Author: Mike Oz

Pat Neshek airs his beef with Zack Greinke over autograph snub

Pat Neshek (left) aired his beef with Zack Greinke on an online collecting forum. (AP/Getty Images)

Colorado Rockies relief pitcher Pat Neshek is MLB’s most avid baseball card and autograph collector. He takes his collecting so seriously that at one point he was trying to get every card from Topps’ 1985 set — all 782 of them — autographed by the players on the cardboard.

Neshek collects a lot more than 1985 Topps, though, so when he was chosen for the All-Star game this year in Miami, Neshek was asked which player’s autograph he was most eager to try to get. His answer? Zack Greinke.

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At the time, Neshek said: “He’s tough. Hopefully we can talk.” He had no idea.

Greinke, the Arizona Diamondbacks ace, and Neshek, then with the Philadelphia Phillies, were on the National League team together, so easy enough, right? Turns out that wasn’t exactly the case.

Neshek shared a story about his encounter with Greinke on the message board of SportsCollectors.net. Basically, Neshek — who has publicly said his username is “heat17” on the site — said Greinke snubbed him. Then he called Greinke a “turd” and said he wouldn’t try to get his autograph anymore.

Pat Neshek roasting Zach Greinke on this autograph forum is the greatest thing I’ve seen in a while #turd pic.twitter.com/UNdKedpshf

— chris jones¯_(ツ)_/¯ (@LONG_DRIVE) September 19, 2017

In case that’s too small to read, here’s what it says:

“Thanks guys. Greinke stiffed me once again. I asked him at the all star game if he would sign for me and he said he would… so a couple weeks ago we played them and I sent over the cards I needed signed… basically 3 league leaders cards with Kershaw and Wainwright already done and 2 from 2015 to complete the set. He said no… I waited around for him during batting practice and went up to him and he totally denied having the conversation at the all star game… I then asked why this was a problem and he said it’s because “I wear him out.” Hard to wear someone out when he has never signed for me. This is the only ahole in major league baseball that has been a turd to me. So going back to the conversation I said can you just get these done it will take 5 seconds… just draw a little z on them for me… He said no I will never sign for you… I walked away… a couple minutes later I confronted him in the outfield while he was jogging and told him what I thought of him… he just kept on running then said I wouldn’t even sign for your kid if he asked…. I wanted to laugh knowing he had probably thought of that line for a long time and that was the best he could come up with… I then let him know what I thought of him again and being the socially awkward guy he is ran back to the dugout and went inside. Soooo I’m done with this guy. I’m basically gonna have to trade with someone on here to 50/50 them down the road.”

Well, that’s quite a story. And there’s a lot to unpack there. So a few points of context:

• The reference to Neshek’s son is in response to a pre-All Star interview where Neshek said he’d send his kid over to the talk to Greinke.

• As Neshek references, Greinke has suffered from social-anxiety issues in the past. It even led to him missing most of the 2006 season. In recent years, Greinke has said his social anxiety is under control.

• The idea of players sending items across clubhouses to get autographed isn’t rare at all. Many players in MLB collect autographed memorabilia from their peers, but nobody does it to the extent that Neshek does.

Interestingly, the Rockies and D-backs could meet in the NL wild-card game if the standings stay the way they are now. Probably wouldn’t be any autograph requests that day.

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Mike Oz is the editor of Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @MikeOz

Jackie Bradley Jr. made this home-run robbery look too easy

Every home-run robbery is a great baseball achievement but like most things in life, when you can make a home-run robbery look completely effortless, you’re gonna win 1,000 extra cool points.

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That’s just what Boston Red Sox outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. did Tuesday night. The Red Sox were playing the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards, which Mike Trout will tell you is a playground for home-run thievery. Look at Bradley calmly approach this fifth-inning would-be dinger off Chris Davis’ bat. Bradley hopped up, grabbed it above the wall and landed just as calmly.

Yep, Jackie Bradley Jr. is out here making home-run stealing look like light work.

