Among players to debut since 1970, only Cal Ripken Jr. went to more All-Star Games than Tony Gwynn’s 15. Yet MLB chose not to honor the departed Hall of Famer during Tuesday’s contest at Target Field.
Instead, what we got during FOX’s All-Star Game broadcast was all of the Derek Jeter we could handle, a performance of Forever Young from Idina Menzel, and a Ken Rosenthal interview with commissioner Bud Selig that delayed the start of an inning. Obviously, the game wasn’t being played in San Diego or even a National League city, so perhaps the fans at Target wouldn’t have been so moved by a Gwynn ceremony. Or maybe they would have been. After all, they had their own Hall of Fame outfielder die young when Kirby Puckett passed on at 45.
UPDATE: FOX says it ran a feature on Gwynn
Gwynn died June 16 at age 54 after battling salivary gland cancer. A brief video tribute and a moment for silence was the bare minimum MLB should have done in his memory tonight. Flying in Phillies outfielder Tony Gwynn Jr., if he were amenable, would have been a nice touch, too. Why MLB did nothing at all is a question that needs to be asked of Selig next time he’s interviewed.
Not all players coming in to spring training are in The Best Shapes of Their Lives. Some have put on a few pounds, such as Miguel Sano, notes Twins GM Thad Levine:
Sano has been given medical clearance to engage in all baseball workouts with his teammates, his surgically reinforced left shin now completely healed, though the Twins intend to lighten his schedule to prevent any new injuries.
They’d like to lighten something else, too: His “generous carriage,” as General Manager Thad Levine delicately put it last week. Sano’s conditioning understandably lags, after a winter largely spent incapacitated by the surgery.
Sano’s conditioning has often been a topic of conversation among the members of the Minnesota press corps, though not always in good faith. For example, last year when Sano injured his shin by fouling a ball off of it, one member of the The Fourth Estate found a way to make a column out of blaming the freak injury on Sano’s conditioning. At least in this instance his colleague is correctly noting that the poor conditioning is a result of the injury and not the cause.
Still, it’s just another issue facing Sano this spring. He’s out of shape, coming off of an injury, and — not that he’s due any sympathy for it — he’s facing a likely suspension arising out of the allegations of sexual assault leveled against him late last year.
So this spring we’ll be seeing more of Sano, it seems. At least until that time we’ll be seeing less of him.