Pat Burrell apparently left his bat back in the National League

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In what is evidence of baseball being a funny game or the National League being way worse than the American League–or maybe both–Pat Burrell homered last night and is now 19-for-58 (.328) with four homers and three doubles for the Giants.
Burrell spent the first nine seasons of his career in the NL playing for the Phillies, posting an .852 OPS with an average of 30 homers and 95 RBIs per 150 games. He signed a two-year, $16 million contract with the Rays last offseason, proceeded to hit .218 with 16 homers and a .672 OPS in 146 games, and was released last month.
Signed to a minor-league contract by San Francisco, he made a brief pit stop at Triple-A and quickly returned to the National League, where he’s currently sporting the highest OPS of his career while forcing his way into the Giants’ plans. In fact, if you simply pretend Burrell never set foot in the American League (something Rays fans would surely sign off on) here are his yearly OPS totals:

YEAR      OPS
2005     .892
2006     .890
2007     .902
2008     .875
2010     .980

Burrell is earning the league minimum with the Giants, which is perhaps also evidence of life not being fair. Whatever the case, my advice for Hank Blalock is to sign with whichever NL team will have him.

Athletics and Mariners to begin the 2019 regular season in Tokyo

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Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that the Oakland A’s and the Seattle Mariners will begin the 2019 regular season in Japan, in the Tokyo Dome.

The series will mark the third time that the A’s will begin their season in Japan, first doing it in 2008 against the Red Sox and then again in 2012 against the Mariners.

This is just the latest of Major League Baseball’s moves to expand the the game internationally. In addition to those previous series in Japan, the Dodgers and Diamondbacks opened their season in Australia in 2014 and the Dodgers and Padres will play a series in Mexico City this May. There has likewise been talk of the Mets playing a series in London, though those details have not yet been worked out. Obviously the World Baseball Classic represents the league’s effort to broaden the global scope of the once national pastime.

Get ready for early morning baseball, folks.