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Sunday, March 01, 2015

ESPN: Switch-Pitcher Venditte The Talk Of A’s Camp

But in the early stages of camp, no Oakland pitcher has elicited more chatter than a 29-year-old career minor leaguer with a novel gift. Pat Venditte, who signed with the New York Yankees as a 20th-round draft pick out of Creighton in 2008, has a 2.46 ERA and 431 strikeouts in 384 2/3 innings over seven minor league seasons. But his new teammates are far more impressed with his ability to pitch with both hands.

“For the first few days, he was the talk of camp,’’ Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. “Guys would stick around and take notice and watch him throw in the pen to see if we’re just talking about a gimmick here or somebody that can really pull it off. They walk away just shaking their heads. It’s tough enough to do it from one side—especially at this level.’’
.  .  .
Venditte throws a fastball, slider and changeup from both sides and uses an ambidextrous glove with two thumb holes. As his fellow A’s get to know him, it’s only natural that they flash back through their professional careers and think of other ambidextrous teammates they’ve encountered.

Melvin recalls how Ariel Prieto, a former Oakland pitcher and coach, threw batting practice with both hands. When A’s pitcher Scott Kazmir was in Cleveland, teammate Carlos Carrasco threw his fastball in the mid-90s from the right side and reached the mid-80s just goofing around from the left. And reliever Tyler Clippard, who came to Oakland by trade from Washington in January, recalls how former Nationals bullpen-mate Sean Burnett would heave balls back to the infield right-handed during shagging to save his left arm for the games.
.  .  .
When Venditte was looking at potential landing spots as a minor league free agent over the winter, Oakland ranked high on the list because the A’s are a creative, free-thinking organization that might give him a legitimate shot rather than view him as a novelty act. It appears he’s come to the right place.

Give the [no longer a] kid a chance.


Monday, February 16, 2015

ESPN: Maier’s Glove Is Up For Auction

Unique memorabilia opportunity:

The glove Jeffrey Maier used to catch Derek Jeter’s tying home run against Baltimore in the eighth inning of the 1996 American League Championship Series opener at the original Yankee Stadium will be auctioned. Heritage Auctions said Monday the glove will be put up for bids on Saturday in New York. The company did not identify the current owner, who it said had purchased the glove from Maier.

 

 


ESPN: Yankees To Retire Andy Pettitte’s Number

Some Core Four ceremonies coming up:

Andy Pettitte will have his No. 46 retired by the New York Yankees and receive a plaque in Monument Park, a source confirmed to ESPN.com. Pettitte will become the 18th member of the Yankees to have his number retired. Pettitte was known for his big-game performance, helping the Yankees win five championships during his career.
.  .  .
Pettitte finished his career with a 256-153 record and 3.85 ERA. With the help of the expanded playoff format, he has won more games (19) than anyone in playoff history.  .  .  . Last year, Joe Torre’s No 6 was retired, while Tino Martinez and Paul O’Neil were honored in Monument Park. In 2015, Williams is scheduled to have his own ceremony, while Derek Jeter’s No. 2 will be retired in the near future.


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Washington Post: Appeal To Reverse Antitrust Rule Is A Desperate Swing For The Fences

A look at San Jose’s appeal to the Supreme Court, touching on the history of MLB’s anti-trust exemption, as well as the baseball background of some of the current Justices:

Justice Sonia Sotomayor is famously a Yankees fan — “You can’t grow up in the South Bronx without knowing about baseball,” she once said — who has thrown out the first pitch at a game and had the team bring the World Series trophy to her Supreme Court chambers. For her Christmas present this past year, Sotomayor’s younger brother Juan commissioned a painting of three Latino former Yankees — Bernie Williams, Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera.

But the other justices may be pikers compared with Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., a diehard devotee of the Philadelphia Phillies. In a two-part (!) interview with a Philadelphia Daily News sportswriter in 2010, Alito displayed an encyclopedic knowledge of his team and remembered how Breyer had arranged for the team’s mascot, the Phillie Phanatic, to show up for Alito’s welcome dinner to the Supreme Court.

When Alito was 44, his wife sent him to Phillies Dream Week, the training camp for aging fans, where he turned a double-play and received the award as best fielder. “By the end of the week every single person there, I think without exception, had pulled his hamstring,” Alito said.

Justices posting at BBTF? Probably none.


Friday, January 16, 2015

Cardinals fans voted most insufferable.

St. Louis Cardinals fans – enduring a month of voting by readers of Ball Eight – were chosen as the “Most Insufferable Fans” in baseball. After easily advancing to the finals, Cardinals fans dismantled Yankees fans 77 percent to 23 percent – a bigger margin of victory even than the semifinals against Braves fans.

cardsfanboy Posted: January 16, 2015 at 07:03 PM | 71 comment(s)
  Beats: atlanta braves, bfib, boston red sox, new york yankees, st louis cardinals

Sunday, January 11, 2015


Saturday, December 13, 2014

ESPN: ‘Sir’ Did Gregorius Set To Follow Jeter

For the past 20 years, the New York Yankees have had a true member of baseball royalty at shortstop. But Derek Jeter has nothing over his replacement, who revealed Friday in his first interview with reporters who cover the Yankees that the proper way to address him is “Sir Didi Gregorius.”

