1. Brett Phillips and Randy Arozarena went crazy at a minor-league soccer game this weekend
If you need a feel-good moment, here it is:
The Tampa Bay Rowdies scored on a pinball-frenzy-like scramble in the box at the very last moment of the game to tie it, and they went on to win in overtime — and there were the two Rays in the crowd, having the time of their life. And a cool sight to see, MLB players staying local in the offseason (though it helps that Phillips grew up a few miles away, and that Randy’s brother is goalkeeper for the soccer team).
Here was the winning goal, that made them go berserk:
2. Wrigley Field hosted a college football game
They even sang the seventh-inning stretch after the third quarter ended:
What always strikes me when a game gets played there, is how the corners of the outfield, usually actionless and quiet, can become the absolute focal point of the game, when a team approaches the endzone — and a seat by the foul pole can suddenly be the best seat in the house.
One last great detail, they updated the vintage scoreboard over center field to show the out of town scores for the other Big Ten games (instead of the usual N.L. and A.L. results):
3. Albert Pujols and Aroldis Chapman ran into each other on the beach
It’s a small world, down there in the Dominican Republic — and standing next to Chapman, Pujols has never looked smaller:
4. The no-beard rule on the Yankees does not apply in the offseason
No-shave November supersedes all team standards.
And here’s what the other Aaron on the Yankees has been up to, when he could be on a warm beach somewhere — instead, doing a good deed in cold weather at the Stadium:
5. Transactions and news from around the league
It’s been a quiet start to the week, but a few smaller moves have happened in the last few days:
And the Marlins, maybe starting to build up toward competitiveness again, locked up their star pitcher to a five-year deal:
6. A great Ohtani bobblehead is coming out next season
A few years back, there was the Ohtani on a unicycle bobblehead, and now this: Ohtani-Wan Keboni.
7. And the next potential Japanese star will likely be coming over soon
Many teams are rumored to be in on the guy, and it’s been a while since we’ve had one of these international bidding wars with the posting fee — should be a fun one to watch.
8. Cleveland Guardians merch is now available
A new era begins, and it’s the first new baseball team name since the Devil Rays became the Rays prior to the 2008 season.
Here are some stats on the early sales in the team store, from The Plain Dealer — including that the “Fastball G” logo (the one with the wings) has been outselling the revised Cleveland “C” logo:
Also, their Twitter (and everything else) has now officially switched over:
9. Willians Astudillo got into a brutal fight in the Venezuelan winter league
He’s known as “La Tortuga”, if you’re familiar with his Minnesota Twins fame, but who knew turtles could throw that vicious a sucker punch?
10. Cubs prospect Nelson Velazquez is named MVP of the Arizona Fall League
Maybe the first of a new generation of Cubs on the way:
And then there was Caleb Kilian, with six perfect innings in the final AFL game:
11. Fergie Jenkins surveys his own statue while it’s being made
Coming soon to one of the pavilions outside of Wrigley Field.
12. In memoriam: Art LaFleur and Doug Jones
One of the classic “that guy!” actors, having been in both The Sandlot and Field of Dreams, and he passes away at 78.
And this afternoon, Doug Jones passed away — longtime relief pitcher for seven different MLB teams, and a five-time All Star.
13. The fashion style look of the week: Eduardo Rodriguez
In his introductory press conference in Detroit, the embroidered blazer looked sharp — and if you missed it, he signed a five-year deal for $77 million.
14. Adam Jones can speak Japanese now
After two seasons with the Orix Buffaloes, he’s starting to get the hang of things in Osaka.
15. Freddie Freeman already has his baby playing baseball
16. And lastly, a “flying guillotine” at a game in Taiwan
At baseball games in Asia, cheerleaders dance on the concourse with their backs to the game (in Korea, too, where I’ve been). And so, for good reason, they’ve had the heavy-duty netting up for years: