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Welcome to Hey Bill, where Bill answers questions from his subscribers almost every day. Visitors can read the most recent Hey Bill's on this page.  Subscribers can ask Bill a question directly and also view our archive of questions and answers.

 

The fifteen most recent questions are listed here and will change almost every day.

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15 Most Recent Questions

Bill, I have always thought the the SacFly was a bit of an anarchonism in this way:  In the Dead Ball Era it was probably easier to decide I am going to try to hit a Fly Ball here to get the runner home,  Ty Cobb and Wee Willie Keeler probably could hit the ball just about anywhere they wanted or at least, they could much more often than today's batters.  So the SacFly rule was an acknowledgement of an actual talent, getting the runner home by intentionally hitting the ball to the outfield.  Today, of course, the ability to do that is greatly decreased and it does seem silly to give credit for "skill" that doesn't really exist anymore.
Asked by: bhalbleib

Answered: 9/20/2017
 It's not a "skill", exactly; it's a positive consequence.   I appreciate your thought, and the fact that Willie Keeler was never credited with a sacrifice fly in his career seems to cut not too deeply into your insight.   

 

Bill,  
Can you provide me with the number of times this year that teams have gotten ahead of a hitter 0-2, only to end up walking that hitter?
Asked by: ZmanOTL

Answered: 9/20/2017
 No.   Wish I could help you.   Anybody?

 

The postseason is coming.  What do you thing is the most significant difference between regular season baseball and postseason baseball?  
Asked by: Jeff

Answered: 9/20/2017
 The weather. 

 

Will you be doing bookstore appearances for your book? I'd love to hear you talk about it.
Asked by: DaveNJnews

Answered: 9/19/2017
 I'm sure I'll do some.   I''ll be at the Plaza Branch of the Kansas City Public Library on Thursday, this week.   If you're in KC.  

 

Don't I remember that the sac fly rule was said to be the result of a private crusade by a journalist who thought Chick Hafey had an unusual ability to produce a fly ball on command and deserved to be rewarded statistically for it?  
 
I always wondered if it was just myth, and then the career of Joe Carter seemed to make it more plausible...
Asked by: taosjohn

Answered: 9/19/2017
 Oh, I remember that now that you mention it.   It wasn't Chick Hafey; it was Sherry Magee, and it may not have been a journalist; it may have been his manager, possibly Dan Howley.   That's just a PART of the history, but I think it is a part of the history.   

 

Hi Bill. You're not very good about self promoting. Can I use this space to remind people that "The Man from the Train" comes out  on Tuesday?
Asked by: izzy24

Answered: 9/19/2017
 Why, thank you, sir.   
 
Image result for Man from the train cover

 

I've also heard the quote "The only thing he knows about pitching is that he couldn't hit it" attributed to Jim Palmer, directed at Earl Weaver. A quote so variously attributed may well go back quite a ways further than that..
Asked by: Zeth

Answered: 9/19/2017
 Good chance.  

 

Bill, do you think we will ever know who killed JonBenet Ramsey? Let me also ask you this: If you were granted a wish to find out the story behind one legendary, baffling unsolved crime, what would it be?
Asked by: TJNawrocki

Answered: 9/19/2017
 It should be solved, yes.    The information is there somewhere to find the perpetrator.    
 
I would wish for a different wish.  . .

 

There's a post about sac flies that got me thinking. Why is there a sac fly but not a sac ground ball?  
 
I understand the logic of a sacrifice bunt not counting as an at bat,,,but a fly ball?  
 
Do you have any idea why a fly ball doesn't count as an at bat just because a runner scores on it?
Asked by: Allen Schade

Answered: 9/19/2017
 Well. . .I'm not an expert in the area, but it seems to me that there was a period (about 1910 to 1930) when any out that scored a run did count as a "Sacrifice".   The problem was that the sacrifice numbers just got crazy.   I'm not defending the rule, exactly, but there is a difference between a ball that you KNOW will score a runner and a ball that HAPPENS to score a runner.  If you hit a 325 foot fly ball with a runner on third and less than two out, it WILL score the runner unless he is Kendrys Morales.    If you hit a 80-foot ground ball, it might score the run, might not; depends on the variables. . . whether it is right at the fielder or not quite, whether there is a veteran runner or a rookie, whether the team is ahead (and thus ready to gamble) or playing catchup.   But no, I don't really know why the events were defined the way they are.   

