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Wednesday, August 25, 2021

MLB Pipeline: Here’s where all 30 farm systems rank

Gone are the days of the Rays at the top. (Don’t worry, Tampa Bay fans; there are positive reasons for the drop.) A new AL East organization has risen to take their place. But the competition for No. 1 was extremely close—closer than previous years with dynamic mixes of Top 100 talent and overall depth all coming into play.

In that way, let there be hope. Four of the top five organizations in this edition of the rankings enter Aug. 24 with losing Major League records. But help is coming just a little further down the Minor League ladder.

1. Baltimore Orioles
2021 preseason rank: 5
2020 midseason rank: 8
2020 preseason rank: 13
Top 100 Prospects: Adley Rutschman, C (No. 1), Grayson Rodriguez, RHP (No. 8), DL Hall, LHP (No. 78), Gunnar ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 25, 2021 at 05:41 PM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: prospects

Who will be next MLB player to reach 500 home runs after Miguel Cabrera joins exclusive club?

Bryce Harper
In 10 seasons, the 28-year-old Harper has passed the halfway point. He’s at 255 and counting. He signed with the Phillies through 2031. He’s avoided injury since 2017 and is aging well, as he’s having a star-caliber season in 2021. As I alluded to in Stanton, things can turn quickly and it’s never a “good” bet to say someone will get to 500 home runs when they are this far away. Harper is definitely on pace, though. I’ll say he gets there.

Manny Machado
Machado is a few months older than Harper and is now 29, but they are both in their age-28 seasons (it’s determined with a June 30 cutoff and Machado’s birthday is July 6). Machado is a bit behind Harper at 245 career homers, but if we include Harper here, we have to include ...

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Phillies announce significant front office changes

The Phillies minor league system has not been good in recent years.

President of Baseball Operations David Dombrowski took steps Tuesday to change that.

Effective immediately, Bryan Minniti and Scott Proefrock are out as assistant general managers. Both will serve as consultants for the 2022 season.

Josh Bonifay is out as director of player development. He has been offered a professional scouting position for 2022.

Jorge Velandia will oversee the Phillies’ player development system on an interim basis with the assistance of Dana Parks until a permanent replacement is hired.

Sal Agostinelli will continue to oversee international scouting and report directly to Velandia. Amateur scouting director Brian Barber will report directly to ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 25, 2021 at 11:30 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: phillies

What MLB players would change about their sport

Does the game need fixing?
Yes: 4
No: 16

When asked more generally, players were hesitant to find problems with a game that has given them so much. Many believe it needs tweaking but isn’t necessarily broken, as some of the harsher critics of baseball have suggested over time.

And of those who do have issues, many find them off the field rather than on it.

Jesse Winker, Cincinnati Reds outfielder: “I feel like we’re always trying to fix the game [on the field], but I say if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. We have a beautiful game. I grew up enjoying the game because of the way it is.”

Andrew Miller, St. Louis Cardinals pitcher: “We think the [financial] system is outdated and it needs to be adjusted to account for young players taking up ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 25, 2021 at 11:27 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: pace of play, shifts

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 8-25-2021

Bridgeport Times, August 25, 1921:

Declaring that an active doubt existed as to the value of professional baseball in American life, the Chicago Tribune has announced on its editorial page that it had curtailed its baseball reports in favor of other sports, particularly amateur games.
...
[The Tribune writes that] “Professional baseball is a stimulus for boys, but journalism has overfed it with space. Amateur sports seldom produce the ability of professional sports but they produce sound citizenry.”

It’s a bold strategy, Cotton. Let’s see if it pays off for them.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: August 25, 2021 at 08:22 AM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Yadier Molina, Cardinals Reportedly Agree to 1-Year, $10M Contract Extension

Yadier Molina is returning to the St. Louis Cardinals for a 19th season in 2022.

Per Katie Woo of The Athletic, Molina agreed to a one-year, $10 million contract extension Tuesday.

There had been speculation during the season that Molina and the Cardinals were working toward a new deal. Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported on Aug. 19 that both sides were “encouraged” by their recent discussions.

Woo and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic noted Molina was seeking a one-year deal worth more than the $9 million he received in 2021.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 24, 2021 at 05:08 PM | 52 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, yadier molina

Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Caleb Smith gets 10-game ban for foreign substance on glove

Arizona Diamondbacks left-hander Caleb Smith has been suspended 10 games by Major League Baseball for having a foreign substance on his glove, it was announced Tuesday.

Smith, who was also fined an undisclosed amount, has appealed the penalty, allowing him to play until the appeal is heard.

Smith was ejected in the eighth inning of a game against the Philadelphia Phillies on Aug. 18. His glove was sent to New York for examination.

Smith argued and at one point had to be pulled back by some of the team’s coaches following the ejection.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 24, 2021 at 04:10 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: caleb smith, diamondbacks, foreign substances

The incredible story of Ray Caldwell, the MLB pitcher who survived a lightning strike to finish a game

So he hurriedly toes the rubber as the rain picks up. He gets two easy infield popouts to open the inning. One more to go. Now the wind howls, the storm fully upon the field.

Just as he gets set, a flash from the sky explodes down into the middle of the field. Shortstop Ray Chapman feels a surge of electricity go down his leg, and the violence of the lightning strike causes players to dive for the ground. “I took off my mask and threw it as far as I could,” Cleveland catcher Steve O’Neill says later of his metal mask. “I didn’t want it to attract any bolts toward me.”

Five seconds after the bolt hits the ground, everybody looks around. The eight Indians position players are OK, but their newest teammate is not. Caldwell is on his back, ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 24, 2021 at 09:11 AM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: ray caldwell

Monday, August 23, 2021

Reeling San Diego Padres fire pitching coach Larry Rothschild

The San Diego Padres, reeling in their quest to reach the playoffs this season, fired their decorated pitching coach, Larry Rothschild, on Monday.

Rothschild, 67, was in his second year with the Padres and spent the previous 18 years as a pitching coach for the New York Yankees and the Chicago Cubs.

The Padres (68-58), who traded for Yu Darvish, Blake Snell and Joe Musgrove over the offseason, have lost nine of their last 11 games and currently sit a game back of the Cincinnati Reds for the second wild-card spot in the National League….

In a statement, Padres manager Jayce Tingler said: “Larry has been a tremendous asset for our organization over the last two seasons, and we appreciate the experience, hard work and dedication that he ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 23, 2021 at 01:51 PM | 24 comment(s)
  Beats: larry rothschild, padres

Blue Jays to require proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 test for fans, staff

With an eye in part to increasing capacity at Rogers Centre, the Jays are announcing Monday that proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative test result will be required fans hoping to attend the final 12 games of the season.

Looking to create a safer experience for spectators — while also urging the government to bump the current limit of fans at the dome from 15,000 — the new measures will come into effect for the final two homestands of the regular season.

The measures will also apply to team and stadium staff.

Fans aged 11 and under just need to be accompanied by a parent/guardian who adheres to the policy.

“I would hope that we’re able to increase capacity as soon as it’s safe to do so,” Anuk Karunaratne, the Jays ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 23, 2021 at 10:29 AM | 107 comment(s)
  Beats: blue jays, coronavirus, covid-19, vaccines

The 2021 NL Cy Young Race Shows the Great Divide in Pitcher Evaluation

Award arguments aren’t really about the players. They’re about values. From blinkered partisans to quantitative hard-liners to narrative-obsessed clubhouse insiders, everyone who advocates for an award candidate is trying to sell you a way of looking at or thinking about the sport. The actual player on the ballot is merely an avatar for a system of evaluation….

That battle speaks to the second fault line in modern Cy Young voting: results versus peripherals. Getting more granular than wins and ERA was only the first step in baseball’s tumble into empiricism. Wins are the product of run prevention (runs allowed and ERA), which is the product of keeping runners off base. That in turn is a function of missing bats and inducing weak ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 23, 2021 at 09:06 AM | 24 comment(s)
  Beats: corbin burnes, cy young award, walker buehler, zack wheeler


Sunday, August 22, 2021

Cooperstown 2040: Where the Baseball Hall of Fame Might Be in Roughly 20 Years

In July 2014, the Hall of Fame announced it would reduce the years players could remain on the BBWAA ballot for Cooperstown from 15 to 10. Since then, candidates like Walker, Edgar Martinez, and Tim Raines, who in years past might have slowly accumulated votes toward a Year 14 or 15 induction, instead saw their vote totals rapidly increase.

Walker, Martinez, and Raines also likely owe some of their rises to Ryan Thibodaux, who began tracking Hall of Fame votes in 2014. Thibodaux has done this by aggregating votes in a public spreadsheet, typically when a BBWAA member either published them in an article, tweeted them out, or emailed them directly to him.

Thibodaux’s work has arguably done a few things. For one thing, it’s allowed ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 22, 2021 at 08:33 PM | 98 comment(s)
  Beats: hall of fame

Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo becomes part owner of Brewers a month after NBA Finals win

Following in the footsteps of several other star athletes, Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo is getting into the pro sports team ownership game. A month after winning the 2021 NBA Finals MVP and ending Milwaukee Bucks’ 50-year title drought, Antetokounmpo is joining the Milwaukee Brewers franchise as a minority owner.

Brewers chairman and principal owner Mark Attanasio, who bought the team in 2004 from Bud Selig, remains the majority owner of the ballclub while Antetokounmpo has purchased a minority stake…

“The City of Milwaukee means so much to me,” Antetokounmpo said. “I am honored to be joining the Brewers ownership group to further my commitment and dedication to this great community. I take great pride in my city and I’m excited ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 22, 2021 at 08:10 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: brewers

Gregory Polanco placed on waivers

The El Coffee Revolution is over.

Per Rob Biertempfel of The Athletic and other sources, the Pirates placed outfielder Gregory Polanco on outright waivers this evening.

To say that Polanco has been struggling is an understatement. His current slash line is .199/.278/.343, and he has the third-worst strikeout rate for National League right fielders at 26.7%. His defense has been borderline horrendous all season as well.

It’s a sad ending to Polanco’s Bucs career. He’s spent his entire professional career with the Pirates organization, having signed with them in 2009 at age 17, and was promising enough to have been given a five-year, $35 million contract in 2016. Unfortunately, he didn’t really live up to his potential, and he ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 22, 2021 at 07:52 PM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: gregory polanco, pirates

O’s streak hits 18: ‘We’re not executing’

If the Orioles’ losing streak isn’t going to end with John Means on the mound, who is going to stop it?

That’s the question the O’s were asking themselves Sunday afternoon, after their 3-1 series finale loss to the Braves extended Baltimore’s losing streak to 18 games, longest in the Majors this season. The Orioles became the first team to lose at least 18 straight since the 2005 Royals, and are now three games away from matching their franchise and American League record 21-game losing streak set in 1988.

“I thought today was going to be the day,” Means said. “It didn’t really add a whole lot of extra pressure at this point. I just went out there trying to control the game for the most part and stay in attack mode.”

...
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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 22, 2021 at 07:51 PM | 47 comment(s)
  Beats: orioles

Detroit Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera joins 500 home run club

Miguel Cabrera is now a member of one of the most exclusive clubs in baseball.

Cabrera put an exclamation point on his career when he became the 28th member of the 500 home run club with a sixth-inning blast for the Detroit Tigers on Sunday against the Blue Jays in Toronto.

The 38-year-old Cabrera connected on a 1-1 pitch from left-hander Steven Matz, sending the ball over the scoreboard in right-center field. The 400-foot homer tied the score at 1. The Tigers won the game 5-3 in 11 innings.

The 14,685 fans at Rogers Centre rose for a standing ovation as Cabrera rounded the bases. After celebrating with his teammates, the Tigers slugger came out of the dugout to accept a curtain call, taking off his helmet and bowing to the crowd behind ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 22, 2021 at 07:43 PM | 59 comment(s)
  Beats: miguel cabrera

Athletics continue ballpark plans in Oakland and Las Vegas

The Athletics are proceeding with “parallel paths,” planning new ballparks in Oakland and Las Vegas. Club officials are determined to find the best fit and relocate if the organization can’t secure what it wants along the downtown waterfront Howard Terminal site.

Team president Dave Kaval is planning another trip to Las Vegas soon—traveling there every couple of weeks, he said—to evaluate the options with that potential spot. He spoke on the field Friday ahead of the A’s hosting the San Francisco Giants in the Bay Bridge Series at the Coliseum, a site he still insists is not right for baseball going forward.

