I’m in the press box of Phoenix Municipal Stadium. I can’t say for sure how long I’ll be here, however, because real estate is at a premium. Most of these boxes have two rows. The first row is for the beat writers who cover the team every day, the official scorer and people like that. The second row has spaces for reporters covering the visiting team and a few empty slots. I usually slide into an empty slot.
Here the second row — a full 15-20 spaces, which is large for Arizona — is dedicated to the Matsui Brigade. As in, the Japanese media covering Hideki Matsui. I’ve heard tell of the size of that contingent, but seeing the kind of real estate theyoccupy is something to behold. For now I’m in a visiting media slot. There a five of them. The Indians are the visitors, so I may be safe. If Paul Hoynes or Jordan Bastain kick me out of my slot, I’ll have no reason to complain.
Get a load of this stadium, though. It was built in 1964. That poured concrete facade is the tell. It reminds me of a government building in Brasilia or something. Which isn’t a criticism, because I rather like government buildings of that era for some strange reason. They can be hideous in their Brutalism, but they’re comforting to me. They remind me of elementary school. Heck, they remind me of Denney Hall on the Ohio State campus, where I probably spent most of my in-class time as an undergrad. I’m digging Phoenix Municipal.
Oh, and this doesn’t hurt:
I’m heading down to the clubhouse. I promise to not to tell you if I see anything interesting.
Jon Morosi reports that the Mariners and the Marlins are “fairly close” on a trade that would send reliever David Phelps to Seattle. Earlier Ken Rosenthal and others reported that the sides were talking, but that a deal was not imminent.
Phelps, 30, had a fantastic 2016 season, posting a 2.28 ERA in 64 games while striking out 11.8 batters per nine innings. He’s not been as strong this year, but he’s still been a solid setup man, posting a 3.45 ERA in 44 games while striking out 51 batters and walking 21 in 47 innings. He throws in the mid-90s and induces grounders. Basically everything you want in a reliever, right?
The Mariners could probably use rotation help more than bullpen help, but solid innings are solid innings at one point and improving your pen takes some of the pressure off of your rotation.
Corey Sager homered in the Dodgers’ win over the White Sox last night. It was his 45th career homer, 44 of which have come while playing shortstop. While that’s great given that the guy has only played in 270 games, it’s not a lot of homers in an absolute sense. Thousands of players have more homers than that, obviously. Baseball has been around for a long time!
But it’s enough to set a record. A Los Angeles Dodgers record, specifically, for the most homers from a shortstop. It puts Seager past Rafael Furcal, who hit 43 while wearing Dodger blue. The record for the franchise, including Brooklyn, is Pee Wee Reese, who hit 122.
It seems astounding that no other Dodgers shortstop has hit more than 44 homers in the nearly 60 years since the club has been in Los Angeles, but it’s true. If you had asked me before I saw the factoid mentioned on Twitter I would’ve bet my life that Bill Russell would’ve had more. Not because he had any power — he was, in fact, one of the more punchless players of his era — but because he simply played in L.A. so long, logging 1,746 games at short for Walt Alston and Tommy Lasorda. Nope. He only hit 46 in his 18-year career, with a handful of those coming as an outfielder. His season high is seven. Seager has hit seven homers in May of his rookie season.
Oh well, you learn something new every day.