Mark Townsend

  • Tropicana Field catwalks strike again, leave Kevin Kiermaier hanging on wall

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 40 mins ago

    If not for those pesky catwalks, baseball at Tropicana Field would be pretty much normal.

    Granted, the ballpark itself would still be slightly dull and not aesthetically pleasing, but the baseball would be normal. And that's all we can ask for.

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    About those catwalks, though. They definitely exist, and they aren't going anywhere any time soon, which means they'll continue wreaking havoc on Major League Baseball games.

    In fact, this week alone we've seen two notable instances of the catwalks interfering with play. On Thursday, they helped out the home team by robbing Minnesota's Miguel Sano of a monster home run. Sano's smash, which according to one estimate would have traveled 470 feet, struck a catwalk that's considered in play. The ball remained live, and Sano was only able to make it to second base. 

    Then this happened.

    Doink.

  • Blake Swihart's inside-the-park homer helps Red Sox stop streaking Mets

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 11 hrs 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.

    Citi Field wasn't home, sweet home, for the New York Mets on Friday night. After winning seven straight in Colorado and Philadelphia, the Mets returned home and fell 6-4 to the last-place Boston Red Sox.

    After having his last start skipped, Matt Harvey returned to toss six scoreless innings but was long gone when Boston's Blake Swihart raced around the bases for an inside-the-park home run leading off the 10th inning.

    Upon further review, Swihart's blast actually cleared the wall and should have been ruled a conventional home run on the field. It wasn't, but it didn't much matter as the ball bounced far enough away from center fielder Juan Lagares for Swihart to round the bases. Any way you score it, it's a home run, but we'll always acknowledge a catcher showing off his wheels. 

    Ortiz's homer was No. 493 for his marvelous career. He's now tied with Lou Gehrig and Fred McGriff for 27th place on the all-time home run list.

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  • Vin Scully will return for 67th season in Dodgers television booth

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 13 hrs ago

    Your browser does not support iframes.

    It's official. Vin Scully, arguably the greatest living broadcaster in baseball, sports or any other form of entertainment, will return to Dodgers television booth in 2016.

    With help from Los Angeles Lakers legend Magic Johnson and late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel, Scully's return was officially announced to the fans at Dodger Stadium during Friday's game against the Chicago Cubs.

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    An announcement was also made on social media, where baseball fans collectively rejoiced. 

    OFFICIAL: It'll be a very pleasant 2016. Vin Scully to return for his 67th season. pic.twitter.com/i2WrutItRO

    Scully, 87, will return for one more season — God willing, as Scully himself put in — with the door remaining open beyond the 2016 season. 

    Vin Scully will hold a press conference tomorrow. He never understands why that's necessary. He says it should be a line in the game notes.

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  • Nationals nix Jayson Werth bobblehead, were not satisfied with finished product

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 15 hrs ago

    If you have tickets to Sunday's Washington Nationals game and were specifically looking forward to the Jayson Werth bobblehead giveaway, we have disappointing news to share.

    The giveaway is, well, we'll go with postponed. The team was not satisfied with the final product delivered to them, so they've decided to shelve the item and try again later.

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    Here's the official statement from the team.

    As noted in the Nationals statement, the bobblehead was to commemorate Jayson Werth's walk-off home run in Game 4 of the 2012 NLDS. One could argue that was the most memorable moment of the Nationals first ten years in Washington. There's no doubt it's worthy of its own bobblehead as the team celebrates its 10th anniversary, and the Nationals obviously wanted it to be perfect.

    Perhaps we'll hear more, or perhaps we'll have to wait until the new bobbleheads are issued to figure out what the dissatisfaction stemmed from. 

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  • Fan suing Red Sox after suffering injuries from foul ball

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 17 hrs ago

    Fan safety has become a hot topic around baseball this season following a string of injuries stemming from foul balls and broken bats entering the stands. Expect it to become a topic with even greater urgency now that a fan is suing the Boston Red Sox over injuries suffered from a foul ball last season.

    According to the Washington Post, 46-year-old Stephanie Taubin is suing Red Sox owner John Henry after she was struck by a foul ball and suffered multiple head and facial injuries during a game on June 17, 2014.

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    In that case specifically, the Idaho Supreme Court ruled that Idaho lawmakers had not created such a rule and the team and stadium owners could not get blanket protection from liability by printing a disclaimer on a ticket stub.

