- Mike Oz at Big League Stew12 hrs ago
Here's an example of what being in contention can do: The Seattle Mariners have given general manager Jack Zdurienick a multi-year contract extension, the club announced Tuesday.
The Mariners are 71-59 this season, currently sitting in the second AL Wild Card position, after a splashy offseason that included signing Robinson Cano to a 10-year, $240 million contract.
Despite that big move (or perhaps because of it), there were many in the Pacific Northwest who doubted whether Zdurienick was the right man for the job. Coming out and making a run at the postseason was at least enough to convince ownership that Zdurienick (often just called Jack Z) was their man for a few more years.Wed, Aug 2712:40 PM PDTTexas at SeattlePreview Game
- Mike Oz at Big League Stew16 hrs ago
ESPN's Keith Olbermann released a thoughtful and entertaining seven-minute commentary Monday about Pete Rose and his ban from MLB. The 25-year anniversary of Rose's banishment was Sunday, and that has brought a wave of Pete Rose talk back into the sports media mainstream recently.
Olbermann in particular put together a one-hour special called "Pete Rose: 25 Years in Exile." Since he's both an astute baseball fan and a man who knows a thing or two about second chances, Olbermann's perspective was interesting to hear.
Even though he once took a hardline stance against reinstating Rose, Olbermann said he's come around in recent years. Now he's in favor of allowing Rose back in MLB.
The recent PED controversies surrounding the game, Olbermann said, make Rose's misdoings look like "nickel and dime stuff." He said Rose's crime is "no longer a capital offense" and other players would have been forgiven by now:
- Mike Oz at Big League Stew17 hrs ago
The people in Kansas City show their love for Derek Jeter in some pretty odd ways.
Monday night, when the New York Yankees visited Kauffman Stadium for a makeup game, it was Jeter's final appearance in K.C. The Royals honored him before the game like other teams have during his "farewell tour." The team gave Jeter a big check for his foundation. They smiled and took pictures. The usual.
Now for the unusual: A fan made a farewell sign in which he mashed up Jeter with the Mona Lisa. The sign, brought to the ballpark by the Lowndes family, declared that Jeter was the "Masterpiece of Baseball," which is nice and all, but registers high on the weird meter.
Derek Jeter as the Mona Lisa? OK. pic.twitter.com/zT2beb4PuR
Mona Lisa and Jeter? What's the connection? Did he date her too?
The good news for Dan Lowndes and family is that they've quite a ways to go before unseating the most bizarre Derek Jeter tribute in Kansas City this season. Because this happened back in June:Wed, Aug 274:08 PM PDTNY Yankees at DetroitPreview Game
- Mike Oz at Big League Stew19 hrs ago
There isn't a more amusing left-side-of-the-infield duo in baseball than Adrian Beltre and Elvis Andrus of the Texas Rangers, who can often be found behaving like quarreling brothers when pop ups are hit in their direction.
One will mimic the other. They'll get in each others' way. Or they'll push each other around after a catch. Andrus is the younger pest and Beltre is the older eye-roller. The play these roles to a tee, and they were at it again Monday night in the Rangers' 2-0 win over the Seattle Mariners. Only there was one new bit in their routine.
Garrett Richards would have been starting for the Los Angeles Angels on Monday night had he not blown out his knee last week, requiring surgery and ending his breakout season. In Richards' place was Wade LeBlanc, a 30-year-old making his first start for the Angels.
Since it lasted just 3 1/3 innings and resulted in six earned runs, LeBlanc's first start might also be his last. The visiting Miami Marlins won the game 7-1 and while the Angels pitching was a noteworthy storyline, most people who watched the game were once again awestruck by Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton.
He hit his NL-leading 33rd homer, a three-run missile in the fourth inning that put the game out of reach for the Angels.
''The difference between a four-run game and a seven-run game is like night and day, because they can put up four runs in an inning with no problem,'' Stanton said.Wed, Aug 277:05 PM PDTMiami at LA AngelsPreview Game
In one play, Baltimore Orioles center fielder Adam Jones bested the Tampa Bay Rays twice. And it was quite pretty.
In the sixth inning Monday night, Rays star Evan Longoria hit a deep fly ball to center. Jones sized up it, jumped at the wall, reached over and caught the ball. No homer for you, Mr. Longoria. But that was only the first part of Jones' great play.
He was alert enough afterward to spot Matt Joyce trying to tag up from first base. Sometimes the trade off for making a great catch in the outfielder is runners advancing on the bases. Not Joyce. Jones fired the ball in and nailed him at second base. We see a lot of double plays, but not many that require as much effort as Jones displayed here.
At that point, the score was already 9-1 in favor of the Orioles (which it would remain), so this was just one of the things that went right for the AL East leaders in the game. The O's got five homers in the game — going back-to-back in the third, then back-to-back-to-back in the fifth. So the offense was just as impressive as Jones' defense.Wed, Aug 274:05 PM PDTTampa Bay at BaltimorePreview Game
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The Chicago Cubs are summoning another of the high-expectation youngsters to the major leagues. Next up is Jorge Soler, the 22-year-old Cuban outfielder who is considered one of the Cubs' "Core Four" prospects along with Javier Baez, Kris Bryant and Albert Almora.Wed, Aug 274:10 PM PDTChi Cubs at CincinnatiPreview 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 YANKEES EMERGE IN AL WILD-CARD FIGHT? It's not quite September yet, though it might feel like it because there are so many teams still in the postseason hunt. Each week from now until the season's end will bring more clarity to MLB's pennant races, with plenty of teams having a chance to strike. This week, that team might be the New York Yankees.
The Yankees have won four in a row, putting them just 3 1/2 games back in the AL Wild Card standings. It's not impossible to see them much closer to a postseason spot after this week. They're playing a Monday makeup game against the Kansas City Royals, then three against the Detroit Tigers and another three against the Toronto Blue Jays.
From the moment Mo'ne Davis, the Little League World Series phenom, burst onto the national sports and pop culture scenes two weeks ago, we heard about how baseball isn't actually her true love.
Yes, throwing a shutout in the LLWS for Philadelphia's Taney Dragons is a nice way get on the cover of Sports Illustrated and all, but she loves basketball. Her true ambition is playing at the University of Connecticut, then eventually in the WNBA.
Washington Nationals star Bryce Harper was caught by TV cameras and broadcasters using one of Yasiel Puig's "YP-66" bats last week. If you let your mind wander, you can come up with all kinds of weird reasons that might have happened. But just stop there.
We've learned the reason, thanks to Nats beat writer Adam Kilgore of The Washington Post, and it's not really as weird as you might dream up. Harper collects bats from other players and "experiments" with them.
According to Kilgore's story, Harper has used bats over the years belonging to Chase Utley, Yoenis Cespedes, Robinson Cano, Troy Tulowitzki, David Wright, Buster Posey, Todd Helton and Miguel Cabrera, among others.Wed, Aug 274:05 PM PDTWashington at PhiladelphiaPreview Game