Dusty Baker and Tony La Russa have a combined 68 years of managerial experience and 4,703 wins between them, including Thursday night’s 10-2 win by the Astros over the White Sox.
Baker, the most accomplished African-American manager in MLB history, and La Russa made history in the first meeting between two managers over the age of 70 in the modern era (1900).
MLBbro and All-Star candidate Michael Brantley set the tone with a three-run blister to give the Astros a 3-0 lead and they never looked back.
These guys are meeting for the first time as 70-year-olds, but they have a long history of battling between the lines and from the top step.
This is their fourth freakin’ decade coaching against each other. Most people don’t know their spouses that well. However, it is the first time in a decade and there were certainly some senior citizen bragging rights at stake.
All jokes aside, these guys are still sharp as swords. Like the masters in the old Wu-Tang videos who looked 100 but were untouchable in hand-to-hand combat against younger, stronger adversaries.
The Astros are now 40-28 and just two games behind the Oakland A’s in the AL and are one of just five teams in the American League with 40 wins.
The Chicago White Sox are 43-26 and share the American League’s best record.
This meeting of the minds didn’t live up to its potential as the Sox had an off night and the Astros bats continue to torch teams led by Jose Altuve who has 9 homers this month.
Expect to see both of these teams in the playoffs and the senior citizens at the helm will both be at the top of their games if they happen to meet.
It would be quite a show to see old Dusty going head up and matching wits with the three-time World Series mastermind.
Both managers have taken teams with talent and elevated them to the next level. True contenders.
Baker has seamlessly taken over for former disgraced manager AJ Hinch and helped the Astros regain some integrity along the way.
As long as the Astros continue to win games under Dusty’s leadership, Houston’s front office will look like geniuses to the fans and the rest of baseball for bringing in the OG skipper and further separating the front office and ownership from the World Series scandal that rocked MLB.
Tuesday night marked the return of Toronto Blue Jays high-priced outfielder George Springer. As planned, Springer played five innings out at center field and went hitless in four tries at the lead-off spot with the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons.
Check out the new guy right at the top of our lineup tonight. Welcome the Herd on an MLB rehab assignment George Springer! pic.twitter.com/ApmKvw7BOY
Activating the nitrous boost out the box brought a sigh of relief for both the Blue Jays execs and Springer as doubts usually loom once a player comes back from a long injury designation.
His return marked the second time for Springer after missing the first month of the season due to right quad and oblique injuries. His first attempt happened in late April/early May, where he played in four games as the designated hitter before the Bluebirds placed their million-dollar man on the injury list.
Springer hit three times out of 15 attempts in those four games with three RBI, two bases on balls, and two home runs.
Can you imagine adding a bat of this magnitude back in the lineup for the already stacked Blue Jays, who currently have a top-three offense in baseball? They recently had eight homers in a single game vs. the Boston Red Sox, the most ever by an opposing team at Fenway Park.
When healthy, Springer is a monster. Adding him to an already stacked Toronto offense will be a game-changer.
In his final two seasons with the Houston Astros during the 2019-2020 seasons, he combined to hit .284/376/.576 for 133 runs, 128 RBI, and 53 home runs in just 173 games.
Those numbers were the reason the 31-year-old three-time All-Star was the Blue Jays’ number one target during free agency for the former World Series MVP, who went on to sign a six-year, $150 million contract this past winter.
Springer’s time in the minors is unknown, as the Blue Jays want to protect their prized acquisition and have him return to centerfield for their centralized location in Buffalo as soon as possible.
Blue Jays analyst for SportsCenter Scott Mitchell tweeted a quote from manager Charlie Montoyo who said, “It could take one game, it could take five, it could take 10. We are going to communicate with him every day to see how he feels.”
George Springer starts rehab assignment Tuesday with Triple-A Buffalo in Rochester.
Montoyo on timeline: “It could take one game, it could take five, it could take 10. We’re going to communicate with him every day to see how he feels.”#BlueJays
Coincidentally, the destination between Triple-A Rochester, New Jersey, and Sahlen Field, where the Blue Jays play, is only a 75-minute drive, so his call to the show should be in a scintilla of a second.
Look for Springer to get back in game shape, as his Bisons take on the Redwings, including Tuesday night in a six consecutive game battle.
Once a party starter for the Royals, Dyson has been a valuable asset off the bench this season. The 36-year-old still can be productive on the field and at the plate and the Royals have certainly seen that this season.
One thing about Dyson is that whether he’s coming off the bench or starting, he will leave it all out on the field.
This season Dyson has appeared in 34 games and is batting .277 with 13 hits and seven runs scored. He’s not a power hitter, but he knows how to get on base and make things happen.
He also etched himself in the Royals record books. On May 20, 2021, he stole his 179th base as a Royal which put him past Frank White for fifth all-time.
Dyson may not play in as many games as he did earlier in his career but when his number is called, he makes sure he’s ready.
He had a really good ending to May, going 2-for-4 against the Minnesota Twins.
In a recent game, on June 12, he had a solid performance at the plate going 1-for-3 with a walk and a stolen base against the Oakland Athletics.
Dyson has been around the game for a while as he’s currently in his 12th year. He’s in his second stint with the Royals and can provide a lot of knowledge and experience to the younger players.
Dyson won his first and only World Series title with the Royals back in 2015. He played an important role on that team and he’s still playing an important role now.
With an injury to Andrew Benintendi, Dyson could see a lot more action on the field going forward.
Dyson has played with five different teams while spending most of his career with the Royals.
During the 2016 season, he had one of his best seasons statistically. He finished the season with a .278 batting average with 83 hits, 25 RBI, and 30 stolen bases.
