Mark Townsend

  • Three ways the Yankees can improve during A-Rod's absence

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 9 hrs ago

    It's difficult to put a positive spin on anything that's going on with the New York Yankees right now. Wednesday's 7-0 win in Baltimore aside, they have looked like a complete disaster through the first 25 games of the season, and they have few reasons for optimism on the horizon. 

    The Yankees have looked old. They've looked slow. And now comes word they will be without Alex Rodriguez for at least the next two weeks as he deals with a hamstring injury. 

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    If others were producing at their expected levels, you could certainly live with A-Rod's current numbers while hoping for more down the road. But others aren't producing, and now that he's out manager Joe Girardi has to figure out where his last-place Yankees will get some production. 

  • Gerrit Cole may have had too much fun at the Penguins game

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 10 hrs ago

    Pittsburgh Pirates ace Gerrit Cole hasn't had the best week at work. After taking the loss in Monday's series opener against the Chicago Cubs, he watched his squad get swept in dominant fashion.  

    That's not good. However, like all people who find happiness in life, Cole was able to leave his work troubles behind and enjoyed a fun night of hockey with his fellow Pittsburgh Penguins fans. 

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    As you can see, Cole was front and center at the Consol Energy Center sporting his Sidney Crosby jersey for Game 4 of the Penguins' series against the Washington Capitals on Wednesday night.

    Based on all of the photos and videos that were taken, it seems he had a really good time.

    In fact, he may have had too much fun getting in on booing and heckling Washington's players, because at one point an usher had to calm him down. 

  • The Walk Off: Cubs continue crushing every team in their path

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 11 hrs ago

    Everyone knew the Chicago Cubs were going to be very good this season. That's why way more pundits than usual were in agreement when predicting a World Series champion, with 44-percent actually picking the Cubs to win it all. That's also why Las Vegas continues making the Cubs the odds on favorite to end their historic championship drought.

    As we've learned over the years, sometimes expectations don't match results. But in the case of the Cubs, the results are somehow surpassing the expectations. On Wednesday, they became the first team in MLB to reach 20 wins when they defeated the Pirates 6-2. The victory also completed a three-game sweep at PNC Park and ran their division lead to a league-best six games

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  • Fan takes opportunistic selfie with player who fell into stands

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 12 hrs ago

    On Tuesday night, a Cleveland Indians fan took perhaps the coolest selfie you'll ever see thanks to the Progressive Field videoboard. Now, just one day later, a fan at Marlins Park in Miami has taken perhaps the most opportunistic selfie you'll see after capturing a quick photo with Arizona Diamondbacks right fielder Brandon Drury. 

    [Related: Indians fan takes the coolest ballpark selfie you've ever seen]

    The unexpected photo op took place in the fifth inning when Miami's Martin Prado hit a pop up into shallow right field that drifted toward the stands. Drury, who was positioned near the line, had plenty of time to race over and make the play. However, he also ended up tumbling over the railing into the stands.

    It was a very nice play, but it was quickly overshadowed by a quick-thinking fan named Blake, who took out his camera and made the scene into a selfie.

    We know he's named Blake, because he already had those selfies posted to his Twitter feed before the Marlins wrapped up their 4-3 victory.  

  • Have Braves identified replacement for manager they haven't fired?

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 13 hrs ago

    As we noted last week, Atlanta Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez sits high on the list of skippers who are at risk of being fired during or immediately following the 2016 season.

    With the Braves rebuilding ahead of their move to SunTrust Park, there's really no question they'll be going a different direction at Gonzalez's position. And with the team predictably struggling out of the gate (7-20), it's a matter of when, not if, that decision is made.

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    It's an awkward position for Gonzalez to be in. He's essentially a lame-duck manager overseeing an operation that isn't focused on the job he's doing. Along those same lines, it can't be easy to show up day after day not knowing whether it will be the last.

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  • Curt Schilling wants to charge fans to watch baseball with him

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 14 hrs ago

    Have you ever wanted to watch a baseball game with Curt Schilling? 

