Tim Brown at Yahoo Sports 4 days ago
LOS ANGELES – A television came to life in a hotel ballroom and the lights dimmed. On just another night in L.A., there was Kirk Gibson again, against Dennis Eckersley again, and just because the last really good baseball moment for a signature franchise is going on three decades old doesn’t mean it still doesn’t play in L.A. It does. Every time.
This room held maybe 300 people. The old clip – you’ve seen it a hundred times, more maybe – gets around to that back-door slider and what happened to it, in fuzzy colors, and then hardly anyone was watching the television anymore. Most, instead, were eying two men sitting a few feet from each other in that room, going on three decades later, those two men being Kirk Gibson and Dennis Eckersley.
Gibson stared ahead, stoic, unblinking. Eckersley smiled in spite of himself. And then Gibson admitted it was damned uncomfortable watching that replay while people whooped and Vin Scully fawned and his friend Eck squirmed.
Margaret’s Place, he’d said, “Makes me feel like a leader and reminds me I’m not alone.”
What followed was an hour of storytelling emceed by Crystal, an hour that was hilarious and compelling even when everyone knew how it ended.
Tim Brown at Yahoo Sports 5 days ago
Today, we honor that bucketful of Twitter optimism with a few drops of our own.
The rankings (records through Wednesday):
1. Chicago Cubs (15-5; Previous: 1) – Run streak to 70th consecutive year without losing a World Series game. #takethatcardinals
2. Washington Nationals (14-6; Previous: 3) – And everybody thought we were so dumb in 2012. #strasburg2016
3. Chicago White Sox (16-6; Previous: 6) – Eh, team leaders are overrated. #freedrake
4. New York Mets (13-7; Previous: 16) – There’s still nothing quite like Harvey Day. #wewinonotherdays
5. Baltimore Orioles (12-8; Previous: 2) – Remember last July 25, when Arrieta lost? Yeah, well, we won that night. #scoreboard
6. Kansas City Royals (12-9; Previous: 5) – What the hell’s a PECOTA? #mixbetweenbiffpocorobaandabevigoda
7. Los Angeles Dodgers (12-10; Previous: 13) – The Puig we’ve been waiting for. #likemostdays
8. Pittsburgh Pirates (13-9; Previous: 10) – We play 163. #betterthan162
9. St. Louis Cardinals (12-9; Previous: 8) – Who’s laughing now, Ground Control? #leftavirus
Tim Brown at Yahoo Sports 6 days ago
If you like earnest people, people who pour themselves into what they do, you’d love Perry Hill, 64-year-old first base coach and defensive commander for the Miami Marlins.
If you are not inclined toward violent defensive shifts, well, there’s another reason you’d love Perry Hill.
By reputation, Hill could be the most respected defensive coach in the game. Marlins players adore him, just as previous players have. Fellow coaches call him a genius. His pupils win Gold Gloves. Not always, but often enough.
His pregame recon to start a series in a road ballpark is a study in geometric sorcery and strategic obsession. He walks every foot of the ballpark, it seems. He talks to, say, Dee Gordon at second base, then goes to the dugout where he can be sure Gordon sees him, waves a couple times to be absolutely sure Gordon sees him, Gordon waves back, then Hill gestures Gordon to the left or right, then he marches out to Gordon to see where he’s standing and then returns to the dugout to see how that looks from there. This happens over and over and it is mesmerizing.
He smiled at that. It’s a subtle business. The Marlins shade. They lean.
Like himself, like the shortstop…
Tim Brown at Yahoo Sports 8 days ago
LOS ANGELES – This town wouldn’t make room in its heart for Don Mattingly. He had for the better part of five years, for more than 800 games, made do with a choppy bullpen and a combustible clubhouse and, in his final season, a rotation that ran only two deep. He won three division titles. It wasn’t enough, and maybe it shouldn’t have been, because this town had seen plenty of decent regular seasons for a quarter-century and what had those gotten it?
Well, for most of Mattingly’s tenure, long Octobers watching the San Francisco Giants win. Didn’t help.
That “Donnie Baseball” stuff was for other people. Those 2,153 hits, that batting title, that MVP award, those Gold Gloves, that way he got after the game, none of it was for this town. None of it was in this ballpark, wearing these colors.
Maybe that was it. Maybe this town needed someone to blame, and ownership had turned over too often to keep track, and the front office was all too new. And so it became about lineups, covering the seventh inning and pitching Kershaw too long or not long enough, and it was never about keeping the clubhouse together long enough to win 94 games.
Does he seem less stressed?
Tim Brown at Yahoo Sports 8 days ago
ANAHEIM, Calif. – Dae-Ho Lee was famous. He was beloved. He was making good money. He was raising a daughter and had a son on the way. He’d be 34 soon and that body, big in all directions, wasn’t going to hold up forever, which they’d probably excuse. Just keep swingin’, big boy. Keep swingin’ big.
Surely it would’ve been simpler to go on like that. He could stay in Japan or return to Korea and ride the legend he’d built an at-bat at a time over 15 years, where he’d be forgiven when one day he aged and his bat slowed.
Or he could pack it all up and try something different, something harder, in a place where the people might know his name but probably don’t and whose emotional attachment to him would depend entirely on the jersey he wore and then on his last swing.
It’s a long way to go for a grown man with nothing left to prove except maybe to himself.
So what’s Dae-Ho Lee doing here, in Seattle, getting six starts in the Mariners’ first 18 games, enrolling his wife in English classes at the local Korean school, learning a few words himself, finding his way in this world when he’d so commanded his last one?
