Showing posts from March, 2022

Chicago bound

Wednesday's "big deal" found the Phillies shipping outfielder Adam Haseley to the White Sox for pitching prospect McKinley Moore . Candidly, it's the admission by Dave Dombrowki that another of the 1st round picks by previous GM Matt Klentak had failed. In parts of three seasons with the Phils, Haseley never lived up to being the 8th overall selection in the 2017 draft. Along with fellow flops Mickey Moniak, Roman Quinn and Cornelius Randolph, Haseley represented a series of missed opportunities for the franchise that's gone the longest in the NL without making the playoffs. In contrast, opportunity awaits the lefty hitter in the Windy City. With Andrew Vaughn out injured and the remaining Sox outfielders mostly righthanded, Haseley might find himself in an ideal situation at least in the short term.   

Random Images

  My good pal (and fellow Canon user) Peter King captured our first glimpse of Luke Voit in Cactus League action for the Padres. He's back to wearing #45, his Yankee number before the arrival of Gerrit Cole. Entering his walk year, Aaron Judge made his case for a long-term contract extension when he crushed a pair of home runs off the Pirates in Sunday's exhibition game. (This image is from a game last September against Texas.) The Mets co-aces put on quite a show Sunday afternoon in Port St. Lucie. In what might be the only game this season in which they both appear, Jacob deGrom worked the first three innings and Max Scherzer the next six in a 7-3 victory over the Cardinals. Their next-to-last Grapefruit League appearances put the word out to very scared of facing the New Yorkers in a series this summer, when these guys will likely pitch consecutive games. Another Mets star also grabbed a place in the headlines: Francisco Lindor, off that disappointing first season in Flus

If Your Birthday is March 25th...

Image share it with Lee Mazzilli . As New York a ballplayer as you can find, the Brooklyn native played for both the Mets and Yankees. A onetime first round draft pick, he never became the superstar the Mets hoped for; he enjoyed a later-career renaissance as a pinch hitter on the Amazins' 1986 World Champs. Mazzilli returned the Yankees as a member of Joe Torre's coaching staff before a brief stint as Orioles manager. Hyun Jin Ryu has won 73 games in his eight U.S. seasons -- reaching 14 victories four times, including 2019 when he made history as the first Korean pitcher to start a World Series game.  Mike Zunino , the Rays' slugging catcher belted a career-high 33 home runs last season and is known as an adept pitch-framer. There's a Hall of Famer with a March 25th birthday:  Tom Glavine won 303 games, mostly with the Braves and was part of Atlanta's trio of Cooperstown-bound pitchers during the '90s and early 2000s. A five-time 20 game winner earned a pair

Spring Training Flashback: 2017

We're at Champion Stadium on the Disney's Wide World of Sports campus in Orlando... a terrific place for spring baseball. it was the Braves pre-season home until they moved to Newport, Florida in 2019. The wide image was taken March 8th, during the Braves/Phillies game. A day later, the Yankees arrived in Orlando -- for a packed house. Aaron Judge, who'd go on to win Rookie of the Year, gets ready to sign an autograph. Joe Girardi, once a Cub, chats with a fan supporting a then-current Cub who'd become a Yankee a few years later. Clint Frazier gets ready for his turn in the batting cage. Miguel Andujar would split 2017 between Trenton and Scranton, which earned him a five-game cameo at season's end with the Yanks. Leading off for the Yankees, it's Brett Gardner. After working a walk, Judge flips the bat back toward the Yankee dugout. Ozzie Albies leads off the bottom o f the 1st for Atlanta. He's out by just a fraction of a step. Late in the game, a first lo

Random Images

Baseball's back... and so is this weekly gallery of names making news. The biggest story broke Saturday morning, when we learned that Carlos Correa was heading to Minnesota. The three-year $105-million deal is notable for providing the standout shortstop to opt out after either of the first two seasons, thus the chance to make even more money by jumping back into the free agent pool. He also gives the Twins an even bigger bat to replace Josh Donaldson, who went to the Yankees (with Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Ben Rohrvedt) for Gary Sanchez and Gio Urshela. Two big bats will be calling the comfy confines of Citizens Bank Park home. Nick Castellanos , formerly of the Tigers, Cubs and Reds, packs bigtime righthanded power...   ...while Kyle Schwarber provides the same from the left side. While neither is likely to come close to a gold glove, tacking them onto a lineup that already includes Bryce Harper, J.T. Realmuto and Rhys Hoskins makes the Phils a pitchers nightmare. While Joe Girard

If Your Birthday is March 18th...

Image share it with J.T. Realmuto . The Phillies catcher has enjoyed two productive seasons as Bryce Harper's teammate. A three-time All Star, he'll be part of a powerful top seven in Joe Girardi's batting order while working with standout pitchers such as Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola. Pat Jarvis won 85 games in a career spent mainly with Braves. He's part of two noteworthy moments: on September 11th, 1966, he was the first batter ever struck out by future Hall of Famer -- and alltime strikeout king -- Nolan Ryan; and on May 12th, 1970, he gave up Ernie Banks' 500th career home run in a game at Wrigley Field. And we remember: Hiram Bithorn , the first Puerto Rican player to appear in the majors. The Santurce native went 34-31 in his four big league seasons -- highlighted by an 18-win, seven-shutout season with the 1943 Cubs before joining the Navy to serve in World War II. His major league career ended in 1947. Four years later, trying to mount a comeback in Mexic

Wheelin' and Dealin' and Extendin'

