Mark Townsend

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

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 3 hrs 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.

    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 hrs 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. 

  • Curt Schilling's son brings fake grenade to Logan International Airport, bomb squad responds

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 8 hrs ago

    Former major league pitcher and current ESPN analyst Curt Schilling has been in the news a lot lately under mostly bizarre circumstances.

    Chalk up another one in that column on Saturday after one of Schilling's three sons inadvertently put Boston's Logan International Airport on edge after blurting out that he'd left a fake hand grenade in his bag while standing in a security line. 

    Schilling himself shared the story on his social media accounts Saturday morning. He says that after catching wind of the comment, airport officials immediately called upon security protocol to secure the scene and make sure a real threat wasn't playing out. That included a bomb squad being brought to the scene to check the bag and give clearance. 

    Meanwhile, Schilling and his family were taken to a private room where they had to explain just what exactly was going on. 

    Start your day with this. Going through airport security. Son says "DAD! I think I lefts fake grenade in my bag" Belt stops, 15m later.....

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  • Twins win bid on Korean pitcher Hyeon-jong Yang

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 10 hrs ago

    According to Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press, the Minnesota Twins have emerged victorius in the bidding for Korean left-hander Hyeon-jong Yang, who was posted by the Kia Tigers three weeks ago.

    There's no word yet on what the winning bid was. The Twins will now have 30 days to work out a contract agreement with Yang. Berardino indicates a deal could be close, but in the case it isn't finalized  he'll go back to Korea and won't be eligible to be posted again until Nov. 1, 2015. 

    Yang, who will turn 27 in March,  was named the inaugural winner of the Choi Dong-won Award in 2014, which was created as the  Korean equivalent to the Cy Young Award.  Yang earned the award by going 16-8 with a 4.25 ERA in 29 starts. He struck out 165 and walked 77 while throwing a career-high 171 1/3 innings .

    Here's a better look at Yang's repertoire from a start earlier this season. 

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  • UCLA honors Jackie Robinson, renames sports facilities in tribute

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 23 hrs ago

    On the 75th anniversary of Jackie Robinson's enrollment at UCLA, athletic director Dan Guerrero announced that the university's 22 athletic facilities will be renamed the Jackie Robinson Athletics and Recreation Complex, in lasting tribute to the man who broke baseball's color barrier.  

    The announcement was made at a special ceremony on Friday that celebrated the life and legacy of the four-sport standout.  Robinson played baseball, football and basketball and ran track at UCLA from 1939-41.

    Robinson’s No.42, will be placed in-ground at the entrance of each facility to remind students of his courage. That includes Pauley Pavilion, the John Wooden Center, and the J.D. Morgan Center, among others. UCLA's baseball stadium was already named after Robinson.

    From The Daily Bruin: 

    Rachel Robinson, Jackie’s wife, shares that love of UCLA. It was at the university where she first met Jackie Robinson and their life together began. She, too, was on hand to help with the unveiling. 

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  • White Sox reform 1-2 punch in signing Adam LaRoche to two-year, $25 million deal

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 1 day ago

    The Chicago White Sox stayed active in free agency on Friday, inking first baseman Adam LaRoche to a two-year, $25 million deal, according to a report from USA Today's Bob Nightengale

    LaRoche, 35, fills a couple of big needs that Sox general manager Rick Hahn was looking to address this winter. First and foremost, LaRoche brings left-handed power, having averaged 26 homers over his last three seasons with the Washington Nationals. His .256/.346/.458 batting line over that time frame  isn't eye-popping, but that would suffice as a complementary player to offensive centerpiece Jose Abreu.

    Abreu, of course, also factors into this deal in many ways. Not only does he have another proven run producer to help carry the offense, as a plus defender at first base, LaRoche also gives manager Robin Ventura options and opportunities to keep both guys fresh by limiting time in the field.  

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  • Red Sox prospect Cody Kukuk arrested and charged with robbery

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 2 days ago

    According to the Lawrence Journal-World, Boston Red Sox prospect Cody Kukuk was arrested in Long Beach Calif., on Wednesday on an outstanding warrant in connection with a home-invasion robbery that took place in Lawrence, Kansas on Nov. 8.

    Kukuk, 21, is a native of Lawrence. Another man, 20-year-old Gabriel Patterson, was also arrested in Long Beach in connection with the same robbery. Both men have been charged and will remain jailed without bail.

    Two other men, 21-year-old Zachary John Pence and 19-year-old Driskell Alan Johnson, were charged in the same robbery last week in Kansas.

    Here are a few more details from the Lawrence Journal-World report:

    Police alleged that the men entered the Arkansas Street apartment with handguns, battered residents and took their belongings, McKinley said last week.

    Court documents allege that cash, two cellphones, an Xbox 360 and the contents of a safe were taken during the incident.

    The Red Sox have yet to comment on Kukuk's latest arrest, but the details are obviously disturbing.

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  • Jordan Zimmermann gives Steven Souza gift card after no-hitter-saving catch

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 3 days ago

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    Washington Nationals right-hander Jordan Zimmermann made history on the final day of the regular season, pitching the first no-hitter in Expos/Nationals history since Dennis Martinez hurled a perfect game on July 28, 1991.

    In order to complete his feat, Zimmerman needed an extraordinary defensive effort from left fielder Steven Souza, who robbed Christian Yelich of sure extra bases with a full out diving grab as his momentum carried him away from home plate. It was, to put it mildly, one of the best defensive plays of the season. And with the added significance of preserving history, the catch was immediately vaulted to one of the most memorable regular season plays in recent history.

    It's certainly a play Zimmermann will never forget. Thinking his entire performance had gone for naught, he immediately put his head down after contact, only to react with the same amazement as the Nationals Park when Souza secured the baseball.

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  • Switch-pitcher Pat Venditte may finally get chance after signing with A's

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 3 days ago

    It wasn't a headline grabber like the signing of Billy Butler on Tuesday night, but the Oakland A's signing switch-pitcher Pat Venditte could prove to be one of the more interesting under-the-radar moves that takes places all winter. The A's added Venditte on a minor-league contract that includes an invitation to spring training,according to his agent Marc Klingman.

    For those who might not be familiar with Venditte's story, the 29-year-old is a true switch-pitcher capable of retiring professional hitters with his right or left arm. Like a switch-hitter, he determines which arm he's throwing with depending on who he's facing. In the instance he faces off against a switch-hitter, he has to declare which arm he's throwing with before the at-bat begins. That's to avoid a repeat of the comical moment in the video above from a minor league game in 2008.

    That rule has actually been dubbed the Pat Venditte rule. So if nothing else, he'll always have that distinction. 

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  • Hector Santiago accepts dare, surprises Terry Francona with kiss

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 3 days ago

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    The MLB All-Stars are in the home stretch of a nearly two-week tour in Japan. All that remains is one final exhibition game against Team Japan to be played early Thursday morning in Okinawa. After that game, the MLB All-Stars will board a plane to make the long flight back across the pond to the United States, and one can only assume assistant coach — and Cleveland Indians skipper — Terry Francona will be on high alert.

    That's because on the team's flight to Okinawa, Francona was the subject of a dare that Los Angeles Angels reliever Hector Santiago fearlessly accepted and carried out in front on his teammates.

    The mission: Kiss Terry Francona's bald head while he's catching a few zzz's and face the potential consequences.

    Here's the result, as captured and posted to Santiago's Instagram account.

    It's tremendous. All of it. It shows once again that there really is nothing better than team bonding on long baseball road trips.   

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