- Mike Oz at Big League Stew4 hrs ago
Yes, it's still very early in the season. So early that a couple of hot days at the plate can turn a disappointing batting average into a somewhat respectable one. So early that every statistical analysis comes with the requisite "small-sample size" warning.
But still, when you're a reigning MVP or home-run champ or a big-money offseason free agent, you're going to be judged by your output right away. Here we are, three weeks into the season, and there are definitely some disappointments around MLB, a couple of whom may surprise you.
Flip through the slideshow above to check out nine of baseball's early season disappointments. Maybe Miguel Cabrera will get his mojo back by the time you're done. If anybody can do it, it's him. He had a nice night Tuesday with three hits and a homer, bumping up his batting average by 29 points.
Point proven, redemption can be but a few big swings away.
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- Mike Oz at Big League Stew16 hrs ago
Major League Baseball suspended and fined four players on Tuesday, punishment from the Easter Sunday brawl between the Milwaukee Brewers and the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The brawl was sparked when Carlos Gomez of the Brewers hit a triple off Pirates pitcher Gerrit Cole. Gomez admired it momentarily, thinking it was a homer. Cole had words with Gomez after he slid into third. Gomez charged Cole and both benches cleared. Travis Snider and Russell Martin of the Pirates and Martin Maldonado of the Brewers were central figures in the on-field fight, with Maldonado most notably punching Snider in the face.
The league fined Gomez, Snider, Martin and Maldonado each an undisclosed amount and threw down these suspensions:
• Gomez — three games • Maldonado — five games • Snider — two games • Martin — one gameWed, Apr 235:10 PM PDTSan Diego at MilwaukeePreview Game
Every kid who goes to an MLB game has that moment where he or she hopes to grab a foul ball. Heck, even adults do. When fans get their hands on a ball, the reactions usually range from jumping around to high-fives and fist pumps.
This kid at Monday's San Francisco Giants-Colorado Rockies game, however, was so dumbfounded by actually having an MLB ball in his hand that he couldn't do anything but stare at it. He sat there in awe for a solid 15 seconds at least.
Good stuff, young man. May every fan be as awestruck by the game as you. Credit, also, to the adult fan in front of the kid who appears to have given him the ball. May every fan be as generous as you.
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All eyes were on Mike Trout and Bryce Harper as two of baseball's brightest stars played against each other for the first time, but it was Raul Ibanez who stole the show Monday night.
Ibanez, the 41-year-old veteran who is almost as old as Trout (22) and Harper (21) combined, delivered a three-run pinch hit double in the eighth inning. It broke a 1-1 tie and gave the visiting Los Angeles Angels a 4-2 win over the Washington Nationals, who were able to tack on one run in the ninth, but no more.
''These guys make me feel young,'' Ibanez said. ''And I have five kids at home. They're 12 and under, and I'm the biggest kid in the house, really. I feel right at home around these guys who are 22, 24, 25 years old. They definitely keep you young.''Wed, Apr 234:05 PM PDTLA Angels at WashingtonPreview Game
Five Big Things is Big League Stew's look at the week ahead in MLB action, examining storylines and matchups you should keep an eye on.
1. CAN THE BREWERS KEEP THEIR HOT STREAK GOING? If you're one of those people looking at the Milwaukee Brewers and their MLB best 14-5 record and thinking, "this can't possibly last," you might be right. But the Brewers have a decent shot of keeping it going this week. The Brew Crew hosts the San Diego Padres (9-10) and the Chicago Cubs (5-12) at Miller Park. All hail Hank, the good-luck charm.
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Josh Reddick, MLB's foremost pro wrestling fan, unleashed his tribute to World Wrestling Entertainment icon Ultimate Warrior during Monday's episode of "Intentional Talk" on MLB Network.
Ultimate Warrior (aka James Hellwig) died on April 8 at age 54, a day after being inducted into WWE's Hall of Fame. Reddick had already changed his walk-up music to the Ultimate Warrior's theme song — and then delivered a walk-off single Saturday.
Monday, he took things quite a few steps further and dressed up like Ultimate Warrior, tassels and all. He sprinted out from centerfield before the interview, imitating the Ultimate Warrior's ring entrance.
A day later, tempers from Sunday's brawl between the Pittsburgh Pirates and Milwaukee Brewers still haven't simmered down. After the game, Pirates catcher Russell Martin suggested it would be fair to hold down Brewers backup catcher Martin Maldonado so he could be punched in the face. Maldonado had landed the biggest blow in the fight, slugging Travis Snider of the Pirates in the head.
On Monday, Martin doubled-down on that. In fact, he has a better idea. He wants to fight Maldonado — though, he wants to do it in the offseason, as a charity event.
Russell Martin: "Maybe (in) offseason we can raise some money for charity and battle it out. Me and (Maldonado). I’m throwing it out there."
More Russell Martin: "I know in his mind he’s protecting his teammate. But he wasn’t. He got a free shot in."
Martin still fired up a day after the Easter brawl of '14. Martin: "I'm getting heated up just talking about it."
Here's the latest in the continuing saga of a stray dog adopted by a pro baseball team and currently living the good life: The Milwaukee Brewers have constructed and unveiled a house for Hank the Dog, their spring training stray who has turned into a team mascot.
Observe (and note that they've been teaching Hank tricks):
Monday is the 25th anniversary of "Field of Dreams," a film that anybody reading a baseball blog surely knows well. But the big celebration of "Field of Dreams" turning 25 is yet to come.
Details were announced Monday for a Father's Day weekend (June 13-15) cast reunion and celebration of the film that will include star Kevin Costner and other cast members, as well as baseball players Bret Saberhagen, Glendon Rusch and Ryan Dempster. Bob Costas will emcee and Matt Lauer of NBC's "Today" show, who will lead a Q & A with the film's cast. This will, of course, take place in Dyersville, Iowa, where "Field of Dreams" was filmed.
Before all the ugliness of a benches clearing brawl in Sunday's Milwaukee Brewers-Pittsburgh Pirates game, Andrew McCutchen, the reigning NL MVP, played Easter Bunny for young Pirates fans.
Instead of a pre-game autograph signing, McCutchen handed out autographed Easter eggs filled with candy to kids at PNC Park. The eggs had a $5 concession voucher inside too.
He handed out 90 eggs to children before the game and 50 more were given to kids in the upper deck. The whole scene further solidified McCutchen's status as one of the coolest guys in baseball.
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