U2 is messing with the baseball schedule

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Bono.jpgI’m sure Bono didn’t mean to bug ya, but he’s doing it all the same:

Don’t know whether or not Bono favors the designated hitter rule, but
based on U2’s summer concert tour, they’re definitely American
Leaguers.

The band is playing Angels Stadium
(June 6-7), the Oakland Coliseum (June 16) and Toronto’s Rogers Center
(July 3) before, finally, landing in NL Florida’s Landshark Stadium (or
whatever they’re calling it now, on July 9). And it wreaked havoc with the 2010 schedule.

The reason it’s wreaking havoc: U2 needs a park for 10 days to simply build and tear-down the stage setup for a single night’s concert. As a result, the Angels have a fourteen-game road trip in their future come June.

All of which would be fine if U2 was any good anymore, but ever since they decided that nostalgia was more important than being interesting [cough!] “All That You Can’t Leave Behind” [cough!] they’ve been adrift on a sea of awfulness. I mean, “Pop” was no great shakes, but at least they were trying something.

Where was I? Oh yeah, baseball. 

This is not unprecedented of course. As the linked article notes, the Astros went on the road for a month in 1992 when the Republican National Convention was held in the Astrodome. That was a 26-game road trip, during which the Astros went 12-14.

But the 1992 Astros weren’t exactly contenders like the Angels are. They finished the year 17 games out, and even if you’re generous to the point of ridiculousness, you can’t pin anything that happened to the baseball team on the convention apart from annoyance.

If the Angels finish a game or two out of the money this year, though, fans have my permission to burn copies of “How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb” in the streets.

That is, if they hadn’t done so already on general principle.

Video: Bryce Harper crushes a home run to the Chase Field concourse

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Aaron Judge may be the talk of the town right now, but let’s not forget some of Major League Baseball’s more established sluggers. Take the Nationals’ Bryce Harper, for instance, who jumped on a full count during the first inning of Saturday’s game and postmarked the ball to the center field concourse in Chase Field.

Harper’s mammoth hit was the first career home run allowed by Diamondbacks’ rookie Anthony Banda. Banda quickly recovered with an inning-ending strikeout to Ryan Zimmerman, but was booted from his big league debut after Harper, Zimmerman and Anthony Rendon combined for a three-run spread in the sixth.

The first-inning homer also served another purpose: it extended Harper’s hitting streak to 15 games, the longest current streak in MLB this season. He’ll need four more games to tie the 19-game streak Royals’ infielder/outfielder Whit Merrifield established back in June.

The Nationals currently lead the Diamondbacks 4-2 in the bottom of the seventh inning.

Chi Chi Gonzalez to undergo Tommy John surgery

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Rangers’ right-hander Chi Chi Gonzalez is slated for Tommy John surgery, according to a report by Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. Gonzalez was placed on the 60-day disabled list back in early April with a partial UCL tear and was working towards a throwing program before getting sidelined with more elbow pain. He’s expected to miss the entirety of the 2018 season while recovering from the surgery.

This is the second straight season that has been derailed for Gonzalez due to injury. The 25-year-old starter pitched just 10 1/3 innings in 2016 after recovering from a torn UCL, and was optioned to Triple-A Round Rock to finish out the year after compiling an 8.71 ERA, 7.8 BB/9 and 6.1 SO/9 in three starts with the club. He showed more promise in Triple-A with a 4.70 ERA, 2.9 BB/9 and 5.9 SO/9 through 24 starts and 138 innings.

It’s a tough blow for the Rangers, who have seen Gonzalez healthy in just one major league season to date. General manager Jon Daniels told reporters that a recent MRI showed signs of weakening in the ligament, which disrupted the team’s plans to have the right-hander stick to a six- to eight-week recovery timetable after getting a platelet-rich plasma injection (via Stefan Stevenson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram). The surgery is expected to take place next week and will put Gonzalez’s earliest return date sometime in September 2018.