Braves' Jason Heyward Has Emergency Appendectomy: Atlanta Braves outfielder Jason Heyward had a laparascopic appendectomy Monday night at a Denver hospital. He fell ill Sunday and found out the next day he needed the operation, according to Bill Shanks of the Macon Telegraph. Even before this Heyward was having a rough April, putting up a league-worst .121 average.
$2.8 Million Honus Wagner Card Was Doctored: Auction house owner Bill Mastro has admitted that he altered the 1909 T206 Honus Wagner cigarette card that sold for $2.8 million in 2007. Mastro, on trial for defrauding collectors and shill bidding on auctions, admitted that he "cut the sides ... despite prior statements to the contrary," according to a court filing.
Goat Head Sent to Chicago Cubs Owner: A goat's head was delivered Chicago Cubs owner Tom Ricketts at Wrigley Field on Wednesday and has been handed over to police. The Cubs angered tavern owner Billy Sianis during the 1945 World Series by expelling his goat from a game over complaints about its odor. He allegedly sent the team a telegram that read, "You are never going to win a World Series again because you insulted my goat."
Nolan Ryan to Stay with Texas Rangers: Texas Rangers CEO Nolan Ryan agreed Wednesday to stay with the club, ending speculation that he would ride off into the sunset and hunt snow monkeys after he lost his president title March 1 and those duties were split between general manager Jon Daniels (baseball operations) and Rick George (business operations).
Opening Night in Baseball: Major League Baseball is kicking off its 2013 season tonight with the Texas Rangers and Houston Astros meeting for the first time as American League West division rivals. The Astros were moved from the National League Central during the offseason and face a tough task with the Rangers, Oakland A's and Los Angeles Angels all potential playoff contenders. The game is being broadcast on ESPN.
McCarver Leaving Broadcast Booth: This season will be the last for Tim McCarver calling baseball games for Fox, the 71-year-old announced. "I wanted to step down while I could still do the job," McCarver said. "It's not a tough call, it's not a sad thing for me. ... But I'm going to miss Joe Buck a lot." McCarver and Buck have been broadcasting games together since 1996. Baseball's loss may be jazz music's gain.
Kyle Lohse Signs 3-Year Deal with Brewers: Pitcher Kyle Lohse has signed a three-year, $33 million deal with the Milwaukee Brewers with an extra $1 million in performance bonuses. Lohse, 34, was 30-11 with a 3.11 ERA and 1.13 WHIP the past two seasons. The Cardinals will get a first-round pick from the Brewers as compensation because they made Lohse a qualifying, one-year offer. "[T]he draft pick exchange with a division-rival could haunt Milwaukee in the long term," writes Cliff Corcoran of SI.
The Evolution of World Series Celebrations: After the final strikeout of the 1950 World Series, the Yankees immediately run off the field; the catcher initially goes toward the dugout, then veers slightly toward the pitcher, who runs right past him into the dugout. The rest of the team, along with some non-uniformed humans, follow them toward the dugout. Players navigate past assorted ragamuffins and besuited gentlemen to reach the dugout. "We won, now get me into this doggone dugout!" they all shout excitedly.
Idaho Lets Man Sue Over Foul Ball Injury: An Idaho man who was hit by a baseball at a 2008 minor league game and lost an eye is challenging the back-of-ticket legal waiver: "The holder assumes all risk and dangers incidental to the game of baseball including specifically (but not exclusively) the danger of being injured by thrown or batted balls." The Idaho Supreme Court is allowing Bud Rountree's negligence suit against the Boise Hawks and the stadium owner though other jurisdictions have thrown out similar cases. The court ruled, "Whether watching baseball is inherently dangerous, and the degrees of fault to be apportioned to Rountree and Boise Baseball, are questions for the jury."
Another Document Links Ryan Braun to PED Supplier: Former National League MVP Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers has been linked to a Florida clinic that provided performance-enhancing drugs to several Major League Baseball players. Braun, whose positive test for PEDs in October 2011 was thrown out by the league because of a procedural violation, is named on a list alongside the dollar amount $1,500 on a document from the Biogenesis clinic -- the second document from that company naming Braun. A source told ESPN that the list is players who owed money for receiving the drugs. There is "no other reason to be on that paper," the source said. Braun denies the allegations.
Carl Pavano Almost Died After Snow-Shoveling Fall: Minnesota Twins pitcher Carl Pavano said that the freak accident he suffered Jan. 12 while shoveling snow was nearly fatal. Pavano, 37, fell and jammed his midsection on a shovel handle at his Vermont home. He didn't know for four days that he'd lacerated his spleen. Surgery was performed at a Connecticut hospital after he went into shock, his blood count plummeted and his lung collapsed. "He said I was on borrowed time," Pavano said a family doctor told his wife, urging Pavano to go to a trauma center at once. "I was hours away from going into cardiac arrest and probably wouldn't even be here." A free agent, he doesn't know if he'll be able to pitch this season. "Right now, that's the last thing I'm worried about," he said.
Pitchers and Catchers Report: Pitchers and catchers for 10 Major League Baseball teams reported to training camp Monday. Among the storylines this spring are whether New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter can return from his postseason ankle injury in time for Opening Day against the Boston Red Sox April 1 and whether new Sox manager John Farrell can revive the fortunes of the franchise, which finished 69-93 last season. The Houston Astros are beginning their first year in the American League West.
Atlanta Braves Abandon Plans to Revive Chief Noc-a-Homa: The Atlanta Braves have canceled their plans to revive Chief Noc-a-Homa, the team's racially offensive "screaming savage" character, on the team's batting practice caps this season. The character was part of the team's logo from 1967 to 1989.
Cy Young Winner Brandon Webb Retires at 33: Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Brandon Webb, the National League Cy Young award winner in 2006 and runner up the next two seasons, has announced his retirement from baseball at age 33. Webb last pitched on the opening day of the 2009 season against the Colorado Rockies, leaving after four innings with shoulder discomfort. Two comeback attempts and shoulder surgeries later, he's throwing in the towel. "I was at the top of my game, at the top of the game and then it was just suddenly over," Webb said. Baseball writer Rob Neyer says Webb threw "one of the most devastating sinking fastballs that anyone has ever seen."
Fake-to-Third, Throw-to-First Now a Balk: Major League Baseball has changed the rules to make it a balk when a pitcher fakes a pickoff throw to third base and then throws to first. The players association rejected the change last year but baseball owners voted to overrule them. Umpire Ted Barrett said in his 18 years of officiating the majors he's only seen it work once. The runner caught off base said to him, "Have you ever seen that work on anybody -- except me?"
Dodgers Infielder Caught After Police Chase: Los Angeles Dodgers infielder Justin Sellers was arrested for reckless motorcycle driving and evading police after a chase in Sacramento, Calif., Saturday, and police say it's not the first time he fled them. He's been riding an off-road motorcycle dangerously in a neighborhood, callers told police. "There's probably been three other times that we've chased him," said Tod Sockman of West Sacramento police. They boxed him in with a perimeter before he gave up.
Here stands baseball's perfect warrior. Here stands baseball's perfect knight.:
Stan "The Man" Musial passes away at age 92.
'I Was a Target for a Catfisher': "She eventually told me her name; Hope Porter, a blonde from Texas. Born and raised in Austin and went to the University of Texas. She brought up the College World Series, and how she had seen me pitch. Another stroke to the ego. She was playing it perfectly. Drawing me in. She sent me some pictures that day. No, guys, not nudes." Los Angeles Angels prospect Michael Roth explains how he was romantically pursued by a hoaxster (which is called catfishing).