“I am confident,” he said, and it starts there.
Tim Brown at Yahoo Sports 12 days ago
Still Jake Arrieta.
Still the pitcher who found himself at 28 years old, who became elite at 29, who humored the notion he couldn't possibly be as special a year later, who on Thursday night in Cincinnati no-hit the Cincinnati Reds.
Still that guy.
The no-hitter was Arrieta's second in eight months, five of those months encompassing the offseason, and so more accurately his second no-hitter – after the Los Angeles Dodgers on Aug. 30 – in 11 regular-season starts.
In between no-hitters, Arrieta won five times in September, two games in the postseason before tiring in the National League championship series, then the NL Cy Young Award, then his first three starts of 2016. Since early last summer he is 20-1 with a 0.86 ERA.
With two out in the ninth inning, Arrieta's final pitch was a fastball that Eugenio Suarez flipped harmlessly to right field. Jason Heyward waved off Ben Zobrist to make the catch.
"I mean, that was a blast," Arrieta told reporters afterward. "That was fun."
This night was no different.
Tim Brown at Yahoo Sports 13 days ago
Angels’ left fielders are batting .176 and slugging .196 after 14 games (this even with Daniel Nava hitting .333 as a left fielder), which wouldn’t be a big deal if they hadn’t hit .216 and slugged .317 in 162 games last year, and you know just because your center fielder can hit a little doesn’t mean you have to give up on a corner outfield spot.
Maybe – mayyybe – it’d be different if those left fielders were defensively elite, but as a whole they’re not, and maybe – mayyybe – it’d be different if the team were hitting anyway. It’s not.
The people who claim to know these things say the Angels have a terrible farm system, which doesn’t bode well for an in-season upgrade, but let’s pretend the Angels aren’t treating the luxury tax as a hard cap and then let’s pretend a left fielder would solve all of their problems. Where to?
Atlanta, for Nick Markakis. He has the better part of $31 million coming over the next three seasons, a free-agent contract that was odd considering the direction of the organization, but these things happen. The Angels might as well take advantage. Like Bruce, Markakis has come out hot — .333 batting average, nine doubles, seven walks, six strikeouts.
Tim Brown at Yahoo Sports 18 days ago
LOS ANGELES – There are places you assume are there but don’t know for sure. A school, say, in the middle of a huge city where college banners hang from the auditorium rafters and beneath them 10-year-olds carry backpacks and aim toward the rest of their lives, only they don’t really know it for sure because that’s, like, way after lunch.
There are people in these places where every day is Jackie Robinson Day, where the lessons are in a taut “Good morning!” and a pal who looks nothing like you and a little girl in a hijab and a math teacher who sees the best in all of it.
Commonwealth Avenue Elementary School, say, which is a few miles from Dodger Stadium and a few in the other direction from the riots of a quarter-century ago, the ones these 10-year-olds’ parents hid from when they were 10.
“Whatever it is,” O’Brien-Amico told them, “you go out there and find what you love to do and you can break down barriers just like Jackie Robinson.”
“My father fought his entire life – and fights through all of us – to achieve equality in America,” Sharon Robinson said while standing on that black-topped playground. “Yes, he’s hopeful today.
It says, “We just have to reach one. Start there.”
Tim Brown at Yahoo Sports 19 days ago
The rankings (records through Wednesday):
1. Chicago Cubs (7-1; Previous: 1) – While excavating for new clubhouse, Cubs thrilled to discover that century they lost a few years back.
2. Baltimore Orioles (7-1; Previous: 19) – Why baseball is a better sport than basketball: No one has breathed the notion the Orioles might be better without Adam Jones.
3. Washington Nationals (6-1; Previous: 4) – Herbert Hoover becomes sixth racing president, Nats to wear black on Thursdays.
4. San Francisco Giants (6-3; Previous: 8) – Giants extend Belt. Sandoval wonders why he didn’t think of that.
5. Kansas City Royals (6-2; Previous: 9) – Hosmer wins World Series, saves little girls, calls out Batman.
6. Chicago White Sox (6-2; Previous: 15) – They’re hangin’ with Chance the Rapper, which seems cool. Might be a little much, however, to have Reinsdorf in the gold teeth grillz.
7. Detroit Tigers (5-2; Previous: 18) – IndyCar driver bounces ceremonial pitch. First two innings played under yellow flag.
8. St. Louis Cardinals (4-4; Previous: 2) – Paul McCartney excited to play Busch Field this summer. Always kills in St. Louis with “I Saw Herr Standing There.”
Tim Brown at Yahoo Sports 20 days ago
Well, you probably heard about center fielder A.J. Pollock’s season-ending injury, and how Zack Greinke and Shelby Miller have pitched, and the club’s five losses in its first seven games.
While it’s early by a couple months to have anyone teetering, the Diamondbacks have not had a winning season in five years, will go after this season without their second-best player, and spent their money and farm system for right now. For today. There’ll be no pacing themselves.
First up, Greinke. This doesn’t happen without him being great. In two starts he’s allowed 16 hits – three of them home runs – and 11 runs in 10 innings. He made those starts in Arizona, in a hitters’ park, and scouts who saw both say he did not pitch like the forceful, confident Greinke of recent seasons. It’s two starts. His next is Friday in San Diego, where the ballpark is kinder and his ERA over seven career starts is 1.57. Petco is where pitchers go to rediscover their mojo. Miller, who has allowed five home runs and an 8.18 ERA in 11 innings, follows the next night.