The mystery of Roberto Clemente’s bat

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Everyone could use a distraction today. This is a great one.

It’s a long story by Kevin Guilfoile for ESPN The Magazine. Guilfoile’s father was the media relations director for the Pittsburgh Pirates in the early 70s and then, later, vice president of the Hall of Fame. When Roberto Clemente notched his 3000th hit, the bat went to the Hall of Fame where Guilfoile’s father passed by it every day.

Or did he?

I’ll say no more about this except that it’s a wonderful read and it’s about way more than just Roberto Clemente’s bat.

Video: Starling Marte refuses to take first base after being hit by pitch

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Pirates outfielder Starling Marte was hit on the hand by a Jack Flaherty pitch in the fourth inning of Tuesday night’s game against the Cardinals. Rather than take first base, Marte — who came to the plate with a runner on first base — insisted to home plate umpire Bruce Dreckman that the ball hit the knob of the bat, not his hand. Marte was allowed to continue his at-bat, though manager Clint Hurdle came out to discuss the ruling with Dreckman. Marte eventually grounded into a fielder’s choice. He then got caught attempting to steal second base and the Pirates scored zero runs in the inning.

According to Baseball Prospectus, a team that has runners on first and second with no outs is expected to score 1.55 runs. Having a runner on first base with one out yields 0.56 expected runs. Marte essentially cost his team a run by rejecting first base. Oops.