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PostHeaderIcon Elliot Johnson Makes Case for the Majors: Spring Training Update 9 March 2014

Elliot Johnson at batFor some players, spring training has to be stressful. If your status reads “NRI” (non-roster invitee) or if you are at the bottom of your team’s depth chart (or you think you are), then how well you do in spring training makes all the difference.

The Indian’s Elliot Johnson, in spring training as a non-roster invitee,  must be struggling with that now. And so far he seems to be making a strong case. Johnson was 5 for 13 last week (.385) with 3 rbis, bringing his total so-far to 5 rbis in just 16 at bats. Can he keep this level of performance up for most of spring training? If he does, will it mean he makes the roster?

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PostHeaderIcon Bam Bam and the Bambino

BryceHarper-bandaidBryce Harper (known as Bam Bam) is perhaps the last person you would expect to be a baseball historian. But Harper started Spring Training drawing a historical analogy to his injury running into a wall last year. He was, it seems, just like Babe Ruth.

On July 5, 1924, Harper recounted, Babe Ruth ran into the wall in Washington DC’s Griffith Stadium, knocking himself out cold for 5 minutes. Despite that, the Bambino refused to leave the game and went 3 for 3. That is the kind of all-out play that Harper is known for, so maybe there is something to the analogy.

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PostHeaderIcon Barney Starts Hot: Spring Training Update 2 March 2014

darwin-barneyIts too early to read much into the first week’s performance in Spring Training games, but its hard not to notice that Darwin Barney has started hot. Barney went 3 for 5 in the first handful of games, with a home run, 2 RBIs and a run scored.

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PostHeaderIcon Missionaries and Baseball in Britain, 1935

LDS Baseball Team West London League 1935As I’ve explored the history of Mormons in baseball and baseball among Mormons, I’ve been somewhat surprised at the number of times that Mormon missionaries have been involved in playing baseball in different countries around the world, often as the sport is just starting there. I’ve found information that shows this involvement in Japan, Australia, South Africa and in Britain.

In this latter case, baseball was first introduced in 1890, when a small league was formed in Derby. But that attempt failed, and a later, much more successful attempt, came in 1933 with the founding of the National Baseball Association. And according to the following excerpts of an article from the Improvement Era, LDS missionaries were at the meeting that founded the organization, and a year later provided a league-winning team in the West London League.

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PostHeaderIcon Fans Fail Sogard in “Face of MLB” Final

eric-sogardOakland As 2nd baseman and LDS Church member Eric Sogard finished behind the Mets’ David Wright in the final in MLB’s “Face of MLB” popularity contest. The twitter-based vote finished at 8am EST today and the results were announced on MLB Network’s Hot Stove at 9am.

The Face of MLB contest is basically an MLB promotional campaign to engage fans for the upcoming season. Each team nominates a player who then faces a player from another team in a day-long twitter vote. The winner advances to the next round in an elimination contest that ended with the final round that finished today.

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PostHeaderIcon Sogard in “Face of MLB” finals! Vote is today!

eric-sogardOakland As 2nd baseman and LDS Church member Eric Sogard has reached the final in MLB’s “Face of MLB” popularity contest. Sogard faces the Mets’ David Wrigth in the twitter-based vote today, starting at 9am EST.

Fans can vote on twitter up to 25 times until 8am tomorrow.

The Face of MLB contest is basically an MLB promotional campaign to engage fans for the upcoming season. Each team nominates a player who then faces a player from another team in a day-long twitter vote. The winner advances to the next round in an elimination contest that ends with the final today.

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PostHeaderIcon Eric Sogard reaches “Face of MLB” final four

eric-sogardThe nerd-look is benefiting LDS ballplayer Eric Sogard, who has reached the final four in MLB’s “Face of MLB” popularity contest. Sogard faces the Blue Jays’ José Bautista in the twitter-based vote today, starting at 9am EST.

The Face of MLB contest is basically an MLB promotional campaign to engage fans for the upcoming season. Each team nominates a player who then faces a player from another team in a day-long twitter vote. The winner advances to the next round in an elimination contest that will end this week.

Today Sogard faces the Blue Jay’s José Bautista, who has been actively seeking voters by agreeing to follow their twitter accounts (he already is following over 170,000 fans). Fans can vote up to 25 times by twitter for the player they like. To vote for Sogard simply send a tweet with the hash tags #EricSogard and #FaceOfMLB.

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PostHeaderIcon Did Heber J. Grant suggest Sunday Baseball?

Heber J. Grant and Salt Lake Red Stockings, August 1877Mormon sports fans are likely tired of the all to frequent arguments over who should play baseball on Sunday and under what circumstances. Anyone who is an active member of the Church and who pays attention to lessons on how to keep the sabbath day already knows all the arguments. This post isn’t about those arguments. Instead, it is about history: specifically rumors about Sunday baseball and members’ reactions to that rumor.

Apparently, in 1913 at least, there was just such a rumor going around, claiming that Heber J. Grant, then an apostle, had told a group of church members that they could play baseball on Sunday.

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PostHeaderIcon Groovy Guthrie

Jeremy-Guthrie-Kansas-City-RoyalsSomewhere someone has named the things that major leaguers do these days during the off-season — perhaps something that is the equivalent of “stupid human tricks.” Its not that there is anything wrong with what they do. Its just that sometimes it reveals something unusual about them, such as odd musical tastes from someone in a testosterone-laden profession, like the Royal’s Jeremy Guthrie.

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PostHeaderIcon If you can’t pitch today, teach instead?

Bryan HarperWhat’s a ballplayer to do during the off-season? For many minor-league players, such as Bryan Harper, it helps if you can bring in some cash.

The minimum salary for minor league players NOT on the 40-man roster is just $7,500 a season, which means that earning something on the off-season is a must. And if you can give some kids a bit of a thrill in the process, so much the better. Harper does just that when he shows up in Las Vegas inner-city schools as a substitute teacher.

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