One day, when you're telling your children about Evan Gattis, baseball's folk hero they call El Oso Blanco, you might tell them the story of the day Gattis hit a foul ball and broken his bat on his follow-through. Specifically, how he broke his bat over his own back.
Gattis' strength has never been questioned. He wouldn't be called El Oso Blanco (The White Bear) if he weren't crazy strong. So strong this didn't seem to hurt him, as it might hurt a lesser man.
Later in Monday's game, however, Gattis did hurt himself. He strained an oblique muscle and was placed on the disabled list. Until he returns, let the GIF above be a reminder of Gattis' monster strength.
You can also ponder — in the spirit of Gattis Facts — whether Gattis broke the bat or if the bat broke itself because it was so scared of colliding with Gattis' back.
The injury-riddled season of the New York Yankees has gotten worse, as two more bodies were added to the stack of disabled Bronx Bombers. Kevin Youkilis needs back surgery and is out 10-12 weeks, while first baseman Mark Teixeira is back on the disabled list with wrist issues.
Youkilis had already been placed on the 15-day disabled list, but the Tuesday news that he needs back surgery is much more alarming. It could very well mean we've seen the end of Youkilis in pinstipes. He was signed to a one-year deal as a replacement for hobbled Alex Rodriguez, but Youkilis already spent May on the DL with back issues. He's only played in 28 games this season.
That, however, is more than Teixeira, who injured himself preparing for the World Baseball Classic and returned to play 15 games before aggravating the same wrist injury again. He's only expected to have a short 15-day DL stint. An MRI showed inflammation but no new tear in Teixeira's wrist. He's been out a few days, but was officially placed on the DL on Tuesday.
Despite all the injury woes, the Yankees have been able to stay close in the AL East. They're 38-31, good enough for third place in the division. They've been dragging lately, though, losing five out of their last six.
It took 17 seasons of interleague play and the series will last only two games, but the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees are finally hooking up in the Bronx starting Tuesday night (weather permitting). It's the first time the two have met at the home of the Yankees since the 1981 World Series.
The two teams started off as New York neighbors, of course, and have met in 11 World Series with the Yankees winning eight of them. They're two of baseball's most iconic franchises, so in celebration of this meeting, we're taking a position-by-position look at some of their greatest players.
The City of San Jose filed a federal antitrust lawsuit against Major League Baseball on Tuesday, appealing to the courts to clear the way for the proposed Oakland Athletics ballpark in San Jose.
The lawsuit comes after years of stalling on what would be called Cisco Field and challenges MLB's ruling that the San Francisco Giants have territorial rights to San Jose.
San Jose has momentum to grab, since Oakland's O.Co Coliseum made headlines nationwide for a raw sewage leak that made both the home and visitor clubhouses unusable on Sunday. The A's and visiting Seattle Mariners had to share the Oakland Raiders locker room instead. After the game, A's pitcher A.J. Griffin said: "Make sure everybody finds out about this sewage thing. We need to get a new stadium."
San Jose was listening and seized the opportunity to ratchet up its clash with Major League Baseball and Commissioner Bud Selig, who was also named as a defendant in the lawsuit.
"This action arises from the blatant conspiracy by Major League Baseball to prevent the Athletics Baseball Club from moving to San Jose. This action challenges - and seeks to remedy - Defendants' violation of state laws and use of the illegal cartel that results from these agreements to eliminate competition in the playing of games in the San Francisco Bay Area."
The lawsuit comes after a closed-door vote by the San Jose city council on Tuesday. San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed is expected to speak publicly Tuesday afternoon about the suit. He's tried to speak with Bud Selig directly in the past, according to reports, but Selig has turned down Reed's invitations. San Jose has been working since 2009 on a plan that would build a new stadium in its downtown, near the arena where the San Jose Sharks play.
One of the main issues blocking the move is the Giants' claim to territory rights in San Jose — which is where the Single-A San Jose Giants play. That could be overturned with a vote by MLB owners, but Selig has never called for such a vote. Thus, why San Jose is now making this play.
San Jose officials said that with the A's move to San Jose seemingly stuck in quicksand, and with Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig repeatedly rebuffing Mayor Chuck Reed's efforts to move it along, they had little to lose. They noted other examples in St. Petersburg, Fla., and Seattle where cities eventually got teams after suing baseball.
The suit is a direct challenge to Major League Baseball's unique 91-year-old exemption to federal antitrust laws. It originated with a 1922 U.S. Supreme Court decision that baseball is not interstate commerce subject to federal antitrust regulation. The court twice upheld the decision in 1953 and 1972. Many legal scholars have argued it is inconsistent with law applied to other sports leagues and vulnerable to challenge.
"Whereas baseball may have started as a local affair," the lawsuit said, "modern baseball is squarely within the realm of interstate commerce. MLB Clubs ply their wares nationwide, games are broadcast throughout the country on satellite TV and radio, as well as cable channels, and MLB Clubs have fan bases that span from coast to coast."
UPDATE: MLB has released a statement in response to the lawsuit. Here's what Rob Manfred, executive vice president for economics & league affairs, said:
“In considering the issues related to the Oakland Athletics, Major League Baseball has acted in the best interests of our fans, our communities and the league. The lawsuit is an unfounded attack on the fundamental structures of a professional sports league. It is regrettable that the city has resorted to litigation that has no basis in law or in fact.”
The famous line from the song "New York, New York" goes: "If I can make it there / I'll make it anywhere." Los Angeles Dodgers rookie sensation Yasiel Puig has already "made it" in the sense that he's in the big leagues and crushing the ball, but his first trip to New York City will put even more of a spotlight on the 22-year-old Cuban outfielder.
His Dodgers start a two-game series on Tuesday with the New York Yankees. Dodgers vs. Yankees is a big deal on its own. Add Puigmania in The Big Apple and Yankee Stadium will certainly be buzzing.
As Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez can attest, being good in L.A. and being good in New York are two very different things. Puig's hitting a gaudy .479/.500/.771 after going 3-for-4 on Sunday. He's without a hit in only two of his 13 MLB games. But watch what would happen if he goes 0-for-the-series against the Yankees. The doubters of Puigmania will have a field day saying he got gobbled up by the city.
We're told that by the time Puig left the MLB Fancave there was a throng out of people outside waiting for him as if he were a pop star. He signed autographs for everyone. That's a good first step for Puigmania in The Big Apple.
Now he's got to keep swinging that hot bat against the Yankees.
Members of a Minnesota Twins minor league squad reportedly were unhurt after a car going the wrong way on Interstate-295 near Jacksonville, Fla. struck their team bus early Tuesday morning. The car's driver died from injuries suffered in the collision, reports KARE-TV, a station in the Twin Cities.
Thirty members and a coach of the Class A Elizabethton (Tenn.) Twins were headed from spring training in Florida to their home opener about 4:30 a.m. when a black Honda, heading the wrong way, collided with the bus.
No one on board the bus was injured in the crash. The baseball team was transferred to a new bus around 7:45 a.m., and the club is expected to arrive in Elizabethon around 4 p.m. Tuesday.
Twins President Dave St. Peter tweeted about the crash, saying "Tragic accident involving @EtownTwins bus. Thankful all members of @Twins family are safe. Thoughts and prayers for driver of other vehicle."
Authorities are looking into whether alcohol was involved on the part of the Honda driver.
No players on the Twins' 40-man roster are listed on the active roster for Elizabethton, a rookie team which plays in the Appalachian League, which has a shorter season compared to advanced minor leagues. Some fans might know of Max Kepler, who is beginning his second season with Elizabethton, where top prospects Byron Buxton and Jose Berrios played a season ago.
The coaching staff includes Ray Smith and Jeff Reed, former players for the Twins, but it's uncertain if they or another coach, Henry Bonilla, were on the bus when the crash happened.
This is one of those dreadful but noteworthy stories that wouldn't make The Stew unless it somehow involved baseball. It's awful for the deceased driver and his/her family, but when a real-world catastrophe interferes with our insulated sports world, it gets you wondering about other times when we were less fortunate.
Buzz might have been a bully, but Freeman is Mr. Walkoff for the Braves. His stunning, dramatic and heart-(pounding or breaking) two-run home run against the New York Mets on Monday won it 2-1 while killing a complete-game shutout victory for Dillon Gee. It was his second game-ending homer of the season.
With two strikes, watch Freeman feed the Mets to Buzz's tarantula:
Freeman had three hits on the night, but what he'll remember most is the second game-ending homer of his career.
''I knew I hit it good enough,'' he said. ''I didn't know if it was going to stay fair, actually, because it was an inside pitch. I didn't know if I was able to get my hands inside. But once I saw it get up to its highest peak, I knew it was gone.''
And yet, nothing about not letting the Mets win "if they were growing on his [bottom]." Also: The way the crowd had thinned out, you could say the Braves were practically home alone by the end.
This incriminating Vine would have us believe that the reason the Phillie Phanatic's ATV stalled Monday night was because of shenanigans performed on the vehicle by Washington Nationals slugger Jayson Werth — at the urging of teammate Ian Desmond.
The Phanatic, born in the Galapagos Islands and reared on the fighting streets of Philadelphia, apparently isn't much of an auto mechanic (via CSN Philly):
The Phanatic teased the visiting Nationals, caught the first pitch and entertained the fans. He then returned to his vehicle to drive off, but he experienced some difficulty: his ATV wouldn't start.
A team official, who chose not to be identified, said, "It's a machine. Sometimes things happen."
And sometimes "things" get a little help from saboteurs. Why is Werth a suspect? The phormer Phillie outphielder has a history of messing with the Phanatic's ATV, stealing the keys in 2012 during pregame events. This time, @recordsandradio — a Nats supporter — was keeping an eye out. While there's no definitive proof that Werth and possible mastermind Ian Desmond were behind the Phanatic's ride stalling, they could be named as persons of interest should authorities investigate any further. As always, Tommy Lasorda (the Phanatic's Italian Nemesis) also is a suspect.
Domonic Brown avenged the broken ATV with a game-ending single that sent the Phillies to a 5-4 victory. After setting team records in 2012, no matter what the Nats try — from lineup changes to alleged vehicular sabotage — it's been a tough season for them. Hopefully, they double-check the break line of the team bus before leaving town.
The Juice returns for season No. 6! It's almost eligible for free-agency! Stop by daily for news from the action, along with great photos, stats, video highlights and more.
With seagulls circling like buzzards in extra innings at AT&T Park on Monday night, outfielder Will Venable kept the San Diego Padres hopes alive for a seventh straight victory.
Venable's incredible diving catch on the warning track in center with his back to the infield — reminiscent of Jim Edmonds at his best — robbed Juan Perez of a certain game-ending hit and allowed the Padres more time to take the lead and beat the San Francisco Giants 5-3 in 13 innings. The look of disbelief and disappointment on Perez's face, along with exasperation in the body language of Brandon Belt as he ran toward home, said it all. And then Giants manager Bruce Bochy, via MLB.com, said more:
"It was one of the best catches I've seen to save a game. It's as simple as that. It's a game-saving catch."
Venable just shook the dirt out of his pants as he came off the field.
Pitchers bunting: Often, the act is cause for comedy or pain, but pitcher Andrew Cashner laid down a perfect bunt single with runners at the corners to put the Padres ahead in the 13th. The Padres had run out of players, manager Bud Black said, but Cashner is 5 for 18 this season at the plate.
"That was pretty cool," Cashner said, beaming. "I've never had a game-winning RBI before."
Even guys with big craniums make mistakes: Bochy said he messed up a double-switch after the Padres had taken the lead. Bochy had intended to bring in Buster Posey to lead off the bottom of the 13th, but mistakenly put him in the seventh hole. The Giants didn't get to him.
Braves 2, Mets 1: Dillon Gee was two outs from closing a shutout, but Freddie Freeman said hang on a second:
Marlins 3, Diamondbacks 2: Make that "Giancarlo Stanton 3, D-backs 2." He hit two home runs and the Fish finished with three hits, and it was enough.
Tigers 5, Orioles 1: Max Scherzer is 10-0 and "at the top of his game, pretty much," manager Jim Leyland said. Baltimore's run came on Chris Davis' 24th home run.
