Mark Townsend

  • Torii Hunter attempts straight steal of home, kills Twins rally

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 1 day ago

    Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City is known for its fountains in the outfield, but clearly the Fountain of Youth is nowhere within its confines.

    We know as much, because despite Torii Hunter's most aggressive efforts to relive his younger, more athletic days during Wednesday's Twins-Royals tilt, his efforts were met with disappointment and despair.

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    With the bases loaded and two outs in the second inning, Hunter thought he might catch Royals pitcher Jeremy Guthrie off guard by charging down the third-base line with an attempted straight steal of home plate.

    At the time, the thought process was honestly quite puzzling. 

    Torii Hunter has stolen home once before - 5/4/02 vs. Detroit. #MNTwins

    As we learned after the game, it was actually entirely strategic based on observations he'd made about Guthrie.

    He even got the nod of approval from manager Paul Moiltor.

    And that's the real issue here. The timing.

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  • Giants benefit from non-interference call to upend Dodgers

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 1 day ago

    Take a look around the league with Big League Stew's daily wrap up. We'll hit on all of the biggest moments from the day that you may have missed, while providing highlights, photos and interesting stats.

    A battle that started with Clayton Kershaw and Madison Bumgarner on the mound was ultimately decided in the ninth inning following a non-interference call involving San Francisco Giants third-base coach Roberto Kelly.

    With the game tied, runners on first and second and one out, Brandon Belt lined a single to left that for a moment seemed to be leading to a game-deciding play at home plate. That's because, for a moment Kelly was waving home pinch-runner Gregor Blanco with all his might, but then as Blanco neared third base he changed his mind and put up the stop sign while positioning himself close to the bag.

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    The non-call was obviously the talk in both clubhouses after the game, and based on comments from Mattingly it may not be the last we hear of this play.

    Stay tuned, folks. . 

  • Juan Lagares channels Willie Mays as Mets extend winning streak to 10

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 1 day ago

    How well are things going for the New York Mets right now?

    All one needs to do to find the answer is watch the incredible catch made by center fielder Juan Lagares during Wednesday night's 3-2 victory against the Atlanta Braves, which extended New York's winning to streak to 10.

    It happened on a seventh-inning rocket off the bat of Atlanta's Jace Peterson. Lagares got twisted around a bit in his pursuit, which under the circumstances is excusable. As they always say, the hardest ball to judge is the line drive right at you, and this truly was a missile that ended up with more slice than Lagares anticipated.

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    Not that it was any problem for Lagares. As he continued tracking the baseball, he showed incredible athleticism to not only keep up with the fast-traveling baseball, but to contort his body on the run to make an awkward yet exceptional over-the-shoulder catch. 

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  • Yankees and Tigers play through snow, and David Price struggled mightily

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 1 day ago

    If you live in the upper midwest and parts of the northeast,  then you're well aware that Wednesday was a miserable day weather wise. Perhaps not necessarily miserable by winter weather standards, but April 22 and baseball standards it was actually something beyond miserable.

    You probably won't get an argument from too many New York Yankees or Detroit Tigers in particular. After playing through the cold, wind and some occasional rain on Monday and Tuesday night, they were subjected to the s-word on Wednesday at Comerica Park.

    I'll spell it out for you but refuse to actually say it: S-N-O-W.

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    This was the scene in the first inning. 

    Though it can't entirely be blamed on the cold and wet conditions, Tigers' left-hander David Price looked the least comfortable of everybody on the field. The former Cy Young Award winner required 51 pitches just to record the first three outs, and along the way allowed six runs on five hits, two walks and one hit batter.

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  • Bernie Williams to formally retire with Yankees, nine years after final game

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 2 days ago

    Nobody likes filling out paperwork, though it appears no one likes it less than former New York Yankees outfielder Bernie Williams.

    Nine years after making his final major-league appearance, Williams, now 46, has finally requested his retirement papers and is scheduled to put pen-to-paper on Friday. 

    In fact, according to a Yankees announcement on Wednesday, Williams will formally announce his retirement and hold a press conference with general manager Brian Cashman and assistant general manager Jean Afterman at Yankee Stadium prior to the Yankees hosting the New York Mets. 

