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Tigers give away Miguel Cabrera bobblehead with him holding National League MVP Award

Miguel CabreraThe Seattle Mariners are in Detroit this weekend for a series against the Tigers with American League wild card implications.

Prior to the first game of series on Friday, the Tigers gave Miguel Two-Time MVP bobbleheads to the first 10,000 fans in attendance.

The first baseman, of course, took home the AL version of the award in 2012 after becoming the first player since Carl Yastrzemski to earn the batting triple crown, then became a back-to-back winner in 2013.

The bobblehead is Cabrera with both of his MVP Awards, one in each hand. There’s one small problem, however. The nine-time All-Star is holding the National League version of the award.

You won’t get many arguments for saying Miguel Cabrera is the best hitter in baseball today. Unfortunately, that standing won’t get him the MVP in a league he doesn’t play in.

H/T Eye On Baseball

Pedro Martinez: Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens deserve to be in Hall of Fame

Pedro Martinez Red SoxPedro Martinez is eligible to be inducted into the Hall of Fame next year, and there is no reason to believe he won’t get in on the first ballot. Pedro thinks Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds should join him.

Clemens and Bonds have been eligible for the past two years, but neither has received enough votes to earn a spot in Cooperstown. Their numbers are certainly Hall of Fame-worthy, but their association with performance-enhancing drugs has essentially blacklisted them. Martinez doesn’t think that’s right.

“With all due respect to everybody that votes, I’ll have to say Roger and Barry Bonds are two guys that I think had enough numbers before anything came out to actually earn a spot in the Hall of Fame,” Pedro said Thursday while being inducted into the Red Sox Hall of Fame with Clemens, via Joe McDonald of ESPNBoston.com. “I’m not quite sure 100 percent how close they will be before all the things came out, but in my heart, if you asked me before any of that, I would’ve said, ‘Yes, 100 percent,’ without looking back.”

Bonds claims he “unknowingly” took banned substances while Clemens has vehemently denied ever using steroids or PEDs. Current Hall of Famers have said they will boycott the Hall of Fame if known PED users get in, but Martinez believes Bonds and Clemens were dominant enough before all the steroid talk surfaced.

“It wasn’t just the individual performances. [It was] how they dominated the time that they came up and stayed in the big leagues until those things happened,” Pedro said. “I believe they have a legit chance, and I think, with time, the voters will take into consideration what they did previously.”

Part of what makes Martinez’s career so incredible is that he dominated hitters during the height of the steroid era. As someone who has never been associated with PEDs, you would think Pedro would be opposed to cheaters getting the Cooperstown nod. Kudos to him for taking the high road.

Pierce Jones goes 4-for-4 with 3 home runs and triple in Little League World Series debut (Video)

One of the best stories of the Little League World Series this year is the Jackie Robinson West squad from Chicago’s South Side that is the first all-black team to reach Williamsport in over a decade. Jackie Robinson West, which is representing the Great Lakes region at the LLWS, might also have the best player in the entire tournament: Pierce Jones.

I happened to be watching Jackie Robinson West’s first game of the tournament Thursday and saw Jones lead off the game with a home run to the right of center field. In his second at-bat, he went with an outside pitch and tripled off the wall in right-center. Then he took a 1-2 pitch up and in and hammered it out to deep left for his second home run of the game. In his fourth at-bat, he tomahawked a high pitch out to left for his third home run.

Jones went 4-for-4 with 3 home runs, a triple and 4 RBIs in his first LLWS game. He was so locked-in, it was like that Barry Bonds feeling — you didn’t want to miss one of his at-bats.

Pierce Jones LLWS

Jones said in an interview after the game that he’d never had a game like this before. It’s hard to believe that. He hit well over .600 at the regionals (I think he was 12-for-16 but can’t remember for certain) and he looks so advanced for his age that he should probably be playing with 16-year-olds. He’s got a long, long way to go in his career, but you can bet now that he’ll be an MLB Draft prospect in six or so years.

No surprise, Jackie Robinson West won their opening game over Pacific Little League of Lynnwood, Wash., 12-2 via the mercy rule. They went 13-for-27 as a team and have clubbed 18 home runs in their past 7 games.

Mike Matheny rips critics of Cardinals coaching staff

Mike-MathenyThe St. Louis Cardinals are struggling at the plate. The defending National League champions rank 29th in baseball in runs scored this season and have scored three or fewer runs in nine of their last 16 games. The Cards are also hitting just .243 with runners in scoring position this year, a full 87 points lower than their remarkable 2013 average.

Mike Matheny is well aware of the stats and struggles. He also realizes his team is just two games out of first and is very much in the playoff hunt, so the Cardinals manager is growing tired of hearing negative feedback.

“You’re putting as much work if not more now than what you did last year when things were going so well,” Matheny said earlier this week, via Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “You’ve got people taking cheap shots all the time. You’re human. You wear that. Plus you know that the (players) are not happy with where the guys are right now.

“If you have coaches who don’t care, then they’re just putting in their time and chalking it up to a number of issues. That’s not what we have.”

The Cardinals have been shut out 11 times this season, but they are still pitching fairly well (12th in the majors with a 3.59 team ERA). While it might be time to make some adjustments, Matheny certainly doesn’t feel that his team needs to panic.

“I don’t care what anybody else thinks about the statement I’m about to make but our best offense is ahead of us,” Matheny said. “I’m 100 percent convinced of that. … We can’t do our job in defense of criticism. It’s never going to work out. Just keep doing the job and in the end it will come out in the wash.”

The Cardinals will be just fine. Their manager knows how to wear one on the chin. No, really, he does.

Joe Nathan does F— yourself gesture to Tigers fans (Video)

Joe Nathan F yourselfJoe Nathan appeared to tell Detroit Tigers fans to go f— themselves after they booed him during a shaky 9th inning in which he closed out an 8-4 win on Wednesday night.

Nathan was signed in the off-season after putting together an All-Star year with the Rangers last year and was expected to be a steady force in the Tigers’ pen. Instead, he’s struggled all season. He has a 5.11 ERA and blew his sixth save over the weekend.

Manager Brad Ausmus inserted him into a non-save situation to protect the lead Wednesday and, when he walked two batters to start the 9th, the fans booed him. Nathan got a fly out and double play to end the game, and he responded by giving the fans a f— yourself gesture twice. Either that, or he just had an itch on his chin.

Be careful, Joe. We know you’re frustrated, but cameras catch everything.

Byron Buxton carted away in ambulance after outfield collision (Video)

Byron Buxton collisionMinnesota Twins top prospect Byron Buxton was carted away in an ambulance and taken to the hospital after colliding with a teammate in right-center field during his debut with the Double-A New Britain Rock Cats on Wednesday.

Buxton is rated as MLB.com’s top prospect for his ability to hit for power, average, run and make great plays on defense like this. He collided with right fielder Mike Kvasnicka while going for a ball in the gap, and Kvasnicka’s knee appeared to hit him in the left shoulder and left him down on the ground.

Milb.com reports that Buxton was down for 10 minutes and not moving before being placed on a stretcher and carted off in an ambulance. Kvasnicka was able to walk after the collision but the 25-year-old was also taken to the hospital.

Buxton, who had been having a rough time at the plate with High-A Fort Myers prior to his promotion to Double-A, was 0-for-3 with three strikeouts and an outfield assist prior to the collision.

Buxton ended up with a concussion.

Robin Ventura gets his money’s worth during ejection (Video)

GIF: Displeased with his first effort, Ventura went back to k... on Twitpic

Robin Ventura ejectionRobin Ventura was ejected from Wednesday’s 7-1 loss to the Giants after a call at the plate was overturned, leading him to throw a classic manager’s fit.

The White Sox were up 1-0 in the bottom of the 7th when Joe Panik was batting with men on the corners and one out and grounded into a fielder’s choice. First baseman Jose Abreu threw home to catcher Tyler Flowers, who tagged out Gregor Blanco at the plate. That would have made it runners on first and second with two outs and the White Sox still leading 1-0.

Instead, the umpires reviewed the call and determined Flowers was blocking Blanco’s path home, which is in violation of the new rule against catchers blocking the plate. The call was overturned, giving the Giants the tying run.

As soon as the call was overturned, Ventura bolted out of the dugout to argue. He got in Fieldin Culbreth’s face and was promptly tossed. Then he started doing the old kick dirt on the plate number.

You can see the whole thing in the video below:

GIF via @cjzero