Mark Townsend

  • Jake Arrieta loses embarrassing College World Series bet

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 1 day ago

    You can take the boys out of college, but you can't take college out of the boys. 

    That's probably not a real saying, but that seems to be the best way to describe Chicago Cubs teammates Jake Arrieta and Tommy La Stella.

    The former college baseball standouts still have a lot of school pride, and that led to a body-altering bet as their alma maters met at the College World Series on Saturday night with a spot in the championship series on the line.

    Arrieta, a TCU alum, and La Stella, a Coastal Carolina alum, agreed to a tattoo bet, which simply means the loser has to get the tattoo of the other school's logo. 

    Unfortunately for Arrieta, he'll be the one getting some new ink. His Horned Frogs fell to the surprising Chanticleers, 7-5, meaning Coastal Carolina will play for the National Championship in their first-ever appearance at the College World Series. 

    It also means this creature will be renting space somewhere on Arrieta's body in the not so distant future.

    That's a good attitude. Especially for someone who's not used to losing. 

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  • Minor-league team completes wild comeback with unique walkoff

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 1 day ago

    Truth be told, it may have been the craziest finish in the now 11-year history of the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball.

    When you think of walkoffs, you think of dramatic home runs, bloop singles that split three defenders, walk-off walks even. Never though do you envision the winning run scoring on a strikeout.

    That's exactly what happened here. With the game tied and the winning run on third, Saints pinch-hitter Aaron Gretz swung and missed a 3-2 pitch in the dirt. The ball then went between the legs of catcher Carlton Tanabe, allowing the winning run to race home and Gretz to reach first base, where he was mobbed as if he'd gotten a hit.

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  • Astros and Royals battle in MLB Free Game of the Day

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 1 day ago

    After two dominant wins against the Kansas City Royals this weekend, the Astros have now won seven straight and are a season-best three games over .500. Granted, they're still nine games behind the division-leading Texas Rangers, but they're back in the thick of the wild-card race and the arrow is finally pointing up after spending 70 games under .500.

    It's a good place to be, and they'll look to continue their ascension in Sunday's series finale against Kansas City. That game will be featured as the MLB Free Game of the Day on Yahoo Sports. You can stream the game at Yahoo's Sports Home, MLB index and video homebeginning at 2:10 p.m. ET.

    Of course, all of the attention this weekend is on the offense. Rightfully so too. In their two wins against Kansas City, Houston has combined to score 26 runs. 

    But there's a solid core in place and enough talent around them to believe Houston can sustain success in the bullpen through the summer. 

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  • Jose Altuve literally fell 90 feet short of a cycle

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 1 day ago

    They're definitely hot, but it hasn't all been smooth sailing. There have been a few minor bumps in the road along the way. Unfortunately for Jose Altuve, one of those bumps rose up to trip him up on Saturday, costing him any chance to complete the cycle.

    True story.

    Altuve started his big night with a first-inning double. One inning later, he connected on a three-run homer, which gives him 13 for the season. In the fourth inning, he picked up a single. That left only the triple for Altuve to make history, which added some needed drama to a game that had been decided by the second inning.

    Here's the thing about cycles though. On average, there's probably one player who falls one hit shy of the cycle every single day in baseball. On Friday, Altuve's teammate George Springer was actually a double shy of the cycle. Regardless, the odds do not favor the hitter completing the cycle. The Astros, for example, only have eight in their history. But Altuve's situation felt different considering he still had at least two more at-bats to come.


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  • The Walk Off: White Sox lose despite record-tying homer barrage

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 1 day ago

    If you missed the MLB Free Game of the Day on Yahoo Sports on Saturday afternoon, you missed a wild one.

    The Toronto Blue Jays "outslugged" the Chicago White Sox by a final of 10-8. Though if you look at the stats closer, you'll actually find that Chicago did most of the slugging. 

    The White Sox actually tied a team record by hitting seven home runs. Unfortunately for them, all seven were of the solo variety, meaning they couldn't keep up with Toronto's more well-rounded attack.

