August 19, 2021

1. Shohei Ohtani hits HR #40 (and pitches eight innings)

40 home runs, by August 18th. And eight innings pitched with just one run given up. What an absolute joy to be watching this guy.

2. Freddie Freeman hits for the cycle

Ending on a glorious home run to dead center, on his fourth at-bat of the game — for his second-career cycle, as the Braves’ win streak continues and they’ve won nine of ten.

3. Beloved Tigers catcher Bill Freehan passes away at 79

For the book I wrote about the 1968 World Series, I wasn’t able to interview him because of his dementia, but his wife Pat very graciously spoke to me on the phone, and shared her memories of those great years, teams, and seven games of the ’68 Series.

May you rest in peace, Mr. Freehan, a beloved baseball man, and one of the great catchers in baseball history.

An 11-time All-Star, five Gold Gloves, 44.8 WAR, and caught the final out of the 1968 World Series on the infield dirt at Busch Stadium.

4. Jacob deGrom is likely done for the year

Very bad news for Mets fans, in an already awful two-week stretch.

5. The Yankees sweep the Red Sox

In another borough of New York, all is peachy and then some — after all that’s happened this season, they’re now a game ahead of the Red Sox in the standings, and second place in the AL East.

The game ended with a brilliant scoop by Anthony Rizzo, and a brilliant play at shortstop by New York’s new favorite player, Andrew Velazquez — born in the Bronx, alumnus of Fordham Prep.

6. The play of the day: Brandon Crawford

The renaissance for that championship group in San Francisco continues — they’ve got the best record in baseball, Crawford’s hitting .300 with 19 home runs, and still reeling off plays like this:

7. Jorge Polanco hits his third walk-off in four games

A disappointing year for the Twins, with playoff hopes crashing in the first month, with Nelson Cruz and Jose Berrios traded away, but this past week there’s been this.

8. Blunders of the day: Bobby Valentine & Jonathan Villar

9. Updates from the world of illegal substance checks

First, Diamondbacks pitcher Caleb Smith was ejected last night after umpires decided his glove had an illegal substance on it:

And then, Lance Lynn was ejected too — not for a foreign substance, but for throwing his belt to the umpire from the dugout:

10. The Rockies sweep the Padres, and the Slam Diego crew’s season is now in jeopardy

The NL West is well out of reach, and that sure-thing Wild Card spot is now being chased down by the Reds, as this bad month for the Padres just keep rolling southward.

11. A salary minimum has been proposed by MLB

Might be time the ears of the Orioles, Indians and Diamondbacks start perking up, and free agent signings start happening.

12. Updates to the Trevor Bauer situation

He won the hearing that concluded today, regarding a restraining order filed against him, but the rest of the story and what follows for him long-term is still very unclear.

For now, Bauer’s administrative leave has been extended as things still get sorted out:

13. The first-place Rays still have an awful attendance problem

Whether it’s geography, traffic, the stadium quality, lack of interest in baseball among Florida sports fans or all of the above, it’s still a sad situation to see for the home games, with one of the most fun, dynamic teams in the league.

On the positive side, they just handed the Orioles their 15th straight loss, and the season series stands at an unreal 15–1 in favor of the Rays.

14. And lastly, MLB is pairing up with WWE

Coming soon to a store (and baseball dugout) near you, official MLB x WWE championship belts.

Ric Flair: “WOO!!”



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