The first day of super regional action of the 2017 NCAA baseball tournament has begun, and the Louisville and College Station supers promise to provide some outstanding baseball drama over the weekend.
It’s nigh impossible to tell whether the ball strikes the yellow — which it clearly does — further to the left or right of the left edge of the stripe. Whatever the case, this hit should probably have been ruled a fair ball — good for, let’s say, a double. It was ruled foul on the field.
College baseball fairly recently installed rules of video replay assist, and fair and foul calls are absolutely reviewable plays. On a too-close-to-call play without any real conclusive proof in real time, this play should have been reviewed immediately. Furthermore, either the umpires or coaches can initiate a video review, which does not take place on-site. So if the umping crew didn’t call for a review, why didn’t Oregon State skipper Pat Casey? According to NOLA.com’s Ron Higgins, Casey said afterward:
Uh, yeah. Why Casey didn’t ask to stop for a review in such a high-stakes moment — Kwan’s is a big bat and he had runners at first and second — is inexplicable. Perhaps he didn’t see the ball’s flight path clear enough to raise a stink about it. Whatever the case, he most certainly should have asked for play to stop right there.
The controversy spun out onto the internet — above the fray of the field of play — so that the NCAA issued a statement regarding the policies in question in such an event as this.
Kennesaw State, led by head coach Brian Bohannon, has only been around for two seasons in the FCS’ Big South conference. In 2015, the Owls went 6-5 in their inaugural season, and they went 8-3 last season and was just one win shy of a Big South Conference title. Jacksonville State, under John Grass, has gone 33-6 over the last three seasons and has successfully reached the FCS Playoffs each year.
College football being played in Major League Baseball stadiums is a more recent trend we’ve been seeing over the years. Three bowl games are played in them, including the Arizona’s Cactus, New York’s Pinstripe, and the St. Petersburg bowls. In 2010, Illinois and Northwestern played in Chicago’s Wrigley Field, the dimensions of which caused both teams to use just one end zone, which was a bit awkward.
Wednesday’s game gives us Rick Porcello and CC Sabathia, the former mostly recovered from his rough start and Sabathia once again looking like he’s still a capable arm even at 36. Finally, Thursday gives us David Price vs. Michael Pineda, which should be a significant test for both given Price’s elbow and Pineda’s consistency issues.
Like it or not, you probably have to get used to both of these teams playing important games again, especially given how young and productive the lineups for both clubs are. The Baby Boomers are rightfully getting a whole lot of attention, especially with Aaron Judge’s monster season, but don’t forget that Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, and Andrew Benintendi are all younger than he is: All this youth might be what reignites this rivalry, as neither team are seemingly going away anytime soon.
The best way to settle Star Wars vs. Star Trek is to have a massive three-hour film featuring characters from both franchises battling it out for sci-fi supremacy. That will probably never happen. So the second-best way to settle Star Wars vs. Star Trek is at a minor league baseball game.
The Fresno Grizzlies, Triple-A affiliate of the Astros, had Star Wars night on Saturday, giving everyone free rein to dress up as their favorite Jedi, Stormtrooper, Sith Lord, or whatever the hell Yoda is. It was supposed to be a good time, until people dressed up in Star Trek costumes walked in, so they confronted each other while Ennio Morricone’s theme from The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly played. (You know what, we’re already mixing franchises; we might as well add western movie theme music.)
But fans are affected, too, and the truest test of one’s dedication to the cause is one’s willingness to sit out getting shat on by rain for hours on end, just to witness a potential advancement to the College World Series.
Some might describe this as cavalier folly. Others might cite the Gators’ dramatic walkoff victory on Saturday night again, after a four-hour rain delay as factual evidence that the end of this game bears witnessing. Wherever you land on these fans’ collective decision to stick it out, one thing is indisputable: they’re getting absolutely drenched on purpose.
I used Baseball-Reference to search for shortstops from the last 20 years, and I used their quick-‘n’-dirty guide on what WAR totals usually mean, which is this:
The Yankees have enjoyed, at a minimum, starting-caliber seasons from their shortstop in 17 of the past 20 seasons. This is not a surprise. Derek Jeter had 15 of those seasons, And Didi Gregorius had two. There have not been a lot of seasons in which the Yankees have wondered what they were going to do about their shortstop.
Judge has done his part for the Yankees in the same regard, as his on-base and slugging percentages both lead the AL, and New York finds itself a half game up on the Red Sox. Judge might even be having the top season in the AL, given Mike Trout’s inherent head start on everyone else in the game has been interrupted by his extended stint on the disabled list.
