In which two guys travel the country watching baseball and we get all jealous…

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Steve Gebhardt and John Tramutolo, two editors from Manhattan-based COED Magazine, set out on a wild trip around the baseball world this summer.  They’re hitting all 30 major league cities in 30 days, watching a game at every stadium and talking to locals about pregame bars and good ballpark eats.  Oh, and they’re blogging about all of it.

The fellas passed through St. Louis on Thursday and I had the opportunity to express my jealousy with a quick round of questions. 

A little background first: Where are you guys based?  What teams do you root for?

John
and I are both from the NY/NJ area and we now work in Manhattan at COED
Magazine where I am the Editor-in-Chief. I grew up in Randolph, NJ and
my parents brought me home from the hospital in a mini NY Yankees
jacket so I guess you can say I’ve been a diehard fan for life.

Where have you guys been so far and where are you headed now?

We
started the trip on Friday, July 16th at Yankee Stadium and have seen
Fenway, Camden Yards, Wrigley, Target Field, Busch Stadium and Great
American Ballpark in that order . We have visited 7 parks so far and
will be hitting one stadium each day for the next 23 days.

Overall, what’s been the best stop?

Hands
down St. Louis. We were so well received by the Cardinals Nation! Our
Twitter followers were extremely active, the Cardinals organization was
very receptive, B.J. Rains (of FOX Sports Midwest) helped us out a ton by spreading the word to
his contacts and we even got a shout out on TV during the 4th inning.

How much planning went into this, or is a there a “let’s just wing it” aspect to the trip?

It
took a few strenuous days to get the scheduling right. We typically
have a ‘fly by the seat of our pants’ attitude so this is the first time
where we have every day for the next 3 weeks of our lives broken down
by the hour. With that said the “let’s just wing it” attitude certainly
comes into play when we are in the middle of a 9 hour drive between
cities. As you could imagine timing is extremely important on this trip
but luckily Nokia provided us with a couple Nuron smartphones so we’ve
been using Ovi Maps to help direct us from point to point.

Of the ballparks and cities you’ve yet to visit, which one (or ones) are you looking forward to most?

Steve:
Definitely San Francisco’s AT&T Park. I’ve heard great things and if I
can find a boater to take me into McCovy Cove during batting practice
my trip will be complete.

John: At the beginning of the trip I
was looking forward to Kauffman in Kansas City the least but after
talking to a few people at Mike Shannon’s about cool ballparks in the Midwest it is now turning out to be my most anticipated. Where else can
you play a game of wiffle ball in the stadium while watching an MLB
game?

You can follow their daily travels on COEDMagazine.com, Facebook and Twitter.

Aledmys Diaz is trying to improve his defense with strobe glasses

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MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch reports that Cardinals’ shortstop Aledmys Diaz has been sporting a new look around Busch Stadium with a pair of “strobe glasses,” technology-enhanced specs designed to help athletes focus on the ball. Like a strobe light, the lenses of these glasses affect a player’s vision by rapidly changing opacity, giving its wearers the illusion that the objects they see are moving more slowly than normal. Once a player adjusts to the new speed of play, they gain a greater sense of control and are able to time their actions with more precision.

Diaz isn’t the first MLB player to utilize the technology, just the first Cardinals’ player to do so. It’s been tested by Bryce Harper, Corey Brown, Tommy Joseph, Austin Hedges and Joe Mauer, among others around the league, and has been used for everything from refining a catcher’s reflexes behind the plate to tweaking a hitter’s ability to track a pitch. Per Langosch, Diaz has been using the glasses to hone in on the ball during pregame drills, increasing both his confidence and response time on the field and improving his defense at short.

The shortstop has been the focus of some concern this season after seeing a sizable dip in his production at the plate, and his five fielding errors, 0.6 UZR and 0.6 fWAR haven’t helped matters, either. He sustained a minor thumb injury during an at-bat on Friday night, and was left off of the Cardinals’ starting lineup on Saturday, though manager Mike Matheny didn’t rule out his ability to pinch-hit during the series. While the strobe glasses are a good start, Diaz will need more than a pair of specs to match the spotlight-worthy performance he turned out during his rookie season in 2016.

Eduardo Rodriguez could rejoin the Red Sox rotation in July

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Red Sox’ left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez may finally get a chance at cracking the rotation again, assuming all goes well in Double-A Portland first. Rodriguez took the field prior to the club’s afternoon session with the Angels, firing 68 pitches in a simulated game as he prepared for an upcoming rehab assignment in Portland on Thursday.

The 24-year-old southpaw suffered a right knee subluxation during pregame warmups on June 1, and it’s been a slow path to recovery ever since. It’s not the first time Rodriguez has had issues with his right knee — he sustained a similar injury during spring training last year — and this time around, the Red Sox weren’t about to gamble with their starter’s health. Ian Browne of MLB.com reports that Rodriguez was put in a knee brace and underwent exercises designed to help him regain some mobility and stability while he worked back up to full strength on the mound.

He’ll still need to prove he can throw a 75- to 80-pitch outing in Double-A, and barring any significant setbacks, will likely rejoin the Red Sox’ pitching staff when they visit the Rangers next month. In the meantime, the club will continue to cycle starters through the No. 5 spot, which has seen no fewer than three different pitchers since Rodriguez hit the disabled list. The lefty is 4-2 in 10 starts this season after logging a 3.54 ERA, 3.1 BB/9 and career-high 9.6 SO/9 through his first 61 innings.