More observations from Hohokam Park

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Sorry I’m all photo crazy today. Just really jazzed to be where baseball is happening and I feel more like soaking it in than thinking too hard about it.  Here’s something to soak in:

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Seven bucks for an Old Style? Yikes. He told me I “looked like an Old Style Man.” I politely declined. I mean, I’m not above snagging a beer while I’m at the park — it’s not like I’d take it up to the press box — but I’m not gonna start in with Old Styles three innings in to my first spring training game when I’m running a monster sleep deficit.

Something else to soak in: Yasiel Puig’s name auto-corrects on an iPhone to “Haskell Lying.”  He also hit the crap out of this ball as I was walking along the concourse:

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I’m really curious to see how Puig does. He hit .330/.430/.581 with 17 homers and a 39/49 K/BB ratio in 327 at-bats at age 19 in Cuba. Many are skeptical about how he projects — and obviously me watching two whole plate appearances from him today means nothing — but he could be a lot of fun.

Random: The Cubs wear their regular season uniforms for home spring training games. I like that a lot. Dress for the job you want. Look the part be the part. More teams should do it. And yes, this is coming from a guy who wears pajamas all day, but (a) I have the job I want; and (b) wearing pajamas is looking the part for this gig.

Also fun: I spent the first few innings in a seat up high along the third base line. Right above me was a party deck with some corporate types, out for a corporate outing at the old ball park. Overheard:

P.A. Announcer: “Now batting for the Cubs, number 12, Alfonso Soriano.”

Man 1: Soriano. Why do I know that name?

Man 2: I think he used to play for the Yankees, right?

Man 1: Yeah. He’s the Yankees second baseman. Or he was. A year or two ago, I think.

Man 2: Yeah.

High beer prices, less-than-plugged-in crowds. But I don’t care a lick because I’m at a ballpark.

Now where’s that Old Style guy? If I can get him down to $5, we may be able to do some business.

Noah Syndergaard scratched with a “tired arm”

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Mets manager Terry Collins says that he has scratched Noah Syndergaard, who was supposed to start this afternoon’s game against the Braves. In his place will go Matt Harvey.

Syndergaard, Collins says, has “tired arm.” But also says he has some discomfort in his right biceps. He will have an MRI, but Syndergaard says it’s not serious and that he could pitch as soon as Sunday. Collins says this is an abundance-of-caution type thing, saying “we can’t take a chance on this guy.” Which is true.

The Mets ace is 1-1 with a 1.73 ERA and 30 strikeouts in 26 innings. He has walked no one this year. Not a soul.

James Paxton has a fantastic new nickname

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James Paxton of the Mariners is 3-0 with a 1.39 ERA, 39 strikeouts and only six walks in 32.1 innings of work over five starts. Last night he shut the Tigers down, tossing seven shutout innings, striking out nine and allowing only four hits. With Felix Hernandez looking less than king-like lately, Paxton is asserting himself as the new ace of the Seattle staff.

And now the tall Canadian native has a nickname to match his ace-like status:

“Pax was really outstanding and we certainly needed it,” manager Scott Servais said of the Canadian southpaw. “Big Maple is what he was nicknamed tonight and I kind of like that. He was awesome.”

“Big Maple” is a fantastic nickname. That’s the sort of nickname guys used to get back when nicknames were great. Before managers just put “y” at the end of dudes’ names and before the “First Initial-First Three Letters of The Last Name” convention took hold in the wake of A-Rod.

“Big Maple.” That makes me smile. I’m gonna be smiling all dang day because of that.