Barry Bonds Given Standing Ovation, Video Tribute in Return to AT&T Park

For the first time in nearly a decade, baseball legend Barry Bonds stepped back onto the AT&T Park field.

And although the home run king was representing the Miami Marlins outfitted in silver and teal, San Francisco Giants fans hardly treated him as an opponent.

In fact, it was entirely the opposite.

As he made his return home, Bonds was received as a hero, beginning with a standing ovation prior to the game's start when the longtime Giant delivered the Marlins' lineup card to the umpire.

Later, watching from the visitor dugout, Bonds was honored with a tribute montage saluting many of his career-defining moments—most notably his record-breaking 756th home run.

And while it was evident the Bay Area still harbored cherished feelings for their former franchise-defining player, with the salute of his hat, Bonds made it clear the feeling was mutual.

[MLB

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Yankees’ Aaron Hicks Unloads Record-Breaking 105 MPH Throw for Run-Saving Out

Sports, although inherently competitive, are occasionally sprinkled with no-win scenarios.

Trying to outrun the fastest outfield throw ever recorded in baseball is one of them.

The Oakland Athletics' Danny Valencia probably could have never imagined that, following a Yonder Alonso fly to left field, he'd be pursued in his sprint from third base to home by a 105.5 mph ball.

But reality became very clear when Yankees center fielder Aaron Hicks unloaded the blazing throw with pitching-caliber speed, and a likely winded Valencia was tagged out. 

Life comes at you fast. Real fast. 

[MLB, h/t Deadspin]

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Oakland A’s Ball Boy Snags Foul Ball with Unbelievable Catch

You see a foul ball, he sees a tryout opportunity.

For the Oakland A's ball boy, opportunity came knocking in the third inning, when the Kansas City Royals' Christian Colon sliced a foul ball to the right side.

Springing easily from one leg, the young man casually plucked the ball out of the air, securing the errant hit before tossing it to a nearby fan—all while maintaining an understated confidence.

But the astounding grab didn't just stun the front-row fans—it likely spared one of them from a whack in the head too.

Sometimes, rather than capes, heroes wear baseball gloves and helmets.

[MLB.com, h/t For The Win]

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HBO’s John Oliver Rips Yankees Brass for Stadium’s ‘Elitist’ Ticket Policy

Come Tuesday, April 5, New York fans won't be gaining entry to Yankee Stadium's Opening Day with print-at-home tickets. 

Some fans, however, will get to see the Yankees face the Houston Astros from behind home plate on the dime of Last Week Tonight's John Oliver—under one condition.

The comedian is offering a total of six "legends club" tickets to the three Yankees home games this week for 25 cents each to people who can conjure up the most creative, original and presumably eye-catching method of dressing as if they "have never sat in a premium location before." 

Oliver's incitement for ticket magnanimity stems from a recent statement by Yankees COO Lonn Trost, who, by Oliver's interpretation, essentially said "rich people couldn't bear to sit next to people who aren't as rich."

So, in a retaliatory effort to wear that thin tolerance down even further, the host is helping some "riffraff" get their chance to mingle.

With so many likely vying for the opportunity, it's doubtful they'll be tame.

Yankee Stadium camera operators, you know where to look. 

[YouTube]

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HBO’s John Oliver Rips Yankees Brass for Stadium’s ‘Elitist’ Ticket Policy

Come Tuesday, April 5, New York fans won't be gaining entry to Yankee Stadium's Opening Day with print-at-home tickets. 

Some fans, however, will get to see the Yankees face the Houston Astros from behind home plate on the dime of Last Week Tonight's John Oliver—under one condition.

The comedian is offering a total of six "legends club" tickets to the three Yankees home games this week for 25 cents each to people who can conjure up the most creative, original and presumably eye-catching method of dressing as if they "have never sat in a premium location before." 

Oliver's incitement for ticket magnanimity stems from a recent statement by Yankees COO Lonn Trost, who, by Oliver's interpretation, essentially said "rich people couldn't bear to sit next to people who aren't as rich."

