As we witnessed home run records being demolished starting in the late 90s, we also witnessed ugly scrums in the outfield seats as fans fought — literally fought — one another to snag a baseball that could be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars at an auction. Realizing the lengths to which people would go to grab a pricey bit of history, baseball began putting special marks on would-be historic baseballs in an effort to head off potential fraud.
Baseball is breaking out the hologram/watermark/secret cipher machine again, this time for the balls that could be Derek Jeter’s 3000th hit. And, today only, if you’re in New York City, you can see Derek Jeter’s special balls:
With Derek Jeter returning to the Yankee lineup and resuming his quest for 3,000 career hits, the MLB Fan Cave on Tuesday will be host to a dozen unique pieces of living history, one of which could wind up being the actual ball Jeter hits for number 3,000. Twelve of the baseballs among those to be put into play once Jeter is at 2,999 career hits will be on display at the MLB Fan Cave on Tuesday afternoon for fans and members of the media.
That’s nice and all, but it’s late-model Derek Jeter we’re talking about here. What are the odds that his 3000th hit is going to go over the fence? Unless Major League Baseball anticipates that the opposing catcher and pitcher are gonna fight over the little dribbler into no-man’s land that is likely to become Jeter’s 3000th, this seems rather unnecessary to me.
Emotions are apparently high all around baseball, not just in Miami. In Toronto, the emotion was anger between the Yankees and Blue Jays.
Josh Donaldson was hit by a Luis Severino 1-1, 97 MPH fastball with one out in the bottom of the first inning. In the top of the second, J.A. Happ threw to fastballs back-to-back that were up and in to Chase Headley. The second one hit him. The Yankees, understandably, were not too happy about it, but order was quickly restored and play resumed with home plate umpire Todd Tichenor issuing warnings to both teams. The Yankees would finish the inning without scoring a run.
In the bottom of the second, Severino began the inning with two up and in fastballs at Justin Smoak. Both Severino and manager Joe Girardi were ejected and the benches emptied again, this time with more anger. There was some yelling as well as some pushing and shoving.
It doesn’t appear that Severino appeared to intentionally hit Donaldson, but he very clearly intended to retaliate against Smoak. Happ has issued retaliatory beanballs before in defense of Donaldson. He did so on April 23 against the Athletics. Donaldson hit a home run in the second inning and was hit by a Liam Hendriks pitch in the sixth. Khris Davis led off the next inning for the A’s and Happ hit him with a pitch. Plus, Happ’s two pitches to Headley were both up and in.
Severino and Happ are likely looking at fines. There’s a possibility of suspensions as well. Happ, however, was not ejected from the game.
As expected, the Marlins and Mets paid their respect to pitcher Jose Fernandez prior to the start of Monday night’s game at Marlins Park. It was emotionally charged and very tough to watch without becoming a sobbing mess.
The stadium was as quiet as a library even before the P.A. requested a moment of silence. The Marlins’ players rubbed the chalk line, just as Fernandez used to do. The starters — sans starting pitcher Adam Conley — rallied around the pitchers’ mound. The Mets’ players poured out onto the field and removed their caps as the National Anthem was played.
Once the anthem was completed, the stadium remained quiet. The Mets and Marlins formed lines and went through hugging each player. The fans began chanting, “Jose, Jose, Jose!”
The rest of the Marlins joined the starters and they wrapped around the edge of the dirt on the pitcher’s mound. Some of them drew in the dirt with their fingers. Others rubbed dirt on their pants. Then, they huddled and Giancarlo Stanton gave a motivational speech of sorts. The players came in close and they all put their index fingers in the middle, pointed up at the sky, and broke the huddle to begin the game.
There is crying in baseball.