2011 is going to be one big victory lap for Bert Blyleven.
The Twins announced Thursday night at their annual Diamond Awards that they plan to retire his No. 28 during “Bert Blyleven Day” on July 16, prior to a game against the Texas Rangers. Blyleven will be inducted to the Hall of Fame alongside Roberto Alomar and Pat Gillick on July 24.
The press release from the team reads in part:
“2011 is going to be a special year for the Blyleven family, the Twins organization and millions of fans across Twins Territory,” said Twins CEO Jim Pohlad. “As excitement builds for Bert’s induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, the Twins organization is proud to bestow our highest honor with the retirement of his jersey – number 28. Bert Blyleven Day is aimed at celebrating Bert’s incredible contributions on and off the field, while also providing he and his family a proper send-off to Cooperstown.”
Blyleven will be the sixth player Twins player to have his number retired, joining Harmon Killebrew, Rod Carew, Tony Oliva, Kent Hrbek and Kirby Puckett.
The No. 28 had been worn by Jesse Crain for the past seven seasons, but he signed a three-year, $13 million contract with the White Sox last month.
Don’t interrupt Angel Pagan in the middle of a wild card race. Better yet, don’t interrupt him at all.
A fan learned that the hard way during Friday’s Giants-Dodgers game. In the fourth inning, a group of fans ran onto the field with white flowers in their hands, presumably to hand to Giants players. According to eyewitness accounts, one player was reprimanded by San Francisco starter Madison Bumgarner, while Buster Posey fended off another.
Angel Pagan, however, took more extreme and inventive measures.
On-field security started closing in on the fan as he approached Pagan, but didn’t appear to pick up the pace until the outfielder dropped him on the field.
Vin Scully, who was wrapping up the third-to-last game of his career, provided play-by-play of the incident.
A couple of kids, trying to steal a moment, slow down the game, running on the field and just taking a big moment on the big stage. They’ve got one of them in right field, and the other one is nailed down by Pagan in left field. And the crowd loved that! They went up to do something with Angel Pagan, but [Pagan] grabbed him and slammed him to the ground, and they’re taking him off the field. […] Doesn’t that bring you back to the ’60s, and the flower children? Oh what, you don’t remember the ’60s? Okay.
The next time you want to send a message to a player, maybe try a tweet (throw in a flower emoji or two if you feel so inclined). Just don’t make a showy display of affection in the middle of a game. It’s bound to go badly, at least where Angel Pagan is concerned.
Thanks to Yu Darvish, the Rangers will enter the postseason as the No. 1 seed in the American League.
Darvish was outstanding on Friday night, pegging the Rays with a 3-1 loss on three hits, a run, and 12 strikeouts over six innings. It was the crown jewel of performances for the right-hander, who is carrying a 3.53 ERA and 2.3 fWARP in his first season since undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2015.
The Rangers, who have gone 1-5 on days when they’ve offered Darvish fewer than four runs of support, eked out a two-run lead against Tampa Bay starter Matt Andriese. Adrian Beltre roped an RBI single in the first inning, followed by a pair of solo shots from Carlos Beltran and Rougned Odor in the third and sixth innings.
With the win, the Rangers clinched home-field advantage through the World Series, thanks to a 4-2 win in the All-Star Game back in July. Getting to the World Series will present another challenge entirely, though Darvish figures to stay in the mix with Cole Hamels as the Rangers build toward the Division Series on Thursday. If they advance against the wild card winner in the ALDS, they’ll face either the Indians or the Red Sox in the Championship Series.