The last player in Tiger Stadium: Val Kilmer

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The final hours of Tiger Stadium are, well, bizarre:

A film crew is giving Tiger Stadium a temporary reprieve from the
wrecking ball as they shoot a movie at the old ballpark today. For
production of the independent film “The Irishman,” the site will morph
into the old Cleveland Municipal Stadium, which was demolished in 1995
and replaced. Val Kilmer, Christopher Walken and Ray Stevenson are
starring in the film . . .

. . . The independent film, which does not have a release date,
documents the life of Cleveland-area union organizer and mobster Danny
Greene, who was killed by a car bomb as he left a dentist’s appointment.

A final ignominy in a series of ignominies that have befallen Tiger Stadium since the last game in 1999.

I spent a nice chunk of my childhood in Tiger Stadium and loved that building more than the houses in which I grew up. As I mention here,
for mercy’s sake, I’m glad it’s finally being demolished. I just wish
it didn’t have to suffer through Billy Crystal, Bud Bowl 2006, weeds,
neglect, decay and now, finally, Val Kilmer, before it was put out of
its misery.

Jon Gray will start Opening Day for the Rockies

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Manager Bud Black has tabbed Jon Gray to start on Opening Day for the Rockies. That will be Monday, April 3 in Milwaukee against the Brewers in an afternoon contest.

Gray, 25, is starting Opening Day for the first time in his career. He’ll be the sixth different Rockies pitcher to start Opening Day in as many years.

The Rockies and Gray had a bit of a scare on Friday as he left his spring training start with discomfort in his left foot, but everything came up clean in an MRI. He pitched again on Wednesday with no issue.

Last season, Gray went 10-10 with a 4.61 ERA and a 185/59 K/BB ratio in 168 innings. A consensus top prospect entering each of the previous three seasons, Gray surprisingly put up better numbers at Coors Field — the most hitter-friendly park in baseball — than away.

Blake Treinen named Nationals closer

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Today Washington Nationals manager Dusty Baker named Blake Treinen as his closer. Treinen has saved exactly one big league game.

There wasn’t necessarily an obvious choice, however. Last year Washington had Mark Melancon, but with him gone and GM Mike Rizzo’s failure to land a high-profile closer in the offseason, it became a contest between Treinen Shawn Kelley and Koda Glover.

Treinen posted a 2.28 ERA with 31 walks and 63 Ks in 67 innings in 2016. His big improvement last year came against lefties, who had tattooed him in the past. He pitched well this spring as well, but that doesn’t necessarily mean anything.

The Nats are our favorites to win the NL East, but we do have some questions about the pen. Blake Treinen will take the first crack at answering them.