Anthony Castrovince on the Albert Pujols situation:
But if Pujols’ long-term status remains uncertain going into and through the season, then the drama surrounding the situation could easily eclipse the circus involving Jeter and the Yanks earlier this winter. Because with Pujols, we’re talking about the game’s premier player. In his prime. And while the Yankees and Red Sox, by virtue of already possessing Mark Teixeira and Adrian Gonzalez, respectively, probably wouldn’t be bidders, every other team in the game with money to spend would be circling over Pujols, ready to pounce.
I think the Cardinals should lock up Pujols and everything, but really, is it as dire as many say? With the Yankees and Red Sox out of it, every other team may be “ready to pounce,” but it also means that the two teams most likely to overpay Pujols are out of it too. Put differently, the Cardinals don’t have to worry too much about being outbid by anyone if, for some reason, Pujols makes it to free agency after the 2011 season, nor do they have to worry about there being some more notable historically prominent team competing for his services.
I wouldn’t want to wait around if I were the Cardinals — what if Adrian Gonzalez breaks his arm tomorrow and doesn’t re-up with the Red Sox as expected? — but it doesn’t seem like they’d face some dire situation if Pujols does hit the market and other teams start sniffing around. They’d still be the biggest dog and most friendly landing pad for Pujols. They don’t stand to be bidding against anyone with a significantly bigger budget. They could still get it done just fine.
As per tradition, towards the end of the regular season, veterans on baseball’s various clubs haze the rookies by making them dress up and do something a bit embarrassing. That used to include things like making rookies dress up like women and carry pink backpacks, but Major League Baseball banned that practice, so veterans had to get marginally more creative.
The Phillies had their rookies — including Rhys Hoskins, J.P. Crawford, and Nick Williams — dress up like characters in Grease and perform “Greased Lightning” at their hotel in Atlanta on Friday night. Not only did the Phils’ vets and other members of the crew get a free show, but so did employees of the hotel and nearby hotel patrons.
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As MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki explains, Hoskins was the inspiration for the gag as he has earned the nickname “Rhys Lightning.” (Rhys, for the uninitiated, rhymes with “Grease.”) Hoskins said, “You always hear about team chemistry. I think stuff like that let’s you get to know guys on a different level, when you’re not at the field. You just become more personable with people. The better relationships you have, there’s a different level of playing for each other. And I think that’s usually a sign of a good team.”
The Twins also had some fun at the rookies’ expense:
Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge went yard twice in Sunday afternoon’s 9-5 loss to the Blue Jays, bringing his season total up to 48. That leaves him just one home run shy of tying the single-season rookie record set by Mark McGwire with the Athletics in 1987.
After Sunday’s performance, Judge is hitting .281/.416/.610 with 48 home runs, 105 RBI, and 122 runs scored in 651 plate appearances. He has the AL Rookie of the Year Award on lock and is neck-and-neck with the Astros’ Jose Altuve, Chris Sale of the Red Sox, and the Indians’ Corey Kluber in the AL MVP Award race.