- Mark Townsend at Big League Stew1 hr ago
The "Big Game James" nickname is one James Shields earned well before he stepped on a major league mound, and according to legend actually had nothing to do with his pitching prowess. As the story goes, Shields was a big fan of the original "Big Game James," Los Angeles Lakers legend James Worthy, and since they shared the first name his high school friends basically stuck it on him, and somewhere along the line he just forgot to remove it.
Over 15 years later, the nickname is as firmly attached as it ever was. Only now, given the line of work he finds himself in, it's amplified and serves as the basis, fairly or unfairly, for how his performance is jjudged.
With the unquestioned biggest start of his professional career looming on Sunday night in San Francisco, the Kansas City Royals desperately need Shields to claim ownership of that moniker, if only for one night.Sun, Oct 265:07 PM PDTKansas City at San FranciscoPreview Game
- Mark Townsend at Big League Stew8 hrs ago
You're never too young to love baseball. Just ask five-year-old Kelsey Aciego of Raymore, Mo. She loves her American League champion Kansas City Royals so much, she can not only name every player on their roster, but she can match each player to his jersey number.
No problem. Kelsey's mom, Rebecca Aciego, recently posted a video showcasing her Royals love and knowledge.
With little to no hesitation even, she rattled off every Royal in less than two minutes.
That's very impressive, especially considering Josh Willingham only joined the team on Aug. 11 in a trade with the Minnesota Twins, and hasn't played a major role since coming over. She knows who he is. And of course she couldn't let mom forget Terrance Gore. Good old No. 0 may only have two career plate appearances to his credit, but he's starred as a pinch-runner in September and October, and Kelsey has taken notice.
- Mark Townsend at Big League Stew11 hrs ago
Attending a World Series game can be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for many fans, unless of course you are Marlins Man.
When that rare opportunity comes, it's one you don't want to let pass by if you can help it. In the case of Royals fans Stephanie and Jason Hetherington, that even meant tempting fate and attending Game 1 knowing the due date for their third child was a week away, and that the moment of truth could arrive at any time.
“Hopefully she stays in there long enough for us to enjoy the game,” was Stephanie's thought leading up to Tuesday's game at Kauffman Stadium.
Of course, the baby had other plans for the World Series, and they didn't involve sitting at the K for nine innings. As the couple gathered their pregame snacks, Stephanie realized that her water broke and the baby's estimated time of arrival had just dramatically changed.
- Mark Townsend at Big League Stew13 hrs ago
Despite the World Series scene shifting to San Francisco on Friday, the now famous Marlins Man, aka Laurence Leavy, was seated front and almost center for Game 3 at AT&T Park.
Leavy was a little more difficult to spot as his bright orange Miami Marlins jacket and Marlins visor blended in with the San Francisco Giants orange being worn by fans around him. Still, once he was spotted, that's where our attention went as we once again pondered how he was able to land those second row seats.
At least those were our thoughts in the early innings. As we panned those same seats in the eighth inning, we noticed that Marlins Man was missing from his spot, but another familiar face had taken his place. As we quickly figured out, that was Steven Powell of the U.S. Navy, who just moments earlier performed a stirring rendition of “God Bless America” despite audio issues at AT&T Park.
It was no accident that Powell ended up in that exact seat, of course. It was Leavy's to start, but he happily gave it up so Powell could enjoy the final two innings from behind home plate.
- Mark Townsend at Big League Stew22 hrs ago
The Detroit Tigers season ended earlier then they'd hoped and in very disappointing fashion after they were swept by the Baltimore Orioles in the ALDS. Now their offseason is getting off to a pretty rough start too after the team learned that Miguel Cabrera will not be able to resume baseball activities for at least three months following surgery on his right ankle.
Though resurgent in September, Cabrera wasn't his MVP caliber self for most of the second half of the season. His lack of production (three home runs and 16 RBIs from the All-Star break until Sept. 1) can be attributed in part to a bone spur in his right ankle, which was bothersome enough that manager Brad Ausmus considered giving Cabrera multiple days off in late August even after the team had fallen behind the Kansas City Royals in the standings.
The Tigers knew offseason surgery was a distinct possibility, but nobody was anticipating that in addition to the bone spur, doctors would find a stress fracture in the navicular bone on the top of his foot. Doctors were forced to place two screws in his foot to stabilize the fracture, which changed his offseason outlook significantly.