Nobody Voted into Baseball Hall of Fame: For the first time since 1996, the Baseball Hall of Fame voted in no new members. The closest to the 75 percent vote threshold required for induction was Craig Biggio, who had 3,060 hits for the Houston Astros and received 68 percent. Steroid users Roger Clemens (37.6 percent), Barry Bonds (36.2 percent) and Sammy Sosa (12.5 percent) weren't even close. Other notable first-time candidates who fell short were Mike Piazza (57.8 percent) and Curt Schilling (38.8 percent). The only player to be inducted July 26 in Cooperstown, N.Y., is veterans committee honoree Deacon White, a catcher who played for eight teams over 20 seasons, winning batting titles in 1875 and 1877 and winning the 1887 "world's series" with the Detroit Wolverines.
Hanrahan and Holt for Melancon, Pimentel, De Jesus and Sands: The Boston Red Sox have acquired closer Joel Hanrahan and second baseman Brock Holt from the Pittsburgh Pirates for outfielders Mark Melancon and Stolmy Pimentel and infielders Ivan De Jesus and Jerry Sands. Hanrahan, 31, closed 76 games the past two seasons and is a two-time All Star.
An Oral History of Fire Joe Morgan: The three authors of late, lamented sports blog Fire Joe Morgan share how FJM came to be, a behind the scenes look at their heyday and why they chose to call it quits in 2008. Part 2, Part 3.
(FJM previously on sportsfilter)
Posnanski Expects Big Decline for Pujols, Hamilton: Joe Posnanski predicts that the Angels' Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton will contribute less offensively over the next five years than the Royals' Eric Hosmer and Salvador Perez. "Josh Hamilton, as mentioned, will turn 32 years old in May. ... Pujols, as mentioned, will turn 33 in January," he writes. "Players of those ages of 32 and 33, more often than not, are in full decline mode, some frighteningly so. "
Yankees Hit with $18.9 Million Luxury Tax: The New York Yankees have been assessed an $18.9 million luxury tax by Major League Baseball. The team had a $222.5 million payroll, exceeding the $178 million threshold for the tax. This is the 10th consecutive year they've been hit with the penalty. The Red Sox, Angels and Phillies all were slightly below the threshold. Next year, the Los Angeles Dodgers may be paying the tax. The team is currently at $207.9 million for 21 signed players.
Zack Greinke Signs with Dodgers: Pitcher Zack Greinke signed a six-year, $147 million deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers Monday. Team co-owner Magic Johnson shared the news to his Twitter followers, calling Greinke "the best pitcher on the free agent market!" Greinke, 29, was 15-5 last season with the Milwaukee Brewers and Los Angeles Angels. The Dodgers signed South Korean left-hander Ryu Hyun-jin Sunday and have a 2013 payroll topping $225 million, a Major League Baseball record.
Royals Acquire Shields, Deal Myers to Rays: The Kansas City Royals, believing they can contend this coming season in the AL Central, traded top prospects Wil Myers and Jake Odorizzi along with two other players for pitchers James Shields and Wade Davis. Jeff Passan writes that although the Royals have the best young lineup in the Majors, "without better pitching, the Royals weren't winning the American League Central, let alone a World Series."
Passan: Rangers Should Keep Josh Hamilton: Despite the acrimony between them last season, the Texas Rangers and Josh Hamilton should reconcile with a new multi-year deal, argues Jeff Passan. "Texas is where he belongs, even if Rangers fans booed him off the field during the final game of the 2012 season," he writes. "As immaterial as Hamilton wants teams to believe his drug and alcohol addictions are -- while he has fallen off the wagon in recent years, the episodes have not affected his play -- teams are scared if they give five years or more to a recovered junkie something awful is going to happen."
A-Rod Needs Hip Surgery: Alex Rodriguez will have surgery in January to repair a torn labrum, bone impingement and cyst in his left hip, a procedure that will require four to six months of rehab time. He's 37 and had surgery on the other hip in 2009, but specialists believe he can make a full recovery. Among the options at third base for the Yankees are Chone Figgins, Mark DeRosa and Eric Chavez.
