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#pounditSaturday, January 22, 2022

Baseball

Tigers first base coach Kimera Bartee dies unexpectedly

Kimera Bartee coaches for the Pirates

The baseball community is mourning an unexpected loss, as Detroit Tigers first base coach Kimera Bartee has died.

The Tigers announced the sad news on Tuesday that Bartee has died at age 49. General manager Al Avila said the entire organization is “shocked and saddened.”

“All of us in the Tigers baseball family were shocked and saddened,” Avila said in a statement, via the Detroit Free Press. “Throughout his time in our organization as both a player and a coach, Kimera was known as a kind soul but intense competitor who did his best every day to elevate those around him to do great things. While Tigers fans got used to seeing him in the first base coach’s box, Kimera’s impact on our ballclub went far deeper and will be sorely missed.”

The cause of death for Bartee is unknown. The Tigers were not aware of him having any illness.

Bartee, a former outfielder, played four seasons for the Tigers from 1996-1999. He spent the final two seasons of his career with the Cincinnati Reds and Colorado Rockies. Bartee batted .216 with four home runs and 33 RBI in 243 career games.

Bartee spent the 2021 season as Detroit’s first base coach after coaching for three different MLB teams prior to that. He was with the Pittsburgh Pirates as a coach from 2008-2019.

Photo: Aug 12, 2019; Anaheim, CA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates first base coach Kimera Bartee (18) during the game against the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. The Pirates defeated the Angels 10-2. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Angel Hernandez trends on Twitter thanks to drunk Mexican umpire video

Angel Hernandez

A hilarious video of an apparently drunk umpire being removed from a game in Mexico went viral on social media Monday, and it got Angel Hernandez trending in the process.

The video surfaced on Monday of Humberto Saiz, a Mexican Pacific League umpire, acting erratically while on duty at first base. Onlookers claimed he spent the game arguing with players and getting into confrontations with players, and his fellow umpires ultimately escorted him from the field believing him to be drunk.

The video garnered so much discussion that oft-criticized MLB umpire Angel Hernandez became a trending topic on Twitter solely from people comparing Saiz to him.

Presumably, Saiz will be scrutinized by the league and may face further discipline. Hernandez, meanwhile, continues to be allowed to make calls like this in big games.

Photo: tunnelarmr/Flickr via CC-by-SA-2.0

Athletics hire Mark Kotsay as new manager

Mark Kotsay in his A's uniform

The Oakland Athletics have made a decision on their next manager, and they have chosen someone who knows the organization well.

The Athletics will hire third base coach Mark Kotsay as their new manager, according to Jon Heyman of MLB Network. The 46-year-old will replace Bob Melvin, who left to manage the San Diego Padres.

Oakland looks to be leaning into organizational knowledge and continuity over experience here. Kotsay has never managed before, but he has been the bench coach and third base coach for the organization in the past. He also played for the team from 2004 to 2007.

Kotsay’s name came up fairly early in Oakland’s search process, so the hire doesn’t necessarily come as a huge surprise.

Photo: Aug 10, 2021; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Oakland Athletics third base coach Mark Kotsay (7) walks on the field in the fifth inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Buck Showalter named new Mets manager

Buck Showalter smiling

The New York Mets have landed a respected, experienced manager after a tumultuous search process.

Mets owner Steve Cohen confirmed on Twitter Saturday that veteran manager Buck Showalter would take over in New York, replacing Luis Rojas.

Showalter agreed to a three-year contract with the Mets, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post.

The search process had been difficult for the Mets, who needed well over a month to fill the vacancy. Part of that was down to the lack of structure in the team’s front office, as it took until mid-November for the team to hire a GM.

Showalter is still a good get for a Mets team in need of leadership. The 65-year-old is a respected manager who has reached the playoffs with three different organizations. That experience should be valuable for a Mets team that aims to contend and has the resources to do so, but lacks the experience and recent success.

Photo: Dec 5, 2011; Dallas, TX, USA; Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter answers question for a press conference during the MLB winter meetings at Hilton Anatole. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Nick Adenhart’s family reacts to Noah Syndergaard wearing late P’s number

Noah Syndergaard

The family of the late Nick Adenhart is reacting to Noah Syndergaard’s decision to wear Adenhart’s old number with the Los Angeles Angels.

