It turns out that Diamondbacks reliever Heath Bell made his return to Marlins Park on Thursday night, not for last night’s series opener. According to Steve Gilbert of MLB.com, Bell said that he took in Thursday’s Reds-Marlins game from the stands.
The D-backs arrived in Miami in the wee hours Thursday morning and Bell took a cab to Marlins Park, bought a ticket at the window and sat and watched the Marlins battle the Reds. After struggling mightily with the Marlins last year, Bell was heavily booed when he would come in to pitch and he expects a similar reception this weekend, but Thursday he sat among the fans in peace.
Why go to a baseball game on your day off?
“Why not go to the game?” Bell said. “Just bought a ticket and stayed low key. I didn’t wear a hat. I think with a hat, people would have recognized me more. We always watch games, but it’s just different to watch the game in the stands. Watching a game from the stands is just completely different from what we usually do. It’s almost like you want to go play, but you can’t. You have to wait a day.”
In all fairness, Heath, it’s easy to go unrecognized when nobody is around you.
While Bell did put a few dollars in Jeffrey Loria’s pocket on Thursday, the Marlins are paying $4 million of his $8.5 million salary this season. That technically makes him the team’s second-highest paid player behind right-hander Ricky Nolasco.
As you get ready for Memorial Day weekend and whatever it entails for you and yours, take some time to read an excellent article from Mike Bates over at The Hardball Times.
The article is about Eddie Grant. You probably never heard of him. He was a journeyman infielder — often a backup — from 1905 through 1915. If you have heard of him, it was likely not for his baseball exploits, however: it was because he was the first active baseball player to die in combat, killed in the Battle of the Argonne Forest in October 1915.
Michael tells us about more than Grant’s death, however. He provides a great overview of his life and career. And notes that Grant didn’t even have to go to war if he didn’t want to. He was 34, had the chance to coach or manage and had a law degree and the potential to make a lot of money following his baseball career. He volunteered, however, for both patriotic and personal reasons. And it cost him his life.
Must-read stuff indeed. Especially this weekend.
The Cleveland Indians will unveil a Frank Robinson statue at Progressive Field on Saturday.
Robinson’s tenure in Cleveland was not long, but it was historic. On April 8, 1975, he became the first African-American manager in Major League history. He was a player-manager. One of the last ones, in fact. He spent two years in that role and then a third year — a partial year anyway — as a manager only. Robinson would go on to manage the Giants, Orioles and the Expos/Nationals, compiling a career record of 1065-1176 in 16 seasons. He is now a top MLB executive.
Robinson was, of course, a Hall of Fame player as well, lodging 21 seasons for the Reds, Orioles, Dodgers, Angels and Indians. He won two MVP awards and hit for the Triple Crown in 1966. Overall he hit 586 home runs – 10th all time – and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982. For an inner-circle Hall of Famer with that kind of resume he is still, strangely enough, underrated. I guess that happens when your contemporaries are Willie Mays, Hank Aaron and Mickey Mantle.
Anyway, congrats to Frank Robinson for yet another well-deserved honor in a career full of them.