Jackie Bradley Jr. stole this homer from Chris Davis. (MLB.tv)

What made this all the more important was the 0-0 score at the time. It would actually remain that way into the 11th inning. And wouldn’t you know it, it was Bradley who made the difference again. Standing on third base, he zoomed in to score the game’s only run on a wild pitch by Brad Brach.

In a tight AL East race with the Yankees, let’s remember this night — and what Bradley’s glove and legs did — if the Red Sox win by one game.

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Mike Oz is the editor of Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @MikeOz

Chase Headley gets hit by a pitch right in the junk

Chase Headley did something no baseball player ever wants to do. We’re not talking about striking out with the bases loaded. Or letting a grounder roll through your legs. Sure, those things are bad. But what happened to Headley on Tuesday night is a different kind of bed.

Headley, the New York Yankees’ designated hitter, got hit by a pitch in the most sensitive of man-places. Yep, right in the junk.

It happened in the fifth inning with Dillon Gee on the mound for the Minnesota Twins. And, gents, be warned, here’s another angle that might make your stomach turn:

Poor Chase Headley. #Yankees pic.twitter.com/n8t2CSYIUN

— Max Wildstein (@MaxWildstein) September 20, 2017

Oof. Headley, to his credit, stayed in the game, which is probably more than many of us could do. If you watch closely, you’ll also notice that he decided to take off his shin guard while he was hunched over in pain. Never say Chase Headley isn’t efficient in certain situations.

The Yankees would go on to win the game 5-2, widening their lead over the Twins to six games for the first AL wild-card position. That’s the Yankees getting closer to an appointment with October baseball. And Headley, unfortunately, needing an appointment with a couple of ice packs.

Chase Headley gets hit by a pitch in a painful place. (YES Network)

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Mike Oz is the editor of Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @MikeOz

Red Sox will start playing anti-racism PSA before games at Fenway Park

The Boston Red Sox will be the first of five Boston pro sports teams to air an anti-racism PSA before its games starting Sept. 28. The PSA is titled “Take the Lead” and it comes after a season of high-profile racially charged incidents involving the Red Sox.

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According to WEEI, the video features both black and white athletes asking fans to join them in opposing bigoted behavior at pro sporting events. The Boston Celtics, New England Patriots, Boston Bruins and the New England Revolution have all agreed to play the PSA too.

Red Sox CEO Sam Kennedy told the Boston Globe:

“When the incidents in May occurred, one of the first things we recognized was sports teams are high-profile, and we have the opportunity to help lead a high-level discussion around this. We wanted to take the lead in taking a stand against racism.”

Protestors unfurled a sign at a Red Sox game last week that read,
Protestors unfurled a sign at a Red Sox game last week that read, “Racism is as American as baseball.” (AP)

In May, Baltimore Orioles outfielder Adam Jones said he was taunted with racial slurs by fans at Fenway Park, setting off a week-long drama that eventually involved the likes of Curt Schilling saying he didn’t believe Jones’ story.  Soon after, a fan was ejected from Fenway for aiming a racial slur at another fan and was consequently banned for life.

Last week, a group of anti-racism protestors hung a banner at the top of Fenway’s Green Monster that said: “Racism is as American as baseball.

The Red Sox, meanwhile, have been trying to fight their franchise’s own ties to alleged racism back in the days of Jackie Robinson. The Red Sox were the last MLB team to add a black player to their roster. That happened in 1959, 12 years after Robinson joined the Dodgers. Former owner Tom Yawkey was accused of being a racist back then and it’s something that still doesn’t sit well with current owner John Henry.

Henry said last month that he’d support any efforts to rename Yawkey Way — one of the streets leading into Fenway Park — if other Boston leaders wanted to.

While the Red Sox’s anti-racism stance is commendable all around, it’s sure to be met with objections by at least some fans who will complain about political correctness running amok inside Fenway Park

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Mike Oz is the editor of Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @MikeOz

45 guys dressed up as 'Magnum P.I.' got booted out of the Tigers game

Forty-five guys dressed up as “Magnum P.I.” during a bachelor party Saturday night and went to the Detroit Tigers game against the Chicago White Sox at Comerica Park. They wore Hawaiian shirts, Tigers caps and pressed-on mustaches. They even carried around a life-size cutout of Tom Selleck as Thomas Magnum, the lead character from his popular ’80s private-detective drama.

