Spring exhibition games have begun and that means we finally have some fresh baseball highlights at our disposal. Let’s kick things off with one of the longer home runs you’ll see this spring.
The Mets hosted the Nationals at Tradition Field in Port St. Lucie, Florida on Saturday afternoon. Lefty Sean Gilmartin started for the Mets and worked a perfect first inning. Nats outfielder Bryce Harper led off the top of the second and swung at a first-pitch fastball from Gilmartin. It was absolutely crushed to right-center field, nearly clearing the berm beyond the fence.
Harper, 24, is trying to show that his 2015 NL MVP Award-winning season was no fluke, as he had what was by his standards a down year last season. He finished batting .243/.373/.441 with 24 home runs, 86 RBI, 84 runs scored, and 21 stolen bases in 627 plate appearances.
Fellow second basemen Javier Baez of the Cubs and D.J. LeMahieu of the Rockies got into a disagreement in the top of the third inning of Sunday’s game at Coors Field over sign-stealing.
LeMahieu reached on a fielder’s choice ground out, then advanced to second base on Charlie Blackmon‘s single. While Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story were batting, Baez was concerned that LeMahieu was relaying the Cubs’ signs to his teammates. Baez decided to stand in front of LeMahieu to block any information he might have been giving to Arenado and Story. LeMahieu got irritated and the two jawed at each other for a bit. Umpires Vic Carapazza and Greg Gibson had to intervene to tell Baez to knock it off.
There has always been a back-and-forth with alleged sign-stealing. As long as teams aren’t using technology to steal signs, it’s fair game for players to relay information to their teammates about the opposing team’s signs. Last year, MLB determined the Red Sox went against the rules and used technology — an Apple watch in this case — to steal signs from the Yankees. Other teams in the past have been accused of using binoculars from the bullpen to steal signs. In this particular case with Baez and LeMahieu, there was no foul play going on, just Baez trying to make the Rockies cede what he perceived to be their slight competitive advantage.
The Cubs went on to beat the Rockies 9-7 on Sunday.