Joey Gallo earns Futures Game MVP honors after leading Team USA to victory

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Joey Gallo (Rangers) followed up an awe-inspiring session of batting practice by powering Team USA to a victory over the World Team in the 2014 Futures Game, held at Target Field in Minnesota as part of the All-Star Game festivities. The U.S. team had fallen behind 2-1 when Javier Baez (Cubs) smoked a Lucas Giolito (Nationals) curve ball to the opposite field for a two-run home run in the sixth inning. Gallo answered with a one-out, two-run moon shot in the bottom half of the inning to put his team back up 3-2. As a result, Gallo earned Futures Game MVP honors.

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Henry Owens (Red Sox) started and pitched a scoreless inning for the U.S. Jose Berrios (Twins) started and pitched a scoreless inning for the World team. Catcher Kevin Plawecki (Mets) drove in the game’s first run with a third-inning ground out, scoring Jesse Winkler (Reds), who had doubled to lead off the inning against Edwin Escobar (Giants).

Noah Syndergaard (Mets) took the hill in the ninth inning and retired Steven Moya (Tigers) and Domingo Santana (Astros) quickly. Rosell Herrera (Rockies) kept hope alive with a two-out single, but Maikel Franco (Phillies) flied out to center to end the ballgame.

The All-Star Game festivities will continue on Monday with the Home Run Derby, which will start at 8 PM ET on ESPN.

Jim Crane thought the heat over sign-stealing would blow over by spring training

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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:

Guess not.

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?