Mike Oz

  • How A-Rod can be a good guy again after hitting homer No. 660

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 2 days ago

    Alex Rodriguez stepped to the plate Friday night, a pinch hitter in the eighth inning of a tied game, playing for baseball's most famous team in one of the game's most historic stadiums.

    He watched three balls go past him, then swung and connected, sending a baseball over the Green Monster at Fenway Park for his 660th career home run, which tied him with Willie Mays for fourth on the all-time list and put the New York Yankees ahead of the Boston Red Sox. The homer was the difference in a 3-2 win.

    For all intents and purposes, this should have been historic. It was dramatic, sure. But as far as history goes, this was hollow. And deservedly so. 

    If it were somebody else — someone we liked — this would be a moment etched in time. Instead, it's another controversial day in the life of Alex Rodriguez, where we're forced to downplay his talent and accomplishments because of the poor choices he's made.

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  • Alex Rodriguez hits 660th career homer, ties Willie Mays for fourth all-time

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 2 days ago

    Alex Rodriguez arrived at a plateau Friday night that only four men before him ever have — 660 homers, a magic number in the baseball record book that A-Rod reached when he stepped up as a pinch-hitter and delivered a go-ahead solo home run over the Green Monster at Fenway Park in Boston.

    The home run would prove to be a game-winner as the Yankees held on for a 3-2 victory. 

    Six-hundred and sixty, it’s the number we associate with Willie Mays, whom A-Rod has now tied for fourth on the all-time list. There will be much debate the next few days about whether pundits and fans see A-Rod’s homer as a worthwhile milestone or a hollow honor for a fraudulent star, but the fact is, he hit it.

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    The no-doubt home run was greeted by a mixed reaction from the crowd. The fan who caught it, a Red Sox fan, immediately put two thumbs down. A-Rod was greeted warmly by his Yankees teammates once he reached the dugout. 

    YANKEES TAKE LEAD!

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  • The top five homers of April starring, who else, Alex Rodriguez

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 2 days ago

    Enter a world you didn't expect you'd ever see again, where Alex Rodriguez is the home-run king of April.

    Yes, as bizarro as it might seem, A-Rod hit the longest home run of April. The almost-40-year-old with two bad hips, coming off a year's suspension. That guy. We'll dig into our usual list of the month's top homers below, but first we have to admit that you could put an asterisk on A-Rod's. (And not the reason you might expect).

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    For now, we're rolling with Hit Tracker, but we'll keep an eye on these things throughout the season. 

    TOP FIVE HOMERS OF APRIL

    1. ALEX RODRIGUEZ: APRIL 17, 477 FEET Fitting that A-Rod, baseball's villain, would hit into the Captain Morgan deck at Tropicana Field. Ahoy, Pirate A-Rod.

    5. CARLOS GONZALEZ: APRIL 8, 461 FEET CarGo goes scoreboard in Milwaukee. Niiiiice.

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  • Homer Bailey is out for the season and the Reds have some thinking to do

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 3 days ago

    In not-so-shocking news Cincinnati Reds pitcher Homer Bailey needs Tommy John surgery, the club announced Friday. He'd been sidelined most of the season with elbow problems, so we knew this was a possibility.

    Bailey will be out until midway through the 2016 season, since Tommy John rehab takes about 12 months.

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    Homer Bailey is the second $100M+ pitcher to need Tommy John surgery. First: Mike Hampton in '05. As $ and TJ rates spike, list will grow.

    And we haven't even mentioned yet that ace Johnny Cueto is a free agent come November and will demand big money on the open market. 

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  • 10 things that surprised us in the first month of the MLB season

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 3 days ago

    Peace out, April. You were fun. You helped us start another year of baseball and we'll remember you fondly for your small-sample sizes and early-season hilarities. We're off to May now, heading toward the summer, when things around MLB get a bit more serious.

    Before we do that, though, The Stew thought we owed the surprises of April a look-back. The thing about April surprises, sometimes they're precursors of what's to come, sometimes they're fun little anecdotes we'll recall in September when the season has taken shape. Remember when the Astros were good? Remember when Devon Travis looked like the Rookie of the Year and Chris Archer looked like an AL Cy Young candidate?

