Baseball, you just have to love baseball. No matter which team you root for, at the end of the day, you have to love the great game.
As part of Major League Baseball’s association with the Welcome Back Veterans program, the first pitch for Thursday’s World Series Game 2 was thrown out by Marine Corporal Nicholas Kimmel.
“It’s like a dream,” he said in an exclusive interview with USA TODAY Sports. “Being in the Marines and having to do so much stuff over and over … the nerves kinda go away.”
Kimmel, a former high school baseball star at Moses Lake (Wash.) High School, lost both legs and his left arm in an explosion during his second tour of duty in Afghanistan.
He showed off his outfielder’s arm as he fired a strike to the Giants’ designated first-pitch catcher, reliever Sergio Romo. But perhaps the biggest thrill was sharing the mound with Giants Hall of Fame outfielder Willie Mays.
Mays is a U.S. Army veteran, who missed most of the 1952 and all of the 1953 seasons to serve in the Korean War.
“He took the ball and said I’ve got to rub it up with some dirt,” Kimmel recalled. “He rubbed it up and signed it for me, so that was pretty cool.”
The Milwaukee Brewers are seriously considering making a run at free agent Josh Hamilton, CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports.
Hamilton’s two-year, $24 million deal with the Texas Rangers is expiring, and the outfielder will be one of the more interesting free agent cases we’ve seen in years.
The Brewers reportedly are interested, and Milwaukee believes they have an advantage over most clubs.
Milwaukee’s hitting coach is Johnny Narron, who served as Hamilton’s “accountability partner” with the Rangers and Reds from 2007-2011.
Narron was hoping for a better job in baseball, and he received that opportunity from the Brewers. It was with his assistance that Hamilton developed into an All-Star and won AL MVP in 2010.
Without Narron around, Hamilton had some troubles throughout the year. He had an alcohol relapse in February, reportedly struggled with caffeine problems, and infamously began slumping when he attempted to quit chewing tobacco. Rangers owner and president Nolan Ryan criticized the timing of Hamilton’s decision to attempt to quit. Ryan was also critical of Hamilton when the slugger struggled at the plate in July.
It seems like the Rangers are willing to let Hamilton leave in free agency and, based on the boos he received, it seems like the fans won’t miss him, either. Big-market teams like the Los Angeles Dodgers, Angels, and Boston Red Sox reportedly will not be interested. The San Francisco Giants could be interested, and you can never count out the New York Yankees (though Hamilton in NYC would be a nightmare). Milwaukee has offered $100-million contracts to other players in free agency in the past, so they might be willing to do it again.
Hamilton’s past issues with addictions, coupled with his erratic health, could make teams leery of making a big financial commitment to him. That might just open things up for a team like the Brewers.
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