    Chicago started its barrage in the most unusual manner. With two outs in the second inning, Brett Lawrie hit a long fly ball that bounced off the top of the wall and stayed in the park. There was some confusion on the field about whether or not it cleared the wall, but Lawrie removed all doubt by rounding the bases for an inside-the-park home run.




  • Crazy fan runs on field, nearly disrupts play at Safeco Field

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 1 day ago

    In what may be the weirdest moment we've seen all season, a fan not only ran on the field during the Mariners 5-4 win against the Cardinals at Safeco Field, he nearly disrupted a live play in the outfield.  

    For all the countless times a fan has run on the field during a baseball game, rarely, if ever, do we even see them on television, let alone getting this close to the live action.

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    This time though, the fan was literally ten feet from Mariners left fielder Seth Smith as he camped out under the fly ball. It's almost a shock to the system to watch it the first time because it's such an awkward and unexpected sight. Thankfully though, the fan kept on running and eventually ended up in handcuffs. That's the best possible outcome under the circumstances. 

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  • Joe Blanton gives up homer, hits finishing move on Gatorade jug

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 1 day ago

    From David Ortiz absolutely destroying a Camden Yards bullpen phone with his bat, to Carlos Zambrano dismantling a Gatorade cooler in a fit of rage, to Sean Rodriguez going all Mike Tyson's Punchout on a Gatorade jug cooler last October, these meltdowns are usually epic. But again, they're always one-sided. 

    To the play-by-play. 

    Joe Blanton: You wanna go? Gatorade cooler: Joe Blanton: <shove> <shove> Let's go! Gatorade (via @USCHANS)

    First, that was a total cheap shot.  I'm not even sure the jug heard the bell ring.  

  • Reds honor Pete Rose with induction into team Hall of Fame

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 2 days ago

    In doing so, the Reds actually bypassed their usual election process, which until Rose's selection had adhered to the rules and standards of the National Baseball Hall of Fame. That makes it an even more notable gesture on their part, as they obviously feel it's time to put Rose's past in the past and move forward with his on-field legacy being celebrated.  

    Of course, it's well known that Rose's path to enshrinement in Cooperstown remains blocked as he remains permanently ineligible for having bet on baseball. Rose had hoped new commissioner Rob Manfred would consider lifting his lifetime ban. Manfred ultimately denied Rose's request in December, citing that Rose had not taken full responsibility for his actions or proven that he'd changed his gambling habits.

    Pete Rose: Hit King, Legend, #Reds Hall of Famer.

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  • Minor league teams involved in wild brawl after purpose pitch

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 2 days ago

    That's where we turn right now, as this California League disagreement between the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes (Dodgers) and High Desert Mavericks (Rangers), went from dust up to fist-a-cuffs in under 30 seconds.

    According to the Los Angeles Times, the fight unfolded when Quakes reliever Luis De Paula hit Travis Demeritte with the first pitch of the sixth inning. A half-inning earlier, the Mavericks had also hit a batter, so this was taken as retaliation. 

    Adding more fuel to the fire is the fact that Demeritte leads the California League with 19 homers. That makes him an important player and prospect. He'd also hit a home run one inning earlier, so there were a lot of bad memories fresh in some player's minds and perhaps some bad intentions in other's minds.

    Whatever the case, it all boiled over.

    Here's more from the L.A. Times: 

    Boys will be boys. 

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  • How social media forced Mets' hand in calling up top prospect

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 2 days ago

    It's tough to keep a secret in today's technologically advanced world. All it takes is one click of a button to send information — true or false, good or bad — soaring into cyberspace, where it's there to be consumed and dissected by the entire world.

    The New York Mets were reminded of that reality on Saturday, and it actually forced them to change their plans surrounding top outfield prospect Brandon Nimmo. 

    While the baseball world awaited official news of Jose Reyes' return to the Mets, this tweet by a reporter in Nimmo's home state of Wyoming managed to capture some attention.

    Brandon Nimmo expected to start in LF for Mets at Atlanta tonight. #wyosports

    Typically when a notable prospect is nearing a call up there's a palpable buzz. That wasn't the case with Nimmo. Instead, this report basically came out of nowhere, which left fans puzzled.

    In fact, Nimmo wasn't even in Atlanta three hours before first pitch.