I didn’t know the date off the top of my head, but I bet a bunch of Cubs fans did. October 14, 2003 — ten years ago today — was Steve Bartman day.
In case you’re six years-old or generally oblivious, the Bartman game became known as such when Mr. Bartman reached for a foul ball that Moises Alou had leapt for and probably would have caught:
At the time the Cubs were up 3-0 in Game 6 of the NLCS and had five outs to go. After the play? The Marlins scored eight runs and won the series the next night.
Not that it was truly all Bartman’s fault. Indeed, way more blame should be (and, now that it is all in the rear-view mirror, usually is) placed on the Cubs for woofing the inning, the game and ultimately the series away. After all, Bartman didnt make Mark Prior walk Luis Castillo after his foul ball. Or throw a wild pitch. Bartman didn’t cause Alex Gonzalez to muff the double play that would have ended the inning. Blame belongs to a lot of people, mostly those who were wearing Cubs pinstipes.
But Bartman remains infamous.
There was a story about the play in the New York Times yesterday. The most notable thing: Bartman has basically disappeared from public view. He doesn’t give interviews or show up at conventions and does not appear to have done anything to capitalize on his notoriety. Which is pretty darn admirable.
Free agent right-hander Tim Lincecum isn’t ready to hang up his cleats just yet. At least, that’s the word from Lincecum’s agent, Rick Thurman, who says the 32-year-old is still “throwing and getting ready for the season” (via Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News).
Lincecum may not be ready to enter retirement, but another quote from Thurman suggests that he’ll be picky about where he pitches next. He doesn’t appear open to pitching overseas, and despite not having a contract for 2017 (or even any serious suitors), the right-hander is set on pitching in the big leagues this year. Whether or not he’s willing to take a bullpen role to do so remains to be seen.
While Baggarly predicts some interest in the veteran righty, there’s not much in Lincecum’s recent history to inspire faith in him as a starter, or even a reliever. He picked up a one-year, $2.5 million contract with the Angels following his hip surgery in 2015, and went 2-6 in 2016 with a 9.16 ERA, 5.4 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 over 38 1/3 innings. At this point, a minor league contract seems like the surest path back to major league success, though he’s unlikely to find an open spot on the Giants’ or Angels’ rosters anytime soon.
Free agent right-hander Jeff Manship has reportedly signed with the NC Dinos of the Korea Baseball Organization, according to FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The righty was non-tendered by the Indians in December.
Manship, 32, completed his second season with Cleveland in 2016. He delivered a 3.12 ERA, 4.6 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 rate over 43 1/3 innings, a slight decline after posting an 0.92 ERA with the club the year before. During eight years in the major leagues, Manship carries a 4.82 career ERA, 3.6 BB/9 and 6.4 SO/9 in multiple stints with the Twins, Rockies, Phillies and Indians.
The right-hander will be joined by fellow MLB transplants Eric Hacker and Xavier Scruggs, each of whom took one-year deals with the Dinos last month. Steve Adams of MLB Trade Rumors notes that each KBO team is allowed up to three foreign players, so Manship will round out the trio when he joins the roster. Any salary terms have yet to be disclosed.