Adenhart’s stepfather, Duane Gigeous, who was also speaking on behalf of Adenhart’s mother, Janet Gigeous, and half-brother, Henry Gigeous, voiced strong approval this week for Syndergaard wearing the No. 34 jersey.

“We are of the opinion that we think there could be no one better than Noah Syndergaard to wear it,” he told The Athletic’s Sam Blum. “We appreciate the type of pitcher that he is and the type of competitor that he is.

“I think, hopefully, it will spark some conversations,” added Adenhart’s stepfather. “There’s a generation of baseball fans who don’t know who Nick is and don’t know Nick’s story. And [13] years later, it might be time that sparks a conversation of, ‘Hey, this was Nick Adenhart.’”

The ex-Angels pitcher Adenhart died in 2009 along with friends Courtney Stewart and Henry Pearson after being hit by a drunk driver. Adenhart, who was just 22 at the time of his death, wore No. 34 for the team. Though the number was never officially retired by the Angels, no player had worn it for them since Adenhart’s passing.

Syndergaard, who just signed a one-year deal with the Angels, has worn No. 34 for his entire career. He sparked mixed feelings from Angels fans when he announced earlier this month that he would be wearing No. 34 with the Angels as well. Syndergaard said that he was hoping to honor Adenhart and to wear the jersey with pride.

Blum’s story adds that the former All-Star Syndergaard initially considered changing his number out of respect to Adenhart. However, Angels GM Perry Minasian and his staff encouraged Syndergaard to keep the number, feeling it was time that someone wore it. Now Syndergaard officially has the blessing of Adenhart’s family as well.

Photo: Aug 4, 2019; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard (34) reacts against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the first inning at PNC Park. The Mets won 13-2. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Fernando Tatis Jr. has bold prediction for where MLB salaries are headed

Fernando Tatis Jr

Fernando Tatis Jr. thinks that MLB teams are soon going to need the Brink’s truck for their biggest stars.

The San Diego Padres All-Star spoke with reporters in his native Dominican Republic this week and gave a bold prediction for how much money two of the game’s top players are eventually going to get.

“I think that both Juan Soto and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. will sign contracts over $400 million,” said Tatis, per MLB insider Hector Gomez. “Those two guys’ bats are setting the tone for the major leagues right now.”

For reference, Tatis himself got a 14-year, $340 million contract extension from the Padres before the 2021 season. The current record for the largest extension in MLB history is Mookie Betts’ 12 years and $365 million from the Los Angeles Dodgers. Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels has the record for the largest total contract at 12 years and $426.5 million.

The 23-year-old Soto, an All-Star and ex-batting champion, is under team control through 2024. The 22-year-old Guerrero, the MLB home run leader and AL MVP runner-up for this past season, is under team control through 2025. They can agree to an extension with their respective teams before that though, as we saw with Tatis, who got his after just two years of service time.

There have been some slightly more reserved estimates of how much money Soto and Guerrero could get. But Tatis clearly thinks that the bank will be broken for his two fellow Dominican phenoms.

Photo: Feb 28, 2020; Peoria, Arizona, USA; San Diego Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr against the Chicago Cubs during a spring training game at Peoria Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Clint Frazier claims he had mental health issues with Yankees

Clint Frazier

Clint Frazier was a highly-touted prospect with equally high expectations during his time with the New York Yankees. However, the results were mixed and Frazier never ascended to the level many anticipated.

Frazier was released in late November and later signed with the Chicago Cubs. That change has breathed new life into him and now Frazier is opening up about some of his past struggles.

During an appearance on Barstool’s Short Porch podcast, Frazier revealed that he suffered mental health issues during his time with the Yankees. It impacted him both on and off the field.

“I never understood the whole mental health stuff until like recently,” said Frazier, via Yahoo! Sports. “When you go through something for so long, and you just feel the same way every single day, it’s really hard to move forward. And the way that I was feeling was affecting my quality of life. I was severely symptomatic with some of these past issues that I was having. I was like, ‘We gotta pick the pace up. I need help. I need serious [expletive] help.’

“I needed to separate baseball and my health because, like I said, it was about quality of life at this point. I was severely struggling with this stuff. … It just drug out because we didn’t have the diagnosis.”