It would be fascinating and worthy of our attention if these two were on the dirt worst teams in MLB and putting up these kinds of numbers. But having them on teams that look like they should be competitive throughout the year, on classic franchises that seem to just be adding to their history of successful, homegrown stars? That adds another few layers, even if fans of Yankees and Dodgers rivals aren’t necessarily going to appreciate them the same way.
Fair enough. It’s probably the fault of the other teams with affiliates in the FSL for not thinking of this first, really.
With the promotion, you’ll get more articles like the one from the AP. There will be some positives. Glimmers will be shown. Seeds of hope will be planted. Mistakes will be made, but mistakes will not make the headlines.
And there might be some 2-for-13 stretches with strikeouts mixed in, but that’s just a technical quibble.
How brilliant: Wouldn’t you love to be sponsored by something you love? Syndergaard, who adores Cholula, gets as much free Cholula as he wants! The guy has it made in the hot sauce department, and the hot sauce department is clearly a place he enjoys spending time.
LSU and Oregon State went in for one of the more intriguing Omaha matchups of the College World Series’ opening weekend, and the Beavers have blasted out of the gates to stonewall the notoriously big bad Tigers. Things began slowly enough, with Oregon State crossing a single run in the top of the first to pull out a tenuous 1-0 lead, but the Beavs have pounced on LSU in the middle innings.
In the top of the fifth, LSU completely forgot how to play baseball, committing two heinous errors in the frame to plate three Oregon State runners, and in the process granting every ounce of momentum to the Beavs. Things are not going well for the Tigers, to say the least.
The Rockies slipped in the standings, sure, but they still possess a postseason spot, and the Cubs only managed to gain one game in the process, one that will likely end up as their best chance to gain ground.
The gap has closed a little bit for the non-Cubs teams the Pirates were previously the next-closest after Chicago at 11 games back, but now it’s the Braves at eight games back. Do you think the Braves are going to end up winning a wild card spot in a rebuilding year when they’re already eight back? Probably not! Cheer up, Rockies fans: your team is still in a great place.
It also helps that Colorado won six games in a row before dropping eight, so over their last 14, they’ve been pretty close to .500, and are 14-11 overall in the month of June. It’s disappointing that the Rockies weren’t able to build on their 14-3 start to June, sure, but they’re still in a great place as the month nears its close, and taking their next series will turn that narrative right around again.
Major League Baseball umpires have one of the toughest jobs in the sport. They never have a home game, and no fans come to the stadium to cheer them on. Maybe that should change, thanks an umpire like John Tumpane.
Tumpane was in Pittsburgh on Wednesday, in town to work the series between the Pittsburgh Pirates and Tampa Bay Rays. He spotted a woman climbing over the railing on the Roberto Clemente Bridge near PNC Park.
Zack Hess spelled Lange in the eighth, and he needed just 23 pitches to work his way out of the last five outs. The big boy pitcher currently sports the Wild Thing haircut shave from the Major League franchise on the back of his head, and he dealt absolute heat to strike out the day’s final batter.
That’s a big time celebration for the hurler, and synecdoche for LSU on a grander scale, insofar as they were crushed by 12 runs just days previous. Skipper Paul Mainieri was asked about Hess’ personality after the big win, and, well:
The Tigers and Beavers will meet to decide one of the College World Series’ final two teams on Saturday, time to be announced.
Zack Hess has kindly agreed via tweet not to strangle his day’s starter after such a masterful performance despite Lange calling him gross on Twitter what with Lange holding the Beavs down to just one run in the victory. Thank you, Zack Wild Thing Hess, you’re the best.
Dear Lange, Great job today on the 30th Win. And thank you for the compliment. Now I won’t strangle you in your sleep. With love, Hess ??
Earlier this week, we implored you to start paying attention to the Colorado Rockies. All the reasons you need to do so are in that article. But there’s another team in the NL West that you need to start paying attention to. In fact, the entire National League only has five teams with a winning record right now – three of them are in the NL West, and one of those teams just happens to be the Arizona Diamondbacks.
If this feels a little like shuffling deck chairs, that’s because it is. Changes to the coaching staff is the last thing a team can try before just firing its manager. And Mozeliak essentially said that the future is in manager Mike Matheny’s hands. He gave a four-to-six-week timeline for improvement and didn’t give any assurances to Matheny that his job was safe in the future. The only vote of confidence? Mozeliak said I want him to feel confident we trust him to do his job, but we need to do better. Yikes.
It’s not like there’s no hope for the Cardinals. They may be fourth in the division, but they’re just 4 1/2 games out of first place. They’re behind the Reds, who are supposed to be deep into their rebuild. And the Brewers are at the top of the NL Central, somehow. There are still a lot of games left to play, and that division is going to change a lot over the next three-plus months. This team may not be the best one the Cardinals have fielded in the past decade, but there’s still time for them to figure it out. And time for Matheny to save his job.
Charlotte Wilder found out that Noah Syndergaard loves hot sauce a lot. Like, a whole lot. Really, really, really a lot. And also: A hot dog is not a sandwich. Noah says so.
The super regionals for the 2017 NCAA baseball tournament started yesterday, and that means we’re even closer to the exciting College World Series.
The second day of super regional play in the 2017 NCAA baseball tournament featured eight games at all eight tournament sites, and Louisville and Texas A&M were the first two teams this year to punch their tickets to the College World Series proper in Omaha, Neb.
The Cardinals downed the Wildcats, 5-2, on Friday then again, 6-2, on Saturday, and Drew Ellis and company are in business in the round of eight. Ellis, in fact, scorched off three home runs in the Louisville super, and his is the hot bat of the tournament currently.
The guy they want to draft (whoever that might be) should still be there at No. 3, where they traded down to. Moving off the top spot helped their payroll out, helped shed light on directions they hope to take with players they already have, and made it clear that there are likely more trades coming. They got in this situation to begin with due to trading established stars (Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett) to the Nets in exchange for draft picks well down the road, one of which netted them the top spot in this season’s draft.
Now, fans around the NBA are invested in what Boston does next, if trading the pick that could net a potential superstar to a rival will backfire, or if it’ll turn out that Celtics’ general manager Danny Ainge has made a prescient move. Imagine if MLB could add these levels of intrigue to its own draft and transactions each season? The Twins passed on consensus No. 1 Hunter Greene just last week: How could they have helped their own rebuild and current path to contention out if they had been able to deal out of that spot instead of just passing on him?
The Washington Nationals used their 27th round pick in the MLB draft to pick Darren Baker, son of Nationals manager Dusty Baker and one-time very small, very cute batboy.
Darren became famous after he was saved by Giants first baseman J.T. Snow during the 2002 World Series. Darren, who was tasked with picking up bats larger than himself at the age of 3, almost got hit by a baserunner at home plate. Everyone was safe but the situation was a scary one:
And that was almost 15 years ago! Wanna feel even older? Darren just finished high school and had committed to play college baseball at the University of California before the draft.
This isn’t the first time a team has sold organic material to fans at a premium price. In 2014 Notre Dame decided to move from grass to turf and sold 2-foot-by-5-foot chunks of the field for $150 each. That grass didn’t commemorate a championship, but it’s still a big hunk of grass vs. a leaf like the Cubs are selling.
Fans are being allowed to purchase a maximum of 10 leaves from the Wrigley Field ivy, and have to pay a $15 shipping fee. If you’re the kind of person who would ever contemplate buying leaves of ivy for $200 here’s a few suggestions on better memorabilia you could get for the money.
Addison Russell came closest for the Cubs, with a defense-heavy 4.3 WAR last year, but the rest of the list is more amusing than amazing. Starlin Castro gave them four solid years, but before that was Ryan Theriot for two, a fluky .274 season from Neifi Perez, two from the OK-est shortstop from the last two decades, Ricky Gutierrez, and one from Jose Hernandez, a dinger-and-whiff oddball who was just a little ahead of his time.
The Astros just completed their third consecutive sweep, and have won 10 games in a row. They’re 15-4 over their last five series, and they only dropped one during the entire month of May: a three-game sweep at the hands of the Indians that somehow accounted for three of the four losses in the stretch mentioned above. They’ve basically been unstoppable outside of that Cleveland set.
Houston is 13.5 games up on the second-place Angels, who are only two games under .500 and just 2.5 out of a wild card spot. There’s only one other team outside the AL West this season that’s at least 13.5 games out from the division leader, and that’s the NL East’s last-place Phillies, who sit 15.5 back of the Nationals. And as good as the Nats have been, they’ve notched six fewer victories than the ‘Stros, and lost four more games.
Rosario now has eight home runs on the season, only five off his previous high of 13 from his rookie season in 2015. He has only had three hits, let alone bombs, in a game twice this season. However, in his short career, Rosario’s BABIP usually hangs around the .330 mark. Currently, it’s at .295. Never mind that the Twins’ offensive output was deviant, Rosario’s output could be a sign, especially if his BABIP resets to his average, that his numbers will only go up from here.
Never mind that Rosario’s third home run was knock off of position-player-pitcher Carlos Ruiz. Across the diamond, the Mariners ERA per game is 4.55, 21st in MLB. The Twins cared not that Mariners starting pitcher Christian Bergman had previously held them to one earned run on four hits June 9, just a week earlier. Thursday’s game was a stark contrast to Tuesday’s 11-run 2.2 innings pitched. The Mariners have three injured starters, but will send Sam Gaviglio to the mound Wednesday as the Twins look to sustain the unsustainable.