Rangers 8, Athletics 7: Not only is Texas's six-game losing streak over, but the A's got to change into their street clothes without raw sewage bubbling up from the bathroom drains. So everyone wins.
Reds 4, Pirates 1: Zack Cozart hit one of the four solo homers for the Reds, who are 15 over .500.
Royals 2, Indians 1: A winning run that scores on a wild pitch are tough to stomach. The pitch was in the dirt, but catcher Carlos Santana let it pass through the five-hole.
Cardinals 5, Cubs 2: Very patient of Shelby Miller to wait out a rain delay of nearly two hours, though he left the game after five innings because of leg cramps. He forgot to water himself! After collecting two more hits, Yadier Molina leads the league in hitting at .355.
''I messed up the double switch. I got distracted. I was out there arguing and I totally brain-cramped on that. Once I said it wrong, I was done. I knew that. That's a first. I probably should have stepped back and thought a little bit. ... Once I called it wrong I can't take it back. Got distracted, you're upset a little bit, that shouldn't happen but it did.''
How deep does the San Francisco Giants-Los Angeles Dodgers feud go? Deep enough that elementary school kids are using it as fodder in their graduation speeches.
This is a kid named Casey, graduating from fifth grade in a school we have to guess is in the Bay Area. We don't know a whole heck of a lot about the back story here, but it sounds like he was supposed to give a speech about a favorite memory from school. Instead, he talked about being the only Dodgers fan at school while all the kids were jumping on the Giants bandwagon celebrating the Giants' World Series win.
No matter which side of the Giants-Dodgers rivalry you sit on, this is pretty good.
The speech shows a lot of character for young Casey. He's not afraid to express against-the-grain opinions and possibly be mocked by his peers. He'll go places with a headstrong attitude like that. Who knows, he might grow up to be the next Skip Bayless.
The Los Angeles Angels had been saddled with the Glass Joe Title since getting swept by the Houston Astros. But the Angels fared well enough over the weekend to break free from their Glass Joe-ness.
Now it belongs to the New York Yankees, who lost two of three games in Anaheim. George Steinbrenner must be turning over in his grave — or trying to sign Chipper Jones.
This marks a noteworthy achievement in the short lifespan of our Glass Joe honor: Both titles are now owned by New York teams, since the Mets continue to be the NL Glass Joes.
The Mets (25-39) are starting a five-game series with the Atlanta Braves after an exciting win on Sunday. Could they — in a long series — pull off three wins to pass off their Glass Joe status? The Yankees (38-31), meanwhile, start a two-game series with the Dodgers on Tuesday with an opportunity to shake up the Glass Joe Title with an interleague clash.
Bryce Harper, for all the accolades and attention, is only 20 years old. Remember that as you watch this Vine posted by Bryce's girlfriend of him and his brother Bryan — who you remember from his mustache. It's the two of them talking in goofy voices after huffing helium. Apparently they like coloring, which means they have a lot in common with my 2-year-old.
People of the Internet have a way of unloading on athletes who they think should only be doing serious things at all times — like rehabbing knee injuries, for example. Surely someone will read this and think Bryce should be focusing on his injured knee, and not goofing off with his brother. Remember: still a kid.
In actual Bryce Harper baseball news: He was cleared on Monday to start a strengthening program, which is a good first step back to rejoining the Washington Nationals. Before you ask: No, helium, is not on MLB's banned-substance list.
Given the context of raw sewage stewing in the Oakland Athletics clubhouse, it's a good time to re-examine something that Tampa Bay Rays pitcher David Price tweeted Friday. Yep, that's his famous dog, Astro, on Tropicana Field, unleashing something raw of his own. Right there next to the pitcher's mound too.
Price didn't indicate whether he had a doggy doo-doo bag on his person to pick up the mess. Or if a Rays employee quickly scooped it up and passed Price a note that said, "Astro can poop where ever if wants if you stay in Tampa after this season."
Alfonso Soriano recently gave some tough love to beguiled closer Carlos Marmol after he blew another game Sunday for the Chicago Cubs. Reporter Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune said he's never seen Soriano more upset during his seven-year stay with the Cubs:
Soriano said the Cubs "have (Marmol's) back," but he wavered when asked if Marmol can succeed again as a closer.
"I don't know," he said. "It depends on him. He used to be good. I think he's good, but he's lost a little bit of his confidence, and this game is all about confidence. … I hope he gets it back and becomes the Marmol I know."
"He used to be good." Ouch. Of course, the same could be said for Soriano, who actually has produced at an above-average rate for most of his 3,313 career plate appearances with the Cubs, even though he never was worth the $136 million contract he signed before the 2007 season. He has endured recurring leg injuries, has played defense in left field awkwardly, and he doesn't steal bases anymore. And this season, at age 37, he's also not hitting.
However, the shot against Marmol is an attempt at leadership on Soriano's part, so it should be respected. Maybe his teammate won't respond well to it, or at all, but at least Soriano gave it a try. He has respect in that clubhouse because he's been around, he apparently works hard, he has taken criticism himself and has kept a positive attitude — not always easy while the Cubs are Cubbing around. One thing's for sure: His contract comes off the books after the 2014 season, and that will help the new Cubs regime continue to fix past mistakes.
As for Marmol, he could not save a three-run lead against the New York Mets on Sunday, and has two saves and three blown saves this season to go with a 6.21 ERA and a 1.73 WHIP. The Cubs have tried taking his closer's role away, they've tried giving it back. They haven't tried the minors, assuming Marmol still has options, but the Cubs are so thin in the bullpen that even something radical doesn't make a lot of sense.
Marmol, who was a catcher in the low minors who couldn't hit so they converted him, has had some great moments in relief through the years. He's had some awful ones, too. Mostly, he just terrifies Cubs fans ... and then the game ends, win or lose. His control always has been erratic, but he's also allowing too high of a batting average this season. With his built-in wildness, it's an impossibly tricky combination.
Chances are, even a stern talking-to from Soriano won't help. He's not yet 31 years old, but it seems the time has come and long gone for the Cubs to move on without Carlos Marmol. But can they finally quit him?
It's no matter that British comedian Anthony Richardson probably did this voiceover of New York Yankees-Boston Red Sox opening day for folks who are less familiar with Major League Baseball. American fans of our nation's pastime should find it funny, too, as long as they're aware of rounders or cricket (unless those are the same thing), the sport (or sports) from which baseball partially derived.
Richardson's top observations include:
• Calling umpires "FBI" agents.
• Calling the Red Sox "another team ... to be confirmed."
• Calling an obvious foul ball a home run, adding (NSFW): "Smack me! Wowzers in me trousers!" The Anglo equivalent to "You can put it on the board ... yes!"
• Commenting on a routine fly ball to right: "Mork and Mindy! That's going for six! ... No! Caught by the chap in the pajamas with the glove that makes everything easier. And they all scuttle off for a nap." That might encapsulate the typical half-inning better than anything Vin Scully ever has said.
And that's just the first 30 seconds. Additionally, Richardson noting that Ichiro looks like actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt is bizarrely prescient. It's also an important sub-theme of the final 90 seconds.
Richardson just might transform how we all watch baseball going forward. Would it be the worst thing for Hawk Harrelson to affect a Cockney accent and talk like that for a half-inning every now and then ? It would make the White Sox more tolerable right now, that's for sure, what?
And hitting the ball into a plastic bag should be worth more.
Clayton Kershaw doesn't want you to know what Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reported Sunday, that he and the Los Angeles Dodgers "have made progress" on contract talks that would make him the richest pitcher in baseball history. Once they agree, Kershaw stands to make as much as $300 million.
The key phrase is, in Kershaw's view, "once they agree." He's unhappy that news regarding the negotiations got out before a deal was put into place. Kershaw claims the leak hasn't come from his side of the negotiations, Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register reports:
"I think the reason we've been able to continue discussions this long is that it hasn't been talked about (publicly). Now that it's being talked about, it's a distraction because I'm being asked about it."
Asked if he was upset that some details of those discussions had gone public, Kershaw said. "Yeah."
"I don't love the fact that I have to talk about it."
Leaks and snitches, man! Kershaw hasn't been this mad in ... OK, it's been less than a week since his most recent disagreement with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Kershaw always has seemed like a principled person and a nice guy. But even the Hulk was a nice guy before Bruce Banner got angry. The Dodgers shouldn't want to make Kershaw angry, not with as much as $300 million at stake. Not with the best thing the organization has going for it.
If Kershaw's characterization of the leaks is accurate, it seems more like a mistake the Frank McCourt-era Dodgers would make than the Magic Johnson-era Dodgers. But this episode simply continues a season that has not gone as planned. It's been rough, but it still can be salvaged.
When asked about a new contract, all Kershaw can do is say "no comment." Not only to the media, but also to the Dodgers.
It's the kind of backup no Major League Baseball team needs: Raw sewage.
A drainage problem at Oakland's Coliseum on Sunday created stinking pools of fluid that rose a foot deep in some parts of the home and visiting clubhouses. The disgusting situation forced the Oakland Athletics and Seattle Mariners to share accommodations on a higher floor inside of the NFL's Oakland Raiders' locker room after the game.
''Make sure everybody finds out about this sewage thing. We need to get a new stadium.''
Part of the Coliseum's problem: The playing field on the 47-year-old stadium rests 22 feet below sea level. The clubhouse level, which was the only part of the park affected, is 3 feet below sea level. The ballpark has been prone to frequent plumbing-related flooding but this, the San Francisco Chronicle reports, was a first:
Raw sewage backed up into both clubhouse shower areas, the umpires’ room and all bathrooms on the clubhouse level, as well as both managers’ offices and the Mariners’ training room. The umpires left without showering, as did much of the Mariners’ coaching staff and manager Eric Wedge.
That gives an additional meaning to "You stink, ump!"
Perhaps this will be the final straw — or scum — that helps get the A's a new ballpark in San Jose, a move that's been held up by commissioner Bud Selig for at least four years. In the meantime, the A's can look forward to some new carpeting after they return from a road trip that starts Monday. So there's that, along with another thing, reliever Sean Doolittle noted on Twitter:
After I checked out the new swimming pool in our locker room I got to see the Raiders clubhouse! Pretty cool! #CommitmentToExcellence
The Juice returns for season No. 6! It's almost eligible for free-agency! Stop by daily for news from the action, along with great photos, stats, video highlights and more.
After winning three games in a row heading into Sunday‘s action at Citi Field, the Chicago Cubs paid the price for their success as regular closer Kevin Gregg needed a day off. That meant manager Dale Sveum had to find a different reliever to protect a 3-0 ninth inning lead and a victory for starter Matt Garza, so he turned to former closer Carlos Marmol.
That proved to be a very bad idea.
The first batter Marmol saw was former teammate Marlon Byrd. He promptly homered to spoil the shutout and make things interesting. Marmol then walked Lucas Duda and allowed a single to John Buck to put the tying runs on base. See where this is headed? Chicago Tribune Cubs reporter Paul Sullivan sure seemed to.
Walk to Duda. Visit from Bosio. Think you know this one by heart.
Next, Mets skipper Terry Collins actually attempted to do Marmol a favor by having Omar Quintanilla sacrifice the runners into scoring position, but the erratic right-hander would have none of it. On his 1-1 pitch to the recently recalled Kirk Nieuwenhuis, he gave it all away on a walk-off three-run homer.
It was a no doubter, by the way, off the facing of the upper deck. Mets win 4-3.
Predictable? Perhaps. But certainly no less brutal.
Hunter reaches milestone in Minnesota: If you think about it, it's only appropriate that Torii Hunter would hit his 300th career home run while playing in the Minnesota Twins home ballpark. Of course it probably doesn't feel that way to Twins fans, because Hunter's first inning two-run blast helped Detroit secure a 5-2 victory. Still, the Minnesota faithful showed their respect to one of their franchise's most popular players.
Stephen Strasburg returns to mixed results: In his first start since suffering a strained lat on May 31, Stephen Strasburg was good, but not exactly sharp in holding the Cleveland Indians to one run over five innings. The good was that he didn't allow much solid contact. In fact, the Indians only collected one hit against, a Carlos Santana RBI single in the fourth. Strasburg did create some traffic for himself by walking four, but the Nationals will definitely take it since he looked healthy. Their offense, on the other hand, didn't look so well. They were shutout 2-0 by the combination of Corey Kluber and Vinnie Pestano.
