Funny tweets from Twins center fielder Denard Span yesterday regarding what he thought was his introduction to new shortstop Tsuyoshi Nishioka:
Funniest thingever happened today! I thought another player that was Asian on our team was nishi!! I asked him how his English was and [he] said “it’s great man, how r u?” then i looked at him like he was crazy… Then he was like I’m not nishi matter of fact I’m from Kansas city lol … I laughed but I was so embarrassed. He was a good sport about lol
Based on the Kansas City birth and the Asian appearance, I’m assuming Span was talking to non-roster invitee infielder Ray Chang.
Here’s a confession: I have a hard time telling ballplayers apart. No, not Asian ballplayers or Latino ballplayers or black ballplayers. Just ballplayers. I’m so conditioned from watching games on television to expect to see closeups of them with either their names on their jerseys or as a graphic underneath them — or, at the very least, with them standing at their position — that there are some non-superstars who have been around the game a long time that I probably couldn’t identify simply by looking at their face, even if they’re in uniform.
Out of context, even some bigger names might be difficult. If Chris Carpenter or C.J. Wilson sat down next to me at a bar, I’d probably not realize who they were, partially because of the improbability field created by a ballplayer sitting down next to me, probably because they’re out of uniform and thus all of the contextual clues are gone.
People are prone to suggestion, overt or otherwise. Span surely doesn’t know all of the Twins’ NRIs on the first day of camp. If he had been thinking “must meet our new Asian infielder,” and then saw Chang taking ground balls, it makes perfect sense that his brain would click “that’s Nishi.”
But still, that’s gotta be a kangaroo court fine, no?
(thanks to reader Pat McEnroe for the heads up)
It’s been a strange season for Red Sox’ third baseman Pablo Sandoval, who lost his starting role in spring training, went 0-for-6 in three regular season appearances, and underwent season-ending surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder in May. That was the last the Red Sox were supposed to hear about Sandoval until spring 2017, when he was expected to rejoin the team after a lengthy rehab stint in Florida.
On Saturday, manager John Farrell was telling a different story. Per MLB.com’s Sam Blum, Farrell hinted that Sandoval could return to the team as soon as October, albeit in a very limited capacity.
At the time of the surgery, it was all looking at the start of next Spring Training,” Farrell said. “We’re not getting too far ahead of ourselves here, but at the same time, we compliment him for the work he’s put in, the way he’s responded to the rehab, the way he’s worked himself into better condition. We’re staying open-minded.
If the 30-year-old does return in 2016, don’t expect him to look like the three-home run hitter of the 2012 World Series. Should the Red Sox lose another player to injury, Sandoval might be called on as a backup option, but he’s unlikely to see substantial playing time under any other circumstances. Despite making two appearances at DH in the instructional league, Sandoval has not started at third base since undergoing surgery, though Farrell noted that a return to third base would be the next logical step in his recovery process.
Sandoval has yet to hit his stride within the Red Sox’ organization after hitting career-worst numbers in 2015. According to FanGraphs, his Offensive Runs Above Average (Off) plummeted to -20.2, contributing approximately two wins fewer than the average offensive player in 2015. (The Diamondbacks’ Chris Owings held the lowest Off mark in 2015, with -26.3 runs below average.) Sandoval has not appeared in a postseason race since the Giants’ championship run in 2014.
Heading into Saturday evening, the Red Sox could clinch their spot in the postseason with a win over the Rays and an Orioles’ loss.
The Rangers got a bit of a breather on Saturday after clinching the division lead during Friday night’s win. Naturally, it was also a prime opportunity for another of Adrian Beltre‘s well-documented antics, as he spent his off day directing the Rangers’ infield defense with a series of signs. Even with Carlos Beltran‘s help, no one, least of all those playing the infield, appeared to have any idea what Beltre’s gestures were intended to convey.
You can add this to the list of in-game oddities Beltre has become so well-known for over the years, running the gamut from the way he kicked a ball over the foul line to his histrionics every time someone comes close to touching his head. If nothing else, it’s a convincing audition reel for the third baseman’s future in major league coaching — a career path that, I’d imagine, would end up looking something like this: