I was talking to someone today and they told me they actually think the suspension to Ozzie Guillen is a blessing in disguise. They think it would have done the Marlins manager more favors if he was suspended for the entire upcoming home stand. That way the focus could be taken off of him and turned to playing baseball. This person is probably right. The Marlins and their high level people (Loria and Sampson) could not have had a more difficult PR situation to deal with. Its almost as if this was eventually going to happen at some point. There was just no way to predict this would happen not even one week into the season.
- If the Marlins players want to help their coach, they can have a huge next two days in Philadelphia. The team is sending its ace to the mound tonight to face the Phillies ace. And as we have seen across all of baseball early on, the biggest name teams (Yankees, Red Sox, and Phils) have gotten off to rough starts. So the Marlins could indeed take some pressure off their coach by sweeping Philadelphia, and then coming home to a fan base that is not too happy. I believe the media will help out when they start writing on how the NL East is there for the taking now that the Phillies do not look as impressive as in the past. We'll see.
- How big has the Ozzie words on Fidel Castro gotten? The Wall Street Journal reviews his situation here. Its not as if the Journal is afraid to touch a sports topic. A traditional topic would have to do with a teams profits. But this is obviously bigger than a conversation on the new stadium and the revenues it is bringing in.
- In case you haven't been to the new Marlins Park yet (which I am sure is most of us since there has only been one regular season game there up to this point), Marlin Maniac does a good job of giving you a heads up on the rough patches at the new stadium. Right away they dive into parking.
- There is a young couple embarking on a 152 day trip across this great nation to see 119 ballparks. Not only see the stadiums, but also view a game in each one. The trek will take them all the way from Florida to California. In fact, the first ballpark they visited was the home of the Marlins Double A affiliate, the Jacksonville Suns.
- Even though its early on, the Zephyrs relievers extended their scoreless-innings streak 19 2/3. In fact, the team beat Memphis on Monday in the 13thinning. Great to see the relieving core is off to a good start. Stay on your A-game Heath Bell!
- Giancarlo Stanton missed Monday afternoon's win against the Phillies due to left knee pain. Actually it was not known that he would not play until 40 minutes before first pitch. Austin Kearns started in his place and hit a home run off of the new Phillies closer, Jonathan Papelbon. As a reminder, this is the same knee that gave Stanton trouble last year. The team did not rule him out playing Wednesday night.
Around the League - Contract Extensions
- Brandon Phillips and the Reds have agreed to a six year, $72.5 million contract extension. This will keep the second basemen in Cincinnati until he is 36 years old. With the extension of Joey Votto last week, the Reds right side of the infield will stay in-tact for a long time.
- Another second basemen agreed to a major extension on Tuesday. The Rangers and Ian Kinsler have come to an agreement on a six year deal. This is one of the Rangers best players. Very consistent even. Great move.
- The Indians locked up one of the best catchersin baseball, Carlos Santana. The deal is for five years, $21 million. The team did not overspend for a guy they think could turn out to be the next Mauer or Napoli in terms of offensive production.
At Fish Stripes
- Want to talk stolen bases? Read this article from Mr. Jong by clicking here. It describes what the stolen bases could mean to the success of the ball club this season.
- Have you checked out Full Count yet? You won't be disappointed. Click here to read about Yahoo! and their exciting baseball page addition for this season.
Editor’s note: This originally ran in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on April 1. _____________________ Every spring, the ritual repeats itself. As major league baseball teams break camp, managers report that their athletes have never been in better condition, predict that rookies … Continue reading →
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DETROIT (AP) Tampa Bay Rays right-hander Jeremy Hellickson has been taken to a hospital as a precaution after being hit in the head by a ball during batting practice before Wednesday’s game at Detroit.
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Here is the latest update on the soon-to-be Wilmington Braves, which would be an Advanced A-ball affiliate of the Atlanta Braves, replacing their current affiliate, the Lynchburg Hillcats. The report comes via a local North Carolina news channel:
The Atlanta Braves and Mandalay Baseball Properties say they have a financing model that would allow a proposed ballpark in Wilmington be financed and constructed privately. Braves Executive Vice President of Business Operations Mike Plant made the announcement at a news conference in downtown Wilmington this morning.
Wilmington developer, Raiford Trask, the President of Trask Land Company, and Clay Boardman, CEO of Flywheel LLC in Georgia, have stepped up to the plate as the private partners. [...]
"This is a private initiative now, but it's a public-private partnership," Neumann said.
The Braves and Mandalay have put together a development team. Members say they will help minimize the city's construction risk and speed up the timeline so the team can begin playing in April 2014.
That's great news for the folks in Wilmington. Not only will they not have to shoulder the tax burden of a baseball stadium, but they should reap all the benefits of a minor league team and the development that is being proposed around the stadium area.
While the stadium itself would seem to be privately financed, in these types of deals the "public" part of the still mentioned public-private partnership in the quote above would likely be in the form of free land. Essentially the city of Wilmington would buy and/or secure the land for the park and lease or give it to the Braves to build the stadium on. That could involve land already owned by the city, or land secured by a purchase or eminent domain (hopefully not the latter).
The Braves seem dead set on making this deal happen, and have already quickly worked their way around the first obstacle, which was the resistance of many in Wilmington to build the team a stadium with taxpayers' money.
I like the idea of putting the team in Wilmington. It's an undeserved market for baseball, it gives the Braves a team on the coast (replacing their presence in Myrtle), and it's closer to Atlanta than Lynchburg, which means I would be able to get up there and see them more often. As I've said in other articles on this proposed deal, I just wish they would choose a more original name than the Wilmington Braves. That's not official yet (it's just my speculation), but you know it's gonna happen.
Amy K. Nelson spent MLB Opening Day in Miami for the opening of a new ballpark, featuring the new look Miami Marlins with Ozzie Guillen as manager. Exactly one week later, she returned to find all the pageantry forgotten, as Guillen's remarks about Fidel Castro set off a swarm of protest and distrust throughout the community of Little Havana (Via SB Nation Studios).
Last night, the Baltimore Orioles played their longest game of the season ? 12 innings ? and lost to the New York Yankees, 5-4.
The Orioles have lost two in a row. They blew opportunity after opportunity on Tuesday and the Yankees won the game in the top of the eleventh as pinch-hitter Raul Ibanez drilled a ground-rule double to right off reliever Pedro Strop ? who took the loss.
Strop allowed Cano to reach base and advance to second off a groundout by Alex Rodriguez before Ibanez?s fatal blow.
Former Oriole Clay Rapada earned the victory, and Mariano Rivera earned the save, the first of the season and the 604th of his long career. Rivera was flat-out dominant, and even at his advanced age, the Orioles seemingly had little chance once he came in.
Well, the big story of the night was the debut of Wei-Yin Chen. In his major league debut, Chen held his own against the Yankees until the sixth inning. Overall, he gave up four runs ? two earned ? in 5 2/3 innings, struck out six and walked one. He does not light up the radar gun, but used a mix of off-speed stuff and disrupting the batter?s timing to get outs.
Chen shows you the velocity on your pitches isn?t everything ? but location is.
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First off, I would like to apologize to all Marlin Maniac’s for this delayed game recap. Shortly after the Miami Marlins and
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An all around good effort from the Sky Sox last night, highlighted by what feels like Christian Friedrich's best pitching performance in years. The 2008 first round draft pick, in need of a turnaround season, tossed seven and a third innings of shutout baseball, allowing only two hits and a walk while striking out six, leading him to his first win of 2012. Dustin Molleken and Edgmer Escalona finished the game cleanly. Solo home runs from Chad Tracy and Wil Nieves (their first of the year each) accounted for the Sky Sox offense's production, though Hernan Iribarren continued his strong start to the season with two hits and a walk. DJ LeMahieu stole two bases, and has snagged five on the season. For only the second time in six games, no Sky Sox defensive errors were scored.
Though limited to 77 pitches in preparation for his promotion to the MLB club this Sunday, Drew Pomeranz was stellar through his four innings at the start of the game. He allowed four hits and a walk and no runs, while striking out four. Though Corpus Christi's 12 hits on the game were only one fewer than the 13 Drillers knocks, they did no damage until the ninth inning off of Josh Sullivan, in his first season as a full-time reliever. The Drillers did most of their damage early in the game off of Hooks starter Henry Villar, scoring all six of their runs in the second and third innings. Between Ben Paulsen and Tim Torres, batting fourth and fifth in the lineup, were two home runs and four hits, but also five strikeouts. Angelys Nina managed a three hit game, and Lars Davis was the final multi-hit Driller with two hits. Pomeranz also recorded a hit. For once Nolan Arenado wasn't the center of attention, going 1 for 5, a double. Reliever Joey Williamson picked up his second win in this young season.
Check after the jump for reports on Modesto and Asheville.
Tyler Matzek was impressive for the second start in a row, music to the ears of those who were terrified by the absurd box scores that often accompanied Matzek starts in 2011. The pattern is still the same: lots of walks and strikeouts, but so far this season, it has leaned far more heavily towards "effectively wild" than "just wild". Matzek walked three batters and allowed two earned runs (including a home run) on four hits, but also notched eight strikeouts in his five innings pitched. Matzek is 0-2 on the season through two starts, but it's hard to be disappointed so far. The biggest flaw of the game was the offense, which was no-hit with the exception of two extra base hits from Corey Dickerson, who scored the Nuts' only run on a throwing error after his triple. Only Helder Velazquez also reached base, on a walk. Designated hitter Bryce Massanari struck out in all three of his at bats. Though Leuris Gomez allowed a solo home run during his two innings pitched, he combined with Isaiah Froneberger for seven more strikeouts in the final four innings of the game, bringing the total Nuts strikeouts to 15.
The Tourists barely pulled out the walk-off win after the West Virgina Power slowly picked away at an early lead, tying the game in the sixth inning and again in the eighth. Tyler Massey, who has been stuck in a perpetual time-loop at Asheville since 2009, had two hits in the game, and his second inning home run began a four run frame. Harold Riggins drove in two runs in the game. Every Tourist batter had a hit except for Jared Simon. The Tourists scored the winning run in the bottom of the ninth without recording a hit. After Rosell Herrera and Brian Humphries walked, David Kandilas bunted the runners into scoring position. Herrera crossed the plate on a wild pitch, not long after West Virginia had tied the game in the same manner. From the pitching side of things, starter Alex Gillingham labored through five innings, allowing eight hits and three earned runs, and two walks in addition. Control was also a problem for relievers Jefri Hernandez and Nelson Gonzalez, who each walked two of their own. Gonzalez was brought in to get a six out save after Hernandez failed to retire a batter in the eighth. Each pitcher was credited for a blown save, but Gonzalez got his first win of the year as well.