Near disaster for Yankees: Things have been so rough for the New York Yankees on the west coast, even a 6-0 lead in the ninth inning isn't comfortable. That's the position they were in on Sunday afternoon against the Los Angeles Angels, and it ended up taking a Mariano Rivera strikeout of Albert Pujols with the bases loaded to secure a 6-5 victory. At least they snapped their five-game losing streak in the process.
Reds 5, Brewers 1: Stephen Strasburg wasn't the only ace returning from injury on Sunday. Johnny Cueto took the hill for Cincinnati for the first time since May 31 and tossed six innings of one-run ball for his fourth victory.
Marlins 7, Cardinals 2: St. Louis drops its first series since April 26-28 (against Pittsburgh) to the worst team in the baseball. Naturally.
Orioles 6, Red Sox 3: This feels like a daily occurrence: Chris Davis hit his major league-leading 23rd home run.
Astros 5, White Sox 4: Houston completes the weekend sweep and puts Hawk Harrelson on silent for another 24 hours.
Blue Jays 7, Rangers 2: The Rangers have lost six in a row overall and six of seven to the Blue Jays this month. Quite a rough patch they're going through.
A's 10, Mariners 2: Bartolo Colon an all-star? It's possible. He won his sixth decision in a row and improved to 9-2 with seven strong innings against Seattle.
Rockies 5, Phillies 2: Jhoulys Chacin came one out shy of his second career complete game shutout. He ended up recording 26 on only 86 pitches.
Padres 4, Diamondbacks 1: The National League West gets even tighter as four teams are now separated by two games. The odd team out? The Dodgers at 7.5 back.
Braves 3, Giants 0: A nearly spotless game for Atlanta across the board. Starter Julio Teheran was terrific is throwing six scoreless innings, the bullpen followed with three perfect frames, and there was Freddie Freeman again leading the offense with three singles and an RBI.
''We didn't see it. The team we saw is hitting the ball and making good pitches. They have the kind of offense that can make you pay if you make mistakes, and that's what we saw. Regardless of what their record shows, they've got some talent, and they're going about things the right way right now.''
— The manager of the best team in baseball, Mike Matheny, commenting on the worst team in baseball, the Miami Marlins.
The Baltimore Orioles opened up the outfield so fathers and sons could play a little catch on Father's Day.
• Yasiel Puig is tied for second all-time for most hits through the first 13 games of a career. His 23 matches greats such as Joe DiMaggio and Kirby Puckett. Thanks to Elias Sports.
• The Blue Jays have scored 38 runs in seven games against the Rangers this month. The Rangers have scored 39 runs in 15 overall games this month.
• Torri Hunter's first career home run came at Tiger Stadium as a member of the Twins.
After days of speculation, the Tampa Bay Rays finally made it official on Sunday when they announced that top prospect Wil Myers has been promoted to the big league roster. He'll be in uniform and ready to go when the Rays visit Fenway Park for a day-night doubleheader against the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday.
Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times was among the first to report the news following Tampa's 5-3 loss to the Kansas City Royals on Sunday. He also notes that infielder Ryan Roberts has been optioned to Triple-A Durham to make room on the 25-man roster.
Myers' promotion has been among the most aniticapted in baseball since he came over as the centerpiece in the trade that saw the Rays ship James Shields and Wade Davis to Kansas City. Many wondered if Myers might even make the opening day roster with a good spring. The Rays wisely held off on that decision, though, and then watched on as Myers got off to a relatively sluggish start — .263/.344/.441 with seven home runs through May 28.
He's since caught fire, hitting seven home runs over the past 18 days while raising his average to .283. It's said the Rays have been particularly impressed with the adjustments Myers has made at the plate throughout the season, and it appears they're confident he can continue making them against big league pitching.
One thing is for sure, the 22-year-old outfielder will be given every opportunity to prove he's capable of hanging against big league pitching. Manager Joe Maddon reiterated that when meeting with the media on Sunday.
"He's going to play a lot," manager Joe Maddon said. "Of course you don't bring somebody like that up to sit around."
There has always been a lot of expectations placed on Myers, last year's minor league player of the year, since he was the key chip in the offseason trade of RHP James Shields to the Royals. But Maddon said while "outside" expectations are high, they're going to try to "ease him in," hitting him lower in the lineup and telling him to just be one of nine.
If any team would know how to ease a prospect into their mix in a precise manner, it would certainly be the Rays. They've been doing it well for years with players such as Evan Longoria, David Price and Jeremy Hellickson. Myers is in very good hands, which should ease the transition quite a bit. He also possess a world of talent. which means the future is bright in Tampa.
An already crazy week for the Los Angeles Dodgers organization got even crazier on Saturday when their Triple-A affiliate, the Albuquerque Isotopes, got involved in a bench-clearing brawl with the Memphis Redbirds, Triple-A affiliate for the St. Louis Cardinals.
According to Josh Jackson of MiLB.com, both teams had been warned in the third inning when Cardinals prospect Maikel Cleto hit Jeremy Moore after the batter requested (but was not granted) a late timeout. Both benches emptied at that point but it did not escalate beyond heated words.
Now, fast forwarding to the following inning, Moore came up again and this time connected for a three-run homer off relief pitcher Jorge Rondon. The next Isotopes hitter was Justin Sellers, whom we've seen with the Dodgers in the past. On a 1-0 pitch, it appeared like Sellers was nicked by Rondon's pitch, though the umpires said otherwise. As a result of the pitch location, both benches cleared again, only this time with punches thrown and players wrestling each other to the ground.
You can view the actual game footage of the brawl by clicking here.
In total, eight players were ejected, including Mitchell Boggs for the Redbirds and Dee Gordon for the Isotopes, along with both managers.
Like the Dodgers brawl with the Arizona Diamondbacks earlier in the week, multiple suspensions are likely, but no injuries have been reported. That's the good news, but I'm sure there are many people within the Dodgers organization wondering if there might be better ways to start resolving these on field issues than emptying the benches and putting their players at risk. Three major incidents in under three months is not a pace you want to keep.
Adding fuel to their displeasure was the fact that Dodgers phenom Yasiel Puig was only hit with a fine and not suspended despite throwing a few haymakers in the scrum. At the very least, you would think the two players should draw matching one or two-game suspensions, but MLB went all out on Hinske and left the rookie Puig alone.
In response to these punishments, D-Backs fans have been promoting the Twitter hashtag #FreeHinske, which really began to take off over the weekend. So much so, that on Saturday night while the Diamondbacks visited the Padres at Petco Park, an office building in downtown San Diego prominently displayed that very hashtag.
Based on the commentary in the video, it would appear the Diamondbacks television booth had some pull in the message being displayed as they campaign to have Hinske's suspension lessened (he's currently appealing). But even then, it's cool to see folks outside of Arizona take up the cause for Hinske.
Of course, it was probably a little easier to facilitate the message in San Diego with the hated rival Dodgers on the other side of the argument, but it works. Well done, San Diego.
The Rockies are going to be without Troy Tulowitzki for 4-6 weeks and that figures to significantly decrease their odds of staying relevant in the National League West. However, their cupboard isn’t exactly bare as they still feature perhaps the most underrated superstar in the game in Carlos Gonzalez, and one of the fastest rising stars at the hot corner in Nolan Arenado.
One is an already established game changing talent with the bat. The other stands a very good chance to be once he masters the game of constant adjustments. But perhaps the most exciting part for Rockies fans is that both are at or near the top of their position defensively. Especially Arenado, who is already pushing for consideration as a Gold Glove candidate just a little over a month into his career.
As you see at the top, it was Carlos Gonzalez who set the tone in the top half of the first by cutting down Michael Young at the plate on about a 345 foot throw from the left field corner.
Two hops? Sure. A really athletic tag by catcher Wilin Rosario? Without question. But there's no way that's even a play without CarGo's cannon (and maybe Michael Young's lack of quickness). It was also an important play in the grand scheme of the game as Philadelphia was putting some good swings on Tyler Chatwood early. It finally allowed the Rockies young starter to catch his breath. He ended up rebounding for five pretty innings.
After Colorado erupted for six runs in their half of the first to take control of the game, Chatwood again relied on his defense. This time, it happened as opposing pitcher Jonathan Pettibone attempted to catch the Rockies off guard by swinging away in a bunting situation. It nearly worked, too, as the ball was on its way past Arenado and down the left field line. However, the Rockies rookie was able to snatch it at the last moment.
He then rolled over and did this...
Just to be sure, maybe we should asked Mr. Chatwood if that was any good.
''That was pretty special,'' Chatwood said of Arenado's defensive gem. ''That might have saved a run, and CarGo definitely saved a run, throwing out a guy from the wall. Our defense has been good all year and it definitely helped me out of some jams.''
Yeah, it sure did. And the dynamic duo also helped at the plate by going 5 for 9 with two doubles and three RBIs.
It was an all around baseball clinic and it was a ton of fun to watch for one day. The Rockies will now hope for several repeats as life in the National League West is sure to get more difficult without a healthy anchor at short.
The Chicago Cubs and New York Mets played a relatively uneventful game for eight innings on Saturday afternoon. In the top of the ninth inning, however, the two teams, along with the four umpires led by crew chief Gary Cederstrom, were involved in possibly the most complicated and confusing fielder's choices you'll ever see.
The play happened with the bases loaded, nobody out and Chicago's Darwin Barney at the plate. Barney would end up hitting a soft liner to shallow center field that Juan Lagares appeared to trap at first look, but probably caught after further review. It was a tough, flip-of-the-coin type call any way you slice it, which might explain why none of the four umpires offered an initial ruling. Eventually, first base umpire Lance Barrett signaled the ball was trapped, but at that point there were three baserunners trapped in no man's land, nine fielders that didn't know which way was up, and three other umpires still deciding in their own minds what just happened.
It was, in a word, chaotic, and when all was said and done, only one out was recorded and no runners advanced.
I don't know that I could do this play justice with a full play-by-play, but I can confidently tell you that after coming up with the ball, Lagares quickly fired to second base for what he thought was a potential double play. However, runner Ryan Sweeney made it back in time so he was ruled safe, which would have been true regardless of the call in center field. What actually ended up happening on the throw, Justin Turner caught it and stepped on second, which forced out the runner at first, Nate Schierholtz, and essentially ended the play right there because there were no longer any force outs in play.
Had Turner realized it was a trap initially, he would have been the second leg in what I believe would be the first 8-6-3-2-5-6 triple play in MLB history. Despite that missed opportunity, it still could have been an easy double play. Once the ball finally made it around to David Wright at third base, Wellington Castillo, thinking he was just forced out at home, wandered off the base, but Wright didn't know what was going on either, Just before Wright figured the situation out. Castillo got his foot back in before the tag could be applied.
It was at this point that Mets manager Terry Collins ran on the field looking for an explanation, but all the umpires could tell him is that everybody involved in the play screwed up one way or another and you'll just have to take your one out.
I'll tell you what's funny about that, too. Had the play been ruled a catch (which I'm going to say is the correct call) they would have only got the one out anyway. The only difference is Nate Schierholtz is the runner at first base instead of Darwin Barney. So really, it was a lot of time and energy expended to get us right back where we should have been all along.
But hey, it's not all bad for the Cubs and Mets. At least it got us to write about them before the trade deadline.
Don’t let the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees see that wild photo above. It might bring back too many uncomfortable memories.
The photo actually comes from Thursday night when the Midland RockHounds — Double-A affiliate of the Oakland A’s — were taking on the San Antonio Missions — San Diego Padres affiliate — in a Texas League matchup. After five innings were complete, a nasty thunderstorm with heavy rain moved into the area and forced the game to be suspended with the score tied 2-2 (San Antonio would win it 6-2 in 10 innings on Friday).
As you can clearly see, the storm brought with it some very dangerous lightning strikes that made it necessary to clear the stadium and move all 5,261 fans into a safer area. Thankfully, they were able to do so without incident, but we’re also kind of happy James Durbin of the Midland Reporter-Telegram held his position long enough to get the amazing photo.
