Mark Townsend

  • David Ortiz wears Aly Raisman's Olympic medals during fun first pitch

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 1 hr ago

    It turns out baseball players are good for more than just throwing a baseball hard or hitting it far. They also serve as very good Olympic medal holders.

    Much like Bryce Harper did for Katie Ledecky during her first pitch this week at Nationals Park, David Ortiz was put in charge of holding and protecting the Olympic medals of decorated American gymnast Aly Raisman while she threw out the ceremonial first pitch Friday night at Fenway Park.

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    During the 2016 games in Rio, Raisman added one team gold and two individual silvers to her two golds and one bronze from the London games in 2012. That’s a lot of hardware to lug around. They make throwing a ceremonial first pitch nearly impossible. So Ortiz pulled double duty, acting as the catcher for Raisman’s first pitch while sporting her medals around his neck.

    That’s pretty awesome.

  • Minor leaguers turn flooded dugout into recreational lake

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 2 hrs ago

    If it seems like there’s never a dull moment in the minor leagues, that’s because there’s truly never a dull moment in the minor leagues.

    Even when Mother Nature unleashes her fury, minor league players find ways to turn a negative into a positive by making it something fun.

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    There’s no better example of that mindset and the creativity of said minor leaguers than the scene that played out Friday in Indianapolis.

    The Louisville Bats, the Triple-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds, were literally flooded out of the visitor’s dugout before their scheduled game against the Indianapolis Indians. But rather than heading for higher or ground or leaving the ballpark all together, they turned the dugout into a recreational lake by turning inter-tubes into boats and their bats into paddles.

    — Kevin Shackelford (@Shackeldaddy) August 26, 2016

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  • Carlos Ruiz leaves classy goodbye message in Phillies clubhouse

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 4 hrs ago

    In a surprising swap of respected veteran catchers, the Philadelphia Phillies sent Carlos Ruiz to the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for A.J. Ellis on Thursday.

    We say surprising, because it was a trade that literally no one saw coming. Both players were held in such high esteem by their now former teammates and seemingly by their former organizations that a straight-up deal would have been laughed off even if rumored.

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    There was no time for laughing though on Thursday. Not after the reality of the trade set in. There was only time for goodbyes, which were reportedly quick but emotional on both sides.

    In clubhouse.

    — Jim Salisbury (@JSalisburyCSN) August 26, 2016

    The note reads:


  • Albert Pujols, David Ortiz and Adrian Beltre reach remarkable milestones

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 1 day ago

    Welcome to The Walk Off, the nightly MLB recap from Big League Stew. Here we’ll look at the top performers of the night, show you a must-see highlight and rundown the scoreboard. First, we start with a game you need to know about.

    There were many notable moments on a wild Wednesday night around Major League Baseball. However, we’d say the three biggest belonged to three legends who at some point down the road will likely rent space in Cooperstown.

    Those men are Albert Pujols, David Ortiz and Adrian Beltre.

    In one night, all three reached a milestone worthy of its own headline. That they did it on the same night though seems pretty significant in its own right, so we’ll honor them together.

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    What a remarkable career he’s enjoyed.

    Speaking of great careers, David Ortiz reached yet another milestone on Wednesday.

    That brings us to Beltre.


    Yup, Gary Sanchez is 1st Yankee in franchise history with 9 HR in his first 21 career games.

  • Yankees startled by unexpected visitor in Safeco Field dugout

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 1 day ago

    The New York Yankees were going about their business in impressive fashion on Wednesday when an unexpected and unwelcomed visitor dropped into their dugout.


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    According to New York Daily News, a fan tumbled into the Yankees dugout during the eighth inning of their 5-0 win against the Mariners. Fortunately, the Yankees were in the field at the time of the incident. Otherwise there would have been a greater chance of the fan landing on and perhaps injuring a player or coach.

    Instead, it seems he only rung his own bell.

    From the Daily News story:

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  • Yu Darvish stuns Reds with history-making home run

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 2 days ago

    In one of the most shocking moments this season, Texas Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish did something that no other Japanese-born pitcher had ever done while wearing the uniform of an American League team.