And the "off-season" moves keep on coming!  Hours after the big Donaldson/Sanchez deal between the Twins and Yankees, the Atlanta Braves made a big, bold move of their own. Unwilling to extend their longtime 1st baseman Freddie Freeman the six years he sought at age 32, GM Alex Anthopoulos replaced the homegrown star for a younger replica, by pulling the plug on a big and pricey deal. Matt Olson   arrives from Oakland for a quartet of top prospects. Four years younger than Freeman, he brings similar skills at a lower cost -- even factoring in the contract extension announced Tuesday. He comes with everything  but the World Series ring Freeman and his teammates earned last fall. And that's a major "but." Will Braves fans embrace him as Freeman's replacement? Will they understand that letting the "face of the franchise" go was a business decision? Could sentimental feelings get in the way for a club that just earned its second World Series championsh

Sunday Night Blockbuster

After waiting for Yankees GM to pull off a move, fans got their wish late Sunday night. Catcher Gary Sanchez 's up and down tenure in pinstripes ended, when he and infield Gio Urshela were sent to the Twins in a package headlined by Josh Donaldson . A slugging 3rd baseman with a better-than-average glove, Donaldson has starred for the A's, Braves, Blue Jays and Twins -- but is now 36 and has battled injuries of late. There's also a fascinating subplot, as Donaldson publicly called out New York ace Gerrit Cole after the mid-season crackdown on pitcher use of "sticky stuff." Also included in the deal, infielder Isiah Kiner-Falefa, in whom the Yankees showed interest before the lockout before he was sent from Texas to Minnesota on Saturday. Hours later, he's recast as a stopgap while top prospects Anthony Volpe and Oswald Peraza get more time to develop in the minors. Sanchez's unsolved issues, as both a hitter and catcher, overwhelmed his still impressive po

If Your Birthday is March 11th...

Image share it with Jeremy Hefner. The Mets current pitching coach spent parts of the 2012 and '13 seasons working off the Citi Field mound -- until Tommy John surgery halted his career. After retiring, he scouted for the Twins before becoming their assistant pitching coach. He moved back to Queens and his present position in 2020. Dan Uggla enjoyed seven productive seasons with the Marlins and Braves. The slugging 2nd baseman walked a lot -- even leading the NL in that stat in 2012. But the following season, he hit just .179 and was never again a regular. Rich Hill fits the definition of the well-traveled lefty... The oldest active pitcher in the majors begins his second tour of duty with the Red Sox this season, after signing a free agent deal just before the lockout. All told, he's appeared for 11 big league clubs. Bobby Abreu   posted impressive numbers during the heart of his career, especially 1998-2005 while starring for the Phillies. But was the sum less than the par

Raising a Toast to the Original Mets

It's only fair to reach into that collection of classic coasters and salute the Mets original brew. When New York's National League expansion team first took the field at the Polo Grounds 60 years ago Rheingold was their primary sponsor.  Future Hall of Famers were on hand to usher in the new franchise. Casey Stengel managed while doubling as carnival pitchman; Gil Hodges tapped his Brooklyn background (and his own World Series history); Richie Ashburn came with his keen batting eye, along with the dry humor he'd use successfully after moving to the Phillies broadcast booth a year later. If there was a 26th man back then, it could easily have been the ballclub's brew -- from signage at the park, to jingles and other ads as the game progressed. These days, more than one beer will likely advertise during a ballgame; their messages slotted alongside those for cars, casinos and online diversions.  

From the coaster collection

We've had fun these last few weeks celebrating, "Baseball and Ballantine." So, here's one more. My father-in-law John Robinson put together a nice collection of coasters from various brews sold in the New York area.  Long before we ever heard of "craft beers," these brands promoted themselves by helping save the finish of tables and wooden bars. These also contain a special power -- to instantly bring us back to the original Stadium, Mel on the microphone, the Mick and Roger at bat and Whitey on the mound.    

If Your Birthday is March 4th...

Image share it with one of the best remaining free agents.  Nicholas Castellanos . The 3rd baseman-turned-outfielder enjoyed his best season yet with the 2021 Reds -- with 34 home runs, 100 RBI and a .309 average -- before opting out of the remainder of his contract. He should be one of the most in-demand players once (if?) a new CBA is reached. Only three other players born on this date played more than 1000 major league games. Infielder  Cass Michaels  played for several American League teams in the decade after World War Two. He owns a bizarre distinction: he played for the 1951 Washington Senators, 1952 St. Louis Browns and 1953 Philadelphia A's -- franchises that all eventually relocated. Outfielder  Red Murray  attended Notre Dame and played for several National League teams, including the pennant winning 1911, '12 and '13 New York Giants. Clyde McCullough  caught for the Cubs and Pirates, but likely left his greatest mark as a member of the Mets organization. A co

Yankees Old Timers Day 1982

With baseball still unable to escape its labor quagmire, time to dial up more memories. This 1982 image of mine flashes back to when Old Timers Day was different: the first thing I noticed were the players along the 3rd base line. They weren't former Yankees, but old rivals from other American League ballclubs. Sitting behind them, they dominate my view... until I cropped the image and pulled them closer. Look carefully at home plate -- this is why I took the image -- the Yankee waving his cap at the adoring fans is Mickey Mantle. I recognized him by the shiny head of grey/blonde hair he sported during the '80s. Now, look to his left, just up the 1st base line where the Yankees are standing. That's #9 Roger Maris. The M&M Boys back together again.