Seriously, you could try a thousand times and not come up with a storm photo that spectacular. Well done, Mr. Durbin. And thank you for sharing it with the world!
The Juice returns for season No. 6! It's almost eligible for free-agency! Stop by daily for news from the action, along with great photos, stats, video highlights and more.
San Francisco Giants closer Sergio Romo was a little off on Saturday afternoon, and the Atlanta Braves took full advantage. For the first time in 176 appearances — the longest such streak in baseball dating back to Aug. 28, 2010 — Romo issued multiple walks. That helped turn a precarious 5-4 ninth inning lead for the Giants into a dramatic 6-5 walk-off win for the Braves.
After striking out Ramiro Pena to start the inning, Romo walked Atlanta's pinch-hitting ace-in-the-hole, Evan Gattis. An error by on third baseman Joaquin Arias would set the Braves up with two baserunners, and then Jason Heyward singled to load them up. That set up a confrontation with Justin Upton that Romo ended up losing after a borderline 3-2 slider was ruled ball four. From the outside looking in, it was a tough pitch to take and even gutsier pitch to throw, but Upton got the call.
After pinch-runner Reed Johnson trotted home with the tying run, Freddie Freeman would step in and deliver the winner when he pulled a 1-1 fastball into right for a clean single. It was a terrific piece of hitting, but the talk after the game went back to the 3-2 pitch against Upton. Here's more from Charles Odum of the Associated Press.
''It was a close pitch but I obviously think it's a ball,'' Upton said. ''Pitchers want that pitch. It went my way.''
Asked about the 3-2 pitch, Romo said ''It really doesn't matter what I think. The outcome of the game is already settled.''
Romo said he didn't let the walk affect his concentration against Freeman.
''I was fine,'' he said. ''I had to focus. We were still in the game. Although they tied the game we still had an opportunity to keep playing. You got to dig down deep right there and stay focused.''
When people say it's a game of inches, they aren't lying. Tomorrow that same pitch could go the other way.
Rockies offense stays hot despite Tulo's absence: Though Josh Rutledge — Troy Tulowitzki's replacement — finished 0 for 6, the Colorado Rockies received multi-hit games from seven different players — including starting pitcher Tyler Chatwood — as they snapped a six-game losing streak against the Philadelphia Phillies with a commanding 10-5 victory. The Rockies did the majority of their damage in the first inning, scoring six times on seven hits, and were finished scoring by the fourth. Catcher Wilin Rosario and rookie third basemen Nolan Arenado led the way with three hits and two RBIs each.
Dodgers blow another lead, win anyway in Pittsburgh: I think most of us are catching on to the belief that pitcher wins isn't nearly as important a stat as we've treated it, but that doesn't mean Clayton Kershaw wouldn't buy one if they were for sale. The Los Angeles Dodgers ace remained stuck on five on Saturday despite holding the Pittsburgh Pirates to one run over seven innings. The reason? The Dodgers bullpen — in this case new closer Kenley Jansen — blew its league worst 15th save.
That's not a good number at all, but there was some salvation this time around. After the Dodgers plated two runs in the 11th to take a 5-3 lead, recently replaced closer Brandon League nailed down his 14th save in the bottom half. That made a win of Peter Moylan, who now has 21 over his eight year career.
Cubs 5, Mets 2: Scott Feldman held New York to two hits over seven innings and contributed an RBI single in the win. Starlin Castro’s two-run double in the eighth locked it down.
Red Sox 5, Orioles 4: Jonny Gomes and Mike Carp each homered as Boston bounced back nicely after being shutout on Friday.
Blue Jays 6, Rangers 1: Toronto extends their winning streak to four while Texas drops its season worst fifth in a row.
Brewers 6, Reds 0: Yovani Gallardo (six shutout innings) and Juan Francisco (three RBIs) spoiled Dusty Baker's 64th birthday.
Cardinals 13, Marlins 7:Carlos Beltran homered twice as St. Louis overcame a career worst seven runs allowed by Lance Lynn in five innings. Lynn still won — his ninth — while Clayton Kershaw quietly weeps in Pittsburgh.
Misspellings, typos and grammatical errors come with the territory when you seek out a career in writing. Fortunately for most of us, there's someone looking over our shoulder — sometimes both shoulders — to make sure those errors get corrected in a timely manner, or at least before they reach the scale of the conspicuous misspelling seen during opening round play at the College World Series in Omaha.
As first spotted and tweeted to his followers by Howie Lindsey of the Louisville SportsReport, a Rivals.com site, the people in charge of laying out the College World Series banner on one of the dugouts missed a very large and completely unnecessary third L in the word college.
Yeah, last we checked two Ls are plenty and three's a crowd.
How such an error goes unnoticed as stadium workers prepared TD Ameritrade Park Omaha for the big event is beyond me. I mean, it's right there, in capital form, looking very awkward next to the two original Ls. But I guess you could look at it as another reminder that perfection is something we'll always strive for, but never attain. It just... happens.
Either way, for one day at least the third L is welcome and we'll formally call it the 'Colllege' World Series in Omaha. If that's what we're still calling it on Sunday, then someone will have some serious explaining to do.
Oh, and by the way, for those who may not understand the 'Great googly moogly' reference in Lindsey's tweet (and even for those who do), here's the origin:
On Saturday afternoon at Tropicana Field, Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Alex Cobb was struck on the right side of his head — possibly around or directly on the ear as seen in the cringeworthy replays — by a sizzling line drive off the bat of Kansas City Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer.
The scary incident happened in the fifth inning with Tampa Bay leading the game 3-2. After being struck, Cobb went directly to the ground holding his head tightly with both arms, but showed little movement otherwise in the immediate aftermath aside from occasionally kicking his legs. A stretcher was immediately summoned to the field, but the athletic trainers and paramedics on scene took every precaution imaginable in stabilizing Cobb before wheeling him off the field through a gate behind home plate.
According to Todd Kalas on the Rays television broadcast, Cobb never lost consciousness on the field, which was a very encouraging sign. He also reported that Cobb had been transported to the Bayfront Medical Center, and it was there that doctors determined Cobb had suffered a mild concussion.
Honestly, that has to be about the best possible news one could expect after being struck in the head by a baseball flying 102.4, which is what the ball coming off Hosmer's bat was measured at. But perhaps just as encouraging and relieving was the following tweet sent by teammate David Price, who immediately went to the hospital along with Cobb's father and girlfriend.
Cobber is way more tough than me!! Laughing at jokes and the name they gave him!! Please keep him and his family in your prayers
To learn that Cobb avoided a serious injury and was in good spirits so shortly after the incident is what finally took the knot out of my stomach.
In the aftermath we've also learned one other piece of information that was really very cool. According to multiple reports at the ballpark, the entire Rays starting rotation along with former teammate James Shields, who now pitches for Kansas City, met Cobb in the tunnel to wish him well before he was loaded into the ambulance.
That was really very cool of all of them, and I think it shows you the strength of solidarity that not only goes along with sharing a clubhouse in the big leagues, but to a certain extent I think it shows there's an even stronger bond shared by pitchers. No one understands the pressures and dangers of their job quite like another pitcher would, so it's only natural they stick together.
For those who are not very fond of heights — like me, for example — this video make will you feel a little queasy, but it's still pretty cool.
Prior to the Rays 7-2 loss to the Royals at Tropicana Field on Friday night, a group of Army Rangers climbed up to the catwalks and then rappeled 220 feet down on to the field where they delivered the game ball. Yes, you read that correctly: Four Rangers executed a 220-foot straight drop, which may not sound like much when thought of in baseball terms, but all one has to do is view the footage for a better perspective of just how truly far that is.
Also, as you'll hear described, 220 feet is a much longer straight drop than those involved are used to. Typically, when they rappel from such a distance they're on the side of mountain or a building — like Brian Cashman and Bobby Valentine have done — where they're able to make contact with something solid to help guide them. Here, they were not afforded that luxury, and it left the same uneasy feeling in their stomachs that I get from simply watching.
Once composed and secured in their harness, the Rangers stepped off the catwalks and dangled above the field for five minutes as they awaited their cue to descend. Personally, I can't imagine five longer minutes, but once they got started the ride down was a smooth one that definitely provided a cool visual while offering those in attendance a firsthand look at their bravery and superior technique.
Very impressive on their part, and a pat on the back should go to the Rays for inviting them and allowing them to showcase their skills.
In the immediate aftermath of that official announcement, several D-Backs, including injured players Brandon McCarthy, Daniel Hudson and Adam Eaton, took to Twitter to let their displeasure be known publicly, but perhaps the most interesting (and straight forward) comments came a little later from their catcher Miguel Montero.
Speaking to the media prior to Arizona's 2-1 loss to the San Diego Padres on Friday night, Montero, who was fined for his role in the brawl, weighed in with his own confusion and anger over the suspensions — which include starting pitcher Ian Kennedy getting 10 games — and then he went a little further when describing his feelings on being Zack Greinke's target for retaliation.
Montero said he did not expect to be hit but also did not want to start anything afterward.
"The last thing I wanted to do was get suspended. I know he’s a little chicken(expletive). I didn’t want to fight,” Montero said of Greinke.
The benches did clear after Montero was struck squarely in the back by Greinke in what was clearly retaliation for Yasiel Puig having an Ian Kennedy pitch graze off his nose, but nothing serious developed.
Obviously, the initial Kennedy plunking was unintentional, but it's a little surprising to hear Montero say he wasn't anticipating some type of retribution. Regardless of intentions, when a player as important and productive as Puig has been since his callup is beaned, a message will often be sent back and that's the end of it.
Unfortunately, though, that wasn't the end of it as Kennedy went too high in plunking Greinke on the shoulder his next time at the plate and all kinds of heck broke loose as a result. That includes Yaisel Puig being clearly spotted throwing a few haymakers in the melee while Eric Hinske seemingly played peacemaker. When it was announced that Hinske had drawn a five-game suspension and Puig was only fined, that would draw the most negative reaction from the D-Backs and especially Montero.
Of Hinske's suspension, Montero said: "The guy was getting punched and he was trying to break the fight down and he gets five games. Really? Come on. The guy Puig, throwing punches all over the place. Every single camera saw him throwing punches. Just a fine? That’s the thing that I don’t understand. I don’t know if they are just trying to cover their eyes when they are looking at that video. I’m very disappointed."
Montero, wearing his catching gear, pulled J.P. Howell off D-backs assistant hitting coach Turner Ward as the Dodgers reliever drove Ward into the railing of a camera well adjacent to the Arizona dugout.
"If I don’t get involved, if I don’t try to separate it, he would get hammered," Montero said.
J.P. Howell only got two games for his aggressive actions.
But wait, Montero wasn't quite done there. He had one last parting take on Clayton Kershaw and MLB's mishandling of the situation. At least in his opinion.
"Then you see video with (the Dodgers' Clayton) Kershaw coming at me throwing punches and nobody mentioned it. Golden boys, I guess. I don’t know what to say. Just really mad and disappointed. I hope they see that again, and hopefully they get a better angle or a better camera. Or they (use) slow motion and go through it one more time and realize the mistakes they made."
While I don't agree completely with everything Montero said, I can certainly understand his frustration. MLB put themselves in a bad position by ignoring evidence that appeared to be very clear, and as a result they look like they may have been protecting one team over another. It's a bad look, too, but maybe they'll do some correcting once the appeals process begins.
If you’re thinking about bringing a beach ball to a future Padres game at Petco Park, you’d better check ahead to make sure the security guard in the video above has the night off.
Needless to say, he’s not a fan of such objects flying around the stands, and once he wrestles it away from you, he’ll show it no mercy and destroy it without hesitation right before your eyes.
Just take a look at what he did to that poor defenseless beach ball that fell from the stands during the Padres 2-1 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Friday night. Letting the air out manually certainly would have sufficed under the circumstances. A simple puncture wound sends the desired message as well, but that wasn't enough to satisfy him. He had to stab it a second time and then a third time before callously ripping it open to allow the last little bit of air to escape.
As D-Backs play-by-play man Steve Berthiaume described it, it was definitely cold-blooded and perhaps even excessive, but there are also those who would say it met the end it deserved. Of course I'm talking about the people who actually come to the park to watch the game and don't need any manufactured entertainment from a beach ball or 'The Wave."
