In the top of the second of the first game of today’s day-night doubleheader against the White Sox, Twins outfielder Chris Colabello homered to right field off of Sox starter John Danks to stake his club to an early 1-0 lead. As the ball landed in the Twins bullpen, it appeared as if reliever Jared Burton sucker punched bullpen mate Brian Duensing in the face.
Phil Miller of the Star Tribune helps provide some context:
When Chris Colabello swung at the John Danks’ second-inning pitch in Game 1, Brian Duensing jumped up in the Twins’ bullpen and yelled at Jared Burton, “C’mon — Punch me! Punch me!”
And that’s how the Twins’ bullpen “brawl,” which you are guaranteed to see on sports highlight shows several times this weekend, got started.
Burton and Duensing have been planning the prank for awhile — since last season, actually, when former Twin Matt Maloney came up with the idea. Noting that relief pitchers are often seen in the background when a home run is hit into the bullpen, Maloney suggested they stage a fight for the cameras to pick up.
Now that is a heck of a prank. Kudos to Burton and Duensing.
(tip of the cap to /r/baseball for the .gif)
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.