In Short Order: Fall in love with Ketel Marte
Welcome to In Short Order, a weekly look at all the baseball that I like and can't stop obsessing over. We'll mostly live at the edges of the game; at the intersection of the weird, the fun and the esoteric. Oh yeah, and hair.
I fell in love on Wednesday night. It's rare to fall in love with a new player after about the age of 8 or so, but it happened. Every step from Ketel Marte's performance in the D-backs' 11-8 NL Wild Card Game victory demanded my full attention.
He hit two triples. No one had done that in the postseason since Mariano Duncan in 1993. A triple to the gap is pure hustle from everyone involved.
Everything Marte did screamed "I am fun! Watch me!" That included his teal cleats, which look more like something on the soccer pitch than the baseball field:
His first-inning single was on a 96-mph fastball in on his hands that he still laced into the outfield. When Marte struck out later in the game, he hopped his way out of the batter's box.
When he fielded a sharp grounder to start a double play, he pointed and smiled the whole time the ball was going around the horn. It's the infielder's equivalent of a bat flip -- and he used it during the biggest game of his career:
And when he stepped on the bag at second base to end the game, his joy was apparent when he embraced Daniel Descalso in an exuberant bear hug:
Acquired along with Game 1 starter Taijuan Walker over the offseason, the 23-year-old showed on Wednesday night that he deserves your full attention. And maybe your love, too.
Now then, let's get to the weird stuff:
You can't spell fun without two of the letters in bunt
The postseason has already seen some huge taters. But guess what? Bunts can be pretty cool, too, fellow kids. That's why we'll be highlighting the best bunt every week this postseason. Jeff Mathis, the D-backs catcher known for his glove, showed the awe-astounding power of a well-timed and well-placed bunt in the NL Wild Card Game.
With two outs and runners on the corners in the eighth inning, Mathis dropped down the bunt. It was hit perhaps a little too hard and too close to the mound, but it was enough to give the D-backs more breathing room.
Just what are David Robertson's calves made of?
Sure, Robertson pitched a career-high 3 1/3 innings when he shut down the Twins during the Yankees' 8-4 Wild Card Game victory. But the most impressive part of his performance: His calves. Seriously, whose calves are this defined?
One tweet pointed out something very interesting: Robertson probably has upside-down bowling pins under those socks:
Or maybe he's a beer connoisseur, and he's got hefeweizen glasses hidden under there:
Or, most likely, he's packing that bizarro 1990s toy "the Jibber Jabber" under his socks:
Are Jon Gray and Jimmie Sherfy actually the same person?
Unfortunately for the Rockies, their ghost-hunting hurler struggled in his postseason debut on Wednesday night. And though Arizona's Sherfy didn't make it into the game, he was spotted warming up in the bullpen. It was then that you may have noticed something odd ... was Gray playing double-agent? Did he change out of his Rockies uniform and become Sherfy?
Need more proof?
I mean, what's more likely: That there are two pitchers with reddish blonde long hair who are right-handed? Yeah, right.
You should know about when ...
Hawk Harrelson designed his own clothing
White Sox games are going to feel pretty different next year as the man with 1,000 catchphrases will enter semi-retirement and only call 20 games. Though you already know that Hawk is one of a kind, you may not know that he was also a fashion maven:
(photo by Stanley Forman)
Clothes off the rack weren't enough for the Hawk though. As he detailed in his autobiography, "Hawk," he also designed his own clothes.
Once, while attending a Boston Bruins game, he showed up "in an outfit of my own design with a touch of Nehru, a touch of Edwardian, and a nice big splash of pure Hawk. It was a gold-and-white silk-brocade suit. The jacket had a Nehru collar, but with Edwardian lapels, and the pants had a 12-inch pleats up the side. But the piece de resistance were the shoes. They were made of exactly the same material -- gold-and-white-silk brocade."
There is only one Hawk.
What to watch this weekend
How will Aaron Judge respond to the Indians' game plan?
Judge started off the postseason taking the golden sombrero with four strikeouts. The plan was simple -- give him a hearty dose of offspeed pitches:
It makes sense to attack Judge that way -- Judge was just 3-for-20 with 0 HRs off curveballs and sliders this year. It's expected that rookies will struggle against quality breaking balls, but then again, most rookies don't hit 52 home runs.
Can Judge and the rest of the Yankees offense adjust? Game 2 of their American League Division Series presented by Doosan gets underway this afternoon on MLB Network at 5 p.m. ET/4 p.m. CT -- one of four (yes, four) postseason games today.