Posted on: May 6, 2011 10:10 am
Edited on: May 6, 2011 10:13 am
By Matt Snyder
THE SAN FRANCISCO TREE: There's a nine-foot tall avacado tree growing behind the center-field wall at AT&T Park. It was born when a former groundskeeper left an avacado pit in a jar of water for a few months, only to see it sprout. He needed a place to plant it, so he did so at the ballpark. Ten years later, it's now standing in an area where the club grows replacement sod for the playing surface. It's a really cool and quirky story you don't see often. (Mercurynews.com )
QUICK TURNAROUND: The Rangers played a night game in Seattle and will have to rush back home to face the Yankees Friday night. They're looking at getting home just over 12 hours before the start of Friday's game. The Yankees, on the other hand, we already checked into their hotel in Arlington before the Rangers Thursday game in Seattle was even started. Shouldn't getaway day pretty much always be a day game, with things like these happening frequently across baseball? Well, city ordinances are in the way. Seattle only allows the Mariners to play eight day games due to traffic issues around the ballpark. There are things like this in several cities across the nation, too. It's just one of those things teams have to deal with from time to time. Hey, they get to play baseball for living, they can deal with the quick turnaround, right? (ESPN Dallas )
QUIET RETIREMENT: Remember Russ Adams? He played for the Blue Jays for a handful of seasons and has disappeared. Apparently he retired Thursday from Triple-A Buffalo (a Mets affiliate). (ESPN New York )
DAMON RISING: Johnny Damon is climbing up the all-time hit list, as he now sits 75th. That's right, of all the guys who have ever played in Major League Baseball, only 74 have collected more hits than Damon. It's actually realistic for him to climb into the top 55 by the end of the season, too. Feels like he might have a pretty underrated body of work, but I wouldn't start talking about the Hall of Fame until he's retired and we can let his resume breathe. Here's a trivia question: There are four active players with more career hits than Damon. Can you name them? (Tampabay.com )
REVIEWING Cliff Lee TRADES: The Seattle Times rounds up the three Cliff Lee trades. There are some names you'll recognize in there, like Ben Francisco, Lou Marson, Jason Donald, Carlos Carrasco, Mark Lowe and Justin Smoak. And while Smoak is hitting quite well right now and could turn into a star, the hauls each team got for Lee don't look to measure up to Lee himself at this point. COnsidering the Phillies got prospects back for Lee and then went and signed him in free agency, they'd have to be considered the winners. Honestly, though, I can't really see a big loser. The Indians got lots of young talent and weren't re-upping with him. The Mariners essentially exchanged prospects for a few months of Lee, but Smoak appears to be the best player that changed teams in the trades other than Lee. The Rangers gave up Smoak and only had Lee for a half-season, but went to the World Series.
REVIEWING THE GRANDERSON TRADE: By August of 2010, many were talking about how the Yankees' deal to acquire Curtis Granderson was a loss. After all, the Tigers ended up with Austin Jackson, Max Scherzer, Phil Coke and Daniel Schlereth while the Diamondbacks got Ian Kennedy and Edwin Jackson. But looking at Granderson vs. Jackson this season shows the Yankees didn't fare too poorly either -- and it's probably because Granderson's gonna drop 40 bombs , right? (WSJ.com )
TAKING ONE FOR THE TEAM: I absolutely love this one. A Royals blogger a while back suggested Wilson Betemit should have let himself get hit by an inside pitch with the bases loaded in a tie game. Fans do this all the time without thinking about the pain aspect, but to Lee Judge's credit, he wanted to put his money where his mouth was. So he got with the team and they fired up the pitching machine and he wore a 92 m.p.h. fastball, just to see what it felt like. There's a video and everything. (Kansascity.com ). As an aside, I have an excuse to pimp my brother's feat here. He played baseball for Valparaiso University and was hit by a pitch a whopping 27 times his senior year. So I have access to a great authority in HBPs. You know what he would say? YOu're damn right it hurts, but it's only temporary.
NOVEL CONCEPT: While many teams in baseball are suffering downturns in attendance due to the economy, weather and probably some other factors, the Blue Jays are flourishing. They're up 56.6 percent since last season at this point, and this with the on-field product not doing so well. So, what gives? Well, for the first time in years they have made an aggressive marketing campaign. Wow, go figure. (The Globe and Mail )
HIGH PRAISE: Jerry Hairston has faced Greg Maddux, Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson and Roger Clemens -- easily the big four guys who endured the PED era from the bump. So when he says "he's the best pitcher I've ever faced," who was he talking about? Roy Halladay. (Nationals Journal )
REMEMBER ME? Joey Devine is going to return to the A's bullpen soon. If you'd forgotten about him, you're forgiven. Devine has missed the past two seasons after having Tommy John surgery. He's 3-0 with a 0.00 ERA in 7 1/3 innings in Triple-A Sacramento. He's struck out nine hitters without allowing a single walk. He's only given up three hits. Yeah, I'd say he's ready. When Devine last threw in the majors, he was lights-out. In 2008, he had a 0.59 ERA, 0.83 WHIP and 49 strikeouts in 45 2/3 innings out of the Oakland bullpen. He's still only 27, so he will be a major reinforcement for an already-strong pitching staff. Expect a promotion within the next few days.(SFGate.com )
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