Yesterday Madison Bumgarner hit his second grand slam of the year. That was pretty major, as he became the first pitcher to hit two grand slams in the same season since 1966. That year Tony Cloninger hit two while playing with the Braves. Although Cloninger’s feat was even more impressive: he did it twice in one game.
But that’s not where the history ends. Buster Posey hit a grand slam too. And, according to Elias and many other folks in the business of seeing if weird stuff had ever happened before, it was confirmed: Posey and Bumgarner became first battery to hit a grand slam in the same game in major league history.
One hundred and forty plus years of big league history and we’re still notching firsts. Which, OK, some first are merely functions of us slicing up numbers ever more finely to create feats which aren’t immediately and apparently notable. But grand slams are pretty big things, and a pitcher and catcher doing it in the same game is something even a person might have pointed out as neat a century ago. And here we are, in 2014, and it just happened for the first time.
Jeff Passan of Yahoo has an interesting report today. MLB and Rawlings are developing a new baseball. It will have a tacky surface on the leather, allowing pitchers to get a better grip without having to resort to sunscreen and rosin and pine tar and stuff. Substances which, in theory, are for grip but which are really used by pitchers to doctor the ball, with MLB and opposing hitters mostly looking the other way.
They tested the new balls in the Arizona Fall League last year and Passan talks to a couple of the pitchers who used the ball. More testing would be required, though, so we’re not likely to see the new balls until at least 2018.
As you know, baseball players love change, so I’m sure we won’t hear another thing about the ball and its introduction will go off seamlessly.
Wait. It’ll still have seams. You know what I mean.
The first few days of spring training have been pretty quiet. Guys are going about their business and games are being played, but we haven’t had any news or controversy or silliness or anything fun like that. That’s about to change, however, as Tim Tebow has arrived at Mets camp.
Tebow, a non-roster invite, arrived at the Mets facility in Port St. Lucie, Florida this morning and, unlike every other non-roster invite, had a press conference. You may be surprised to learn that he’s in great shape, is excited to get going and wants to improve steadily each day.
The plan for Tebow is to be a part of the minor league camp, not the major league one, so he’s not going to be as visible at workouts as you might expect. He will be playing in some major league spring training games, however, at least until we get deeper into spring training, after which you’d assume that veterans and players with a real shot of making the big club will play longer.
In the meantime, you can buy Tebow shirts. But not Curtis Granderson ones, it seems: