Pascual Perez fight

Two of Pascual Perez’s greatest hits

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Still bummed over the news of the death of Pascual Perez.  When I first started thinking about him I, and probably a ton of other people, immediately first thought of him being lost on I-285, desperately looking for the ballpark and ultimately missing his start because of it. A ballpark that was not, it should be noted, situated on or anywhere near I-285.

But there were a couple of other memorable Pascual Perez moments. Two that come to mind were rather ugly, but time and, sadly, uglier things, make us look a bit more fondly on them.

First was a brawl. Not the one you’re thinking of. That one is below. The one I’m thinking of took place on August 25, 1981 when Perez’s Pittsburgh Pirates faced the Los Angels Dodgers. Chris Jaffe wrote a full rundown last year.  The upshot: Perez plunked a couple of Dodgers. Reggie Smith took umbrage and made motions toward the Pirates dugout.  Nothing happened until …

After ending the inning, Perez motioned to Smith he’d meet him under the stands—pronto. Smith and Perez both raced through their clubhouses and into the tunnels, meeting up behind home plate under the stands. Both dugouts emptied following them. Players came, coaches came, even managers Chuck Tanner and Tommy Lasorda came.

The fight, like most fights, wasn’t much of a fight. Some stadium officials said there was some shoving, but no punches thrown. By the time the umpires tracked everyone down, the incident was already over. There were no ejections, and Perez pitched one more inning.

That’s pro wrestling stuff right there. Other than when Prince Fielder rushed the Dodgers clubhouse a few years ago, I can’t recall such a thing happening.

The second one is that famous brawl. A brawl the likes of which you never ever see in the majors anymore. Guys make too much money and know too many other players for things to escalate like this, I reckon.  But back in 1984 it was a different story.  It started when Pascual Perez hit Alan Wiggins. Which led to retaliation by Ed Whitson against Perez when he came to bat, which led to a huge fight. A fight which, if you watch the video below, you note that Perez just strolled away from without having a punch thrown at him:

In all, there were brawls in the second, fifth, eighth and ninth innings of this ONE game. One of them involved Champ Summers — who just passed away himself in recent weeks — with a Leeroy Jenkins rush of the Braves dugout. Though we’d all be horrified at such a thing happening in a game today, with nearly 30 years of distance, the whole affair was almost glorious in a perverse way.

Both the 1981 Dodgers and the 1984 Padres went to the World Series, so maybe Perez was a galvanizing force.

RIP Perimeter Perez.

Drew Smyly brings youth and experience to Mariners rotation

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PEORIA, Ariz. (AP) Trades don’t surprise Drew Smyly anymore.

At age 27, the Seattle Mariners left-hander has been dealt twice. The first swap sent him from the team that drafted and developed Smyly, the Detroit Tigers, to the Tampa Bay Rays in midseason 2014. That trade landed star pitcher David Price in Detroit.

“I was surprised by that one,” Smyly said.

The most recent trade involving him came in January, when the Rays shipped Smyly to Seattle for three prospects in one of many moves by Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto. Smyly immediately joined the Mariners’ projected starting rotation, and is having fun getting to know his new teammates at spring training by way of manager Scott Servais’ clubhouse icebreakers.

Servais thinks Smyly is a solid fit as a still young yet experienced pitcher.

“One, being where he’s at in his career age-wise and service time, he’s kind of at the point where, put him in the right environment … very good defensive outfield, he’s a fly ball guy, maybe he does step up and take the next step,” Servais said. “Getting out of the American League East certainly should help him, but there’s no guarantees. Our division’s pretty tough.”

Servais suggested that another Arkansas native, ex-big leaguer Cliff Lee, might have helped sell Seattle on Smyly. Lee is a former Mariner and the two share an agent.

Smyly went 7-12 in a career-high 30 starts last season in Tampa, but won five games from July 30 to the end of the season after starting out 2-11. From May 21 to July 18, he lost seven straight starts.

“Pitching’s tough, you know,” Smyly said. “To manipulate the ball, to make it do different things, to put it in the strike zone with hitters that know what they’re doing. … I just had a rough stretch but I show up at the field every day, play catch and work on my craft and you know, that’s going to turn around one day.”

The 32 home runs Smyly surrendered in 2016 figure to be reduced in Seattle’s pitcher-friendly Safeco Field.

“It can only help,” he said. “But it’s still going to be up to me to execute pitches and pitch well.”

Smyly is set to join the U.S. World Baseball Classic team shortly. Before that, he’ll make his first spring training start in the middle of next week.

“It’s an honor to be able to put your country on your chest and play with some of the guys on that team,” he said. “I’m looking forward to it big time.”

NOTES: Servais plans to roll out what figures to be Seattle’s opening day lineup in the spring training opener Saturday against San Diego. It’s OF Jarrod Dyson, SS Jean Segura, 2B Robinson Cano, DH Nelson Cruz, 3B Kyle Seager, OF Mitch Haniger, 1B Dan Vogelbach, C Mike Zunino and OF Leonys Martin. … Servais said Cano and Cruz will play a little more than is typical for early spring games, as the two will depart for the World Baseball Classic in early March. … LHP Ariel Miranda will start Saturday, then RHP Chris Heston Sunday, RHP Yovani Gallardo on Monday and ace Felix Hernandez on Tuesday.

Mitt Romney’s sons are trying to buy a stake in the Yankees

TAMPA, FL - AUGUST 30:  Tagg Romney son of Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney gives an interview during the final day of the Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on August 30, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was nominated as the Republican presidential candidate during the RNC which will conclude today.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
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Mitt Romney built his professional life in Massachusetts and was once the governor of the state. As such, it is not surprising that he has long identified as a Red Sox fan. So this has to be troubling to him from a fan’s perspective. From Jon Heyman:

The Romney family is bidding to buy a small stake in the Yankees months after their try for the Marlins stalled. If the deal goes through, it is expected to be $25 million to $30 million per percentage point and thought to be interested in one or two percentage points. The Yankees are valued around $3 billion or more.

The effort is being led by Mitt’s son Tagg, one of his brothers and their business partners. Mitt’s spokesman tells Jon Heyman that he has nothing to do with it personally. Tagg Romney is reported to have been planning a bid for controlling interest in the Marlins, but that has fallen through.

I find this interesting insofar as the M.O. for the Steinbrenners has, for years, been to buy out minority shareholders in the Yankees, not seek more. Indeed, when George Steinbrenner bought the Yankees back in 1973 he held just a bare controlling interest and there were a ton of silent partners, most of which were back in Ohio and knew Steinbrenner from his shipping business. I’ve personally gotten to know some of them over the years as there are a handful of them in Columbus and I crossed paths with them in my legal career. They have almost all been bought out in the past couple of decades. They still get season tickets and World Series rings and stuff. You can tell them by their personalized Yankees plates and the fact that, within the first ten minutes of meeting them, they will tell you that they once owned a piece of the Yankees but got pushed out.

In light of all of that it’s interesting that the Steinbrenners are once again accepting bids for small stakes in the team. Especially from someone whose interest in controlling the Marlins suggests that they do not consider it to be a mere vanity investment. Makes me wonder what the Steinbrenners’ long term plans are.