Mark Townsend

  • How to survive Thanksgiving as a baseball fan

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 9 hrs ago

    The meaning of Thanksgiving is self-explanatory. It's a day to celebrate all that we're thankful for in life, with the added perks of gathering with friends and family to share laughs, eat turkey sandwiches and watch wall-to-wall football coverage.

    All of that sounds really good. Unless, of course, you're a diehard baseball fan craving nachos, hot dogs, peanuts and, well, actual baseball, If that's you, Thanksgiving will do little to satisfy those cravings. Instead, as everyone around you breaks the ice with football talk and gathers around to watch the seemingly endless hours of Phil Simms commentary, you'll only be reminded how far removed we are from the World Series, and how far we still are from spring training.

    The reality is, dedicated fans of our national pastime are firmly entrenched in no man's land, and there's still no light at the end of the tunnel. It's all about getting through another day, and in this case there's no escape from football's powerful clutches. Unless you follow these few helpful tips, of course.

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    Offer to wash the dishes, walk the dog and babysit the children

    Ha, yeah right. Next.

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  • Braun 'feels great' after cryotherapy procedure on right thumb

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 20 hrs ago

    Your browser does not support iframes. Coming off an 82-win season that included an extended stay atop the NL Central standings, the Milwaukee Brewers feel like a team that's one, maybe two impact players away from really establishing themselves as threats in a rapidly improving division. Unfortunately, there's not a whole lot of wiggle room left on the team's budget, which will make it difficult to swing a major deal this offseason. But there may be a light at the end of the tunnel. A return to full health by All-Star Ryan Braun could be enough to offset what was clearly missing as 2014 slipped away. 

    It's early in the process, but the 31-year-old outfielder sounds optimistic that will be the case. Nearly two months after undergoing a cryotherapy procedure on his ailing right thumb, a procedure that involved injecting sub-zero temperatures into his thumb to freeze the damaged tissue, Braun says he's swinging the bat pain free and feels 100%.

    More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:

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  • Wrigley Field bleachers may not be ready for season opener

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 1 day ago

    Wrigley Field may not be ready for its close up after all when it hosts its first-ever night season-opener on April 5. According to Chicago Cubs President of Business Operations Crane Kenney, several different hurdles — some expected, some not — have caused delays in rebuilding the ballpark's bleachers, which could result in them not being open when the bright lights go on next spring.

    From the aptly named Bleacher Nation:

    That is not the expectation, but Kenney said there are contingency plans in place to accommodate season ticket holders within the rest of the stadium if they cannot sit in the bleachers by Opening Day. Kenney suggested that, if that happens, they will not sell single-game tickets in the bleachers for Opening Day (or however long they need to complete work).

    More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:

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  • Watch Yasmany Tomas show off cannon right arm

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 1 day ago

    One of the biggest free agent names available came off the board on Wednesday when Cuban outfielder Yasmany Tomas agreed to a six-year, $68.5 million deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

    It was a surprising deal in that Tomas was expected to but didn't surpass Rusney Castillo's record $72 million for a Cuban free agent, and also because Arizona was considered nothing more than a fringe contender right up until MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez reported the news

    It's an unpredictable business sometimes, but Tomas' upside has fascinated general managers, scouts and experts alike for months now. 

    First things first, we don't see the whole play, so we don't really know how it developed or if Tomas took a good route. But the catch itself was pretty solid. The quick recovery and hop to his feet was impressive too. And that throw? My goodness. The term "frozen rope" was born from throws like that.

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  • Diamondbacks land Cuban Yasmany Tomas on six-year, $68.5M deal

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 1 day ago

    The pursuit of free agent outfielder Yasmany Tomas took a quick and stunning turn on Wednesday. Expected to become the richest Cuban defector to date, with a $100 million contract seemingly within reason, Tomas agreed on a six-year, $68 million contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks, according to a report from MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez.

    Though he'll earn a higher yearly average, Tomas' deal falls short of Rusney Castillo‘s seven-year, $72.5 million deal with the Boston Red Sox, which ultimately topped deals signed by Yasiel Puig, Yoenis Cespedes and Jose Abreu. Castillo's deal was viewed by many as a starting point for Tomas in terms of total money, but apparently the market didn't develop as envisioned.

    In the other surprising twist, Arizona was only viewed as a periphery player at best in the Tomas sweepstakes as recently as Wednesday afternoon. New D-Backs general manager Dave Stewart discussed his interest with Zach Buchanan of the Arizona Republic earlier in the day, stating that no formal offer had been issued,  though both sides understood what the other was looking for. 

