In case you're looking for a way to kill the afternoon -- or an afternoon coming soon -- the fine people at MLBClassic have posted the complete replay of David Wells' perfect game against the Twins from May 17, 1998.
It had been an ugly season for Wells coming into that game, and the history-maker was part of a major turnaround -- the first season in a three-year stretch in which the left-hander went 55-22 with a 4.16 ERA for the Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays. After one bad season with the White Sox, he returned to New York and won 34 games combined in 2001 and 2002.
In his book, "Perfect, I'm Not," Wells wrote: "As of this writing, 15 men in the history of organized baseball have ever thrown a perfect game. Only one of those men did it half-drunk, with bloodshot eyes, monster breath and a raging, skull-rattling hangover. That would be me."
Wells later recanted that claim -- after being fined $100,000 by the Yankees, saying that he "intended to write the book in the spirit of fun" and that some people didn't take it that way.
Maybe more interesting for Twins fans is the collection of players that manager Tom Kelly used that day. Ron Coomer was at first base and Paul Molitor was the DH. On the other end of the notoriety spectrum, the Twins' third baseman that day was Jon Shave, who hadn't played in the majors for five years. Javier Valentin was catching and Alex Ochoa was in right field.
On the bench was the Twins' best hitter at the time, Todd Walker, and on the disabled list was the later-to-be Boston star David Ortiz. Catcher Terry Steinbach, now the Twins' bench coach, also got the day off.
Click here for the boxscore.
Grab some popcorn, turn off your phone and watch as much as you have time for. (There's a Billy Crystal cameo at about the 22-minute mark.)
The Cedar Rapids Kernels were having a rough night Thursday, trailing the Burlington Bees 6-3 going into the bttom of the ninth inning of their Class A Midwest League game.
As Kernels correspondent S.D. Buhr of the Iowa web site website metrosportsreport.com put it: "For the first two hours and 40 minutes of their game ... the Cedar Rapids Kernels were having one of their worst nights of the season."
Then, the Kernels loaded the bases on a double and two hit batsmen and Byron Buxton, the Twins' No. 1 pick in last June's amateur draft, came to the plate.
Here's what happened next:
Sometimes, a video is worth 10,000 words.
Still, here are some words. Kernels manager Jake Mauer offered this after the game when he told Buhr: "People pay a lot more attention to what's going on in the minor leagues. Everybody knows everything about everybody. I think the biggest thing that he knows is he's just got to go out and play. Doesn't have to change who he is or what he does, just go play the game."
Meanwhile, Buhr described the postgame scene this way: "Buxton got the traditional shaving cream to the face during a television interview in front of the Kernels dugout after the game. While these sorts of heroics are almost becoming commonplace for Buxton, he doesn't seem to be letting all the attention go to his head. Following the television interview, he spent several minutes signing autographs and posing for pictures with fans by the Kernels dugout before joining the celebration going on in the team's clubhouse."
You can read Buhr's full report here.
Former Alaska-Anchorage hockey coach Dave Shyiak has been accused of violently striking a player with his stick during a 2011 practice.
According to the Alaska Daily News, ex-Seawolves winger Mickey Spencer sent a letter to the University of Alaska president, Patrick Gamble, and detailed the incident. The university has launched an investigation.
Spencer said Shyiak took a baseball-style swing at Nick Haddad and struck Haddad across the thigh.
"He tomahawked, lumber-jacked -- whatever you want to call it -- him across the thigh on his (hockey) pants,'' Spencer said. "We knew this wasn't a small deal, it's kind of a big deal. I've seen a coach break a stick over a goalpost or the glass because he's [mad] about something, but I've never seen one take out his anger on a player.''
But Haddad downplayed the incident today, according to this Associated Press story:
Haddad says in a Wednesday email to The Associated Press that the university investigation into the incident is "ridiculous" and should end immediately. In his email, Haddad says Shyiak did strike him with a hockey stick, but it sounded worse than it was. They exchanged words, and Haddad was sent off the ice. He says they spoke the next day and resolved all differences, and that he hasn't thought about the incident since.
Shyiak was fired in March after eight losing seasons.
