If you’re looking to buy me something, may I suggest these cool hand-painted gloves?

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I ran into a cool guy selling cool things yesterday.  The guy: Sean Kane, an artist from Ontario, who takes vintage baseball gloves and paints the most wonderful things on them.  He had a couple of models with him, but my favorite was the Jackie Robinson number he had with him:

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He does these in acrylics, and it takes him a good while. So, not surprisingly, they’re not cheap — we’re talking over a thousand bucks for some of them.  But they are certainly unique, cool and smart too. For example, he painted Ernie Banks on an old-style two-fingered glove for “let’s play two.”  Kinda dig that. Go check out Sean’s wares and his FAQ if this sort of thing jazzes you.

The Winter Meetings: everyone comes here for the trades and the signings, but there are cool things like this around every corner.

Hunter Pence is mashing for the Rangers

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Hunter Pence was thought to be on his way to retirement after a lackluster 2018 season with the Giants. As he entered his mid-30’s, Pence spent a considerable amount of time on the injured list, playing in 389 out of 648 possible regular season games with the Giants from 2015-18.

Pence, however, kept his career going, inking a minor league deal with the Rangers in February. He performed very well in spring training, earning a spot on the Opening Day roster. Pence hasn’t stopped hitting.

Entering Monday night’s game against the Mariners, Pence was batting .299/.358/.619 with eight home runs and 28 RBI in 109 plate appearances, mostly as a DH. Statcast agrees that Pence has been mashing the ball. He has an average exit velocity of 93.3 MPH this season, which would obliterate his marks in each of the previous four seasons since Statcast became a thing. His career average exit velocity is 89.8 MPH. He has “barreled” the ball 10.4 percent of the time, well above his 6.2 percent average.

What Pence did to a baseball in the seventh inning of Monday’s game, then, shouldn’t come as a surprise.

That’s No. 9 on the year for Pence. Statcast measured it at 449 feet and 108.3 MPH off the bat. Not only is Pence not retired, he may be a lucrative trade chip for the Rangers leading up to the trade deadline at the end of July.