Strong Island's Finest: Pitchers

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In honor of the U.S. Open out at Bethpage this weekend, let’s look at
the greatest baseball players from Long Island, or Strong Island for
all you meatheads, in Major League history. The position players are here. Now the pitchers:

Frank Viola, Hempstead. 15 seasons with Twins, Mets, Red Sox,
Reds, and Blue Jays … 176-150 W-L, 3.73 ERA, 1.301 WHIP, 1,844 K in
2,836.1 IP … 1988 A.L. Cy Young with Minnesota … 6 seasons with 15+
wins … 1987 World Series Champion & MVP (won Game 1 and Game 7) … 3
All-Star games … All-Star mustache … prompted Mets fans to hang musical
notes for every strikeout … FROM! St. John’s.

Pete Harnisch, Commack. 14 seasons with Orioles, Astros, Mets,
Brewers, and Reds … 111-103 W-L, 3.89 ERA, 1.296 WHIP, 1,368 K in
1,959.0 IP … 1991 All-Star … led N.L. with 4 shutouts in 1993 … 26th
pitcher to strike out the side with only 9 pitches on September 6, 1991
against the Phillies … gave up back-to-back-to-back homers against the
Padres on Opening Day, 1997.

Pete Richert, Floral Park. 13 seasons with Dodgers, Senators,
Orioles, Cardinals, and Phillies … 80-73 W-L, 3.19 ERA, 1.186 WHIP, 51
SV, 925 K in 1,165.2 IP … 3 All-Star games … 1970 World Series Champion
… shares a distinction with John Smoltz for being players who have been
traded for Doyle Alexander.

Jason Marquis, Manhasset. 10 seasons (and counting) with Braves,
Cardinals, Cubs, and Rockies … 88-74 W-L, 4.49 ERA, 1.419 WHIP, 796 K
in 1,366.0 IP … led N.L. in L, ER, and HRA in 2006 … 4.76 ERA in 10
postseason appearances … .531 OPS, 5 HR … Silver Slugger in 2005.

John Habyan, Bay Shore. 11 seasons with Orioles, Yankees,
Royals, Cardinals, Angels, and Rockies … 26-24 W-L, 3.85 ERA, 1.358
WHIP, 12 SV, 372 K in 532.1 IP … former teammates with Mel Hall.

Paul Gibson, Southampton. 8 seasons with Tigers, Mets, and
Yankees … 22-24 W-L, 4.07 ERA, 1.448 WHIP, 345 K in 556.2 IP … gave me
pitching lessons in Bellport in 1999.

Matt Daley, Garden City. Rookie with the Rockies … ace pitcher for 2000 NY State Champion Garden City Trojans.

Derek Norris signing with the Rays

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Yahoo Sports’ Tim Brown reports that Derek Norris is signing with the Tampa Bay Rays.

Norris was released by the Nationals nine days ago, made redundant by the Nats’ signing of Matt Wieters and by everyone sliding down a notch on the depth chart below him. Norris hit only .186/.255/.328 with 14 home runs and a .528 OPS for the Padres in 2016.

Still, there always seems to be a place for a backup catcher. For Norris that place is Tampa Bay.

The Braves are banning outside food. And they’re probably lying about why they’re doing it.

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Here’s a thing a lot of people don’t realize: there are a lot of ballparks that allow you to bring in outside food.

Not all of them, but a lot do. They don’t publicize it, obviously, because they want you to buy their expensive food, but if you go to the concessions policy page on most team’s websites, you can get the scoop. It often lists “soft-sided coolers” under “permitted items,” which is code for “yes, you can bring your own food in.” Some may specifically limit THAT to sealed plastic water bottles, but for the most part, if you can bring soft-sided coolers into the park, that means it’s OK to bring in grandma’s potato salad and a few sandwiches. They may check your coolers, of course, to make sure you’re not bringing in alcohol or whatever.

The Atlanta Braves have always allowed food into the ballpark. But thats going to change in shiny new Sun Trust Park. The AJC reports that the Braves have announced a new policy via which ticket holders will not be allowed to bring in outside food. Exceptions will be made for infant food and for special dietary restriction items.

Which, OK, it’s their park and their rules. If they want to cut out the PB&J for junior and force you to buy him a $9 “kids pack” — or if they want you to forego grandma’s potato salad to buy that pork chop sandwich we mentioned yesterday — that’s their choice. Everything else about the Braves new stadium has been about extracting money from fans, so why not the concessions policy too?

My beef with this is less about the policy. It’s about their stated reason for it:

The changes are a result of tighter security being put into place this season throughout the league, said the Braves spokesperson.

This, as the French say, is horses**t.

We know it is because not all teams are prohibiting outside food. If there are tighter security measures across the board, other teams are implementing them without the food restriction. Even the Yankees, who take security theater to extreme heights as it is, are still allowing fans to bring in their own food.

The Braves, I strongly suspect, are using these measures as an excuse to cut down on competition for their concessions. Which, like I said, go for it. Just be honest about what you’re doing and stop blaming “tightened security” for your cash grab.