His lawyer, Kevin Fitzgerald, said: "He confirms he did strike Nick's knee pads with his stick. It wasn't an assault. It was, in essence, an attempt to get Nick's attention. It wasn't designed to injure Nick. It didn't cause any injury. Nick didn't report to the trainer, didn't suffer an injury, didn't go to the hospital.''
Spencer also alleged Shyiak told the team not to discuss the incident.
As Phil Miller pointed out in his pregame blog from Cleveland, the Twins had an interesting group of pitchers take the mound throughout their minor-league system on Sunday afternoon.
For Class AAA Rochester, Samuel Deduno was making his first appearance after suffering a groin injury while pitching in the World Baseball Classic. There's a good chance that, if healthy, Deduno would be filling a spot in the Twins rotation already. In five innings against Columbus, Deduno gave up an unearned run on five singles and four walks in a 3-2 loss. He also struck out four.
For Class AA New Britain, Alex Meyer -- the pitcher acquired in the trade that sent Denard Span to Washington -- struggled for the second consecutive time. In a 6-5 loss to Portland, Meyer gave up five runs (four earned) in 4 2/3 innings. After four solid starts to open the season (four runs allowed in 22 innings), the 6-foot-9 Meyer has given up right earned runs in 10 2/3 innings in his last two starts.
For Class A Fort Myers, Cole De Vries made a rehab start and gave up two runs (one earned) on six hits in four innings. He didn't walk anyone in the Miracle's 8-2 loss to Tampa.
For Class A Cedar Rapids, Jose Berrios, the sandwich pick between the first and second rounds of last summer's amateur draft, improved his record to 3-0 for the Kernels in an 8-4 victory at South Bend. He gave up two runs on six hits in six innings, striking out eight and walking none. For the season, Berrios has struck out 21 and walked two in 17 2/3 innings.
As impressed as Minnesotans are with the Wild's effort in its Game 1 loss to the Blackhawks, many in the Chicago media were chiding the Blackhawks for their performance.
In the Chicago Tribune, columnist David Haugh wrote: "The Hawks can beat the Wild in the first round but won't win another Cup this way. On CSN Chicago, the great Pat Foley accurately described the Hawks as 'out of sorts.'' On the ice, they opened the game as if they exhaled after seeing (Niklas) Backstrom leave. This didn't consistently look like the team that won the Presidents' Trophy. This looked like the team that had been ousted in the first round two straight years. The Hawks can say they were ready to begin a postseason that carries a Stanley-Cup-or-bust mandate, but that start was no way to show it.
Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times lauded Wild goalie Josh Harding in his story about the game: "Josh Harding — the goaltender who was an utter disaster in his last start, three long months ago, a last-second fill-in for a suddenly and stunningly injured veteran starter — was brilliant from the outset, aided by teammates fanatically devoted to protecting him."
More on Harding from Nina Falcone of CSN Chicago: "It wasn't just the Wild that had positive things to say regarding their goaltender. The Blackhawks, too, tipped their hat to Harding. 'Of course (we're impressed),' center Jonathan Toews said. 'Everyone knows his story this year and he’s one of those guys, I’m sure, who wants to step up in the playoffs. He played a heck of a game, considering that, tonight. We can expect the same thing from him next game. We want to get on him more and make his job tougher than tonight.' "
Tim Sassone of the Daily Herald rubbed in the trade that sent Eden Prairie high school superstar Nick Leddy to the Blackhawks for the departed Cam Barker: "It was on Feb. 12, 2010, that (Blackhawks general manager Stan) Bowman, searching for veteran depth on defense for the Hawks' Stanley Cup run, dealt defenseman Cam Barker to Minnesota for veteran defenseman Kim Johnsson and Nick Leddy, who was the Wild's first-round draft pick (16th overall) in 2009. The Wild agreed to include Leddy thinking they were getting a top defenseman back in Barker, who was the third pick in the 2004 draft behind Alex Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin."
And check out the final "Talking Point" from ProHockeyTalk's Joe Yerdon, in which he doesn't lavish praise on one of the Wild's stars.
Links to full stories:
Note: The Chicago Tribune has a pay site that allows you to view a limited number of stories for free with registration.
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