Ivan Rodriguez becomes fifth player in baseball history with 300 home runs as a catcher

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Last night Ivan Rodriguez hit his 307th career homer, 300 of which have come while catching. Rodriguez joins Hall of Famers Mike Piazza, Carlton Fisk, Johnny Bench, and Yogi Berra as the only players in baseball history to amass 300 homers while catching.
And for all the people freaking out about Alex Rodriguez being “stuck” on 599 homers, Ivan Rodriguez went three months, 51 games, and 192 plate appearances between homers.
Rodriguez has been terrible after a strong start to the season, hitting .178 with a .441 OPS in 33 games since mid-June to bring his overall season line down to a career-worst .268/.294/.358. However, because the Nationals signed him to a two-year, $6 million contract this offseason he’ll be back in 2011, although perhaps in more of a backup/mentor role to newly acquired 22-year-old catching prospect Wilson Ramos.
Rodriguez is 218 hits away from 3,000 and seems likely to get a chance to stick around long enough to reach that mark even if his pace has slowed considerably at this point and he’s no longer really a starting-caliber backstop at age 38. And then he’ll be in Cooperstown five years after whenever he decides to retire.

The Braves will be serving some insane food this season

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Lots of teams have crazy concession items and lots of them will circulate photos of the more gonzo ones in the coming week leading up to the baseball season. The Braves, however, have been one of the more aggressive players in the gimmick concession item game in recent years, and they just sent around a release talking about some of the stuff they, and their concessionaire, Delaware North, will be serving at their new ballpark, Sun Trust Park, in 2017.

Among them:a blackened catfish po boy, which is a blackened 6-ounce filet of catfish cut up among three tacos, with a cajun remoulade. Some BBQ beef brisket sliders. A double burger. An ice cream bar. They’re also going to have a regionally-inspired thing called “The Taste of Braves Country,” showcasing southern cooking from Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama. Which they’re calling “Braves Country.” Accurate enough, I guess, even if some of us are old enough to remember when they aspired to be a national team. Alas.

The big item, though, is this one:

It’s called the “Tomahawk Chop” sandwich. It’s a fried pork chop with collard green slaw and white BBQ sauce. It serves four and costs $26. I’m guessing it tastes fantastic, but I think the name is pretty cringeworthy for the same reason the cheer which gives it its name is. And, given the dynamics of the Braves move to their new stadium, the choice of BBQ sauce is . . . amusing? I dunno.

Anyway, enjoy, Braves fans.

Max Scherzer will not be ready for Opening Day

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Ten days ago Nationals ace Max Scherzer said he’d be ready for the start of the regular season. “I’m gonna do it,” Scherzer said.

[Ron Howard from “Arrested Development” voice] — No, he’s not:

Nationals manager Dusty Baker said that Max Scherzer is not on track to be the team’s opening day starter, and will most likely open the season as the third pitcher in the rotation.

He’s still projected to make it to the opening rotation, taking the hill, most likely, on Thursday April 6 against the Marlins. At least if the schedule doesn’t slip any more.

Scherzer, as you probably know, has a stress fracture in the knuckle of his right ring finger, which has messed with his preparation and has caused him to alter his grip a bit. As of now Stephen Strasburg will get the Opening Day nod.