Musial called a great player, man
Stan Musial was remembered during a funeral and memorial outside Busch Stadium on Saturday as a Hall of Famer and a St. Louis icon embraced by generations of fans who never had the privilege of watching him play.
Broadcaster Bob Costas, his voice cracking with emotion at times, pointed out during a two-hour Mass that in 92 years of life, Stan the Man never let anyone down.
Costas noted that even though Musial, who died Jan. 19, was a three-time NL MVP and seven-time batting champion, the pride of Donora, Pa., lacked a singular achievement. Joe DiMaggio had a 56-game hitting streak, Ted Williams was the last major leaguer to hit .400, and Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle soared to stardom in the New York spotlight. Musial didn't quite reach the 500-homer club he finished with 475 and played in his final World Series in 1946, "wouldn't you know it, the year before they started televising the Fall Classic!"
"What was the hook with Stan Musial other than the distinctive stance and the role of one of baseball's best hitters?" Costas said. "It seems that all Stan had going for him was more than two decades of sustained excellence as a ballplayer and more than nine decades as a thoroughly decent human being.
"Where is the single person to truthfully say a bad word about him?"
Trick pickoff now a balk
One of the oldest trick plays in baseball is now a balk.
Under a rule change imposed by Major League Baseball, pitchers will no longer be allowed to fake a pickoff to third base and throw to first as a way to dupe a runner on first base into breaking for second. Next season, that move would be a balk. Pitchers can still step off the rubber and fake to third.
Around the majors
Rockies • A source says pitcher Jhoulys Chacin and Colorado agreed to a $6.5 million, two-year contract.
Cubs • Pitcher Carlos Villanueva and Chicago completed a $10 million, two-year contract.
Nationals • Second baseman Danny Espinosa says he played with a torn rotator cuff in his left, non-throwing, shoulder late last season. The switch-hitter decided not to have offseason surgery and to rehab instead.
Yankees • Reliever David Robertson will earn $3.1 million under his one-year contract with the team, a deal that increases New York's projected payroll to about $206 million.
White Sox • Reliever Matt Lindstrom and Chicago have finalized a $2.8 million, one-year contract that includes a $4 million club option for 2014 with a $500,000 buyout.