Mark Townsend

  • Hot Stove Digest: Cubs, White Sox show interest in Rays starter

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 1 hr ago

    Welcome to The Stew's Hot Stove Digest, our daily rundown of MLB news, rumors and gossip for Hot Stove season. Here you'll find a recap of all the day's action and other fun stuff from around the Internet.

    INQUIRING: Up to ten teams have asked the Rays about acquiring one of their young starters. That list includes both the Cubs and White Sox. [CBS Chicago]

    OFFICIAL: Gavin Floyd's contract with the Blue Jays is a major-league deal worth $1 million. He can earn an additional $1 million in incentives. [@JonHeyman]

    WINNING: The players improved to 3-0 in arbitration cases after Toronto's Jesse Chavez was awarded a $4 million salary. [@SosnickCobbe]

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  • Broncos' tackle Ryan Harris had Joe Mauer's back in high school

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 3 hrs ago

    Denver Broncos' left tackle Ryan Harris will have a tough assignment during Super Bowl 50 on Sunday. He'll be charged with protecting the blindside of Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning against a ferocious Carolina Panthers' pass rush led by Jared Allen.

    But don't think Harris won't be up to the task. The 30-year-old veteran started all 16 games for the Broncos this past regular season, and has started 70 games overall during his nine-year career. He's experienced, he's savvy, and at 6-foot-5, 300 pounds, he's capable of swallowing up and pushing around defenders all afternoon long.

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    Don't think he's not familiar with the extra pressure that comes with protecting a legend, either. Harris was already doing that during his high school football days, when he was tasked with protecting a prized baseball prospect. That prospect's name was Joe Mauer, who we now know as the face of the Minnesota Twins franchise.

    Join the club on that one, Ryan.

  • Japanese team unveils outstanding plaid jerseys

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 6 hrs ago

    First of all, the team recently unveiled its new catchphrase "Happy and Good," which is simple, effective and undeniably awesome. But it's their new jerseys that will make everyone happy and are most certainly good marketing.

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    Observe and admire, if you so desire.

    These are real life jerseys the Orix Buffaloes will wear in real life games in 2016. pic.twitter.com/NPRkSYcz3L

    Your eyes do not deceive you. Those are, in fact, plaid, button up jerseys they are sporting. The jerseys will be worn in various games throughout the 2016 season, and apparently come in at least two colors.

    It should be noted that the Buffaloes' online shop shows the blue and pink jerseys and pink plaid towel that can be waved at games. Not a bad start, but we're hoping there's potential for several more colors to join them.

    As far as one-night promotions go, the Emeralds uniforms are pretty tough to beat. 

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  • Cam Newton can throw a fastball, but he'd rather not face one

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 8 hrs ago

    If you've watched Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton at any point during his phenomenal college and professional football career, you'd honestly believe he was fearless.

    His willingness to step up in the pocket as 300-pound linemen and hard-hitting linebackers bear down certainly gives that impression. His willingness to pull the ball down and run, knowing full well that all 11 defenders want to give him their best shot, is another sign of fearlessness. And let's be honest, his desire to get under an opponents' skin with his in-game celebrations and taunts is the greatest evidence that he's simply not afraid of the consequences.  

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    In fact, he's flat out daring the opponent to make him stop. 

    His fearless nature doesn't define him by any means. His elite talent and flamboyant personality are a big part of him too. But it surely completes him as the ultimate football package. It allows Cam Newton to command the game every time he's on the field.

  • Jake Arrieta gets record arbitration deal, extension next?

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 21 hrs ago

    The Chicago Cubs and defending NL CY Young award winner Jake Arrieta avoided arbitration late Friday night, agreeing to a $10.7 million salary for the 2016 season.

    The Associated Press first reported the agreement, also noting it to be the largest one-year contract for a second-time arbitration eligible pitcher, topping David Price's $10.1 million salary in 2013. 

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    The two sides were scheduled to hold what would have been a high-stakes arbitration hearing on Tuesday had they not reached this agreement. Arrieta filed at  $13 million, while the Cubs countered at $7.5 million.  The $5.5 million difference marked the largest gap among players who did not come to terms with their respective teams by the January deadline. 