Despite the issues, which manifested in different ways, Frazier admits he never brought it to the Yankees’ attention.

“They weren’t aware, that was on me. I was fighting for my life,” Frazier said. “And I fizzled out. I was trying to continue to play. So I didn’t tell them. And then I showed up to spring training and started to feel better, and then it kind of, like, came back, because I had an instance where I bumped the wall again. I went into the whole season feeling that exact way.”

Frazier added that he doesn’t have an issue with many Yankees — including general manager Brian Cashman — but envisions sharing a few words when the Cubs visit the Bronx in 2022.

“Yeah, there’s a lot of conversation that need to be had in person, and there’s a couple people that are very deserving of conversations that I would like to have in person, especially whenever I’m there. I’m not calling nobody, I’m not doing it over text,” Frazier said. “There are some things that I am going to say. And I don’t know who it’s going to be, it just depends on who it is because there’s some things that I want to address now and some things that are very like damaging to my career-type things that were said after I was released that were making it exponentially harder for me to sign on with a team.”

The Yankees will host the Cubs for a three-game series in June.

Worrying report hints at how long MLB lockout could last

Rob Manfred

Major League Baseball’s ongoing lockout has been ongoing for roughly two weeks, and there is no end in sight. It appears things will stay that way for some time to come as well.

MLB and the MLBPA are unlikely to have substantial discussions regarding core economic issues before January, according to Evan Drellich of The Athletic. The two sides have communicated about smaller issues in recent days and are set to do so again on Thursday.

Sources involved in the process told Drellich that there is not much point to the two sides discussing the most contentious issues right now. Neither side has much reason to change their stance on any issue right now, and negotiations would essentially dissolve into the two groups repeating the same stances to each other. In addition, waiting until January could give the sides some added leverage with spring training theoretically set to begin in February.

Obviously, waiting until January to talk things out would bring a significant risk. There would not be a lot of time to sort out a series of complex issues where the two sides are far apart. At a certain point, the danger of losing regular season games to the lockout would begin to grow quickly.

The public tone so far has not been positive between the two sides, and little has changed on that front either. The situation certainly looks likely to carry into January and possibly beyond.

Photo: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Look: Topps made embarrassing error on Braves World Series cards

Freddie Freeman in his Braves uniform

Topps appears to have swung and missed big-time with their new baseball cards commemorating the Atlanta Braves’ World Series victory.

Photos went viral on Twitter this week of an embarrassing error that Topps made in their new set honoring the Braves for winning the 2021 title. Their cards mistakenly state that Dusty Baker, not Brian Snitker, was manager of the team.

The error appears to have been printed on every single card that was sent out, as multiple angry customers pointed out the mistake.

If you look closely, there is another error printed on the cards as well. They state that the Braves defeated the Houston Astros, the team that Baker actually manages, in five games when the Braves did so in six games.

Topps released a statement about the goof, apologizing and promising to send corrected cards.

As bad as this flub was, it is far from unheard-of in the card manufacturing business. Erroneous prints can easily take on lives of their own and become collectors’ items.

H/T SportsTalkATL

Photo: Jun 15, 2021; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman (5) hits a RBI single against the Boston Red Sox in the third inning at Truist Park. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Batting Stance Guy reveals writer’s Hall of Fame ballot with great video

Batting Stance Guy in a stance

Baseball writer Rob Bradford eclipsed everyone when it came to a Hall of Fame ballot reveal.

Bradford, who covers the Boston Red Sox for WEEI, revealed his Hall of Fame ballot through a collaboration with Gar Ryness, better known as “Batting Stance Guy.”

Batting Stance Guy did the stances of all the pitchers and hitters Bradford voted for with his 2022 Hall of Fame vote. Ryness has incredible accuracy with his impressions and is able to capture the smallest details to the best degree, making for hilarious stances.

Take a look:

I can never watch a Batting Stance Guy baseball video and not laugh.

And for those who missed it, Bradford’s list includes:

– Barry Bonds
– Roger Clemens
– Curt Schilling
– Alex Rodriguez
– Billy Wagner
– Manny Ramirez
– David Ortiz
– Gary Sheffield
– Todd Helton
– Scott Rolen

That’s a pretty strong list of some of the best players from the 1990s and 2000s.