Big League Stew
- Jeff Eisenberg at Big League Stew39 mins ago
The last time neither the Red Sox nor Yankees qualified for the American League playoffs, a gallon of gas cost barely a dollar, Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You" was Billboard's No. 1 song and "Jurassic Park" was America's highest-grossing movie.
That 21-year streak will almost certainly end this season.
Baltimore took a giant step toward ensuring the playoffs won't include either Boston or New York on Tuesday night when it clinched the American League East championship with an 8-2 victory over second-place Toronto. First baseman Steve Pearce and third baseman Jimmy Paredes both belted home runs to power the Orioles to their first division title since 1997.
In the 17 years between Baltimore's division championships, Boston or New York have claimed every AL East title every besides 2008 and 2010 when Tampa Bay dethroned baseball's two big-budget behemoths. This year, the underachieving Red Sox haven't sniffed playoff contention since before the all-star break and the aging Yankees have hovered around .500 all season and began Tuesday six games out of the final Wild Card spot.
- Mark Townsend at Big League Stew2 hrs ago
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As Derek Jeter's final season winds down, only three of stops remain on his farewell tour. Wednesday night will mark Jeter's final game at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, and on Tuesday the Tampa Bay Rays joined the rest of baseball in honoring Jeter with a series parting gifts.
In perhaps the most touching presentation during Jeter's final campaign, Don Zimmer's widow Soot Zimmer was joined on the field by Rays veterans Evan Longoria and Jose Molina. Together, they presented Jeter with a framed No. 66 Zimmer jersey, which we're guessing will immediately shoot to the top of Jeter's favorite gifts list.
Soot Zimmer is here. Jeter is being presented with a framed Don Zimmer No. 66 jersey.
- Jeff Eisenberg at Big League Stew3 hrs ago
One of the loudest ovations Tuesday night at Petco Park will surely go to a member of the visiting team.
Philadelphia Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg ensured that when he inserted the son of San Diego's most beloved athlete into his lineup.
Tony Gwynn Jr. will start in centerfield and bat leadoff against the Padres three months to the day after his 54-year-old father lost a four-year battle with cancer. Barring a last-minute lineup change, the younger Gwynn will make his first plate appearance in his hometown since May 2012 when he was a member of the Dodgers.
Stepping to the plate to begin Tuesday's game promises to be yet another emotional moment for the younger Gwynn in a season that has been tumultuous from start to finish.LivePhiladelphia1 - 2San DiegoFollow Game
- David Brown at Big League Stew6 hrs ago
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Major League Baseball reportedly looked into disciplining right-hander Marcus Stroman of the Toronto Blue Jays — but won't punish him — after he threw a pitch near the head of Caleb Joseph of the Baltimore Orioles on Monday night.
No discipline anticipated for Blue Jays' Marcus Stroman over head-high pitch to Orioles' Caleb Joseph, industry source said.
The Orioles believe that Stroman, a 23-year-old rookie, was retaliating in the sixth inning for Joseph blocking the plate illegally (the Jays say), and unnecessarily stepping on the hand of Toronto's Jose Reyes an inning earlier. Both teams were warned by the plate umpire immediately after Stroman's pitch, which Stroman later said simply slipped. After striking out Joseph to end the sixth, Stroman engaged the Orioles bench in unfriendly banter, and was shooed off the field by O's manager Buck Showalter.
- David Brown at Big League Stew8 hrs ago
Baltimore Orioles slugger Chris Davis became a good Samaritan on Tuesday afternoon after encountering a serious traffic accident along southbound Interstate 295. An Orioles fan named Mike Soukup sent the details to reporter Roch Kubatko of MASN. The fan says Davis helped to lift an overturned pickup truck that had thrown one person from it and had another pinned underneath it.
Keep in mind that Major League Baseball sacked Chris Davis for amphetamines, and not some kind of Incredible Hulk gamma radiation steroid strength drugs, when it suspended him for 25 games recently.