So, in a retaliatory effort to wear that thin tolerance down even further, the host is helping some "riffraff" get their chance to mingle.

With so many likely vying for the opportunity, it's doubtful they'll be tame.

Yankee Stadium camera operators, you know where to look. 

[YouTube]

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Blue Jays’ Chris Colabello Refuses to Do 8-Pound Mac & Cheese Challenge for $15K

There are some things money just can't buy—including, but not limited to, love, happiness and Chris Colabello's digestive health.

The latter was nearly put on the line when teammate Jose Bautista and his other Blue Jays brethren wagered $15,000 on the outfielder's ability to consume an entire eight-pound dish of lobster macaroni and cheese.

The terms were simple: chow down, cash out.

Set to gain? A sizable amount of money, taste-bud bliss and likely a little weight.

At stake? Nearly everything mentioned in the Pepto-Bismol song.

But despite the fact that Colabello was afforded the opportunity to have his dough and eat his mac, too, he hesitated at the sight of the glorious challenge.

In fact, according to Bautista, Colabello considered buying into the dare for 40 minutes:

Updates:

8:34 he is still struggling with it
8:45 im losing hope over here
8:53 not looking good...
8:56 @kpillar11 shows up and is upset that #CoachBelo is taking so long to decide
8:59 officially has waved the white flag, not even an attempt...disappointing...

 

Ultimately, he declined the once-in-a-lifetime proposition.

Of course, he could have always negotiated a higher price, or even suggested lessening the burden of pasta, but isn't indulging in that cheesy deliciousness a prize in and of itself?

[Instagram, h/t SB Nation]

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Alex Rodriguez Reportedly Dating Google Co-Founder’s Ex-Wife, Anne Wojcicki

Stop us if you've heard this one before: Alex Rodriguez has a new lady in his life.

Typical? Perhaps.

What isn't, however, is the woman in question.

According to Emily Smith of Page Six, the New York Yankees superstar is currently dating Anne Wojcicki, a Yale graduate and co-founder and CEO of 23andMe, a genetic research firm. She's also the ex-wife of Google co-founder Sergey Brin.

But No. 13 isn't intimidated by her mind, status or fortune (somewhere in the neighborhood of billions of dollars). In fact, a source told Smith that A-Rod has described her as "interesting, inspirational and very smart."

He supported Wojcicki during her appearance at a satellite event for the Annual Clinical Genetics Meeting, dined with her in Tampa, Florida, during a spring training trip and the pair was even spotted together at Graydon Carter's pre-Super Bowl party. 

Despite already drawing some attention, Smith's source described the couple as "very new," saying they've been on "a few dates." 

Could this be the start of something big? An evolution in A-Rod? 

One thing is for certain: Rodriguez's 40s—and the maturity, responsibility and settling-down sentiments entailed—have finally kicked in.

[Page Six]

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Cuban-Born Tampa Bay Rays Outfielder Reunited with His Family After 3 Years

"Since I left, I haven't heard that joy that Cuban people have," said Dayron Varona, the Tampa Bay Rays' only Cuban-born player, when speaking to USA Today's Jorge L. Ortiz in his native Spanish tongue.

On Sunday evening, when the Rays touched down in Havana for an exhibition game against the Cuban national team, Varona was undoubtedly experiencing a lot of that joy.

For the first time in three years, the outfielder was reunited with his relatives.

According to Ortiz, the 28-year-old had not made the return trip to his homeland since he and his mother defected to Haiti on board a boat.

Varona made the journey back thanks in large part to Rays pitcher Chris Archer and third baseman Evan Longoria, who advocated that he be added to the travel team despite not being a part of the 40-man roster.

Although his impact on Tuesday's exhibition is likely to be limited, his presence as a guide for MLB's first Cuba-visiting team since the 1999 Baltimore Orioles could prove invaluable.

To some very delighted loved ones, however, his presence is plenty invaluable as it is.

[USA Today, h/t For The Win]

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Cuban-Born Tampa Bay Rays Outfielder Reunited with His Family After 3 Years

"Since I left, I haven't heard that joy that Cuban people have," said Dayron Varona, the Tampa Bay Rays' only Cuban-born player, when speaking to USA Today's Jorge L. Ortiz in his native Spanish tongue.

On Sunday evening, when the Rays touched down in Havana for an exhibition game against the Cuban national team, Varona was undoubtedly experiencing a lot of that joy.

For the first time in three years, the outfielder was reunited with his relatives.

According to Ortiz, the 28-year-old had not made the return trip to his homeland since he and his mother defected to Haiti on board a boat.

Varona made the journey back thanks in large part to Rays pitcher Chris Archer and third baseman Evan Longoria, who advocated that he be added to the travel team despite not being a part of the 40-man roster.

Although his impact on Tuesday's exhibition is likely to be limited, his presence as a guide for MLB's first Cuba-visiting team since the 1999 Baltimore Orioles could prove invaluable.

To some very delighted loved ones, however, his presence is plenty invaluable as it is.

[USA Today, h/t For The Win]

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Cubs Slugger Kris Bryant Goes Undercover to Prank College Baseball Team

The Chicago Cubs' Kris Bryant sharpened his already-electrifying batting skills in spring training with Arizona's Mesa Community College baseball team.

The team, however, wasn't aware.

In a prank made possible by Red Bull, the 2015 Rookie of the Year was introduced by Mesa head coach Tony Cirelli as Roy Nabryt, a European "donkey" with "crazy power" who could assist the team in its pursuit of a title.

The catch? Many of the current players would be losing time on the field to the undercover Bryant—a fact they were less than thrilled about.

But seeing him step up to the plate drew the very opposite kind of reaction.

With every crack of the bat, another head turned until the entire team was mesmerized.

And then, the jig was up.

Slowly but surely, the whispers spread: "That's Kris Bryant." He was had by his signature swing.

Still, his reveal was met with great laughter, and before he parted, Bryant wished the squad the best, encouraging the team to go "get a ring" (before conveying his own desires for some hardware).

That certainly would be a lot easier if Roy Nabryt were to stick around. 

[YouTube, h/t Sports Illustrated]

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Cubs Slugger Kris Bryant Goes Undercover to Prank College Baseball Team

The Chicago Cubs' Kris Bryant sharpened his already-electrifying batting skills in spring training with Arizona's Mesa Community College baseball team.

The team, however, wasn't aware.

In a prank made possible by Red Bull, the 2015 Rookie of the Year was introduced by Mesa head coach Tony Cirelli as Roy Nabryt, a European "donkey" with "crazy power" who could assist the team in its pursuit of a title.

The catch? Many of the current players would be losing time on the field to the undercover Bryant—a fact they were less than thrilled about.

But seeing him step up to the plate drew the very opposite kind of reaction.

With every crack of the bat, another head turned until the entire team was mesmerized.

And then, the jig was up.

Slowly but surely, the whispers spread: "That's Kris Bryant." He was had by his signature swing.

Still, his reveal was met with great laughter, and before he parted, Bryant wished the squad the best, encouraging the team to go "get a ring" (before conveying his own desires for some hardware).

That certainly would be a lot easier if Roy Nabryt were to stick around. 

[YouTube, h/t Sports Illustrated]

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MLB Stars Get Silly Via Spring Training Snapchat Day Posts

Always dreamed of being an MLB star? Ever wanted to get behind the scenes and in the dugout?

Thanks to Snapchat, getting a vicarious fix and all the insider views is going to be that much easier.

All 30 MLB teams, along with some of their players, are documenting Friday's full day of spring training, and they're sparing no personal details. Seriously.

Just ask Marcus Stroman, in the process of rising and shining.

stro

Or the partying Pittsburgh Pirates, getting loose.

And Clayton Kershaw receiving a makeover of Joker-like proportions.

Even Melky Cabrera and Jose Abreu acting silly and face-swapping.

It's all available, and it's all amusing.

[Snapchat, h/t Cut4]

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Phillies Broadcaster Narrowly Escapes Oncoming Liner During Live Coverage

Gregg Murphy will want to give extra thanks to his reflexes tonight.

