What better way to break the monotony of spring training than a talent competition?
David Fletcher and Kenley Jansen are among Southern California baseball celebrities who donated their time and talents Thursday to benefit the American Lung Assn.
Jansen, closest to the Dodgers, plays the piano. The shortstop of the angels José Iglesias sings. Angels broadcaster Mark Gubicza cooks. Dodgers broadcaster Orel Hershiser is doing something, but we couldn’t find out what.
Angels second baseman Fletcher can solve a Rubik’s cube. In a segment recorded last year, he will attempt to resolve one as former Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons watches.
“He was heckling me,” Fletcher said, “trying to distract me.”
Fletcher said he learned how to solve a Rubik’s cube from a teammate in the minor leagues.
“We have a lot of free time in our hands,” he said.
What’s the secret ?
“It’s a lot of memorization, a lot of steps and stuff,” he said. “If I didn’t know how to do it, obviously there’s no way I could figure it out. “
Yogi Berra could not have said it better. But, aside from his ability to play baseball and solve a Rubik’s cube, Fletcher said he doesn’t really have a lot of other talents.
When he attended Cypress High, Fletcher said, the senior class did not host a talent show.
“If we had,” he said, “I probably wouldn’t have been involved.”
The talent show can be streamed for free via https://www.lung.org/get-involved/events/championsunite.
Dead ball, live match
The traditional description of baseball as the “national pastime” is not an anachronism, at least not for Angels manager Joe Maddon. He just thinks the sport should go back to traditional baseball.
To that end, he approves of the slightly more dead ball that Major League Baseball plans to use this season. Fewer home runs, he hoped, would lead hitters to use all the court, leading to more singles, doubles, triples and stolen goals – all of which are more exciting than the contemporary sleep-inducing mix of ” three real results ”: home runs, walks and strikeouts.
“If you want to re-engage the fans and force a different method of play, I think that would be exceptional,” Maddon said.
“I want to see the industry develop. I want the term “national hobby” to be used more consistently, because that’s what we are. We’ve strayed from that a little bit, and the little bit is the disinterest in the game based on the three real outcomes that has proliferated over the last, I don’t know, 10 or 12 or 13 years. There is only one way, I think, to replay the game to the fullest.
The Angels scored their first point on Wednesday when Justin Upton scored a single, stole the second and scored on a two-out single. Upton has two stolen bases this spring. He had no stolen bases last season and one in 2019.