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    .@bw51official will formally sign his retirement papers at a press conference on Friday at Yankee Stadium. pic.twitter.com/kX7KAXjlTZ

    It's noted that as part of Friday's festivities, the Yankees will unveil a logo related to those events on the field.

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  • Jose Bautista out with shoulder injury aggravated by ill-advised throw

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 2 days ago

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    Amidst the drama on Tuesday night between Toronto Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista and a slew of Baltimore Orioles, most notably pitcher Jason Garcia and outfielder Adam Jones, came an aggressive and seemingly unnecessary decision on Bautista's part which could prove costly for Toronto.

    Fortunately, it did not involve any physicality between the two teams. Unfortunately, at least for the Blue Jays, Bautista's pre-existing shoulder injury was aggravated on an aggressive but ill-advised throw that was clearly fueled by his anger.  

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    To set up the scene: After Bautista responded to a Garcia fastball that sailed behind his back by launching a monster home run, Bautista sauntered around the bases, exchanging words with first baseman Steve Pearce and second baseman Ryan Flaherty. Following the inning, that escalated into an exchange of words with Adam Jones, who reportedly called Bautista's actions bush league.  

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  • Jon Lester tosses entire glove to first base to record an out

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 5 days ago

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    Yasiel Puig has the bat flip. Bryce Harper has the hair flip. And now Chicago Cubs left-hander Jon Lester has the "baseball's stuck in the webbing, so here comes the whole glove" flip.

    During Sunday's afternoon game at Wrigley Field, Lester was forced to get creative when Clint Barmes' ground ball got wedged in the webbing of his glove. Rather than panic, though, Lester jogged several steps toward first base before tossing his entire glove to first baseman Anthony Rizzo.

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    It's a play that's happened a few times before in baseball, but it never gets old watching the process unfold. There's that moment when the fielder, usually a pitcher, first realizes his predicament. There's the quick dash toward first base. Then there's the flip itself, which always looks like a disaster waiting to happen but never is.

    It's also quite interesting and a bit fitting that Lester was involved in a play such as this.

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  • Kris Bryant takes bus ride with billy goat in new Red Bull ad

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 5 days ago

    Hats off to the marketing team at Red Bull for being armed and ready with this gem of an ad featuring Chicago Cubs phenom Kris Bryant.

    The ad humorously depicts Bryant's time "down on the farm" in Iowa and the anticipation in Chicago for his major-league debut, which took place this past Friday at Wrigley Field.

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    Red Bull went all out with the Iowa stereotypes, showing Bryant milling around a real farm and hitting baseballs into a cornfield a la the baseball classic "Field of Dreams." At one point, Bryant even attempts to milk an obviously uncooperative cow.

    Overall, though, the three-minue ad, which could also be described as a mini-mockumentary, was a home run. 

    Especially with the guest appearances from lifelong Cub fan and Smashing Pumpkins' front man Billy Corgan, former Cubs player Ron Cey, legendary Chicago Bears coach Mike Ditka, and current Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah.

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  • Minor league teams honoring Jerry Tarkanian with special uniforms

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 5 days ago

    A pair of minor league baseball teams will tip their cap to legendary college basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian this afternoon in Las Vegas.

    The Las Vegas 51s and Fresno Grizzlies — Triple-A affiliates of the New York Mets and Houston Astros respectively — will both wear special "Tark the Shark" custom jerseys, which will honor Tarkanian's legacy in both cities.

    Sunday noon at Cashman Field #LasVegas. @LasVegas51s and Fresno to wear special Tark uniforms. #unlvmbb #unlv pic.twitter.com/6RWtzWlSCE

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    It's also fitting that they're going with the Fresno State Bulldog-inspired look.

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  • Another baseball finds a beer cup, another fan chugs away

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 5 days ago

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    How's this for an oddity that could only happen in baseball?

    In one calendar day, we witnessed two instances of a baseball landing in a loaded beer cup at a major league ballpark, and on both occasions the fan ended up chugging down what remained of their beer without removing the baseball.

    We already reported on the Cubs' fan who actually caught Yonder Alonso's foul ball in her cup on the fly from her upper deck seat at Wrigley Field. Just hours later at AT&T Park in San Francisco, a Giants' fans had similar luck — or misfortune, depending on how much you value your beer — although the circumstances leading up were entirely different.

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