May 24, 2021
1. The catch of the weekend was in a high school softball game
A lot of great baseball happened this weekend. A lot. But we have to start in Utah. High School. Girls softball.
And one of the catches of the year:
2. Fernando Tatis Jr. is one of the best we’ve ever seen right now
He missed ten days for COVID protocols, and since he’s come back these are his numbers: Four games, four home runs, four doubles, 12 RBI.
AVG: .786 | OPS 2.752
That might be the coolest chain in baseball history — it even spins:
On Sunday, he hit two HRs, including a no-doubt grand slam — as the center fielder watched it go, then the bat flip, the home crowd going wild, and “Slam Diego” made its electric return to Petco Park:
3. This ball was ruled fair by umpire Phil Cuzzi
The instant disbelief from the Cardinals infield is priceless:
To be “fair”, it was Arenado’s blunder to grab it without waiting another second for it to roll decisively foul — but still, add this to the highlight reel of bizarre calls of the season:
4. Going streaking: Rays, Yankees, Dodgers, Padres
This week, the cream rose to the top. The for-real good teams showed their for-real goodness. And the top of the AL East and NL West became a full-blown streaking festival.
Rays | 10 straight wins
Yankees | 6 straight wins
Padres | 9 straight wins
Dodgers | 7 straight wins
5. Quote of the weekend: “Nachos first, then you get the ball.”
The best part was a guy in the replies, saying how Rizzo knew he wasn’t even allowed to take the nachos (COVID rules), so he made up the whole “trade” just to make the kid laugh.
“This is business! I’m teaching you life lessons early!”
6. Juan Soto made the worst base-running mistake of the year
If he gets to first, the Nats score a run. If he’s out, the inning’s over.
Always run it out, children:
7. A minor-league team is wearing Harambe jerseys
The five-year anniversary of the slain gorilla incident is coming up, memorialized by — who would’ve thought? — printed graphics on a baseball team in Fredericksburg, Virginia:
8. First pitch of the game, home run: Pederson and Acuña
Like throwing a touchdown on the very first down, the first possession, almost the same moment you’ve turned on the TV:
9. The Dodgers swept the Giants in their first series of the year
The NL West is going to be wild, the rest of the season — with the two best records in all of baseball at the top, and the Giants just two games back.
A division so good it’s making rival fans propose to each other:
Some highlights, from the series — including the deepest splash hit I’ve seen, other than Barry Bonds:
10. A Honus Wagner card sold for $3.7 million
It’s the all-time record for the famous Honus Wagner card, and the fifth-most expensive baseball card sale of all time:
11. HR derby instead of extra innings just debuted in the minors
Yesterday was the first time it happened, after the Pioneer League announced several weeks ago that they’d be trying it out this year.
Coming soon to an MLB season near you?
12. Your daily Ohtani clip: Sneaking into second for a double
Ohtani-watch and Tatis-watch might need to become permanent categories on the Newsletter. Here’s his best gem from the weekend:
Also, the LA Times ran a great article yesterday, about how Ohtani was inspired by one “Goro Shigeno”, Japanese manga character who pitches just as well as he hits for power. People say Ohtani looks like a superhero, a comic-book character, and so — maybe he literally is?
13. Walk-off winners of the weekend: Judge and the Royals
Aaron Judge “hits” the first walk-off of his career (surprising he’s never had one) and it’s a walk-off walk:
And the Royals, at home, down by a run — when Carlos Santana flipped the script completely with one swing of the bat:
Wearing very cool Kansas City Monarchs jerseys, too — Jackie Robinson’s old team in the Negro Leagues:
14. Sunday Night on ESPN: Cubs beat the Cardinals in extras
The first Cubs / Cards series of the year , and even if you’re neutral, you have to love it — it hardly gets more classic than these two.
By the end of the weekend, just barely, the Cubs took two of three, with a little help from Javy Baez:
15. South Korean old boys reunite in Dunedin, FL
Choi and Ryu, both baseball bigmen, both from the same high school in Incheon, South Korea, matching up for the first time in the majors— with some Korean die-hards on hand to take it in:
16. Two wild pitching stats from the Yankees
Aroldis Chapman gave up his first earned run of the year yesterday — a big wow for pulling off perfection that long:
The Yankees have the best record in baseball since going 5–10 to start the year, with the rotation leading the way — an unreal streak of scoreless innings:
17. The A’s are visiting other cities to research moving options
And so it begins — a real chance, or just doing “due diligence”?
18. Lastly, the weekend in awful baseball
If you’ve enjoyed these newsletters, tell your friends. Get the family on board. Shout out from the rooftops to the entire neighborhood. Be a good samaritan and drive around town proclaiming your enjoyment to all (and handing out cards with the URL link).