Saturday, November 24, 2012

One Fan's favorite Twitter Follows

As a public service to you readers here at the FanDome, it felt appropriate to give you a list of this Fan's favorite Twitter follows. Naturally, the best Twitter follows are those that also follow you back. After all, it is hard to have a one way conversation.  There are others worth following like baseball beat reporters and players if you like that sort of thing. But they never follow anyone besides themselves. So you can go find those on your own.

Many of this list are smart, passionate baseball fans. Some write for other sites and some are just fans. But everyone on this list has been a joy to converse with, clown around with and just generally great to hang out with from time to time on Twitter. Some may be sarcastic and snarky. Others are always classy. But each is worth you following them too. So here is the list not in any order of preference. Enjoy.

  • @NavinVaswani_  - Navin was the first baseball writer who ever followed back. He is a terrific writer and writes occasionally for NotGraphs. Loves hockey and baseball and all things sports in Toronto.
  • @m_weber  - Michael Weber is a multi-media journalist who used to write about the Rays. He currently produces the five o'clock news at WTSP in St. Pete.
  • @BryanMcwilliam - Bryan is a sports journalist and personal trainer. He is another early hookup made on Twitter.
  • @sgwell - Stephen Greenwell is a reporter and blogger in Rhode Island.
  • @C70 - "The Godfather" of St. Louis Cardinals bloggers. Daniel Shoptaw is the founder and first president of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance and United Cardinal Bloggers. He has become a good friend and a real nice guy.
  • @baseballjourney - Eric Bynum is a baseball fan and writer who teaches English in SK.
  • @DJAubain - Daniel Aubain wrote about fantasy sports. Has hung up his writing hat for a while. Great guy. Better husband and father.
  • @jasonbaseball - Jason Hunt writes for @FakeTeams. He is a fan of the A's who is married to a Cubs fan. That must be interesting.
  • @AaronJSomers - Aaron is the Editorial Director of Fansided's baseball side of things. Used to write for his own site. Great friend and persistent encouraging presence for this Fan.
  • @TDReport - John Saban is the writer for The Diamond Report and runs a great site there.
  • @AaronMcGallegos - Aaron was transplanted to the Toronto area and though he is not a sports tweeter, is a great guy who has been enjoyed on Twitter.
  • @MnkysThrwngDrts - MJ Loyd is exceptionally hilarious and is the editor of Halos Hangout and Off Base Percentage. Based in New Orleans.
  • @GoldenSombrero - Mike Rosenbaum is the MLB Prospects lead writer for The Bleacher Report. The moniker was the name of his original site. Great writer and even better and supporting his friends. Honored now to be his colleague on Big Leagues Monthly.
  • @_LeftField - Dan is like a brother and a true friend. He writes on his own Left Field blog as well as for High Heat Stats. He is a craft beer enthusiast and has eclectic musical tastes. Love this guy.
  • @Figure Filbert - This Fan's other brother on Twitter. Jonathan Mitchell is a co-founder of and writes for Draysbay. Love this guy too.
  • @mspici - Michael Spiciarich is the CEO of The Sports Banter. 
  • @ThomasPope - One of the favorite offbeat follows. Always has something interesting to say. White Sox fan.
  • @kranepool - Stephen Keane is a credited Mets blogger with a terrific podcast. Crusty. But crusty can be very tasty.
  • @subwaysquawkers - Run by a Yankees fan and a Mets fan and they love to argue. Highly entertaining.
  • @TrueGrich - James is one of the very best of the Angels bloggers and also writes elsewhere for general baseball topics. Terrific.
  • @RJsFro - How can you not like a Twitter account that celebrates the afro of the red-headed Randy Jones?
  • @grahamdude - Graham Womack is a terrific writers who founded his site, Baseball Past and Present and now writes (and gets paid even) by the San Francisco Chronicle. Super guy.
  • @whitesoxski - Rob Warmowski is a passionate fan of the White Sox.
  • @DiamondHoggers - A very good friend who runs a great podcast with MJ Loyd. General baseball blogger but partial to the Reds.
  • @lenNYYankees - Len Neslin is a Yankees fan and blogger who is currently an intern for the Boston Globe. Rooting for him.
  • @KramericaSports - One of the best fantasy baseball sites and also a faithful supporter and #FF er.
  • @poisonwilliam - Bill Ivie is the founder of Ivie League Productions. And just married the amazing:
  • @Cardschic - Angela is a school teacher and St Louis Cardinals fan.
  • @Raindog63 - Bill Miller is a terrific baseball writer and a good friend.
  • @Salty_cod - Passionate fan of the Toronto Blue Jays.
  • @proseandivy - Ryan Maloney has one of the favorite monikers on Twitter. Published baseball writer currently covering one of the Tigers' minor league clubs.
  • @BoSoxInjection - Covers the Red Sox for the Fan Sided Network.
  • @500LevelFan - Jeremy Gibson can usually be found in the upper deck of a Toronto Blue Jays home game. Writes for those kinds of fans. Terrific.
  • @SiscoKid027 - Francisco Hilario writes about baseball and NYC history. Fascinating combination. He is also a bouncer so don't mess with him.
  • @danielday - A wonderful friend who works at Princeton. Cool, eh? He is also a baseball blogger and unicyclist. 
  • @WalkoffWoodward - Doc Worn writes a terrific Tigers blog which has been picked up as part of the ESPN Sweet Spot Network. Great writer.
  • @CardinalTales - Bob Netherton is another great friend and Cardinals fan and historian. His Twitter Tales are famous. Terrific guy.
  • @HOVG - Runs one of the most eclectic and fun baseball sites on the web.
  • @RuleBookGuru - The guy this Fan turns to on all things related to the rules of baseball.
  • @gr33nazn - Baseball blogger, Cardinals fan and one of the funniest accounts on Twitter.
  • @MerrillFraz - Merrill Frazier is a passionate fan of sports in the Tampa region.
  • @PeerlessSports - Writes about all sports. Calvin Edwards is also a really nice guy.
  • @Brian_Mahler - Passionate sports fan and a real all around guy with lots of fascinating interests.
  • @tribescribe - A freelance writer and copyeditor. Loves the Indians, obviously.
  • @JaymesL - Covers the Brewers at the Dsiciples of Uecker. Favorite Brewers writer and tweeter.
  • @BaseballBetty - A lovely baseball account from a very gracious lady.
  • @whyilikebb - Cecilia Tan is a real pioneer and has been blogging baseball since 1999.
  • @firstbasewizard - John Bloomfield believes that good fielding first basemen are highly underrated. Could not agree more.
  • @beardofanclub - These are the guys that got Eric Bruntlett fired. Isn't that enough?
  • @KyLRhones - Simply and enjoyable person to talk to.
  • @BbalRelections - Peter Schiller is the founder of One of the good guys.
  • @baseballindex - Adam Bernacchio is a very good baseball writer who, in addition to his own site, writes for MLB Daily Dish.
  • @mysteryball58 - Jeff Polman is truly a favorite and you have to read his season long baseball fiction.
  • @MLBReports - Easily one of the best quality baseball sites out there. A must follow.
  • @realpetermag - Opinionated and tortured fan of the Seattle Mariners.
  • @Harrison_Crow - Very good writer and sort of a Mariners' fan.
  • @Bill_TPA - Bill is the co-founder of The Platoon Advantage but can be found all over the web at SBNation, Baseball Prospectus and Getting Blanked. Famous for his @Saberman shtick. Love this guy.
  • @commnman - Mike Bates is @Bill_TPA's partner in crime, though they never agree on anything. Strong opinions but a great guy. Hope to meet these two someday.
  • @TroyRenck - Beat writer for the Rockies for the Denver Post. Cool that he follows the Fan.
  • @KCRoyalman - Troy Olsen was a super fan who has had to tame himself to write about his favorite teams. Great guy.
  • @Brandon_Warne - Writes for Fangraphs and at many other places. Hard working writer and not nearly as scary as he looks. He is married to
  • @MandiWarne - Who is easily the better looking of the two. {ducking}
  • @deckacards - Kevin Reynolds writes about Cardinals baseball.
  • @siri3113 - Peter Ace is a HUGE baseball fan. Can get carried away at times. But no harm there.
  • @alskor - Al Skorupa writes about baseball and prospects for Bullpen Banter. One of the best there is.
  • @grogg - Greg Layton is the only guy this Fan ever fought with on Twitter. But that was just one blip in what has become a very good friendship. Prolific tweeter and all around good guy.
  • @kingkube - Chris Cochran is a Mariners fan and one of the funniest guys around.
  • @BSLChrisStoner - Chris has been heard on many big time radio stations talking baseball. 
  • @TaoofStieb - One of this Fan's favorite baseball writers. Writes for his own site plus for
  • @jabberred - Brent is a big baseball fan whose favorites are the Cards and the Rays. Nice guy.
  • @dmbfan81 - Dave isn't as dumb as he looks. Loves his Cardinals.
  • @Brien_IIATMS - Brien Jackson does not have mild opinions. Editor and lead writer for IIATMS and a colleague.
  • @RoyallySpeaking - Jeff Parker blogs on his Royals. Very good at what he does.
  • @cmcbrien - Chris McBrien is a baseball writer and podcaster for Dear Mr. Fantasy and simply one of this writer's favorite people on Twitter.
  • @freehan11 - John Sharp is a blogger for Detroit sports. Very enjoyable.
  • @LastAngryFan - Jeff Greenwell is not really that angry. In fact, not only is he a great blogger but a really great guy.
  • @Erika4stlcards - Erika is just about the sweetest lady of all time. Blogs and loves her Cardinals.
  • @churchofbasebal - Loves the Reds and Nationals. Hates the Cardinals. Don't get her sometimes, but always interesting to follow.
  • @azsportsguy - Scott Allen obviously loves his Arizona sports. Editor of
  • @Fantasybking - If you do fantasy baseball, Brian G. Smith is your guy.
  • @fryban - Brian Fee is easily one of this Fan's favorite follows on Twitter.
  • @SteveMichaelsII - Steve writes for and covers the Patriots. Great recapper and pregame analysis.
  • @ryanillini - Ryan Moran loves all things sports in Illinois.
  • @Dave_Doyle - Dave writes for
  • @johnsouth33 - John Southee is simply an all around interesting dude.
  • @dougiejays - Simon Broder is just an interesting guy to follow.
  • @PhllyBert33 - Philip Ebert writes about and pitched for the University of West Florida.
  • @eutawhooligans - Kevin Lomax is a professional heckler.
  • @jmerzie - Who says her tweets are nonsense. Heh. How can you not like that?
  • @shanemiller33 - Shane interviews minor league players and does baseball podcasts. Heck of a nice guy.
  • @blackandgold12 - Alan Guidry Jr. is a major sports fan.
  • @LadyBatting - Bernadette Pasley writes about the Yankees on her own blog and is a colleague on Big Leagues Monthly.
  • @Rickinator555 - Ricky Keeler writes about the Patriots and also writes about the Yankees for
  • @MCB_johnverburg - Don't tout John Verburg as much as he deserves but his moniker is so hard to remember!  :)
  • @FDbytheword - Frank Delaney. Yeah. The novelist. And yeah, he is a follower. How cool is that?
  • @Andrew_Vig - Andrew Vigliotti is a real up-and-comer and covers baseball and football for Bleacher Reports, among other things.
  • @Dathan7 - Dathan covers the Cardinals. Excellent podcaster and yard sale extraordinaire.
  • @FantasyNomad - Michael Pichan is an accomplished writer on fantasy sports.
  • @NYLivinCAMind - One of the most sought after fantasy experts and is also a most fascinating person in real life.
  • @ThePantau - Mike is a buddy and an attorney with strong political and baseball opinions. Don't hold those against him.
  • @RangersExpress - Nicholi is a thinking-man's fan of the Texas Rangers. A must follow.
  • @maury_morris - Maury is a fantasy sports nut and often tries to help the Fan with his golf no avail.
  • @MikeFrohwirth - He is a Philly fan and travelling bard. Love it.
  • @FantasyTrade411 - Trader X is a legend.
  • @thebaseballfish - Wally Fish is the senior director of data services for the FanSided Network and a aspiring baseball writer. Loves the Twins and Royals.
  • @ajgmets - Andy Gustavson is a Mets fan, obviously and one of the most faithful #FFer there is.
  • @mgkasper6 - Mike Kasper is the founder of
  • @DJ_McClure - Dustin is a Cardinals fan and a really nice guy.
  • @dbaxblogger - Chris Jackson is a very funny guy despite his grammar-nazi tendencies. 
  • @historianAndrew - Andrew Martin is a terrific writer who does the best interviews of minor league players. Has his own site and is a colleague on MLB Dirt.
  • @Gandhi_and-Pie - Mark was a terrific writer for the TPA before following his dream with an internship with the Braves organization. Funny, funny guy.
  • @JWilberg - Jamal is a featured columnist on Bleacher Report.
  • @documof - The code junkie that made MLB Dirt work so well. Big baseball fan too. Great guy.
  • @BoldandBrash - Matt Sydor is a baseball analyst and good conversationalist.
  • @BrandonOSports - Brandon Ogden is a sports writer who is enjoyable to follow.
  • @BaseballChurch - Run by "Pastor" Paul. Odd but fun to follow.
  • @steveslow - Steve Slowinski is one of this Fan's favorite baseball writers. He manages and writes for Fangraphs. Very gracious guy.
  • @KentStock - Motivational speaker who is kind enough to respond to this Fan's odd baseball tweets.
  • @soxanddawgs - Ian created this site and it is one of the best.
  • @batandball21 - Harvey Carpenter breathes baseball.
  • @Clarkbar213 - Robbie is a big baseball fan and a lawyer. Funny how many baseball writers are lawyers. Twitter completely changed this opinion of said profession.
  • @Plinksburgh - Tracy keeps rooting for those Pirates. That is a true fan.
  • @JLGreenberg81 - Jordan is the Executive Producer of MLB Network Radio. Very cool.
  • @Jared_Thatcher - Jared is a fantasy baseball guru and a colleague at Big Leagues Monthly.
  • @goldmedalmel - Mel Stewart. Yes, an Olympic medalists follows the Fan. Life is so cool.
  • garrettkc - Garrett Craig is a FanSided writer and on staff of Motor City Bengals.
  • @1967Astros - One of the coolest Twitter ideas. Follows the season of the 1967 Astros through one of their old players, John Bateman. Love this account.
  • @TWEETSfromNANA - How can you not love a baseball grandma?
  • @JacobsonSports - Bruce Jacobs is a sports radio personality.
  • @CColeman802 - Baseball writer for the wonderfully named, "Aaron Miles Fastball." And a great nice person too.
  • @BaseballRanking - Tim Goehlert is the proprietor there.
  • @ecwiscott - Scott Scott loves Wisconsin sports. Enjoyable.
  • @MrAniki - Loves the Fan's daily Game Picks posts. Tweets the most interesting articles he finds around the world.
  • @DKulich44 - Mariners and Eagles fan. All around great guy and an optometrist. Follow him despite the latter fact.
  • @CharlieSaponara - Charlie writes for The Outside Corner, but he is a real all around guy who is very interesting.
  • @SportsPlum71 - Jeremy Plumley is a Texas sports fan extraordinaire. Tweets a lot. But never boring.
  • @MonkeysWithaHalo - Garrett Wilson is at the top of the heap of Angels' bloggers.
  • @uniformcritic - Probably the Fan's favorite Twitter account. Always posts great old pictures of baseball.
  • @Chip_Buck - A must read for this writer, Chip is hysterical and writes for Firebrand and TPA among many others. Love this guy.
  • @clairbearattack - Michael Clair runs the most fun baseball site on the web at Old Time Family Baseball. Now contributes to TPA as well.
  • @WIUScott - Scott loves baseball, but that is just a part of what makes him interesting.
  • @Tomahawk_Take - Bob Horton runs this FanSided Braves blog. Enjoy following him despite how much this Fan hates that tomahawk thing.
  • @jlwoj - Jason Wojciechowski's name is easier to remember if you say it fast. Great writer. Smart as all heck. A guy whose opinion on things is greatly valued. Funny too.
  • @tonyframpton - Tony was one of this Fan's favorite bloggers. Now he is just a favorite Twitter follow and that's okay.
  • @MnTwinkie - A Twins blog. Obviously. But fun to follow.
  • @Tasso_SPORTS - Ian Tasso is an up and coming play by play guy that this Fan roots for.
  • @29Sonski - Pete Sonski hosts a Blog Talk Radio show among his many other sports pursuits. Very good to talk to.
  • @aBROCKalypse - Brock is just insane. And that is always entertaining.
  • @bigmarinersfan - Brian is a fan. And he is also great to talk to.
  • @yoshiki89 - Stevo-sama is a talented baseball writer who does the best baseball recaps anywhere. A colleague at Big Leagues Monthly.
Gosh this is taking forever. Hope you appreciate this!
  • @cuppingmaster - Alan covers the A's and is a really great person. Love talking to him.
  • @oakfaninva - Found Dave the same time as Alan above. Enjoy them both immensely. 
  • @BaseballUnrated - A fellow BBA generalist.
  • @ChuckKnoblaugh - Yeah, the former player. He's a follower. Cool.
  • @larrybenrendt - Larry is a fellow Yankees writer and all around talented guy.
  • @RedSox_Thoughts - Matt Collins is a terrific writer and we enjoy each other's company. Writes at Over the Monster and has a new gig too that is pretty exciting.
  • @The5_5Hole - Justin Hunter is a baseball writer that is enjoyable to read and talk to.
  • @MWLtraveler - Craig Wieczorkiewicz has easily the hardest last name to spell in history. He's also writing a book about visiting all sixteen parks in the Midwest League. Very gracious guy.
  • @BlaineBlontz - Blaine is everywhere. A colleague at Big Leagues Monthly, a founder of MLB Injury News and a contributor at MLB Daily Dish.
  • @SportsCenterMe - Greg Eloge wants to work for ESPN. Rooting for him.
  • @RieMix - Rie Bahadur has many interests. Baseball is just one of them.
  • @Chris_Carelli - Chris is a super talented guy. He's the executive editor at Big Leagues Monthly and a senior editor at Yankees Go Yard, a FanSided network site.
  • @AMirch729 - Adam is just unique. How else is there to describe him?
  • @chestnuthell - Janice is good at inducing smiles and is a Red Sox fan.
  • @danduquette - Yes, Dan Duquette follows the Fan. Is there a problem?
  • @AATH_baseball - Ryan Sendek is a talented writer. Hasn't been around much lately. Worried about him.
  • @BruceSpitzer1 - Author of Extra Innings, a novel.
  • @birdbrained - Chris Reed blogs about his favorite team, the Cardinals.
  • @RobbSaul - Editor of Redbird Rants.
  • @Ourlads_Shonka - Dan Shonka is a former NFL scout now moved on to other cool things.
  • @ChickenFriars - Robert and Kevin have a great blog on the Padres.
  • @LarryBaseball - Larry Cicchiello has a passion for teaching baseball. Very faithful #FFer for the Fan. Appreciated greatly.
  • @MHealeySports - Mark Healey is a writer, editor and host on SiriusXFFantasy. His opinions take no prisoners.
  • @NathanConley - A radio producer in Charlotte for a big station there. Cool guy.
  • @davidwiers - David is a terrific writer whose work is everywhere. A colleague at Big Leagues Monthly.
  • @Bluedudesports - AJ Harris is just cool, that's all.
  • @AshMarshallMLB  - Ash is a writer for
  • @condiaFF - Big contributor to @RotoWar.
  • @M_Holloway - Michael is a fellow BBA generalist.
  • @john_pielli - John hosts the Passed Ball Show.
  • @Prospect_corner - Bryce Kucko is a contributor at
  • @Jason_IIATMS - Jason Rosenberg. Was a fan of his for a long time. Now his colleague. Life is grand.
  • @TheRaysRanter - Yossi Feins is the founder of The Rays Rant and chief editor at and writes for The Bleacher Report.
  • @MyRangersNotes - Nate is a good follow for Rangers fans.
  • @lau56 - Larry Underwood is a published nonfiction writer and Cardinals fan.
  • @DickYoungsGhost - One fake or novelty account that is enjoyable.
  • @bdobbs23 - a seamhead by his own admission.
  • @BarnabasPiper - Loves Minnesota sports. Writes about them too among other things.
  • @AdamDunagan - Adam is a passionate fan of baseball and its history.
  • @MRJManiac - Michael Jong is one terrific baseball writer who has his hands full since the Marlins are his team of coverage.
  • @mighty_flynn - TJ Flynn understands that it is a long season. Highly entertaining to talk to.
  • @sethlvgolf - Seth Kolbrenner loves to talk sports.
  • @Gobroks - Josh Gaab is an intern with the Houston Astros.
  • @Justinjabs - Journalism major. Baseball obsession. Fellow BBA generalist.
  • @BaseballbyTom - Tom Froemming writes for MLBDailyDish on the SB Nation Network. Name reminds the Fan of an old umpire, Bruce.
  • @redfawn - Runner and fantasy baseball addict. Roots for the Blue Jays.
  • @wezen_ball - Larry Granillo is flat out terrific and writes for Baseball Prospectus.
