If this is your first visit, be sure to
check out the FAQ by clicking the
link above. You may have to register
before you can post: click the register link above to proceed. To start viewing messages,
select the forum that you want to visit from the selection below.
"They threw at Napoli on purpose," Cashner said. "I hit two guys on the elbow and they threw behind Napoli's head."
Napoli also had a single and a home run in his first two at-bats against McCullers. Astros manager A.J. Hinch said he did not condone throwing behind an opposing hitter but. ...
"I don't condone Altuve getting hit or Yuli getting hit, either," Hinch said. "The inside of the plate when we're on defense is ours, too. Obviously, he's not going to let him get extended again. You don't want balls going behind any hitter, namely your own. But they're going to get away from time to time, especially when you're trying to drive a ball inside."
The pitch was the first one of the at-bat.
"Obviously, I didn't like it," Napoli said. "I've been in the game a long time. I understand how things work. Two of their guys get hit, but all he has to do is put it in my hip and I run down to first base. No one likes 95 [mph] behind their back."
Napoli started walking toward the mound and yelling at McCullers. Home plate umpire Gerry Davis tried to head off Napoli and other crew members tried to keep the teams from rushing into the field. They did not succeed and tempers flared among a number of players in a tussle in front of the pitcher's mound.
"He said I smell good," McCullers said. "I said, 'I got some new cologne. Do you want to come smell it? You can smell it.' That was as it."
Hardly. Carlos Gomez and Shin-Soo Choo appeared especially animated on the Rangers side. McCullers was barking right back at Napoli and his catcher Brian McCann was also irate about the situation.
"I was trying to go in hard," McCullers said. "I threw in all game, whether they were lefties or righties. I came in a lot Gomez, a lot on Choo. I threw Napoli a heater on the outer half earlier in the game and he hit it out. So Mac and I kind of said, 'Hey we're going to try to go in for effect, for a strike, open up that outer-half of the plate.'
"I was just trying to go inside and it got away. He took some exception to it. It is what it is."
There was some pushing and shouting, but nothing seriously physical. Nobody was ejected and McCullers ended up striking out Napoli to end the inning.
"I think anytime somebody throws behind a hitter's head it's going to create some tension," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said "I get that we're playing baseball and it's hard baseball. They had two guys diving and get hit on pads and he gave up a home run to Napoli and then throw behind his head. Yeah, I think that deserves a little anxiety and anger."
Napoli admitted the incident will only heat up the Rangers-Astros rivalry.
"Yeah, but what's not fun about that?" Napoli said. "That's how it should be. There's too much, people that are friends, and talking before the game, buddy-buddy. I remember coming up, if we were playing that night, it was time to get down and play a tough game and do what you have to do to win. It's what it should be."
NEW YORK — Growing up in New Mexico, the only major league team Alex Bregman consistently rooted for was whichever happened to be playing against the Yankees.
His mother, Jackie, a native of Long Island, N.Y., loved the Bronx Bombers, so Bregman and his younger siblings, sister Jessie and brother A.J., teased her by being contrarians. Their father, Sam, was in on the fun, too — he was raised in Maryland as a fan of the Baltimore Orioles, a longtime Yankees' American League East foe.
But there was one important exception to Bregman's anti-Yankees sentiment — Derek Jeter. Like countless others playing at all levels today, the 23-year-old Astros third baseman idolized "The Captain," drawn in by his knack for performing in the clutch and incredible track record of winning. It's no coincidence Bregman wears No. 2.
When the Yankees retire that uniform number and unveil Jeter's plaque in the hallowed Monument Park on Sunday night, the home team and those in an expected raucous crowd will be far from the only ones in the building entranced by the moment. Jeter's impact will be felt on the visitors' side, too, as former teammates and former opponents but most of all as fans.
Astros shortstop Carlos Correa grew up trying to emulate the iconic Yankee shortstop's signature jump throw. Bregman, a natural shortstop, did the same. First baseman and former middle infielder Yuli Gurriel, a Cuban defector, still cherishes his selection to the same all-tournament team as Jeter at the end of the inaugural 2006 World Baseball Classic. Jeter is his idol, too, he said.
