Fan gives Travis Ishikawa his NLCS-winning home run ball, gets World Series tickets

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Travis Ishikawa lined a three-run home run to right field in the bottom of the ninth inning in Game 5 of the NLCS against the Cardinals, sending the Giants into the World Series against the Royals. Frank Burke, who owns a transmission repair business, about two hours east of San Francisco, was the lucky fan who came up with the baseball.

Burke could have taken the baseball home and kept it as a collectible, or sold it on the Internet or personally to a memorabilia merchant, but instead gave the ball back to Ishikawa. From NBC Bay Area, Burke had asked for World Series tickets but was told he may not be accomodated. Burke gave the ball back anyway, saying, “Ishikawa is the guy who hit the ball. I’m just the lucky guy who caught it.” Ishikawa did give Burke a signed bat.

As it turns out, the Giants were able to reward Burke for his generosity after all, giving the man four tickets to Game 3 of the World Series, the first of the two or three games the Giants will host in San Francisco.

Burke was in attendance at AT&T Park on Thursday night with his friend Greg Luetza, who is battling cancer. Burke wanted to do something special, so he bought tickets to the NLCS once the Giants had wrapped up their NLDS series with the Nationals.

This is a really great story all the way around. For more details, including reactions from Burke’s family, check out the full article at NBC Bay Area.

The Nationals have inquired about Kris Bryant

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The Washington Nationals, fresh off signing Stephen Strasburg to a $245 million deal, are now turning their attention to their third base hole. Jon Morosi of MLB.com reports that they have made inquiries to the Chicago Cubs about trading for Kris Bryant.

Emphasis on the word “inquiry” because it’d be premature for the Cubs to trade Bryant at the moment, even if they are reported to be considering the possibility.

Bryant and the Cubs are awaiting word from an arbitrator about Bryant’s years-old service time grievance. If Bryant wins, he becomes a free agent after the 2020 season. If the Cubs win they control him for two more years. The team may or may not choose to trade him in either case as they are reportedly trying to cut payroll, but the price for him will vary pretty significantly depending on whether or not the acquiring club will receive one or two years of control over the former MVP.

For Washington, this would be a means of replacing free agent third baseman Anthony Rendon. Or, perhaps, the inquiries are a means of creating a tad more leverage for the Nats as they talk to Rendon’s agent about re-signing him.

Which, in the past, the Nats said they could not do if they also re-signed Strasburg, though I suspect that’s just posturing too. They may not want to spend big money to keep their World Series core together, but they can afford it. They’re going to see, I suspect, an eight-figure uptick in revenue by virtue of being the defending World Series champs. They are poised to receive a significant payout as a result of recent rulings in their own multi-year dispute with the Orioles and the MASN network. They are, of course, owned by billionaire real estate moguls. All of that taken together means that, if they choose to, they can bring back Rendon. Assuming he chooses to come back too.

But, if that doesn’t happen, they appear to be giving themselves options at the hot corner.