Blogs: Dugout Dispatch

MLB Kicks Off Play Ball Youth Baseball Initiative

major league baseball play ball

When Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred took office earlier this year, he said one of his biggest priorities was to get kids interested in baseball again.

A new program launched yesterday by MLB and USA Baseball is big step toward, hopefully, make that a reality.

On Thursday, Manfred was joined by current and former MLB players and 50 young ball players from New York and New Jersey to kick off the Play Ball youth baseball initiative. The event was held at Macombs Dam Park, a public ball field across the street from Yankee Stadium

Play Ball is geared toward getting more kids involved with baseball in all forms — no matter who they are, where they live, or if they’re playing with an actual baseball.
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Frozen-Inspired Softball Team Means Business!

This is pretty cool. Last week, a reader shared a photo with us on our Facebook page. It’s of a softball team in Edmond, Oklahoma. But instead of wearing your traditional uniforms, the girls (who are all 4 and 5 years old) are all dressed like Elsa from the Disney movie Frozen:

freeze softball

The team is called the Freeze, naturally. They were going to go with the “Sparkling Elsas,” but they decided on “Freeze” because it sounded tough. It’s also a better name for the team because these kids look ready to throw down. Seriously, I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty sure they would dominate any team I could put together.
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Chris Heston Throws First No-No of the Season!

chris heston giants no hitter

It took a couple months, but the 2015 MLB season has its first no-hitter. 

Last night, San Francisco Giants rookie pitcher Chris Heston tossed the no-no in a 5-0 victory against the New York Mets at Citi Field. He threw 110 pitches, struck out 11 batters, and allowed no walks. But it wasn’t quite a perfect game.
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SABR 45: Honoring Mr. Cub and the Cuban Missile

sabr 45 banks minoso

SABR 45 continued Friday with another outstanding day of panels, research meetings and tributes.

One highlight was a luncheon that featured a tribute to Chicago baseball legends Ernie Banks (second Baseman for the Cubs) and Minnie Minoso (centerfielder for the White Sox), both of whom died within the past few months. national columnist Phil G. Rogers highlighted what these two figures meant to the baseball world and spoke about how each player faced diversity challenges on and off the field. 
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Florida Gators Win Back-to-Back Women’s College World Series!

florida gators 2015 women's college world series

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Florida got everything right — except its championship celebration. As the Gators reveled in their second straight national softball title following their 4-1 win over Michigan on Wednesday night, Lauren Haeger and coach Tim Walton participated in postgame interviews.

Two players tried to douse them with Gatorade, but the bucket was too heavy. They ended up just getting Walton's ankles.

The resilient Gators even recovered from that. Well after the game ended, Florida huddled in the circle, swayed back and forth in unison and sang "We Are The Champions."
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Giancarlo Stanton Crushes a Homer Out of the Park, Literally

giancarlo stanton miami marlins

Last night, the Tampa Bay Lighting closed out the Montreal Canadiens to move to the Eastern Conference Finals in the NHL. And in the NBA playoffs, the Houston Rockets gave the LA Clippers a taste of their own medicine in a 124-103 drubbing to even that series 2-2. With so much great postseason action, chances are you weren’t watching the LA Dodgers host the Miami Marlins last night. And that’s OK. But you missed an earlier contender for home run of the year.

The shot came off the bat of Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton. Naturally. In the top of the first, Stanton crushed an 0-1 pitch literally out of Dodger Stadium. Statcast measured it at 475 feet (the third longest recorded by MLB’s real-time tracking system), and it left the park at a speed of 114 miles per hour.
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A-Rod Passes Willie Mays on All-Time Home Run List

alex rodriguez willie mays

A year ago, Alex Rodriguez was serving a season-long suspension for having used performance-enhancing drugs. The closest he could get to a ballpark was watching his Yankees teammates on TV. But that was probably for the best. The last time he was on the field, in 2013, he was booed nearly everywhere he went, from Boston to the Bronx to the Bay Area.

Last night, though, things were different. The attitude, the scandal, the suspension — none of it mattered. Because A-Rod made history.
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