Baseball. Is. Back.
As it was noted earlier this week by our own Alex Kleinman, it has been 267 days since our last real MLB game. That’s 38 weeks, 9.5 months, 73% of a year, however you want to look at it, it’s way too long. We have missed it, and it seems like the players have as well, as they have wasted no time getting back in action and having fun and doing cool stuff. We wanted to kick this season off at We Love Baseball by showcasing some of the best things that happened during summer camp.
Alyssa Nakken Made Her Debut
Alyssa Nakken made history last night as the first-base coach for the @SFGiants. pic.twitter.com/oflOeGG3dI
— MLB (@MLB) July 21, 2020
As you can the tweet above, Alyssa Nakken became the first female coach to be on the field in MLB history, and that’s simply incredible. Nakken has been with the Giants for six years now, starting as an intern in the baseball operations department and being part of the front office before being named the first female coach in MLB history when she became an assistant coach under new manager Gabe Kapler.
She worked closely with Antoan Richardson, the Giants regular first base coach, learning about what it takes to be successful in her role. She spent the last three months watching videos of opposing pitchers, to try and learn more about their pick-off moves and help their runners stay safe on the basepaths.
Nakken was an excellent softball player at Sacramento State, and has translated her love of the game into her role with the Giants. While she is officially part of the Giants coaching staff, there is a limit this season to just 8 coaches in the dugout and on the field, and so she won’t be in the dugout for games. She will still travel and practice with the team, and be at the games, just won’t be allowed to be an active coach during games.
Nakken joins San Antonio Spurs coach Becky Hammon, San Francisco 49ers coach Katie Sowers, and four other women as the only active female coaches in American professional sports. Here’s to a long and successful career for Nakken that opens the doors for many more great women baseball coaches.
The Rise of Chico
The Dodgers have been renowned year-over-year for their ability to develop talent. Whether it’s players who have always been in the system, like Walker Buehler or Cody Bellinger, or guys who were cast aside by other franchises who have found their stride here, like Max Muncy and Chris Taylor, the Dodgers have seemingly been able to unlock the true potential in just about anyone they touch. The same apparently can be said for clubhouse attendant Francisco “Chico” Herrera, who has shown he has Gold Glove level talent in left field.
While the fly ball itself was a can of corn, having the wherewithal to immediately fire to second base, and in time to get out Taylor, who’s a pretty fast runner, is impressive. Let’s be honest, it’s better defense than the Dodgers typically see in left field with Joc Pederson there.
And that throw is perfect, a frozen rope directly into the waiting glove of Enrique Hernandez. But that wasn’t good enough for Chico, he needed to prove that he wasn’t just a one-hit-wonder.
I mean, come on. What a catch! Gavin Lux clearly didn’t think he would make it, and he finds himself doubled off first by a country mile. I completely get Lux’s reaction at the end there. “Did dis dude just did dis?”
Luis Robert Is Almost Chico
Clearly inspired by Dodgers legend Chico, Chicago White Sox rookie Luis Robert wanted to showcase his glove and decided to take away a home run from Ben Gamel, and he did it too! Unfortunately, he dropped the glove and the ball on the other side of the fence. Yeah Luis, you had it. But you’re gonna need to keep them if you want to win Rookie of the Year this year.
But Luis Robert Can Hit Dingers
While he can’t rob home runs, Robert sure can hit them, and he’s got enough power that even when falling over he can knock it out. He’s projected to be a 30+ home run hitter during a normal season, and you can absolutely see why here. It’s a good thing he got it out of the park though, as he could have become the first-ever player to be out on an 8-3 putout.
Wilmer Difo Forgets He’s Mic’d Up
It’s no secret that baseball is considered “boring” because of all the downtime in a game. The downtime between innings, between batters, and even between pitches. But don’t tell Wilmer Difo that, because he’s having a ball between pitches. Without fans at games this year, teams are surely not going to be bringing in celebrities for their national anthem, and Difo clearly sees an opportunity to be the man leading the anthem this year. I’m not quite sure if the rest of his team would want to hear him sing, but a man’s gotta practice at some point.
Ozzie Albies Wants His High Five
One thing that is going to be strange as hell this year is how everyone interacts with each other with all the new guidelines. Ron Washington is well aware that he can’t dap up Ozzie Albies for a job well done, but there isn’t anything in MLB’s guidelines about a good old fashioned foot-five.
Juan Soto and Rhys Hoskins Square Off
Juan Soto was clearly just trying to abide by social distancing guidelines.
I am all in on catcher cams. Just look at the movement you can see on the second pitch in this video! I wouldn’t want to watch a whole game from this angle, I’d probably get nauseous to be honest, but it’s incredible seeing the game from the catcher’s eyes.
Max Scherzer Getting the Best Seats In the House
I’m not sure if he was sick and tired of the guys in the dugout, or if he wanted to try and rattle his teammate on the mound, but I hope we see a lot more players sitting in the seats behind home plate during the season. I mean, they are considered the best seats in the house for a reason.