Pakistan’s National Baseball Team Just Wants You To Know They Exist: Pakistan got mercy-ruled twice at the World Baseball Classic qualifiers last week. But they consider it a successful outing.
Marlins Pitcher Jose Fernandez Dies in Boating Accident: Miami Marlins star pitcher Jose Fernandez died early Sunday in a boat crash off Miami Beach. He was 24. Fernandez, a former NL rookie of the year having his best season with 16 wins, was one of at least three people killed in the 3 a.m. accident involving a 30-foot boat. "They found a boat that was up against the jetties," Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Chief Todd Garofalo said. "They did do an initial search and they found three victims -- two on top of the water, one underneath the boat and they had unfortunately passed away."
Tim Tebow Signs Minor League Contract with Mets: The New York Mets have announced that they're signing Tim Tebow to a minor league contract. The 29-year-old Heisman Trophy winner will start at instructional league in Port St. Lucie, Florida. Scouts were mixed after his public tryout. The good: batting practice power, above average speed. Bad: live hitting, weak arm.
Prince Fielder's Baseball Career is Probably Over: After a second neck surgery, Prince Fielder is likely out of baseball at age 32. He would finish with 319 home runs, the same as his father Cecil who was done at age 34. Prince was an iron man before Texas, averaging 157 games a year from 2006 to 2013. But after Texas acquired him for Ian Kinsler and $30 million, he's played one full season in three. He's still owed $24 million a year through 2020. The Rangers will pay $9 million a year, the Tigers $6 million and the Rangers' insurer $9 million.
Tim Tebow Wants to Play Baseball: Tim Tebow has been training for a year to play professional baseball. He'll invite all 30 Major League Baseball teams to a tryout later this month. He last played the sport as a junior at Nease High School in 2005, hitting .494 on a team that reached the state semifinals.
Alex Rodriguez to retire from baseball: Inarguably the greatest shortstop to ever play the game, and certainly one of the greatest hitters in history, Alex Rodriguez of the Yankees has formally announced the intention to retire next Friday, and move into a position as special advisor and instructor for New York.
While the terms of the agreement with the Yankees does allow him to pursue a position on other major league teams, his dramatic loss of skill this year makes it likely he'll have played his last game some time this week, ending an often contentious, rarely popular (with fans or media), but undeniably successful on-field career. Barring an unexpected homerun barrage in the next few days, or a stint with another team next season, he'll finish just shy of the 700 HR mark and the fourth highest total of all time.
Ichiro finally reaches 3,000 major league hits: Fittingly for one of the game's most unique hitters, the slap-hitting wizard got his 3,000th hit as a triple (video) off the right field wall in the 7th inning of the Miami-Colorado game, capping an illustrious major league career.
Or possibly not "capping": while not the same electric All-Star hitter he was in those first 10 years after breaking in as a much-hyped 27-year-old rookie for Seattle in 2001- when he racked up 10 straight 200-hit seasons including the single-season record of 262- he is still a productive player this year, hitting .318 (110 OPS+) in limited playing time with Miami. Seemingly ageless, he has even said he'd like to play until he is 50, which for a player of his style and rigorous fitness regimen isn't beyond the realm of possibility, potentially adding to his already gaudy career statistics and delaying what is almost certain to be a first-ballot HoF induction.
A Q&A with Ichiro Suzuki:
I really hope he plays forever...
When I first came, I had a three-year deal. At that point all I thought was that I want to do the best I can in those three years. But in my first game, there was a play I made that was pretty good. I came in and Lou [Piniella, Seattle's manager from 1993 to 2002] gave me a kiss. So I thought, "Three years is too long! If I am going to get kissed every day, I don't want to be here!"
Tim Duncan announces retirement: San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan today announced that he will retire after 19 seasons with the organization. Since drafting Duncan, the Spurs won five championships and posted a 1,072-438 regular season record, giving the team a .710 winning percentage, which is the best 19-year stretch in NBA history and was the best in all of the NBA, NFL, NHL and MLB over the last 19 years.
The false hope of Tommy John Surgery: "Nearly 30 percent of pitchers in Major League Baseball have undergone Tommy John surgery, the revolutionary elbow-ligament replacement surgery named after the pitcher who first underwent it in 1974...... Tommy John surgery, it turned out, was a paradox, the procedure that worked too well."
Vin Scully recites the speech about baseball from "Field of Dreams".:
This should be played in every MLB park before the last game of Scully's career.
Rockies SS Jose Reyes receives 52-game suspension for domestic violence incident: Reyes was arrested in Maui, Hawaii for an incident that occurred in October of last year. His wife told police that he pulled her off of a hotel bed, grabbed her by the throat, and slammed her into a sliding glass door, after which she was treated at a local hospital. However, criminal charges were dropped after she refused to testify against him.
