A week ago I did a post about which towns are baseball towns, which are football towns, etc. It was a fun topic to write about and it definitely got you guys talking. It got Joe Posnanski thinking too. Yesterday he wrote a city-by-city response to my post.
As a guy who, unlike me, actually travels to other cities to cover sports often, I’m gonna grant that he has some superior insight to mine. He also joins what I felt to be the strong majority of you who corrected my impression of Detroit, saying it really is a Lions town. Upon reflection I can’t disagree. Given how well-supported they are despite how frequently they have sucked in the past, well, all decades, there has to be something to that.
Anyway, good read, as always.
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.