soup nazi and puffy shirt

‘Seinfeld Night’ superlatives

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Seinfeld Night hosted by the Brooklyn Cyclones was as much of a tribute to the 25th anniversary of the show, as it was a microcosm of everything so beloved from the show about nothing. The night has to be looked at more as performance art than merely a baseball game, and as such, we at HBT thought it was only right to hand out awards for the theatrics on display in Coney Island.

Without further ado, here are the awards:

No soup for you! award goes to: The entire Brooklyn Cyclones squad.

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It is one thing to lose, it is a completely separate thing to “shrink”to the occasion in the fashion that the home team did on Saturday night. The Cyclones did their best sitcom impersonation on the diamond, collecting five errors and seven unearned runs en route to an 18-2 trouncing at the hands of the lowly Aberdeen Ironbirds. The Ironbirds, who came into the game with just three wins on the season, spoiled what is sure to be one of the biggest games of the season for the Cyclones, who were playing in front of a sold-out crowd on July Fourth weekend. For your performance, we say: No soup for you, Cyclones.

The best Newman award goes to: Jhoan Ureña

Seinfeld’s Newman embodies someone who cares just enough about his job to get by. Raining? No way he’s going to work. Don’t feel like delivering the mail? Just hide it in Jerry’s storage locker. Well, Cyclones 3B Jhoan Ureña really took this commitment to excellence to heart in Saturday night’s affair.

Ureña had two specific plays that stick out from last night’s game. In the first inning, Ureña received the benefit of the doubt from a home box scorer when he botched a chopper to third base. Ureña allowed the ball to skip off of his glove, where it sailed into left field, allowing a run in the process. The following inning, Ureña attempted to make a play on the ball that was clearly out of range, losing his glove in the process. What does Ureña do? Looks around sheepishly, shrugs and scoops up his mitt. Never change, Jhoan.

The Show About Nothing award goes to: Kenny Kramer

The inspiration for Seinfeld’s wackiest character, Cosmo Kramer, Kenny Kramer was Larry David’s neighbor for many years while the show’s co-creator lived in New York. What was Kramer doing at Seinfeld Night one may ask? Doesn’t he have other things to be doing than celebrating a character that largely mocked him on public television? Those would be very astute questions.

While it’s hard to say for sure, it seems Kenny Kramer has not made too much of himself in the time since he lived next to David. Kenny works with a traveling reality show that uses Kramer’s likeness from the show to attract a crowd. Kenny spent much of the evening vying for camera time and telling patrons to make sure they get a fair price for their signed Seinfeld items on eBay or it hurts his sales. Having said that, the man seemed like a very nice fellow, just a nice fellow that was out of place in this celebration of the show not that there is anything wrong with that.

The Most Convincing Mailman goes to: This guy

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Newman could learn a few things from this stand up gentleman.

The award for Worst Low-Talkers goes to: The Seinfeld Night crowd!

As the errors piled up and the game wore on, the crowd became more and more irritable; raining down a chorus of taunts and boos from the stands. It seems the Cyclones are in fact, not the masters of their domain. With this dearth of low-talkers in the crowd, the jeers were audible in every corner of Vandelay Industries Park on Saturday night. Who can blame them, though? Wild pitches, errors and fundamental blunders were easier to find than Seinfeld re-runs on a weekday afternoon.

Finally, the award for Best Pirate costume goes to: Sandy the Seagull!

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Wait, what’s that? You don’t want to be a pirate?

That is it for HBT’s Seinfeld Night superlatives. There is a silver lining for the fans and Cyclones both. Surprising as it may seem now, Seinfeld struggled with ratings during the early years and was almost cancelled on numerous occasions, so not all hope is lost for the Cyclones. Who knows, Brooklyn may evolve into a Seinfeld-ian dynasty come next season, as George says, “Jerry, just remember, it’s not a lie if you believe it.”

 

Report: Teams reluctant to gamble on Cliff Lee

Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Cliff Lee throws during the first inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park Thursday, July 31, 2014, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
AP Photo/Alex Brandon
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In Saturday’s column for the Boston Globe, Nick Cafardo suggests that free agent Cliff Lee is seeking a guaranteed major league deal between $6 and $8 million plus incentives. That is turning some otherwise interested teams away, as the lefty is still recovering from a torn flexor tendon in his left elbow. Lee hasn’t pitched since July 31, 2014.

Last month, Lee’s agent Darek Braunecker said the pitcher would need “a perfect fit” to pitch in 2016. He also noted that Lee has begun a full offseason throwing program.

In his most recent season, Lee compiled a 3.65 ERA with 72 strikeouts and 12 walks in 81 1/3 innings for the Phillies. The Phillies had signed him to a five-year, $120 million contract in December 2010 but declined a club option for the 2016 season, instead buying him out for $12.5 million.

Orioles reconsidering signing Yovani Gallardo

Yovani Gallardo
AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez
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In an article for MASN on Friday, Steve Melewski noted that the Orioles were reluctant to forfeit their first round draft pick (14th overall) in order to sign free agent starter Yovani Gallardo. The club is now reconsidering its stance and rechecking the right-handers medicals, MASN’s Roch Kubatko reports.

Gallardo, who turns 30 on February 27, posted a 3.42 ERA with 121 strikeouts and 68 walks over 184 1/3 innings for the Rangers last season. The Rangers had acquired him in a trade with the Brewers, sending Luis Sardinas, Corey Knebel, and minor leaguer Marcos Diplan to Milwaukee.

Gallardo has posted an ERA below 4.00 in six of his last seven seasons. He remains unsigned into February, however, because his strikeout rate has rapidly decreased with each year since 2012. Per FanGraphs, that rate was 23.7 percent in 2012, then went to 18.6 percent, 17.9 percent, and 15.3 percent progressively. Some of that may have to do with diminishing fastball velocity, as Gallardo’s 90.4 MPH average marked a career low among his eight full seasons with at least 100 innings pitched.

The Orioles lost starter Wei-Yin Chen, who signed with the Marlins, and the back end of their rotation is highly speculative with Kevin Gausman, Mike Wright, Odrisamer Despaigne, and Tyler Wilson. Adding a veteran like Gallardo, even if he is apparently declining, may be stabilizing.

Freddy Garcia is calling it a career

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Elsa/Getty Images North America
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MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez passes along word from the Dominican Republic that right-hander Freddy Garcia will hang up his cleats for good after Sunday’s Caribbean Series championship game.

Garcia will start that game for the Tigres de Aragua out of Venezuela. He’s taking on Mexico’s Venados de Mazatlan.

“Venezuelan fans are expecting something good from Freddy and so is everybody,” said Tigres de Aragua manager Eddie Perez, who also serves as the bullpen coach for the Atlanta Braves. “Knowing that it’s his last game is going to make it very special. We all hope he pitches a really good game so he can retire in a good way and bring the title for Venezuela. Everybody who is rooting for Venezuela expects him to do well.”

Garcia’s last major league game was in the 2013 postseason. The 39-year-0ld will finish with a 4.15 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, and 6.4 K/9 in 2,264 career regular-season innings. He had a 3.26 ERA in 11 playoff starts, winning a World Series title with the White Sox in 2005.

Video: 2016 will be a season to remember

Carlos+Correa+Houston+Astros+v+Arizona+Diamondbacks+Ctyu5RiU3SWl
Christian Petersen/Getty Images North America
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MLB.com put together this very cool video montage reviewing the 2015 season and setting us up for what should be a wild 2016. Young stars, veterans chasing milestones, unpredictable divisional races.

It’s so close to spring training. Let’s do this.