Category Archives: spring training

Mike Trout hit a Grand Slam today

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This is probably a signal that there will be no lettting up in Mike Trout’s game this season. When you think back across time, a player like Trout comes along every 30 to 50 years. You better take a step back this year and enjoy the kid, because he’s probably the most amazing thing to enter the game of baseball since early 90′s Ken Griffey Jr. – and that Griffey was nothing short of hypnotizing. Can this season get underway already so we can just see what insane things Mike Trout has in store for fans of this great game?

Today, Mike Trout took a piece of James McDonald he can never have back. Of course it was a grand slam bomb to left field.

Click through the jump for the video.
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Gregory Polanco’s nickname is ‘El Coffee’, and he went yard today

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They’re calling him “El Coffee” and he’s got the twitter handle to prove it. We’re excited about Gregory Polanco – some scouts compare his big, powerful, looping swing to Darryl Strawberry.

While everyone is talking about Ryan Braun’s home run in his first spring at-bat, the one we took note of was the one hit by the youngster who wears Bucco black. Today, Polanco broke a scoreless tie against the Yankees with his first Spring Training bomb. It’s fun to think about what happens if Polanco goes nuts all spring and somehow forces the Pirates hand in putting him on the Opening Day roster. An outfield of Marte, McCutchen, and Polanco could be so much damn fun.

Although it’s highly unlikely Polanco has that electric of a spring, it’s fun to hope and follow along. Almost as fun as it is to watch that home run swing over and over.

You want to see Polanco’s spring bomb? Go ahead, treat yourself. It’s been a long week. Click through the jump and we’ll show it to you.
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Baseball is Back

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Today, baseball returned to the field (and there was only one collegiate team in play as an opponent).

The Reds beat their friends from around the Cuyahoga 8-3. Jay Bruce was back in right field. Joey Votto manned first base. Billy Hamilton hit lead-off and played centerfield.

Even though it was a long day at work, it seemed all was once again right with the world. Spring is on it’s way. There is a new hope arriving. As the sun shined during freezing temperatures outside today, something just felt different.

That Yasiel Puig guy went 2 for 3 as well.

Bryce Harper is packed and ready for Spring Training

 

We aren’t that far. As bad and as brutal as February is to the baseball fan, we can make it. More tweets like this from players all around the league will be rolling in more frequently as the days roll by. Once we get to March Madness, we’ve basically made it.

And it’s good to see a player like Harper reporting for duty early. Washington Nationals position players weren’t due in until February 18th. It’s safe to assume Harper is spending his Valentines Day in route to Viera, Florida. That’s the kind of player we like – a guy who shows up early ready to dig in and work on getting better.

I love you, Kid

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Bryce Harper collected three more hits today. I don’t want to jinx the kid too early or anything but he’s started spring training by going 6 for 8. He’s already in his manager’s ear about not wanting to sit. He doesn’t know these games don’t count. And this guy is too good to be true.

Keep sitting him now and again, Davey. He’ll wear himself out by July at this pace. Every spring there’s inevitably one player I really like who has a monstrous spring. Then the stats disappear in April and somehow he gets off to a really slow start. I hope this isn’t the case with Harper.

Buster Olney also said recently on his podcast (18:40 mark): “Joey Votto on Harper: Essentially, he can’t be beaten. He has a “slump proof swing.”

There are real Spring Training Baseball Games Today

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It’s been a long wait and February isn’t over yet, but baseball games are going on as we speak. If you haven’t updated your MLB At Bat subscription, now is the time.

It’s days like today and times like this that I wish I was still able to play down in the warm Florida sun.

If you’re just sitting around today getting ready for the weekend, I suggest you read Pat Jordan’s post over at SB Nation about Spring Training. If you’re not ready for baseball yet you will be when you get done reading the article. It embodies everything a Spring Training story should.

The Reds and Indians kick off their spring slate at 3:00 PM today. I can almost smell the pine tar. This is a great time of year to be a baseball fan.

