I’m not a big fan of big, garish entertainment at baseball games that distract from the action on the field. Give me the diamond, the sounds of the game, the smell of beer and grilling meat and maybe a little organ music and I’m good to go.
In light of that, why do I read Doug Smith’s grousing about the scene at the Marlins’ new ballpark and find myself siding with the swimming pools, DJ and bikini girls?
Not sure if was the bikini-clad women – plants by the franchise, obviously – prancing around or the costumed dancers up on the stage or the body-painting going on for the almost the duration of the game or the swimming pool but I saw baseball like I’ve never seen baseball before last night and you can have it.
Yeah, we made a trek to the new Marlins Stadium – a refurbished Orange Bowl – for a night among the people on Monday and it was one of the weirdest experiences of my life … It was, frankly, as far removed from baseball as you can imagine and I am old and a bit cranky and a bit of a traditionalist so if this is the new wave of the baseball stadium “experience” in order to attract fans, you can have it.
It must be serious if he felt obligated to say “you can have it” twice.
Eh, he’s right in the merits. I guess it’s a context thing for me, though. It’s Miami. It’s not like there was some old Tiger Stadium, Yankee Stadium or what have you that has been replaced by the glitz and silliness. It defines the place way more than a classic, dark-green seat and tinkling organ music ballpark ever would so, in its own way, it’s authentic.
It was only a matter of time before Mike Trout courted another all-time record, and on Saturday, he found himself in elite company with his 25th and 26th home runs of the season. He put the Angels on the board with a 429-foot blast in the first inning, depositing an 0-1 fastball from the Orioles’ Kevin Gausman into the left field bleachers:
In the third inning, with the Angels up 2-1, Trout returned to tack on another insurance run. He targeted Gausman’s slider for his second solo shot of the evening and cleared the center field fence with a 418-footer to bring his total to 26 home runs on the year.
Trout has mashed at a staggering .339/.471/.596 clip since his return from the disabled list last month, and Saturday’s totals helped mark his sixth consecutive season with at least 25 home runs. That’s a record few have matched before their age-26 season; in fact, only Hall of Fame sluggers Eddie Mathews and Frank Robinson have ever pulled it off.
Assuming he continues to rake in hits and plate appearances over the last six weeks of the regular season — and there’s nothing to indicate that he won’t — Trout is in line to join elite company of a different kind. The 26-year-old entered Saturday’s game with a 206 OPS+ (park-adjusted on-base plus slugging). According to MLB.com’s Matt Kelly, that means Trout’s hitting at a better clip than the average Major League player by a full 106 percent. Should he finish the year with a 200 OPS+ and 502 plate appearances or better, he’ll be the first player to do so since Barry Bonds obliterated the competition with his 263 OPS+ in 2004.
The Blue Jays acquired right-hander Tom Koehler from the Marlins in exchange for minor league right-hander Osman Gutierrez and cash considerations, the clubs announced Saturday. Koehler is in his sixth year with the Marlins and stands to make $5.75 million in 2017. He’ll be arbitration eligible in 2018 and is set to enter free agency by 2019.
The 31-year-old right-hander struggled to a 7.92 ERA, 4.7 BB/9 and 7.1 SO/9 over 55 2/3 innings with Miami in 2017. He was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans in late July, where he rebounded with a 1-1 record in seven starts and whittled his ERA down to a 1.67 mark. The Blue Jays have yet to establish Koehler’s role within their organization, but are hoping to see a turnaround from the righty when he breaks back into the big leagues.
Gutierrez, 22, was assigned to Single-A Greensboro on Saturday. He has yet to find his footing in the minors, and exited a 78-inning stint with Single-A Lansing after racking up a career-worst 7.85 ERA and 8.2 SO/9. His lack of control is particularly alarming, with a 6.2 BB/9 that dwarfs the 2.0+ BB/9 of seasons past, but he still has plenty of time to figure out his mechanics before reaching the Show.