Big League Stew
- Mike Oz at Big League Stew45 mins ago
Derek Jeter has done an exceptional job of becoming one of the famous athletes in pro sports without ever revealing too much of himself. In the give-and-take that is the modern press, where you have to expose so much of yourself to get noticed anymore, Jeter's always played his own game.
He's avoided scandal for 20 years in New York City, which seems nearly impossible given the story-sucking fangs of the tabloids there. He's smart. He doesn't answer questions that can get him in trouble. He's careful to keep his private life private (no cameras or phones, if you come to a party at his house). And he's rarely opened up to the media.
- Mike Oz at Big League Stew2 hrs ago
The average Major League Baseball game lasted 2:40 in 1984. Thirty years has tacked on more than 20 minutes. The average game this season lasts 3:02, the first year in which games have exceed three hours — and that's a reason for legitimate concern around MLB.
It's been said that commissioner-elect Rob Manfred should make pace-of-game issues his No. 1 priority when he takes over for Bud Selig in 2015, but Selig beat him to the punch Monday. He established a pace-of-game committee that will strive to speed up games.
Here's MLB's fittingly succinct release on the matter:
Major League Baseball announced that Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig has conducted a conference call with a new committee that will study the issue of pace of game. The goals of the committee will focus on decreasing time of game and improving the overall pace of play in the 2015 regular season and beyond.
- David Brown at Big League Stew4 hrs ago
Frank Wren's job as general manager of the Atlanta Braves could not withstand a brutal collapse that helped ensure another season without the playoffs.
The Braves announced Monday morning they had fired Wren and named John Hart interim GM. Hart reportedly will see the selection of Wren's replacement as the Braves move forward into a new stadium. Wren's teams went 604-523 over seven seasons, not including a 2-7 record in three postseason appearances — all in the past five years. The Braves averaged 86 victories under Wren, who succeeded John Schuerholz in Oct. 2007, but had only one first-place finish.
It reportedly is expected that manager Fredi Gonzalez will stay, though final determination probably would be up to the new boss.
This season, the Braves contended into the second half but have gone 18-30 since late July and were eliminated from playoff contention Sunday while also enduring an embarrassing 10-2 loss to the New York Mets.Mon, Sep 224:10 PM PDTPittsburgh at AtlantaPreview Game
- David Brown at Big League Stew4 hrs ago
A 27-year-old rookie with the San Francisco Giants, slugger Chris Dominguez enjoyed his first career hit — a towering home run at Petco Park — in his first major league start Sunday afternoon. The Giants fell to the San Diego Padres 5-2, further complicating their playoff prospects, but nobody could wipe the smile from Dominguez's face after he spent six seasons in the minors.
A souvenir of the occasion would have been nice, but one is not always guaranteed. In his case, Dominguez managed to retrieve the ball, but not before the 8-year-old girl who had possession of it wrote a congratulatory note on it for the ballplayer.
Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle explains:
The ball went over the fence down the left-field line, hit off the Western Metal Supply Co. building and wound up in the hands of a little girl named Estella who was celebrating her birthday.
The Padres dispatched an employee to retrieve the ball, but before a swap could be completed, the little girl’s sister got ahold of the ball and wrote on it, “Happy birthday, love M.”Mon, Sep 227:10 PM PDTSan Francisco at LA DodgersPreview Game
- Big League Stew9 hrs ago
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Never mind the strikeouts, right-hander Corey Kluber says. He's in this to get the Cleveland Indians to the playoffs.
Kluber struck out a career-high 14 on Sunday afternoon for the second straight start, leading the Indians to a 7-2 victory against the Minnesota Twins, and keeping Cleveland within 3 1/2 games of a wild-card spot in the American League.
Cleveland's playoff position is his focus, Kluber says, even though he's the first player in the majors to strike out at least 14 in back-to-back start since Randy Johnson in 2004. Kluber leads the league with 258 strikeouts, including 10 double-digit performances. If Felix Hernandez doesn't win the AL Cy Young Award, then Kluber likely will. Regardless, a different context is more precious to him.