 

The Latest Bryce Harper Sports Illustrated Cover

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I planned to make a trip to the book store on Friday to pick up a few 2013 Fantasy Baseball magazines. Now I’ve added this to my want list.

The most notable quote I’ve seen thus far out of the Tom Verducci story on Harper:

“I’m not going to put it my head. Sophomore slump? I was a sophomore in college and raked. Why can’t you rake in the big leagues?”

If you’re keeping score at home, this is the second Sports Illustrated cover for Harper and his first as a big leaguer.

A Great Quote by Bryce Harper shows why we Love Bryce Harper

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Bryce Harper is already issuing gems for today’s diehard fan, he’s 230 pounds and he’s ready to wreck baseballs. This quote caught our eye, and it’s why we’ve loved Harper from the start. You know he means it when he says:

“I’m still 20,” he said. “I’m still young. I’m going to treat every guy on our team with respect, going to treat every guy in the other dugout with respect. I’m still that young guy out there. I’m still going to play the same game I play.”

And now the gem:

“Go out there and give 120%, play hurt, sick, on my death bed,” he said. “Go out there and work hard, play the game the right way, change nothing.”

He goes on to talk about his personal goals that he would rather not share and how autograph seekers aren’t necessarily fans. But nothing in the article tops that quote or goes further to illustrate to you how Harper’s baseball compass is aligned.

Unless this guy murders someone, there’s a good chance he could end up our favorite athlete of all time, of all time! OF ALL TIME!

Since the Super Bowl is over we turn our collective attention to spring training…

And as the first primer to the start of baseball’s preseason, we’ll update you on the spring training locations for all the teams.  Let’s start on the West coast…well Arizona is kind of just a desert, but it’s close enough.  The Reds recently moved here from Florida because trashy Arizona is better than trashy Florida. Right?

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Chicago, Milwaukee, Cincinnati, and Cleveland have strayed a little further west than you might think, but somebody had to do it.

Now on to the dirty South.  Old people in particular love spring training games because it feels like the old time with bleachers and $1 hot dogs.  Perfect for Florida.  Here it is.

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Hmm.  Tampa moves a little south for spring training and Miami moves a little north.  There must be something to this.  Keep counting the days until pitchers and catchers report.

H/T to MLB for the maps.

Chipper on Jason Heyward: “He’s 90 Percent Back”

The significance of us sponsoring Jason Heyward’s Baseball Reference page could mean only one thing: we felt that the man was a generational talent ready to blossom in front of our eyes last year.

He wasn’t just rewarded with our admonishment. There was another Opening Day home run. There were SportsCenter comercials. A twitter account created solely to track when he hits a home run. He became Nike’s new ‘Swingman’.

But then the struggles came, and the injuries lingered. Heyward’s sophomore campaign became one continuous desolate ruin.

By reading an article focused on the reconstruction of J-Hey by Paul Newberry, we learn that Chipper Jones seems to think the worst is behind Heyward.

“He’ll get it done. He’ll get it back. He’s 90 percent back,” Jones said.

I hope Chipper’s right. This guy has a chance to be the crown jewel of the entire league if he’s right. There’s some other interesting points in the write-up–like Heyward coming off a bit ‘snarky’ when asked about childhood memories of David Justice and Fred McGriff.

There’s also a bit where new Braves hitting coach Greg Walker mentions this:

“We went back and looked at 2010, when he was really good,” Walker said. “We said to him, ‘OK, this is what you did. You’ve done it before, so that’s you.’ We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel here. We’re not trying to change Jason Heyward. We’re trying to get him to maximize his potential. We showed him. We filmed him and showed him what he looks like now, and how he looked in 2010. He saw the difference. To be honest with you, we haven’t made a lot of changes. We’re just trying to clean him up and get him back to where he was.”

So if you’re keeping score at home, Greg Walker and the Braves do not want to change Jason Heyward. But they want him to hit like he did in 2010.This idea is absurd, because if you saw him at the plate for much of last year, of course the Braves would like to change Jason Heyward. But you must be careful with the treatment and wording of such things around young potential stars.

