Big League Stew
- Chris Cwik at Big League Stew31 mins ago
For roughly a half-hour Saturday, it looked as though Chicago White Sox ace Chris Sale was about to be traded. He was scratched from his start due to the flu, but he wasn’t actually sick. Fans of the game seemed pretty shocked that Sale might actually be on the move.
What actually happened was even more surprising. Sale was scratched from his start after it was revealed he cut up the team’s vintage jerseys because he didn’t want to wear them. It was a bizarre situation in which neither the White Sox nor Sale were willing to shed light on.
That changed Monday, as Sale gave his first interview since the incident. Sale spoke to Scott Merkin of MLB.com, and made it clear that he wants to remain with the White Sox.
- Chris Cwik at Big League Stew1 hr ago
Any kid who grows up loving baseball imagines themselves in the majors at some point. It’s the bottom of the ninth in the World Series. The bases are loaded. You’re called upon to finish off the opposing team.
For most kids, that memory comes when you’re by yourself in the backyard, or when a family member indulges in your childhood delight. Those baseball dreams rarely take place with an actual Major League Baseball player.
That’s precisely what happened to a young Oakland Athletics fan Monday. The kid noticed a couple walking a dog with an A’s bandana, and asked if they would play baseball with him. He had no idea that the man pitching to him was actually a major-league reliever.
This kid liked the A’s bandana. Asked us to play. Had no idea who he was playing with. Sean was charged with the run pic.twitter.com/78qFOcTMa6
— Eireann Dolan (@EireannDolan) July 26, 2016
Well, that ought to make your heart melt.
- Chris Cwik at Big League Stew3 hrs ago
The Stew’s Trade Deadline Digest recaps the day in news and rumors as MLB gets closer to the non-waiver trade deadline on August 1. If you missed any of Monday’s action, we’re here to help you catch up with all the important links and tidbits.
BIG ASK: The asking price for Kansas City Royals closer Wade Davis is higher than what the New York Yankees received for Aroldis Chapman. [Yahoo Sports]
HEALTHY SCRATCH: San Diego Padres outfielder Melvin Upton is not in the lineup for the second straight day. Upton is healthy, but it’s assumed the Padres are working to deal him. [@sdutdennislin]
- Chris Cwik at Big League Stew3 hrs ago
Every sport has always operated with a “what have you done for me lately” mindset. Players who were once the best in the game can be turned on by a fanbase the instant they stop producing at an elite level.
That’s pretty much what’s happening with New York Yankees designated hitter Alex Rodriguez right now. Rodriguez has had a love/hate relationship with New York over his 12 seasons with the club, but last year’s resurgence after a long suspension seemed to endear him to the fans again.
That success hasn’t carried over to this season. The 40-year-old Rodriguez is hitting just .206/.256/.364 over 227 plate appearances. While he’s still under contract with the team through 2017, there are some who are wondering whether the club should just cut ties with A-Rod.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman was asked about that during a conference call Monday, and took it as an opportunity to defend Rodriguez.
Brian Cashman was asked on his conference call about buying out Alex Rodriguez. Said that’s not being discussed. pic.twitter.com/EQo1t08X1m
— Kenny Ducey (@KennyDucey) July 25, 2016
- Mike Oz at Big League Stew4 hrs ago
For about 30 seconds on Saturday, before the wild news broke about Chris Sale throwing a fit and cutting up his throwback jersey, some baseball fans thought he had been traded to the Texas Rangers.
Imagine that rotation: Sale, Yu Darvish, Cole Hamels. Wowzer.
The trade was fake, of course, another product of a fake Twitter account in the rush of trade-deadline week. But this isn’t fake: The Rangers will be an intriguing team to watch as baseball teams try to upgrade their rosters this week for possible postseason berths.
- Mike Oz at Big League Stew9 hrs ago
Let it be known now if it weren’t already: The Chicago Cubs will do just about anything to finally win a World Series.
On Monday, that meant consummating a blockbuster trade with the New York Yankees that will bring Aroldis Chapman to town, along with his 105 mph fastball and all the baggage his name carries these days, in exchange for four players who are now going to the Yankees.