- David Brown at Big League Stew9 hrs ago
Giancarlo Stanton showed his face Tuesday, and it looked a lot better than it did Thursday after an errant pitch struck him there. Even though the"before" photo is pretty disturbing, the "after" pic shows how much progress Stanton has made since suffering facial lacerations and fractures, along with dental damage, from being hit. The stitches come out today.
Stanton is even hopeful that more tests, which are being conducted Tuesday, will allow him to return to the Miami Marlins lineup this season. That would be a welcome surprise. Miami is 73-76, six games back in the wild card, but having Stanton back this season would lay to rest any offseason worries about him getting back on the horse and playing ball.
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- Kevin Kaduk at Big League Stew9 hrs ago
Goodbye Turner Field. Hello SunTrust Park.
The Atlanta Braves held a ceremonial groundbreaking for their new ballpark on Tuesday and also took the opportunity to announce the name of their new digs. SunTrust Banks, which is based in Atlanta, bought the naming rights for a 25-year period,the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. The financial terms were not disclosed.
Located in suburban Cobb County, SunTrust Park is scheduled to open for the 2017 season. Hank Aaron and commisioner-to-be Rob Manfred were on hand for the groundbreaking.
All in all, that's not a very exciting announcement. Then again, they usually aren't since most new parks get christened through corporate dollars. On the bright side, it's a financial score for the Braves franchise that this deal has already been locked up considering two division rivals — Washington and Miami — play in parks that haven't attracted sponsors and still bear generic names. (Let's not even get into Citi Field ...)
- Kevin Kaduk at Big League Stew11 hrs ago
Derek Jeter is mired in an 0-for-24 slump, which led to him being left out of the Yankees lineup and on the bench in Monday night's series opener against the Tampa Bay Rays.
That was bad news for Tampa area residents, who had bought tickets for one last look to see the outgoing star play, but good news for those photographers without fancy zoom lenses.
Namely one adorable older woman, who had her heart set on snapping a photo of Jeter and only had to stroll down to the end of her section as he sat on the bench in the bottom of the second inning.
The enterprising photographer showed a lot of hustle in achieving her goal, too. As you can see in the video, it was a tricky proposition, even though Jeter's range in the dugout was even more limited than his range at short. For one, she had to get Jeter's attention as he leaned against the dugout rail.
For another, she had Tropicana Field security attempting to move her from blocking the view of others. (C'mon security guy, give her some time to compose the shot!)
- Mike Oz at Big League Stew19 hrs ago
This was one of those wins that playoff-caliber teams have to eke out. And as weird as it may seem still, when we're talking about the Kansas City Royals, we're talking about a team that has every intention of playing in the postseason.
If that happens, Monday night's win may be one of those signature moments that makes the postseason DVD. The Royals beat the White Sox 4-3, earning a walk-off win after scoring twice in the bottom of the ninth. The Royals had lost five of seven and slipped out of first place in the AL Central. They're owners of the second AL wild card and 1 1/2 back in the division, keeping pace with the Detroit Tigers who also won in the ninth inning Monday night.LiveChi White Sox4 - 5Kansas CityFollow Game
- Mike Oz at Big League Stew20 hrs ago
The celebration on the field was subdued. The Los Angeles Angels knew this was only the first step. The first of many, they hope.
The Angels became the first team to clinch a playoff berth, by beating the Seattle Mariners 8-1 on Monday night. The Angels still have a magic number of three to win the AL West, but they've clinched at least a wild-card spot.
The division title will come. Heck, the 100-win plateau might come too. They're at 94 after beating Seattle. And then the postseason will come. There are lots of things to clinch for the Angels still, and they'll celebrate then, but crossing the first thing off the to-do list is always nice.
''Guys are aware that this is one little milestone that we need, and I think they're proud of that,'' manager Mike Scioscia said. ''But we have a long way to go. I think these guys know the bigger prize that we need to keep our eyes on.''
The Angels got another strong outing from rookie pitcher Matt Shoemaker, who improved to 16-4 this season after pitching 7 2/3 innings and giving up just one run.LiveSeattle0 - 2LA AngelsFollow Game