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    We'll spend the upcoming months figuring out whether those things will actually happen, but for now, The Stew's Chris Cwik and Mike Oz have collected 10 of their favorite April surprises.

    THE ASTROS KICKING APRIL’S BUTT Here are the teams that won more baseball games in April than the Houston Astros:

  • Tony Gwynn's beer gets a limited 'Hall of Fame' edition for his birthday

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 3 days ago

    The story of how Tony Gwynn came to have his own beer is a wonderful one. It’s also a fitting tale now that San Diego's AleSmith Brewing Co. is preparing to release a limited Hall of Fame version of its popular San Diego .394 Pale Ale on what would have been Gwynn’s 55th birthday.

    You see, Tom Seaver has his own wine and he brings it to the annual Hall of Fame gathering in Cooperstown. Word is that Seaver wouldn’t share with any hitter who did well against him. So Gwynn never got any.

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    That’s why he partnered with AleSmith to make his own beer. It was something Gwynn could take to the Hall of Fame gathering, he told AleSmith’s owner Peter Zien when they met, something for the hitters.

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  • Pedro Martinez tells the strangest Manny Ramirez story you'll ever hear

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 4 days ago

    You've heard a lot of "Manny Being Manny" stories over the years, some funny, some ridiculous, some irritating. But let us share with you, thanks to Pedro Martinez, what is the straight-up strangest Manny Ramirez story you'll ever hear.

    Martinez — the soon-to-be Hall of Famer — is prepping for the release of his book "Pedro" with Michael Silverman (it's out Tuesday).

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    Sports Illustrated has an excerpt from the book in its latest issue and said excerpt involves Pedro's underwear, David Ortiz's undershirt and three midgets in Manny's head.

    Enjoy:

    Once, he came up to my locker and put on my socks and my underwear and then went over to David Ortiz’s locker and put on his undershirt. “Why are you doing that, Manny?” I asked.

    “I don’t know. Do you?”

  • MLB may relax fines for players who violate new pace-of-play rules

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 4 days ago

    Starting Friday, MLB was supposed to begin issuing fines to players who violate its new pace-of-play rules. But now that may not happen, according to ESPN's Jayson Stark.

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    Under the plan adopted this past offseason, players had all of April to get used to the new rules, then fines (between $100 and $500) would be handed down starting May 1. But MLB is so happy with the results of the pace-of-play changes thus far that it might scale back the penalty system so that only "flagrant violations" get fines.

    The MLB Players' Association, of course, is urging the league to do this. Per Stark's report:

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  • Ichiro is the latest Marlins player to get dunked on by Dee Gordon

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 4 days ago

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    The Miami Marlins have a victory celebration in which someone brings out a mini basketball backboard and stands behind the marquee player of the game while that player is being interviewed. Then Dee Gordon proceeds to dunk on them. It's not the most common to celebrate a win, but we've seen stranger in MLB, so The Stew ain't here to judge.

    On Wednesday night, after the Marlins beat the New York Mets 7-3, Ichiro was the man of the hour. He hit a three-run homer in the eighth inning, his first as a Marlin. So as he sat down for his interview, Ichiro was in line to get posterized by Gordon.

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    The Marlins dunk celebration dates back to April 11, when Christian Yelich became the first "victim."

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  • Orioles players sign autographs, toss balls to fans that aren't there

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 4 days ago

    The circumstances behind baseball's first-ever game with no fans in attendance aren't at all funny — we're talking riots, civil unrest, boiling over racial tensions — but the Baltimore Orioles did their best to find goofy moments in their historic game Wednesday against the Chicago White Sox.

    And this is baseball we're talking about, so it's hard to blame the Orioles for having fun with the idea of playing a game in front of absolutely no fans.

    That's why you see Caleb Joseph "signing autographs" for "fans" in the video above, then going on a Cal Ripken Jr.-like trot and taking a bow. Even when the circumstances get tense in baseball, you can still have fun.

    [MORE: Photos from the first game in MLB history where fans weren’t allowed]

    "We were trying to keep it light-hearted," said Orioles closer Zach Britton. "I think it was just kind of a weird, weird, experience."

    Yahoo News' Meredith Shiner contributed to this post.

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