ESPN’s Amanda Rykoff went down to Citizens Bank Park last week to check out the “Baseball 101” program the Phillies have put on for female fans the past several years. As she reports, it’s kind of a misnomer, because the program is not about educating allegedly uninitiated women about the basics of baseball. No, it’s much cooler and respectful of their phanatical phans:
This day is an opportunity for the passionate, knowledgeable female fans who make up nearly half of the Phillies’ fan base to experience an all-access, behind-the-scenes look at the team they follow so loyally, with some female bonding and a lot of fun along the way. There are no rudimentary explanations of balls and strikes, double plays or RBI. Not a single pink hat or T-shirt was spotted among the 147 participants.
These women know their WHIP and their OPS. And they love the game of baseball as much as they love their team.
Baserunning clinics put on by Juan Samuel. Bullpen sessions with Rich Dubee. Very cool stuff that I’m guessing most of us, male or female, would love to do if given the opportunity.
Good reading. Check it out.
UPDATE: Chris F.’s first comment made me ashamed of myself. I’m sorry I failed everyone by not baiting Phillies fans here. Let me make amends: I do have one question about the Baseball 101 program, however: who do they have teaching the clinic about irrationally thinking that Ryan Howard is an MVP-caliber hitter? That has to be part of the bill, right?
Ahhhhh. That’s better.
Just saw this from last night’s Tigers-Rangers game. It was pretty wild.
Rougned Odor walked in the seventh inning. He broke for second on a steal and was safe due to the throw going wild, allowing him to reach third base. The Tigers called on reliever Daniel Stumpf and he was effective in retiring the next two batters, leaving Odor on third with two out.
Stumpf, a lefty, was paying no attention whatsoever to Odor, so Odor just took off for home, attempting a straight steal. Stumpf was so surprised that he tried to throw home to nail Odor, and in so doing, he balked. That technically means that Odor scored on the balk, but I think it’s safe to say he would’ve scored on the strait steal regardless. Watch:
He definitely gets points for style.
Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman looked shaky again last night, coming in to the game with a three-run lead before allowing a two-run homer to the Mets’ Amed Rosario. He would nail down the save eventually, giving Sonny Gray his first win as a Yankee, but Chapman’s struggles were the talk of the game afterward.
It was the third appearance in a row in which Chapman has given up at least one run, allowing five runs on three hits — two of them homers — and walking four in his last three and a third innings pitched. He’s also hit a batter. That’s just the most acute portion of a long slide, however. He posted a 0.79 ERA in his first 12 appearances this year, before getting shelled twice and then going on the disabled list with shoulder inflammation, missing over a month. Since returning he’s allowed 12 runs — ten earned — in 23 appearances, breaking out to a 4.09 ERA. He’s also walked ten batters in that time. At present, his strikeout rate is the worst he’s featured since 2010. His walk rate is up and he’s allowing more hits per nine innings than he ever has.
It’s possible that he’s still suffering from shoulder problems. Whether or not that’s an issue, he looks to have a new health concern as he appeared to tweak his hamstring on the game’s final play last night when he ran over to cover first base. Chapman told reporters after the game that “it’s nothing to worry about,” and Joe Girardi said that Chapman would not undergo an MRI or anything, but he was clearly grimacing as he came off the mound and it’s something worth watching.
Also worth watching: Dellin Betances and David Robertson, Chapman’s setup men who have each shined as Yankees closers in the past and who may very soon find themselves closing once again if Chapman can’t figure it out. And Chapman seems to know it. He was asked if he still deserves to be the closer after the game. His answer:
“My job is to be ready to pitch everyday. As far as where I pitch, that’s not up to me. If at some point they need to remove me from the closer’s position, I’m always going to be ready to pitch.”
That’s a team-first answer, and for that Chapman should be lauded. But it’s also one that suggests Chapman himself knows he’s going to be out of a closer’s job soon if he doesn’t turn things around.