2012 March

2nd  Major League baseball makes if official, expanding the post-season playoff format to ten teams. A wild card is added in each league in the first switch in post-season play since 1995, when the wild card was added. The new format means that if the World Series goes to seven games, the final match will be played November 1.

In Florida, the Nationals whip cross-town rival Georgetown University, 3-0, but the Hoyas hold Bryce Harper hitless.

In bunting drills, the Pirates newly acquired pitcher A.J. Burnett fouls a ball off his face breaking the orbital bone near his right eye.  He will be sidelined two to three months.

3rdBring on Harvard. At the new JetBlue Park in Ft. Myers, the Red Sox thump Northeastern University, 25-0, then beat Boston College, 6-3, in 6 innings. In the second game, aspiring shortstop Mike Aviles hits a pair of doubles off the replica of the Green Monster, and David Ortiz plays first base.

4thThe Tigers bomb Teheran, Juan that is, dinging the Atlanta pitcher for six homers in an 18-3 rout in Lakeland, FL. Prince Fielder homers and Ryan Raburn hits two homers, including a grand slam.

The Cardinals Yadier Molina gets a signing bonus of $1 million as part of a new contract, which adds 5 seasons and $75 million.

5thNice work, son.  In a 6-4 Dodgers win over the White Sox in Glendale, AZ, four Dodger players, all sons of former major leaguers, combine on a natural cycle in a 5-run 6th: Tony Gwynn singles, Justin Sellers doubles to bring Gwynn in. Ivan De Jesus triples to score Sellers, and Scott Van Slyke then homers (as noted by Andy McCue).

9thThe Dodgers sign NFL free safety Jaren Page to a minor league contract.  Page, who played 11 games for the Eagles and Vikings last season, last played baseball in 2004 when he hit .233 with 3 homers for UCLA.  Page was drafted three times by ML teams.

10thThe Chicago Cubs sign Cuban pitcher Gerardo Concepcion to a 5-year $3 million contract. The 20-year-old defector was rookie of the year in the Cuban National League with a 3.36 ERA.  He is destined for the minors where he will struggle.

12thDesmond Jennings and B.J. Upton are OK following a 4th-inning collision that saw them carted off the field during a 4-2 loss to the Marlins at Charlotte Sports Park. Austin Kearns hits a ball to the gap in deep left-center field, and both Jennings and Upton collide on the drive. Both outfielders remain down while Kearns rounds the bases for a three-run inside-the-park homer.

16thThe Yankees sign veteran Andy Pettitte.

20th In a nice pickup for Houston, they acquire hard throwing minor leaguer Kevin Chapman in a trade with the Royals, who acquire Jason Bourgeois and needed catcher Humberto Quintero. Houston also receives a player to be named (d’Andre Toney).

26thThe Cubs sign veteran reliever Shawn Camp, 36, released by the Mariners last week. Camp was with Toronto the past 4 seasons. He’ll appear in a league-high 80 games this season.

28thIn a season opening game, televised only in Seattle, the Mariners edge the A’s, 3-1, in 11 innings in Japan. Ichiro is 4-for-5 and Ackley hits a homer and drives in 2 runs.

The Cleveland Indians unveiled their revolutionary wind turbine, the first of its kind to sit atop a ballpark. After three years of work planning, designing and building the innovative corkscrew-shaped turbine in partnership with Cleveland State University’s Fenn College of Engineering, the Indians secure the turbine on top of the southeast corner of Progressive Field.

The Los Angeles Dodgers and Frank McCourt announce an agreement under which Guggenheim Baseball Management LLC (“GBM”) will acquire the Los Angeles Dodgers for $2.15 billion, the highest price ever paid for a sports franchise. The purchasing group includes Mark R. Walter as its controlling partner, as well as Magic Johnson, Peter Guber, Stan Kasten, Bobby Patton and Todd Boehly. McCourt and certain affiliates of the purchasers will also be forming a joint venture, which will acquire the Chavez Ravine property—essentially the parking lots–for an additional $150 million.

The Reds reach an agreement with their star Joey Votto on a 12-year contract worth $251 million.