June 22, 2021

1. Breaking news: The Milwaukee sausages are returning to their normal racecourse

At long last, things in this country are getting 100% back to normal.

We’d thought baseball was already back, after that big weekend series at Wrigley Field. After the crowds almost everywhere came back to full capacity. But we were sorely, prematurely mistaken.

This is the real re-opening day. This Friday, the sausages race. Back to that familiar dirt track, unimpeded by alternate routes — as a whole country rests, relaxes, and rejoices once again.

2. Jacob deGrom is the first to receive a substance check

Not for any fault of his own, but he happened to pitch the top half of the first inning, in the first game of the night yesterday, on the first day of the crackdown.

There were others, too:

3. After that start, deGrom’s ERA is now 0.50

Five innings, in his return from another mild injury. One hit, two walks, six strikeouts, no runs — as the most dominant MVP case in years continues.

And with a brilliant catch, to boot:

4. Padres vs. Dodgers is back

Last night, the start of a three-game series in San Diego. The Padres 3.5 games back, in this new NL West rivalry. As the best series in baseball returned.

Before the first out was recorded, the Padres shot out to a 4–0 lead, on a Manny Machado HR soaring into the seats in left. Enough to win the game right there:

And the biggest highlight of the night, of course, was this — Padres’ play-by-play guy Don Orsillo getting his paper snap shown in slo-mo:

5. A “ball mudder” machine will be used to detect substances

More technology should have names like that. Real earthy, rustic, hardscrabble kinds of names. Where Silicon Valley has “artificial intelligence” or “microprocessors”, the brick and mortar, dirt and grass world of baseball has an edge: the ball mudder machine.

So apparently, this “mudder” machine is already in use to apply, literally, mud to baseballs to reduce slickness and make them game-ready, but now a few changes are happening — (1) with timing, (2) with a new anti-cheating substance being applied.

(1) From the article: “MLB informed teams last week that the window to apply mud to baseballs has been reduced from five days to just two days before games, and no later than 24 hours before the first pitch.”

(2) “The device will also apply a substance that changes the color of a baseball should a banned foreign substance be applied.”

6. Javy Baez had one of the worst base-running blunders of the year

And this is the guy who had the single best base-running moment of the season so far, the genius of the league, the mage, the wizard, now with an awful lapse in focus:

7. Yu Darvish is the fastest in history to 1,500 strikeouts

He sets the record at 197 games, beating Randy Johnson’s 206.

8. Vladdy Guerrero Jr. won’t be in the Home Run Derby

He’s tied for the league lead in HRs (23), and is the lead vote-getter for the All Star Game, but has decided to opt out of the Derby:

All eyes will now be on this guy:

9. The Diamondbacks have finally won a game

Seventeen losses in a row, and the drought ends, for a night.

The 23-consecutive road game loss streak (the all-time record) is still very much intact, however. So don’t fret, schadenfreudists:

10. Pitch of the night: Joe Kelly

11. The beer snakes are starting to shed their skin

12. Roster and injury news and updates

That boring but most dependable daily category — first, Luke Voit returns to the Yankees tonight:

Willians “La Tortuga” Astudillo gets optioned:

And had-been-promising A’s pitcher Jesus Luzardo gets demoted:

13. Christian Yelich throws an alley-oop to Bucks guard Pat Connaughton

Would make for a quite the double play combination.

14. Reds manager David Bell honors his brother, Twins coach who passed away this spring from cancer

15. The Albert Pujols experiment on the Dodgers has been a hit

And he might not even be retiring, after all:

16. And lastly, “Baby Shark” is back at Nationals Park

When they won it all in 2019, Gerardo Parra was the “glue guy” in the clubhouse, fan favorite, walking up to the plate with the whole park doing the “Baby Shark” dance. And then, he left for a stint in Japan, got resigned by the Nationals this winter on a minor-league deal, and this past weekend got called back up to the show.

And so, Baby Shark returns:

See you tomorrow, everyone.



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