MLB News You Need To Know – April 16

Friday’s games took a step back as MLB teams celebrated the 75th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking baseball’s color barrier with the Brooklyn Dodgers.

It was a day of ceremonies and tributes that almost didn’t happen due to the lockdown. If owners and players had taken a few more days to reach an agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement, Friday’s schedule would have been a tragic victim. Thankfully, MLB didn’t have to deal with that black eye.

In a cool move, as all MLB uniformed personnel wore Robinson’s No. 42, the number on the back of all jerseys was for the first time identical in style and color to the 42 he wore on April 15. 1947 (yes, Dodger blue – even on San Francisco Giants jerseys!). Many players have donated their game day wages to the Players Alliance, which benefits baseball teams in inner cities and rural areas.

Jackie remembers MLB

Robinson’s legacy has been honored in countless ways around baseball. From simple or intricate designs on cleats to ceremonies, lettering on gloves and crests on shirts and caps, players, managers and coaches have found their own way to honor the historic moment and career. of Robinson. Robinson’s widow, Rachel, and son David were at Dodger Stadium and provided some inspiring moments.

Here’s a look at MLB, with a small sampling of those gestures:

Three months after Robinson’s debut, Larry Doby became the second black player to appear in the majors when he played for the Cleveland Indians on July 5, 1947. Renamed the Guardians before that season, some Cleveland players made a nods to both players. Doby was the first player to go directly from the Negro leagues to MLB.

While Friday held huge significance for many players, it held a special place in the history of Cincinnati Reds rookie pitcher Hunter Greene. Greene grew up in the Sherman Oaks area of ​​Los Angeles, where the Dodgers moved before the 1958 season. Greene, the second overall pick in the 2017 draft, will make his second career MLB appearance when he starts the game. Saturday at Dodger Stadium.

Mets Honor Seaver

There were several celebrations for the New York Mets at Citi Field. As well as being Jackie Robinson Day, it was the home opener and statue unveiling for Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Seaver.

A three-time NL Cy Young Award winner with the Mets (1969, 1973, 1975), the “Tom Terrific” car delivery statue is located outside the stadium behind the Home Run Apple. Seaver died Aug. 31, 2020. The 3,200-pound statue, which was delivered from sculptor William Behrends’ studio in North Carolina in nine pieces, is 13 feet 6 inches long and 10 feet tall.

Seaver is considered perhaps the greatest player in Mets history, leading New York to three NL pennants and the 1969 World Series championship.

No vax, no entry

Friday was the second home series for the Toronto Blue Jays, but for the first time players who are not vaccinated against COVID-19 have been denied entry to Canada. Canadian policy prohibits unvaccinated non-residents from crossing the border. The United States has the same policy. The Texas Rangers were able to bring their full Opening Day contingent to Toronto.

But the Oakland A’s were the first team affected, having to place three players on the shortlist – relievers AJ Puk and Kirby Snead, as well as backup receiver Austin Allen. Additionally, outfielder Stephen Piscotty has been placed on the COVID injured list. Players on the shortlist do not receive salary or service time for missed time.

Don’t worry, I’m sure New York Yankees fans will react calmly when the Bombers travel to Toronto for the first time for a series May 2-4 and should be left without at least one key player.

Shohei powers up

As you might expect after the monster offensive season that Los Angeles Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani had last year, there was a lot of talk about the reigning American League MVP’s brief struggles.

Entering Friday, Ohtani was just 5 for 29 with a walk and 10 strikeouts. Fall in love with feeling the pressure of repeating 2021’s 46 homers and 100 RBIs or a shortened lockout spring training (probably the latter).

That changed quickly in Game 2 of the series against the Rangers when the left-handed hitter hit his first homer of the season on the first pitch of the game. Proving it was no fluke, Ohtani threw a 415-foot blast in the fifth inning, a two-point shot. (There’s more to this game: see the next item!)

And then Ohtani put on a cowboy hat:

What did he do ?

Angels manager Joe Maddon took a page from former Arizona Diamondbacks skipper Buck Showalter’s playbook. Showalter intentionally walked Giants slugger Barry Bonds with the bases loaded and a two-run, two-out lead in the ninth inning on May 28, 1998. It worked as the D’backs won 8-7.

Fast forward to Friday. Maddon, never outdone, did the same for the second time in his managerial career, this time with Rangers shortstop Corey Seager at home plate. In this case, the stakes were much lower as Maddon’s decision came with the Angels trailing 3-2 with one out late in the fourth inning. It backfired in the moment as Rangers scored two more in the fourth for a 6-2 advantage. But Maddon had the last laugh as the Angels roared for a 9-6 win.

Maddon, as bench boss for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, also intentionally passed Rangers slugger Josh Hamilton with the clean sheets on August 17, 2008.

Bauer can force the decision

Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer has not pitched since June 28 of last season due to an investigation into allegations of sexual assault by a woman twice. MLB and the MLB Players Association have agreed to a series of paid administrative leaves for the remainder of the season and, during spring training, extended through Saturday. On Wednesday, this leave was postponed to April 22.

The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office declined to press charges for this incident. The lockout prevented the MLB commissioner’s office from speaking with Bauer after the prosecutor dropped his case. MLB investigated whether Bauer violated the sexual assault and domestic violence policy.

Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times has now just said that Bauer may try to show up at Dodger Stadium on Sunday to challenge whether there is a binding agreement on his recent furlough extension.

What could ultimately happen, Shaikin reports, is that Commissioner Rob Manfred could issue a suspension by the end of Saturday to prevent any public spectacle.

Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)

Neal T. Doss