Wanna buy the Bill Buckner ball?

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The great thing about the Red Sox’ collapse is that it’s now apparently OK to go back and make fun of their historic bad luck and wallow in all of that dubious history.  At least that’s what I’m gathering based on stuff like this:

The curse may be over, but the evidence remains. One of the most treasured pieces of modern baseball history — the Bill Buckner ball from the 1986 World Series — will go on sale this month with a $1 million price tag thanks to the Grammy-nominated songwriter who owns it.

The songwriter is Seth Swirsky who, according to his Wikipedia page, broke big into the business by writing the Taylor Dayne hit “Tell it to my heart” in 1988.  I was a d.j. at a top 40 radio station from 1989-92, and I once swore that I’d kill the person who wrote that song, but that was a long time ago so I guess I’ll let it go. He does have a most impressive baseball memorabilia collection too, which also helps him gain some amount of redemption in my eyes.

Oh, and since he plans on donating part of the proceeds to the Baseball Assistance Team, there’s all the more reason not to sabotage the auction with false bids and other cathartic/chaotic acts, Red Sox fans.

Another interestingly named player is promoted by the Pirates

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When you promote a player from the minors, the first and foremost consideration is whether or not he can help your ball club. But, assuming that’s taken care of, teams should really, really make it a priority to call up dudes with cool sounding names because it makes life more interesting for the rest of us.

The Pirates are doing that. The other night Dovydas Neverauskas made his big league debut. In addition to being the first Lithuanian born-and-raised player in major league history, it’s a solid, solid name. Now the Pirates are making another promotion: Gift Ngoepe.

Yep, Gift Ngoepe. He’s an infielder from South Africa, making the leap to the bigs due to David Freese‘s hamstring injury. Ngoepe, 27, was batting just .241/.308/.379 through 66 plate appearances this season with Triple-A Indianapolis, his ninth in the minors, so he’s not exactly a prospect. But man, that’s a killer name.

It’s also worth mentioning that Gift and Neverauskas were arrested together in a bar fight last August in Toledo, so there is already a good basis for some bonding here.

Good luck, Gift. Gift Ngoepe. Mr. Ngoepe. G-Ngo. Man, I could do this all day.

Manny Machado teaches us to never give up

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The Rays beat the Orioles last night, but the play of the game belonged to an Oriole defender.

Evan Longoria was batting and he chopped a ball foul down the third base line. At least it started out foul. As we all know, however, it doesn’t matter where the ball starts, it matters where it is when it crosses the bag.

Manny Machado knows this and didn’t give up on the ball despite it starting several feet in foul territory. He watched it come back, stayed with it and threw out Longoria who, unlike Machado, did give up on it, assuming he’d merely get a strike and another hack. Watch:

Longoria would get Machado back, however, fielding a ball Machado smoked to third base in the ninth inning, recording the second to last out of the game.