  • @soozeonsports - Susan Lulgjuraz writes about baseball. Does it well.
  • @BABIP_Roberts - Steven Nichols has the best moniker on Twitter. Big Red Sox fan.
  • @jeterian - Tamar is a colleague at IIATMS and sometimes my confessor. Wonderful person.
  • @Dave_Gershman - Dave used to write for ESPN. Been missing a while since a major Twitter blowup.
  • @KC_Nihilist - Jacob Hurley typifies the angst of being a Royals fan.
  • @KCPopFlyBoy - Jeremy Sickels is the co-founder of the Pop Fly Boys website.
  • @MikeGianella - Mike is a most respected fantasy expert and all around great guy.
  • @Jomeara555 - Jeff O'Meara is an illustrator / writer. Loves baseball.
  • @GreenLineoutfit - John Leary loves him some Red Sox.
  • @MikeChernow - Mike is a clubhouse attendant for the Phillies. How cool is that?
  • @BoltingVultures - that a unique baseball personality and that is a good thing.
  • @jasonjpevans - Jason Evans is everywhere. Writes for rantssports as a Yankees blogger, writes for Through the Fence Baseball and also Halos Hangout.
  • @TheRotoCommish - Must follow for fantasy sports.
  • @BaseballParkEGuides - Kurt Smith does a cool thing and you can have your own PDF version of one of his ballpark guides for a reasonable price.
  • @blogredmachine - Fansided Reds site.
  • @stoltz_baseball - Nathaniel Stoltz is a great guy who writes for Beyond the Box Score and is a colleague on Big Leagues Monthly.
  • @Rotoinfo_com - Another good fantasy resource. Gosh. A lot of people must do that sort of playing.
  • @Lana - Lana Berry is a baseball fan. But her account is most fun watching guys act stupid trying to impress her.
  • @mickey_baseball - Mickey Brignall. Who can't like a guy named Mickey?
  • @veritas7 - Monty Taylor loves the Nationals and MLB.
  • @KirbysLeftEye - Myjah is hugely entertaining and belongs to
  • @HunterFelt - Hunter writes for The Guardian. Offbeat to the hilt. And again, that is a good thing.
  • @CobraDave - David Fung is one of those guys that can make a computer do anything.
  • @lesabotage - The better half a Larry Granillo. And nearly as good a writer. Be warned - changes name often!
  • @brokenbatsingle - Nate Scott covers the Royals.
  • @unexpectedbass - Brendan writes for Lovely guy. Enjoy him a lot.
  • @Theghostofrocky - Started as a parody account, but a big, passionate fan of the Tigers.
  • @russwight - Russ is a baseball fan and blogger. Nice guy.
  • @BrettKaplan - Brett works for MTV. You know...that station that used to have videos.  :)
  • @raschatz - Allen Schats is a fiction writer who combines mystery and baseball in his work. Cool.
  • @baseballtwit - Love Adam Darowski's moniker. Anything but a twit, Adam created @HallofStats and writes for High Heat Stats, Beyond the Boxcore and more.
  • @SorianoJoe - Joe is the lead writer on the FanSided @Musket_Fire and staff writer for @NFLSpinZone.
  • @Niktigs - A fellow BBA generalist.
  • @LorinBigD - Laura Schulte is a must follow for those who love their Texas sports. Great personality too.
  • @RationalPastime - J-Doug is one terrific talent that has been on hiatus finishing up his PHD. Hurry!
  • @RobAbruzzese - Rob is one of the saner Yankees writers whose blog is a part of the ESPN Sweetspot Network.
  • @baycityball - The Duke of TOOTBLAN. No need to say more.
  • @Sport_Hippeaux - colleague on IIATMS. Way smarter than this Fan.
  • @Mike_Hllywa - Fun to tweet with. Writes for Halo Hangout and Off Base Percentage.
  • @DanielRathman - Writes for Baseball Prospectus. And yet lives and talks to us average joes.
  • @CoreyRievley - Corey is the admin for Very cool. Also started
  • @gregkihn - Hey! When a rock legend follows you, that is very cool.
  • @TrishVignola - Writer and satirist who currently contributes to Full Spectrum Baseball.
  • @captainlatte - Love this twitter account. And it's okay she roots for the Blue Jays.
  • @jpmccord - Paul McCord is fun to talk baseball with.
  • @HighHeatStats - Founded by the guys who used to blog for Their site is terrific and a lot of the Fan's friends write there now too.
  • @BigLeaguesMthly - The e-magazine that proudly boasts the Fan's writing. Proud.
  • @MLBeef - Taylor Wolfe writes for his site. Good baseball guy.
  • @instreamsports - M.V. Pieces is a very earnest and hard working up and comer.
  • @MGVanwormer - Indians fan and beer lover.
  • @LandoBC75 - Landon Evanson is the songbird of his generation. Writes for Bugs and Cranks. Introduced the Fan to YankeeMegs. Grateful.
  • @mattymatty2000 - Matthew Kory writes for Over the Monster and Baseball Prospectus. Really like this guy a lot.
  • @juniusworth - Dave England is a prolific writer who has written everywhere. A colleague at MLB Dirt
  • @Mike_Schwartze - Mikey is becoming a real up and comer on scouting prospects. Colleague and co-founder of MLB Dirt.
  • @StaceyGotsulias - Writes EVERYWHERE. Always well too. Colleague at IIATMS. Love her.
  • @ChuckBooth3024 - Chuck is a lead writer at MLB Reports. Terrific.
  • @pitchingstats - Dylan Cain is a fifteen year old baseball writer. I was still playing Strat-o-matic at that age.
  • @MikeTSchmidt - No, Mike is not the former third baseman. But he is as good as that guy was when it comes to writing about baseball.
  • @FeliciRose - Baseball fan and model. Great photography. Farm girl. Gentle soul. Laughs easily.
  • @AskROTObaseball - David Kerr is a colleague at MLB Dirt.
  • @CCaylor10 - retweets the Fan a lot. Good for the ego. Fun to talk to.
  • @DevinPangaro - FanSided Network A's blogger. Colleague at Big Leagues Monthly.
  • @dianagram - Writes for ESPN Sweetspot Network. Wonderful writer and person.
  • @MLBInjuryNews is a new baseball site picking up steam and started by some good friends.
  • @jamesschuck - James Edward Schuck is a renaissance man who also has a goal in life to keep the Fan's ego in check.
  • @hangingsliders - Wendy Thurm writes for Fangraphs, ESPN, SBNation among others. Her follow meant the Fan was getting somewhere with this baseball thing.
  • @replevel - Bryan O'Connor. What took you so long to get to Twitter?
  • @Anna_McDonald - Writes for ESPN. The sweetest of ladies too.
  • @YankeeMegs - Yay! Megs follows moi.
  • @pjmclaugh - Peter McLaughlin is just about the most erudite Yankees fan ever.
  • @williamnyy23 - Proprietor of The Captain's Blog and writes for other Yankee-centric sites. Strong opinions, but that's okay.
  • @mccoveycovedave - Dave Edlund writes for the premier Giants blog. Cool guy. New follow.
  • @AnswerDave - Dave Brown writes for Yahoo's Big League Stew. Very funny tweeter too.
  • @jhacohen - Jonathan Hacohen is the founder of MLB Reports and has established that site as a must see site.
  • @23yanksgoyard - Andy is the Fan's newest follower and writes (obviously) for Yankees Go Yard.
Phew! That took forever. All of these are great follows for more than just baseball. They all make this Fan's Twitter experience extraordinary.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Four generations of Schofields