And my mind shifts back to that rumor we heard way back when–when someone had said that the legendary Bobby Cox had said that Heyward was like a Ferrari: you have to be careful with them, you don’t want to dent them.

Franco’s Spring Training Wrap up post

Diamond Hoggers Nation- Thanks for adopting me last week and allowing me to drop my daily adventures on you. I’ve had an absolute blast and want to thank Mevs for giving me this opportunity. I fully expect to check back in with you guys from time to time when I have good stuff to share. Here is my wrap up from the crazy week:

 

Baseball Trip Stats

9 games in 7 Days. 6 different Stadiums.

Highlight of the Week- Hanging out in the Rays’ locker room for an afternoon.

Lowlight of the Week- Getting Big Leagued by Ryno Sandberg.

Best game I saw: Yankees v Red Sox. The Yanks played their big time starters and the Sox played their top prospects. It was great baseball on the field and great banter in the stands.

Favorite Stadium: Phillies Bright House Field in Clearwater

Rowdiest Fans: Phillies fans in Clearwater

Fans most likely to eat dinner at 4pm: Cardinals fans in Jupiter

Road Trip Stats

Miles Driven: 2,709

Cheapest Gas Fill Up: $3.29

Most Expensive Gas Fill Up: $3.89

Money Spent on Food (not including snacks and PB&J from my home cupboard):  $38 (I did have some very nice dinners picked up by Zobrist and Sutton.  Special thanks to them.)

 

A few extra stories that didn’t make it in the posts this week:

That’s Dedication

Sean Rodriguez of the Rays is known for being one of those guys that works hard, plays the game the right way, and takes care of his body. This reaffirms what I’d heard from other sources. He says that he normally goes to bed at 9pm every night of spring training (they normally play all their games at 1:05pm). It is also well known that he is usually the first to the ballpark, always arriving around 6:30am.

Manny and His Protein Smoothie

So I’m sitting in a Port Charlotte coffee shop doing some work and a guy who works at the Smoothie King next door came in for latte. I was talking to the owner of the coffee shop at the time and the smoothie dude came over and told this story. It went like this:

The other day, Manny Ramirez had come in and asked for a smoothie.

Manny: I’ll take (such and such) smoothie with extra protein.

Smoothie dude: So like one and a half scoops of protein?

Manny: How bout 4 scoops?

Smoothie dude: That’s a ton of protein, how about 2 scoops.

Manny: Nah man, I had a big workout today. I want 4 scoops.

Smoothie dude: You sure? Okay, coming right up.

Now, I don’t know exactly how much 4 scoops of protein is, but it’s a lot. I’ve read about Manny’s off season work outs and I’m sure he has monitors his protein intake to an extent. Anyways the Smoothie King worker is really stoked that Manny is in his store ordering from him.  When he finished making it he noticed that he hadn’t made enough to fill the cup. “Oh, well.” He put a top on it and gave it to Manny who then paid and left.

It wasn’t til a few minutes later the smoothie dude realized that he had totally forgot the 4 scoops of protein and Manny had walked out with a plain smoothie with 0 grams of protein.

Quick rant on the DO’S and DON’TS of scalping tickets

-DON’T take the first offer that a scalper offers you

-If you have a long walk to the stadium from the parking lot DON’T buy from the first guy you see. He’ll almost always be the highest priced.

-DON’T believe scalpers when they say that the game’s sold out. In my experiences they’re only telling the truth 9% of the time.

-If you have time and only need 1 or two tickets, DO hang out around the front of the stadium looking for regular fans trying to unload a few last minute tickets.  They’ll almost always sell for face value or lower depending on how you negotiate.

-DO check the tickets before you buy them to make sure they are where the scalper says they are. “Right down the first base line” can mean standing room in the back corner of the ballpark.

I think I could keep going on this for a while. Maybe I’ll write a post about it later… Good luck

Stadium Bag Check

All week, I would bring my trusty backpack into the stadiums with me. They were legal to bring in, but there were security guards at all the gates that checked all bags to make sure people weren’t bringing in things like, food, alcohol, weapons, and stuff like that. I noticed that they only checked the main section of my backpack, but never the front pocket. Not like I had any contraband in there… or did I.