If not for them, the CSN Philly reporter likely would have been the unlucky recipient of a line drive to the head.

Despite Murphy's position beyond the Bright House Field foul pole, outfielder Nolan Reimold of the Baltimore Orioles sent him ducking and scurrying—during live coverage, no less!

Fortunately, Murphy emerged unscathed (although a tad winded).

Next time, however, the Philadelphia Phillies broadcaster may want to take preventative precautions. A helmet, perhaps?

[CSN, h/t Yahoo Sports]

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Jim Harbaugh to Coach 1st Base for Detroit Tigers in Spring Training Game

Passionate coaching is valuable in any sport.

It's so valuable, in fact, that for the right man, teams will recruit across league lines.

In the eyes of the Detroit Tigers and Pittsburgh Pirates, Jim Harbaugh is precisely the right man.

For one inning (or possibly more), the Michigan football leader will take on the responsibility of coaching first base for the Tigers come Wednesday afternoon.

And he's already attracted attention from the opposition. According to the Bradenton Herald's Jason Dill, Pirates manager Clint Hurdle would like Harbaugh to don black and gold as well:

I told him with his passion for stirring things up, why wouldn’t he just half the game, coach the game for the Pirates. I don’t think that’ll fly, but that’s right up his alley. I’ve encouraged him to try and get out early to spend some time with our group and our team before the Tigers get onto the field.

It's an easy transition for Harbaugh. He gleefully accepted similar responsibilities for the Oakland A's a season ago.

The Detroit News' Angelique S. Chengelis reported Harbaugh even had aspirations of being a professional baseball player.  

But Michigan football fans needn't worry about losing their spirited chief. The Wolverines will be taking the trip to Florida along with their khaki-clad coach, and spring practice will occur at IMG Academy. 

What? You didn't think one of the fieriest men to ever wear a headset would skip out on the opportunity to double his sideline shouting time, did you?

[Detroit News, h/t For the Win]

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Baltimore Orioles Eliminate Pie-Smashing Celebrations for Safety Reasons

Super Bowl winners dump gallons of Gatorade over their coach's head. The NBA Finals conclude with stormy champagne showers. NHL champions sip (or guzzle) from Lord Stanley's Cup. In short, sports celebrations are inexplicably intertwined with the decidedly messy utilization of food and beverage.

One MLB team, however, will part with a similar time-honored tradition. The Baltimore Orioles put an end to their beloved victory commemoration: a postgame pie in the face.  

The announcement, which came from notable sweet-smashing instigator Adam Jones via Twitter, began with some serious foreshadowing. 

Then, of course, the news came: no more celebratory on-field dessert consumption. But why?

As it turns out, the gleeful pranking has been deemed hazardous.

Is it the sugar intake? The terrifying tin? Perhaps the velocity of the impact itself is cause for concern?

Regardless of the reason for the tomfoolery's abandonment, fans can still expect to see some horseplay. Jones isn't abandoning antics of all kinds. In fact, he's already fielding alternative ideas.

If his hashtags #PantsThem and #Swirly are any indication, however, his teammates may soon be lamenting the change in protocol.

[Twitter, h/t the Big Lead]

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Yankees Emphasize Russell Wilson over Cam Newton Qualities in Media Training

All New York Yankees can check their attitudes at the door—along with any other excessive outward emotions or opinions.

Following the trend of encouraging progressively more prescribed athlete reactions, the renowned baseball organization aimed to instill within its players the makings of a proper postgame interview.

Their subjects of study? Quarterbacks Russell Wilson and Cam Newton.

According to ESPN New York's Andrew Marchand, the session went something like this: 

During the Yankees' media training, the Super Bowl is being used to portray the right and wrong way to act. Part of a video shown to pitchers and catchers compares how Cam Newton handled his Super Bowl loss to the way Russell Wilson dealt with his defeat the previous year.

Sports fans are already well aware of the dichotomy between Wilson's polite bow and Newton's abrupt exit, but as many have pointed out, passion is a difficult thing to quell.

