It's official! Pitchers playing catch with kids in the stands during batting practice is the hottest craze in baseball — sweeping the game faster than a team playing a three-game series with the Dodgers. (Sorry, Dodgers, but you have been swept three times in May).
Actually, it's a trend that started with those Los Angeles Dodgers, when Hyun-Jin Ryu played catch with a young fan named Deuce last week. Gio Gonzalez of the Washington Nationals was next to get caught on camera doing it. Now we find Bruce Chen of the Kansas City Royals, who did it over the weekend when playing the Oakland Athletics.
Of course, the third time something happens it isn't as cool anymore. Just like with movies and Nas albums, the first one is still the best. But in this case, we'll point out two noteworthy things about Chen's effort: He's tossing the ball with A's fans, not Royals fans, which is a nice show of bi-partisan catch-playing. And he's playing with two kids, not just one.
This tell us it won't be long before the kids are lined up to play catch during batting practice like they line up for autographs.
That's correct. Prior to the White Sox 3-0 win over the Angels Friday night in Anaheim, there was a "milk the cow" competition right down on field between Chicago reliever Nate Jones and Los Angeles reliever Ryan Brasier.
That's Brasier (pronounced brey-zher), not brassiere as Tom "Wimpy" Paciorek hilariously (and perhaps intentionally) states during the clip. You know Tom.
Anyway, Brasier ended up getting his hand raised in the "milk the cow" competition, which we're sure served as a tremendous warmup for both pitchers had they been needed for an appearance later (they weren't). But the highlight of the entire clip really comes around the 1:16 mark when Hawk Harrelson begins to recall the time he rode Charlie-O the Mule, which was the Kansas City Athletics and Oakland A's mascot from 1963 to 1976, around Yankee Stadium.
Without spoiling too much of the story, we can tell you that yes, there is a picture. We can also tell you the story involves Roger Maris, a fungo bat, a bucking mule, Hawk swallowing his chaw, $25, and is definitely worth the two minute investment of your time. Trust me.
Also, I have to say that baseball players were pretty darn awesome back in the 1960s. Not to mention fearless if a friendly wager happened to be at stake. What a great time that would have been for an internet and a Big League Stew to exist.
Big BLS H/N: Comcast Sports Net Chicago
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In keeping with new tradition, I had some questions for the guys from Royals Review. Jeff Zimmerman was kind enough to provide me with some answers about the Royals before they visit the Coliseum starting today.
Anyone ever watch the show "Parker Lewis Can’t Lose." No? Good, because it was terrible early 90s TV. Like him, though, the A’s don’t have to endure a frustrating loss today, no matter how hard they try.
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