ST. LOUIS — The journey back to normalcy — or whatever the new normal will look like in a world where vaccines are available and our ability as a society to lessen COVID-19’s impact has increased — is a bit different for everyone. There are small steps and big steps along the way.
For me, Thursday represented two big steps. Giant steps. Long-, long-awaited steps.
After dropping our kiddo off at daycare, I drove a couple hours down Interstate 44. At a drive-thru vaccination site on a Phelps Health Center parking lot in Rolla, Mo., I got my second dose of the Pfizer vaccine at 9:53 a.m.
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Two words kept rolling around in my head as I waited the recommended 15 minutes before heading back to St...
The New York Mets won their home opener against the Miami Marlins on Thursday afternoon after the umpires botched a hit-by-pitch call that sent in the walk-off run in the ninth inning.
The Mets trailed the Marlins 2-0 going into the bottom of the ninth when Jeff McNeil opened the frame with a solo blast to pull within one. New York then loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the ninth when Michael Conforto stepped to the plate.
On a 1-2 count, Marlins pitcher Anthony Bass hit Conforto on the elbow to give the Mets the game-winning run. Upon replay, it was obvious that Conforto stuck his elbow out to be intentionally hit by the pitch. That’s against the rules — it should have been ruled as strike three and the second out of the inning...
The grand slam is arguably the most thrilling and exciting thing that occurs in a baseball game. The prerequisite to one, of course, is that the bases be loaded. In the 21st century, that’s been the case approximately 2.47 percent of the time in Major Leagu Baseball. That is about once every 40.5 plate appearances. And yet, in 2013, Milwaukee Brewers right fielder Nori Aoki entered the batter’s box 674 times; the bases were loaded for him … zero times.
Poor Nori Aoki played a full-ass season with nary a single opportunity to break out the rye bread and mustard. This when the average big leaguer would’ve been expected to have about 16.6 such opportunities. Here’s how that stacks up since 1973 (the start of full base-occupied data splits at Baseball-Reference):
The Rays carried a payroll below $30 million to the World Series but are apparently thinking about savings heading into next season.
Their cost-cutting mindset reportedly could lead to a trade of Blake Snell, the former Cy Young winner who allowed just six runs in 19 innings between the 2020 ALCS and World Series. Snell is under a cheap deal relative to his talent — he’s owed an average of $13 million per year through 2023 — but few salaries are ever safe for members of Tampa Bay’s skeletal franchise.
Tampa Bay is “open to the idea” of a deal, according to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand, and chatter about a prospective move has reportedly reached Snell’s camp. Among teams that could be interested in Snell, Feinsand notes the Angels and Mariners as particularly intriguing options...
It’s a pleasant early-May evening in Baltimore, and designated hitter Dmitri Young is at the plate. Facing off against him is Orioles reliever Buddy Groom. At first base is Bobby Higginson, beneficiary of a walk and the potential winning run. The 2003 Detroit Tigers, who don’t win many games, might just pull this one out, despite blowing a 6-3 lead in the bottom of the eighth, committing two errors and allowing the hosts to waltz back into the game.
Young is probably the only hitter the Tigers would want at the plate right now. Most of the rest of their lineup sits somewhere between ‘unfathomably bleak’ and ‘please check to ensure this person is alive.’ Their first baseman, Carlos Peña, is hitting .186/.252/.320. Eric Munson at third is at .203/.278/.316...
Corey Seager had a lot of competition for 2020 World Series MVP. His Dodgers teammate Clayton Kershaw and Rays outfielder Randy Arozarena immediately come to mind.
But the media voters went with Los Angeles’ 26-year-old shortstop, who was very worthy of the honor, too. Seager finished the six-game series with a .400/.556/.700 slash line, two home runs, five RBIs and six walks. He also played a role in the eventual Series-winning run; Mookie Betts scored on his fielder’s choice bouncer to first base in the sixth inning of Game 6.
“That’s things you think about when you’re a kid, man,” he said postgame. “You wonder what it’s like, you strive to hear that. To do it with this team and this group, man, it couldn’t be any more special.”
The award also completed a rare double: Seager is one ...
Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Blake Snell was shutting down the Los Angeles Dodgers’ offense through the first five innings of Game 6 of the 2020 World Series. Snell had allowed just one hit and zero runs, which was enough for the Rays to get out to a 1-0 lead in the must-win elimination game.
Snell got the first out of the sixth inning when A.J. Pollack popped out to second. Austin Barnes was up next in the LA order, and he singled to centerfield. That’s when Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash made a decision that will be second-guessed for the rest of his career: he took Snell out of the game.
As reliever Nick Anderson replaced Snell on the mound, the Dodgers’ next batter Mookie Betts smoked a double to left field...
The Tampa Bay Rays defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers, 8-7, in Game 4 of the 2020 World Series on one of the wildest endings you will ever see. The series is now tied 2-2 after four games.
The Rays entered the bottom of the ninth inning trailing by a run against Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen. Kevin Kiermaier started the rally for Tampa Bay with a one out single. Superstar teammate Randy Arozarena then earned a two-out walk to put runners on first and second after a long at-bat. Pinch hitter Brett Phillips stepped to the plate, and with two strikes against him, hit a line drive into the outfield that was set to tie the game.
That’s when chaos broke loose.
Dodgers centerfielder Chris Taylor bobbled the ball before throwing home...
In 2017, whenever Reds right fielder Scott Schebler played on the road, he was constantly crushing doubles, doing so on 8.79% of his 273 road plate appearances. In other words, 24 of ’em. Away from Cincinnati, he was a bona fide doubles machine.
Schebler did not fare quite as well within his home confines of the Great American Ball Park. There he doubled on 0.39% of his 258 home plate appearances … in other words, once:
To repeat, 2017 Scott Schebler doubled twenty-four (24) times on the road and one (1) time at home. 8.79% vs. 0.39%. Ah, where to begin.
Of the 216 MLB players with at least 400 total plate appearances in 2017, Jose Ramirez had the highest overall doubles rate, smashing one 8.68% of the time. No one else even topped eight percent...
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports The ALCS has gifted us an absolutely mind-blowing catch A list of the enemies Manny Margot has recently overcome: Gravity The sun Petco Park’s inconsiderate architects The Houston Astros Obviously, the most dangerous of these enemies — is gravity. Sure, the sun is powerful, but it’s only powerful because of gravity…
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports activities
The ALCS has gifted us a fully mind-blowing catch A listing of the enemies Manny Margot has lately overcome:
Petco Park’s thoughtless architects
The Houston Astros
Clearly, essentially the most harmful of those enemies — is gravity...