The infamous Pine Tar Game — in which the umps overturned a George Brett home run against the Yankees which led to pandemonium — took place 30 years ago this month. Today the Wall Street Journal has a take on it that I’d never heard before: the batboy who kinda helped unleash the pandemonium.
The batboy’s name is Merritt Riley. He’s 47 now, but at the time he was a huge George Brett fanboy and, after the home run, rather than take the illegal bat back to the dugout where it would have blended in with all of the others, he waited at home plate in order to give Brett a high-five. Rick Cerone took the bat from him, Billy Martin pointed it out to the umps and the rest was history.
The story catches up with Riley and Brett, each of whom have a pretty good attitude about it now. Nice stuff.
There were a few exhibitions against college teams yesterday but today the Grapefruit League and Cactus League schedules begin in earnest, with big league teams, more or less, facing big league team, more or less.
The baseball will look like baseball, but the teams will be wearing different caps today: black caps with the maroon “SD” of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where 17 people were killed in a mass shooting on February 14.
All teams and umpire crews will wear the caps pre-game, and they have the option to wear the caps during the games. The only two teams not playing today — the Royals and Rangers — will wear them tomorrow.
After the games players will sign the caps and they will be auctioned off to raise money for the Broward Education Foundation, which benefits the official Stoneman Douglas Victims’ Fund.
Here’s today’s schedule: