Just when you get fed up with reading about baseball's prima donnas, there comes the tale of Mark DiFelice, one of the greatest pitchers in the history of Haverford High.
The Bryn Mawr-born DiFelice, 31, played 11 seasons in the minors, independent leagues and Mexico before being called up by the Milwaukee Brewers. He sat on a major-league bench yesterday for the first time ever as the Brewers played a doubleheader against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park.
DiFelice was a 15th-round pick of Colorado in 1998, but he never made it to "The Show" until Thursday, when the Brewers summoned him from their triple-A farm club, the Nashville Sounds, to replace injured reliever David Riske.
The funny thing is, DiFelice almost didn't get the phone call. He was sleeping in because the Sounds had just returned from Las Vegas, and DiFelice was that night's starter. Once he got the word, DiFelice called his father at work in the Philadelphia area.
"It got a little emotional for a couple of minutes, talking to him on the phone," DiFelice told reporters. "He's been through thick and thin with me over the 11 years."
Are the times changing for the Florida Marlins?
The Marlins, who had a National League-low $21.8 million payroll on opening day, formally announced a six-year, $70 million contract extension yesterday for shortstop Hanley Ramirez.
That's a given. However, the Marlins' future ballpark, the site of which was the stage for the Ramirez news conference, isn't quite that. You can thank former Eagles owner Norman Braman for that.
Braman, a Florida resident, has filed suit against the project, claiming that taxpayers, not legislators, should decide whether it should go forward. He argues the deal is unconstitutional because of the way it is financed.
Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria said plans are to break ground in November or December at the site, where the Orange Bowl stadium used to stand.
If opposing hitters weren't giving St. Louis Cardinals closer Jason Isringhausen a tough enough time, a tussle with a clubhouse television eventually put him on the disabled list.
On Friday, Isringhausen was placed on the 15-day DL with a cut on his right hand that became infected. He apparently suffered the cut May 9 when he struck a television set in anger after blowing a save in Milwaukee.
Isringhausen is 1-5 with an 8.00 ERA and six blown saves in 17 chances. He has 292 saves in his career.
The Cardinals bought the contract of 22-year-old Chris Perez from triple-A Memphis, where he recorded eight saves and a 1.04 ERA. He has a fastball that clocks in the mid- to upper-90s.
Tim Hudson once was part of Oakland's tremendous Three Aces rotation that included Mark Mulder and Barry Zito, but he's the only one to enjoy any success with his new team.
Hudson went into yesterday's game against the Athletics with a 6-2 mark and 2.54 ERA for Atlanta this season. Meanwhile, Mulder, hampered by a shoulder injury, has made three starts for the Cardinals since the beginning of 2007, while a struggling Zito shuffles between the rotation and the bullpen for San Francisco.
Hudson told the Contra Costa Times that Zito has had to deal with "a lot of mental hurdles," something he also struggled with.
"You come to a new place, you try to live up to expectations," he said. "I was [going] out there and trying to win 20 games in one start."