Amazingly we haven’t even gotten to the oddest part of the story yet.

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The 45 Magnums were ejected from the game by stadium security because, as Chris Tuccini, the groom’s younger brother told the Detroit-adjacent News-Herald, because one of them was smoking and they were catcalling.

“I don’t know how that made us all guilty,” Tuccini told The News-Herald.

Photo courtesy of Chris Tuccini, via The News-Herald.

While we don’t think it’s right for us to speculate on whether the 45 Magnums deserved the ejection, we do have some questions about the entire excursion:

• Anybody else surprised that a Magnum P.I.-themed bachelor party was able to pull 45 dudes?

• What’s up with the guys who weren’t wearing red Hawaiian shirts? It’s a Magnum P.I.-themed party, bros. Go red or go home. You don’t show up in a green Ferrari. Maybe that’s why they were ejected.

• This is probably the most important question: Where do 45 Magnum P.I.’s go after they’ve been kicked out a baseball game? You can’t just go home. We hope it’s the same bar Magnum traveled to meet Tigers legends Lou Whitaker and Alan Trammell in a 1983 episode of the show. It would only be proper.

• Where was Higgins? He wouldn’t have stood for this.

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Mike Oz is the editor of Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @MikeOz

Tigers pitcher takes a 103 mph liner off his head and doesn't even fall down

There’s nothing amusing about a line drive rocketing off a bat and heading right for a pitcher’s head. We’ve seen some pretty horrible scenes when that happened in the past.

So it’s pretty incredible what happened to Tigers pitcher Jeff Ferrell on Monday night when Ryon Healy of the Oakland Athletics hit a 103 mph liner right back at Ferrell’s head. Ferrell, with almost no time to protect himself, took the ball off the side of his head. If you just listen to the highlight, you can hear how violent the moment sounds.

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The incredible part? Ferrell stayed on his feet the entire time. He has either some fantastic balance or unbelievable fortitude.

Jeff Ferrell took a liner off the side of his head. (MLB.tv)

There was no question he was leaving the game, though. Ferrell was swaying around a bit, like a boxer who just took a big punch and is about to fall down. He stayed on his feet, but the Tigers training staff were quick to get on the field and help him back to the clubhouse.

Ferrell was then transported to a local hospital, where early reports were good, according to Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press.

Jeff Ferrell was sent to the hospital for a CT scan, Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. He was responsive and very alert, Ausmus said.

— anthony fenech (@anthonyfenech) September 19, 2017

You never like to see a pitcher take a liner to the head, but when he does and he stays on his feet and stays alert, that’s a good sign.

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Mike Oz is the editor of Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @MikeOz

Phillies pitcher somehow catches a comebacker in his jersey

Three things they teach you in Little League: Ready position, keep your eye on the ball and catch it with your jersey.

OK, so maybe no Little League coach ever said that last one, but Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Nick Pivetta did it anyways Monday night. Pivetta was facing the Los Angeles Dodgers — specifically catcher Austin Barnes — and when Barnes ripped a comebacker right at Pivetta, the pitcher pulled off the type of catch you don’t often see.

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He caught it inside his jersey. For real. It slipped right in there between a couple buttons. Even more amazing: The ball was moving at 106 mph off Barnes’ bat and Pivetta quickly and calmly pulled it out and showed everyone he “caught” it. Here, watch it over and over until you believe in magic.

Nick Pivetta catches a 106 mph line drive in his shirt. pic.twitter.com/oH2VViY3B8

— Ben Harris (@byBenHarris) September 19, 2017

Phillies pitcher Nick Pivetta catches a comebacker with his jersey. (MLB.tv)

Have you ever seen a catch like this? Can’t say we remember one. And it sure beats a 106 mph baseball hitting a pitcher in the chest or head.

Lucky? Sure. But lucky is better than hurt.

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Mike Oz is the editor of Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @MikeOz

Giancarlo Stanton is one homer closer to reaching the rare 60-home run club

Giancarlo Stanton’s historic home-run tear may have slowed down once the calendar flipped from August to September, but entering play Monday night he was six homers away from reaching 60 with 13 games left to play.

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Score one more for Stanton. The mighty Marlins slugger hit homer No. 55 on Monday night, a 455-foot blast that came off New York Mets starter Matt Harvey in the fourth inning. The Marlins were smashing the Mets, with a 13-1 lead in the eighth inning at the time of this post.

Giancarlo Stanton circling the bases after home run No. 55 on Monday night. (AP)
Giancarlo Stanton circling the bases after home run No. 55 on Monday night. (AP)

After hitting 12 homers in July and a record-tying 18 homers in August, Stanton cooled off in September. This was just his fourth homer of the month, and his first since Sept. 9. Cool steak aside, Stanton still has the potential to reach the historic 60-home run club.

Only five players have ever reached 60 homers. Babe Ruth hit 60 in 1927 then Roger Maris 61 in 1961, a record that stood until 1998 when Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire hit 66 and 70, respectively. Then Barry Bonds hit 73 in 2001 to set the current record. In between the two records, Sosa hit 63 and 64 (in 1999 and 2001) and McGwire hit 65 in 1991.

Whichever side you take on baseball’s steroid era and the all-time record books — and we know everybody has an opinion on that one — there’s no denying that Stanton reaching 60, or maybe even 61, would put him rare air.

Twelve more games. Let’s see if he can do it.

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Mike Oz is the editor of Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @MikeOz

Aaron Judge hits homer No. 44, now five shy of MLB's rookie record

In case you haven’t noticed, Aaron Judge appears to be back. The New York Yankees slugger, who suffered a terrible post-All-Star slump, has hit five homers in his past eight games after a first-inning blast Monday night at Yankees Stadium against the Minnesota Twins.

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That’s No. 44 for Judge, who is now getting closer to Mark McGwire’s all-time rookie record of 49, which he reached in 1987. It’s stood for 30 years, but could very well be falling soon if Judge has indeed found his homer stroke. The 25-year-old hit only three homers in all of August after 27 in the season’s first three months. But he already has seven in September to go along with 15 RBIs.

Aaron Judge (left) and Gary Sanchez celebrate Judge's homer Monday night. (Getty Images)
Aaron Judge (left) and Gary Sanchez celebrate Judge’s homer Monday night. (Getty Images)

Judge was also hitting .262 in the last 13 games heading into Monday’s action. That’s not the .326 average he had at the end of June, but it’s not the .185 he hit in August either.

And the Yankees will take it all, since they’re currently trying to catch the Boston Red Sox in the AL East. They were three games back entering play Monday. Either way, the Yanks look good for a wild-card spot in the AL, which means we’ll see if Judge can launch these bombs in the postseason.

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Mike Oz is the editor of Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @MikeOz

Aaron Judge hits homer No. 44, now five shy of MLB's rookie record

In case you haven’t noticed, Aaron Judge appears to be back. The New York Yankees slugger, who suffered a terrible post-All-Star slump, has hit five homers in his past eight games after a first-inning blast Monday night at Yankees Stadium against the Minnesota Twins.

[Now’s the time to sign up for Fantasy Football! Join for free]

That’s No. 44 for Judge, who is now getting closer to Mark McGwire’s all-time rookie record of 49, which he reached in 1987. It’s stood for 30 years, but could very well be falling soon if Judge has indeed found his homer stroke. The 25-year-old hit only three homers in all of August after 27 in the season’s first three months. But he already has seven in September to go along with 15 RBIs.

Aaron Judge (left) and Gary Sanchez celebrate Judge's homer Monday night. (Getty Images)
Aaron Judge (left) and Gary Sanchez celebrate Judge’s homer Monday night. (Getty Images)

Judge was also hitting .262 in the last 13 games heading into Monday’s action. That’s not the .326 average he had at the end of June, but it’s not the .185 he hit in August either.

And the Yankees will take it all, since they’re currently trying to catch the Boston Red Sox in the AL East. They were three games back entering play Monday. Either way, the Yanks look good for a wild-card spot in the AL, which means we’ll see if Judge can launch these bombs in the postseason.

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Mike Oz is the editor of Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @MikeOz