Big League Stew

  • How Peyton Manning made Kris Bryant really appreciate winning the World Series

    Mike Oz at Big League Stew 4 hrs ago

    MESA, Ariz. — Here at Chicago Cubs spring training there are no shortage of reminders just who won the World Series last year. The faux-Wrigley Field marquee at Sloan Park makes it plenty clear. The stands near the batting practice have huge decorative baseballs that say “2016 World Series Champions.”

    There’s plenty of fanfare and celebration from the diehards who show up three hours early to tailgate either. Even on days when rain is — oddly enough for Arizona — in the forecast.

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    In the Cubs clubhouse, players still beam when talking about their post-World Series life. Because the fact remains this isn’t just any World Series champion (if there is such a thing), it’s the 108-years-in-the-making Chicago Cubs championship.

    And so Kris Bryant, the NL MVP and 25-year-old superstar, smiled a bit Monday and talked about when it really set in for him what his team had accomplished, when he could appreciate the enormity of it all.

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  • Spring Training 2017: Josh Hamilton out after another knee surgery

    Chris Cwik at Big League Stew 5 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.

    NOT AGAIN: Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton’s comeback attempt has been put on hold once again. Hamilton underwent surgery to repair meniscus cartilage in his left knee. The injury is expected to keep him out at least six weeks. Hamilton was limited to just one game in the minors last season due to surgery on the same knee last season. He’s played in just 139 games in the majors since 2014. [@Evan_P_Grant]

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  • Minor-league team introduces excellent on-field rally caps

    Chris Cwik at Big League Stew 6 hrs ago

    Picture this: You’re at the ballpark rooting on your team. It’s the bottom of the ninth inning. They are … not playing so well.

    It’s been a tough game. Your starting pitcher coughed up a ton of runs early, and your team’s offense has been stymied by the opponent’s journeyman fourth starter. But you’re a true fan, and you’re going to stick this one out.

    Things look bleak, but you’re determined to stay optimistic. To show you still have faith in your team, you turn your hat inside out and place it on your head. The players on the field see it. The inside-out hat looks pathetic. Your favorite team goes down 1-2-3 in the ninth to lose the game in spectacular fashion.

    You curse to yourself. “Things could have been different if I didn’t look like such a fool out there,” you say. Thanks to New Era, that will no longer be a concern. Now, you can look stylish while wearing your rally cap.

    The company teamed with the Altoona Curve, a Pittsburgh Pirates affiliate, to reveal its first-ever on-field rally cap.

    — Brandiose (@Brandiose) February 27, 2017

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  • Tim Tebow is already getting all the attention in Mets camp

    Chris Cwik at Big League Stew 9 hrs ago

    Though he hasn’t performed any miracles just yet, New York Mets outfielder Tim Tebow already has plenty of disciples. Tebow showed up for his first day of work at Mets camp Monday. He may not have a locker in the major-league clubhouse, but he’s already drawing a significant crowd.

    It was impossible to ignore the 29-year-old former quarterback turned outfielder’s presence at camp. His jerseys were prominently featured around the park, his appearances were greeting his loud cheers and his possible future teammates wereflooded with questions about his potential, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today.

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    Clearly, Tebow isn’t your typical minor-league camp member just trying to make the club. How else do you explain the 15-minute press conference he held upon arriving at camp?

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  • MLB season preview: Yes, the Padres are going to be as bad as you think

    Yahoo Sports Staff at Big League Stew 10 hrs ago

    With the arrival of baseball season we’re previewing each MLB team, from worst to best. We’ll look at their key offseason moves, projected lineup, best and worst possible outcomes, most pressing fantasy question courtesy of our friends at Roto Arcade plus a few other fun things. Our daily series begins with the San Diego Padres.

    You remember that scene in “Major League” when fans of the fictional Cleveland Indians are looking at their hodge-podge roster in astonishment.

    “I never heard of most of ’em,” one says.

    Then a few others say some more profane things we can’t reprint here. Well, that’s about the same thing you could say the 2017 San Diego Padres. And Padres fans, they’ll definitely be using some profanities this season.

