We could’ve had a movie called “Go to Hell, Mike Piazza”

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Ben Stiller is kinda vexing. Sometimes he’s pretty great (see, “The Ben Stiller Show,” “Zero Effect,” “Royal Tenenbaums”) sometimes he’s pretty insufferable (see, “Most Everything Else He’s Done”).  I can’t decide how this one woulda played out on that continuum, but I think I would’ve at least gone and seen it.

The movie: a script from the early 2000s in which Stiller played a character with a longstanding personal vendetta against Mike Piazza. Who would’ve played himself in the movie:

The draft of the script I have opens on superstar catcher Mike Piazza playing a game for the New York Mets in 1998 when a naked guy runs onto the field. With the words “Piazza sucks” painted across his chest and “Piazza can kiss my ass” on his back (with an arrow downward, of course), the naked guy screams at Piazza as he kicks dirt at him and avoids security while the crowd cheers him on. We freeze frame and hear a voiceover: “Wait, maybe I should start from the beginning…”

An entire plot summary is at the link. Complete with Tommy Lasorda cameo.

Obviously Piazza and Stiller are now too old to do this — it requires a current major leaguer — but I sorta feel like this one can and should be done with someone else.

Bryce Harper: call your agent.

Another interestingly named player is promoted by the Pirates

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When you promote a player from the minors, the first and foremost consideration is whether or not he can help your ball club. But, assuming that’s taken care of, teams should really, really make it a priority to call up dudes with cool sounding names because it makes life more interesting for the rest of us.

The Pirates are doing that. The other night Dovydas Neverauskas made his big league debut. In addition to being the first Lithuanian born-and-raised player in major league history, it’s a solid, solid name. Now the Pirates are making another promotion: Gift Ngoepe.

Yep, Gift Ngoepe. He’s an infielder from South Africa, making the leap to the bigs due to David Freese‘s hamstring injury. Ngoepe, 27, was batting just .241/.308/.379 through 66 plate appearances this season with Triple-A Indianapolis, his ninth in the minors, so he’s not exactly a prospect. But man, that’s a killer name.

It’s also worth mentioning that Gift and Neverauskas were arrested together in a bar fight last August in Toledo, so there is already a good basis for some bonding here.

Good luck, Gift. Gift Ngoepe. Mr. Ngoepe. G-Ngo. Man, I could do this all day.

Manny Machado teaches us to never give up

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The Rays beat the Orioles last night, but the play of the game belonged to an Oriole defender.

Evan Longoria was batting and he chopped a ball foul down the third base line. At least it started out foul. As we all know, however, it doesn’t matter where the ball starts, it matters where it is when it crosses the bag.

Manny Machado knows this and didn’t give up on the ball despite it starting several feet in foul territory. He watched it come back, stayed with it and threw out Longoria who, unlike Machado, did give up on it, assuming he’d merely get a strike and another hack. Watch:

Longoria would get Machado back, however, fielding a ball Machado smoked to third base in the ninth inning, recording the second to last out of the game.