Two different ways to celebrate a birthday in baseball
A birthday is supposed to be the most special day in one’s calendar. Those who play professional baseball, either in the big leagues or the minor leagues, are usually in the age group where they treat themselves with a birthday gift. During this past weekend
In Double-A New Hampshire, Toronto Blue Jays first base prospect Ryan McBroom celebrated his 25th birthday by hitting a two-run double in the Fisher Cats 8-3 win over the Binghamton Rumble Ponies on Sunday.
“I was looking for something out over the plate, McBroom said, “kind of simplified my swing a little bit. It was a four-seam fastball (inside the plate). I was able to put a good swing on it, it got to the gap and everyone was able to score, which was huge for us to begin the game with the first (runs). It was pretty sweet.”
It was New Hampshire’s first win of the young Eastern League season. The Fisher Cats were named by MLB Pipeline as one of the fourth most stacked team in the minor leagues, given how many of the Blue Jays top prospects are on board. McBroom said he was excited to see how the roster shaped up at the end of spring training.
“This is one of the best teams I’ve ever played on and we haven’t played many games yet,” McBroom said. “I’ve been used to it especially coming up with the Jays. This is a great team to be on. From one through nine in the lineup, it’s a dangerous team, guys who can get on base in front and behind me.”
McBroom hit more than 20 home runs for the first time in his professional baseball career last year for Single-A Dunedin in the Florida State League. His 22 home runs in 2016 was only one less than the combined amount of his previous two Single-A seasons. He hit 12 home runs at Lansing in 2015 and 11 at Vancouver in 2014.
Each year has involved a new team at a new league with a new set of ballparks. McBroom has developed an approach that is versatile to whatever ballpark he hits in.
“I try not to let too much of the field affect my approach,” McBroom said. “I kind of like to stay in the middle of the field so it really doesn’t matter where you play.”
At 6-3 and 230 pounds, the former West Virginia Mountaineer is living up to his powerful frame. His offseason preparation has also lead to a possible breakout season for the Fisher Cats.
“I hit a lot of breaking balls,” McBroom said. “I’ve been training my eyes and my body to adjust to pitches regardless of where it is and it hit it in the big part of the park with authority.”
During that same past weekend, veteran pitcher Jeremy Guthrie treated himself to a mystery box during a start for the Washington Nationals on his 38th birthday. That mystery box turned into a nightmarish first inning where he gave up 10 runs on six hits and four walks and was pulled after getting only two outs in a 17-3 blowout loss against the Phillies on Saturday in Philadelphia.
This has been a fall from grace for Guthrie, who started Game 7 of the 2014 World Series for the Kansas City Royals against the San Francisco Giants and won it all in 2015 against the New York Mets. He spent all of last season in the minor leagues trying to make it back to MLB, where he went 7-9 with a 6.57 ERA in Triple-A 20 starts with New Orleans and El Paso. He didn’t finish the season with either team, while the Chihuahuas went on to win their first Pacific Coast League championship.
Guthrie made his way on to the Nationals’ 25-man roster after coming into spring training as a non-roster invitee. He told MASN on March 31, that he came into this season as confident as he’s ever been.
“When I’m on the mound, I feel like I have the pitches to get people out,” Guthrie said. “I feel like I can locate. I feel confident and I feel like there’s a little different swings to the hitters than maybe what I’ve seen the past couple of years.”
Guthrie made history by being the only pitcher in MLB history to give up 10 runs in a single inning twice. His first blunder came in May of 2015 while he was with the Kansas City Royals during their World Series run. He was shortly designated for assignment the day after.
Goes to show that not all birthdays are celebrated the same.