When I finally got home from my week in Florida and unpacked my backpack, I found a few surprises in the front pocket.  Namely a miniature bottle of Jager and a butterfly knife. Now, let me quickly explain that the mini Jager was given to me by a friend months ago and had been forgotten about, and the butterfly knife was a groomsman gift from a few years back and I had no idea it was in there. None the less I dragged around a shot and an illegal weapon into every ballpark I visited. Whoops.

Best Pedroia Description Ever

This comes from a convo Drew Sutton and I had about Dustin Pedroia.

Sutton on Pedroia: “I love DP man. I honestly think that he believes he’s 6’4 240. I’ll say, ‘You going to hit?’ and he’ll respond, ‘Naw man, I’m going to FREAKING RAKE!’ If he makes an out, he’ll come back into the dugout and say something  like, ‘If that SOB throws me that inside fastball again I’m going to hit it out of the freaking stadium.’ He doesn’t just say those things, he believes them.”

Conclusion:

It was quite a memorable week with a lot of experiences that I won’t soon forget. Many thanks to all my friends that gave me food, places to sleep, laughter, tickets, and good times. I’ll look forward to catching up with you guys later.  If you miss me that much you can shoot over to NextLevelBallplayer.com.

And we want to give a special thanks to Franco for providing us with all of the great stories from down in Spring Training. He did a great job going above and beyond what we expected, giving us some of the most interesting material that has appeared on Diamond Hoggers in weeks. If it’s any sign of things to come, his main project over at the NLB is going to be a HUGE success! In short, bookmark his site to your favorites (and blogrolls) and stay tuned for more great, wholesome baseball material.

Spring Training Update Day 7: Halladay’s domination, the booing of a Hooters girl, and Wendy’s Public restroom

Spring Training is under way. Since we’re not lucky enough to be down in the Florida sunshine, we still have a plan to have you covered. David Franco from Next Level Ballplayer is down in Florida for the week providing us with all the sights and sounds of spring baseball that we need. Today’s adventures include Halladay’s domination, the booing of the Hooters’ girl at the Phillies game, the worst public restroom experience of my life and more. Franco has done an amazing job reporting all week from down in spring training, so be sure to follow him on twitter or Facebook to show your appreciation!

Franco’s Spring Training Update From FL: Day 5

What’s up DiamondHog Nation? Day 5 went a little something like this- Woke up at a buddy’s place in Tampa. Special thanks to former Tigers prospect D. Witt for a comfortable couch. I drove south west toward Dunedin for the Blue Jays/Tigers game… The only problem was that I had to drive right by the Phillies’ stadium in Clearwater where I knew Roy Halladay would be pitching. Long story short, I called an audible and never made it to Dunedin. Many apologies to all you Canadian readers out there.

Overall Highlight of the day: Witnessing Halladay carve up the Pirates for 3 innings.

Overall Low-light of the day: Watching a foul ball bounce perfectly to this old guy only for him to miss it and fall into the lap of “super cool guy.” Super cool guy was wearing a flat billed hat with the sticker still on it and was rocking super bling earrings… I was crushed. Really wanted to see the old dude make a play. Didn’t happen.

Phillies vs Pirates 1:05pm
Tickets: Scalped a ticket. $8 for a $25 seat 11 rows behind home plate. Perfect spot to watch Halladay go to work.

-Halladay looked like Halladay and made multiple Pirates look downright bad. In my entire week of watching games, I have not seen such horrible swings and half swings like I saw yesterday.

-I didn’t find out until after the game that Dominic Brown broke his hand during a first inning swing. He stayed in the game and got his first hit of the spring before later getting taken out. His potential replacement in the outfield for the Phils, Ben Francisco hit his second bomb of the Spring.

-A beer vender had the best sales line of the day. It was a hot sunny day and he yelled, “DE-HY-DRATION, JUST SAY NO!! RE-HY-DRATION, JUST SAY YO!!” I’m not a dietician or anything, but I don’t think that beer is a good source of rehydration… but that inaccurate description didn’t stop a bunch of Phillies fans from buying beer from the guy.

