Getty Images

Video: Kris Bryant’s first home run of the year is a grand slam, naturally

4 Comments

Spring training games aren’t loaded with the weight and thrill of the regular season, at least not when it comes to stacking wins and building a case for contention in the playoffs. Still, there’s nothing to say we can’t enjoy the 13-run wins, foul ball mishaps and mammoth home runs from some of baseball’s greatest players.

Take National League MVP Kris Bryant, for instance, who catapulted a grand slam off of right-hander Brock Stewart during Saturday’s 9-3 win over the Dodgers:

The Cubs were up 3-2 in the fourth inning when Bryant struck, padding the lead behind starter Kyle Hendricks in the team’s bid for their second Cactus League win of the spring. It was his first home run of 2017, albeit not one that will count towards his total when he attempts to repeat his success as MVP and World Series champion later this year.

Bryant slashed .292/.385/.554 with 39 home runs (only one of them a grand slam) and 102 RBI in 2016, leading his team — and the rest of the National League — with a career-best 8.4 fWAR. He’s 2-for-12 in Cactus League play through five games.

Odubel Herrera went 0-for-5 with five strikeouts today

Getty Images
9 Comments

Did you have a bad day? It’s OK. We all do sometimes. It’s just part of life. Even ballplayers have bad days. Even the good ones.

Odubel Herrera is a good one. He’s only 25, but he’s already got two seasons of above average hitting under his belt. Dude gets on base. He could be a regular for tons of teams, so there’s no shame at all in him having a bad day. And boy howdy did he have a bad day today. He went 0-for-5 with five strikeouts in the Phillies extra innings win against the Rockies.

“I feel that I am making good swings but I’m just missing the pitches,” Herrera said.

Well, that is how strikeouts work.

Four strikeouts in a game is known as a Golden Sombrero. Players don’t strike out five times in a game very often so they don’t have an agreed upon name, but I’ve seen it referred to as the “platinum sombrero,” which seems pretty solid for such a feat. Six is a titanium sombrero or a double platinum sombrero, though there are references to it as a “Horn,” for Sam Horn, who deserves something to be named in his honor. Horn is like Moe Greene — a great man, a man of vision and guts — yet there isn’t even a plaque, or a signpost or a statue of him!

But I digress.

The last time a Phillies player did it was when Pat Burrell K’d five times in September 2008. The Phillies won the World Series that year, of course, so maybe this is an omen. [looks at standings] Or maybe not.

Anyway, get a good night’s sleep tonight, Odubel. Shake it off. Tomorrow is another day.

Rachel Robinson to receive O’Neil Award from the Hall of Fame

Getty Images
3 Comments

NEW YORK (AP) Rachel Robinson will receive the Buck O’Neil Lifetime Achievement Award from baseball’s Hall of Fame on July 29, the day before this year’s induction ceremony.

She’s the wife of late Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson, who broke the major league color barrier in 1947. Rachel Robinson created the Jackie Robinson Foundation in 1973, a year after he husband’s death. Rachel Robinson, who turns 95 in July 19, headed the foundation’s board until 1996.

The O’Neil award was established in 2007 to honor individuals who broaden the game’s appeal and whose character is comparable to that of O’Neil. He played in the Negro Leagues, was a scout for major league baseball teams and helped establish the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Missouri.

The award was given to O’Neil in 2008, Roland Hemond in 2011 and Joe Garagiola in 2014.