MLB: New York Yankees at Toronto Blue Jays

Roy Halladay returned to Toronto, just for one night, to deliver the first pitch before the Jays’ home opener on Friday. The smitten crowd showered the former Jays ace with a rousing, heartfelt ovation as he rushed out to the mound, acknowledged the roars, tipped his cap to the visiting Yankees, and threw a cutter to Mark Buehrle, the ceremonial catcher and Halladay’s opposite number for many a beat writer’s dream – the two hour pitchers duel.

It was sort of surreal to watch from a distance, in the auxiliary press box furiously trying to find highlights of this monster home run Giancarlo Stanton pounded at nearly the same moment as the speakers boomed Halladay’s name in Toronto. The Blue Jays best player for a decade then did what he always did – he wasted no time. To blink was to miss it, a hacky analog for his brilliant career.

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MLB: New York Yankees at Toronto Blue Jays

Mashiro Tanaka made his highly-anticipated debut tonight for the New York Yankees, starting against the Blue Jays in Toronto’s home opener. With a throng of Japanese media on hand on top of the typically large New York contingent and a sold-out crowd, it was the perfect storm.

#TANAK did not disappoint under the watchful eyes of the Yankees “universe.” His final line looks great (7IP, 6 hits, 3 runs, 8 strikeouts, 0 walks) but failed to capture how truly in control Tanaka appeared for most of the game.

The Jays poked and slapped their share of singles through the Yankees’ infield in the early going but Tanaka really settled in after the second inning and mowed down the Blue Jays for the next five frames, only failing to retire Edwin Encarnacion (one of the AL’s premier sluggers, it should be noted.)

What did we learn about Masahiro Tanaka tonight? Splitters. There will be lots and lots of splitters. As far as the eye can see, splitters on splitters on splitters.

There will be splitters because the splitter is an insane pitch for Tanaka, especially against hitters seeing him for the first time.According to Brooks Baseball, Tanaka threw 24 total splitters, 10 of which the Blue Jays swung through and four others that went for hits.

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MLB: Minnesota Twins at Chicago White Sox

MLB.tv is in its 12th season of existence, a wonderful service and piece of technology that allows fans to watch their favorite team no matter their geographic location.

That is what and how MLB.tv should primarily be used – to follow your favorite team. So do that, watch them with hope in your heart.

But it also enables hardcore baseball fans to watch all the other, out-of-market games. They can track their fantasy players or watch their second favorite team, provided their parents did a poor enough job raising them to allow for such trite weakness.

While MLB.tv allows for a mosaic mode to watch multiple games at once, this is for degenerates or crazy people only.

Most people want to pick one game and watch it. Enjoy it. Get into it. But which game?

That’s a matter of personal preference. If you need some guidance, allow this list to determine the ten teams you most want to AVOID on your MLB.tv surfing, starting with the least desirable option in baseball right now.

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Dr. Lawrence A. Golding was one of the first academic voices in the discourse of drugs in sports. Golding, now retired, owned the title of “Distinguished Professor” at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas’s Department of Kinesiology. Before that, from 1958 through 1976, Golding was at Kent State University, where he became Director of the Applied Physiology Research Laboratory and performed a number of experiments and interviews aimed at figuring out exactly what drugs — like amphetamines and steroids — do to an athlete’s body.

Golding was a pioneer. Steroids and performance enhancing drugs were a peripheral issue at best in the sports world at this team, and most of the focus was on international competitions like the Olympics. Few had thought about the issue at all, much less applied scientific principles to it.

Consider the May 1973 headline “Physicians Differ On Use Of Cocaine For Injuries,” part of a series on sports and drugs by Newsday’s Sandy Padwe. “Some doctors say it would be a good drug for an athlete to use if he were competing with minor injuries,” Padwe wrote. “Other physicians say an athlete using cocaine wouldn’t have the body control he needs.” It seems safe to say our drug discourse has changed over the past 40 years.

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MLB: San Francisco Giants at Arizona Diamondbacks

Paul Goldschmidt owns Tim Lincecum. Paul Goldschmidt hits Tim Lincecum hard every time they face off. Every. Time. This is not a new phenomenon, as last season in this space we examined the impact of Goldschmidt’s Timmy tuning on his career line.

The beat went on yesterday afternoon, as Goldschimdt homered in his first plate appearance of the year against Lincecum. He later singled but was thrown out trying to stretch it into a double. It was the sixth career home run for Goldschimidt off the two-time Cy Young winner in just 21 career plate appearances to that point. Goldy can claim 12 hits and two walks in his 26 career PAs versus Timmy. That’s a lot.

It is unusual for one hitter to dominate a pitcher as great* as Tim Lincecum, one would think. In fact someone asked me just that on Twitter: do other great pitchers have hitters who own them as Goldschimdt owns the Giants former ace?

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MLB: Colorado Rockies at San Diego Padres

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MLB: Chicago Cubs at Pittsburgh Pirates

The video replay system isn’t perfect. It’s better than what came before (nothing) and will be improved upon as the years go by. For now, it works. It isn’t pretty but for now, it’s a success?

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