Could the Yankees Be Sold?: Rupert Murdoch's News Corp is acquiring 49 percent of the YES Network, the broadcaster of the New York Yankees. Most of the stake is coming from Goldman Sachs, which owned 40 percent, but some may come from the Yankees' own 34 percent share. Murdoch reportedly will have the right to increase his share to 80 percent within five years. "Can you imagine The Boss allowing someone else, anyone else, to have control over an entity that he valued as much as the Yankees?" asks Wallace Matthews. "[H]istory shows that once [Murdoch] gets his foot in the door, he winds up owning the place. ... And from there, how much of a stretch is it to imagine Murdoch, or his family, seeking to own the team as well?"
The Statistical Case Against Miguel Cabrera for MVP: With no more election to forecast, FiveThirtyEight's Nate Silver turns his attention back to baseball, suggesting that the numbers favor Mike Trout over Miguel Cabrera as the AL MVP. "Perhaps 10 or 20 years ago, when evaluations of base running, defense and clutch hitting were murkier, stat geeks would have argued that Cabrera deserved the M.V.P. on the basis of the hard evidence," Silver writes. "Now that some of the 'intangibles' have become measurable, we know that Trout did more of the little things to help his team win.
R.A. Dickey First Knuckleballer to Win Cy Young: New York Mets pitcher R.A. Dickey, who went 20-6 with a 2.73 ERA, has become the first knuckleballer to win the Cy Young. The 37-year-old is a remarkable success story. In 1996, Dickey was a hard-throwing first-round draft pick of the Texas Rangers about to sign a $800,000 contract when a team doctor saw Dickey on a Baseball America cover and thought he was holding his arm awkwardly. A physical revealed that his arm lacked a ulnar collateral ligament (UCL). He signed for one-tenth that amount and was expected to have a short career due to arm trouble. "Imagine winning the lottery and then losing the ticket," Dickey said. He stuck around by throwing a forkball he called "the thing" that eventually morphed into a knuckler. "To surrender to being a new person and a new pitcher is tough. You kind of feel like the leper of the colony, a circus act."
The Miami Marlins fire-sale continues.: In a multi-player deal, the Toronto Blue Jays have landed three former All-Stars from the flailing fish - Pitchers Mark Buerhle and Josh Johnson and shortstop Jose Reyes. In exchange, the Marlins receive pitcher Henderson Alvarez and shortstops Yunel Escobar and Adeiny Hechavarria.
Darvish Won't Play in Baseball Classic: Texas Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish will not play for Japan in the World Baseball Classic next year. "After much deliberation, which has included a lot of consultation with my coaches and trainers, I have decided that I will not play," he said. "This was a very difficult decision for me as it is always a tremendous honor to represent my native country of Japan."
The New Baseball Offseason System:
Fangraphs explains the new world of qualifying offers, average salaries, and what is going to happen in the next week or so.
Giants Sweep Tigers to Win World Series: Marco Scutaro knocked in the winning run with two outs in the 10th giving the Giants a 4-3 win and their second championship in three years. Pablo Sandoval was voted World Series MVP.
Sandoval Hits 3 Homers as Giants Take Game 1: Pablo Sandoval hit three home runs, two against Justin Verlander and one off Al Alburquerque, to lead the San Francisco Giants to a 8-3 victory over the Detroit Tigers in game 1 of the World Series. Sandoval joins Babe Ruth, Reggie Jackson and Albert Pujols as the only players to hit three in a Series game. Verlander allowed five runs and six hits in four innings, his shortest start all season.
Dodgers to Play 2014 Season Opener in Sydney: according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
Marlins Fire Guillen After Only One Season: Just weeks after a season that began in controversy and ended in baseball misery for the Miami Marlins, the team fired Manager Ozzie Guillen on Tuesday. Guillen’s fate was about the only open question left after the Marlins finished 69-93, last in the National League East, after having gone on a spending spree last off-season that included signing Guillen to a four-year, $10 million contract and Jose Reyes, the 2011 National League batting champion, to a six-year, $106 million contract.