Posted: 11:52 am Sunday, June 12th, 2011
By Matt Porter
Mike Stanton hasn’t been contacted about participating in the MLB Home Run Derby, but if baseball’s powers-that-be know what’s good for the game, it’s a lock-down bet Stanton gets a call.
“Obviously,” offered Logan Morrison. “I told him if he goes, I get to be on the field to be the towel-and-Gatorade boy. I get the on-field mic. ‘So, Mike, tell me, how does it feel to hit 16 home runs and only square up one?’”
Stanton has 16 home runs this season, tied for fourth in the league (fifth in baseball). While some hitters barely reach the seats on their best day, not all of Stanton’s homers have come off the sweet spot.
Six or seven of them flew out just because he made contact, Stanton admitted.
If the promise of 500-foot homers wasn’t enough to get fans pumped, Morrison’s idea is to bring a little taste of the NBA Slam Dunk contest to Chase Field in Arizona, the site of this year’s All-Star Game. He said he wants to get Stanton a Superman cape, among various other gimmicks.
Stanton was asked if he would participate in the derby, leading to the following exchange:
MS: “I don’t know, I’d have to see … once they …”
LM: “Yes,” Morrison interjected. “You would, because I’d have to be on the field.”
MS: [disapproving look]
LM: “Hey man, coattails. Don’t leave ‘em long if you don’t like it.”
LM: “We need a cape.”
Reporter, filling in Stanton on a prior conversation: “He wants you to wear a cape.”
MS: “Okay, if he buys it. What kind of cape?”
LM: “Like a Superman cape.”
LM: “And I’ll have the Wonder Woman outfit.”
MS: “You gotta wear the short shorts then.”
LM: “Heck yeah!”
LM: “Or Batman, and I’ll be Robin.”
MS: “You kinda look like Robin. An oversize Robin.”
LM: “You know Mike, what we should do is get you an extra jersey, and cut the sleeves off and go like Jose Canseco in batting practice or something. Tear-away sleeves.”
Guns on display or not, Stanton would be an entertaining show in the Derby, as well as a good pick to win the whole thing.
“If gambling were legal, I would bet half of what I own on him winning it,” Morrison said.
As far as the All-Star Game itself (July 12), National League manager Bruce Bochy said he would be open to managers lobbying him to get their players on the squad. Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez said he won’t do that – his focus is on winning ballgames. “It wouldn’t look right,” he said. “They know.”
Marlins by day, Heat fans by night: Morrison and Stanton will carpool to the Heat game tonight, sitting with a Heat season-ticket holder named Dan in the 100 level. They met Dan at a Marlins season ticket-holder event. He offered to take them to some games, so they’ll all wear white tonight.
Both said they hope to be good luck, and bring a win today to the AAA.
“I’ve been watching the Heat choke it out at the end,” said Morrison. “They settle for too many jump shots. They don’t know how to run an offense. Kinda sounds like us. We can get ‘em on, but we can’t get ‘em in.”
Teaching point for Edwin: The Marlins’ recent skid – an eight-game losing streak, one win in their last 10 games – hurts, but Rodriguez put a positive spin on it.
“Without J.J., without Hanley, without our set-up guy [Clay Hensley], without our closer [Leo Nunez],” Rodriguez said. “If you’re over .500 after losing nine of 10 ballgames, that means you did something right in the first part of the season.”
It’s a good example for the manager to use as he aims to show the second-youngest team in the majors (average age: 27) that the cliches they hear on their way to the majors aren’t just empty words – it’s a long year of ups and downs.
“They’re young,” Rodriguez said. “Hopefully they’re learning that this is a long season. Hopefully they’re learning from the struggle. Definitely we have the talent. We showed that the first two months of the season. It’s a matter of hanging in there and hopefully when those guys get back we’ll get back on track.”
Injury updates: Rodriguez hasn’t talked to Hanley Ramirez after his two-game minor-league rehab stint. The All-Star shortstop did not work out Sunday as scheduled. “Day game after a night game,” Rodriguez said. He said Ramirez is still on track for a Tuesday return … Leo Nunez played catch, but has yet to throw from the mound. Nunez would be available Tuesday at the earliest. “He said he’s ready to go tomorrow,” Rodriguez said. “It’s good to know he’s feeling that way, but he still hasn’t thrown from the mound.” … Josh Johnson’s status is still a mystery. “Nobody knows,” Rodriguez said. “We have to wait and see how he feels. He’s been throwing long-toss, but hasn’t thrown from the mound. Where’s he at, we’ll have to wait and see.”
Marlins (32-31, third NL East)
Diamondbacks (35-30, second NL West)