Albert Pujols hit a solo shot in the sixth inning of last night’s game, but a kid — who thought he had some pretty sweet seats in the first row of the bleachers — got smacked in the chest with it. He was soon seen crying, though whether it was because of the pain of the ball or because he missed the catch with the glove he brought with him is an open question. But there was a happy ending: Albert Pujols saw the replay of it and sent the kid a bat.
Or maybe it wasn’t happy. Because now Pujols has created a perverse incentive against catching balls heading into the bleachers. Children everywhere will now thrust themselves, face-first, into home run balls, hoping against hope that they too will get a valuable piece of baseball memorabilia. Once this trend — that I’m no doubt not the first to recognize — becomes obvious, Mr. Pujols will be sued into the poorhouse and chain-link fences will be erected around the stands at every ballpark, transforming ballgames into something not unlike a prison rodeo.
Wait. That’s all crazy. Sorry. Just had a flashback to the old legal practice. I’m much better now.
Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius had another fantastic night last night. He went 3-for-3, hitting a home run for the fourth game in a row, had an RBI single and reached base safely in all five of his plate appearances in New York’s 7-4 win over Minnesota.
For the year that gives Gregorius a line of .372/.470/.833, putting him atop the American League in average, slugging, OPS, and OPS+. He also leads the league in total bases (65) and RBI (29). He leads all of baseball in fWAR at 2.2, edging out Mike Trout despite the fact that Trout has played in two more games. He’s second behind Trout in homers with nine.
After last night’s game he insisted that he is not a home run hitter:
“I do have a lot of home runs, but it’s not like I am going out there to try to hit them . . . I’m not a power guy like Judge and Stanton, who hit 50 to 60 and up. Those are the guys who actually hit home runs. One year, let’s say, I hit five — then you ask me where that part went . . . if they go out, they go out. I’m just mostly trying to barrel it up and get a good swing . . . I try to hit line drives and if you check most of my home runs they were line drives,” he said. “It’s not like I am going up to hit deep fly balls.”
Given that he hit 25 homers last year and 20 the year before, he’s being a bit modest, even if he’s not likely to keep up this torrid pace. That modesty is not stopping some people from getting a bit carried away, of course:
We’ll forgive Bob for the hyperbole. Didi has been fun to watch.