Geoff Flynn.com


Brock Star! Stassi Homers for First Big League Hit
April 10, 2017

He's becoming a hit throughout the baseball world, and now the Yuba City native has a big league hit to call his own. After an 0-for-7 start with 3 walks in his major league career, Brock Stassi now has a batting average. It wasn't a little dribbler up the middle, either. The lefty clobbered one over the right field fence in Philadelphia for a home run.

The first career hit was in the bottom of the ninth, something every ball player dreams of doing. But while most of those dreams imagine a celebration and a win to follow, that was not the case tonight. The Phillies trailed the Mets 4-2 and there was no one on base. Brock took Addison Reed deep to make it 4-3, but that turned out to be the final score. Still, if there were any doubters out there that still thought Stassi didn't belong, those doubters have to shut up now.

If you're not familiar with Stassi's story, the quick version goes like this. After years in the minors, he gets called in to the manager's office in the final days of spring training. Expected to be sent back to the minors, or worse yet released, he instead is told he made the Opening Day roster and was asked what uniform number he wanted. Talking to reporters shortly thereafter, he got a little emotional, and was trying to hold back tears while outlining not just the sacrifice he made, but all of the support from his family along the way. That locker room clip when baseball's version of viral, and while Tom Hanks said there's no crying in baseball, Stassi came close to violating that axiom.

The emotion and sincerity has made him a hot topic. His personality and work ethic have made him a role model. His perseverance has made him a great story, and success could make him a fan favorite in short order. Literally, a hundred guys have homered in their first big-league at-bat. Stassi had to wait until his eighth. Since he waited this long to get this far, going deep in the first week of the season probably doesn't seem like a long wait at all.


Suggested reading: Yahoo! Sports national writer Jeff Passan did a fantastic job painting the real Brock Stassi for the country the way he is known in Yuba City. Get past the flowery language of the first couple of paragraphs and it's a fantastic read. Behind the Tears: Brock Stassi Has an Inspiring Story to Tell... And from philly.com, Brock Stassi Homers for First Hit; Needs Help to Get the Ball Back

Round numbers: April 15, which is Saturday, is Jackie Robinson Day around baseball. This year is also the 70th anniversary of Robinson breaking the color barrier in 1947. The Dodgers will unveil a statue (believe it or not, the first at Dodger Stadium) before the game against Arizona. There are also several other milestones around baseball this year. For example, this is the 60th season for both the Dodgers and Giants in California since moving from New York, and the 50th season for the A's in Oakland. It's also the 25th anniversary of the opening of Camden Yards in Baltimore, the 25th season of the Rockies in Colorado, and the 20th seasons for both the Arizona Diamondbacks and Tampa Bay Rays.

Up the middle: We're going on record here to note that the Dodgers should have traded for Minnesota Twins second baseman Brian Dozier, instead of going with Logan Forsythe from Tampa Bay. If the media reports are true that the Twins' asking price was pitcher Jose DeLeon, highly prized outfield prospect Alex Verdugo, and backup catcher Austin Barnes, the Dodgers should have pulled the trigger. The saying is you have to give something to get something, and Dozier, who hit 42 home runs last year, provides right handed power and speed that can hit at the top of the lineup. The Dodgers parted with DeLeon for Forsythe, who still has some right handed pop and is a leadoff hitter, but that essentially means Verdugo and Barnes for Dozier. This close to being a World Series contender, this seemed like the time for LA go big.

Other sports: Although I've pretty much abandoned the NBA in recent seasons, the accomplishment of Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook is something that just can't be ignored. Westbrook broke the legendary Oscar Robertson's record for triple-doubles in a season (double-digits in three categories) with 50 points, 16 rebounds, and 10 assists Sunday at Denver. It was his 42nd triple-double of the season, and also sunk a buzzer-beating shot for the dramatic win. Robertson averaged a triple-double for the 1961-62 season, and Westbrook will do the same this year while also leading the NBA in scoring... This might be the first time I ever taped golf, but the Sergio Garcia-Justin Rose duel to win the Master's was amazing. The recording actually ended before Garcia sunk the winning putt, but he would have had to miss it and the next shot to lose... Thanks to Major League Baseball's free preview of its Extra Innings package, we got to see a legendary hockey telecast. Extra Innings shares the same channels as the NHL's 'Center Ice' programming, so we got to see the Los Angeles Kings face the Chicago Blackhawks, and Bob Miller's final game as the voice of the Kings. Miller, the Kings broadcaster for 44 years, is retiring for health reasons, and came back for the last game of the year. The Kings locker room was filled with jerseys with the number 44 and 'Bob' above it for his 44 years, with hashtag (#ThankYouBob) all over Staples Center. Nice touch.





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