    If the answer is yes, it sounds like your opportunity is coming very soon. Just be warned that it may cost you some of your hard-earned money. 

    With Schilling drawing little interest from other television networks following his firing from ESPN, it appears he's looking to go into business for himself. What that entailed exactly was a little fuzzy at first, but Schilling started spilling some of the details on social media on Wednesday.

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    What's clear is Schilling is hoping to watch games along with fans through the Periscope streaming video service. Essentially, Schilling would watch the game on his television and provide alternate commentary and analysis while his viewers watch both the game and his Periscope feed.

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  • Andrew McCutchen calls for official scorer to be fired after error

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 16 hrs ago

    [Related: Jon Lester's relationship with first base is still complicated]

    As the game went along, their frustration became increasingly impossible to mask. We saw it in their body language, especially so when Sean Rodriguez engaged in a stare down with Chicago's Pedro Strop following a "quick pitch." And it came through in the voice of Andrew McCutchen, who after the game took aim at the official scorer for charging him with a questionable error. 

    #Pirates McCutchen on dropped fly: "Whoever scored that an error should be fired. That's unbelievable. I did everything I could to catch it"

    The error in question came on a sinking line drive off the bat of Anthony Rizzo. It was one those plays every outfielder will tell you they hate. The baseball is coming fast, it's knuckling a bit and that makes it difficult to read. In McCutchen's case, he seemed to have the read down, but lost his footing and ended up dropping the ball. 

  • Four reasons why the Astros were terrible in April

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 3 days ago

    This isn't how things were supposed to go for the Houston Astros.

    After soaring back into relevance with 86 wins and a postseason berth last season, they were supposed to continue building momentum with a roster built around superstars like Carlos Correa, George Springer and Dallas Keuchel.

    [Elsewhere: A-Rod gives home run bat to young Red Sox fan who lost his father]

    Instead, they've stumbled out of the gate looking like a team without an identity.

    Granted, they haven't played as poorly as those rebuilding Astros teams that lost 324 games between 2011-2013, but the results have been miserable. With Saturday's 2-0 loss to the Oakland A's, Houston concluded April with a 7-17 record. That's tied for the worst mark in the American League along with another disappointing team, the Minnesota Twins. Houston actually has a worse run differential at -33, and the 123 runs they've allowed are the worst in the AL.

  • Vin Scully researched beards and his lecture was brilliant

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 3 days ago

    He's like a rookie going above and beyond to prove he belongs. In every broadcast, Scully has provided at least one memorable story or history lesson that had people talking the following day. That trend continued on Saturday as the Dodgers hosted the San Diego Padres.

    [Elsewhere: Zac Curtis wears the face of shock after call up from A ball]

    On this occasion, Scully had a very special topic in mind: Beards!

    Scully gleefully announced during the second inning that he'd been doing his research on the history of beards. His inspiration? We imagine it was the Justin Turner Chia Pet giveaway at Dodger Stadium. Though it could have been Derek Norris' outrageous beard, or Andrew Cashner's. After all, he spent some serious airtime on Cashner's beard last season.

    We learned a lot, too.

    Here's another gem.

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  • Brandon Phillips goes behind-the-back, celebrates by dabbing

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 3 days ago

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    As long as smooth is still a word, then Brandon Phillips will be the definition. The Cincinnati Reds second baseman has always carried himself with that special brand of confidence that makes everything he does look intentional, and definitely smooth.

    It's a gift that Phillips has shared throughout his entire 15-year career, and he put it on display once again on Saturday night against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

    [Related: The Pirates lineup is deeper and more productive than you think]

    Starting off the sixth inning, Pittsburgh's John Jaso hit a soft ground ball seemingly into no man's land on the right side on the infield. It's that spot where the pitcher, first baseman and second baseman all have a shot at the ball depending on positioning, but there's so much confusion it rarely turns into an out.

    Brandon Phillips doesn't deal with confusion though. He just takes charge. In this case he recorded an out with one of his trademark gems that looked so smooth. 

    How smooth you ask?