Jeff Francoeur got a game-winning "hit" off Mariano Rivera

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This went down in the wee wee hours of Sunday morning so a ton of people missed it, but Jeff Francoeur had a walkoff hit against Mariano Rivera. Hit-by-pitch, that is.

The Rangers trailed 6-5 heading into the ninth and it was enter sandman. Rivera walked Vladimir Guerrero, who
was replaced by pinch-runner Esteban German. The Nelson Cruz singled and Ian Kinsler doubled, which scored German. Joe Girardi then had Mo walk Chris Davis to get to Matt Treanor. Ron Washington pinch hit Andres Blanco for him and he popped out.  Up comes Francoeur, who who most people would have bet their baseball card collection wouldn’t be able to touch Rivera. Hell, I would have bet my son that he’d hit into a double play.

But he can’t do that if he doesn’t swing, and he didn’t have to: Mo’s first pitch grazed Frenchie’s left arm (video here). I’d like to think the ump heard it nick the jersey or something, but he may have made the call based on Francoeur’s dramatic reaction to it. According to the game story he yelled “It hit my arm! It hit my arm!” I’ve spilled gallons of ink slamming Francoeur over the years, but the young man gave me a smile with that one. His teammates too:

“Great … awesome,” Rangers starter Tommy Hunter said. “Glad to see
Frenchy could stand up there and get hit. He made sure the whole world
knew he was hit. That was funny.”

Please correct me the next time I say that Francoeur has no vaule, because that’s clearly not the case. Dude’s a Mariano Rivera killer, I tells ya.

Derek Norris signing with the Rays

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Yahoo Sports’ Tim Brown reports that Derek Norris is signing with the Tampa Bay Rays.

Norris was released by the Nationals nine days ago, made redundant by the Nats’ signing of Matt Wieters and by everyone sliding down a notch on the depth chart below him. Norris hit only .186/.255/.328 with 14 home runs and a .528 OPS for the Padres in 2016.

Still, there always seems to be a place for a backup catcher. For Norris that place is Tampa Bay.

The Braves are banning outside food. And they’re probably lying about why they’re doing it.

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Here’s a thing a lot of people don’t realize: there are a lot of ballparks that allow you to bring in outside food.

Not all of them, but a lot do. They don’t publicize it, obviously, because they want you to buy their expensive food, but if you go to the concessions policy page on most team’s websites, you can get the scoop. It often lists “soft-sided coolers” under “permitted items,” which is code for “yes, you can bring your own food in.” Some may specifically limit THAT to sealed plastic water bottles, but for the most part, if you can bring soft-sided coolers into the park, that means it’s OK to bring in grandma’s potato salad and a few sandwiches. They may check your coolers, of course, to make sure you’re not bringing in alcohol or whatever.

The Atlanta Braves have always allowed food into the ballpark. But thats going to change in shiny new Sun Trust Park. The AJC reports that the Braves have announced a new policy via which ticket holders will not be allowed to bring in outside food. Exceptions will be made for infant food and for special dietary restriction items.

Which, OK, it’s their park and their rules. If they want to cut out the PB&J for junior and force you to buy him a $9 “kids pack” — or if they want you to forego grandma’s potato salad to buy that pork chop sandwich we mentioned yesterday — that’s their choice. Everything else about the Braves new stadium has been about extracting money from fans, so why not the concessions policy too?

My beef with this is less about the policy. It’s about their stated reason for it:

The changes are a result of tighter security being put into place this season throughout the league, said the Braves spokesperson.

This, as the French say, is horses**t.

We know it is because not all teams are prohibiting outside food. If there are tighter security measures across the board, other teams are implementing them without the food restriction. Even the Yankees, who take security theater to extreme heights as it is, are still allowing fans to bring in their own food.

The Braves, I strongly suspect, are using these measures as an excuse to cut down on competition for their concessions. Which, like I said, go for it. Just be honest about what you’re doing and stop blaming “tightened security” for your cash grab.