The Society for American Baseball Research does a lot of things, but one of the coolest things it does is to host the indispensable Baseball BioProject. These are no small bio-blurbs. They are painstakingly researched essays on the life and playing times of the game’s most significant players and events.
And stadiums. Like the latest entry by Scott Ferkovich on Tiger Stadium, which is all kinds of fabulous. All kinds of fun nuggets, like this:
Old-time Detroit baseball fans, who fondly remember Tiger Stadium’s green wooden slat-back seats, may be surprised to learn that Navin Field’s original seats — all 23,000 of them — were painted yellow. One feature that remained constant throughout the entire 87-year history of the park was the 125-foot-high flagpole in deep center, made distinctive because it was in the field of play.
And the flagpole is still there. Or a flagpole. Not sure. Kind of cool, though.
Anyway, great reading for anyone interested in the grand old ballparks, the Tigers or baseball history in general.
Every now and then, The Players’ Tribune runs a “five toughest” feature. In 2015, David Ortiz listed the five toughest pitchers he ever faced. Last month, Christian Yelich wrote up the five toughest pitchers in the NL East. Now, it’s Ian Kinsler‘s turn with the five toughest pitchers in the AL Central.
Kinsler goes into detail explaining why each pitcher is difficult to face, so hop over to The Players’ Tribune for his reasoning. His list
Presumably, Kinsler intentionally omitted his Tiger teammates from the list. He has faced Justin Verlander a fair amount earlier in his career, and he has only a .176/.333/.235 batting line in 42 plate appearances against the right-hander. Verlander’s stuff is often described as tough to hit in one phrase or another. Kinsler has also struggled against Indians starter Carlos Carrasco (.590 OPS), but one can understand why he would be omitted from a list of five given who was already listed.
Angels first baseman C.J. Cron hit a grand slam against the Mets on Sunday, but it wasn’t enough to keep his spot on the major league roster as the club announced his demotion to Triple-A Salt Lake on Monday. Infielder Nolan Fantana has been promoted from Salt Lake.
Cron, 27, was hitting a disappointing .232/.281/.305 with one home run and RBI in 90 plate appearances. I guess you can say that wasn’t the kind of Cron job the Angels were expecting. Cron was an above-average hitter in each of his first three seasons, finishing with an OPS+, or adjusted OPS, of 111, 106, and 115 (100 is average).
While Cron is figuring things out in the minors, Luis Valbuena, Jefry Marte, and Albert Pujols could each see some time at first base.