ESPN Fires Curt Schilling for Anti-Transgender Post: It took Curt Schilling a while, but he's finally gotten himself fired from his ESPN broadcasting job for inflammatory social media antics. He shared an offensive anti-transgender meme on Facebook, made a crude anatomical comment and then doubled down. By one count, it was the seventh time his social media activities became an issue. "ESPN is an inclusive company," the network announced. "Curt Schilling has been advised that his conduct was unacceptable and his employment with ESPN has been terminated."
The Chicago Cubs Will Not Win the World Series: "There are several rational reasons why the Cubs will not win the World Series. For one, the baseball season is endless and unpredictable. Players get hurt, players come out of nowhere, great players play like absolute dogshit, relief pitching is essentially determined by oracle bones, players change teams, BABIP commands the game like a vengeful god, the banishment of a thirteen-year-old bat boy causes widespread locker room revolt, the playoffs are a completely random confluence of baseball events. Yet, this is not the place for rational thoughts. This is a place for exalted Cubs miserablism unbound by the physical laws of the universe."
Opening Day for the Greatest Numerical Sport: The New York Times marks the opening of the MLB season with some numbers that are becoming unreachable in the sport: 75 stolen bases (last by Jose Reyes, 2007), 250 innings pitched (Justin Verlander, 2011), 100 relief innings (Scott Proctor, 2006), 40/40 club (Alfonso Soriano, 2006), 20 sacrifice bunts by a non-pitcher (Juan Pierre, 2007). You know it's time for the great game to return when we're thinking about sacrifice bunts by a non-pitcher,
Gay minor league baseball player quit because of homophobic comments from teammates and coaches.:
In a letter to Outsports, Dunnington says he decided to leave baseball after hearing comments about how gay people should be killed.
Spring Training Fan Saves Kid from Flying Bat: A fan watching a Pittsburgh Pirates/Atlanta Braves spring training game at Disney World made an incredible save, blocking a bat flying into the stands as it was heading towards a young boy's head. Christopher Horner of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review captured the incident in a series of photos. Pirates outfielder Danny Ortiz, who lost his grip on the bat, had no idea this happened. He said, "I went home and my wife said to me, 'You almost killed that kid!'"
New Rule Takes Out Slides Like Chase Utley's Legbreaker: The Chase Utley slide that broke Ruben Tejada's leg during the NLDS will no longer be legal in Major League Baseball: "Under the new policy for sliding, designated Rule 6.01(j), a slide to break up a double play will have to include a bona fide attempt to reach and remain on base. Contact with the fielder is permissible, but the runner cannot change his path to initiate contact or engage in a “roll block.” The plays are subject to review under video replay, and if it is determined that the runner did not engage in a bona fide slide attempt, then interference will be called and both the runner and the batter-runner can be called out."
Cricket Star Kieran Powell Tosses His Bat and Picks Up a Smaller, Rounder One: Powell, a star batsman who has played internationally for the West Indies, has chucked that all aside, for now at least, in a long-shot gamble to become a professional baseball player. See also: (video warning) MLB Tonight: Cricket Conversions. Why would a star player from West Indies look to another sport? Windies cricket seems to be in a pretty sorry spot, financially speaking.
Baseball Hall of Fame adds "The Kid" and the catcher in 2016.:
With 99.3% of the vote (the highest percentage ever), Ken Griffey Jr. (the second best left-handed outfielder born on November 21st in Denora Pennsylvania) is easily inducted by the 440 baseball writers. Mike Piazza also clears the 75% hurdle with 83% of the vote.
Final 2015 MLB 40-man payroll totals are released.:
The Los Angeles Dodgers lead the way with a $291,056,310 payroll.
David Price signs largest pitching contract in MLB history.:
The Boston Red Sox needed an ace, so they went out and got the best free agent on the market. David Price has reportedly come to terms with the Red Sox on a seven-year contract worth $217 million, according to The Boston Globe.
Big league baseball beneath Big Ben?:
MLB is investigating the idea of playing regular season games in London, England.
GM Alex Anthopolous leaving Blue Jays after rejecting extension.:
According to sources, the new president of the team (Mark Shapiro) scolded AA and his staff for trading away so many prospects this season.
Don Mattingly Out as Dodgers Skipper: The Los Angeles Dodgers won three straight division titles under manager Don Mattingly, but that wasn't enough without deeper playoff runs. He's out as manager in a decision being described as mutual. Mattingly had a .551 winning percentage in five years (446-363). There was talk he'd be traded to the Miami Marlins, who reportedly have interest in Donnie Baseball.
