Nick Punto and wife hit AT&T Park to cheer on the Cardinals in the NLCS

21 Oct
by David Brown in Fantasy Baseball, General

SAN FRANCISCO — It's a funny thing about being married to a Major League Baseball player. If you ever wanted to go on a date with your husband, and let's say you wanted to go to a game with him, well ... he's usually working. Besides, sitting in the stands for a game probably isn't the first "fun" thing that comes to mind after you've spent the past eight months in baseball stadiums.

However, in part because her husband has many former teammates playing in the NLCS, Natalie and Nick Punto acquired tickets and attended Game 6 at AT&T Park on Sunday night. Natalie Punto says it's their first baseball game together — in which he wasn't playing — in 13 years. Punto was a member of the St. Louis Cardinals' World Series team in 2011, producing one of his best offensive seasons (in limited at-bats) as a utility man. He finished this past season with the Dodgers, so rooting against the Giants probably comes naturally to him.

In fact, Punto tweeted a photo from his flight to the Bay Area, and if you notice the ring, it leaves no doubt for whom he is rooting (and roosting):

Hey, be sure to read that seat-back card for instructions in case of a water landing.

Punto's nickname is "Shredder," in case you forgot or never realized. After cutting his teeth with the Phillies, Punto transitioned west where he became the ultimate Minnesota Twin. He was an Original Gangsta Piranha for Ron Gardenhire's bunch, terrorizing the White Sox and Tigers with his gritty play, his scrappy defense and his gritty and scrappy presence overall. He also married well, has three lovely children and isn't too jaded after all these years to enjoy a night with the wife at a ballgame. Good for the Puntos.

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Outside the Game from Yahoo! Sports:

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Tags: , , , major league baseball player, , Natalie Punto, Nick Punto, NLCS, , Shredderpunto, , ,
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Japanese high school pitcher Otani opts for MLB (Yahoo! Sports)

21 Oct
TOKYO (AP) -- Japanese high school pitcher Shohei Otani says he will pursue a career in Major League Baseball instead of turning professional in Japan.
Tags: , Japanese high school, , , , , Otani, , school, Shohei Otani, TOKYO
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Worker adjusts microphone under third base before NLCS Game 3 (Photo)

17 Oct
by David Brown in Fantasy Baseball, General

ST. LOUIS — Ever wonder what a real Major League Baseball base looked like underneath? Regardless if the answer is yes or no, you do now. But these bases, like the one in the photo above used for Game 3 of the NLCS, are a little different. They've been retrofitted with microphones so Fox can better pick up its "Sounds of the Game." The microphone is located under the rectangular metal plate, screwed in on the right-hand side.

The worker in the photo was checking each set of bases made by Schutt Sports (there are at least two full sets) during batting practice to ensure the sound was coming through clearly. A technician on the other end of the microphone would advise him if the base sounded "dirty" or "clean" and the worker would whack the base and blow into it — really — to clean it out.

As he was finishing, Marco Scutaro of the San Francisco Giants saw him and asked if he were "blowing it up" like a balloon. Oh, you, Marco!

In case you're wondering what the writing on the sticker says, I transcribed one of them:


The purchaser and/or installer of this product is responsible for advising the end user of the possibility of injury while sliding into the base. The installer and/or purchaser shall read and follow safety and installation instructions packaged with this product.
Extra caution should be taken to ensure anchors are clean and base rests properly on playing surface. Under no circumstances should play commence when bottom of base is standing above playing surface. Injury may result.

Do you think anyone actually talks to the major leaguers about the dangers that sliding into bases presents? Maybe it happens during spring training? Anyway, as to the other sticker, it is a warning that the base should not be used in wet or icy conditions. And there's something about a "clear and present danger" to sliding somewhere (home plate?) but I don't know what it says because the post is in the way. Sorry.

Love baseball? Enjoying the postseason?
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Tags: , , , , Marco Scutaro, microphone, , NLCS, purchaser, , Schutt Sports, surface
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Giants OF Cabrera reinstated after 50-game ban (Yahoo! Sports)

12 Oct
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- San Francisco outfielder Melky Cabrera has been reinstated by Major League Baseball after serving a 50-game suspension for a positive testosterone test, but he will not be part of the Giants' playoff roster.
Tags: ban, , , , , , testosterone
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Former major leaguer Champ Summers dies in Florida (Yahoo! Sports)

11 Oct
OCALA, Fla. (AP) -- Former Major League Baseball player John ''Champ'' Summers has died in north Florida. He was 66.
Tags: , leaguer, , , OCALA, , Summers
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Maryland troopers ask Derek Jeter and Nick Swisher for autographs during ALDS Game 1

08 Oct
by David Brown in Fantasy Baseball, General

The Baltimore Orioles haven't reached the Major League Baseball playoffs since 1997 and nowhere was their lack of experience on the big stage more glaring than in the visitor's dugout during Game 1 of the ALDS on Sunday night.

What happened there? It wasn't something the Orioles themselves did. Instead, two Maryland state troopers, part of the security force at Camden Yards, asked a pair of New York Yankees stars — Nick Swisher and Derek Jeter — for their autographs. During the ninth inning! The Yankees went on to beat the Orioles 7-2, but not before Jeter and Swisher were shaking their heads at the faux pas.

In a piece subtitled "Stupor Troopers," the New York Post dishes the details:

"Swish was livid,'' said a person who witnessed the stupid request.

Asked if that ever happened before, Jeter said, "What do you think?"

Law enforcement officials are no strangers to big league dugouts, but after last night's behavior it's likely the Yankees will attempt to have those two troopers removed from their dugout for tonight's Game 2.