“I think we’ve been really clear, I think the league’s been really clear that this site does not fit the 21st century vision for ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 22, 2021 at 07:42 PM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, las vegas

Friday, August 20, 2021


Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 8-20-2021

Toledo News-Bee, August 20, 1921:

Recently a ball was knocked into the stand [at Shibe Park]. A fan got it and when the usher appeared he demanded a pass for giving up the ball. The usher gave him the pass, then held out his hand for the ball. The fan dug into his pocket, pulled out a ball and tossed it to the field. The usher was satisfied.

Umpire George Hildebrand picked up the ball—it was one of the nickel “Rocket” variety.

Evidently that fan had come prepared and had been carrying that nickel ball for just such an emergency. He got away with a good ball and a pass.

Nicely done.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: August 20, 2021 at 08:19 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Angels’ David Fletcher Is Baseball’s Most Anonymous Talent

What he lacks in the ability to hit the ball hard, he makes up for with a knack to hit the ball in specific spots to beat opposing defenses. A look at his spray chart shows an even distribution of hits across all parts of the diamond.

“You can’t defend him, because when you move somewhere he’ll hit it where you’re not,” Gill says. “It’s the most uncanny, elite performance skill I’ve ever seen. If you move your right fielder in, he’s gonna hit it over the right fielder’s head. I don’t know how, but he will. It’ll fall where they’re not.”

The doubts about his ability to hit persisted even after he reached the majors. After he hit his first home run as a rookie, the Angels’ dugout opted against using their ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 19, 2021 at 07:02 PM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: david fletcher

MLB and Players’ Union Trade Topps for Fanatics in Deals to Shake Up Trading-Card Universe

Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association have struck new exclusive baseball card agreements with a new company controlled by online sports-merchandise retailer Fanatics Inc., breaking the decades-long grip that incumbent icon Topps Co. has held on the trading-card market, people familiar with the matter said.

The deals signal the beginning of a sweeping reorganization of the trading-card universe. In a memo sent to baseball players Thursday, MLBPA executive director Tony Clark said “other significant sports properties also separately have agreed to exclusive licenses with (the new Fanatics company) in the trading cards category” but didn’t name specific leagues or players’ unions.

The MLBPA deal ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 19, 2021 at 03:46 PM | 46 comment(s)
  Beats: baseball cards, topps

Primer Dugout (and link of the day) 8-19-2021

Washington Times, August 19, 1921:

Southpaw Francis will cost the Washington Griffmen a pretty piece of change, according to President Griffith, who is traveling with his team on this final swing through the West.

“In addition to $20,000 in money,” says Griffith, “we are turning over to Seattle Outfielder Goebel, now with Reading; Pitcher Fisher, now with Shreveport, and Jimmy O’Neill, now ill at his home.

It wasn’t the best purchase Griffith ever made. Francis, a 29-year-old rookie, allowed 136 runs in 225 innings in 1922, lost 18 games, walked more batters than he struck out, and was traded to Detroit after the season for a utility infielder named Chick Gagnon.

Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: August 19, 2021 at 11:47 AM | 9 comment(s)
  Beats: dugout, history

White Sox’s Lance Lynn ejected after tossing belt at umpire during foreign-substance check

Chicago White Sox right-hander Lance Lynn was ejected from his start on Wednesday against the Oakland Athletics (GameTracker) during a foreign-substance check. Lynn seemingly was not tossed because he was found to have a substance on his person or his glove, but, rather, because he irked an umpire by tossing his belt at him from the dugout.

Lynn and White Sox manager Tony La Russa went onto the field to discuss the matter with the umpiring staff, but he remained ejected all the same.

Lynn, 34, had held the Athletics to one run in four innings despite allowing a lot of traffic on the basepaths. Indeed, he had permitted three hits and three walks to go with his four strikeouts. He even had to escape a bases-loaded, no-out situation in the ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 19, 2021 at 10:49 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: ejections, lance lynn

Detroit Tigers great Bill Freehan dies at age 79 after long battle with Alzheimer’s disease

Former Detroit Tigers catcher Bill Freehan, a perennial All-Star and the quiet leader of 1968 world champions, has died at age 79 the team announced on Thursday. Freehan had suffered from Alzheimer’s disease for several years, spending the last few years in under hospice care in his northern Michigan home.

Freehan is best remembered for the 1968 championship season when he caught 155 regular-season games, nearly all of Denny McLain’s 31 victories, before handling World Series MVP Mickey Lolich’s three complete-game victories. As the runner-up to McLain for the American League MVP award that year, Freehan posted career highs in home runs (25), RBIs (84) and runs scored (73).