-The crowds at the two Phillies games I attended this week in Clearwater, where easily the youngest and rowdiest fans out of all the games attended. Kinda felt more like a spring break atmosphere than the retirement home atmosphere I had gotten used to earlier this week.

Phillies Fans Booing the Hooters’ Girl

Philadelphia fans are famous for being ruthless with their booing. Case in point was the time where they actually booed and threw snow balls at Santa Claus during an Eagles game. Granted this is spring training game in Florida, but there were still a decent amount of misplaced people from Philly. Anyways, Hooters is doing a promotion with the Phillies this Spring and the ball girls down the right and left field lines are Hooters’ girls dressed up in their Hooters outfits.

Well, they announced the names of the girls before the game and they got a cheer from the crowd louder than the introduction to Jimmy Rollins, but not quite as loud as Halladay. As I mentioned above, it was more of a spring break crowd.  Well, in the 3rd inning someone hit a dribbler into foul territory towards the Hooters’ girl down the right field line. She ran up to get the ball as the crowd cheered wildly with no shame. All eyes of the stadium were on her as she made a HUGE mistake. She flipped the ball directly to a fan in the first row who was decked out in Pirates gear. He had on one of those obnoxious black with yellow striped throw back Pirates hats and an old Barry Bonds jersey from his days in Pittsburgh. Immediately the cheers turned into a chorus of boos from the entire crowd who started yelling relentlessly.

The poor girl had no idea what had happened and why the fickle fans had turned on her so quickly. She just sat back down on her stool and tried to be normal, but looked very uncomfortable. Random fans continued to make comments that I couldn’t make out from across the stadium. She didn’t get another chance at a ball while I was there, but hopefully she learned from her mistake.

Conclusion

Shortly after Halladay exited the game, I exited as well to make the trek back up north. 12 hours later I rolled into my cold and rainy parking lot, happy to be home, but already missing FL. It has been an awesome week attending 9 games in 7 days and logging over 2,700 miles on my trusty ’98 Honda Passport. Stay posted Monday for my “spring training trip wrap up” post with some sprinkles of anecdotes that didn’t make it into my posts this week, but need to be heard.

 

Extra Innings

I’m not a coffee guy but was a bit tired on my drive back, so stopped at a coffee shop to get a pick me up. The dude behind the counter suggested a Toffee Coffee.  Sounded good, so I got it to go… Not more than 30 minutes later, I was on high alert of an exit so I could find a bathroom asap. Just my luck that I was in the middle of a 10 mile stretch with no exits. First exit I saw, I got off. First place I saw, Wendy’s. Perfect. I duck walk in and go directly into the only stall in the guy’s restroom.

Right after I sit down, a dad walks in with his younger daughter and unsuccessfully tries to open the door to my stall. “Calm down dude. Seat’s taken.” That’s what I wanted to say, but was too zoned in on taking care of business.  Well, I quickly realize that this is not going to be an in and out stall session because my stomach is swirling. About 30 seconds after the guy’s unsuccessful entry into my stall, his daughter and him start speaking in Spanish. Well, I once lived in Costa Rica for 6 months, am 50% Hispanic, and can speak Spanish decently. So, while my stomach was going crazy, I’m also listening to this Daughter and her dad going back and forth in Spanish. I understood everything they said. The  rough translation went something like this:

Little girl: I have to use the bathroom. How long is it going to be.

Dad: I don’t know. I’m sure the guy in there won’t be too long.

Me: (noises I don’t know how to spell out.)

Dad: HOPEFULLY he won’t be in there too long, but who knows.

Little girl: Oh my gosh, it smells bad in here.

Dad: It’ll be fine, we’ll clean the seat good when we get in there.

REALLY?!?! I can understand you! I am dying in the stall at this point wanting to be done in the worst way, but my stomach was having different plans. I kept quiet. A few minutes later:

Little girl: Do you think he’s sleeping in there?

Dad: No, I’m sure he’ll be done really soon.

Enter loud random guy: Oh man, there’s a line in here? Are you guys waiting for the stall?

Dad in English: Yeah… (Then in a whisper that I can clearly hear)  He’s been in there for a while.

I wanted to scream- I CAN FREAKING HEAR AND UNDERSTAND EVERYTHING YOU ARE SAYING!!!! I AM NOT SLEEPING AND WILL BE OUT THE SECOND THIS TOFFEE COFFEE IS DONE DOMINATING MY STOMACH! REST ASSURE, I DON’T JUST COME INTO WENDY’S STALLS TO HANG OUT AND MAKE PEOPLE WAIT. I kept quiet.

Random Guy as he’s leaving: Well, I’ll try back later

I’ve turned into a human rain delay in the bathroom of the Wendy’s off of exit 152. People are literally turning away and I’m lucky enough to fully understand the bathroom play by play being announced by this random Hispanic dad and his daughter.

Finally, I am completely done and open the stall door. I can’t look them in the eyes. I whispered a quick awkward apology, but without thinking, it came out in Spanish. The dad jerked his head around as he was shutting the stall door and we had a moment as he realized I had understood everything over the last 15+ minutes.

Moral of the story: Wendy’s needs to invest in multiple stalls for their bathrooms.

Spring Training Update Day 6: The Mascot & the Autograph, the forgettable day of Sam Buchman, Red Sox v. Yanks, and Ballpark Reggae

Spring Training is under way. Since we’re not lucky enough to be down in the Florida sunshine, we still have a plan to have you covered. David Franco from Next Level Ballplayer is down in Florida for the week providing us with all the sights and sounds of spring baseball that we need. Today’s adventures include two games in the same day, the mascot and the autograph, the forgettable day of Sam Buchman, Red Sox/Yankees, reggae at the ballpark, and more. Tune in all week as Franco reports on ST exploits, and be sure to follow him on twitter or Facebook.

What’s up DiamondHog Nation? Day 6 went a little something like this- Woke up at a Ben Zobrist’s place in Port Charlotte at 6am to go support Dirk Hayhurst who was speaking at a local high school’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes gathering. After the meeting, I dropped Zoby off at the field and headed to Bradenton to see the Pirates v Phillies. Once that game wrapped up, I headed north to the grand finale in Tampa: Yankees v Red Sox.

 

Overall Highlight of the day: Watching a 5 year old kid walk up and get the Pirates mascot’s autograph. Full story below.

Runner Up Highlight: Listening to Yankees and Red Sox fans yap back and forth all night.

Overall Low-light of the day: Having a sharp ground ball bounce off my hand… The guy next to me definitely interfered with me, but I still have to make that play. I was so upset I had to get up and take a walk.

 

Pirates v Phillies 1:05pm
Tickets: $12 for a bleacher seat, but I sat 1st row even with the 1st base coach.

-I was so stoked that I got to see Blanton throw for the second time this week. That was a huge reason why I wanted to come down to spring training in the first place.  It’s not like there are any other Phillies pitchers I’d rather watch. Are you picking up the sarcasm? One more, for good measure? It’s clear to see that the Phillies will go as far as Joe Blanton will take them this year.

-Howard went big fly.

-Phillies won, but it was just a practice game.

 

The 4 Year Old Who Wanted the Mascot’s Autograph

So I’m sitting in the aisle seat in the first row, about even with the first base coach. A four year old kid who is in the aisle seat to my left looks over and sees that the Pirates’ mascot has come down to the front row one aisle away. Before the dad could realize what was happening, the kid started walking down my row having about 15 people make room for him as he walked over to the mascot with a baseball and pen.

When the kid got to the Mascot he just reached his ball and pen as high as he could but the mascot didn’t see him until the people around him got his attention. The mascot looked down at the kid and made the money gesture as a joke, but one guy took him serious and pulled out a dollar bill and gave it to the mascot. Now keep in mind that the mascot is wearing huge parrot hands and I just can’t imagine him being able to write anything remotely legible on a baseball.

