Mark Townsend

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

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 2 hrs ago

    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 3 hrs 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 hrs 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

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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 6 hrs ago

    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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    What followed was some volleyball action as the baseball deflected off the hands of a young fan presumed to be the target and directly into this gentlemen's adult beverage.

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  • Alex Torres earns first career save while wearing new protective headgear

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 16 hrs ago

    New York Mets reliever Alex Torres was a pioneer of sorts when he became the first pitcher in MLB to wear a form of protective headgear in a regular season game. That significant moment in baseball's journey to better protect its pitchers happened last June 21, when Torres was still pitching for the San Diego Padres.

    What's most notable here in 2015 is that the model Torres wore then is apparently already as outdated to him personally as the old Padres uniform in his closet, which seems to suggest a continued evolution and improvement with the product.

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    Did we mention bulked up?

    Old hat vs. new hat:

    "I love this game and this game is my life," Torres said before Saturday's game. "I need to take care of myself."

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  • Josh Donaldson's walk-off home run caps Blue Jays comeback victory

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 18 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.

    Lost in the drama in Boston and Kansas City this weekend has been the excellent series that's playing out in Toronto. On Friday, the Braves topped the Blue Jays by one run despite being outhomered five to two. On Saturday, the Braves used the long ball early to build a four-run lead, but the Blue Jays ultimately prevailed 6-5 in 10 innings

    Josh Donaldson, who was acquired from the Oakland A's in one of the offseason's more surprising trades, landed the decisive blow with a walkoff solo homer off Sugar Ray Marimón in the 10th. The home run was Donaldson's third in two games, and his 11th hit overall in five games. He's absolutely sizzling.

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  • Royal Retaliation: Yordano Ventura ejected after beaning Brett Lawrie

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 22 hrs ago

    The hostilities that developed between the Oakland A's and Kansas City Royals on Friday night spilled over into Saturday's rematch.  

    After serving up a two-run home run to Oakland's Josh Reddick, which capped an A's five-run fourth-inning rally, Kansas City right-hander Yordano Ventura drilled Brett Lawrie with a 99 mph fastball in apparent retaliation for Friday's aggressive slide that left Alcides Escobar injured.

    As a result of the beaning, Ventura was immediately ejected by home plate umpire Jim Joyce. It was actually very similar to a scenario that played out in Boston on Friday, when Ubaldo Jimenez was ejected for hitting Pablo Sandoval after an aggressive slide. There were no warnings beforehand in either game and both pitchers were ejected on the spot.

    With that in mind, Ventura might be looking at a suspension on top of the ejection, assuming MLB agrees with its umpires.  

    Escobar's status remains day-to-day. 

    Here's the message Lawrie says he's sent to Escobar.

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  • Cubs fan catches foul ball in full beer cup, proceeds to chug beer

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 23 hrs ago

    Step aside, Kris Bryant, Starlin Castro and all other professional baseball players in attendance at Wrigley Field on Saturday afternoon, for you are not the star we wish to honor.

    Instead, we'd like to turn everybody's attention to the fan seated second row in the upper deck along the third base line, as it was her ninth-inning catch of Yonder Alonso's foul ball that ended up stealing the entire afternoon.

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    Equipped with only a full beer cup to collect her souvenir, this fan made the best use possible of said cup under the circumstances. Without thinking twice, she extended her cup as the baseball quickly approached, and then watched as it dropped perfectly within its confines. 

    It was one of those plays you couldn't make twice if you tried it 200 times, but fortunately for her she was 1 for 1 at being awesome on Saturday. Well, actually, 2 for 2 if you count the celebration. 

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  • Pete Rose joins FOX Sports as a baseball analyst

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 1 day ago

    While new MLB commissioner Rob Manfred contemplates Pete Rose's request for reinstatement, baseball's all-time hit king is taking his own step closer to the game after being hired by FOX Sports as a TV analyst. 

    FOX Sports Ken Rosenthal reported the news on Thursday, noting that Rose will serve as a guest analyst for the MLB on FOX pregame show on FOX and FOX Sports 1. He'll also make appearances on "MLB Whiparound," "America's Pregame" and "FOX Sports Live" on FOX Sports 1, which means we'll be chock full of Pete Rose analysis before this season ends. 

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    Needless to say, there were no qualms and concerns, so Rose is set to take the air. 

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  • Kris Bryant's first big-league hit is a broken bat RBI single

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 1 day ago

    After a mostly unspectacular debut on Friday afternoon, Kris Bryant's second major-league game was basically been the inverse, and perhaps one that's more in line with the Cubs expectations. 

    The bounce back performance on Saturday afternoon saw Bryant reach base five times in six plate appearance, including his first major-league hit.

    Granted, it wasn't necessarily the dramatic moment many people envisioned, but the Cubs will absolutely take the result. With one out and runners on the corners in the fifth inning, Bryant delivered a broken bat single that dropped just in front of San Diego center fielder Wil Myers and scored Dexter Fowler with the tying run. The Cubs ultimately won the game 7-6 in 11 innings.  

    A thing of beauty it was not, but it still counts.

    Besides that, it had to be good for the Cubs to see Bryant finally handle a slider away. Padres' right-hander Tyson Ross typically has a good slider, too, but left this one up just enough for Bryant to extend his arms and get the ball into the outfield.  

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