I would guess many of you reading fall under the latter category, as do I, obviously. But I have to admit I feel kind of bad that the beach ball in question ended up at the wrong place at the wrong time and met such a violent and decisive end. It looked like it had plenty of good hits left in it.
I already knew Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen was as calm, cool and collected as they come on a baseball field. What I didn't realize until Friday, however, was just how subtly smooth McCutchen can be even in the face of a potentially embarrassing situation.
As captured by Root Sports in Pittsburgh, McCutchen was nearly faked out of his cleats by Dodgers right-hander Stephen Fife on a bluff pick-off move toward second base during the third inning of Pittsburgh's 3-0 victory Friday night. It was like one of those NBA crossover dribbles you see giffed all the time. McCutchen was so caught off guard that he lunged back to bag before realizing no play was on. That was the worst of it. Then, once he did realize the situation and how it may have looked on TV, he elected to uniquely and entertainingly dance (or shuffle) the final few feet back to the base.
Basically it was a "you made me look foolish, now I'm going to get my cool points back real quick" all within one chain of events.
Honestly, I don't know if this is typical of McCutchen under the circumstances or if it was something he tried spur of the moment, but I definitely got a kick out of it. My only concern now is that seeing as how these types of things — quirky dances, poses, celebrations, so on — catch on via social media and blogs these days, it wouldn't surprise me at all if the McCutchen Shuffle becomes a thing.
Please don't consider this as me encouraging such a fad. I enjoyed McCutchen's version under the circumstances. But I'm afraid we'll soon be watching videos of people doing the McCutchen Shuffle through Times Square and all other points of the world. I don't think I'm prepared to handle that.
As we’ve learned over the years, if there’s a unique way to get injured, professional baseball players will typically find it in due time.
Nowadays, more and more of those unique injuries seem to be coming at a time when players are at their happiest: during pregame, in-game or postgame celebrations. Whether it be a good old thumb in the eye on a high-five attempt, or a twisted knee on an ill-timed jump over a dugout fence, celebrating has become just as dangerous as running into an outfield wall or sliding head-first into first base.
The latest of these celebratory injuries occurred on Thursday prior to the Rangers 3-1 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays in Texas. Beat writer Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram fills us in on the who and the what.
An over-the-top high-five from a teammate Thursday sprained Jeff Baker's thumb. He can't grip a bat.
When asked about his injury prior to Friday's game against left-handed starter Mark Buerhle, Jeff Baker, who's hitting .386 against left-handed pitching this season, offered only vague information to the assembled media and refused to disclose the name of the perpetrator:
Baker said the bizarre injury occurred before Thursday night's game against Toronto. The right-handed hitter said the thumb is still swollen and he can't hold a bat.
The 31-year-old did not identify the teammate who gave out the high-five.
''The teammate was a little over-excited, for whatever reason,'' Baker said. ''It bent my thumb back. It is what it is. It's unfortunate. We'll deal with it and move on.''
He may be ready to deal with it and move on, but we'd kinda like to know who the over-excited teammate was. Looking over their roster (including those on the disabled list) there's certainly no shortage of potential suspects. And by the that I mean players who seem to be overzealous by nature, and a couple others who may even have motives, as in a desire for more playing time.
Here are the guys I'm looking at the closest:
A.J. Pierzynski: Obviously Pierzynski's reputation precedes him. He's a hard-nosed type player that gets on the nerves of those in the other dugout, but is generally appreciated by his own teammates. Still, if there was ever one guy who would throw an extra hard high-five for no apparent reason other to get your attention and remind you who he is, it's A.J. Pierzynski.
Jurickson Profar and Chris McGuiness: With Ian Kinsler and Mitch Moreland nearing returns from the disabled list, perhaps it was one of the Rangers' rookies looking to keep a spot open on the roster. Baker gets playing time all over the diamond, but has recently split starts with the duo at first base and second base to help make up for the absent veterans, so either could benefit from Baker missing time.
Yu Darvish: Keeps hitters off balance with his wide array of pitches. Entirely possible he's the same way high-fiving. Never the same location twice.
Derek Holland: Seemingly energetic and happy at all times, I could see Holland innocently throwing a damaging high-five at an unsuspecting teammate.
Jeff Baker: Let's not discount the possibility that Baker is playing this down because he was just as over-excited as his unidentified teammate and therefore contributed to his own injury. It wouldn't be the first time that's happened. It also wouldn't be the last.
Of course we can have a little fun with the injury knowing it doesn't appear to be too serious. As of right now the Rangers are calling Baker day-to-day, so unless it's aggravated or he goes crazy high-fiving over the next couple of days they should have him back in the lineup sometime next week.
While a potential suspension due to his connection to the Biogenesis clinic in Florida looms in the background, Ryan Braun’s main concern right now is to get his ailing right thumb healthy. In order to help that process along, the Milwaukee Brewers finally decided to place their all-star outfielder on the 15-day disabled list — his first trip in his seven-year career — on Friday night, which will be retroactive to June 9.
The injury, described as a slow-healing bruise, has been lingering since the latter part of May, but Braun continued playing through it despite the fact that it was sapping his power — he hasn't homered since May 22. He took one day off on June 5 but saw little improvement. He was then removed from Milwaukee's June 9 game after playing only three innings and hasn't seen the field since.
Prior to Friday night's game in Cincinnati, Braun was finally ready to test the thumb with a round of batting practice. According to MLB.com's Adam McCalvy, that did not go well at all.
On one of his first swings behind the batting cage Friday, it was clear from his grimace it did not work.
“More of the same,” Braun said. “It basically has been the same for a while. Everything we have tried to get to the point where I can take a regular swing [has not helped. We’ve tried different wraps on the bat, different padding on the batting gloves. We’ve basically tried everything we can think of.”
The last resort would be Braun’s first-ever trip to the disabled list.
A few days of rest is expected to do the trick, so it wouldn't be surprising to see Braun back by the end of June. That said, the Brewers are very likely to play it safe to make sure another setback is avoided, so it might be safer to say before the all-star break.
In the meantime, Milwaukee will continue to roll with 26-year-old Logan Schafer in left field and hope for the best. No, Schafer won't match Braun's .509 slugging percentage or .380 on-base percentage, but he did have three hits in their loss to Cincinnati on Friday night. We'll call that acceptable.
The Juice returns for season No. 6! It's almost eligible for free-agency! Stop by daily for news from the action, along with great photos, stats, video highlights and more.
Friday night was a thrilling night for baseball in the state of Ohio.
We'll start in Cincinnati where the Reds played host to the Milwaukee Brewers in a low-scoring division battle. Starting pitchers Bronson Arroyo and Kyle Lohse weren't exactly dominant throughout — especially Arroyo, who allowed 12 hits in seven innings — but kept the opponents off the board and their teams in the game. That type of game would end up benefiting Milwaukee as they received a game-tying home run from Martin Maldonado in the eighth that ultimately sent us to our 111th extra-inning game this season.
''I told somebody earlier it never gets old,'' said Bruce, who has 11 homers. ''I hit homers, but walk-offs are completely different. They're a little sweeter, especially this one because of yesterday.''
In case you're wondering what yesterday means, the Reds dropped a tough one to Chicago Cubs in 14 innings at Wrigley Field on Thursday afternoon. A second straight gut punch would have been a lousy feeling, but Bruce made sure that didn't happen with his latest walk-off. Reds win it 4-3.
Meanwhile, in Cleveland: Not long before Bruce's game-ending blast, fans at Progressive Field in Cleveland were also going crazy as their Indians pulled out a 2-1 win over the visiting Washington Nationals. Tied at one entering the bottom of the ninth, Drew Stubbs reached with a one out single. Michael Bourn followed with a single of his own, allowing Stubbs to advance to third. After Bourn stole second to take the double play out of order, Jason Kipnis pulled one hard on the ground that first baseman Adam LaRoche fielded cleanly and came up firing to home. It was a bang-bang play at the plate — literally and figuratively — but Stubbs, who was off immediately on contact, got in ahead of the tag.
Upset special: It what might be considered the equivalent of a 16-seed knocking off a 1-seed in the NCAA Tournament, the Miami Marlins rode the right arm of 20-year-old Jose Fernandez on their way to a 5-4 victory over the team with the best record in baseball, the St. Louis Cardinals.
Over seven innings of work, Fernandez would strikeout a career-high 10 while holding St. Louis to three runs (two earned). That was more than enough to spoil the return of Jake Westbrook, who made his first start for the Cardinals since May 8 following an elbow problem. Fernandez also helped his cause with an RBI single in the second while Giancarlo Stanton contributed three hits and two RBIs.
Wrong side of history: Chicago White Sox left-hander Chris Sale was brilliant on Friday, striking out 14 in an eight-inning complete. It wasn't good enough, though, as his squad dropped a 2-1 decision to the lowly Houston Astros. That means Chris Sale became the first White Sox pitcher to lose a game with 14 or more strikeouts since Jim Scott in 1913. Exactly 100 years.
Pirates 3, Dodgers 0: Jeff Locke rebounds from his seven walk performance against the Cubs to throw seven scoreless on only 75 pitches. Dominant and efficient.
Cubs 6, Mets 3: Chicago wins their second in a row thanks to David DeJesus' bases clearing triple, but then lost their center fielder to a sprained right shoulder after a collision with the Citi Field wall.
Giants 6, Braves 0: In 14 innings against Atlanta this season, Madison Bumgarner has allowed one run while striking out 21.
Blue Jays 8, Rangers 0: A resurgent Mark Buehrle is 2-1 with a 1.91 ERA over his last five starts. He's also 13-5 lifetime against Texas.
Tigers 4, Twins 0: Make that five shutouts on the night in baseball. Rick Porcello and three Detroit relievers combined on a three-hitter.
Phillies 8, Rockies 7: Despite four hits from Carlos Gonzalez and a home run from Troy Tulowitzki replacement Josh Rutledge, Colorado falls after once leading 7-2.
Angels 5, Yankees 2: One day before his 41st birthday, Andy Pettitte allowed 11 hits. That's the most he's allowed in a game since June 13, 2009.
If it seems like we’re experiencing an extraordinary number of extra-innings games early in 2013 season, it's because we actually are experiencing an extraordinary number of extra-inning games. In fact, a record-setting pace has been established that should it continue throughout the end of the 2013 season, would blow away the previous mark for extra-inning games in a single season.
According to Jason Lukehart of Ground Ball With Eyes, we entered play on Friday with 110 out of a possible 983 games having entered extra innings. That figures out to a little more than one game out of every ten, which means we're seeing at least one on a nearly daily basis so far. And when extrapolated over the full season of 2,430 games, we're on pace for 272 extra-inning games, which would be 35 more than the current record.
Here's the current top 5 via Lukehart:
Obviously the list is dominated by more recent seasons because of the increase to 162 games in 1962 and the many number of expansion teams that have come along since that same year. Still, it's interesting to note how high the number jumped in 2011 and the pace we're on this season. I'm not sure there's a real solid explanation for that, but it's interesting nonetheless.
Speaking of interesting, another piece of information from Lukehart's piece tells us that we're not only seeing more extra-inning games, we're also seeing more that fall under the marathon category. With three 18-inning or longer games over the past seven days, we're now on pace for ten of those this season. The current record is nine in 1967. But going even further, the number of innings played beyond the ninth is also up with 245 so far. That puts us on a pace for 606 extra frames.
Lukehart provides a lot more interesting extra-inning information in his blog so I encourage to check it out. The bottom line, though, if you love free baseball — and who doesn't, especially in this social media driven world where everything is turned into an event — then this has been a dream season so far. Whether or not the pace can continue is still to be determined, but early signs all point to some records falling.
Louisiana Rep. Cedric Richmond was the star for the Democrats as he threw a three-hit complete game shutout, which makes you wonder if the Democrats actually dressed up Justin Verlander or Matt Harvey in disguise.
Actually, Richmond has a history of dominating the Republicans. He threw a one-hitter in 2011 and in 2012 he struck out 16 hitters. Either Richmond is a stud, or the Republicans really need to hit the batting cages.
For a bunch of socialists who want everything to be fair to everyone, it's amazing the Democrats didn't stop the game, call it 11-11 instead and give every single player a trophy. Amiright?!?