The message is clear: This is about winning. Now. Nevermind that Chapman is a free agent at season’s end. Don’t worry that he probably won’t pitch more than a couple dozen times for the Cubs. And try not to dwell on the uneasiness some Cubs fans will feel watching Chapman — the man in the highest-profile domestic violence case of baseball’s offseason — close out games in a Cubs cap.
- Liz Roscher at Big League Stew13 hrs ago
On Sunday at PNC Park, one Pittsburgh Pirates fan performed a public service for everyone watching. He made a barehanded grab of a foul ball that was so perfect that it demonstrated to everyone exactly how it should be done.
So let’s look at how exactly he got it done. It happened in the bottom of the eighth inning of the Pirates’ game against the Philadelphia Phillies. On the 3-2 pitch, catcher Elias Diaz hit the ball foul, and it careened toward the stands on the first base side. It sailed over the Phillies’ dugout, and it was headed right for a Pirates fan sitting with his son.
The man reacted quickly, rising from his seat part way, both hands up in front of him protecting his face. His hands ended up forming a little basket that the ball zoomed right into. The force of the ball falling into his hands caused him to lean back and to the side somewhat, but he didn’t have to jump to make the catch, and he didn’t fall over when it was done. His son reacted smartly as well, getting out of the way of the screaming projectile instead of trying to help his dad catch it. (I can’t imagine that would have ended well.)
Tue, 26 Jul7:05 PM EDTSeattle at PittsburghPreview Game
- Liz Roscher at Big League Stew14 hrs ago
On Sunday, Washington Nationals left fielder Jayson Werth was thrown a pitch he had no idea what to do with. In the bottom of the fifth inning of the Nationals’ game against the San Diego Padres, Padres reliever Carlos Villanueva was pitching to Werth in what would be just a three-pitch at-bat. In between two pitches in the mid-80 mph range, Villanueva threw — or soft tossed — a pitch that was 30 mph slower.
Yes, Villanueva threw Werth a slow, looping 55 mph eephus pitch for a strike. Even though it’s pretty cool that Villanueva can uncork that one when he needs to, the best part was Werth’s reaction. Once the ball hit the catcher’s glove, Werth dropped the bat to the ground, slumped his shoulders a bit, and started to look toward the umpire, his body language saying what his mouth couldn’t: “Are you kidding me with this?”
- Chris Cwik at Big League Stew1 day ago
Welcome to The Walk Off, the nightly MLB recap from Big League Stew. Here we’ll look at the top performers of the night, show you a must-see highlight and rundown the scoreboard. First, we start with a game you need to know about.
You could argue that the Houston Astros won twice on Sunday. The first win came during a 13-3 routover the Los Angeles Angels. The second came hours later, when the team announced top prospect Alex Bregman would make his major-league debut Monday.
While the 22-year-old was drafted as a shortstop last season, he’s played both third base and left field in order to add to his versatility. Over two levels, the former No. 2 overall draft pick is hitting a combined .306/.406/.580 this season. The Astros are set up the middle with Carlos Correa and Jose Altuve, and the team’s recent signing of Yulieski Gourriel could complicate the third base plans.
- Chris Cwik at Big League Stew1 day ago
Everyone remembers the best gifts they received growing up. For me, it was a Nintendo 64. I was so excited to open it and play it, that nothing else mattered. No other gift I opened that day could compare to the Nintendo 64. I don’t remember crying tears of happiness, but it’s possible that happened.
The problem with my story is that it’s not all that relatable. Sure, kids who were the same age may have a similar reaction, but that’s about it.
That’s what makes the following video so great. One dad decided to surprise his son with a baseball bat for his birthday, and … well … you should just enjoy the video.
So, yeah, did it get dusty in your house? Did you start chopping onions real quick to hide your tears? It’s fine, no one who has seen the above video will blame you.
We should note that the video is actually from July 2015. For whatever reason, it’s picked up steam and gone viral over the past few days.
What’s so great about this is that enjoying the game of baseball transcends generations. The video can be loved by a 12-year-old currently playing in Little League, and a 90-year-old grandma who used to play catch with her kids.