If there’s a sports dad who has had a better last few months than Mychal Thompson, then Balls can’t think of him.
Only weeks after his son Klay won an NBA championship, the elder Thompson flew to Chicago, where his youngest son Trayce made his major-league debut Monday night. The 24-year-old is expected to start his first game with the White Sox today.
“I’m no different from any other parent who seen his son’s or daughter’s dream come true,” said Thompson, who planned to be back on his radio show in Los Angeles later this week. “It doesn’t have to be in sports. It could be whatever field they are into if they have their dream job. Any parent understands how I feel. My experience is a lot more high profile because we are in the public eye.”
The White Sox called up Trayce from Triple A Charlotte to be their fourth outfielder. The kid waited a long time for the promotion. In 2009, he was drafted in the second round out of high school.
“I just got back to what makes me myself,” Trayce said. “There are a lot of good prospects and good talent in Double A, and I felt like I got away from hitting the fastball. I feel like I’m doing a better job of that this year. Being a little more aggressive has helped me with that, too.
“I’m just here to do whatever it takes. … These guys are really close to that wild-card spot, and I just want to help them make the playoffs.”
STAY OFF THE GRASS: On the first day that the 49ers put on pads, the shoddy field at multi-purpose Levi’s Stadium was a topic for discussion — again.
“I don’t get into that wheelhouse,” coach Jim Tomsula said. “I don’t know the first thing about grass. I will tell you this: I‘m responsible for the team and the way we practice. Our field guys are phenomenal, OK? The confidence in them is tremendous.
If you think the field is bad now, just wait until Taylor Swift and her 114 pounds get done with it next weekend. New turf will be laid down after her two nights of concerts, one of many replacements that will be necessary this season.
Nonetheless, Tomsula indicated that home games would not be moved to Kezar Stadium any time soon.
NOT THEM: The baseball gods can be cruel spirits. Take this week, when Mat Latos won his first start with the Los Angeles Dodgers and A.J. Pierzynski stunned the Giants on a late home run.
If Latos and Pierzynski aren’t the most despised Giants opponents of recent vintage, then they’re on the short list. Latos was the guy who chided the Giants for their roster moves late in the 2010 season. One year later, he added the inscription “I hate SF” to his signed baseball in a charity auction. He also smashed the car windshield of team broadcaster Dave Flemming with another ball, supposedly by accident, although the locals wouldn’t put it past the big meanie if he had aimed for it.
General manager Brian Sabean traded Francisco Liriano and Joe Nathan for Pierzynski, who spent one season with the team. His biggest impact came in spring training, when a ball struck the catcher in the private parts. Asked by trainer Stan Conte how he felt, Mr. Happy responded with a knee to the groin, an incident that went unreported until after his release a few months later.
SHORT-SIGHTED MOVE: Athletics general Bill Beane has had a lot of duh moments lately, but his blind faith in untested shortstop Marcus Semien ranks among the worst of all.
Shoddy defense has killed the A’s this season, and that starts with Semien, whose 29 errors are eight more than the next-worst player in the major leagues. Ron Washington has tried to blame the White Sox organization for his lack of fundamentals in the field, but the guy hasn’t shown much progress with Washington as his position coach, either.
If Beane hadn’t parted with top prospect Addison Russell in the Jason Hammel-Jeff Samardzija rental one year ago, the team might have a longterm answer at the position. The Chicago Cubs rookie has held his own at second base, which he’ll occupy until shortstop Starlin Castro is traded after the season.
FREE ADVICE: It’s time to move Semien to second base. The metrics say it’s the only infield position where he has above-average range, and the shorter throw to first base can’t help but reduce his error total.
Besides, as cuddly as Eric Sogard may be, anyone with a career .293 on-base percentage isn’t major league material.
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