This brother has put up impressive numbers numerous times throughout his career and even though he’s in his mid-30s, any team would benefit from having him in the lineup. He’s that teammate you would love to play with. The energy he displays is contagious, and he impacts whether he’s in the lineup or on the bench.
As the season progresses, look for the Royals to find more ways to utilize Dyson more.
At the end of the day, the MLBbro vet still has game.
Andrew Toles has not suited up in a Dodgers uniform since September of 2018, but fortunately for Toles, the Dodgers refuse to let a uniform validate his worth.
Despite not being an active member of the team, Toles still has a contract with the Dodgers. He’s on the restricted list, so he isn’t getting any pay or playing time. Instead, he’s getting something more important: access to the proper mental health and medical care.
Toles’ journey to the big leagues had been a roller coaster ride in itself. After his dismissal from the University of Tennessee baseball team in 2011, he played at Chipola College before getting drafted in the third round by the Tampa Bay Rays in 2012. As a member of the Rays’ organization, Toles produced on the field. In 2013 he led the Class-A Midwest League with a .326 batting average and 62 stolen bases.
The common phrase that teams used when releasing Toles was “personal matters.” Due to more personal matters, Toles’ promising baseball career was cut short once again in 2015 after being released by the Rays. However, it wasn’t long before the future started to look bright for Toles once again.
In September 2015, the Dodgers signed him to a minor league contract. He’d eventually get his call to the big leagues in July 2016.
He had some great moments with the Dodgers and proved that he definitely belongs in The Bigs.
Three years later, the Dodgers announced that Toles had been put on the restricted list. The reasoning they provided had been heard multiple times before. Toles had more personal matters, and he never suited up for the team again.
What many people didn’t know at the time, was that Toles’ personal matters were mental health episodes that had been occurring frequently. Throughout the course of his adult life, his family confirmed that he has been to 20 different mental health facilities.
After multiple run-ins with the law due to erratic behavior, doctors finally diagnosed him with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Toles had been under contract with the Dodgers upon being diagnosed, but despite the diagnosis, the Dodgers were not ready to let him go.
By keeping Toles under contract, he has access to the necessary resources and insurance to help him continue to fight his mental health obstacles. The last anyone heard, regarding Toles and his status with getting the proper help, he had already begun inpatient treatment.
At the end of the day, the Dodgers are doing something that a lot of employers traditionally have never done; they are acknowledging and prioritizing the mental health of one of their own.
Word about Toles’ behavior was nothing new for the organization, but the diagnoses themselves were. Toles does not necessarily have a track record of being consistent with treatment, but many people struggling with mental health issues share that same pattern. Rather than distance themselves from Toles, his mental health, and the legal battles that he had been involved in due to his behavior, there is an effort amongst the Dodgers’ organization to help him.
Normally, a player starting his 15th season in the big leagues is considered on the decline.
But for Los Angeles Angels outfielder Justin Upton, a recent move up the batting order has served as a reminder of why he was selected with the first overall pick in the 2007 MLB Draft.
With his team struggling to stay in the playoff race without Mike Trout, Angels manager Joe Maddon decided to make a drastic move to spark his lethargic ball club. His decision was to move the power-hitting, four-time All-Star Upton into the leadoff spot.
With Upton now being protected by budding superstar Shohei Ohtani in the lineup, Justin has looked a lot like the three-time Silver Slugger winner the Angels traded for back in 2017.
Over his last 15 games, Justin has hit six bombs and driven in 11 while slashing an impressive .309/.424/.727. This offensive explosion from Upton is much needed with Trout still out with a calf injury, and his manager knows it.
“These guys have really come up big, and J-Up, even though he had just the one hit (a leadoff HR), you put up a point on the first swing and you can see what that does to the pitcher,” said Maddon to mlb.com during the start of Upton’s hot streak. “ He pitched relatively well after that, but give up five[runs in the first]. So again, J-up is doing his job. He got us going.”
The decision to move Upton has paid off significantly, as the Angels have won seven of their last ten ballgames. If Upton is able to continue his hot hitting, he may be rewarded with his fifth trip to the All-Star Game.
-11-5 on over 1 in L16 & at least 1 in 14 of 16 w/6 HR & 5 2B -Leading off for visiting team to maximize opps, decent matchup & AZ bullpen also not good -Small plus odds w/push chance – we take it pic.twitter.com/o46y06pend
“Right now, he’s at 14 home runs and 29 RBI on the year,” writes Evan Desani of halohangout.com. “If he continues to hit at the rate he has in these past 15 games, he’ll be at 25 home runs and 41 RBI by the time of the [All-Star] game.”
Numbers that impressive would surely be enough for an All-Star nod. But even without that recognition, Justin Upton’s success is important for the continued growth of the game in the Black community. Something that the Upton family has contributed to in historic fashion throughout the years.
Justin and his older brother, Melvin “B.J.” Upton, are the only two brothers in MLB history to be selected first and second overall in the modern draft era (albeit two different drafts).
The Upton’s are also the first brother duo to make it into the 20-20 club(20 home runs and 20 stolen bases). The due\o have even managed to play together in the same outfield twice as members to the San Diego Padres and Atlanta Braves.
B.J. is no longer in the league, but his younger brother Justin has certainly carried the torch in his absence.
Upton’s awakening couldn’t have come at a better time, not only for the Angels but for Black fans around the country.
Jala Norman discusses the inner-city rivalry between the Cubs and White Sox and how their new City Connect Jerseys reflect each team’s city, history, fans, and personality. The Chicago squads share the city, but each team has a culture of its own.
Arizona D-Backs (June 18th), San Francisco Giants (July 9th), LA Dodgers (Late August)