Eight players or coaches were suspended from both teams, totaling 24 games. Fifteen of those went to two Diamondbacks players — pitcher Ian Kennedy, who got a 10-game punishment and utility man Eric Hinske, who was suspended five games. Both of those are pending appeals.
A few Diamondbacks players vented their frustrations on Twitter, led by pitcher Brandon McCarthy, baseball's unanimous king of 140 characters:
"I had him in fantasy once and he killed me so...five games?"- how I assume someone from MLB decided on Hinske's suspension
At the heart of the argument, even though the D-backs players are careful not to name names, is the fact that Puig didn't get suspended but Hinske did. And they seem to have a point.
If you watch the video of the brawl, you'll see that Puig was clearly more aggressive than Hinske. At :35 Puig punches or slaps a ducking Hinkse on the back. This was after Puig rushed a throng of players. Hinkse then pushed Puig away.
Hinske was in the mix during the melee (like plenty of players were), but he didn't seem to have the "I'm going to get someone" energy that Puig did. If you're going to rank the players who did the most wrong, which is what these suspension do, it doesn't seem fair that Hinske is No. 2. Nor does it seem fair that Puig isn't suspended at all.
Of course, Puig is more valuable to his team right now than anyone else involved. Losing him for even one game would probably hurt the Dodgers more than Hinske being forced to miss five games would hurt the D-backs. Simply because Hinske isn't an everyday player.
There's a chance — with a successful appeal — that Hinske's suspension gets knocked down a few games. But Puig won't magically get suspended. And the Dodgers have to be thrilled about that.
• Ian Kennedy of the Diamondbacks: 10-game suspension.
• Eric Hinske of the Diamondbacks: five-game suspension.
• J.P. Howell, Skip Schumaker and Mark McGwire of the Dodgers: two-game suspensions each.
• Ronald Belisario and Don Mattingly of the Dodgers and Kirk Gibson of the Diamondbacks: one-game suspensions each.
• Yasiel Puig and Zack Greinke of the Dodgers and Miguel Montero and Gerardo Parra of the Diamondbacks: all fined an undisclosed amount, but not suspended.
• The players/coaches suspended were all fined an undisclosed amount too.
• The Dodgers as a team were assessed an additional fine for letting players from the disabled list leave the bench.
There's nothing too surprising here. Ian Kennedy's 10-gamer was what many expected. Hinske getting a longer suspension than both Howell and Belisario is unexpected, since both of those Dodgers seemed just as aggressive (if not more) than Hinske.
All these fines and suspensions, of course, are subject to appeal. The Dodgers are in Pittsburgh on Friday, starting a series with the Pirates, while the D-backs are played in the Padres in San Diego.
You've been waiting for a good ol' profane manager rant and Detroit Tigers skipper Jim Leyland wants to be the one to give it to you. Leyland, obviously frustrated with the criticism the Tigers' closer role has gotten, blew off some steam in an expletive-laced rant to Bob Nightengale of USA Today:
"Some fans believe [Jose] Valverde is a Leyland creation," Leyland says. "They think the manager loves him or he wouldn't be here. I don't understand who they think we should be closing with. I'm asking that question, 'Who the (expletive) should I be closing with?' I mean, do they want some rookie kid? I don't understand that.
"Who the (expletive) should I close with? Who do you want me to close with? Who the (expletive) do you want to be the closer? … I don't know what the (expletive) these people want. They just throw stuff out there. People just talk, they don't think about it.
"Sometimes it boggles my mind."
So, Jim, you're telling us that asking for Miguel Cabrera to also be the closer is NOT a valid idea? Fine, noted for the record.
The Tigers closer role has been a mess since baseballs were first thrown this season. Bruce Rondon was handed the closer role in spring training, but blew it and didn't make the opening day roster. The Tigers went to a "bullpen by committee" plan, but eventually signed Jose Valverde and gave him the closer job after a brief minor-league stint.
This incensed many Tigers fans who look at Valverde has a save-blower extraordinaire and meltdown master. He's saved nine games and blown three since joining the Tigers in late April. Overall, the Tigers 'pen has blown nine saves, but the team is still 36-28 and in first place thanks to some of the best starting pitching in baseball. Oh, and that Cabrera guy and his buddy Prince Fielder too.
What's amplified this latest round of Tigers closer hysteria is a Valverde blown save from Wednesday against the Kansas City Royals, in which he soiled a strong start from ace Justin Verlander. The Tigers were up 2-0 until Valverde gave up a ninth-inning homer. The Royals went on to win in 10 innings.
"Never is it good when the list of what's right with a bullpen runs two deep and what's wrong hogs the remainder. Coke's ERA jumped to 5.49, Valverde's stuff was, in one scout's eyes, 'flat as Kansas,' and he now has allowed five home runs in his last 5 1/3 innings. Bruce Rondon and Al Alburquerque, the two best stuff guys in the organization, are at Triple-A."
So, in other words, Jim Leyland was overdue for an expletive or 14. And until you hear otherwise, Jose Valverde is still his expletive-ing closer.
By the time, Troy Tulowitzki injured his ribs diving for a ground ball in the eighth inning of Thursday's game, the Colorado Rockies had to think that they were cursed. When Tulowitzki left the game, that made three Rockies stars — Carlos Gonzalez and Dexter Fowler being the other two — who had left the game because of injury.
Tulo's case is the worst. He's been diagnosed with a broken rib and is expected to miss 4-6 weeks. That's not what the Rockies or their star shortstop wanted to hear, for two reasons: 1. They've exceeded expectations and at this point are a legit contender in the wide-open NL West. 2. Tulowitzki, as good as he is, has battled injuries throughout his career.
Neither Gonzalez nor Fowler are expected to miss extended time, but both of them leaving the game had to raise the blood pressure for Rockies faithful, especially considering those two guys walked away from a collision on Wednesday in good shape.
On Thursday, Gonzalez was hit on the left foot by a foul ball while he was in the on-deck circle. He left the game with a bruised foot. Fowler was hit by a pitch on his right hand when he squared around to bunt. He left the game too.
The Juice returns for season No. 6! It's almost eligible for free-agency! Stop by daily for news from the action, along with great photos, stats, video highlights and more.
Mariano Rivera played his final regular season game at Oakland's O.Co Coliseum on Thursday, and it's probably one he'd like to forget.
Rivera — baseball's all-time saves leader who is planing to retire at season's end — gave up the game-winning single in the 18th inning of a marathon between his New York Yankees and the Oakland Athletics. Nate Freiman singled to left field, plating John Jaso for a 3-2 victory. The win gave the first-place A's a three-game sweep of the Yankees.
Among the odd/impressive/interesting happenings in the game:
• Lots of zeroes: The Yankees scored their two runs in the first inning. The A's scored their first two in the third. That left a lot of time before the A's scored again in the 18th. It's actually not the longest game the A's played this season, though. You might recall they played a 19-inning game on April 29, that crept over into April 30. They beat the Angels in that game 10-8.
• Yankee futility: The Yankees fourth-eighth hitters — Mark Teixeira, Travis Hafner, Kevin Youkilis and Vernon Wells — were a combined 0-for-28 in the game with three walks. Total, they left 20 men on base.
• A near finish: The A's almost won the game in the 15th when Coco Crisp singled and Brandon Moss tried to score from second base. Vernon Wells gunned him out at the plate, but not without Moss trying to break it up. He collided with Yankees catcher Chris Stewart, who held onto the ball despite a big impact with a big man.
• Leaving on a sour note: Mariano Rivera actually won his first game in Oakland. That happened on May 28, 1995. His final game? Well, he didn't take the loss, but he didn't end it in typical Mo Rivera fashion either.
Orioles 5, Red Sox 4: It wasn't quite the Yankees-A's game, but Baltimore and Boston went into the 13th inning before Chris Davis won the game with a single that drove in Nick Markakis.
Cubs 6, Reds 5: In this 14-inning affair, the Cubs got a pinch-hit single from Julio Borbon to win the game.
Giants 10, Pirates 0: On June 13 of last year, Matt Cain threw a perfect game. On the one-year anniversary, he didn't go perfect, but did pitch 6 2/3 innings of two-hit ball while the Giants bullpen helped him shut out the Pirates.
Royals 10, Rays 1: Holy George Brett! The Royals scored eight runs in the sixth inning while routing the Rays.
Nationals 5, Rockies 4: Ryan Zimmerman and Ian Desmond led the Nats offensively, while the Rockies had Dexter Fowler, Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki left the game with injuries.
Blue Jays 3, Rangers 1: Yu Darvish struck out nine in seven innings, but the Blue Jays got to the Rangers bullpen, scoring two in the eighth to win.
Phillies 3, Twins 2: Cliff Lee was baffling the first 6 1/3 innings, giving up only one hit. The Twins scored two in the seventh, but Philly countered with two more in the eighth to win.
''I took a few swings late in the game where I was just swinging way too hard, trying to win it with one swing instead of just trying to put the ball in play,'' he said. ''Good things happen when you simplify it.'' — Chris Davis on his game-winning hit.
Riley Breckenridge, who is most famous for playing drums in the hard rock band Thrice, has announced he's starting a "baseball-themed grindcore" side project and he's calling Puig Destroyer (not to be confused with Pig Destroyer).
Breckenridge isn't just a rock dude who's a bandwagon Puig fan. His baseball fandom/knowledge is legit. He writes the "Battle for Los Angeles" column on The Score and is half of @Productive Outs. His Puig Destroyer cohort Miller is the other half of Productive Outs.
In a post on his website announcing the band, Breckenridge wrote:
We’ve got basic tracking done for our debut EP, and we should have a track from said EP fairly soon. Please stay tuned for updates/tunes. The roughs I’ve heard are ridiculously awesome and fun and raw as all hell. Kinda like Yasiel Puig.
We're still waiting word of the first child born in L.A. named Puig. If Yasiel continues to impress, we'll likely have a Puig wine and a Puig hamburger by the end of the season, as well as a squealing "Pweeeeeeeeeg" iPhone app.
UPDATE: Puig Destroyer has now posted its first song, titled "One Man, Five Tools." It's quiet, acoustic and gentle. Sike! It's loud, screamy and brief, at only 48 seconds. If you listen closely, you might hear a cameo from a certain famous Dodgers announcer. Take note: It's a name-your-price download, so it was be yours for significantly less than the $42 million the Dodgers paid Puig.
Bryan Stow, the San Francisco Giants fan beaten to within inches of his life outside Dodgers Stadium in 2011, is back home with his family in Santa Cruz — but that's not as good of news as it might sound.
Stow was forced to leave the Bakersfield live-in rehab facility where he was being treated after his insurance stopped covering his care there.
The Stow family announced Bryan was home for the first time in two years in a recent blog post simply titled "Home." What sounded like an achievement, soon turned bittersweet:
"The insurance company has ceased payment for [Centre for Neuro Skills], so Bryan has come home. Let us clarify something very important — Bryan could have benefited greatly by staying at CNS longer. We are so glad to have him home, but as prepared as we thought we were, it was a difficult transition. Bryan requires so much assistance and it is impossible for Ann and Dave to do it alone. Bryan requires 24 hour nursing care, but this is not covered by insurance. So we had to hire care givers in order to help Bryan to get up and showered in the morning, and get dressed and in bed in the evening. We are now the ones administrating his medical care, scheduling all his appointments, and preparing all his meals. We are not complaining…we have Bryan home!
The post continues to talk about how Stow has encountered a "big setback" by leaving his rehab facility:
At first look and during conversations, Bryan appears to be doing better, cognitively. But to be with him as much as we are, we see what others don’t. The memory problems, the use of words that do not belong, the pain he is in and the stiffness in his body that prevents him from being able to do things on his own. Due to a huge cut in therapy coverage, Bryan has physically experienced a big setback. We do what we can at home, but he needs the 5 days a week that he grew accustomed to. We just don’t know how to get that for him.
It has been estimated by his family's attorneys that the medical care required to help Stow, 44, for the rest of his life would cost more than $50 million. His family sued the Dodgers last year. Meanwhile, the two men accused of attacking Stow — Louie Sanchez and Marvin Norwood — are awaiting trial in Southern California. They've pled not guilty to charges of mayhem, assault and battery.
