A Lehigh Valley IronPigs fan will win an all-expenses paid funeral

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In what is being described as the most valuable fan giveaway in team history, the Lehigh Valley IronPigs are going to give one lucky fan an all-expenses-paid funeral at their August 20th game. What you get, courtesy of the the IronPigs and a local funeral home:

  • A casket.
  • Professional services of funeral director and staff.
  • Body removal and preparation (embalming or cremation).
  • Use of facilities and services for viewing (visitation/wake), funeral ceremony, Memorial Service and graveside services.
  • Vehicle to transfer remains to Funeral Home along with Hearse for cemetery transfer.

A memorial company will provide a complimentary headstone and a florist will offer “a casket spray” of flowers, which is an odd way of putting that, but since I have never planned a funeral I guess that’s my problem.  The total value of all of that is said to be $10,000.

How do you win: essay contest! You submit an essay of 200 words or less that describes your “ideal funeral and why you feel you will, eventually, be deserving of the free funeral.” All essays must be received by July 31, 2013 — details at the linked release — and you have to be at the August 20th game to win.

My entry:

Dear IronPigs,

I feel like I deserve the funeral because it is long overdue. I have been dead since October 2011 and my corpse has been rotting in front of everyone for the past two years. It’s really embarrassing. Please allow my mortal remains to finally find a place of rest, preferably at the expense of the an affiliate of the Phillies organization for that is something to which I have become accustomed.

Regards,

Ryan Howard

Indians to move Danny Salazar to the bullpen

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MLB.com’s William Kosileski reports that Indians starter Danny Salazar is being moved to the bullpen and will be available as soon as Wednesday or Thursday. The Indians will go on a five-game road strip starting on June 2, and manager Terry Francona said that Salazar could get a start during that trip.

Salazar, 27, has struggled to a 5.50 ERA over his first 10 starts this season. While none of those starts were absolute disasters, he failed to finish the sixth inning in seven of those 10 starts. It’s a far cry from his performance over the last two seasons, when he finished with a 3.45 ERA and 3.87 ERA.

Salazar’s walk rate is up to a career-high 11.9 percent, per FanGraphs, and he’s allowing many more line drives at the expense of ground balls. Compared to 2016, his line drive rate is up 8.9 percent and his ground ball rate is down 10.4 percent. All of that could explain Salazar’s struggles to some extent.

Video: Aaron Judge mashes his first career grand slam

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It was only a matter of time before rookie sensation Aaron Judge clubbed his first grand slam. The Yankees’ power-hitting outfielder went deep in the third inning of Sunday’s series finale against the Athletics, clearing the bases with his 16th home run of the season and first career grand slam.

According to Statcast, the ball traveled an estimated 378 feet into the right field bleachers, Judge’s second-shortest home run to date. It also marked his first homer since May 20 and sixth in the past month. Entering Sunday’s game, the 22-year-old outfielder is batting .316/.421/.665 with a league-leading 36 hits in 183 PA.

The blast padded the Yankees’ lead in the third inning, giving them a three-run edge over the A’s as Michael Pineda looked for his sixth win of the year. They currently lead 7-3 in the bottom of the seventh.