Cubs game! Let’s all race down to Wrigley Field, hold our tickets up, then lock arms with our weird cousin and run across the street.
Awww nevermind the Sunday Night game is at Citi Field. New York or Burst!
In 1971, the Astros called up a pitcher named Larry Yount when the rosters expanded in September. He finally got a chance to pitch on September 15, with the Astros trailing 4-1. While he was warming up, he felt pain in his elbow. He was removed, sent back to the minors and never reached the majors again. He is credited with 1 major league game, 0 batters faced. He is the only player in history with that line, and he is a) the most September Call-Up ever and b) a reminder that most of the guys who get called up in September are barely, barely major leaguers, but they’re still interesting. So, since this Sunday night’s game was totally meaningless, here’s something that is at least moderately interesting about each of the Cubs’ and Mets’ September call-ups.
Cubs call-ups: D.J. LaMahieu, Lou Montanez, Bryan LaHair and John Gaub.
There are 111 players who homered in their first major league at bat. Coincidentally, or maybe not, there are almost exactly as many players who have grounded into a double play in their first at bat. (I counted about 110 since 1901.) Two of those players are in the Cubs lineup: D.J. LeMahieu, who did it in May of this year; and Bryan LaHair, who did it with Seattle in 2008. Meanwhile, Lou Montanez is one of the 111 who hit a home run in the first at bat. The average career home run total of those 111 is 46. The median is nine and a half. Montanez has five.
This is LaHair on the left, during last night’s game.
Aren’t they the cutest?
John Gaub doesn’t have a car. He has a bike. He’s also strangely depressing:
To improve as a baseball player I need to: Throw 100 MPH
For Christmas I want a: new arm
What reality show would you be on and how would you fare? Deal or No Deal … I’d probably pick the 1-cent briefcase
Lighten up, John. This pretty lady thinks you’re cute:
Gaub was drafted by the Indians and given $155,000 to sign, despite some pretty serious shoulder injuries in college. The injuries got worse and a doctor told him he probably wouldn’t ever pitch again. I’m getting pretty sick of doctors.
Mets call-ups: Josh Satin, Josh Stinson, Val Pascucci, Miguel Batista, Chris Schwinden, Daniel Herrera, Mike Baxter.
Josh Stinson was signed by Benny Latino, the Louisiana-area scout who is most famous for finding Toe Nash. After he signed Nash, Latino was made a full-time scout for the Rays. Then, Nash flopped and was accused of statutory rape and the Rays dropped him. If you don’t remember Nash, don’t just read those last two sentences and move on; stop and read the full story I linked to. It’s glorious, especially in hindsight.
Anyway, Latino. ”I got this other kid now, the fastest kid in the Sugar Cane League,” Latino told a reporter with Harper’s Magazine a few years later. “I met him in the parking lot one night after a game. His friends were betting whether he could jump over a car. I said, ‘I’ll take forty of that action.’ And he did it. I signed him for $22,000, and he’s in the Sally League. He’s a helluva story.” Josh Stinson is not that player. Josh Stinson is a 37th-round pick out of a Louisiana High School and a right-handed reliever who has some small chance of passing Jesse Litsch to become the second-best 37th-round pick ever, which is what most scouting is actually about. (The best: Bake McBride.)
Valentino Pascucci played in Japan for two seasons, where Bobby Valentine was his manager. In Japan, the crowd comes up with elaborate cheers for each player. Here is the cheer for Pascucci:
Chris Schwinden is listed in the Mets’ media guide as 6′ 3″ 165 pounds. Official listings are terribly unreliable, but there are only 13 players in history listed as that tall and that light. The lightest ever (listed) was Ezequiel Estacio, at 6′ 3″ and 150 pounds (but I don’t believe it). I don’t really believe the Schwinden measurements, either, and last night he confirmed via twitter that he actually weighs 210. So, yeah. That last paragraph was pointless. Chris Schwinden!
More unreliable official height listings: Daniel Herrera is the shortest player currently in the majors, according to those official listings. If he could meet one person, it would be Willie Nelson.
Miguel Batista, of course, is a published poet and novelist. Sort of! Those things of his are published, but the covers — this one is obviously a middle school yearbook — scream vanity press. But still. One of his short stories was in an ESPN compilation of sports fiction, alongside works by Michael Bible and Dave Eggers. You can actually read this one online, here. Just skip to page 103. It’s like they always say: Write what you know.
“Tonito connected and a loud crack echoed through the air. Everyone stared as the ball carried higher and higher, farther and farther. He raised his hands over his head as he competed his trot around the bases.”
That’s actually not fair. Batista has an ERA+ better than the league average in nine of the past 10 seasons. He might get there again this year. And he has a home run rate better than the league average for his career.
Miguel Batista. Surprise!
Josh Satin got the first hit of his career the other day. He talked about it afterward:
As the inning progressed, Satin worked his way around the bases, receiving kind words at each stop, before scoring the Mets’ first run.
“It was a great feeling having, you know, Ryan Zimmerman saying, ‘Congratulations on your first hit,’ ” Satin said.
And, finally, Mike Baxter. Baxter played in Queens for the legendary high school baseball coach Jack Curran. Curran has coached varsity baseball and basketball for more than 50 years, and has more wins than any American coach ever, according to many stories about him. Yet, as far as I can tell, Baxter is the first player from the school to make the majors during Curran’s tenure. (This might be wrong, but I’ve been looking hard.)
Baxter goes back to his school every year to see Curran. This is them.
Baxter is on the right.
This is a thing, I guess?
Aramis Ramirez keeps his ranch dressing by his kitchen sink, where dish soap usually goes, and almost certainly uses ranch dressing as dish soap (and Cholula hot sauce when he needs something tough on grease).
This is a better thing:
Sam Miller is a baseball writer who covers the Angels for the Orange County Register. He is on Twitter.