Astros vendor brings snow cones into bathroom stall, gets fired

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This is on the short list of the most horrifying stories ever posted at HardballTalk.

An Aramark vendor at Monday’s Royals-Astros game at Minute Maid was caught bringing his tray of snow cones into a bathroom stall with him. Click2Houston.com has the video taken by a concerned onlooker.

Remarkably, this happened in the first game attended by Reid Ryan in his new role as Astros team president.

Said the unnamed fan who turned in the vendor: “I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. This guy is taking a dump. There’s no doubt about it. What sane person could possibly think, yeah this is a good idea. I’ll just put the food that I’m about to sell on the floor.”

The Astros are already in damage control mode, noting that Aramark terminated the vendor immediately upon learning of the incident:

“The Astros share ARAMARK’s view on the importance of food safety and will work with them to ensure that our fans have a safe and outstanding experience at Minute Maid Park. We also commend the fan for his vigilance in pointing out the inappropriate actions of the vendor. The Astros personally thanked him and advised him of the swift action taken in regard to the employee.”

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.