I think this every time I hear it from a broadcaster or a journalist, but I absolutely love that Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch put it in words on his Twitter feed this afternoon:
My definition of a great at-bat: One pitch, one swing, damage … The “great at-bat” and “great piece of hitting” crowds are entertaining. It’s as if they’re actually educating those around them. #strokers
The “strokers” tag is the topper. Made Diet Coke shoot out my nose just now.
And of course Strauss is right. There’s always a smugness to that “great piece of hitting” exclamation, as if the guy saying it is seeing something you didn’t. Sure, he made an adjustment or something after 15 foul balls because he couldn’t turn on the fastball, but let’s lighten up on that sort of praise. As Strauss says, a truly great piece of hitting is when the batter rips a line drive that almost decapitates the third baseman and leads to the hitter being intentionally walked the next seven times he comes to the plate because he has put the fear of God Almighty in the opposition.
During the offseason, the Astros finally got rid of Tal’s Hill in center field. It was a throwback to older stadiums, some of which had uneven topography — Crosley Field, namely. As unique as it was in the age of cookie cutter sports stadiums, most of us were holding our collective breaths hoping no one ruptured an Achilles or suffered another brutal injury trying to navigate the hill while attempting to catch a fly ball.
We saw what it looked like during reconstruction:
And now, via Julia Morales of ROOT Sports, we see what it looks like after all the work has been done:
The Astros are allowing fans with Lexus Field Club tickets to stand on the new warning track to watch batting practice and shag fly balls as well, Morales notes. Lexus Field Club is where Tal’s Hill used to be.
Good riddance, Tal’s Hill.
Jhoulys Chacin will start on Opening Day, April 3 against the Dodgers in Los Angeles, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. It will be Chacin’s second Opening Day start, the other coming in 2013 with the Rockies against the Brewers. He’ll be the fifth different Padres pitcher in as many years to start on Opening Day.
Chacin, 29, inked a one-year, $1.75 million contract with the Padres in December. The right-hander spent the 2016 season with the Braves and Angels, compiling an aggregate 4.81 ERA with a 119/55 K/BB ratio in 144 innings.
Lin notes that Chacin will be followed in the rotation by Clayton Richard and Jered Weaver. It will be an interesting rotation, to say the least, as it will arguably be the worst in baseball.