Major League Baseball just announced something very cool: a charity auction to benefit the Stand Up to Cancer. The initiative was inspired by the numerous cases of public relations officials in the sport who have been diagnosed with cancer in recent years.
The auction starts now and goes through Thursday December 6 at midnight and includes over 70 items and experiences donated by teams and players. And it’s cool stuff. All of it can be found on the main auction page. Here are a few of my favorites:
- Be a Baltimore Orioles player for a day – eat with team, take batting practice and sit in the dugout during a Spring Training game.
- Ride on the Orioles’ team bus to and from a road game in Washington D.C. You may not play “Try a little tenderness” on an acoustic guitar, unfortunately.
- Even if you can’t do that, you can bid on a 30-minute guitar lesson from Cincinnati Reds All-Star pitcher Bronson Arroyo. I’m assuming its Dave Matthews heavy;
- Receive a visit from Washington Nationals pitchers Drew Storen and Tyler Clippard to your child’s school and eat lunch with them in their cafeteria.
- Take batting practice at Progressive Field with the Cleveland Indians. And heck, you may be able to make the team seeing as though it is the Indians.
- Breakfast with All-Star Hunter Pence of the 2012 World Series Champion San Francisco Giants. I’m assuming its intense.
- Eat lunch with Phillies GM Ruben Amaro, Jr., new Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell or Hall of Famer Tommy Lasorda of the Dodgers. If you win this bid and don’t pick Lasorda, I don’t want to know you.
- Receive pitching lessons from any of five Major League pitching coaches, including Jim Hickey (Rays) Rick Honeycutt (Dodgers), Charles Nagy (D-backs), Bryan Price (Reds), or Carl Willis (Mariners). It’s an egg. Hold it like an egg, meat.
- Work a one-day internship in the New York Yankees Media Relations Department. Could be cool. By the end of the day they’ll teach you 50 ways to not say ANYTHING to the media.
- “Host a private party at your home with the Milwaukee Brewers Famous Racing Sausages.” So … a literal sausage party? I love this. It may be a cancer benefit, but there is definitely humor here. I may bid on this bad boy.
- There’s lots of other stuff like batting practice with teams, merchandise, primo Green Monster seats in Boston and much, much more.
Check out the auction and see if you can’t do your part to help a worthy cause.
There’s certainly never a bad time to hit a home run, but when you get the opportunity to crush a triple-deck, 493-foot shot off of Tyler Duffey, you should take it. With the Mariners down 2-0 to the Twins in the fourth inning, Cruz hammered a fastball to deep left field for his 39th long ball of the season — and the second-longest home run hit in 2016, to boot.
It doesn’t hurt that the Mariners are 1.5 games back of a playoff spot, although they’ll have to oust the Blue Jays, Orioles, or Tigers to get a wild card. They’ve gone 3-3 in the last week, dropping two consecutive series to the Astros and Blue Jays and taking their series opener against Minnesota 10-1 on Friday night.
Cruz, for his part, entered Saturday’s game with a .299/.337/.610 batting line and six home runs in September. According to ESPN.com’s Home Run Tracker, Cruz sits behind Edwin Encarnacion and Mike Napoli with 13 “no-doubt” home runs in 2016, third-most among major league sluggers. It’s safe to say he can add Saturday’s moonshot to that list.
Marlins’ outfielder and undisputed home run king Giancarlo Stanton remains untouched at the top of the Statcast leaderboard with a 504-ft. home run, and it’s difficult to envision any slugger reaching beyond that before the end of the season. Even so, Cruz won’t need to clear 500 feet to extend an impressive hitting record. One more home run will put the 36-year-old at 40 on the year, making 2016 his third consecutive season with at least 40 homers, and his second such season doing so in Seattle.
It’s been a strange season for Red Sox’ third baseman Pablo Sandoval, who lost his starting role in spring training, went 0-for-6 in three regular season appearances, and underwent season-ending surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder in May. That was the last the Red Sox were supposed to hear about Sandoval until spring 2017, when he was expected to rejoin the team after a lengthy rehab stint in Florida.
On Saturday, manager John Farrell was telling a different story. Per MLB.com’s Sam Blum, Farrell hinted that Sandoval could return to the team as soon as October, albeit in a very limited capacity.
At the time of the surgery, it was all looking at the start of next Spring Training,” Farrell said. “We’re not getting too far ahead of ourselves here, but at the same time, we compliment him for the work he’s put in, the way he’s responded to the rehab, the way he’s worked himself into better condition. We’re staying open-minded.
If the 30-year-old does return in 2016, don’t expect him to look like the three-home run hitter of the 2012 World Series. Should the Red Sox lose another player to injury, Sandoval might be called on as a backup option, but he’s unlikely to see substantial playing time under any other circumstances. Despite making two appearances at DH in the instructional league, Sandoval has not started at third base since undergoing surgery, though Farrell noted that a return to third base would be the next logical step in his recovery process.
Sandoval has yet to hit his stride within the Red Sox’ organization after hitting career-worst numbers in 2015. According to FanGraphs, his Offensive Runs Above Average (Off) plummeted to -20.2, contributing approximately two wins fewer than the average offensive player in 2015. (The Diamondbacks’ Chris Owings held the lowest Off mark in 2015, with -26.3 runs below average.) Sandoval has not appeared in a postseason race since the Giants’ championship run in 2014.
Heading into Saturday evening, the Red Sox could clinch their spot in the postseason with a win over the Rays and an Orioles’ loss.