Big League Stew

  • Royals and Rangers pay tribute to Yordano Ventura before spring opener

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 1 hr ago

    Saturday was a bittersweet day in Surprise, Ariz.

    As the Kansas City Royals and Texas Rangers took the field for their Cactus League opener, there were mixed feelings and emotions.

    Sure, the excitement that’s always attached to the first spring training game was palpable. The hope that always exists when a new season dawns was there too. But there was also a degree of emptiness. That’s because everyone knew that something, or more specifically someone, was missing.

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    Yordano Ventura tribute here in Surprise

    — Jeffrey Flanagan (@FlannyMLB) February 25, 2017

    As part of a special pregame ceremony, a video tribute to Ventura aired on the stadium’s videoboard.

    It was a wonderful gesture.

    — Texas Rangers (@Rangers) February 25, 2017

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  • World Baseball Classic 2017: Can Cuba win without its MLB stars?

    Chris Cwik at Big League Stew 3 hrs ago

    From now until the World Baseball Classic begins on March 6, we’ll be helping you get to know each team involved in baseball’s global tournament. Today’s team: Cuba.

    On paper, Team Cuba should be loaded. Over the past few years, a number of exceptional Cuban players have come to the United States and dominated Major League Baseball.

    Chicago White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu won the Rookie of the Year award. New York Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman and his 105-mph heat are coming off a World Series title. Yoenis Cespedes has blossomed into a superstar with the Mets. The list goes on and on.

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    There’s one big problem, though. None of those players are eligible to participate for Team Cuba in the World Baseball Classic. The country has a rule that states players who defected from the country cannot participate with the team. That means Team Cuba will be made up of relative unknowns, at least to a U.S. audience.


  • Hartford's minor league stadium focus of reported FBI investigation

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 5 hrs ago

    The strange saga surrounding the construction of Dunkin’ Donuts Park has added another layer.

    According to the Hartford Courant, the city’s publicly funded minor-league park is now the focus of an investigation being conducted by the FBI.

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    The Courant story notes that details of the investigation have not been released by the FBI or the office of U.S. Attorney Dierdre M. Daly. However, Hartford mayor Luke Bronin told the paper he believes the investigation is focused on Centerplan Construction Co., which originally oversaw the stadium’s development.

    Centerplan has since been fired due to cost overruns and other issues that have delayed the stadium’s construction and pushed back its opening. The Courant estimates that the stadium has already cost Hartford $71M, which far exceeds the initial estimate of $56M.

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  • Javier Baez commemorates Cubs’ championship with impressive tattoo

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 7 hrs ago

    The Chicago Cubs won the 2016 World Series and Javier Baez is never going to let us forget that.

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    Baez, who blossomed before our eyes during the Cubs historic postseason run, now sports a large but impressive tattoo on his upper left arm that will forever commemorate the team’s accomplishment and the ending of the franchise’s 108-year championship drought.

    #Cubs Baez has new tattoo, just finished it last night

    — Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) February 24, 2017

    We might have actually undersold it by describing it as large.

    That tattoo, which was completed on Thursday, will be impossible to miss anytime Baez goes sleeveless. It’s just too bad it won’t be on display all that often while the Cubs are on the field.

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  • Red Sox stars light up basketball court with crazy long-distance shots

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 9 hrs ago

    Spring training is in full swing now, which means the regular season is within sight.

    Of course, also within sight is the NCAA basketball tournament, which always serves as a nice lead-in to what we consider the main event of sports seasons.

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    As the anticipation and excitement build for both events, it’s only appropriate that members of the Boston Red Sox took to the court at Florida Gulf Coast University to show off their basketball skills.

    Chris Sale, who posted an 11-0 record pitching at FGCU in 2010, was likely able to get the keys to the gym. He was joined by Joe Kelly and Hanley Ramirez, and they lit it up with some pretty impressive long-distance shooting.

    First, here’s Sale swishing a half-court shot with relative ease.

    — Michael Tolvo (@mtolvo21) February 24, 2017

    Then Hanley Ramirez followed with a half-court shot of his own.

    Interesting form, but it worked.


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  • Brewers prospects pay homage to 'Wayne's World' in most excellent video

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 21 hrs ago

    In the category of best movie remake by a pair of baseball prospects, the Oscar goes to Brett Phillips and Josh Hader of the Milwaukee Brewers.

    The duo recently teamed up to pay homage to the classic film “Wayne’s World,” which was released 25 years ago on Valentine’s Day.

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    For the record, the movie actually made its big-screen debut before either player was born (1994 for both), but that hasn’t stopped them from loving the film and it didn’t stop them from producing a hilarious remake titled “Brett’s World.”

    It is most excellent, we assure you.

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    That’s Phillips in the role of Wayne Campbell, who was originally portrayed by Mike Myers. Hader stands in perfectly as Garth Gorrall, who was brought to life by Dana Carvey.

    There’s so much to enjoy here.

    Trust us, it works.

    Oh, and yes, we even got a top ten list of all-time baseball movies.

    We’re not worthy of the greatness we’ve just witnessed.

  • Spring Training 2017: Cardinals sign a top Cuban prospect

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 22 hrs ago

    Welcome to The Stew’s Spring Headlines, our daily look at the biggest MLB stories and news items from around spring training. Here you’ll find a quick recap of all the day’s action and other fun stuff from around the internet that we think is worth your time.

    BIGGEST NEWS OF THE DAY: The St. Louis Cardinals announced the signing of Cuban free agent Jose Adolis Garcia on Friday. The 24-year-old outfielder is the younger brother of Braves third baseman Adonis Garcia. It’s a minor-league deal, but it carries a $2.5M bonus, according to’s Jesse Sanchez.

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    UNWELCOME: Orioles vice president John Angelos would not be willing to welcome President Donald Trump to Camden Yards. [The Stew]

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  • Yankees welcome back baseball with pair of monster homers

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 1 day ago

    Baseball returned to our lives in a big way on Friday. The spring training schedule opened with a handful of games across the Grapefruit and Cactus Leagues, and we were even treated to our first television broadcast as the YES Network covered the Philadelphia Phillies and New York Yankees game from Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Fla.

    We’re thankful they did. Not just because we got to witness some live game action. But mainly because we didn’t have to miss a pair of absolutely monstrous home runs from New York’s Didi Gregorius and Aaron Judge.

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    As you can see in the video above, both home runs were absolutely destroyed.

    Gregorius’ first-inning solo blast against Alec Asher went down as the first official home run of spring training, and we’re not entirely sure its landed yet. The homer appeared to clear the bullpen and the stands, making it one impressive poke.

    Heck, even coach Alex Rodriguez was impressed.

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  • Donald Trump wouldn't be welcomed to Camden Yards by Orioles VP

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 1 day ago

    Baltimore Orioles vice president John Angelos says a few things would have to change before he’d ever welcome President Donald Trump to Camden Yards.

    According to the Washington Post, the son of Orioles’ owner Peter Angelos shared his criticism of the Trump administration during a recent appearance on the Baltimore-based podcast “B-More Opinionated.” Angelos most notably stated that divisive rhetoric and actions during Trump’s campaign and presidency would make it impossible to welcome Trump in good conscience.

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    Angelos did leave the door open to reconsider his stance, but says that would require an apology from the administration and an honest effort to embrace all members of the community.

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  • Mitt Romney's son Tagg reportedly trying to buy stake in Yankees

    Liz Roscher at Big League Stew 1 day ago

    For some people, their dream is to climb Mount Everest, or run a marathon, or travel to an exotic destination. But some people just really, really, really want to buy a baseball team.

    Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports is reporting that Mitt Romney’s son Tagg Romney is trying to buy a piece of the New York Yankees. Mitt Romney, who ran for president in 2012, isn’t involved himself, as he emphatically told Heyman.

    Mitt Romney, in response to an earlier version of this story about his potential involvement in a sale, denied that he’s involved in the talks in a statement, per a spokesperson. The former governor of Massachusetts, Romney is a lifelong Red Sox fan and is sensitive to being associated with the Yankees after hearing early reaction from Red Sox fans.

    Well then.

    Tagg Romney and his business partner, Spencer Zwick, are using the family’s company Solamere Capital to advance the sale. Heyman says that they’re interested in buying a one or two percent stake in the Yankees, with each percentage point being worth $25 million to $30 million.