Craig Calcaterra

Blogger at NBC Sport.com's HardballTalk. Recovering litigator. Rake. Scoundrel. Notorious Man-About-Town.
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Cubs selling leaves of 2016 Wrigley Field Ivy for $200

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Everyone wants a piece of history. The Chicago Cubs know this. And they’re capitalizing on it: the club sent emails to season-ticket holders on Tuesday offering to sell them leaves of Wrigley Field ivy from the 2016 season.

The cost: $200 per leaf. Plus $15 shipping and handling. The email said that there are, appropriately, 2,016 ivy leaves available. Limit ten per customer. I assume there is a certificate of authenticity involved. It’d be a shame if you were sold fake foliage.

This is nothing new, of course. The Yankees and a lot of other teams have sold dirt — just dirt from the field — for a significant chunk of change. The Chicago Blackhawks once sold melted ice from their 2013 Stanley Cup championship season. Melted ice is, of course, just water. It set you back $99 if you wanted some.

It’s your money. Do what you want with it. But know that, if you spend $200 for a dang ivy leaf, you WILL be cited in some article chronicling the degeneracy and downfall of western civilization some day. Don’t say you weren’t warned.

Not that it’s all bad. With the ivy gone we’ll be better able to see the wall the purchasers of the ivy will be lined up against when the revolution comes.

A minor league team is running a “You Might Be The Father!” Father’s Day Promotion

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It used to be that we’d only get eye roll-worthy minor league promotions once or twice a season. Now it seems they come every week.

The latest: the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp — the Double-A affiliate of the Marlins — will be handing out free pregnancy tests to celebrate “You Might Be the Father’s Day” for this evening’s game against Pensacola.

The night is part of their “Thirsty Thursdays” promotions, which caters to college kids and young single folks. While it’s sort of low-key on their website and while the team does not appear to be tweeting about it, if you click on their schedule, it’s listed there and is described thusly:

You Might Be The Father’s Day!
In honor of You Might Be The Father’s Day, the Jumbo Shrimp will be distributing pregnancy tests so you’ll know if you need to return for Sunday’s Father’s Day game… It will be an evening filled with suspense, intrigue and manila envelopes.

Not that this is the only Father’s Day promotion they’re doing. On Saturday, they’re doing an “IChoose Family” night, presented by the Florida Department of Health’s “Sexual Risk Avoidance Program.”

One would think that this promotion should go BEFORE the pregnancy test one, but no one asked me.

And That Happened: Wednesday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Mets 9, Cubs 4: A five-run eighth inning, kicked off by Curtis Granderson‘s 300th career homer and extended by Lucas Duda‘s three-run blast put the Mets ahead comfortably. Neil Walker left the game with hamstring injury as he ran down the line. That’s a blow for the Mets, as he’s been en fuego of late, batting .321 with 23 RBI, 7 HR, 9 doubles & 26 runs scored over his previous 36 games. Also: Kyle Schwarber hit a moon shot homer.

Diamondbacks 2, Tigers 1: Jordan Zimmermann pitched his best game of the year (8 IP, 6 H, 2 ER) but it didn’t matter because Taijuan Walker, Randall Delgado and Fernando Rodney combined to pitch a better one. The two runs scored by the Dbacks in the first inning held up. I watched this game and, as it unfolded, my belief that Zimmermann looks like the well-meaning dad in a TV movie was solidified. The one who doesn’t see eye-to-eye with his teenage daughter and whose misunderstanding of her leads to a lot of drama in the middle section, but who toward the end, when some sort of teenage crisis emerges, shows that he’s always there for her, despite their differences. He’s a good man, and his daughter comes to realize it too:

“Heather, I know the dance is important to you, but there are REASONS your mother and I are not letting you go.”

Blue Jays 7, Rays 6: Kendrys Morales drove in four via a three-run homer and a fielder’s choice, but it took an eighth inning Russell Martin homer for the Jays to win after they coughed up a lead. Also, this came from the AP game story, as it stood at 6am this morning:

Obviously it’s Francisco, not Nelson, who hasn’t played since 1998. But I don’t offer this as mockery. Any of you who have been reading this feature for any length of time know that I routinely sub in the first name of long-retired players when a current player has the same last name. Carlos Quintana for Jose, etc. I am TERRIBLE about that. Whoever this AP writer is has my sympathy and thanks for making me not feel so alone in this old man habit.

Braves 13, Nationals 2Brandon Phillips had four hits and three RBI and Julio Teheran had a strong outing as the Braves takes two of three from the Nats. How did you pitch so well against a tough team, Julio?

