Rookie outfielder Gregory Polanco played hero for the Pirates last night and made some history along the way.
Playing in just his fourth major league game, Polanco went 5-for-7 with a go-ahead two run homer and three runs scored in an 8-6 win over the Marlins in 13 innings. He had singles in the first, fifth, sixth, and eighth innings before going deep in the 13th. Check out the video of his first major league home run below:
[mlbvideo id=”33699077″ width=”400″ height=”224″ /]
OK, so here’s the history part. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Polanco collected five hits and a home run in a game quicker than any player in the modern era (since 1900). Mike Lansing was the previous record-holder, as he had five hits and a home run in his fifth major league game in 1993. Meanwhile, Polanco is the first player with a five-hit game within the first four games of his career since Cecil Travis did it for the Washington Senators in his major league debut back on May 16, 1933. We’re talking about 81 years, folks.
While it’s still fair to ask if the Pirates should have considered calling him up sooner, he’s been worth the wait so far.
The Astros’ sign-stealing story broke in November, a steady drumbeat of coverage of it lasted through December and into January, when Rob Manfred’s report came out about it. The report was damning and, in its wake, Houston’s manager and general manger were both suspended and then fired.
After that a steady stream of media reports came out which not only made the whole affair seem even worse than Manfred’s report suggested, but which also suggested that, on some level, Major League Baseball had bungled it all and it was even worse than it had first seemed.
Rather than Manfred and the Astros putting this all behind them, the story grew. As it grew, both the Red Sox and Mets fired their managers and, in a few isolated media appearances, Astros’ players seemed ill-prepared for questions on it all. Once spring training began the Astros made even worse public appearances and, for the past week and change, each day has given us a new player or three angrily speaking out about how mad they are at the Astros and how poorly they’ve handled all of this.
Why have they handled it so poorly? As always, look to poor leadership:
In other news, Crane was — and I am not making this up — recently named the Houston Sports Executive of the Year. An award he has totally, totally earned, right?