New York Mets Back in the World Series: The New York Mets swept the Chicago Cubs in the NLCS, advancing to the World Series for the first time since 2000. In an 8-3 victory, Mets infielder Daniel Murphy hit a homer for the sixth straight postseason game -- something no one has ever done before in Major League Baseball. The Mets were so dominant they never trailed in the series. Good luck to the Kansas City Royals or Toronto Blue Jays.
Chase Utley Safe at Second Without Touching Second: Second baseman Chase Utley broke shortstop Ruben Tejada's leg with a rough slide into second Saturday night in the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-2 victory over the New York Mets in the NLDS. Even though Utley never touched second, he was called safe. The New York Post explains why replay made that strange call.
Texas Rangers take game one 5-3 against the Toronto Blue Jays: in a game that sees Josh Donaldson, Jose Bautista, and Adrian Beltre leave with injuries. David Price has lost six straight post-season starts (four of those losses coming against Texas) and Rangers 2B Rougned Odor became the 2nd youngest player* to score three runs in a playoff game, twice after being hit by Price and once via a solo home run in the top of the 7th inning. Game two features a pitching match-up of trade deadline acquired Cole Hamels against late-season-emerging-after-tearing-an-ACL Marcus Stroman.
Washington Nationals Fire Matt Williams: A year after being named National League Manager of the Year, Matt Williams has been fired as skipper of the Washington Nationals. The team finished 83-79 and did not make the playoffs. A week ago closer Jonathan Papelbon choked star outfielder Bryce Harper in the dugout during a game and Williams didn't notice. He sent Papelbon back out to pitch the ninth. Altered to the altercation by reporters later, Williams watched video and told them, "I'm livid about it."
Toronto Blue Jays Clinch Playoff Spot, But Nobody Notices: The Toronto Blue Jays clinched their first playoff spot in 22 years last night -- ending the longest drought in North American pro sports -- but this went without notice or celebration. The common perception was that they still had a magic number of 1, but it is impossible for the three other teams in contention (Texas, Houston and Los Angeles) to all tie Toronto in wins because they play each other. See the comments for the math that the media overlooked.
Hall of Fame catcher Yogi Berra passes away: at the age of 90.
Fan Dies After Fall from Upper Deck at Braves Game: A fan in his 60s died after falling over 50 feet from the upper deck at Turner Field Saturday night during a game between the Atlanta Braves and New York Yankees. A fan in Section 401 told NJ Advance Media that the fanflew over her from a row behind her when A-Rod came up to bat, almost as if he jumped. He briefly held a wire connected to the home plate net but lost his grip and landed on concrete next to the section where players' families sit.
Gotta give a shout out: to Mike Fiers for throwing a no hitter at the Dodgers on Friday. Walked 3, one in each of the first 3 innings, and retired the last 21 he faced. Nolan (7 no-nos) Ryan was there, and they met after the game. Seems like a good trading deadline pickup for the Astros.
Little League Team Throws Game at World Series: Little League International officials had to intervene after allegations arose that a team threw one of its games at the Little League Softball World Series in Portland, Oregon, on Monday. A Snohomish, Washington, team -- hoping to knock out an Iowa team from the next round it had struggled to defeat -- sat its best players, played all its reserves and told all players to bunt in an 8-0 loss to a team from Salisbury, N.C. "It was very evident right away what was going on. They weren't striving to win," said Central Iowa Little League coach Charlie Husak. Little League International officials responded by making Snohomish play Iowa to advance. Snohomish lost.
Brewers Minor Leaguer Comes Out Publicly as Gay: David Denson, a first baseman for the Milwaukee Brewers' rookie league affiliate in Helena, Montana, has become the first active player on an MLB-affiliated baseball team to reveal that he's gay. Denson, 20, started telling some teammates and it expanded to where he was addressing most of the team. "They gave me the confidence I needed, coming out to them," he said. "They said, 'You're still our teammate. You're still our brother. ... It started to affect my game because I was so caught up in trying to hide it." A pitcher for an independent minor league team, Sean Conroy, in June became the first active player in pro baseball to go public about being gay.
All 15 MLB Home Teams Won Last Night -- Setting a Record: All 15 home teams won yesterday in Major League Baseball, the first time that's ever happened. If every game was a 50/50 proposition, the odds of this would be 1 in 32,768. The previous record for home victoriousness was when all 12 teams won on May 23, 1914. In other statistical milestone news, Alex Rodriguez is the last active Major Leaguer to make his debut before the 1994 strike.
10 Degrees: It's a historic season for rookies: Never before has baseball seen a group of rookies like the Class of 2015, one so rich in position players that with two months left in the season it’s on the verge of being more productive than every previous class in history.