“I just have to stay focused and execute pitches,” Teheran said. “That’s something I was doing really good — getting ahead in counts and throwing strike one. It was big today.”

Good to know.

Royals 7, Giants 2: Mike Moustakas, Jorge Bonifacio and Lorenzo Cain all homered as the Royals win both in a two-game series. Two-game series are dumb, by the way, but getting only two games in one of the best road cities in the country seems like a super big ripoff for the Royals. They just had three in San Diego and now get four in L.A. so that’s OK, but I’d want more than two days in San Francisco.

Padres 4, Reds 2: Hunter Renfroe hit a two-run shot that tied the score 2-2 in the sixth inning and an RBI groundout for the game’s final run. In between Franchy Cordero hit a go-ahead RBI single. This is the third day in a row I have written “Franchy Cordero,” and this fact makes me enormously happy. Franchy. Franchy. Franchy. Franchy.

Marlins 11, Athletics 6: The A’s took an early 4-0 lead, but then Marcel Ozuna and Tyler Moore hit second inning homers and the comeback began. Ozuna’s third inning groundout RBI tied things up and Dee Gordon‘s RBI single in the fourth put the fish ahead for good. Ozuna knocked in three, Gordon and Christian Yelich knocked in two a piece.

Angels 7, Yankees 5: Leads of 4-0 weren’t very safe yesterday. The Yankees leapt out to that score in the first inning, but the bad Michael Pineda showed up in Anaheim last night, allowing five runs on ten hits in six innings. Andrelton Simmons‘ two-run homer in the seventh gave the Angels the winning margin, but credit to Parker Bridwell and Blake Parker — the Parkers — for picking up a shaky Matt Shoemaker and tossing five innings of one-run ball in middle relief.

Brewers 7, Cardinals 6: Milwaukee mounted an early 6-0 lead. That proved safe, even if the Cards made it close. Three of those early runs came off the bat of Eric Thames, who hit a two-run homer and doubled in a run. And yes, I have written “Marcus Thames” a good half dozen times this year, though I don’t think any have made it to the final post yet.

Astros 13, Rangers 2: Top prospect Derek Fisher got called up yesterday and he didn’t take long to make a good first impression. Fisher homered and had an RBI single in the Astros’ nine-run sixth inning. Factoid from the AP gamer: Fisher is the first player to get the first two hits of his career in the same inning since Adam Laroche did it for the Braves on April 7, 2004. Which means it’s only 12 more years until Fisher retires in a huff because his kid isn’t allowed to be the bench coach or whatever.

Although, really, he may have grandkids already. His bio says he’s only 23, but this looks like a guy who has been playing for 13 years and is just easing into part-time play:

He could play Jordan Zimmermann’s golf buddy in the TV movies. Says stuff like, “I’ve had the same trouble with my daughter, Jordan. But Julie and I are seeing things more eye-to-eye now. You and Heather will soon too.”

Mariners 6, Twins 4Mike Zunino hit a three-run homer. He’s hitting .396 with five home runs since being called up a couple of weeks ago. Mitch Haniger hit a two-run homer too, as the M’s put up an early 5-0 lead on Ervin Santana. The Twins mounted a comeback but it was too little, too late. Eduardo EscobarByron Buxton and Miguel Sano all homered for Minnesota.

Orioles 10, White Sox 6: The White Sox blew a 5-1 lead here, thanks in part to a Wellington Castillo grand slam. Castillo drove in five overall. Trey Mancini had a double and two singles and scored three times. Matt Davidson homered in his third straight game for the Sox.

Dodgers 6, Indians 4: Andrew Miller is supposed to be close to unhittable, but no one has told that to the Dodgers. One night after Cody Bellinger — I will call him Clay at some point — homered off of the Indians’ relief ace, Kiké Hernandez hit a tiebreaking homer off of him in the eighth inning. Miller gave up four runs in two-thirds of an inning, in fact, as the Indians fall to .500. The Dodgers, meanwhile, have won six straight.

Rockies 5, Pirates 1German Marquez allowed only one run over five innings and Ian Desmond homered as the Rockies snap a three-game losing streak. Marquez also knocked in a run on a squeeze play. Benches cleared briefly in this one when Marquez hit Francisco Cervelli with a first pitch fastball, but it was clearly unintentional and only shade, not punches, was thrown.

Red Sox 7, Phillies 3: Mookie Betts hit two homers, hit an RBI double while collecting four hits in all, driving in three. Xander Bogaerts drove in three as well. I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say that it’s not the Phillies’ year.