“Bull Durham” creator putting together a baseball TV series

5 Comments

Lazy observation: baseball, a sport that is best experienced in the form of multiple installments over the course of long period of time (i.e. a 162 game season) has never been portrayed in a good TV series. At the same time, it has had multiple excellent treatments on the silver screen. Football, in contrast, a sport in which one game means everything, has had hardly any good movies done about it, yet had one pretty darn enjoyable TV series in “First and Ten.”* I suppose we can argue about all of that, but that’s my feeling about it. And please don’t tell me that “First and Ten” doesn’t hold up. I choose to remember it being nothing short of awesome.

Anyway, they’re trying again with a baseball TV series. Given the pedigree of the creator, it may just work:

Ron Shelton, the creator of “Bull Durham,” will be putting together a new hour-long comedy based on minor league baseball called “Hound Dogs” for TBS. Shelton will executive produce the project alongside Michele Weisler, Andra Buchanan and Todd DeLorenzo . . . Drawing from Shelton’s own experience as a player, the show centers on a minor league team and its general manager as they try to handle life’s ups and downs, both in and out of the locker room.

And since it’s on TBS, you know darn well it’s gonna get promoted up the wazoo during next season’s playoffs.

*I am immediately reminded by people that “Friday Night Lights” is an excellent TV series as well. I have never watched it — I don’t watch a ton of TV, really — but people I trust say it’s fantastic so I have no reason to doubt it.  I’m also reminded by people that “Eastbound and Down” is a most excellent baseball series.  I haven’t seen most of it either — being remedied soon thanks to NetFlix! — but why that escaped me I have no idea.

Matt Barnes ejected after throwing at Manny Machado’s head

Matt Hazlett/Getty Images
Leave a comment

On Friday, tension between the Orioles and Red Sox rose when Manny Machado spiked Dustin Pedroia sliding into second base. Although the umpires found no fault with Machado’s slide, third base coach Brian Butterfield was later ejected, still feeling like Machado wronged the Red Sox. Pedroia exited the game and was not in the lineup on Saturday or Sunday. He’ll undergo an MRI for his left knee and ankle in Boston on Monday.

For what it’s worth, Pedroia didn’t seem to feel any bitterness towards Machado for his slide. As MLB.com’s Jeff Seidel reported, Pedroia said, “I don’t even know what the rule is. I’ve turned the best double play in the Major Leagues for 11 years. I don’t need a … rule. The rule’s irrelevant. The rule’s for people with bad footwork.”

Tempers flared between the Red Sox and Orioles again on Sunday. In the bottom of the eighth inning with a runner on first base and one out with the Red Sox leading 6-0, reliever Matt Barnes threw a first-pitch fastball up-and-in to Machado. The ball actually hit Machado’s bat, so it counted as a foul ball. Home plate umpire Andy Fletcher ejected Barnes and the Red Sox brought in Joe Kelly. Machado doubled on the first pitch Kelly threw to put the Orioles on the board, but the Orioles ultimately lost 6-2.

MASN’s broadcast later showed Pedroia talking to Machado, seemingly clarifying that Barnes acted of his own volition without encouragement from Pedroia. “You know that,” Pedroia appeared to say. “It wasn’t me. It’s them.”

Commissioner Rob Manfred will likely look into Sunday’s incident. He could fine and/or suspend Barnes.

The Orioles and Red Sox meet again in Boston for a four-game series May 1-4. It will be interesting to see if the tension still remains then.

Mariners designate Leonys Martin for assignment

Stephen Brashear/Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Mariners made a handful of roster moves on Sunday afternoon. Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times reports. The club optioned pitcher Chase De Jong to Triple-A Tacoma, designated outfielder Leonys Martin for assignment, and recalled first baseman Dan Vogelbach and pitcher Chris Heston from Triple-A.

Martin, 29, struggled to start the season, batting .111/.172/.130 in 58 plate appearances. As Divish noted, Martin was very popular with his teammates in Seattle, so the move was particularly difficult. He is owed the remainder of his $4.85 million salary, making it likely that he’ll clear waivers.

De Jong, 23, struggled in 4 2/3 innings of relief, yielding three runs on three hits and three walks with two strikeouts.

Heston, 29, got off to a good start with Tacoma, putting up a 3.18 ERA over his first three starts.

Vogelbach, 24, was hitting .309/.409/.473 with a pair of home runs in 66 PA with Tacoma, encouraging his call-up.