Scott Boras rips MLB for not doing anything about wet bases

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In August of 2017, Bryce Harper suffered a significant bone bruise after slipping on a wet first base bag and hyperextending his left knee. He ended up missing a month and a half of what was shaping up to be an MVP-caliber season.

At the time, Harper’s agent, Scott Boras, ripped MLB for allowing game play to occur when the bases were wet. He suggested having someone wipe down the bases when the ball is not in play like the NBA does with wet floors during stops in action. He also demanded that MLB put some effort into studying ways to make the bags less slick when it rains. As we noted at the time, there are some practical limits to what can be done in such situations and wondered whether making bases tackier or whatever might lead to different kinds of injuries, but Boras’ feelings were at least understandable.

This past weekend another Boras client, Kris Bryant, sprained his right ankle after landing awkwardly on a wet first-base bag while trying to beat out a double play against the Cardinals. The rest of his season — and the Cubs season for that matter — is in doubt. And, yep, you can bet Boras is still mad about the wet base situation. Here’s Boras, venting to the Chicago Sun-Times:

What have they done since Harper? The answer is nothing. They’re focused on other factors, economic factors, all things relating to how they can administer the game, and yet the safety of players and resolution of this issue has gone without any attention. The integrity of our game is going to [be] damaged when the safety of players is not at the forefront, and Major League Baseball has dropped the ball on the wet bag subject.”

Again, understandable. And Boras is probably right that MLB has not done much about this, as I presume they think, not unreasonably, that these are freak accidents. Which is not to say nothing should be done, but it may simply be a matter of having the first base coach carry a towel in his back pocket on gloomy days and give the bag a wipe down once in a while as opposed to launching an R&D initiative or something.

Cards’ Pujols hits 700th career home run, 4th to reach mark

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
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LOS ANGELES – St. Louis Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols hit his 700th career home run on Friday night, connecting for his second drive of the game against the Los Angeles Dodgers and becoming the fourth player to reach the milestone in major league history.

The 42-year-old Pujols hit No. 699 in the third inning, then launched No. 700 in the fourth at Dodger Stadium.

With the drive in the final days of his last big league season, Pujols joined Barry Bonds (762 homers), Hank Aaron (755) and Babe Ruth (714) in one of baseball’s most exclusive clubs.

It’s been a remarkable run for Pujols. This was his 14th home run since the start of August for the NL Central-leading Cardinals, and his 21st of the season.

Pujols’ historic homer was a three-run shot against Dodgers reliever Phil Bickford. The ball landed in the first few rows of the left-field pavilion, the same location his two-run shot touched down the previous inning off left-hander Andrew Heaney.

Pujols received a prolonged standing ovation from the crowd – he finished out last season while playing for the Dodgers. He took a curtain call, raising his cap in acknowledgment.

The fans chanted “Pujols! Pujols!” They finally sat down after being on their feet in anticipation of seeing history.

Pujols snapped a tie with Alex Rodriguez for fourth on the list when he hit career homer No. 697 against Pittsburgh on Sept. 11.

Reaching 700 homers seemed like a long shot for Pujols when he was batting .189 on July 4. But the three-time NL MVP started to find his stroke in August, swatting seven homers in one 10-game stretch that helped St. Louis pull away in the division race.

“I know that early in the year … I obviously wanted better results,” Pujols said after he homered in a 1-0 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Aug. 22. “But I felt like I was hitting the ball hard. Sometimes this game is going to take more away from you than the game (is) giving you back.

“So I think at the end of the day you have to be positive and just stay focused and trust your work. That’s something that I’ve done all the time.”

Pujols has enjoyed a resurgent season after returning to St. Louis in March for a $2.5 million, one-year contract. It’s his highest total since he hit 23 homers for the Angels in 2019.

He plans to retire when the season ends.

Pujols also began his career in St. Louis. He was selected by the Cardinals in the 13th round of the 1999 amateur draft and won the 2001 NL Rookie of the Year award.

The Dominican Republic native hit at least .300 with at least 30 homers and 100 RBIs in each of his first 10 seasons. He helped the Cardinals to World Series titles in 2006 and 2011.

He set a career high with 49 homers in 2006 – one of seven seasons with at least 40 homers. He led the majors with 47 homers in 2009 and topped the NL with 42 in 2010.

Pujols left St. Louis in free agency in December 2011, signing a $240 million, 10-year contract with the Angels. He was waived by the Angels in May 2021, and then joined the Dodgers and hit 12 homers and drove in 38 runs in 85 games.