fred merkle

100 years ago today: Giants score 10 before making an out

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May 13, 1911

After future Hall of Famer Christy Matthewson pitched a scoreless top of the first against the Cardinals, the New York Giants lineup came out and scored 10 times before making an out on the way to a 19-5 victory.

The Giants started the game with a two singles, a two-run triple and a walk before Slim Sallee was pulled from the game.  An inside-the-park homer from Fred Merkle followed, making it 5-0.  After a single, a walk and two more singles, the last from Matthewson himself, the Giants were up 7-0.

The 10th straight batter to reach did so on a fielder’s choice.  After that, Larry Doyle flied out for the first out of the game.  And, it turned out, the only one Bob Harmon would get.  He was pulled after a walk and a hit by pitch and replaced by Lou Lowdermilk.

The Giants went on to make it 13-0 from there.  Merkle doubled with the bases loaded, giving him six RBI in the inning.  He then stole home for the final run of the frame.

With the huge early lead, the Giants decided to pull their ace and put in another future Hall of Famer, Rube Marquard.  Marquard went on to set a major league record by striking out 14 in eight innings of relief.

Merkle, maybe the second most famous player in the game as a result of his “boner” three years earlier, ended the contest with seven RBI on his way to driving in 84 runs on the year.  He had arguably the best of his 16 seasons in 1911, finishing seventh in the NL MVP balloting (or the Chalmers Award, as it was known then).

The Giants had no future Hall of Famers in their lineup that year, but they did have Doyle, an outstanding second baseman.  He ended up finishing the season second in the NL in OPS behind Honus Wagner.  The Giants won the National League pennant largely on the strength of Matthewson and Marquard, who was just coming into his own.  The pair combined for a 50-20 record and a 2.23 ERA in 584 2/3 IP.

The Giants went on to lose a World Series plagued by rain in six games to the A’s.  Matthewson won Game 1, but took losses in Games 3 and 4, which were played seven days apart due to the conditions.

Some Mets fans are not happy that Beyonce is playing at Citi Field

Beyoncé performs during halftime of the NFL Super Bowl 50 football game between the Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers, Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016, in Santa Clara, Calif.  (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Associated Press
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The funny thing about that “stick to sports” stuff I was going on about the other day is that, in reality, a whole lot of the people who say “stick to sports” don’t really want to just stick to sports. They’re totally cool going on about political, social or cultural stuff as long as it fits their world view. It’s not “stick to sports.” It’s “don’t talk about the social implications of sports-related stuff in ways that upset me.” If sports and culture come together in other ways, however, they’re completely fine in grinding their axe.

For example, Beyonce is playing a concert a Citi Field this summer. The show is so popular that they added a second date. The Mets’ Twitter feed just announced that tickets will go on sale for the new show soon:

A while lotta Mets fans responded to that negatively. For political/social/cultural reasons that they are willingly bringing in to a conversation about a pop singer and a baseball stadium that will double as a concert venue:

And they go on and on.

How much do you want to bet that a whole lotta these respondents would tell you to “stick to baseball” if you wanted to bring up how race affects the sport or how, if instead of Beyonce, this was announcing a Kid Rock/Ted Nugent-headlined festival and you mused whether that was a case of the Mets somehow endorsing their messages?

The Orioles and Yovani Gallardo are “making progress”

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Ken Rosenthal reports that the Orioles are “making progress” in talks with free agent right-hander Yovani Gallardo.

Gallardo has been on the market so long because he has a first round pick tied to him due to his declining the Rangers’ qualifying offer. The Orioles would have to forfeit the 14th overall pick in order to sign him. That has been too steep a price to pay for them all winter, but as we’re mere days away from pitchers and catchers reporting, it’s likely that Gallardo’s price has dropped enough to make it worth their while.

Gallardo has posted an ERA below 4.00 in six of his last seven seasons — and had a career-low 3.42 ERA in 2015 — but his strikeout rate has rapidly decreased with each year since 2012, suggesting that trouble could be on the horizon.

If the O’s do burn their pick to get Gallardo, it might make sense for them to go all-in with another free agent like Dexter Fowler, given that they’d not have to give up anything else to do it.

Rangers avoid arbitration with Mitch Moreland

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First baseman/outfielder Mitch Moreland and the Rangers have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $5.7 million deal.

Moreland requested $6 million and the Rangers countered at $4.675 million, so the two sides settled on the player-friendly side of the midpoint.

Moreland bounced back from an injury wrecked 2014 season to have a career-year in 2015, hitting .278 with 23 homers and an .812 OPS in 132 games. Arbitration eligible for the final time at age 30, he’s set to be a free agent next offseason.

Tiger Stadium redevelopment group loses $50K because of its preference for artificial turf

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Craig Calcaterra
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We’ve posted frequently on the topic of the old Tiger Stadium site. If you’ve kept up with it you know that the site, nearly overgrown with weeds and strewn with trash before being rescued by a group of volunteers called the Navin Field Grounds Crew, is now being slated for redevelopment by the Detroit Police Athletic League.

The PAL is committed to keeping a baseball field as part of the development, but they are also, quite unfortunately, committed to putting artificial turf down over the bit of Earth where baseball legends once walked and ran.

Backlash to the plan has begun, however. Not just from people like me or the Navin Field Grounds Crew, who are opposed to fake grass, but to an actual donor to the Detroit Police Athletic League:

With an annual contribution of $50,000 to Detroit PAL’s programs, the Lear Corporation has been a major benefactor of the nonprofit for years. But in light of PAL’s controversial plan to redevelop the Tiger Stadium site with artificial turf, Lear’s CEO is speaking out.

Matthew Simoncini says that Lear is withdrawing its financial support of PAL for its mishandling of this delicate issue.

“I believe the [PAL] plan is severely flawed [and] a terrible use of resources,” says Simoncini. “[It] does not preserve this site and provides [an] unsafe playing surface for the children,”

I’m guessing $50,000 is not the sort of money that will seriously hinder a real estate redevelopment plan, but it’s good to hear someone with a stake in all of this voting with their wallet. Here’s hoping more do and that, eventually, PAL understands that there are some things more important than saving some money at the front end of a project.