Most baseball fans know of three generational baseball families. There is the Boone family and the Hairston family, for example. Perhaps fewer know that Jayson Werth is a third generation baseball player. His grandfather is John Richard (Dick) "Ducky" Schofield who played nineteen years in the majors from 1953 to 1971. Schofield's son, Dick Schofield, was a very good shortstop whose career spanned fourteen seasons from 1983 to 1996. Werth has now logged ten seasons of his own bringing the trio's big league experience to a total of an amazing 43 seasons.

But there is something unique about this story. If you look at the origins of the Hairston, Boone and Bell families, as far as this research could tell, the fathers of the original generations did not play professional ball. But in the Schofield's case, there is a fourth generation. It started with John Schofield who played eleven years or more of minor league ball from 1924 to 1938. Further research is needed, of course, but for now, four generations of professional baseball players seems rather unique.

A great big thank you has to go to the elder Dick Schofield who was gracious enough to talk on the phone about his family for over an hour. The original call occurred on the same day as the wake of Schofield's wife who just passed away. Despite the horrible timing of that call, the 77 year old former player was gracious and invited the caller to try again this week. His interview added much to the research already compiled for this piece.

The conversation started with a discussion of his father. The original John Schofield was also the originator of the nickname, "Ducky." That was his nickname and what his son would call him his whole life. When the second John Schofield or Dick Schofield broke into the majors, he introduced his father to some of his teammates and somehow the nickname was transferred to the son even though nobody had ever called him that before.

The original John Schofield was born December 20, 1904 in the Linwood neighborhood of Lower Chichester, Pennsylvania, a small town in Delaware County. He was the son of Richard Gray and Hannah (Ball) Schofield. Hannah was born in England. Richard was the son of John W. Schofield who was born in England in 1826 and came to the Delaware County area as a young man and is the American ancestor of the family. John W. Schofield was a butcher and Richard worked in the mills.

Richard Schofield and one of his son's died when John was ten years old. Richard was in a pickup truck on an errand and the truck was struck by a train killing both instantly. His son recalled on the phone that his father heard the news from a boy on a bicycle who told him his dad just died down the street.

