This is actually a Best Shape of His Life story, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to use that phrase as a headline.
It comes from a story by Osman Rosales Cruz at El Nuevo Diario in Nicaragua, where Vicente Padilla is plying his trade this winter. And it’s a thorough tongue-bathing. Thanks a million to Nick Collias who translated and brought it to my attention:
“There was Vicente Padilla, erect, proud, shining, and solid. Oh, how exquisite! Without a doubt, all of us who had the opportunity to see the hurler from Chinandega on the hill at Estadio Roque Tadeo Zevala in Granada enjoyed this superb outing, in which his fastball reached up to 95 mph.
And although he left without earning a decision in los Tigres’ 2-1 victory over los Orientales, due to a home run to Roland Garth with Adolfo Matamoros on base in the ninth inning, those seven innings from Padilla were captivating—a true wonder.
Evidence of his ferocity remained imprinted in the hand of catcher Luani Sánchez, who skillfully handled the repertoire of the Nicaraguan who, according to sources, could be wearing a Miami Marlins uniform in next year’s big league season.
Is it true that you’re ending up with the Marlins?
“Maybe,” said the Nicaraguan with a smile. “I feel very good, you saw how I pitched, and you can get an idea of the shape I’m in,” offered Padilla, who continues showing signs of a great change in the way he deals with the press. He was a total gentleman.
I know he’s pretty famous in his native country, but man, talk about a fanboy writeup. And while I can think of many things I’d call Padilla, I’m not sure “total gentleman” is one of them. But hey. it’s not my game story.
Major League Baseball announced on Wednesday that former Red Sox DH David Ortiz and Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant won the 2016 Hank Aaron Award in their respective leagues.
Ortiz, 40, flourished in his final season, batting .315/.401/.620 with 38 home runs and 127 RBI in 626 plate appearances during the regular season. His .620 slugging percentage, 1.021 OPS, and 48 doubles led the majors while his 127 RBI led the American League. Ortiz also won the Hank Aaron Award back in 2005.
Bryant, 24, is the likely winner of the National League Most Valuable Player Award as well. He hit .292/.385/.554 with 39 home runs and 102 RBI over 699 plate appearances. He also led the league by scoring 121 runs. Bryant is the first Cub to win the Hank Aaron Award since Aramis Ramirez in 2008.
Last year’s winners in the AL and NL, respectively, were Josh Donaldson and Bryce Harper.
If you’ve happened to catch any of the coverage of the 2016 postseason on Fox and FS1, you’ve heard former Yankees DH Alex Rodriguez as part of an analyst panel with host Kevin Burkhardt and former major leaguers Pete Rose and Frank Thomas. Rodriguez has drawn rave reviews not just for passing a rather low bar we set for former athletes-turned-commentators, but because he’s adding real insight drawn both from his playing days and from doing research.
Indeed, Rodriguez is taking his new job as an analyst quite seriously, Newsday’s Neil Best reports. Bardia Shah-Rais, the VP of production for Fox, said of Rodriguez, “This is not a hobby for him. It’s not a parachute in. He’s invested. If we have a noon meeting, he’s there at 11:30 a.m. He’s emailing story ideas in the morning. He wants research. He’s almost all-in to the point where it’s annoying.”
Rose also praised Rodriguez, saying, “You’ve never been around a guy who prepares more than Alex does. Alex does his homework. He knows the game. He understands players. He’s into the deal . . . Frank does a great job in preparation, too. I’m the only one that don’t prepare as much as these two guys. I don’t know if that’s because I can’t write or what it is. But these guys do their homework and they ask questions and they ask the right questions and then you put that in with our experience, all the things we’ve been through and how good we get along with each other, that’s why it shows up on the TV.”
Rodriguez, who hasn’t officially retired despite not having played since the Yankees released him in mid-August, wouldn’t commit to more TV work beyond this year’s postseason.