From the Associated Press:
''When the year's over that's the kind of stuff that you'll take a second to look at and appreciate, but the important thing right now is that we got the win,'' Kluber said.Mon, Sep 224:05 PM PDTKansas City at ClevelandPreview Game
- David Brown at Big League Stew10 hrs ago
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In a season that's likely to end with the disappointment of missing the playoffs for a second straight year, everything came together for the New York Yankees on Sunday afternoon.
They beat the Toronto Blue Jays 5-2 with right-hander Masahiro Tanaka throwing 70 pain-free pitches after spending 2 1/2 months on the disabled list to rehab a partially torn elbow ligament. And that's not all: Derek Jeter went 2 for 4, finishing the series with an 8-for-15 surge that included four straight multi-hit games — a first for a Yankees player age 40 or older. Finally, Brett Gardner hit the 15,000th home run in franchise history since the Yankees started playing in New York City in 1903.Mon, Sep 224:05 PM PDTBaltimore at NY YankeesPreview Game
- David Brown at Big League Stew13 hrs ago
The Atlanta Braves collapsing down the stretch and missing the playoffs wasn't entirely the fault of outfielder B.J. Upton, though it's reasonable to think that Upton's mere existence on Atlanta's roster at roughly $15 million per season could be hastening the end of Frank Wren's career as general manager.
And Upton wasn't the sole reason the New York Mets humbled the Braves 10-2 on Sunday, a loss that was made a mere formality after Atlanta was eliminated from the postseason by Pittsburgh beating Milwaukee.
And two throws that Upton made from center on sacrifice flies didn't even count as errors because of baseball's quirky official scoring rules. But doggone it, they were bad. And kind of funny, even if the Braves don't think so. It's just not often you see a guy overthrow home plate twice by that much.
- David Brown at Big League Stew15 hrs ago
For the 11th time since the 2000 season, the St. Louis Cardinals are heading to the postseason.
Despite falling 7-2 to the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday night, the Cardinals were able to enjoy a playoff berth for the fourth straight season and 27th time in franchise history. Jay Bruce hit two of the Reds' four home runs. Cincy broke open a close game against St. Louis's bullpen with four runs in the eighth, notably on a three-run homer by Devin Mesoraco.
No matter. With the Milwaukee Brewers losing at Pittsburgh earlier in the day, Team Fredbird's going to the World Series tournament.
"October baseball is where the fun's always at," right-hander Adam Wainwright told ESPN. "We're excited to be there for sure, but the road to where we want to go, being the eventual World Series champ — hopefully — we know that comes easier through winning our division."Tue, Sep 234:10 PM PDTMilwaukee at CincinnatiPreview Game
- Mark Townsend at Big League Stew23 hrs ago
Pirates fan Bryce Robison wanted to make sure all of his favorite people were invited to his sixth birthday party, which was held on Sept. 7. Naturally, that included family and a few friends, but young Bryce also wanted his favorite Pirates player, reigning MVP Andrew McCutchen, to be there as well, so he made the effort to create and extend a special Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles themed invitation to him as well.
A little ambitious with the guest list, sure, but it's not like birthday parties come around that often. At that age, our heroes are as much a part of our lives as anyone else we know, so why not aim high and wait by the mailbox?
Of course, McCutchen was a little tied up that day. The Pirates played an early afternoon game in Chicago and later traveled to Philadelphia to begin the next series. He's been quite busy in the days that followed as well as he helps lead another Pittsburgh charge to the postseason. One could not reasonably expect him to respond to Bryce's invitation. In fact, many people in McCutchen's position wouldn't bother.
- Mark Townsend at Big League Stew1 day ago
Baseball history was made on Saturday afternoon in Oakland. Unfortunately for the A's, they were on the wrong side of it, and on the wrong side of the scoreboard yet again, losing to the Philadelphia Phillies 3-0. and most notably losing to starting pitcher Jerome Williams for the third time this season.
Losing three times to the same pitcher in a season is difficult, but it's far from a first. In fact, it happens commonly these days now that the scheduled is unbalanced and division foes meet up 18-19 times a season. However, on Saturday, Williams became the first pitcher in MLB history to beat an opponent three times in a season, each with a different team.
Before Saturday, Williams had already defeated the A's on April 26 in a relief outing with the Astros and again on July 25 as a starter with the Rangers. On Saturday, he started again, tossing seven scoreless innings while holding Oakland's struggling offense to just four hits en route to his historic third win.