John, a shortstop, played his first three professional seasons for the Crisfield Crabbers in Crisfield, Maryland in the Eastern Shore League, a D-level league. He then played for the Hagerstown Hubs, another Maryland team, this time in the Blue Ridge League. Two seasons followed in the Carolina League for the Wilmington Pirates. lost him for two years, but he played at least in 1930 for the Joplin Minors in the Western Association. His son has a picture in his living room of his father in a Joplin Minors' uniform.

Somewhere along the line, the elder John Schofield seriously broke his leg. Not only did the broken leg limit how far his baseball career would go, the injury would affect him the rest of his life.

John married Florence Campbell in San Antonio during 1932 when he played for the Indians in the Texas League. Two years followed in the New York - Pennsylvania League and perhaps this is where he broke his leg as there is a four year gap in his record. What is known is that Florence was from Springfield, Illinois and John's last season was in 1938 playing for the Springfield Browns in the Triple-I League. Springfield would be the family home and where the Dick Schofield lives today.

The elder John Schofield died February 14, 1991 at the age of 87.

By 1940, the elder John Schofield had retired from baseball and he and his wife lived with their son on a farm with Florence's parents. Father and grandfather worked the farm and both had jobs besides. John was a clothing salesman in 1940. During the phone call, Dick believes that his grandfather, Sherman Campbell, died around 1942 and since John did not grow up a farmer, he moved his family closer to town.

Though the son never got to see his father play in the minor leagues, the elder John did play for the House of David baseball team from time to time and would take his son along. So the son did get some hint at how good a player his father was and was also entertained by the real and fake beards the team sported.

Dick, while on the farm, did not have friends close by to play ball with so he played with his father. His father was a tough coach and worked hard with his son to teach the son how to play properly. The tough love worked as the son became one of the best players in the area.

As mentioned, the second Schofield became a terrific young baseball player and was highly sought after. His entry into professional baseball came during the Bonus Baby era. Prior to 1949, wealthy teams could sign the best talent and hide that talent in the minors. Concerned about the balance of power, Major League Baseball came up with the Bonus Baby rules. The rules basically stated that if a prospect was signed for over a certain amount of money, that player had to remain on the major league roster for two seasons or be lost to the other teams.

Dick had several teams interested in him. But several of the teams "wanted to do funny things with the money" as Dick put it. What he really wanted to do was sign for the Boston Red Sox. But they had already given a huge amount of money to Billy Consolo and had other high price players. The St. Louis Cardinals offered him $40,000 and he took it.

The obvious failure of the Bonus Baby system was that eighteen an nineteen year old kids were forced to ride the bench for two years tying up a roster spot. It is hard to develop as a player without regular playing time. Dick, desperate for some experience, played in Cuba after his second season. Many of the Bonus Babies never amounted to anything because of this terrible way to break into baseball. Al Kaline and Sandy Koufax were notable exceptions even though Koufax did take time to develop into the Hall of Fame pitcher that he became.

Not only did such players get stunted in their development, many were resented because of the bonus and for the special treatment. Dick Schofield felt he was lucky in that he was treated really well by his teammates and he really enjoyed his manager, Eddie Stanky. But even if he was treated well, he was eighteen years old when the rest of the team was made up of men 25 years of age or older. And it did not help when he received 48 plate appearances in two years and would go months between walking up to the plate.

Once the mandatory two years were over, Dick played most of the next two seasons for Omaha in Triple A and a few games for the big league club each season. He spent the entire 1957 season in the big leagues, but again saw little playing time. The Cardinals traded for Al Dark and the original plan was to play Schofield at short and Dark at third. But Dark said that he did not play third and that was the end of that.

Just as he started to receive a little more playing time in St. Louis in 1958, the Cardinals traded him away to the Pirates on June 15. Schofield wiled away on the bench for the next year and a half. By the time the 1960 season started, Schofield, now 25 years old was a veteran of seven seasons and had only compiled 707 plate appearances.

The Pirates had a great shortstop in Dick Groat and Groat had his best season in 1960. So Schofield spent much of the season again on the bench. Groat was the MVP that season and won the batting crown. But Groat broke his wrist on September 6 and the Pirates lost their star shortstop. Schofield took over and hit over .400 down the stretch and did much to help the Pirates win the pennant.

That was the great World Series where the Pirates beat the Yankees despite being heavily outscored. Groat had returned for the last four games of the season and was again the regular during the World Series. Schofield only received four plate appearances and singled and walked. During this part of the phone conversation, that series, while the biggest thrill of his life, was also the only time during the conversation where his voice betrayed a little bitterness. He wanted to play and who could blame him.

Schofield would finally become a starting shortstop for the Pirates during the 1963 and 1964 seasons. But on May 22, 1965, he was traded to the Giants for Angel Pagan. He finished out the season as the Giants' starting shortstop.

He developed a sore arm in 1966 and there was not the kind of sports medicine there is today. Even today, he has no idea what happened. But it prevented him from playing like he could and he ended up struggling through the season and was shipped to the Yankees and then to the Dodgers. He would never again be a starter.

He played one more year in Los Angeles and then a season back in St. Louis, two years in Boston, another half season in St. Louis and the last half of the 1971 season with the Milwaukee Brewers. He was promised a spot on the Brewers in 1972 but the season was delayed due to the strike and that promised was not lived up to. When the Brewers released him, he retired.

The pride in his voice really picked up when talking about his son, Richard Craig "Dick" Schofield. When asked when he thought his son was going to be a good baseball player, he quickly mentioned when young Dick was twelve. "He was twice as good as others his age and I thought he had a shot at it."

Schofield mentioned that he was just as tough on his son as his father had been with him. And again, that tough love made another Schofield one of the hottest high school prospects in the country. He was the third overall pick by the then California Angels in the first round of the 1981 draft and by 1983 was already playing in Triple-A.

After a cup of coffee in the majors in 1983, Dick Schofield became the Angels' starting shortstop and would remain so from 1984 through 1988. 1986 was his best season and the only season with the Angels that the Angels made it to the playoffs. That was the year that Donnie Moore served up a change up to Dave Henderson and broke the hearts of Angels fans everywhere. Schofield had a great series too which no one will remember.

