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.
Free agent outfielder/slugger J.D. Martinez is reportedly seeking an outfield gig, says Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. According to Silverman’s sources, Martinez’s suitors have been informed that the veteran slugger would give preference to teams that can offer a corner outfield spot, rather than a DH-only role.
That could spell trouble for the Red Sox, who appear to be Martinez’s biggest suitors so far this offseason. Outfielders Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi are firmly established at the corners, and prior reports from club president Dave Dombrowski suggest that center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is not going anywhere anytime soon (thereby eliminating the possibility of reshuffling the outfield). The DH spot is still wide open for Martinez, who doesn’t seem to be totally closed off to the idea, but any full-time or part-time role on the field is likely off the table at this point.
Of course, the Red Sox aren’t the only ones pursuing Martinez’s services this winter. The 30-year-old slugger has been linked to both the Diamondbacks and Giants in weeks past, and while they have the roster flexibility to accommodate his preferences, they’ll need to clear another massive hurdle: the seven-year, $250 million contract he’s said to be seeking. Both clubs will need to get creative to make such a deal work. The Diamondbacks are rumored to be shopping right-hander Zack Greinke in an attempt to free up some room on their payroll for Martinez, while the Giants appear more inclined to scour the trade market for outfield help than shell out cash for another hefty contract in free agency.