There was no keeping up with all 216 players to show up on the Fenway Park field for the 100th anniversary celebration today. Fortunately, the Boston Globe has a list of all those in attendance.
Among the one-and-done Red Sox there were Carlos Baerga, Mark Whiten, Nick Esasky, Calvin Pickering, Sean Casey, Luis Alicea (I guess it only seemed like he was there for five years of mediocrity), Anastacio Martinez, Nick Green, James Lofton (no, that wasn’t Kenny), Kevin Jarvis, Wayne Gomes, Billy Jo Robidoux, Scott Schoeneweis and Dave Valle (.158 in 76 AB for the ’94 Red Sox).
There were plenty of notable absences, too. We knew Curt Schilling wasn’t coming, and Roger Clemens probably has some other things on his mind. But Wade Boggs couldn’t make it. Semi-active major leaguers Manny Ramirez and Johnny Damon weren’t there (Manny’s suspension might not have permitted him to be on the field anyway). Trot Nixon reportedly was attending his son’s Little League game. Yankees employees John Flaherty, Tony Pena and David Cone apparently weren’t willing to put on Red Sox uniforms. Dave Roberts had coaching obligations with the Padres.
Some other former Red Sox missing: Fred Lynn, Mike Greenwell, Ellis Burks, Bill Mueller, John Valentin, Troy O’Leary, Doug Mirabelli, Orlando Cabrera, Mark Bellhorn, Marty Barrett, Rickey Henderson, J.D. Drew, Bob Stanley and Rich Garces.
Infielder Javier Baez is back in camp with the Cubs after helping Puerto Rico to a second-place finish in the 2017 World Baseball Classic. He was the focal point of what was, to many, the most memorable play of the entire tournament: Baez pointed at catcher Yadier Molina, who was attempting to throw out a would-be base-stealer, before applying the tag for the final out of the eighth inning.
While Baez didn’t receive much criticism for his theatrics, aside from an insignificant handful of spoilsports, he is one of the players who most exemplifies the emotional, celebratory culture that foreign players bring to Major League Baseball. U.S. (and Tigers) second baseman Ian Kinsler is on the other side of that spectrum, as he said prior to the WBC final that he hopes kids mimic the solemn way U.S. players play the game rather than the emotional, passionate way players from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic play the game.
Baez isn’t about to apologize for the way he and his teammates play the game. Via CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney, Baez said, “We do a great job playing and having fun out there. That’s what it’s all about. This is a game. It’s not as serious as a lot of people take it. but, you know, everybody’s got their style and their talent. I have a lot of fun.”
He continued, “It’s their choice to look at how we play, how excited we get. To us, it’s really huge what we did, even though we didn’t win. All of Puerto Rico got really together. We were going through a hard time over there and everything got fixed up for at least three weeks. Hopefully, they keep it like that.”
Angels outfielder Mike Trout came up with an idea that would allow less experienced umpires an opportunity to call some major league spring training action. As ESPN’s Buster Olney reports, Trout thinks the veteran umpires should only call five or six innings as they get back into regular season shape. The rest of the innings could be called by minor league umpires.
According to Olney, baseball officials loved Trout’s idea when they heard about it last week. One official said, “It makes a lot of sense for a lot of different reasons.” Another said, “That’s Trout — he’s always paying attention to stuff beyond what he’s doing.”
Of course, I have to agree that the suggestion is a great one. As Olney notes, the turnover rate for umpires every year is relatively low, so younger, less-experienced umpires have few opportunities to get a feel for what it’s like calling major league action. Even beyond the actual interpretation of the rules, interacting with big league personalities would also be helpful for minor league umpires.