Schofield was always terrific in the field and had a case for the Gold Glove in both 1986 and 1988 but was beat out both times.

Starting in 1989 and into 1990, Schofield started to share his playing time with Kent Anderson despite Anderson not being as good in the field and not much better at the plate. Early in the 1992 season, the Angels traded Schofield to the Mets where he finished out a miserable season on a miserable team.

A free agent after the 1992 season, Schofield signed with the Toronto Blue Jays and 1993 was the second season of their back to back World Series titles. Unfortunately, Schofield did not get to enjoy it. The shortstop was badly injured on a relay at second on an attempted double play and would miss 108 games. During his absence, Tony Fernandez would take over and had a sensational stretch of games and though Schofield made it back for the last few games of the season, he would not play in that post season. He did get a World Series ring though.

Dick Schofield would play one more season with the Blue Jays and finish his career with short stints in Los Angeles and again with the Angels.

Dick Schofield's sister, Kim, was an athlete in her own right. She was a track star and would compete in the Olympic trials as a long jumper and sprinter. She had a relationship with Jeff Gowan, the Division 1 leader in pass receptions for Illinois State University. Jayson was a result of that relationship.  Kim would later marry Dennis Werth, another former Major League player.

But before that, Kim and Jayson lived for a time with the elder Schofield and his wife. The elder Schofield credits Dennis Werth and gave him an "A+" for helping Jayson become a terrific baseball player. Schofield mentioned that he saw every one of Jayson's high school baseball games.

When it was mentioned that Jayson did not become a shortstop like the first three generations, Schofield laughed and said he had become too big!

Werth, of course, would win a World Series with the Phillies and thus all three generations have a World Series Ring. Schofield credited a bigger right-center field in Washington along with a wrist problem for Werth's struggles his first season with the Nationals.

Werth also makes much more money than the previous two generations and certainly much more than the the nineteen years that the elder Schofield played. Schofield does not begrudge the money the players are making now though he thinks the numbers are outrageous. What bothers him the most, he says, is that lousy players are even making a couple of million a year.

A few other notes from the conversation:

- Ducky Schofield was the first official batter in a new Shea Stadium in 1964. He went back as a part of the ceremony in 1984.

- Schofield thinks the field conditions are vastly improved since when he played. He marvels at how manicured the fields are now. He hated the infields in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh when he played in those parks.

- Schofield played with over thirty Hall of Fame players during his career from Musial to Mays to Mantle to Clemente to Koufax and many, many more.

- He was far from impressed with Frank Lane as a general manager.

All in all, it was a wonderful conversation covering a remarkable story. Imagine. Four generations of professional baseball players including three straight in the majors. The first of those was a Bonus Baby and the other two were first round draft picks. The time on the phone was pleasant and Mr. Schofield spoke like a regular guy with no airs. The time was a treat and the story here probably does not do him or his remarkable family justice.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

November news dominated by the Blue Jays

Is the power shifting in the American League East? If the amount of news generated by the Blue Jays in November is any indication, perhaps it is. While the Red Sox quietly try to figure out and dig out of last year's fiasco and the Yankees, the richest team in the world, suddenly shop at K-Mart, the Blue Jays have made headline after headline culminating with naming John Gibbons today as their new manager. Time will tell if all the moves turn that franchise around. But you cannot help admire the effort.

All a team's fan base can hope for is that the home team does all it can to put a winning team on the field the following season. The Blue Jays, who have long fallen since Joe Carter hit that walk-off homer off of Mitch Williams have spent the last two off seasons piling up minor league talent and used that talent this off season to dramatically remake the major league team.

The Blue Jays via the trade with the Marlins and with a free agent signing have picked up Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, Emilio Bonifacio, John Buck and Melky Cabrera. In the process, from the major league team, they subtracted Yunel Escobar, Adeiny Hechavarria, Henderson Alvarez and Jeff Mathis (along with three prospects).

The best way to summarize their work is to compare the new players to what the Blue Jays fielded at those positions last season:

Jose Reyes versus Yunel Escobar: Reyes is a year younger (29,30) and has averaged 3.68 rWAR over the last seven seasons. Escobar has averaged 3.08 over the last six years. Reyes is noted for his enthusiasm and ability to spark his teammates and his average WAR would be higher if injuries had not shortened two of his seasons. Escobar has now been given up on by his last two organizations amid questions concerning his makeup. Big win here for the Blue Jays ephemerally and a +0.60 win per season. The Blue Jays do lose some on the defensive side of the equation.

Melky Cabrera versus Rajai Davis: Cabrera's addition means that Davis and Anthony Gose fall back on the depth chart. Again, the Blue Jays will give up some defense with the move. But drugs or no drugs, Cabrera is a clear upgrade here. Even if you want to discount his last two seasons with over four wins above replacement in each (and this writer says that is poppycock), Cabrera has averaged 1.9 rWAR for his seven full major league seasons. Rajai Davis was worth 0.5 rWAR as the primary left fielder for the Blue Jays with no on-base skills whatsoever. Anthony Gose finished out the season out there and fared worse. This is at the least, a one win improvement for the Blue Jays and at best, a three win improvement.

Mark Buehrle versus Henderson Alvarez: This is sort of an unfair comparison as Alvarez is only 22 years old. And the two pitchers' approach to the game is similar. Ground balls. Contact. Alvarez could grind out the kind of career that Buehrle has. But it is hard to argue with Buehrle's track record. He has made over 30 starts for twelve straight seasons. His average season is a 4.05 rWAR season. Until Alvarez can pitch with that kind of success and longevity, this is a clear win for the Blue Jays to the tune of three wins gained.

John Buck versus Jeff Mathis: It seems plausible that the Blue Jays will not keep Buck but trade him for another piece. Either way, he is probably a back up and not the starter. Buck did have his best season as a member of the Blue Jays in 2010 but has fallen on hard times since. Mathis is younger but the two catchers have been around for nearly the same length of major league service. Buck has a career OPS+ of 85 while Mathis has a career OPS+ of 58. Oof. The defensive end is not that far apart as Buck has been below average at throwing out runners at 25% while Mathis has been below average at 26%. Buck has averaged 0.37 rWAR per season and Mathis 0.2. A slight gain here by the Blue Jays.

