On Sunday, the Marlins promoted shortstop prospect J.T. Riddle to replace the injured Adeiny Hechavarria. MLB Pipeline ranked Riddle as the club’s 12th-best prospect. He appeared in his first game on Tuesday, but went 0-for-4 against the Braves.
Riddle was looking for his first hit on Wednesday and found it in the top of the second inning against Jaime Garcia. With an 0-2 count, Garcia threw a curve that bounced in the dirt in front of the plate. Riddle checked his swing, but still made contact with the ball, which weakly rolled down the third base line in fair territory. Adonis Garcia made a valiant effort to barehand the ball and throw across the diamond, but Riddle beat the throw and was ruled safe for his first major league hit.
Riddle’s family, in attendance at Marlins Park, was bewildered by what went on. His stepfather (and coach) was asked if that was how he envisioned J.T.’s first major league hit and he said, “No, but we will take it.” His mother said, “I just wanted him to hit the ball. I was kind of worried, but we’ll call it a hit, I guess.” His sister said, “I thought it was a crazy hit.”
The Marlins lost Wednesday’s game 5-4 to the Braves.
Major League Baseball wants to give the United Kingdom a taste of America’s pastime when the Yankees and Red Sox visit next month. Based on the playing surface they’re going to use, however, they may as well have sent the Blue Jays and the Rays:
Major League Baseball has access to Olympic Stadium for 21 days before the games on June 29 and 30, the sport’s first regular-season contests in Europe, and just five days after to clear out. The league concluded that there was not enough time to install real grass.
Starting June 6, gravel will be placed over the covering protecting West Ham’s grass soccer pitch and the running track that is a legacy from the 2012 Olympics. The artificial turf baseball field, similar to modern surfaces used by a few big league clubs, will be installed atop that.
At least they will not use the old-style sliding pits/turf infield that you used to always see. That’ll all be dirt. There are comments in the article about how it’s a cost savings too since they’re going back next year and won’t have to bulldoze and re-grow grass. Aaron Boone and Xander Bogaerts were asked and they don’t seem to care since it’s similar to the surface they play on in Toronto or down in Florida against the Rays.
Still, this whole deal is not aimed at doing whatever is minimally necessary to pull off a ballgame. It’s supposed to be a showcase on a global stage in a world capital. I have no idea how anyone thinks that doing that on a surface everyone has decided is obsolete for baseball playing purposes unless the ballpark is either outdated or in an arid environment is a good idea.
It’s certainly not baseball putting its best foot forward. Major League Baseball could’ve avoided this by choosing a different venue or even building a temporary one like MLB has done on a few occasions in the past. That, I suppose, would limit the revenue-generation capacity of these games, however, that’s off the table in the Rob Manfred Era.
Yankees and Red Sox on turf. What a decision.