History Lesson: getting tough with bugs

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If you watched last night’s Yankees-Indians game you noticed that Joba
Chamberlain was bothered far more by the insects than he was by any of
the Indians’ hitters. And, if you didn’t have the good sense to mute
the broadcast, you heard Steve Phillips and Co. go on and on and on
about the famous “midge” game from the 2007 Division Series. I watched
enough of the game to get the gist, but whenever the announcers kept
going back to that and their two or three other tired topics that
didn’t have much to do with the game, I flipped over to something far more worth my time.

Anyway, the game’s events have tHeMARksMiTh looking back fondly at a time when grounds crews knew how to deal with bugs:

The night was June 2, 1959, and the Baltimore Orioles called upon
the Chicago White Sox. Before the game started, gnats swarmed around
pitcher Hoyt Wilhelm. The grounds crew came out and started batting at
them with a towel, but it didn’t work. Then, they went to find bug
spray, but that wasn’t the answer, either (sound familiar?). Finally,
they get a bright idea. Smoke bombs! Attaching them to the fireworks
display, the grounds crew set them off. Smoke covered the field, and
the game was delayed a half an hour. However, the smoke cleared and the
gnats were gone.

I suppose if they did that today there would be lawsuits and OSHA
complaints and everything. But this is baseball we’re talking about
here, and baseball is important.

Steven Matz likely to start season on DL; Zack Wheeler to adhere to innings limit

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Mets manager Terry Collins said on Wednesday, “It’s unlikely that [Steven Matz] will start the season with us.” The final spot in the Mets’ starting rotation will go to either Zack Wheeler or Seth Lugo, Newsday’s Marc Carig reports.

On Wheeler’s innings limit, assistant GM John Ricco said, “There’s going to be some number but we don’t exactly know what that is.” Wheeler missed the last two seasons after undergoing Tommy John surgery.

Neither Wheeler nor Lugo have had terrific springs as each carries a 5.11 and 5.56 Grapefruit League ERA, respectively. However, Carig notes that Wheeler has impressed simply by appearing healthy and brandishing a fastball that once again sits in the mid- to high-90’s. Lugo, meanwhile, proved crucial to the Mets last year, posting a 2.67 ERA across eight starts and nine relief appearances.

Rockies sign 30-year lease to stay in Coors Field

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Nick Groke of the Denver Post reports that the Rockies agreed to a $200 million, 30-year lease with the Metropolitan Baseball Stadium District, which is the state division that owns Coors Field. As part of the deal, the Rockies will lease and develop a plot of land south of the stadium, which will cost the team $125 million for 99 years.

As Groke points out, had the Rockies not reached a deal by Thursday, March 30, the lease would have rolled over for five more years.

Rockies owner Dick Monfort issued a statement, saying, “We are proud that Coors Field will continue to be a vital part of a vibrant city, drawing fans from near and far and making our Colorado residents proud.”

The Rockies moved into Coors Field in 1995. It is the National League’s third oldest stadium. In that span of time, the Rockies have made the playoffs three times, the last coming in 2009 when they lost in the NLDS to the Phillies. The Rockies were swept in the 2007 World Series by the Red Sox.