 

Re: Civil War  
 
I'm sure this has been mentioned already, but the average Reb soldier fought because his homeland was being invaded by a foreign army, threatening to destroy what little property he had and endangering his wife and children. And by property I don't mean slaves, as your typical southern soldier could barely afford to feed his own family, let alone slaves.  
 
That being said, many southern whites had no interest in fighting for the wealthy slavers' interests, and many refused to fight because of it. Ty Cobb's grandfather was one of them.
Asked by: Riceman1974

Answered: 9/16/2017
 OK.   Appreciate your bringing it back to baseball there.   
 
We have done enough re-litigating the Civil War here; I'm going to stop posting stuff related to it unless there is something unusual.  Reaching for increased understanding is not mostly a "reasoning" problem.   It is mostly a matter of opening up your heart, opening up your mind to see the issue as others saw it--and as others have failed to see it.   In order to see the truth, you have to come to terms with the fact that your brother and your sister and your father and your best friend have all blinded themselves to the pain that they are inflicting on others.   

 

I don't believe most people go to war for ideological reasons. They go to war because the leadership of their peer group (loosely defined...i.e., my country) tells them to. I think that's just human nature.  
 
People with an independent enough mind to not go along with the peer group...sometimes that's enough to be considered treasonous.
Asked by: Gfletch

Answered: 9/16/2017
 Right. . . we form peer groups, and those peer groups believe any kind of nonsense that the group tells them to believe.   In America in our own time the largest peer groups are liberals and conservatives   Both believe large amounts of totally outrageous, ridiculous nonsense.   But because the group TELLS them to believe it, they believe it.   

 

Disco Dan Ford didn't get his nick name because he missed home plate doing a celebratory dance. He actually scored. The problem was that he slowed down to do some high strutting, and the premature celebration led to another runner (Jose Morales) passing him on the bases. I'm sure one of the many BJOL members with Baseball Reference savvy can run a tracer. The incident is described in some detail at this link: http://classicminnesotatwins.blogspot.com/2010/03/remembering-disco-danny-ford-1975-1978.html.  
 
Looking at his stats, it seems that Disco Dan had some pop and some speed but not enough walks and far too many caught stealing. He was a poor man's Bobby Bonds, and all the strutting couldn't change that.
Asked by: Michael Skarpelos

Answered: 9/16/2017
 OK.  Thanks.  

 

HeyBill, re: the 1916 Giants. Looking at the schedule, I notice that in the middle of the streak they had a 1-1 game suspended after 8 innings. The other thing was that the streak was full of doubleheaders, 17 of 26 games, and was in the middle of a 30 game homestand. Were there wartime travel rules? I would find it unremarkable that long winning streaks were all road or all home if you are playing homestands and trips in chunks like that.
Asked by: OldBackstop

Answered: 9/16/2017
 Had nothing to do with the war in Europe, no.    I think long homestands were common at that time, but I don't really know whether this one was EXCEPTIONALLY long or not.   

 

One thing most people don't know about the Louisiana Purchase is that the international community considered it illegal.  Under the Treaty of San Ildefonso, France promised to offer the territory back to Spain before offering it to anyone else.  This Napoleon failed to do.  Consequently, the British ordered their commanders at New Orleans not to return any captured land to the U.S.  The Treaty of Ghent ending the War of 1812 did not require the return of conquered land.  If the British had won at New Orleans, they either would have returned it to Spain or kept it for themselves.  Contrary to our high school history, the Battle of New Orleans was not superfluous.
Asked by: LesLein

Answered: 9/16/2017
This I did not know.   Thanks.   

 

Bill, here's at least one answer to my DL-in-September question, from River Ave. Blues, IMHO an OUTSTANDING Yankee website:  
 
Q: Why did the Yankees put Adam Warren on the 10-day DL? What’s the benefit with rosters expanded in September? [This applies to Clint Frazier too, of course.]  
 
A: There is no benefit other than allowing the Yankees to bring a player back from the minors before his ten days are up, though they didn’t do that in Warren’s case. The Yankees put Mark Teixeira on the disabled list in September 2015 and didn’t call anyone up, before they knew his bone bruise was a season-ending fracture, and Brian Cashman said at the time it was essentially an administrative move. It logs it as an official injury with the league office and that’s about it. It’s a nothing move, assuming you know for sure the player won’t be back in fewer than ten days. In Warren’s case, he’s going to be shut down for at least two weeks, so that’s no problem.  
 
Thanks, Bill.
Asked by: pgaskill

Answered: 9/16/2017
 OK.  

 

 
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