- Mark Townsend at Big League Stew23 hrs ago
Your browser does not support iframes. Baseball fans were simply stunned when MLB declined to honor or even mention Tony Gwynn during July's All-Star game broadcast on Fox.
It was nearly one month to the day after Gwynn died at age 54 following a long battle with salivary gland cancer, and it was almost expected that a few moments would be set aside to pay tribute to one of the game's purest hitters and one of its most respected ambassadors. A Hall of Famer in every sense both on and off the field.
Instead, Fox's cable sports network Fox Sports 1 aired a video tribute to Gwynn during its All-Star game pregame show, and that was that.
It was a nice video that would have sufficed, but airing it on the pre-game show didn't have the same impact as a moment-of-silence or the video airing during the game he starred in 15 times would have. Gwynn's exclusion from the broadcast felt strange, especially given the timing, and it left an empty feeling following an otherwise enjoyable game.
- Mark Townsend at Big League Stew1 day ago
The San Francisco Giants already possess a notable home-field advantage because of the unique layout at AT&T Park. For Game 3 of the World Series, it appeared the grounds crew was looking to give them an even greater advantage by watering down the infield to an almost excessive level in an attempt to slow down the Kansas City Royals' enormous speed advantage on the bases.
In the end, it would become more of an afterthought than an advantage after the Royals won the game 3-2 and grabbed a 2-1 series lead, but the overly saturated infield dirt was easily noticed and its effects were often discussed during the early innings.
Giants grounds crew spent entire October water allotment on the infield; I just saw a sea lion surface to Panik’s right
Pretty cool that McCovey Cove was relocated in about 400 feet for this game
Giants grounds crew trying to turn the dirt into mud to slow the Royals. Cain and Dyson still flying home to first in under 4.0 seconds.
The grounds crew here cleaning up the over-watered infield between innings. Sloppy track surely aimed at KC base-stealers.
- Mark Townsend at Big League Stew2 days ago
Your browser does not support iframes. Lost in the background of MLB's so far fascinating postseason is the experimentation going on down in the Arizona Fall League involving the league's proposed "pace of play" measures. In select games, we've even seen the first usage of a 20-second pitch clock, which is obviously designed to limit or eliminate any lollygagging and unnecessary posturing that routinely takes place between pitches.
As noted in the clip above, a pitch does not have to be released before the pitch clock expires. A pitcher coming set at the waist is good enough. From there though, the pitcher must either throw a pitch or make a pick-off attempt. Stepping off the mound after the clock hits zero results is considered a violation.
There were three violations in the first game which featured the clock, which will be used in 17 games total at Salt River Field during league play. Mark Appel, the Houston Astros No. 1 pick in the 2013 draft, committed two of those violations.
Your browser does not support iframes. The penalty for a clock violation is an automatic ball added to the batter's count.
- Mark Townsend at Big League Stew3 days ago
The Kansas City Royals 7-2 victory over the San Francisco Giants in World Series Game 2 didn't necessarily set up perfectly, but it did allow manager Ned Yost to unleash his trio of dominant late-inning relievers with the game hanging in the balance.
The main thing that didn't fit Yost's preferred script was having to call on his usual seventh-inning reliever, Kelvin Herrera, to record an additional two outs in the sixth inning. Herrera has done this before during the postseason, recording five outs in the AL wild-game card and six outs in their ALCS Game 1 victory over the Baltimore Orioles. It's something he's proven he can handle, and with a full week off in between outings, he was obviously well rested.
Make that extremely well rested. Herrera came right out of the bullpen firing nothing but heat. Eight 100-mph plus fastballs later, the Giants threat was over and many were left in amazement at Herrera's overpowering stuff.
That includes ESPN's Jayson Stark, who was moved to tweet the following.
- Mark Townsend at Big League Stew3 days ago
Just as World Series Game 2 got interesting on Wednesday night, Comcast customers who double as baseball fans in and around Washington D.C. were left in the dark about what was going on at Kauffman Stadium. The Kansas City Royals had already struck for three run in what would prove to be the difference-making sixth inning in their 7-2 win over the San Francisco Giants, but the biggest blow and first real incidence of drama was yet to come.
All those fans knew was that Omar Infante was about to step in against Giants rookie reliever Hunter Strickland, and the Royals were on the brink of breaking the game wide open with one swing.
Then this happened.
The most dramatic point this far in the World Series and DC cable goes to an emergency alert test pattern. pic.twitter.com/Jw2T472Fn0
This is only a test of the emergency broadcast alert system. It's just a really poorly timed one.