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    And that pitching rotation, ouch. It’s like the worst possible fantasy baseball autodraft, yet it’s actually what the Padres are working with this season. Godspeed, Padres fans, this one is going to be rough. (Mike Oz)

  • World Baseball Classic 2017: Can Israel surprise in its debut?

    Chris Cwik at Big League Stew 12 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 entry: Israel. 

    There is no bigger uncertainty in the 2017 World Baseball Classic than Team Israel. While the team does have some talented players casual fans will recognize, this is the first time the club has qualified for the tournament.

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    Team Israel did not enter the first two World Baseball Classics, and failed to qualify back in 2013. This time around, Israel swept the competition in the qualifying round, earning a spot in the Classic.

    Their reward? A spot in the same Pool as Netherlands and former finalist Korea. It’s not exactly the best position, though Israel does have some interesting talent.

    ’13 Finish: N/A. This is actually Team Israel’s first appearance in the tournament.

    THREE BIG QUESTION ABOUT ISRAEL

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  • John Axford did great on his Oscar picks, Sean Doolittle not so much

    Liz Roscher at Big League Stew 15 hrs ago

    It’s the day after the Academy Awards, and besides the insane Best Picture mix-up, what everyone’s talking about today is this one topic: how did you do in your Oscar pool? Did your picks pan out? Did you choose “La La Land” to win it all, or did you pick “Moonlight” and get a huge surprise?

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    Oscar picks are something John Axford knows a little bit about. The pitcher, now with the Oakland Athletics, has started an annual tradition of releasing his Oscar picks for every single category. And this year was no different.

    My 2017 Oscar picks! pic.twitter.com/TanlzxJ6jw

    — John Axford (@JohnAxford) February 25, 2017

    So now that the ceremony is over, how did he do? He did really well!

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  • John Axford wants Oscar winner Mahershala Ali to throw out Athletics first pitch

    Liz Roscher at Big League Stew 16 hrs ago

    The Oscars were pretty crazy on Sunday night. And you may wonder what baseball has to do with the biggest and most prestigious film awards show of the entire season.

    Truthfully, not much. But there is one really fantastic connection. Mahershala Ali won his very first Oscar for his supporting role in the film “Moonlight,” which is awesome on its own. But Ali is an Oakland, Calif., native, and a huge fan of the Oakland Athletics. He even arranged a screening of “Moonlight” (which eventually won the Best Picture award) for Athletics players.

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    — John Axford (@JohnAxford) February 27, 2017

    How considerate!

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  • World Baseball Classic 2017: Can the Dominican Republic repeat as champion?

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 1 day 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 entry: Dominican Republic.

    The Dominican Republic has one thing in mind entering the 2017 World Baseball Classic: Repeat.

    After becoming only the second country to win the Classic in 2013, this well-rounded team has an opportunity to repeat history by joining Japan as back-to-back WBC champions.

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    Is anyone willing to bet against them?

    With the return of several All-Stars, including Robinson Cano, Jose Bautista, and Nelson Cruz, and a young core led by Manny Machado, this squad is primed to do something very special. Motivation shouldn’t be a problem either. The WBC is clearly a priority for many of the country’s top players, and they aren’t just coming to hang out. They’re coming to win, and, in this instance, continue asserting  dominance.

    THREE BIG QUESTION ABOUT DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

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  • Sonny Gray not eligible for WBC after being denied insurance coverage

    Mark Townsend at Big League Stew 1 day ago

    Oakland A’s ace Sonny Gray has been forced to withdraw from the World Baseball Classic after being denied insurance coverage for the event.

    Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that the ruling stems from Gray’s time spent on the disabled list last season. Gray was on the DL for more than 60 days last year and he didn’t play in more than 10 innings after coming off the DL at the end of the season. That put him in the category of a “chronic condition player,” which prevented him from qualifying.

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    “I know Sonny’s bummed,” Oakland general manager David Forst said Sunday. “He wanted to pitch and we were excited to let him do that.

    Earlier this spring, Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin was denied eligibility for the WBC based on similar criteria.

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