Twelve members of the Astros' active roster played against Jeter before his retirement, as did two on their coaching staff — manager A.J. Hinch and bench coach Alex Cora. Outfielder Carlos Beltran and catcher Brian McCann were teammates of Jeter in 2014, the last of the 14-time All-Star's 20 seasons in pinstripes. McCann will always be able to say he was on deck for Jeter's walk-off single in his final at-bat at Yankee Stadium.
"He was a role model for I feel like every kid that played shortstop growing up," Correa said. "He played the game the right away and obviously off the field he was a great guy, as well. He never got into trouble. Your parents want you to follow a guy like him. You watched him play and you fell in love with the way he played the game."
The Bregman family is so fond of Jeter that seven or eight years ago they named their white labrador retriever after him. (Their brown lab is named Koufax.) As an LSU freshman Bregman actually met Jeter a tailgate before an LSU-Alabama football game but only for a quick hello. He came into this weekend hoping Beltran would introduce him again Sunday.
Correa also hoped to meet the Yankees' all-time hits leader. Relief pitcher Chris Devenski, a shortstop through his junior college days, said he "wouldn't even know what to say" if lucky enough to meet his favorite player on the team he grew up supporting.
Outfielder Josh Reddick will never forget the first time he reached second base in a game at Yankee Stadium as a rookie for the Boston Red Sox in 2009. He was just days removed from his debut, his first hit and his first home run. Jeter tapped the 22-year-old Reddick on the back and congratulated him, adding that he had been watching.
"I was speechless," Reddick recalled this week.
For all his fandom, Bregman saw Jeter play live in person only once, at Arizona's Chase Field against the Diamondbacks years ago when in the area for travel ball. He remembers watching Jeter's dramatic final at-bat at Yankee Stadium on television surrounded by about two dozen friends who had packed into his LSU dorm room.
"He was the captain on the field," said Bregman, who regards the famous "flip play" in the 2001 ALDS at Oakland as Jeter's best. "He went about his business the right away and he was a winner."
Hinch, the third-year Astros' manager, has long held a personal affection for Jeter. The 42-year-old former major league catcher is the same age as the Yankees legend and graduated high school the same year. Their fathers became friendly while traveling the country to watch their sons play in high school all-star games and showcase events leading to the 1992 draft.
Jeter signed out of high school that year — he was drafted sixth, five slots after the Astros took Phil Nevin, as has been well documented — while Hinch bypassed signing as a second-round pick to attend Stanford. They didn't encounter each other again until April 1998 when in Hinch's second series as a big leaguer his A's hosted the Yankees at Oakland's Coliseum.
By that point Jeter had already become a superstar, having been the AL's rookie of the year in 1996 and also won the first of his five World Series titles. But during practice he went out of his way to seek out Hinch and offer sympathy for the passing of Hinch's father, who had died of a heart attack when Hinch was a college freshman five years earlier.
That's just class and respect for people," Hinch said. "My dad and his dad weren't best of friends. They were in touch a little bit. But it was a meaningful moment in my life as I was watching him grow into a superstar in our game and I was breaking in."
Although Hinch admittedly isn't much of a collector, he keeps a bat autographed by Jeter in a case at his home. In Sept. 2014, between when he left the San Diego Padres' front office and joined the Astros as manager, he flew to New York and went to Yankee Stadium to watch Jeter against the Tampa Bay Rays in one of the final home games of the shortstop's career.
Early Sunday evening before the second game of a doubleheader, Hinch will have his Astros out in the third base dugout to witness the Jeter Day festivities. After the ceremony, no Yankee will ever be able to wear a single digit uniform number again.
"There's not a player on our team that won't have respect for him based on what he did and how he did it," Hinch said. "We'll be on the top step tipping our hat to him."
I believe Jeter was a great shortstop, but primarily because he could Hit well. Defensively, I always felt Adam Everett was much better. Unfortunately he hit near the Mendoza line. The difference defensively was that Jeter made easy plays look spectacular and Everett made spectacular plays look easy.
I salute Jeter as a great overall shortstop, but I wince when his defense is called great.
ps Two of my favorite players were Roger Metzger and Adam Everett. Both were great shortstops who struggled at the plate. And yeah, they were Astros.