packed plastic containers. Bintliff said his profit is modest. For example, he said, Major League Baseball pays less than $20,000 a year to have 10 pounds of the Lena Blackburne mud sent to each of the 30 major league teams. If a team needs more during a season, it deals directly with him.


blackburnThe tradition began with Russell Blackburne, a.k.a. Lena, a feisty, weak-hitting infielder who banged around the major leagues in the 1910s before settling in as a major-league coach and manager. A lifer, seen in black-and-white photos beside the likes of Ty Cobb and Connie Mack. While coaching third base for the Philadelphia Athletics in 1938, he heard an umpire complain about the struggle to prepare brand-new balls for use. Blackburne experimented with mud from a Delaware River tributary, not far from his New Jersey home, and found that it de-glossed the ball while mostly maintaining its whiteness. He now had a side job. After a while, every major and minor league team was using what sometimes came to be called "Mississippi mud" — though “mysterious” would have been more apt than Mississippi. Before Blackburne died at 81 in 1968, he bequeathed the secret spot to an old friend who had joined him in mud harvesting: Bintliff’s grandfather, who left it to Bintliff’s mother and father, who, in 2000, passed it on to Bintliff.


Tubs of the substance are found at every major league ballpark. It is rubbed into every one of the 144 to 180 balls used in every one of the 2,430 major league games played in a season, as well as those played in the postseason. The mudding of a "pearl" — a pristine ball right out of the box — has been baseball custom for most of the last century, ever since a journeyman named Lena Blackburne presented the mud as an alternative to tobacco spit and infield dirt, which tended to turn the ball into an overripe plum. Consider what this means: That Major League Baseball — a multi-billion-dollar enterprise applying science and analytics to nearly every aspect of the game — ultimately depends on some geographically specific muck collected by a retiree with a gray ponytail, blurry arm tattoos and a flat-edged shovel.


Baseballs are like snowflakes; though each one is handmade and held together with 108 red stitches, less than three inches in diameter and weighing about five ounces, no two are identical. What’s more, they behave differently depending on the local environment — a challenge that MLB has tried to address by requiring every ballpark to store baseballs in a humidor set at 70 degrees & 57% relative humidity (Colorado is set at 65%). MLB has become part-owner of the Rawlings Sporting Goods Company, which manufactures major league balls in a factory in Costa Rica. The move also presumably gives M.L.B. some say-so in the finished product.


jarMLB executives do not exactly get all misty-eyed over the whimsical tradition of what is called Lena Blackburne Baseball Rubbing Mud, which they say is too often inconsistently applied. In their quest to make balls more consistent they have tried to come up with a substitute, even assigning chemists and engineers to develop a ball with the desired feel. The score so far: Lena Blackburne: 1, MLB: 0. Glen Caplin, an M.L.B. spokesman, said that "pre-tack baseballs" are continuing to be tested in the minor leagues but the reviews have been mixed. "If you change one property of a baseball, you sacrifice something,” Caplin said. "The sound off the bat was different. The ball felt softer. The bar to change a ball is very high. It’s an ongoing project."


According to Caplin, the game’s front office began receiving complaints that some game balls were both lacking the desired grip and "chalky to the touch," perhaps from lingering too long at the bottom of ball bags. MLB investegateds & "What you found was 30 different ways of how to apply the mud. Some guys just used a towel, while other guys really rubbed it in, getting it ingrained into the leather." MLB executives responded by sending a memorandum last month to every team with updated regulations for the "Storage and Handling of Baseballs" which included instructions and video on how to mud a baseball. A splash of water is poured into the jar of Lena Blackburne mud. The hands of an unknown clubbie dips three fingertips lightly into the mud, then selects a virgin ball from a box of a dozen. For the next 36 seconds, the hands rub, roll and massage, working the mud into the grain and along the seams before plopping the now off-white ball back in the box. The simple act is surprisingly solemn, as if the integrity of the national pastime depended on communion between a ball made in Costa Rica and mud shoveled from a Jersey river.


Jim Bintliff, the harvester of mud, knows better than most that the tides are forever changing. All he can do for now is to continue honoring a ritual begun by a mostly forgotten infielder from the dead-ball era who lives on with every thrown pitch. The other day, Bintliff threw his flat-edged shovel into his pickup and headed again to the secret place. He came back with 20 pails of beautiful, mucky tradition.


from a story by Dan Barry - NY Times