Bad day? At least you didn't get hit in the head with Pablo Sandoval's cup

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Pablo Sandoval on base.jpgThis happened back on April 9th, but it’s just now coming to light. I’m assuming that, like all major news stories, it was held up out of an abundance of caution so that the critical details could be verified:

In the bottom of the 12th inning Friday, with Eli Whiteside at the
plate and Sandoval dancing off 3rd base with the possible winning run,
it hit me. Panda’s athletic cup.In the head.

In 25 years of photographing baseball, that was the first, and
please, last time that’s ever happened.

That’s the account from Karl Mondon, a photographer from the Bay Area News Group, who had been sitting next to the Giants’ dugout when Sandoval reached into his trousers, pulled out his cup — which had been bugging him — and tossed it towards the dugout.

Which is a total disgrace. Major League Baseball has been perfectly clear on this point: in order to foster a fun and memorable atmosphere for the fans, players should toss their athletic cups into the seats as souvenirs.

The Giants are not hurting for money. They could afford to get Sandoval a new cup. Those kids sitting alongside the third base line, however, were deprived of what would have almost certainly been a lasting memory.

Noah Syndergaard scratched with a “tired arm”

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Mets manager Terry Collins says that he has scratched Noah Syndergaard, who was supposed to start this afternoon’s game against the Braves. In his place will go Matt Harvey.

Syndergaard, Collins says, has “tired arm.” But also says he has some discomfort in his right biceps. He will have an MRI, but Syndergaard says it’s not serious and that he could pitch as soon as Sunday. Collins says this is an abundance-of-caution type thing, saying “we can’t take a chance on this guy.” Which is true.

The Mets ace is 1-1 with a 1.73 ERA and 30 strikeouts in 26 innings. He has walked no one this year. Not a soul.

James Paxton has a fantastic new nickname

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James Paxton of the Mariners is 3-0 with a 1.39 ERA, 39 strikeouts and only six walks in 32.1 innings of work over five starts. Last night he shut the Tigers down, tossing seven shutout innings, striking out nine and allowing only four hits. With Felix Hernandez looking less than king-like lately, Paxton is asserting himself as the new ace of the Seattle staff.

And now the tall Canadian native has a nickname to match his ace-like status:

“Pax was really outstanding and we certainly needed it,” manager Scott Servais said of the Canadian southpaw. “Big Maple is what he was nicknamed tonight and I kind of like that. He was awesome.”

“Big Maple” is a fantastic nickname. That’s the sort of nickname guys used to get back when nicknames were great. Before managers just put “y” at the end of dudes’ names and before the “First Initial-First Three Letters of The Last Name” convention took hold in the wake of A-Rod.

“Big Maple.” That makes me smile. I’m gonna be smiling all dang day because of that.