Rakuten Eagles

A flock of birds ended a baseball game in Japan

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There have been a lot of non-weather-related things that have disrupted baseball games in the past. Faulty lighting. Unruly fans. Tragedies both great and minor. But I can’t recall a flock of birds ever causing a game to end. It happened in Japan last night, however.

The Kyodo News Service reports that a flock of birds descended upon Kobo Park Miyagi in Sendai, where the Rakuten Eagles and Seibu Lions were playing a game. Based on the video below the flock didn’t seem too large, but they were definitely working as a team to disrupt things. They particularly seemed to like, or hate, the middle infielders.

The birds stayed until stadium officials turned all the lights off. That ended up prolonging a game already delayed by rain, which in turn led to it being suspended after eight innings due to curfew.

In other news, Kobo Park Miyagi reminds me a lot of the Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati:

J.D. Martinez tells teams he prefers an outfield role

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Free agent outfielder/slugger J.D. Martinez is reportedly seeking an outfield gig, says Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. According to Silverman’s sources, Martinez’s suitors have been informed that the veteran slugger would give preference to teams that can offer a corner outfield spot, rather than a DH-only role.

That could spell trouble for the Red Sox, who appear to be Martinez’s biggest suitors so far this offseason. Outfielders Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi are firmly established at the corners, and prior reports from club president Dave Dombrowski suggest that center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is not going anywhere anytime soon (thereby eliminating the possibility of reshuffling the outfield). The DH spot is still wide open for Martinez, who doesn’t seem to be totally closed off to the idea, but any full-time or part-time role on the field is likely off the table at this point.

Of course, the Red Sox aren’t the only ones pursuing Martinez’s services this winter. The 30-year-old slugger has been linked to both the Diamondbacks and Giants in weeks past, and while they have the roster flexibility to accommodate his preferences, they’ll need to clear another massive hurdle: the seven-year, $250 million contract he’s said to be seeking. Both clubs will need to get creative to make such a deal work. The Diamondbacks are rumored to be shopping right-hander Zack Greinke in an attempt to free up some room on their payroll for Martinez, while the Giants appear more inclined to scour the trade market for outfield help than shell out cash for another hefty contract in free agency.