Let’s play a game. I’ll give you a real-life baseball scenario, you tell me where it took place:
A 23-year-old third baseman hits a walkoff three-run home run in front of a raucous sellout home crowd.
Gotta be a place like Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago, New York, or St. Louis, right? Where sellouts are commonplace and top prospects perform like they’re supposed to. No, that was a scene from PNC Park in Pittsburgh on Saturday.
Pedro Alvarez, 23, has blasted 10 home runs in his first 163 major league at-bats and played the hero on Saturday evening in front of a massive crowd that was aided by the promise of a George Thorogood post-game concert. Dejan Kovaceivc of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette wrote this morning that it was “one of the great finishes in PNC Park history,” and there’s no doubting that.
The Pirates have struggled through some really rough seasons in the past decade and they’re going to finish 2010 with a losing record for the 18th straight year. But Alvarez and players like Andrew McCutchen have allowed the fans in Pittsburgh to imagine a light at the end of the tunnel.
The substance of the report is not shocking. Francisco Lindor is one of baseball’s brightest young stars and the Cleveland Indians would, no doubt, wish to lock him up for an extended period of time. The surprising part is the guy who reported that, yes, the Indians are working to get Lindor a seven-year extension.
That guy: six-year-old Brody Chernoff, son of Indians general manager Mike Chernoff. Brody was invited into the team’s broadcast booth during the ninth inning of their game against the Chicago White Sox. Indians announcer Tom Hamilton asked, no doubt jokingly, if his working on anything interesting. Brody:
“He’s trying to get, um, Lindor to play for seven more years,”
Again, not shocking. It would’ve been way worse if Brody had said “Dad’s working on a three-way deal that’ll send Naquin to an NL team in order to affect a three-way trade that’ll land us Verlander without having to deal directly with a divisional rival.” But I imagine Dad still would’ve preferred he not mention that.
Bill Whitehead of the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that the Braves have signed reliever David Hernandez to a minor league contract on Sunday. He’ll report to spring training as a non-roster invitee.
Hernandez, who turns 32 years old in May, signed a minor league contract with the Giants in February. He requested and was granted his release on Friday when he learned he wasn’t making the team’s 25-man roster to open the season.
Hernandez pitched for the Phillies last year. He compiled a 3.84 ERA with an 80/32 K/BB ratio in 72 2/3 innings.