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  • Addison Russell spins, starts 6-4-3 double play in blink of an eye

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 2 days ago

    The Chicago Cubs gave Starlin Castro every opportunity to get on track as their starting shortstop. That was, until two weeks ago, when they decided to turn the reins over to their shortstop of the future, Addison Russell.

    The decision to move both Russell to his more natural position has paid off quite well for Chicago on multiple levels. More comfort in the field has led to more confidence at the plate for the 21-year-old rookie. Over his last eight game, Russell is hitting .393/.414/.786 with a pair of home runs.

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    Russell is also clearly a better defender than Castro, and those defensive skills were on full display again in Wednesday's 4-2 loss to San Francisco.

    That was in real time, folks. The spin was seriously crazy, as was the quick release on the throw.

    Now that the Cubs have the athletically and defensively superior Russell playing his natural position, and now that Castro has proven capable at second, their infield defense is immediately upgraded.

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  • Washington Nationals, minor league teams honor Virginia shooting victims

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 2 days ago

    On Wednesday, television reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward were killed while filming a live segment for WDBJ-TV in Roanoke, Va.

    Vicki Gardner, an executive director for a local Chamber of Commerce, was also injured in the horrific and senseless attack. She's reportedly in stable condition after having emergency surgery.

    The news of the shooting sent shock waves all throughout the country, but it obviously hit home the hardest in and around Virginia. The grief extended all the way to Washington D.C., where the home standing Washington Nationals held a moment of silence before their game against the San Diego Padres.

    Another Moment of Silence at @Nationals Park. All so very sad pic.twitter.com/WP3HbpJIUP

    Great gesture by the @Nationals honoring the two #WDBJ shooting victims. pic.twitter.com/Mnn1NYs6Db

    A beautiful and bright gesture.

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  • Twin Magic: Minnesota stays hot, rolls over Rays for sixth straight victory

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 2 days 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.

    Look out, American League. The Minnesota Twins are charging hard and looking to snap their four-year postseason drought.

    After being swept by the Yankees in New York last week, the Twins have rattled off six straight road victories against AL wild-card contenders. It started with a dominant four-game sweep of the Baltimore Orioles over the weekend. It's continuing now at Tropicana Field, where they won for the second straight day, 5-3.

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    The Twins had to overcome one of the AL's most dominant pitchers, Chris Archer, in order to claim victory. Archer was coming off a one-hit, 11-strikeout shutout of the Houston Astros. Here, he struck out 12 over six-plus innings, but the Twins mixed in four runs on nine hits.

    SLUGGING METS WIN SIXTH STRAIGHT

    BLUE JAYS UPDATE: STILL RAKING

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  • Diamondbacks rallying around new mascot — a hamster named Slider

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 2 days ago

    Your browser does not support iframes. With all due respect to dogs everywhere on this National Dog Day, we must tip our cap to another furry, four-legged friend, the hamster.

    Last week in Cincinnati, the Arizona Diamondbacks adopted a praying mantis while at the Great American Ball Park and ended up sweeping the Reds to climb over the .500 mark. Now that they're back in Phoenix, they've brought in a more playful companion that can provide hours of entertainment, a hamster named Slider.

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    Hey, we all know rosters are set to expand in September anyway. The D-Backs are just getting a jump on the competition by adding their own form of reinforcements to the clubhouse.

    The Dbacks hamster on the roll https://t.co/0qJyJN1SFl

    Slider was in the Diamondbacks clubhouse on both Monday and Tuesday, rolling around in her green hamster ball as the Diamondbacks prepared for a big series against the St. Louis Cardinals.

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  • Justin Verlander loses bid for third career no-hitter by inches in ninth inning

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 2 days ago

    Just when we think Justin Verlander's magic might be fading, he amazes us again with another near historic outing.

    The 2011 American League Cy Young award winner and MVP literally came inches short of pitching his third career no-hitter in Wednesday's 5-0 victory over the Los Angeles Angels.

    Verlander was looking to become just the fourth pitcher in MLB history to throw three or more no-hitters. It's an exclusive club populated by only Hall of Famers — Nolan Ryan (seven), Sandy Koufax (four) and Bob Feller (three). Given the legacy Verlander is currently constructing, there's no reason to think he wouldn't have been the fourth Hall of Famer in that group.

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    But it just wasn't meant to be on Wednesday. Chris Iannetta led off the ninth inning with a rocket down the left-field line that hit right on the line and kicked up some chalk. It was fair by just inches. That's all that separated Verlander from history.

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