Wilson's teammate Richard Sherman was mightily criticized for his own postgame outburst. Recently, fellow Seahawks defensive back Earl Thomas took to Twitter to criticize the NFL's restrictions on individual expression. 

The various personalities seem to suit Seattle, but don't expect the Yanks to be embracing the assortment of commentary. If tight-lipped is what they're aiming for, however, perhaps Marshawn Lynch would have been the best example of all. 

[Yahoo Sports]

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AL MVP Josh Donaldson to Play Viking Warrior in History Channel Show

What do Blue Jays and Vikings have in common? Well, if you're referring to the fowl and the historical people, nothing.

But now that AL MVP Josh Donaldson is getting grimy and suiting up in armor for the History Channel's upcoming fourth season of Vikings, there is a connection!

According to the press release, this is what fans of both the show and the third baseman can expect:

Donaldson will play the role of “Hoskuld,” a Viking warrior of great skill, in an episode that will air later this year as part of the fourth season. Two-time All-Star Donaldson will film in Ireland this week. Donaldson is a massive fan of “Vikings” and recently tweeted a photo unveiling a striking, new Viking hairstyle inspired by the character “Ragnar.”

Given that Donaldson broadcasted that braided coif in early December, the news should come with little surprise. Still, the level of commitment required to at least semi-permanently modify the look of his locks bodes well for his forthcoming performance. 

And if that wasn't enough to build the anticipation, peep the Season 4 trailer:

Donaldson seems nowhere to be found—which makes sense given that he has yet to begin shooting—but where there is an overcast sky and thunderclaps, there will almost certainly be downpour.

The Bringer of Rain is on the horizon.

[For the Win, h/t CBSSports.com]

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AL MVP Josh Donaldson to Play Viking Warrior in History Channel Show

What do Blue Jays and Vikings have in common? Well, if you're referring to the fowl and the historical people, nothing.

But now that AL MVP Josh Donaldson is getting grimy and suiting up in armor for the History Channel's upcoming fourth season of Vikings, there is a connection!

According to the press release, this is what fans of both the show and the third baseman can expect:

Donaldson will play the role of “Hoskuld,” a Viking warrior of great skill, in an episode that will air later this year as part of the fourth season. Two-time All-Star Donaldson will film in Ireland this week. Donaldson is a massive fan of “Vikings” and recently tweeted a photo unveiling a striking, new Viking hairstyle inspired by the character “Ragnar.”

Given that Donaldson broadcasted that braided coif in early December, the news should come with little surprise. Still, the level of commitment required to at least semi-permanently modify the look of his locks bodes well for his forthcoming performance. 

And if that wasn't enough to build the anticipation, peep the Season 4 trailer:

Donaldson seems nowhere to be found—which makes sense given that he has yet to begin shooting—but where there is an overcast sky and thunderclaps, there will almost certainly be downpour.

The Bringer of Rain is on the horizon.

[For the Win, h/t CBSSports.com]

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Upset Cardinals Fan Torches Jason Heyward Jersey After He Signs with Cubs

Understatement: St. Louis Cardinals fans have not taken the news well that Jason Heyward has left for Chicago.

After the report that the outfielder signed an eight-year, $184 million deal with the Cubs, some fans took a page out of Cleveland's book and opted to give J-Hey a warm, crackling farewell a la LeBron James—burning his jersey, of course.

Considering the Cardinals lost pitcher John Lackey to Chi-Town as well, it's not surprising to see at least one fan become unhinged. Division rivalries make people do crazy things.

[h/t The Score]

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Upset Cardinals Fan Torches Jason Heyward Jersey After He Signs with Cubs

Understatement: St. Louis Cardinals fans have not taken the news well that Jason Heyward has left for Chicago.

After the report that the outfielder signed an eight-year, $184 million deal with the Cubs, some fans took a page out of Cleveland's book and opted to give J-Hey a warm, crackling farewell a la LeBron James—burning his jersey, of course.

Considering the Cardinals lost pitcher John Lackey to Chi-Town as well, it's not surprising to see at least one fan become unhinged. Division rivalries make people do crazy things.

[h/t The Score]

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