OK, so top of the second inning in last night’s Mets/Phillies game. R.A. Dickey drops down a sacrifice bunt to move Josh Thole over to second base. No big deal, right? Except for some reason, Thole decided to run back to first base. He ended up getting tagged out for the final out of the inning. You can watch the bizarre play here.
Initially it appeared as though Jimmy Rollins may have told Thole that the ball was foul, thus tricking him to go back to first base. That was certainly my first reaction. But it turns out that’s not the case. Rollins merely put his hands up to tell him that the play was uncontested.
Thole told Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com after the game that he simply lost his head for a moment.
“I was coming into second, and Jimmy put his hands up, like, ‘Come in easy. You can come in easy.’ And I knew the ball was fair. I even looked down. You go watch the video. I checked it. The ball was on the floor. And I just took off running back to first. I’ve got no other explanation.”
I’m not so sure about that explanation. The bunt was along the first base line and the video certainly makes it look like Thole thought the ball was foul. Pretty embarrassing moment, but at least he looked good doing it. The new Mets’ road unis are pretty snazzy.
OXON HILL, MD — Edwin Encarnacion began the offseason as, arguably, the second most desirable free agent on the market. As the Winter Meetings approach their end, however, he is a man without a team. And may not have a team any time soon.
Many teams have been rumored to be checking in on Encarnacion, but the defining trait of his free agency thus far has been clubs taking a pass. The most recent one being the Rangers, who are reported to simply not have the money to sign him, despite him filling a clear offensive need in Texas. Maybe the Rangers would be more competitive on the free agent market if they had a new stadium. Who knows?
The Blue Jays, for whom he most recently played, offered him a four-year, $80 million deal that most figured was a lowball, and when he rejected it, they moved on to Kendrys Morales. The Red Sox acquired Mitch Moreland. The Yankees are reported to be passing. The most recent team linked to Encarnacion is the Indians, who are reported to have an offer out to him, but at this point it’s likely far lower than what most free agent watchers thought he might get a few weeks ago. A four-year, $90 million deal did not seem crazy for him in October. In December, there is speculation that he could be had for $60 million over that same term which, frankly, would be a bargain. That’s less than Mark Melancon, the third best closer on the market, got from the Giants.
There have been a lot of remarkable things that have happened in the past few weeks, but one of the most unexpected things would be one of the top bats in the game getting second-tier closer money.
OXON HILL, MD — Bill King has been selected as the 2017 recipient of the Ford C. Frick Award, presented annually for excellence in broadcasting by the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.
King, one of the iconic voices of Bay Area sports, was known for his handlebar mustache and his signature “Holy Toledo!” exclamation. King broadcast A’s games for 25 seasons, from 1981 through 2005. He likewise broadcast Oakland Raiders and Golden State Warriors games and got his start as an announcer for the Giants in the late 1950s after they moved to San Francisco.
King passed away in October 2005. With the Frick Award, however, he has now been immortalized among baseball broadcasters.