Mallparks and ghost parks

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I was almost ready to put one tentative foot on board The Common Man’s Mallparks-aren’t-so-bad-when-you-get-right-down-to-it bandwagon, but then I went and read David Fleming’s remembrance and revisiting of old Tiger Stadium which apparently coincided with a minor dust storm here in my den if my current eye irritation is any judge.

I’ll go this far: yes, it is way easier to take young kids to the mallparks.  But easy ain’t everything. When I was a kid, the cigar-and-beer smells of Tiger Stadium made me acutely aware that I was in a grownup place. And I loved nothing more than being in what I thought were grownup places in those days.

But no matter which side you fall on — assuming you have to take a side; we do too much of that I think — both TCM’s and Fleming’s stories are good reads.

Mike Trout has a torn thumb ligament, could require surgery

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Yesterday Mike Trout left the Marlins-Angels game after hurting his thumb while sliding head first into second base. After the game the Angels talked about it as if it were just a sprain. Trout had an MRI today, however, and the diagnosis is far worse: he has a torn thumb ligament.

While a treatment option has not yet been chosen, surgery is a possibility. A certainty is that he’ll miss, at the very least, several weeks of play. He has been placed on the disabled list for the first time in his career.

Trout, the reigning AL MVP and, without question, the best player in baseball, is batting .337/.461/.742 with 16 home runs, 36 RBI, 36 runs scored, and 10 stolen bases in 206 plate appearances this season. Even with the one of the weaker supporting casts in baseball, Trout had the Angels near .500 and in at least arguable contention in the AL West.

Without him, they are likely sunk. Without him, baseball is worse off.

Basebrawl! Harper, Strickland punch away, Nats-Giants fight

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SAN FRANCISCO — Nationals slugger Bryce Harper and San Francisco reliever Hunter Strickland both landed punches to the head during a wild brawl that erupted Monday after a hit by pitch.

Harper was hit in the right hip by Strickland’s 98 mph fastball in the eighth inning with Washington ahead 2-0.

Harper pointed the bat toward Strickland, charged the mound and fired his batting helmet wide of the pitcher. They started to swing away and they each connected as the benches and bullpens emptied.

At least two Giants players forcefully dragged Strickland from the middle of the brawl all the way into the dugout. Harper and Strickland were both ejected.

In the 2014 NL Division Series, Harper hit two home runs off Strickland. After the star’s second shot, in Game 4, he stared at Strickland as he rounded the bases.