I was thoroughly impressed as the mascot proceeded to sign the kid’s ball, give him the dollar bill, a high five and sent him back down the aisle to his dad. It was funny seeing the guy’s face who gave the dollar to the mascot and then watched the 4 year old walk off with it. The dad didn’t see everything that happened, just the big smile on his son’s face as he walked back with an autographed ball and a dollar bill… Nice work kid.

Why Sam Buchman Will Never Make His Wife Wait Again

Who is Sam Buchman? I have no idea. All I know is that I don’t know if I’ve ever been in a ballpark where the entire crowd was laughing at the same thing at the same time… Until today. Until Sam Buchman’s wife taught him a lesson he won’t ever forget.

Now to the actual story. It was the middle of the 8th inning and the Pirates were getting ready to come up to bat. Right as the Phils’ catcher is throwing down to second, the PA announcer comes over the loud speaker to the entire stadium. Everyone assumes that he’s going to announce the Pirates prospect coming to the plate. Oh no.

PA Dude: “Sam Buchman, please meet your wife outside the stadium by the ticket booth right away.”

Entire Crowd: “Ohhhhhhhhh.” Laughter then ensues with numerous spontaneous jokes flying around. Nobody knew who Sam was, but they still took the liberty to yell out their input.

“Don’t go Sam! You’re already in deep %&$#!”

“Best of luck getting out of the dog house by the end of the weekend.”

“Oh, no she didn’t!! Who does that woman think she is?!?!”

“Enjoy your evening Sam.”

Even the Pirates first base coach got into it by turning to the fans in my section and saying, “Oh man. Sam Buchman is in deep trouble tonight. Ouch.”

Yankees v Red Sox 7:05pm

Tickets: Free because of Mr. Sutton. I sat in the second section down the right field line before I moved down behind the Yankees dugout for the last few innings.

-It was a packed house with plenty of, surprise, surprise, VERY opinionated fans… Many of whom had thick accents. I was very entertained.

-A-Rod and Sutton raked. Both went 2-3 with two ropes.

-There was a Mark Prior sighting in the 8th. He threw a scoreless inning and I saw him touch 90 on the gun once or twice. I still think he’ll start the year in AAA.

-The Red Sox brought all young guys on the trip to Tampa. The only notable stars were Buchholz (3 scoreless innings) and Varitek (0-3).

-Red Sox JV Team 5, Yankees Super Varsity Team 3

 

Silky Smooth Shortstop

There was one guy on the field that stood out to me more than anyone else today and that was Jose Iglesias. The kid was silky smooth with the glove, making a handful of tough plays look routine. He also turned in a spectacular web gem, diving up the middle, getting to his feet and throwing a perfect strike to nip the runner at first…  AND he had two knocks on the day. He reminds me of a speedy version of Alex Cora.

Jose was also involved in the funny fan comment of the day goes to the moderately tipsy Yankees fan in the 7th inning.

Stadium PA announcer: “Now batting for the Red Sox, #78, the SS, Jose Iglesias.”

Yankee fan stands to his feet and yells/sings: “Hey 78! I can be your hero baby… I can kiss away your tears.” A combination of his singing and thick New York accent got him plenty of chuckles from the fans in his section.

 

Conclusion

I have seen four Red Sox v Yankee games in person and was curious what it would be like tonight. There were some die hard fans there, but the overall stadium atmosphere felt pretty light hearted… I’ve had an incredible week, but as they say, all good things must come to an end. Tomorrow will be my last game as the Blue Jays take on the Tigers. I’m pretty excited to see Drabek pitch for the Jays… It would be even more awesome though if Joe Blanton got traded to the Tigers tonight and pitched for them tomorrow.

 

Extra Innings
In the 7th inning the Pirates brought in reliever Michael Dubee. This marked the first time in my life I have seen a pitcher warm up to chill reggae. He came out of the pen and warmed up to Bob Marley, “One Love.” I love reggae music but was really taken aback hearing it at a baseball game. I guess if anyone was ever going to do it, it’s fitting that guy would be named Dubee.