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.
Giants second baseman Joe Panik missed nearly all of August and September last season due to a nagging back injury, but he told Alex Pavlovic of CSNBayArea.com on Friday that he’s feeling “100 percent.”
Panik, who earned his first All-Star selection last season, originally landed on the disabled list in early August due to what was described as lower back inflammation. He made his return in September, but appeared in just three games before being shut down. The good news is that he was cleared by doctors in mid-December and considers himself “back to normal.”
“It was right around the time of all the signings,” he said, smiling. “I was able to fly under the radar. I got tested and everything had healed up. I got cleared and was able to have my full offseason workouts. I’m good to go. I’m happy to be feeling good and going back out on the field to show that I’m healthy. My swing feels strong.”
Panik altered his offseason workout routine and plans to spend less time in his spikes in the early part of spring training. The hope is that these changes will prevent future issues.
After a strong showing as a rookie in 2014, the 25-year-old Panik proved to be one of the best second baseman in the majors last season by batting .312/.378/.455 with eight home runs and 37 RBI over 100 games while playing solid defense.
Baseball America unveiled their top 100 prospect list Friday night during a special on MLB Network. It should come as no surprise that Dodgers infielder Corey Seager came in at No. 1.
This makes Seager the consensus top prospect in the game. He was also ranked first by MLB.com, Baseball Prospectus, and ESPN’s Keith Law. Twins outfielder Byron Buxton was ranked second on all four lists.
Baseball America has the most aggressive ranking of Cuban infielder Yoan Moncada from the Red Sox, who checked in at No. 3. He was followed by pitching prospects Lucas Giolito from the Nationals and Julio Urias from the Dodgers to round out the top five.
You can see Baseball America’s full top 100 list here.
Mets reliever Jenrry Mejia was permanently suspended on Friday after testing positive for a third time for a performance-enhancing drug. The right-hander is maintaining his innocence, as ESPN’s Adam Rubin notes in quoting Dominican sports journalist Hector Gomez. Mejia said, “It is not like they say. I am sure that I did not use anything.”
Mejia has the opportunity to petition commissioner Rob Manfred in one year for reinstatement to Major League Baseball. However, he must sit out at least two years before becoming eligible to pitch in the majors again, which would mean Mejia would be 28 years old.
Over parts of five seasons, Mejia has a career 3.68 ERA with 162 strikeouts and 76 walks over 183 1/3 innings. He was once a top prospect in the Mets’ minor league system and a top-100 overall prospect heading into the 2010 and ’11 seasons.
Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper is at least three years away from free agency, but people are already contemplating just how large a contract the phenom will be able to negotiate, especially after taking home the National League Most Valuable Player Award for his performance this past season.
When the likes of David Price and Zack Greinke are signing for over $200 million at the age of 30 or older, it stands to reason that Harper could draw more as a 26-year-old if he can maintain MVP-esque levels of production over the next several seasons. $400 million might not be enough for Harper, though, as MLB.com’s Jamal Collier reports. He said, “Don’t sell me short,” which is a fantastic response.
During the 2015 season, Harper led the majors with a .460 on-base percentage and a .649 slugging percentage while leading the National League with 42 home runs and 118 runs scored. He also knocked in 99 runs for good measure. Harper and Ted Williams are the only hitters in baseball history to put up an adjusted OPS of 195 or better (100 is average) at the age of 22 or younger.