- Mike Oz at Big League Stew6 hrs ago
"Approach the president, and we go for the kill shot."
If we told you a Secret Service agent uttered those words, you surely wouldn't be surprised. Protecting the president is their job. But if we told you a Secret Service agent uttered those words to a mascot with a giant baseball head, then the whole thing gets a whole lot more interesting, doesn't it?
AJ Mass portrayed Mr. Met from 1994-1997, and during that time, then-President Bill Clinton visited Shea Stadium for the 50th anniversary of Jackie Robinson's first MLB game. In his new book about being Mr. Met, "Yes, It's Hot In Here," Mass relays the story of Clinton's visit to Shea and how it allegedly led to a threat on Mr. Met's life.
- Mike Oz at Big League Stew7 hrs ago
Here's one possible explanation for what happened in the second inning of Thursday's Los Angeles Dodgers-San Francisco Giants game: Yasiel Puig is an incredibly self-aware performance artist, and he was making a point about his own duality on two fly balls the Giants hit to him in consecutive at-bats.
The easy out? He goes for a basket catch and drops it. You could hear baseball coaches everywhere starting their "use two hands" lecture.
The ball hit over his head that looks destined for a double? He does his Puig thing and makes a wowing over-the-shoulder catch that ended the inning.
But Puig isn't a performance artist, he's a baseball player, a player who has proven time and time again that he's capable of incredible moments and incredibly confounding mistakes. Such is the frustration of No. 66. It's something the Dodgers know well at this point.
- Mike Oz at Big League Stew10 hrs ago
These days, Minor League Baseball teams come up with all sorts of interesting pop culture-inspired theme jerseys to wear — there's "Star Wars" and "Ghostbusters" and "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" this year alone. The Lehigh Valley IronPigs and Pawtucket Red Sox, however, are playing a game soon in which they wear jerseys inspired by real heroes, not super heroes.Fri, Apr 185:40 PM PDTPhiladelphia at ColoradoPreview Game
- Mike Oz at Big League Stew11 hrs ago
Los Angeles, like New York, is a big target in the sports world. Even when the pro sports teams of those cities aren't particularly good (we see you, New York Mets, and you too, Los Angeles Lakers), there's still a certain satisfaction that comes from your team beating them. Thus, the popularity of the "Beat L.A." sign.
If you're a San Francisco Giants fan, the "Beat L.A." idea is even more important, because the Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers are bitter rivals, whose every meeting feels important, even if it's the 15th game of the season, in April. So, Giants fans show up to the stadium, full of gusto, ready to inspire their team to topple those big-spending boys in blue.
And just what did the Giants fans do Wednesday night? They spelled out "B-A-E-T L.A."
Spelling is hard. pic.twitter.com/vesrix4129
Sigh. Warren G probably thought it was fine, though.Fri, Apr 187:10 PM PDTSan Francisco at San DiegoPreview Game
It took only three starts for New York Yankees pitcher Masahiro Tanaka to look like an ace and etch his name into the MLB record books.
Tanaka turned in his first truly dominant performance Wednesday since coming to America and signing a $155 million deal with the Yankees. He struck out 10, allowed only two hits (both bunts) and kept the Chicago Cubs off the scoreboard in the Yankees' 3-0 win. In doing so, he became the most dominating new pitcher to arrive in MLB since Stephen Strasburg in 2010.
The fact that Tanaka's gem came against the Chicago Cubs, another of his suitors when he was sold to the U.S. by the Rakuten Golden Eagles of Japan, only added to the Cubs' misery Wednesday. Tanaka chose The Big Apple over The Windy City, and he'll be the toast of the town in NYC soon enough if he continues to build on this early success.Fri, Apr 1811:20 AM PDTCincinnati at Chi CubsPreview Game
If any Minor League Baseball team is going to do a "Salute to Seinfeld Night," it oughta be the Brooklyn Cyclones, a short-season Single-A team. They're an affiliate of the Mets, Jerry Seinfeld's team of choice, and they're not terribly far away from Manhattan, where Seinfeld was mostly set.
It's not like they're a team from Florida.
Even with their territorial rights to "Seinfeld" — which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this summer — the Cyclones are going all out to create a night that might even make a Soup Nazi smile.
At the top of the "cool things" list is a Keith Hernandez "Magic Loogie" bobblehead that the first 2,500 fans will take home. Hernandez, of course, cameo'd on "Seinfeld" and was accused of spitting on Kramer and Newman.
From there, the Cyclones have a thorough list of special happenings scheduled for the game, including puffy shirts and Festivus poles. From their website:
George Springer got the call. The 24-year-old outfielder is joining the Houston Astros on Wednesday, the first of their prized prospects to get a big-league call-up. From an on-the-field perspective, Springer probably should have joined the team out of spring training, but the Astros kept him down to limit his big-league service time and buy themselves another year of club control.
The Astros are calling Wednesday #SpringerDay, so obviously the expectations are huge with their new outfielder.
In The Stew's new "Learn the Name" feature, we introduce you to Springer and project what kind of player he might be.
Your browser does not support iframes.
Cincinnati Reds star Joey Votto dressed up like a Mountie for a hilarious interview last week on MLB Network's "Intentional Talk" where he sassed hosts Kevin Millar and Chris Rose. On Tuesday, MLB Network aired another interview with Votto, this one was much more somber and revealing, as he opened up about the sudden death of his father in 2008 and how it affected him.
Those are two sides of Joey Votto we don't usually see. We're used to another side of Votto — his workman-like approach to playing baseball. He's a former National League MVP whose patience and precision are among his top traits on a baseball field.
There are people in this country who will tell you that in 2014, we live in a post-racial America. We have a black president, the thinking goes, so therefore racism can't exist anymore.
Tell that to Hank Aaron, who is the subject of a new wave of racist hate mail this month, 40 years after he received floods of racist mail when he broke Babe Ruth's home-run record in 1974. The calendar may have a different year on it, and methods of sending racist prose might have changed — it can be emailed now — but the sentiment is unfortunately the same.
"Hank Aaron is a scumbag piece of (expletive) (racial slur)'' a man named Edward says in an e-mail to the Braves front office and obtained by USA TODAY Sports.
The El Paso Chihuahuas just started their first season in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League, after having moved from Tucson and changed their namefrom the Padres. Everything is new for San Diego's Triple-A team — the name, logo and even the stadium they play in.
Also brand new: The Chihuahuas' mascot. His name is Chico. He was introduced Monday. And he's downright frightening.
Is it just me, or does Chico look like he needs his shots? When I think of Chihuahuas, I don't generally think of a dog that looks like it's going to corner me in a dark alley and eat my limbs for dinner. But when I look at Chico, I see a Chihuahua who needs his fix — perhaps of human blood.