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.
The Reds announced on Thursday that the protective netting at Great American Ball Park will be extended to the end of each dugout in time for Opening Day next season. The press release notes that the current netting meets Major League Baseball’s guidelines and the new netting will go beyond those standards.
The netting “debate” came back on Wednesday when a young fan was struck in the face by a foul ball at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees have done about the bare minimum in installing protective netting, which rightly earned them criticism. Brian Dozier, Todd Frazier, and Didi Gregorius each said yesterday that the netting should be extended. Other teams and Major League Baseball in general received criticism. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, for example, said the relative lack of action on MLB’s part is “morally repugnant.”
Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer notes that the Reds had already had this idea prior to Wednesday’s incident at Yankee Stadium.
Orioles third baseman Manny Machado will become eligible for free agency after the 2018 season and is likely to get a windfall. The club, however, isn’t expected to pursue trading their star at the hot corner this offseason, according to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports.
Machado, 25, has been one of baseball’s best players since debuting in 2012. He had a slow start to the 2017 season, seeing his OPS nearly drop below .700 in early July, but a strong second half has made his overall numbers more than respectable. Machado is batting .264/.318/.484 with 32 home runs and 92 RBI in 651 plate appearances while playing Gold Glove-caliber defense at third base.
Just because the Orioles don’t plan to move Machado this offseason doesn’t mean they won’t try to recoup some value ahead of next year’s non-waiver trade deadline. According to Heyman, a person involved with the Orioles said, “It would take us 35 years to find another player like him.”