Mike Baxter’s Saturday feat a first in nine years

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Five-walk games typically happen once or twice per year, and Mike Baxter’s Saturday against the Padres was even more unusual than most.

Baxter, the Mets’ right fielder, became the first player since Florida’s Ivan Rodriguez on April 8, 2003 to go 0-for-0 with five unintentional walks in a game.

The 27-year-old Baxter entered the night with eight walks in 71 at-bats and 43 games for the season.

Baxter was the second player this year with five walks in a game, but the Royals’ Alex Gordon had eight plate appearances when he did it in a 15-inning game against the Cardinals back on June 17. Gordon was also the last player to go 0-for-0 with five walks in a game, pulling it off on July 30, 2008. However, he was intentionally walked twice in that game.

That Ivan Rodriguez was the last player to go 0-for-0 with five unintentional walks should surprise most (it certainly did me). The free swinging catcher had just 446 unintentional walks in 10,270 career plate appearances, a rate of one unintentional walk every 23 plate appearances. He was uncharacteristically patient in 2003, setting a career high with 55 walks (six intentional). His next highest total was 41 walks (also with six intentional) from 2004.

If you’re still interested in more walk trivia, know that Baxter is the 86th different player since 1918 with five walks in a game. Mel Ott has the high total, with four such games. Barry Bonds is alone in second with three (with at least one intentional walk in all three). The only active players with two are Gordon and Mark Teixeira.

Matt Vasgersian thinks bachelorette parties at ballgames are “obnoxious”

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Last night during the Cardinals-Cubs game, the ESPN camera caught sight of a group of women at the game for a bachelorette party. Play-by-play man Matt Vasgersian had some opinions about it. Here’s the exchange:

Vasgersian: Is there anything more obnoxious than the bachelorette party at the ballpark, by the way?

Jessica Mendoza: Why is it obnoxious?

Vasgersian: Congratulations, by the way, yeah, we’re all very happy for you, la la la la.”

Mendoza: Why is that obnoxious?

Vasgersian: It’s such a ‘look at me thing.’ You’re sitting behind like the bridal party — ‘Like, oh my god! We’re getting married! Ehhhhh.”

Mendoza: Woooow. Kind of harsh.

A-Rod didn’t say much other than laugh a bit and say “I love it, Matt.” Which I presume meant he loves the party being there but it could be that he loves Vasgersian’s displeasure at it. I dunno. It’s A-Rod. He’s a man of multitudes.

I’m not exactly sure why Vasgersian believes that people having a good time with their friends is “obnoxious.” Indeed, I would think that, given what he does for a living, he’d think it’s good for people to associate baseball with fun and togetherness. It’s a free country though.

I presume that, at some point, ESPN is going to make Vasgersian apologize, because ESPN doesn’t really want its baseball announcers to be in the business of calling baseball fans “obnoxious.” I further presume that Vasgersian probably won’t mean it because the sort of person who gets cranky at other people having a good time tends not to be the sort of person who does a lot of reflecting when it’s pointed out to him that he’s being a jackwagon. Such is the exercise we go through when this kind of thing happens, however, so let us all hit our marks, shall we?

In other news, I can think of a lot more obnoxious things that can happen during a ballgame than a bachelorette party. Like when play-by-play announcers ignore the action on the field for minutes at a time as they chat idly with their booth-mates about things that are not related to the ballgame.