The knuckleballing Chelsea Baker threw BP to the Rays yesterday

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Four years ago we linked a story about a girl who played little league baseball. That’s not a big deal. Lots of girls play little league baseball. What set her apart was that she was a knuckleballer who had been trained to throw the pitch by knuckleball legend Joe Niekro.

Flash forward to 2014 and Chelsea Baker is still at it. Of course she’s not a little leaguer anymore — she plays for the Durant High School baseball team in Plant City, Florida. And she’s legit: she went 3-0 with one save and a 0.74 ERA for the varsity team this year.

Yesterday she pitched BP to the Tampa Bay Rays. And while given that she’s a high schooler and it’s batting practice, of course the Rays made some solid contact. But on a few occasions she fooled the Rays hitters and made them look awkward up there like any good knuckleballer would. She also nailed Evan Longoria in the back once. I’m assuming it just got away from her and wasn’t about some past incident, but you never know with ballplayers. They all get hung up on perceived slights on occasion.

Here’s the story and here’s video from the Tampa Bay Times:

Nationals owner Mark Lerner had his left leg amputated

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Mark Lerner, son of Ted Lerner and a co-owner of the Washington Nationals, had his left leg amputated earlier this month. He was diagnosed earlier this year for a rare form of cancer that a attacks connective tissue and treatment had been ineffective, so doctors removed the limb.

The news was revealed in the form of a letter Lerner wrote to Washington Post columnist Barry Svrluga, who had inquired about Lerner’s uncharacteristic absence from the ballpark of late. Lerner:

“With my doctors and medical team, we decided that amputation of that leg was my best choice to maintain the active and busy lifestyle that I have always enjoyed. The limb was removed in early August and I’m healing well, cancer-free, and looking forward to my eventual new prosthetic.”

Lerner, 63, has been known to dress up in a Nats uniform and shag fly balls with the team during batting practice. Here’s hoping for a speedy recovery and, if his prosthetic allows, some more BP shagging at some point in the future.

New Marlins owners are going to dump David Samson, keep the home run sculpture

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The Miami Herald reports that the future Miami Marlins owners, Bruce Sherman and Derek Jeter, have informed Major League Baseball that they do not intend to retain current team president David Samson. Derek Jeter will replace him as the person in charge of baseball and business operations.

Samson has been a polarizing figure in Miami and has been seen as Jeff Loria’s front-facing presence in many ways. He led the effort for the team to get its new stadium, which led to political scandal and outrage in Miami (not that he didn’t get his stadium). In 2014, he appeared on “Survivor.” He did not survive.

What will survive, however, is the famous home run sculpture in the outfield at Marlins Park. You’ll recall some reports earlier this week that Sherman and Jeter were thinking about removing it. If so, they’ll have a lot of hurdles to jump, because yesterday the Miami-Dade County government reminded them that it was paid for by its Art in Public Places program, it is thus owned by the county and that it cannot be moved without prior approval from the county.

I know a lot of people hate that thing, but it has grown on me over the years. Not for its own aesthetic sake as much for its uniqueness and whimsy, which are two things that are in extraordinarily short supply across the Major League Baseball landscape. Like a lot of new and different bits of art and architecture over the course of history, I suspect its initial loathing will increasingly come to be replaced by respect and even pride. Especially if the Marlins ever make another World Series run, in which case everything associated with the club will be elevated in the eyes of fans.

On this score, Sherman and Jeter will thank Miami-Dade for saving themselves from themselves one day.