Here's a new video the Stow family posted on YouTube updating Bryan's story:
"You wonder why security guards wear a helmet — you just found out."
An Oakland Athletics security guard is now the walking, ball-tossing example of why Major League Baseball made a rule requiring security guards to wear helmets.
In Wednesday's A's game against the New York Yankees, catcher John Jaso hit a foul line drive that ricocheted off the wall and knocked the security guard in the head. He wore like a champ. Getting up right away to fetch the ball and give it to a fan.
High-five for toughness, dude. He didn't look like a guy who just got popped in the head with a baseball. My question: Can he throw? If so, the Oakland Raiders might consider him as their next quarterback. He can obviously deal with getting hit.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia can barely fit his last name on the back of his jersey. At 14 letters, it’s the longest in the majors. While the Boston Red Sox player has just one last name to fit, the Fort Wayne TinCaps had a slightly bigger number to fit: 6,000.
The San Diego Padres Single-A affiliate is hosting a Social Media Night on Thursday, where their jerseys will contain more than 6,000 Twitter handles. The TinCaps creative director, Tony DesPlaines, laid out each of the 6,000 Twitter handles and was able to fit them all on the jerseys. Good thing there's no 140-character limit on jerseys like there is on Twitter.
Broadcasting and media relations assistant John Nolan explains how the idea was created:
“The TinCaps' marketing department came up with the concept of the jerseys in the offseason and used the handles of those following @TinCaps as of March 11 for the jerseys, which were produced by Wilson Sporting Goods. The jerseys are white, with "@TinCaps" printed in red across the chest, and the green-printed Twitter handles adorned throughout."
You can see if your Twitter handle made it onto a jersey in this interactive photo, check it out on Vine and Instagram or win a game-worn jersey at the game at Parkview Field tonight through contests on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, QRReader, and Foursquare.
The TinCaps, who are named after Johnny Appleseed, also painted a hashtag right behind their backstop in honor of the event. Imagine some of Appleseed’s #ThrowbackThursday pictures showed up. Now that would be something to tweet about.
This is not one of those posts where a guy in the stands holding a beer catches a foul ball with one hand and high-fives his buds and achieves hero status on the Internet for 10-24 hours. This is a post where an unfortunate fan loses his balance, takes a tumble, (probably) loses his beer and gets laughed at by the Internet.
Such is the risk of living in 2013. Such is the risk of being a Mets fan. Because let's face it, it's at least six times funnier because he's a Mets fan.
The second best part is how the video makes it look like St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Trevor Rosenthal saw the whole happen out of his peripheral. To make matters worse: The Mets lost to the Cardinals 2-1, and their Gotham City hero Matt Harvey took his first loss of the season.
Here's hoping the body of Unfortunate Mets Fan is all right, even if his pride is completely soiled.
The Kansas City Royals victory celebrations have turned sticky. In baseball, we're used to a walk-off hit meaning a guy gets a Gatorade bath. The whipped cream or shaving cream pie to the face has become to the norm too.
Leave it to Kansas City of all places to introduce baseball to barbecue saucing. Yes, it's what you're thinking: The Royals have started hitting guys in the face with barbecue sauce. It happened Wednesday to Eric Hosmer, who hit a game-winning single against the Detroit Tigers and then got sauced afterward.
Opening the door to condiments as a celebration tool could get messy fast, but in Kansas City, the Royals have really gotten behind their "rally sauce." Specifically, designated hitter Billy Butler's new Hit-It-A-Ton barbecue sauce, which is helping raise funds for needy families in the Kansas City area. It's also helping the Royals.
After losing 11 straight in May and looking to be on the brink of total collapse, the Royals recently anointed Butler's sauce their good luck charm and have won seven of their last eight games, including a streak of six in a row that ended Tuesday. George Brett, the Royals new hitting coach, has gotta feel great that the team is rallying around barbecue sauce and not one of the best hitters that ever played the game. (Or maybe he's wondering how much sauce you can legally put on a bat).
The rally sauce story goes like this: Pitcher Jeremy Guthrie saw the sauce when it was delivered to the Royals clubhouse and told his teammates they needed to "hit it a ton" too. Since then, the Royals have been seen stroking the barbecue sauce for good luck. Guthrie even tweeted a picture of himself "sleeping" with it. Things sound might cozy in K.C. these days.
Here's more on the rally sauce:
Worshipping a bottle of barbecue sauce is one thing. It's strange, but this is sports — strange happens. Smearing barbecue sauce on a guy's face when he hits a game-winner? That's on a different level. That's a step closer to splashing buffalo sauce in a player's face or hitting him with a pie made of ranch dressing. It's sets the precedent for taking post-game celebrations into stickier, smellier territory. Let's just hope the Mariners don't start pouring coffee on people.
Here's the good thing in Kansas City, though: If the Royals go through cases of barbecue sauce in future celebrations, that's more money for Butler's charity — and more wins for the Royals.
Mariano Rivera's farewell tour chugs on — and in Oakland, it got tasty.
Rivera, the legendary New York Yankees closer and baseball's soon-to-retire saves leader, is visiting with "unsung heroes" at each road ballpark before he plays his final game there. In some places that's meant meeting with groups of behind-the-scene stadium employees or longtime fans. Like the guy in Cleveland who's been beating a drum in the stands for 40 years.
In Oakland, Rivera played pizza delivery man. He surprised Julie Vasconcellos, who has worked in the A's mailroom for 25 years, with a pizza on Wednesday. Casey Pratt of CSN Bay Area shows us more in the video above.
Mo's already considered one of baseball's top "firemen." And now he's a pizza-delivery man too? Anybody else think Rivera could be great on a "odd jobs" reality show when he hits retirement?
You're right. He'll probably have more important things to do. So just consider this another example of Rivera being a great dude. Anybody who surprises another person with pizza is full of win. But when it's a future Hall of Famer doing the surprising? That's even more delicious.
The Juice returns for season No. 6! It's almost eligible for free-agency! Stop by daily for news from the action, along with great photos, stats, video highlights and more.
The Houston Astros won't have as many memorable wins this season as some other teams. That's just part of being a team that's likely to lose 100 games.
When this season is over for the Astros, Wednesday night's game might be one of their finer moments: Houston scored six runs in the ninth inning for a come-from-behind 6-1 win that snapped its six-game losing streak. It's a reason to leave the ballpark feeling good.
The Seattle Mariners were on the losing end, wasting a strong start from Jeremy Bonderman (eight shutout innings, only three hits). Closer Tom Wilhelmsen came on in the ninth and gave up five runs without getting two outs.
It was the Astros first win of the season that came after trailing in the ninth inning. Here's how it went down: Jason Castro and J.D. Martinez hit consecutive singles to start the inning. After a sacrifice and an intentional walk to Carlos Pena, Chris Carter hit a two-run, bases-loaded double. Jose Altuve and Brandon Barnes followed with RBI singles. The Mariners walked in the sixth run of the inning.
The Astros improve to 23-44. A couple more of these and they might catch up to the Cubs in the win-column. They currently have 25.
Dodgers and D-backs battle into extra innings: This time there were no punches thrown, no benches clearing, no bean balls — just lots and lots of baseball.
The Arizona Diamondbacks bested the Los Angeles Dodgers 8-6 in 12 innings on Wednesday. The teams were tied 4-4 since the seventh inning, but the D-backs broke it open with a four-run 12th inning that included a go-ahead Martin Prado double. The Dodgers threatened in their half of the 12th, scoring two runs and brining the tying run to the plate, but Heath Bell held on to close the game.
Way back in the beginning of the game, the Dodgers put up four runs on Diamondbacks starter Patrick Corbin, whose 9-0 record remains blemish-free with the no decision. The D-backs haven't lost a game he's started. Yasiel Puig wasn't in the starting lineup, but came on in the 12th inning and singled in his only at-bat.
Pirates 12, Giants 8: Starling Marte: four hits and four runs. Barry Zito: 4 2/3 innings, 11 hits, eight runs.
Red Sox 2, Rays 1: Alfredo Aceves and Daniel Nava lead Red Sox past Rays. Boston takes two of three from Tampa.
Indians 5, Rangers 2: Uuuuuuuuuuubaldo Jimenez and Jaaaaaaaaaason Kipnis help Indians win a road series for the first time since May 12.
Twins 4, Phillies 3: Clete Thomas — what a name — goes 4-for-4 and leads the Twins to a comeback victory. Thomas' double ties the game in the eighth inning, then he scores the go-ahead run on a wild pitch.
Rookie sensation Yasiel Puig was a late scratch from Wednesday's lineup for the Los Angeles Dodgers, a day after he was a central figure in a pair of bench-clearing brawls with the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Dodgers say Puig has a sore right shoulder and is day to day.
He was hit by an Ian Kennedy pitch on Tuesday night. It hit Puig's left shoulder and bounced to hit his face. He stayed in the game, but his pegging started a series of hit batters that culminated with both teams flooding the field and pushing each other around. Puig was in the middle of the fray and eventually ejected.
On Wednesday, Puig came out for batting practice, but cut it short and returned to the clubhouse, according to MLB.com's Ken Gurnick. Jerry Hairston Jr. will bat clean-up instead for the Dodgers as they face the Diamondbacks again.
San Francisco Giants relief pitcher George Kontos won't look back fondly on the day he turned 28. Instead of just blowing out candles on Wednesday, Kontos was suspended and fined by Major League Baseball, and then demoted to Triple-A.
Kontos was ejected from Tuesday's game after hitting Andrew McCutchen of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Earlier, he had thrown behind Starling Marte and received a warning from home plate umpire Wally Bell. Kontos said he didn't hit McCutchen on purpose and it wasn't retaliation for the Pirates pegging (and injuring) Giants second basemen Marco Scutaro.
Word of the Kontos' suspension came just a few hours after the Giants announced they were sending him back to Triple-A Fresno. His 2013 numbers — a 5.76 ERA with 19 runs allowed in 29.2 innings — are worse across the board than his 2012 stats. He's already given up more earned runs and home runs than he did all last season. His strikeouts are down, his walks are up and opponents are hitting .278 against him, as opposed to .207 in 2012.
The first pitch at Wednesday's New York Yankees-Oakland Athletics game will be both history-making and heart-tugging. That's because 13-year-old Nick LeGrande — with the help of Google's technology wizards — will throw out the first pitch from 1,800 miles away in Kansas City.
No, it's not the longest game of long toss ever. It's actually what's believed to be the first telerobotic first pitch.
Let us explain: LeGrande is a Little League star who is suffering from a rare blood disorder called severe aplastic anemia. Because of that, he's not allowed to be around big crowds and he certainly can't play baseball right now.
So Google, with A's relief pitcher Ryan Cook acting as the go-between, devised a way for LeGrande to throw out the first pitch with a robotic pitching machine that mirrors his movements. Cook will catch the first pitch. LeGrande, though he lives in Kansas City, is an A's fan.
Before tonight’s game begins, however, LeGrande and his parents, Mike and Shari LeGrande, will be taken to a mini-baseball stadium, specially constructed by Google at its Kansas City offices. Nick’s friends, doctors and former teammates will all be in attendance, too.
The telerobotic pitching machine, meanwhile, will sit atop the pitcher’s mound in Oakland. The machine will follow Nick’s movements as he winds up and throws, allowing him to throw the pitch remotely and to see it happen at O.co Coliseum ... The same technology is used to perform remote operations aboard the International Space Station and allows doctors to perform surgery in remote areas.
Watch the video above, but be forewarned you might get a little misty by the end. You can follow the event on Twitter using the hashtag #NicksFirstPitch, and since this is Google and MLB, we're certain there will be videos to share of what happens.
So when you hear about former MLB all-star Mike Mussina getting a coaching gig, you wonder if it's something high profile and sexy.
Actually, Mussina was hired Tuesday as the head BASKETBALL coach at his alma mater, Montoursville High School at Montoursville, Penn. That's near Williamsport, the city best known as the home of the Little League World Series.
Mussina, 44, played basketball at Montoursville High in addition to baseball and football. According to the Sun Gazette, he scored 1,382 points in his basketball career. He struck out 2,813 batters during his MLB career with the Baltimore Orioles and New York Yankees (from 1991-2008), so obviously he made the right choice pursuing baseball.
At his new gig, Mussina will make $4,170, which is sofa change compared to the $88.5 million contract he signed in 2000 to leave the Orioles for the Yankees. His task as basketball coach will be to turnaround a team that finished 5-17 last season and hasn't made the playoffs since 2008.
Mussina should cross his fingers that he does well and Jason Kidd gets the Nets job. If so, who knows, Mussina could be coaching the Sixers in a few years.
J.J. Hardy might have felt like he went back in time.
On Tuesday night, the Baltimore Orioles shortstop launched what looked like a home run off Los Angeles Angels pitcher Jason Vargas. That was until centerfielder Peter Bourjos flew above the wall to make a marvelous catch and rob the Orioles of two runs. It was quite the impressive grab on its own. But when you start to notice the coincidences, things get eerie.
Remember that catch Mike Trout made in Baltimore last year to steal a home run? Who was hitting then? Oh, right, J.J. Hardy. Wasn't that in the first inning just like Hardy's not-quite homer on Tuesday? It was. And also in June.
Here's the video comparison of the two catches — hit to different sides of the field, but pretty similar otherwise:
Keeping with the symmetry: Even the reactions from Angels TV analyst Mark Gubicza were similar.
• Trout last season: "He's way over the wall ... That's an unbelievable play."
• Bourjos on Tuesday: "That is well over the wall ... That is unbelievable."
The whole ordeal was pretty ho-hum when all was said and done — but had the sinkhole not been discovered before the game, things could have gotten quite interesting. Imagine a game being played with a sinkhole on the field. We imagined it all right.
Here are a few things we might have seen, for better or worse:
• Nick Swisher falls down the sinkhole, gets covered in mutating slime and emerges as Michaelangelo from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. (Jason Giambi, of course, would be Master Splinter)
The Juice returns for season No. 6! It's almost eligible for free-agency! Stop by daily for news from the action, along with great photos, stats, video highlights and more.
Hey, another first came Tuesday night for new Los Angeles Dodgers star Yasiel Puig. He was ejected for fighting — "delivering an overhand punch to the back of reserve infielder Eric Hinske's head," writes Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times — in a 5-3 victory against the Diamondbacks that included two bench-clearing skirmishes and five other ejections after Puig was hit in the face with a pitch.
Puig is so good, he can even get hits during a baseball fight.
Hits that matter: Tim Fedorowicz came through with the biggest non-pugilistic hit of the game, a three-run double in the eighth against David Hernandez — who had walked the bases loaded — that put the Dodgers ahead. Kenley Jansen, now closing instead of Brandon League, got the save. We'll see what greater effect this has on the standings of the NL West, where Arizona still leads last-place L.A. by 7 1/2 games.
True Gerrit: Making his big-league debut, Pittsburgh Pirates right-hander Gerrit Cole took a shutout into the seventh inning during an 8-2 victory against the Giants. Cole, the top overall pick in the 2011 draft, allowed two runs and seven hits, not walking a batter and striking out two. He was throwing 96 or 97 mph fastballs, setting down 13 in a row at one point. He also broke a scoreless tie with a two-run single, his "first hit since high school," Cole said. Jeez, kid, slow down!
You want to see his mom interviewed?
I love moms. I would have asked her about the decision — a good one, by the way — to spell "Gerrit" like that.
Blue Jays 7, White Sox 5 (10 inn.): Down to his last strike, Jose Bautista tied the score with a solo home run in the ninth against closer Addison Reed. However, the biggest indignant moment for the Sox came when li'l dude Maicer Izturis knocked the ball from the clutches of catcher Tyler Flowers — a much bigger dude — for an insurance run in the 10th.
Mariners 4, Astros 0: I swear that Aaron Harang was about one bad start from being released. Now he's thrown two complete-game shutouts for the Mariners. This was a two-hitter against the Astros, and Harang's ERA is still 5.60, but it just goes to show — you can't predict ball.
Orioles 3, Angels 2: In a game filled with great defense, this home-run robbing catch by — no, not Mike Trout — but instead Peter Bourjos, was the best. J.J. Hardy, conversely, can't catch a break when the Angels come to Camden Yards.
Rays 8, Red Sox 3: No arguing this time, like the night before. Two home runs for Desmond Jennings. Right after I trade him from my fantasy team. ... Oh, was that out loud?
Marlins 5, Brewers 4: There's ONE GUY in the Miami lineup you have to worry about, and still Giancarlo Stanton hits a two-run homer to put the Fish ahead in the eighth inning.
Indians 5, Rangers 2: An eight-game losing streak would not become nine, thanks to Corey Kluber and the Clue Club!
Reds 12, Cubs 2: Cincy has won 11 straight at Wrigley Field, and that's a record for a Cubs opponent. Franchester must have been crowing.
Rockies 8, Nationals 3: I just can't believe Coors Field didn't soothe what ails Dan Haren. Two home runs for Tyler Colvin, who just got back from the minors.
Athletics 6, Yankees 4: It never seems to work out for CC Sabathia when he returns to the East Bay. He's got a 5.30 ERA in 14 starts at the Oakland Coliseum. Speaking of beefy right-handers, Bartolo Colon has an 0.75 ERA over his past five starts.
Padres 3, Braves 2: Right-handed beard Andrew Cashner is who the Padres got for Anthony Rizzo in the Cubs trade. That deal just might work out for both sides.
Twins 3, Phillies 2: He's curiously stuck on two home runs, but Justin Morneau is driving in runs for the Twinkies. "Tony Bastard!," swear the Phillies fans.
Tigers 3, Royals 2: Because he realizes that wins and losses for pitchers are dumb, Max Scherzer has put his 9-0 start — the best for a Tigers pitcher since Vern Kennedy in 1938 — into proper perspective. See how in the "Quote of the Day."
''Don't get me wrong — I love being 9-0, but it's more important that we won. For me, it's all about going out there and pitching deep into the game and effective.
''If we score in the ninth, I don't get the win. It's kind of fluky sometimes that stat can relate to pitching. The way I look at success is how well I pitch.''
Inspired by Yahoo! Sports' Jeff Passan, we couldn't help but cast this baseball skirmish as if it were a pro wrestling rumble. Here are some the main participants — Mark McGwire, Ian Kennedy, Don Mattingly, Yasiel Puig, etc. — and their corresponding pro wrestling characters.
Feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments.
Puig was beaned by Arizona Diamondbacks starter Ian Kennedy in the sixth inning, setting off a series of confrontations between the two teams that led to two more hit batters, two bench-clearing skirmishes and six ejections. Also in the middle of the drama: Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke, who famously pegged Carlos Quentin of the San Diego Padres, starting a brawl between those two teams in April.
After Puig was hit — which was a scary moment, no doubt about it — he stayed in the game. If things had stopped there, we'd simply be celebrating his toughness. Instead, Greinke pegged D-backs catcher Miguel Montero in the next inning. Benches cleared, but nothing really happened. A little bit of shoving, but nothing more than what we saw Monday night in the Red Sox-Rays game.
When Greinke came out to bat in the bottom of the seventh, it was a curious move. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly had to sense that retaliation might be coming. Greinke had already missed a good chunk of time this season after getting injured in the previous brawl. Sure enough, Kennedy hit Greinke and the benches cleared again. Here's the video:
This wasn't on the level of Padres-Dodgers brawl, but there were some heated moments:
• Puig in the middle of the fray, showing he was ready to fight for the team he's been with only a week.
• Mark McGwire and Matt Williams holding each other tight and McGwire looking like he was ready to change from Bruce Banner to the Incredible Hulk at any moment.
• D-backs first-base coach Turner Ward getting a whooping.
• Don Mattingly throwing Alan Trammell to the ground. (Here's a GIF)
When it was over, Puig, Mattingly, Kennedy, Turner, Dodgers pitcher Ronald Belisario and D-backs manager Kirk Gibson were ejected.
The Dodgers' Twitter account, which trolled the Padres hard during their fight, threw itself into the (virtual) mix this time too, with a nod to Gibson and the D-backs' "gritty" reputation:
Oh, and the game? It was tied 2-2 when all the drama went down. The D-backs scored once in the top of the eighth, but the Dodgers responded with three in the bottom of the eighth on a Tim Federowicz double to eventually win 5-3. There were no more confrontations, although Dodgers second baseman Mark Ellis was hit in the bottom of the eighth. Everybody stayed in their dugouts that time.
Here are some interesting tweets from the post-game interviews:
Zack Greinke said he did not hit Miguel Montero on purpose. Ian Kennedy also said he did not hit Greinke on purpose.
Because your baseball card collection is sadly void of Kelly Leak, you'll be happy to know that a set of "Bad News Bears" baseball cards are coming soon from Panini America.
According to Panini's blog post announcing the cards, this will be the first ever "Bad News Bears" set, which seems kinda odd. But considering the original "Bad New Bears" flick came out in 1976, it makes sense that the merchandising-mania we're used to with movies never went back in time to give the "Bad New Bears" their due.
The "Bad New Bears" cards will be released later this month as part of the 2013 Panini Golden Age Baseball set — those of you who haven't bought baseball cards in a while, might be interested to know that Panini bought out Donruss in 2009.
As is common these days, there will be special autographed "Bad News Bears" versions inserted in packs that collectors can chase. So cross your fingers, Bears fans, that you'll get a Kelly Leak card autographed by actor Jackie Earle Haley or an Amanda Whurlitzer card signed by Tatum O’Neal. There are also cards for Ahmad Abdul Rahim (played by Erin Blunt), Mike Engelberg (Gary Lee Cavagnaro), Rudi Stein and Toby Whitewood (David Stambaugh).
“We wanted to add some element of the ‘The Bad News Bears’ from the earliest planning stages of the second Golden Age release, and we began working on that even before 2012 Golden Age was shipped,” says Panini America Brand Manager Mike Payne. “That film is a classic and fits perfectly into the Golden Age brand. Licensing became the biggest hurdle, and deals with studios can take some time to reach an agreement. Once that was completed, Paramount provided imagery of the six principles we were in negotiations with, including Tatum O’Neal and Jackie Earle Haley. It wouldn’t have been the set we wanted without Amanda and Kelly Leak."
Panini's Golden Age set includes pop culture-referenced cards in addition to baseball cards. All with a bit of history. According to Cardboard Connection's rundown of the set, you can expect cards featuring Al Kaline, Evel Knievel and the Three Stooges in Golden Age packs.
Count Pittsburgh Pirates manager Clint Hurdle as the latest manager to thumb his nose at baseball's obsession with numbers. Hurdle told reporters on Tuesday that he's done watching pitch-count to determine when to remove his starting pitchers.
This, of course, comes on the same day that Gerrit Cole, No. 1 overall draft pick from 2011, makes his major-league debut for the Pirates. Reporters asking whether Cole would be watched closer is what prompted Hurdle's no-pitch-count comments.
"My approach in terms of pitches, actually we were having a conversation today, I’m not paying attention to the number of pitches anymore, the rest of the year, for anybody. I’m serious. Just so you know.
"It’s going to be about the barrel of the bat on the other team. The times men get on base. How they handle the stretch situation. Whether duress picks up or anything like that.
"I want to make sure we have nobody looking at the rear view mirror at 95 pitches thinking 'I’ll only got so many left.' That’s out the window. Gerritt’s in that group as well. I mean, just pitch. If you want to have a goal. Some of us men need goals. Pitch seven full innings and we’ll figure it out after that what our next step is. That’s where we’re going."
You'll remember a couple weeks ago that Seattle Mariners manager Eric Wedge blamed Dustin Ackley's poor performance and minor-league demotion on Ackley being too concerned with sabermetric stats. Pitch count and sabermetrics are two very different things, but the crux of both managers' statements is the same: Play the game, don't worry about the numbers.
Baseball is harshly divided between the numbers folks and the play-the-game folks, so this is the type of thing we're likely to keep seeing until either Brian Kenny or Harold Reynolds emerges victorious in their statistical death match. (Jokes, just jokes)
It'll be interesting, however, to see if Hurdle eventually back-tracks a little bit like Wedge did. Or whether we'll see Gerrit Cole throwing 125 pitches per game by next month.