After a wild free agency period, players were officially allowed to sign with new teams last week. As usual, many clubs were able to re-sign their free agents. Most notably, the Clippers retained big man DeAndre Jordan and Chicago held onto shooting guard Jimmy Butler.
But there were a few of moves that could change the entire NBA landscape. Here’s a look at the familiar faces who are now in new places.
Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout led off with a homer and scored two runs in a 6-3 American League win in last night’s MLB All-Star Game at Cincinnati’s Great American Ball Park. The win gives the AL home-field advantage in the World Series.
Trout’s leadoff blast off of cross-town rival and NL starter Zach Greinke was the first such round-tripper since 1989, when Bo Jackson hit a leadoff bomb for Kansas City. It also helped earn him MVP honors for the second straight year. He joins greats Gary Carter, Steve Garvey, Willie Mays, and Cal Ripken Jr. as the only men to win the award twice.
Monday marked the annual All-Star Media Day – the day when the best in the world at swinging a wooden stick and throwing a cork ball are confined to a hotel ballroom and interrogated ruthlessly.
That may be a bit of an exaggeration. But it was a good day to ask questions and have them answered insightfully.
Many questions revolved around the two starting pitchers for the game, Zach Greinke of the Dodgers and Dallas Keuchel of the Astros. “[Greinke’s] pitching unbelievably right now,” said Nationals ace Max Scherzer, who is ineligible for the All-Star Game. “When he gets locked in like this, watch out.”
He's only a 23-year-old rookie, but this California kid has already shown — through his work ethic and performance — that he can handle anything the majors might throw at him.
The Los Angeles Dodgers' clubhouse, which is occupied by some of the biggest stars in the baseball universe, can be a tough place for a rookie. Veterans seem to delight in giving young players a hard time with jokes and pranks. On Rookie Dress-Up Day two years ago, for example, they made Yasiel Puig wear a Gumby costume and Hyun-Jin Ryu dress up as the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.
The Dodgers have been particularly hard on their new rookie centerfielder, Joc Pederson. They make Pederson lug the clubhouse speakers on road trips. They hijacked his walk-up song, leaving Pederson — a hip-hop fan — to approach the batter's box to boy band hits from One Direction. And on a road trip to Chicago, they made Pederson go on a Starbucks run in full uniform and cleats. Bystanders stared as he walked out juggling 10 drinks.
"We like to try to embarrass him as much as we can," says third baseman Justin Turner. "It keeps things light in the clubhouse. And we can do it because we know he can handle it."
Last night’s Home Run Derby had a lot of people wondering: How is this going to go? There was a new format — timed rounds, not ones based on outs — plus a seeded bracket that pit some of baseball’s heaviest hitters in a March Madness-like elimination contest.
Turned out, it went great. And that was thanks in no small part to the winner, Cincinnati Reds slugger Todd Frazier, who dazzled the hometown crowd.
The Home Run Derby is one of baseball’s most popular events. Showcasing the game’s finest power hitters, the Derby has been held every year except one since 1985, when it showcased Hall of Famers such as Carlton Fisk, Ryne Sandberg, and Cal Ripken Jr. For many years, the format was simple: hit the most home runs before recording 10 outs and you were the winner.
This year, however, the game has changed.
Instead of 10 outs, there’s now a time limit on each hitter. Each player will have five minutes to swat as many big flies as possible. Additionally, the Derby will have a bracket format, as players are seeded and will try to hit more homers than their opponent. (Kid Reporter Max Surprenant has more on the new Home Run Derby format.)
This year’s Derby features its fair share of big names: Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder, to be specific. But it also has a slew of young stars, like National League rookies Kris Bryant and Joc Pederson, the first rookies to compete in the Derby since Evan Longoria in 2008.
Here’s a look at the matchups in the Home Run Derby, along with predictions as to how they will play out:
Jose Bautista takes a cut in the 2014 Home Run Derby
Major League Baseball’s best players are in Cincinnati this week for the 2015 All-Star Game. The Midsummer Classic will be held Tuesday at Great American Ballpark, the home of the Reds. But the festivities begin tonight at 8 p.m. with the 30th anniversary of the Home Run Derby. And if you’re planning on tuning in (or maybe even watching it in person), there are some changes to the format you need to know about.
In the past, batters would get 10 outs to hit as many home runs as possible. Anything that was out of the park in fair territory was considered a homer. Anything other than a home run was called an out. This year, that all changes.