Update: A spokesperson for the Maryland State Police has responded, the Baltimore Sun reports:

Greg Shipley ... said he could not confirm troopers had asked for autographs but said the MSP is investigating the claim and has "reacted as if it did happen."

Lt. Col. Andrew J. McAndrew, the MSP's field operations bureau chief, was at Monday night's game to remind troopers of their duties and to oversee their actions, Shipley said. Officers routinely provide security at Camden Yards, with an increased presence during important, highly attended games.

Shipley called McAndrew a "pretty high-powered person" for troopers to hear from directly, and said the message won't be missed.

This should satisfy the Yankees and set things right. No sense in making Nick Swisher mad again. He's usually smiling ear to ear, even when you know he couldn't possibly be happy. And this happened in the ninth? I hope this doesn't mean one of the troopers followed Jeter to the toilet since that's where he said he was during Russell Martin's big homer. That would be doubly inappropriate. Perhaps triply or quadruply. If there's one place players shouldn't be expected to sign autographs, it's in the dugout in the ninth inning. If there's a second place, it's the bathroom.

[Also: Derek Jeter, Yankees aren't sweating over the Orioles]

Besides, it's a big no-no for ballpark rank-and-file employees, be they security or beer vendors or media, to ask for autographs. It even says so on media passes: "NO AUTOGRAPHS." Exceptions are made occasionally — like after a game, or after a season, and only if the player and regular person are familiar with each other. It's possible the troopers weren't so thoroughly warned, but even though Camden Yards was hosting its first playoff game in 15 years, they should have known better regardless.

If the Orioles would just do better at making the playoffs — say, once every five years — this can be avoided in the future.

Love baseball? Enjoying the postseason?
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Braves’ protest officially denied by MLB – Chipper Jones | ATL

05 Oct
Joe Torre, speaking on behalf of Major League Baseball, officially announced that the Braves' protest of Friday's game has been denied.
Tags: , behalf, , Chipper, Chipper Jones, Joe Torre, , , , , protest,
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MLB average attendance up 1.8 percent (Yahoo! Sports)

04 Oct
NEW YORK (AP) -- Major League Baseball's average attendance rose 1.8 percent this year to its highest level since 2008.
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Derek Holland says hacker sent homophobic slur from his Twitter account during start

01 Oct

Major League Baseball is conducting an investigation after a tweet containing a homophobic slur came from Derek Holland's Twitter account on Sunday night.

The twist: The Texas Rangers lefty was pitching against the Los Angeles Angels at the time the since-deleted tweet was posted. The message from his account (@Dutch_Oven45) read "ur a [homophobic slur]" and was directed at a user (@scubasteveo28) who had called Holland "a waste of space" after giving up seven earned runs to the Angels in what ended up being an 8-7 Rangers win. Holland said the retort was the work of a hacker, but he also admitted that his fiancée has access to his Twitter account.

Well, color me shocked — shocked! — that an Internet interaction between accounts named after a prank involving a fart and an Adam Sandler/Jackass mashup ended this way.

[Jeff Passan: Miguel Cabrera sits out Tigers' raucous celebration]

But who was the real source of the intolerance?

From Fox Sports Southwest:

"It's obvious it was not me," Holland said. "It was during the game, for one. And for two, I'm in the dugout cheering my teammates on. Why would I say that anyway to begin with?"

Holland said his fiancée, Lauren Hicks, has access to his Twitter account but reiterated that the slur was the work of a hacker. The slur was deleted quickly, according to Holland's Twitter followers, but screen caps of the message were saved and re-posted.

"It's definitely a hacker," Holland said. "Obviously my fiancée can get into it, but trust me, she's not like that. She's one of the nicest people in the world."

A quick survey of Twitter shows that some Rangers fans aren't really buying Holland's claims of a mischievous hacker. It is admittedly a tough tale to swallow given the logistics and the pitcher's admission that someone else was given the password.

As Adam J. Morris of Lone Star Ball writes:

... the idea that his account was "hacked," though, by someone who sent an ugly response to a trolling fan, and then deleted it? I'm not buying it. I get not wanting to throw his (fiancée) under the bus, but claiming he was hacked is just silly.

Texas GM Jon Daniels said the Rangers are taking the issue seriously and that "it's an unacceptable term to use." MLB's social media policy prevents players from tweeting during games and 30 minutes before first pitch. The guidelines issues by the league encourages players to connect with fans in a "positive way" and advises players to "pause and think twice before sending a message across social media in the 'heat of the moment.'"

Holland has apologized for "whoever it was that decided to hack into my Twitter and do that" but also noted that he "can't control what people do." Given the timing of the tweet, it's hard to see how MLB could possibly pin the message on Holland and give him a suspension comparable to the three games that Yunel Escobar received for his eye-black slur.

However, it's probably a safe bet to guess that Holland and his fiancée's days on Twitter are numbered.

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Melky Cabrera disqualified from NL batting title (Yahoo! Sports)

22 Sep

FILE - This March 1, 2012 file photo shows San Francisco Giants baseball player Melky Cabrera. A person familiar with the discussions tells The Associated Press that Cabrera has been disqualified from the National League batting title at his own request. The person says Cabrera asked the players' association to convey his desire to the commissioner's office and that an agreement to make him ineligible was reached Friday, Sept. 21, 2012. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because no announcement had been made. (AP Photo/Morry Gash, File)

NEW YORK (AP) -- Major League Baseball no longer has to worry about having a suspended drug cheat as batting champion.

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