CLEARWATER — There was a moving ceremony before today’s Braves-Phillies game honoring the late Jim Fregosi.
Fregosi, the former Phillies manager and a long-time scout and executive with the Braves, died last month following a stroke. Today, however, was a day of fond and often funny remembrance, with Phillies and Braves officials remembering a loud, opinionated but eminently respected and unquestionably loved friend and colleague.
Fregosi’s family and former teammates and players participated in the ceremony. In a nice touch, each of the uniforms worn by Fregosi during his playing, managing and coaching careers were worn by someone who played with or for Fregosi. Kent Tekulve wore a late-70s Pirates pinstripe. Darren Daulton — himself looking good following cancer surgery — wore an early 90s-Phillies uniform. Braves hitting coach Greg Walker wore an early-80s White Sox ensemble, etc.:
They left the seat he’d sit in behind home plate when scouting empty today, but for his cap, placed there by Braves GM Frank Wren. They left a table in the media/scout dining room empty, with a black table cloth and a photo of Fregosi.
Sometimes tributes are overwrought or overthought. This one struck all the right notes. It was beautiful in its simplicity and its thoughtfulness.
Following the announcement of the 24-year-old’s death, Major League Baseball observed a moment of silence for José Fernández before each of today’s games. While this afternoon’s Marlins-Braves game was cancelled out of respect for the organization, Miami painted Fernández’s jersey number on the mound in honor of their former pitcher.
Other teams, like the Mets, Mariners, and Dodgers, chose to honor Fernández by hanging his No. 16 jersey in their dugout:
Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports reports that David Ortiz‘s pregame retirement ceremony at Tropicana Field was canceled at the player’s request:
The Astros and Diamondbacks each displayed a personal tribute to Fernández, writing the number 16 on their caps and etching his number and initials in the bullpen:
Rest in peace, Fernández.
A fake tag by third baseman Jung Ho Kang led to a beanball and emptied benches during Sunday afternoon’s game between the Nationals and Pirates at PNC Park.
In the top of the third inning, Bryce Harper led off with a triple to right field. He ran hard towards third base and Kang feigned receiving a throw which had, in reality, missed the cut-off man. That caused Harper, who had already committed to sliding head-first into the third base bag, to come into the bag awkwardly, injuring his left hand. Harper stayed in the game initially, scoring on an Anthony Rendon single, but he did not take his position for the bottom half of the inning. Chris Heisey took his spot in right field.
On the Nationals’ television broadcast, former major leaguer F.P. Santangelo said, “Kang faked a tag. You don’t fake a tag in the big leagues. You don’t fake a tag anywhere — you can hurt somebody.”
Nationals starter A.J. Cole got two quick outs to start the bottom of the third, bringing up Kang. Cole immediately threw a fastball up and in at Kang, which ended up sailing behind his back. Cole was immediately ejected by home plate umpire Jordan Baker. Some Pirates and Nationals players spilled out onto the field and the rest of the players and bullpens joined them not too long after.
Sean Rodriguez, known for his temper, needed to be held back by Gerrit Cole and David Freese. Rodriguez was ejected by Baker as well. When order was restored, Rafael Martin took over for Cole and struck out Kang to end the frame.
Cole and Rodriguez are likely looking at fines and suspensions. The Nationals should have more on Harper’s status after Sunday’s game is completed.