Here’s a few things that caught my attention over the weekend:
Andrew McCutchen makes an impression
During the course of the Major League Baseball season, most teams send their players on visits to various children’s and veterans’ hospitals. And to those of us watching the clips on the news, it sometimes seems like those events are just photo ops to get positive publicity for millionaire athletes and their teams. But that overlooks the impact those visits can have on the people in those hospitals.
Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen visited Matt Graeber at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh earlier this year. Graeber was released from the hospital and went back to playing baseball this summer. He recently sent McCutchen a letter thanking him for his visit and for “inspir[ing] me to get better.”
Graeber also sent McCutchen an autographed home run ball in a reversal of the normal trend. We know about this interaction because McCutchen shared it on his Facebook page, where he thanked Graeber and called him a “true hero.”
A few more stories like this and I may start to lose some of my cynicism.
Vic Black files for free agency
Reliever Vic Black had shown flashes of promise in his first two seasons with the Mets and was expected to be part of their bullpen in 2015. A mix of injuries and poor performance kept him from factoring into the Mets’ plans for this season or the future.
Now 27, Black will have to negotiate his next contract coming off of a season when he had a record of 1-6 with a 5.94 ERA, walking 30 in 36.1 innings while allowing opponents to hit .285 against him.
I wish Black nothing but the best, but I suspect he could be looking at the indy leagues to start the 2016 season.
Hisanori Takahashi retires
Former New York Mets pitcher Hisanori Takahashi retired at the end of the NPB season in October. Takahashi spent one season with the Mets in 2010, making the team after signing a minor league contract. He went 10-6 with a 3.61 ERA in 53 appearances, mostly in relief.
After leaving the Mets as a free agent, Takahashi signed with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and spent most of the next two years there. He kicked around with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Chicago Cubs and Colorado Rockies organizations before returning to Japan in 2014.