Ruben Tejada
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Mets sign Rubén Tejada to minor league deal

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Free agent infielder Rubén Tejada signed a minor league contract with the Mets, per an official announcement on Saturday. Tejada is not expected to break camp with the team and will report to extended spring training instead.

It’s a homecoming of sorts for the 29-year-old infielder, who got his first taste of the big leagues with the Mets back in 2010. Following the mixed results of his six-year stint in New York, he took short-lived gigs with the Cardinals, Giants, and Orioles, slashing just .230/.293/.283 with six doubles and a .576 OPS during his last run with Baltimore in 2017.

Tejada didn’t crack the major league roster in 2018, instead remaining in Triple-A Norfolk for the duration of the Orioles’ season. His results were uninspired: a .230/.291/.298 batting line with 20 extra-base hits, five stolen bases, and a .590 OPS through 392 plate appearances. He’ll likely serve as minor league infield depth when the Mets kick off their 2019 campaign against the Nationals next week.

Straight-away center field will be 385 feet at London Stadium

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Marley Rivera of ESPN has a story about some of the on-field and in-game entertainment, as well as some aspects of the field conditions, for this weekend’s London Series.

The fun stuff: a mascot race, not unlike the Sausage Race at Miller Park or the President’s race at Nationals Park. The mascots for London: Winston Churchill, Freddie Mercury, Henry VIII and the Loch Ness Monster. I suppose that’s OK but, frankly, I’d go with Roger Bannister, Shakespeare, Charles Darwin and Guy Fawkes. Of course no one asks me these things.

There will also be a “Beat the Streak”-style race which had better use the theme to “Chariots of Fire” or else what the heck are we even doing here.

They’ve also taught ushers and various volunteers who will be on-site to sing “Take me out to the ballgame,” which is a pretty good idea given how important that is to baseball. As a cultural exchange, I think some major league team should start using “Vindaloo” by Fat Les during the seventh inning stretch here. It’s a banger. It also seems to capture England a bit more accurately than, say, “Downton Abbey” or “The Crown.”

That’s all good fun I suppose. But here’s some stuff that actually affects the game:

The end result will have some interesting dimensions. The field will be 330 feet down each foul line, and it will have a distance of 385 feet to center field, which will feature a 16-foot wall. Cook also said it would have an expanded, “Oakland-like” foul territory, referencing the Athletics’ Oakland Coliseum expanse.

Those dimensions are unavoidable given that the square peg that is a baseball field is being shoved into the round hole that is a soccer stadium. As Murray Cook, MLB’s senior field coordinator tells Rivera, that sort of thing, while perhaps less than ideal, is at least in keeping with baseball’s strong tradition of irregular field conditions. It will, however, be one of the shortest dead center distances in baseball history.

Oh, and then there’s this:

Protective netting was also an important issue addressed when building the ballpark, with Cook stressing that his team has implemented netting that “is the largest you’ll ever see in any major league ballpark.”

[Craig makes a mental note to bookmark this for the next time MLB says it won’t mandate extended netting in the U.S. because doing so is too difficult]