  • Lance Berkman returns to college, seeks degree in kinesiology

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 4 days ago

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    One year after hanging up his cleats for good, former six-time All-Star Lance Berkman is pursuing another personal milestone — completing his degree at Rice University.

    According to MLB.com's Alyson Footer, Berkman, who once joked his main focus during his initial stint at Rice was to stay eligible for the baseball team, is enrolled as a full-time student and hopes to graduate next summer with a degree in kinesiology. 

    His major isn't "eligibility", but rather, kinesiology, and his schedule is packed four days a week. He has classes Monday at 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.; Tuesdays from 8 a.m. until noon; Wednesdays from 1 p.m. until 2:15 p.m., and Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 9:15 a.m., 9:25-10:50 a.m. and 11 a.m. until noon.

    Our loss as viewing baseball fans will be the gain of others when Berkman settles into the next phase of his life.

    As for his current phase and how he's fitting in with that younger generation as a student.

    "It's fun," Berkman said of mingling with "the kids."

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  • Mo'ne Davis to release memoirs in March

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 4 days ago

    Taney Dragons star Mo'ne Davis was the best sports story of the summer after leading her team to the Little League World Series and becoming the first female to pitch a shutout at Williamsport. Now the 13-year-old with the rocket right arm is going to share her side in text as she prepares to write her memoirs. 

    "Mo’ne Davis: Remember My Name," is slated to be released in March, according to an Associated Press report. Davis, along with author Hilary Beard, intend to share the story of her rise to success in a sport dominated by boys and her experience in dealing with first the doubts, and later the fame that accompanied her efforts and accomplishments.

    The book will be published by HarperCollins Children’s Books. It will obviously be a story of inspiration and resilience, because those have been the backbone of her journey. It will also detail the hard work she's put in to develop her skills and the sacrifices she's made not only to play baseball, but to begin serving as a role model to girls and boys of all ages.

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  • Derek Jeter goes golfing with President Obama

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 4 days ago

    What's Derek Jeter doing with his free time now that he's retired from Major League Baseball?

    He's hitting the links with the leader of the free world, of course, because that's how Derek Jeter rolls.

    By the way, we're not talking about another retired Yankees' legend, Mariano Rivera, who would likely win the state of New York in a landslide if  he ever ran for office. We're talking about U.S. President Barack Obama.

    According to reports, Jeter and Obama made up half of a fearsome foursome that tore up the Shadow Creek course in North Las Vegas on Saturday afternoon. They were joined by Obama campaign supporter Stephen Cloobeck and Brian Greenspun, who is the chief executive officer of Greenspun Media Group, which owns the Las Vegas Sun newspaper.

    Reports also note that President Obama was originally scheduled to play 18 holes, but apparently was having a good time so he stuck around for another nine.

    We say give the Captain six months to a year and he'll already have that ground made up. And then some. 

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  • Marlins Man auctioning off jersey for Make-A-Wish Foundation

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 5 days ago

    Since rising from obscurity during the 2014 postseason, Laurence Leavy — aka Marlins Man — has become sports' version of "Where's Waldo?" With his customary bright orange Miami Marlins jacket and visor, Leavy tends to stand out from the crowd, especially when mixed in a sea of blue as he was at Kauffman Stadium during the World Series. 

    The random Miami Marlins fan is back, with the best seat in the house. pic.twitter.com/vfTr4DjmQ0

    As we've learned in the weeks since, Leavy is more than just a random Miami Marlins fan. In fact, he may actually be the biggest Marlins fan around, in addition to being an all around sports fanatic. In addition to the World Series, we've also seen him at local sporting events cheering on the Miami Heat, Miami Dolphins and the Florida State Seminoles football team.

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  • Pablo Sandoval favors Red Sox despite Padres higher bid — report

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 5 days ago

    Free-agent Pablo Sandoval is reportedly fielding offers from his top remaining suitors and could be set to make a final decision before Thanksgiving.

    According to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, a major league source indicates the Boston Red Sox turned in their offer on Friday, setting the numbers at five years, $95 million. To the best of everyone's knowledge, that was the highest bid on the table. At least until Saturday afternoon. 

    John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle is reporting the San Diego Padres have surprisingly topped Boston's offer, which would indicate they've surpassed $100 million. Still, Shea believes the offer would not be enough to sway Sandoval from going to Boston, who emerged as the strong favorite this week. 

    Also worth noting, Sandoval turned down San Francisco's $15.3 million qualifying offer. If he does sign elsewhere, the Giants will receive draft pick compensation. That's the good news for them. The better news for Sandoval, though, would be averaging at least $19 million a year.