The subject came up when a reporter noted that Gregorius—who was acquired by the Yankees from the Arizona Diamondbacks in a three-way trade that cost them Shane Greene—uses “Sir Didi Gregorius” as his Twitter handle. Asked if that was a facetiously self-bestowed title or an actual knighthood, Gregorius said: “No, it’s not a nickname. I actually got knighted a couple of years ago.”

Gregorius said the knighthood was bestowed in lieu of payment for him and other members of a national baseball team that won a championship in Curacao. “Instead of giving us money, they decided to just knight us, all the guys that had a clean record,” he said.

Titles in lieu of payment? MLB will probably jump on that.


Friday, December 05, 2014

NY Post: Is Jeter Gearing Up To Buy The Marlins?

Jeter has declared repeatedly for quite a while now he intends to own a baseball team someday .  .  . He even told reporters in June he intended to reach out to team owners upon the season’s (and his playing career’s) conclusion. And if you want to bet which team he’ll eventually own? You won’t find a safer wager than the Marlins.

The Marlins said Jeter simply stopped by because he happened to be in town, and maybe that’s all it was — for now. Jeter figures to approach his goal smoothly and deliberately, and there’s only upside by spending some time with Marlins owner (and huge Yankees fan and George Steinbrenner admirer) Jeffrey Loria.

The 74-year-old Loria made the industry’s biggest splash of this offseason when he committed $325 million over 13 years to his stud outfielder Giancarlo Stanton. .  .  . Yet the Stanton contract’s dramatically backloaded structure, with modest payments of $6.5 million, $9 million and $14.5 million coming from 2015 through 2017, just raises more questions about the franchise’s future. Will Loria try to cash out now that he has stabilized the situation in the wake of the 2012 trades of Mark Buehrle, Hanley Ramirez and Jose Reyes? The Manhattan resident has long denied the notion he’ll be selling anytime soon. Yet industry speculation persists because the multiple times Loria has shot himself in the foot with rebuilds, manager changes and strikingly low payrolls — and most of all the public funding he secured for his new ballpark.
.  .  .
Enter Jeter, whose representative Casey Close didn’t respond to a request for comment. He lives in Tampa, a short flight (or approximately four-hour drive) away, and he sure seems to enjoy Miami, based on repeated Page Six sightings there. Purchasing the Marlins, unlike the Rays right in his backyard, would keep him out of direct competition with the Yankees.
.  .  .
He needs to put together a consortium that would in turn appoint him as the control person. He surely knows this already, and it isn’t outrageous to think that Jeter, based on his income not only from the Yankees but also from his endorsement deals, could chip in a sizeable portion himself. Maybe $100 million?

Major League Baseball folks naturally would be thrilled to welcome Jeter into the ownership fold, and all the more so into a sad-sack market like Miami.
Now, the simplest solution doesn’t always become reality. Maybe Loria and his controversial team president David Samson will hang on for the long haul. Maybe Jeter will be wooed by another ownership shift. How about he takes over the A’s and finally moves them out of the O.co Coliseum, even though that’s where he made his Flip Play?

Probably better than putting your money into video games.


Friday, November 14, 2014

Calcaterra: Baseball died in the movie “Interstellar,” you guys

“One of the extraordinarily small yet extremely vivid bits of the scene setting is a baseball game. It’s on what looks like a small, minor league field in the middle of a farming community. One team is a local nine made up of what are presumably amateurs. The other team: the New York Yankees. Which still exist, but have been reduced to a barnstorming, probably semi-pro situation. They have a banner on the wall welcoming “The World Famous New York Yankees,” for example.

I’m trying to get my head around all that would have to happen in society for Major League Baseball to truly die like that. Yet what would not be so bad that the New York Yankees could still exist, in however a diminished form. And I can’t decide if seeing them diminished like that should be a joyful bit of schadenfreude for non-Yankees fans or if, alternatively, we should be concerned that not even a freakin’ world-threatening apocalypse can kill the Bronx Bombers.”


Friday, October 31, 2014

The Players’ Tribune: Jeter: The Clean Up

Now that we’ve got that World Series thing out of the way, we can turn our attention to important baseball developments, like Derek Jeter cleaning out his locker:

There were a few special items I knew I wanted to take home: The two bats I used for my last hits in Yankee Stadium and last hit at Fenway Park, the bases the Red Sox gave me from my final game. There were other items, too. But more than any one thing, I know what I’ll miss most of all is the people. So after spending way too long trying to figure out what to take, I just decided to box it all up and ship it to my house in Tampa. I wanted to spend my last afternoon hanging out with the clubhouse guys.

Photos at link.


 

 

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