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  • Pete Rose appears in ad for sports betting app

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 23 hrs ago

    In a local Las Vegas ad scheduled to air during Sunday's Super Bowl, Rose appears to help promote the William Hill mobile sports wagering app, which allows gamblers to place bets from a smart phone or tablet computer. That includes on baseball games, which is driven home at the end of the ad, and even while the games are still going on. 

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    Indeed, no reference to Rose's betting on baseball is left unsaid, which is pretty impressive for a 30-second spot. 

    Starring alongside former Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman, Rose sits in the dark quietly throughout most of the ad, but he does get to blurt out, "You sure this won't get me in any trouble?"

    Nah, you're good, Pete. The dead horse is dead. 

    To be honest, it's a clever, if not obvious decision to include Rose in such an ad from the William Hill side. Rose's history speaks for itself, and his presence will bring attention to the product ranging far beyond the target audience in Nevada. 

  • Hot Stove Digest: Juan Uribe might be too expensive for Giants

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 1 day ago

    Welcome to The Stew's Hot Stove Digest, our daily rundown of MLB news, rumors and gossip for Hot Stove season. Here you'll find a recap of all the day's action and other fun stuff from around the Internet.

    EXPENSIVE: The Giants have talked to Juan Uribe about a reserve role, but his current asking price is out of their range. [@Buster_ESPN]

    EXTENSION TALKS: The Blue Jays will explore extensions for sluggers Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion and Josh Donaldson. [ESPN]

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    SWEET LOU: The Reds have hired Lou Piniella to serve in a consulting capacity as a senior advisor. [@johnfayman]

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  • Smokeless tobacco could be banned at Yankee Stadium and Citi Field

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 1 day ago

    In October, California Gov. Jerry Brown took a huge step in the battle to eliminate smokeless tobacco from Major League Baseball by signing a bill that bans its use in each of the state's five major-league ballparks.

    That came on the heels of the Boston City Council voting unanimously to ban smokeless tobacco and other tobacco products at all professional and amateur sports venues, which included Fenway Park.

    Now New York seems prepared to follow suit after a similar bill was introduced Friday that would ultimately ban smokeless tobacco from public venues. 

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    Today I am introducing a bill to prohibit smokeless tobacco at #baseball stadiums & other ticketed sporting venues: https://t.co/LOrrB1MklP

    If passed, those who violate the law will be ejected from the stadium premises.

  • Binghamton Mets unveil very patriotic Independence Day jerseys

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 2 days ago

    If at first you don't succeed, try again. That's a very good mantra to live by in general, and it's a good mantra to live by in the world of business and marketing. With that said, credit the Binghamton Mets, a minor-league affiliate of the New York Mets, because they keep trying.

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    After announcing 'Netflix & Chill' Night earlier this week — and perhaps not completely understanding its ramifications — they have come back strong with perhaps the most patriotic promotion in professional sports. 

    Happy Independence Day, baseball fans.

    Your #BMets will sport patriotic jerseys on our Independence Day Weekend finale! Come see the double fireworks! pic.twitter.com/WYj20dmVjt

    But the real winner here: the jerseys.

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  • Blue Jays making long overdue switch to dirt infield this season

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 3 days ago

    It's finally happening. The Toronto Blue Jays will have a regulation dirt infield at Rogers Centre for the first time since the facility opened in 1989, and the change will be in place in time for their 2016 home opener on April 8.

    The Blue Jays made the announcement via their official Twitter account on Wednesday. The statement noted that the installation process will begin next Monday, Feb. 8, which will give them  70 days to complete the project.

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    We are pleased to announce that work will begin the week of Feb 8 to install a regulation dirt infield in time for the 2016 regular season

    This will be a standard dirt infield. The field will have dirt extending all around the basepaths, with the interior remaining turf as is until they make the switch to grass.

    It will look a little something like this. 

    [Elsewhere: How the free agency landscape changed 40 years ago today]