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    In his second plate appearance of the game, which was only the 14th of his MLB career, the 30-year-old hurler launched his first career home run.

    #Rangers Yu Darvish is the first ever Japanese-born pitcher to homer for an American League team.

    — Ryan M. Spaeder (@theaceofspaeder) August 25, 2016

    That alone is pretty cool.

    There’s also this tidbit.

    #Rangers Yu Darvish is the first pitcher born in the eastern hemisphere to homer for an AL team since Moe Drabowsky on Aug 14, 1963.

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  • Gentleman Bryce Harper assists Katie Ledecky with Olympic medals

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 2 days ago

    Olympic swimmer Katie Ledecky proved she’s more than a one-sport star on Wednesday night at Nationals Park. Ledecky, who won four gold medals and one silver at the Rio Olympics, fired a perfect strike for the ceremonial first pitch before Washington’s game against the rival Baltimore Orioles.

    The Bethesda, Mary. native was also joined by Nationals superstar Bryce Harper, who accompanied her on the field and proudly held her Olympic medals while she brought the heat.

    Hilarious moment as Katie Ledecky throws out ceremonial 1st pitch. Removes all her medals 1st and hands them 1 at a time to Bryce Harper.

    — Roch Kubatko (@masnRoch) August 24, 2016

    Katie Ledecky asked Bryce Harper to hold her medals, then threw a strike. Multi-sport athlete.

    — Alex Putterman (@AlexPutterman) August 24, 2016

    1. Momentarily remove bling 2. Throw strike 3. Grab a pic with the gang

    We dare say they were even a little starstruck.

  • Billy Butler regrets role in clubhouse scuffle that gave him concussion

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 2 days ago

    A weird month for the Oakland A’s got even weirder last Friday in Chicago when Billy Butler and Danny Valencia were involved in a clubhouse scuffle over the latter’s cleat endorsement deal. The physical altercation resulted in Billy Butler sustaining a concussion, which landed him on MLB’s seven-day concussion list earlier this week.

    Speaking for the first time since the incident on Wednesday, Butler said he’s progressing well and hopes to return as soon as he possibly can. He also apologized for his role in the incident, stating that he regrets his actions and takes equal blame for escalating the situation.

    From the San Francisco Chronicle:

    “It was one of those things, we both had equal fault in this,” Butler said. “I definitely said some things you shouldn’t, I definitely stepped in an area you shouldn’t. That wasn’t my business.”

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  • Brett Gardner joins catch-of-the-year conversation with balancing act

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 5 days ago

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    Once a stalwart in the New York Yankees outfield, Brett Gardner may not have much of a future there with a youth movement underway. Don’t throw dirt on him either though. He’s not going to give his spot away that easily, which was evidenced by his sensational catch-of-the-year candidate on Saturday night.

    Gardner went above and beyond to rob Angels’ slugger C.J. Cron of a two-run homer, and then nearly crashed into the stands on his way down. Fortunately for him, he was able to balance his body atop the wall before falling forward back on to the field.

    Yes, this play actually happened. If you didn’t believe it the first time, perhaps you will the second time.

    #WOW moment of the night. ????????????

    — MLB GIFS (@MLBGIFs) August 21, 2016

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  • Blue Jays have good reason for sending Cy Young candidate to minors

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 5 days ago

    The Toronto Blue Jays turned a few heads Sunday morning when they elected to option Aaron Sanchez to the minor leagues. The 24-year-old right-hander has pitched like the team’s ace all season, posting a 12-2 mark with a 2.99 ERA and 132 strikeouts in 156 1/3 innings. He even earned an All-Star nod and is in the thick of a wide open Cy Young debate in the American League.

    So what gives?

    Two simple words: Workload and logistics.

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    The Blue Jays have been hinting all season at limiting Sanchez’s workload to keep from wearing him down this season and beyond. It’s a long-term thought process not unlike what the Washington Nationals did with Stephen Strasburg in 2012 despite being World Series contenders. Strasburg, of course, was coming off Tommy John surgery, but even then many questioned the decision.

    We wouldn’t exactly call it a vacation. But in no way is it a demotion.