Josh Johnson versus Aaron Laffey(?): The Blue Jays never really did have a fourth or fifth starter. Aaron Laffey gamely tried to hold down the position due to injuries and such. And he did better than expected and garnered 0.5 rWAR for his effort. Josh Johnson's season in 2012 was a bit of a puzzle. He finally found a healthy season and made 31 starts after years of wondrous promise and lack of health. But looking at his peripherals, he wasn't that far off his successful seasons and a 3.83 ERA for the Blue Jays would be super cool for a team that never seems to have enough pitching. Even with the injuries and the tough season last season, Johnson has averaged 3.42 rWAR per season. Again, at the very least, this is a three win pickup and could be even higher if Johnson becomes dominant again.

John Gibbons versus John Farrell: Perhaps this a judgement statement and that's just how it goes sometimes. But from this viewpoint, Farrell was a dead fish in Toronto. His bench body language was awful. His personality a dud. And the team did not seem to respond to him at all. Gibbons was hooted out of Toronto his first time as their manager. But the guy does seem to ooze more confidence and has a much better personality. And geez, how much influence does a manager have anyway?

By count, so far, these deals have at a minimum, added ten wins with their deals so far. A healthy Jose Bautista would add another three wins and now we're starting to cook here in Toronto. Of course, anything can happen and teams will surprise us in both the negative and the positive. Time will tell. But check out the Blue Jays' potential lineup:

  1. Jose Reyes - SS
  2. Melky Cabrera - LF
  3. Jose Bautista - RF
  4. Edwin Encarnacion - DH
  5. Brett Lawrie - 3B
  6. Kelly Johnson - 2B
  7. Colby Rasmus - CF
  8. Adam Lind - 1B
  9. Buck / Arencibia - C

That's pretty darned impressive. Now lets look at their rotation:

  1. Brandon Morrow
  2. Mark Buehrle
  3. Josh Johnson
  4. Ricky Romero
  5. J.A. Happ

Pretty strong one through four there. The team still needs to consider its bullpen, but overall, the Toronto Blue Jays have become a talented and potentially potent team. The fans up in Toronto must be thrilled and excited and who could blame them.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Six of nine lives lived by Dioner Navarro

Mediocre catchers play forever. If you can squat behind the plate and block a few balls in the dirt and not totally embarrass yourself with your arm, somebody in Major League Baseball will employ you. Hitting is optional. Thus, catchers will bounce from organization to organization and play over a dozen seasons and like cats, live out nine lives as a baseball player. Dioner Navarro will play for his sixth organization (the Cubs) in 2013. He is only 28 years old. Navarro just might beat that nine lives limitation.

Navarro has already been in pro baseball for twelve seasons. He was signed by the Yankees out of Venezuela as a seventeen year old kid in 2000. He rode the buses in the Yankees' minor league system for five seasons before getting a cup of coffee with the big club in 2004. Perhaps that was to get Arizona and Los Angeles scouts to see him.

Following the 2004 season, he was traded along with Javier Vazquez and Brad Halsey to the Diamondbacks for the 41 year old Randy Johnson. That same day on January 11, 2005, he was packaged along with four other nondescript players to the Dodgers for Shawn Green. He was 21 years old.

He got into fifty games for the Dodgers in 2005 and hit pretty well and despite not throwing many runners out (21 percent on base steal attempts), fielded his position fairly well. His .729 OPS in 199 plate appearances for the Dodgers wasn't bad for being so young. He started pretty well for the Dodgers in 2006 when he became part of a trade on June 27 to the Rays along with two other players.

The Rays quickly installed the 22 year old catcher as their number one for the rest of the 2006 season and he would remain that team's number one catcher for three and a half years. His first full season and a half with the Rays was also the new era begun in the front office and run on the field by Maddon. And Navarro's struggles at the plate in 2006 and 2007 would mirror the team's struggles.

But it was clear that something was building and in 2008, the Rays busted on the scene and went all the way to the World Series. Navarro also became an All Star catcher that season. His .295 batting average and .757 OPS was the best of his career. That season earned him 1.7 of his career 1.8 rWAR. It also got him a pretty penny.

The following season, he was rewarded with a $2.1 million salary after earning $412,000 the season before. Whether it was the sudden riches combined with his young age or what, things in St. Pete went downhill from there. His OPS in 410 plate appearances plummeted to .583 good for only a 54 OPS+.

Still making his $2.1 million in 2010, he started even worse and lost his job to John Jaso. He would eventually even lose his backup job to Kelly Shoppach. When the Rays made the post season in 2010 and were set to meet the Rangers in what would become an epic five game ALDS, Navarro was left off the post season roster. The highest paid catcher on the team did not take the news well and deserted the team. It was a big story at the time. His career with the team was over.

He was a free agent after the season and the Dodgers picked him up for an even million dollars. It did not go well. Navarro got into 64 games with the Dodgers and by the time August had rolled around, he was batting .194 and the team released him. Was that the end of Dioner Navarro?

Heck no, he is a catcher. After the 2011 season, the Reds signed him as a free agent and started him at their Triple-A team at Louisville. He played really well there in 62 games and the Reds called him up on August 4, 2012. He would get into twenty-four games for the Reds and he hit .290 and compiled a .755 OPS in 73 plate appearances. This time he would make the post season roster for the Reds and he got into two games of the NLDS and went one for four with a walk. The Reds lost the series to the Giants.

Dioner Navarro became a free agent again and based on the fact that his limited appearances were successful and because he was a catcher and only 28 years old, the rebuilding Cubs have scooped him up. The price was very near what he was making with the Rays and at $1.75 million seems like a risk for the Cubs.

But who knows? Perhaps Navarro has found his career again. Perhaps the Cubs have little to lose. After all, their catchers combined for a .612 OPS in 2012. Navarro should be able to beat that pathetic allotment. And perhaps the Cubs heard good things about where Navarro is in his head these days. Time will tell.

But the point of all this is, is that it does not matter how far a catcher falls in baseball. There is always an opportunity waiting. Perhaps even more than left-handed relievers, catchers will always have a job waiting for them somewhere. Navarro has only had one good full season and a couple of decent partial seasons. But he is a catcher. And with any luck, Navarro can do this for another ten years and perhaps six or seven more lives.