Russell Martin

Yankees hit three grand slams, pummel A’s 22-9

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It wasn’t a pretty game, but the Yankees avoided what would have been a rare three-game sweep at home by scoring 20 runs between the fifth and eighth innings and made some history in torching the A’s 22-9.

The game featured grand slams from Robinson Cano, Russell Martin and Curtis Granderson.  It’s the first time ever that a team has hit three slams in a game.

It was just the fourth time in Yankees history that the team has hit multiple grand slams in the same game and the first time they’ve done it at home.  Bernie Williams and Paul O’Neill were the last Yankees to accomplish the feat, doing so on Sept. 14, 1999.

Martin finished the game a remarkable 5-for-5 with two homers, six RBI and a walk.  Yankee Stadium is the only place in the world that he has opposite-field power, and both of his homers were out to right field today.  According to Baseball-Reference data, just three of his previous 69 career homers had gone out to right.

The Yankees ended the game with 21 hits and 13 walks.  Only one of those walks came in Rich Harden’s 4 1/3 innings; the rest were from the pen.  Jordan Norberto gave up four runs on five walks and one hit in two-thirds of an inning.  Bruce Billings, making his fourth major league appearance, walked four in 1 1/3 innings.

The 13 walks surrendered by A’s pitching were two more than any other team had given up in a nine-inning game this season and matched the high for a game of any length.

All three slam hitters ended up with at least five RBI for the Yankees.  Granderson also scored four runs to go along with his five RBI.  Derek Jeter actually had three hits and hit with the bases loaded four times, but his lone RBI came on a walk.  Every Yankees starter except Alex Rodriguez drove in at least one run, and A-Rod finished 2-for-4 with two walks and three runs scored.  Just to punctuate things in the eighth, Andruw Jones followed up Granderson’s slam with a homer in his lone at-bat off the bench.

The one bit of bad news for the Yankees: Phil Hughes had to be pulled in the third having given up six runs and seven hits.  A.J. Burnett did his best to punch his ticket to the pen with last weekend’s ugly outing against the Twins, but Hughes really hurt himself today.  Oddly enough, both of his terrible performances since returning from the DL have come against the A’s; he hasn’t allowed more than two runs in any of his other seven starts.

With the game having turned into a laugher, Jorge Posada made his major league debut at second base in the ninth.  He was originally a second baseman in the minors, and he made the game-ending play today on an Anthony Recker grounder, though he bounced the throw to first.

James McCann is in The Best Shape of His Life

Detroit Tigers catcher James McCann blows a bubble while warming up during a spring training baseball workout, Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016, in Lakeland, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
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As I note every spring, “Best Shape of His Life” stories aren’t really about players being in The Best Shape of Their Lives. They’re about players and agents seeking to create positive stories.

We know this because the vast majority of Best Shape of His Life claims are about guys who were either injured the season before, guys who had subpar years the season before or players whose conditioning was a point of controversy the season before. These folks, or their agents + reporters who have little if nothing to write about in the offseason = BSOHL.

James McCann hurt his ankle last season and had a subpar year at the plate. So not only is he a perfect BSOHL candidate, he went old school with the claim and hit it right on the money, verbatim:

Spring training is less than a month away, folks!

Bo Jackson is not gonna change kids’ minds

1989:  Bo Jackson #16 of the Kansas City Royals practices his swing as he prepares to bat during a game in the 1989 season.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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Last week Bo Jackson said that, if he had it to do all over again, he would have never played professional football and that he would never let his kids play. The sport is too violent, he said. “I’d tell them, ‘Play baseball, basketball, soccer, golf, just anything but football.’”

Fair enough. Thom Loverro of the Washington Times, however, thinks that Bo could do more than simply give his opinion on the matter. He thinks Bo should become an official ambassador for Major League Baseball:

Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred, pick up the phone right now and call Bo Jackson. Tell him you have a job for him — vice president of something, whatever you would call the man in charge of converting a generation of young athletes to baseball. And pay him what he wants.

You won’t find a better symbol of the differences between the two sports than Bo Jackson. After all, he was an All-Star in both. Bo knows football. Bo knows baseball.

Bo, tell the children — baseball over football.

The Children: “Who is Bo Jackson?”

Yeah, I’m being a bit flip here, but dude: Jackson is 54 years-old. He last played baseball 23 years ago. I’d personally run through a wall for Bo Jackson, but I’m 43. I was 12 when he won the Heisman trophy. While he may loom large to middle aged sports writers, a teenager contemplating what sport to play is not going to listen to someone a decade or more older than his parents.

This isn’t terribly important in the grand scheme of things, but it’s indicative of how most columnists process the world through their own experiences and assume they apply universally. It’s probably the biggest trap most sports opinion folks fall into.