Eric Hosmer’s game-tying run in Game Five of the World Series was captured in a memorable photo by Chang W. Lee of the New York Times, though the picture’s most notable aspect was the array of horrified reactions from Mets fans in the background. The Times tracked down 11 of the people immortalized in the photo to get their take on the moment months later. The group consisted of nine Mets fans bemoaning their team’s fate and two people who had an opposite reaction — Royals legend George Brett and his wife Leslie.
As we’re just hours away from the first games of the 2016 season, let’s look around baseball…
- Speaking to reporters today (including Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic and MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert), Diamondbacks GM Dave Stewart and manager Chip Hale addressed the team’s next steps in the wake of A.J. Pollock’s elbow fracture. For now, Stewart said, the D’Backs will give internal candidates a chance before looking at players outside the organization to take Pollock’s place. Hale suggested the D’Backs are looking at players who might not make their current teams’ Opening Day rosters, so Arizona could wait at least a couple of days to fully assess the market.
- An unknown Korean team has reportedly made a “substantial” offer to the Orioles for Hyun Soo Kim, MASNsports.com’s Roch Kubatko reports, though Kubatko notes that this item has yet to be confirmed by a second source. The offer could be a moot point if true, though, since Kim has firmly stated that he wishes to play in North America. The Orioles, meanwhile, have no intention of releasing Kim and eating his entire $7MM contract. The unusual situation between Kim and the O’s has left both sides in a “state of suspended animation,” one source tells Kubatko.
- Athletics lefty Eric Surkamp is drawing interest from teams in Asia, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Surkamp’s minor league deal with the A’s allows him to opt out in June and look for opportunities elsewhere. Surkamp isn’t expected to make Oakland’s Opening Day roster.
- With James Loney entering perhaps his final day with the Rays, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times looks back on the team’s decision to re-sign the first baseman in the 2013-14 offseason. The Rays outbid other suitors like the Pirates and Brewers to re-sign Loney on a three-year, $21MM deal, which still stands as the most expensive free agent deal of Stuart Sternberg’s ownership tenure. Needless to say, the deal has not worked out, as Loney was a sub-replacement level player in 2015 (-1.3 fWAR) and he’s already been told he won’t make Tampa’s Opening Day roster.
- Cedric Hunter is one of the more unlikely players to be suiting up on Opening Day, MLB.com’s Paul Hagen writes, as the longtime minor leaguer unexpectedly earned himself a regular outfield job with the Phillies. A third-round pick for the Padres in the 2006 draft, Hunter has hit .288/.348/.413 with 76 homers over 4727 career plate appearances in the minors, playing for four different organizations’ farm systems. His MLB career consisted of just six games for San Diego in 2011, yet Hunter is now back in the bigs and still looking to stick around. “To be realistic, it’s just beginning. I haven’t proved myself at all on this level yet,” Hunter said. “So everybody’s giving me congrats and I’m happy about that, but in the back of my mind, I’m like, ’Look, this is just the beginning. I’ve really got to go out and prove myself and show that I’m ready to be here.’ “