“Longtime Tiger, arguably the best catcher in the history ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 19, 2021 at 10:48 AM | 94 comment(s)
  Beats: bill freehan, obituaries, tigers

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Freddie the 1st Brave in history to cycle twice

As the Braves continue to strengthen their place atop the National League East standings, Freddie Freeman is creating reason to wonder if he might end up winning a second straight NL MVP Award.

Freeman strengthened his resume as he hit for the cycle in Wednesday night’s game against the Marlins at loanDepot park. The veteran first baseman became the first Braves player to hit for the cycle multiple times.

Freeman secured the cycle when he homered off Marlins right-hander Luís Madero in the sixth inning. He doubled in the first and tripled during a four-run fourth. His fifth-inning single put him a home run shy of the Braves’ first cycle since he produced one on June 15, 2016, in a win over the Reds.

Freeman joined Trea Turner and ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 18, 2021 at 10:23 PM | 32 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, cycles, freddie freeman

Sources: MLB proposes salary minimum funded by new tax on teams spending $180 million

Sub required at The Athletic.

In a face-to-face collective bargaining meeting in Denver on Monday, Major League Baseball made its first proposal covering core economics to the Players Association. The plan included a new tax on team spending, one that would both effectively lower the first luxury-tax threshold in the sport to $180 million, and charge teams who exceed that first mark a higher percentage than they pay today. One trade-off, people briefed on the league’s proposal said, would be a salary minimum of $100 million in the sport.

Money collected from teams paying tax would fund certain club payrolls to the minimum, but details about the mechanism are unclear, including what penalties teams might incur if they do not reach $100 ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 18, 2021 at 05:08 PM | 30 comment(s)
  Beats: salary floor

Jack Morris under fire for using Asian accent during Shohei Ohtani at-bat

Tigers announcer and Hall of Fame pitcher Jack Morris was criticizing after using an accent to answer a question about Shohei Ohtani in Detroit’s game against the Angels on Tuesday night.

Morris was asked by Bally Sports play-by-play man Matt Shepard what the Tigers “should do with Shohei Ohtani?” during his at-bat in the sixth inning.

Morris responded by attempting to use an Asian accent and saying, “Be very, very careful.”

The 66-year-old Morris apologized before Ohtani’s next at-bat.

“Well folks, Shohei Ohtani is coming to the plate and it’s been brought to my attention, and I sincerely apologize if I offended anybody, especially anybody in the Asian community for what I said about pitching and being careful to ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 18, 2021 at 11:37 AM | 515 comment(s)
  Beats: jack morris

Steve Cohen fumes at ‘unproductive’ Mets as season spirals

Steve Cohen has spent months preaching patience to frustrated Mets fans on Twitter.

Now, the billionaire owner is the one who needs consoling.

Cohen slammed the Mets’ “unproductive” lineup Wednesday after the team’s losing streak hit five with a 3-2 loss to the Giants the night before.

“It’s hard to understand how professional hitters can be this unproductive.The best teams have a more disciplined approach,” Cohen fumed on Twitter. “The slugging and OPS numbers don’t lie.”


The tweet marked the first time the first-year owner has scolded the team publicly on social media, as he has remained active on Twitter since taking over the team.

The Mets’ .380 slugging percentage ranks 26th in the league and their .693 OPS ...

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RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 18, 2021 at 11:34 AM | 26 comment(s)
  Beats: mets, steve cohen

Chris Bassitt hospitalized after getting hit in head by line drive; pitcher reportedly has facial fractures

A scary moment took place in Chicago’s Guaranteed Rate Field on Tuesday night. In the bottom of the second inning, White Sox batter Brian Goodwin sent a rocket toward the mound and Oakland Athletics starter Chris Bassitt got hit with it in the side of the head.

The line drive was 100.1 miles per hour off the bat and it didn’t appear Bassitt got a glove on it. It wasn’t a glancing blow, either. It just struck Bassitt squarely on the right side of the face, possibly in the upper cheek area, hopefully not too close to his eye. 

In the smallest of small reliefs, it doesn’t appear that Bassitt lost consciousness. He was moving around, though not much and he never removed the towel from his head and/or face.

  ...Read More...

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 18, 2021 at 11:30 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: athletics, chris bassitt

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