Yesterday, Russell Martin made a catch that went international.
Foul ball towards the Phillies dugout, Martin hustles over to make the catch. He does so, but gets caught up in some sort of netting. He tries to get up but trips, pulling a metal rod towards his face.
He also has a man bun. A large one. How does he fit that under his helmet? So many questions.
In happier news, Martin did something I enjoy very much.
He talked pitching and broke down the starting five. It's full of good baseball-y nuggets.
On the Opening Day starter?
Are you asking if I chose that quote because Martin called J.A. Happ "Happer"? If so, I will tell you the answer is "Yes."
TVA Sports reports that the tickets to the 5th annual Blue Jays trip to Montreal are a slower sell this time around, likely because the series is on a Monday and a Tuesday, rather than over a weekend like in previous years.
They make this point that I would agree with that the Cardinals aren't as big a draw as say, the Red Sox (who have a big following in the Maritimes, for instance) or the Yankees (who have a big following on Planet Earth.)
The article goes on to say that the Jays, in an effort to boost sales, put Martin on a conference call to Quebec media.
Informed about the anticipated crowd, Martin had this to say:
«C’est sûr que c’est toujours plaisant de jouer devant des gradins remplis et le fait que les matchs soient présentés un lundi et un mardi n’aide pas les choses. J’espère que c’est parce que les gens attendent à la dernière minute pour se procurer des billets. Moi-même, j’ai tendance à faire cela.»
It's always great to play in front of a full stadium, but the fact that the games are Monday and Tuesday doesn't help. I'm hoping people will show up at the last minute to get tickets. I have a tendency to do that."
Martin reiterated that it's important that, every year, Montreal sends a message to the MLB that the interest for a team is there.
«Ça prend un message fort si on veut avoir un club, a dit le receveur de 35 ans, qui a joué son baseball mineur à Montréal. Si nos deux matchs peuvent attirer de très belles foules un lundi et un mardi, ça ne peut pas nuire à la situation. Il faut démontrer que l’engouement est toujours là. Et lorsqu’il y a de grosses foules, il règne toujours une meilleure ambiance dans le stade.»
It will take a strong statement if we want a team," said the 35 year old catcher, who played baseball in Montreal as a kid. "If our two games can attract big crowds on a Monday and a Tuesday, it can't hurt. We have to show that the enthusiasm is still there. And when there are big crowds, there is always a better atmosphere in the stadium.
A good salesman, Martin was sure to announce that fans will see the spectacular Marcus Stroman in one of the games.
The article calls Stroman "le spectaculaire Marcus Stroman". I think that needs to be on a t-shirt.
«Stroman, c’est l’un des meilleurs lanceurs des majeures, a dit Martin sur un ton enthousiaste. C’est un "entertainer" qui aime offrir un bon spectacle aux amateurs.»
Stroman is one of the best pitchers in the MLB,' said Martin excitedly. "He's an entertainer who likes putting on a show for the fans
Martin exposes his essential duality in this statement, as well as his Montreal roots. A key feature of Joual, the French that best represents Quebec, is to throw in English vocabulary or grammar and "Frenchify" when the French word won't do. It's considered by some to be a basilect, a lesser language, but I think it's an example of how language can stretch and fit in with the people who live with it.
And it has been used beautifully:
The article mentions that the team has lost two big names in Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista. But Martin argues that this is still a quality team.
«Si nos joueurs-clés peuvent demeurer en santé, nous formons l’un des meilleurs clubs, a-t-il avancé. J’aime notre personnel de lanceurs partants et on a une abondance de bons releveurs. L’équipe a fait de bonnes acquisitions au cours de l’hiver, sans que ce soit des échanges majeurs, et j’aime ce que je vois au camp d’entraînement. On a plus de vitesse au champ extérieur, ce qui aidera la cause de nos lanceurs.»
If our key players can stay healthy, we are one of the better teams. I like our starting pitchers and we have a good group relievers. The team made some good acquisitions over the winter, without huge trades, and I like what I see in Spring Training. We have more speed in the outfield, which will help the pitchers.
The article ends saying that the Jays haven't confirmed whether Vlad Jr., le futur joyau de l’organisation (the future jewel of the organization) will make the trek north for the two games.
Here's the thing- I think they should. Not because I think Vlad Jr. should play in the game, but I think this city that loved his father needs to see this kid. Here's why:
I'm not sure how many more of these exhibition games are going to be played in Montreal. Part of me wonders if they put it on a Monday and Tuesday against a team that isn't as big a draw because they want to kill it. And they will use a lack of fan interest as an excuse.
There are a few reasons. One is that their former GM was a Montrealer who has a personal interest in baseball in that city. This isn't a Shapiro initiative, it's a Beeston/Anthopoulos initiative. Two is that Montreal used to have a mayor who was a massive baseball fan, but he lost his re-election. The new mayor doesn't appear to care that much about having an MLB team return. The question of a new stadium is still hanging over everything.
I have no idea what it costs for this exhibition series to happen, but Shapiro and company have a history of trimming things that seem to be a money drain. I'm thinking of "State of the Franchise". He doesn't have the sentimental attachment to the idea of baseball in Montreal.
Whatever the future, we'll always have this:
2015 was really the best. Stupid Royals.
TVA Sports used a massive picture of Martin's face. And it's clear at some point he's chipped his front tooth. See?
In addition to battling with netting attached to metal poles, I saw two Biagini pitches bounce up and hit him in the face mask live and in person. I may have yelled, "Ease off the face, Joe." Catching is a perilous gig.
Bubble wrap, please. And maybe some rubber cement for that tooth.
Maybe the man bun provides extra padding.