"Everyone wants a villain," A.J. Pierzynski said. "Look at what LeBron James has gone through the past few years. My teammates get the best kick of it. When we go to Oakland, Anaheim, San Francisco, Minnesota, Cleveland, I get loud boos. Guys on my team can't wait to see that and to hear that."
Seattle Mariners ace Felix Hernandez on Wednesday afternoon pitched the 23rd perfect game in Major League Baseball history and the third this season.
Johnny Pesky, beloved member of the Red Sox Hall of fame who spent 61 years with the renowned baseball club, died Monday at the age of 92, the Boston franchise said.
Black crepe paper hangs over the column this morning. Garrett Reid, Andy Reid's oft-troubled 29-year-old son, was found dead in his Lehigh University dorm room at Eagles' training camp Sunday morning.
Boston police say they've apprehended a Red Sox employee who absconded earlier with the costume of the team's beloved mascot, Wally the Green Monster.
Boosted by a big run from the Texas Rangers, the American League has topped the NL in interleague play for the ninth straight year.
Five Cuts from a Father's Day edition of interleague play:
Magic Johnson teared up about owning a team that broke the color barrier.
"When you and I went to dinner in Arizona in the spring of 2011," I say to Ned Colletti, general manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers, "you thought your team might be a lot better than it turned out to be."
Pitcher Matt Cain talks about his perfect game, the first in San Francisco Giants history.
San Francisco Giants pitcher Matt Cain threw a perfect game Wednesday night in a 10-0 victory against the Houston Astros, the first pitcher to achieve that feat in Giants history.
Matt Cain was always there. His teammate, Tim Lincecum, might be the Freak, but Cain was the Fixture. The foundation that the San Francisco Giants pitching staff was built on.
Five Cuts from the second weekend of interleague play:
While most of America slept the night before the Greatest Sports Day Ever (Until The Next One), six Seattle Mariners pitchers served up the kind of historic performance that will be hard to match on Saturday by anyone or anything in Paris or Poland, Las Vegas or Long Island, Miami or Newark.
A judge ordered two men to stand trial on charges relating to the beating of San Francisco Giants fan Bryan Stow after a Los Angeles Dodgers game last year.
OAKLAND -- If there were a team, any baseball team, that could use the services of an aging slugger, a potential Hall of Famer -- no matter his age or agility -- it would appear to be the Oakland Athletics.
Before we talk about 500-foot bombs, or 450-foot home runs hit with broken bats, or the time that Charlie Manuel was left speechless and the day Dave Winfield finally saw The Next Dave Winfield, a word to the reader: Don't believe every tale about Giancarlo Cruz Michael Stanton.
He was arguably the top prospect in baseball coming into this season. He plays centerfield, has power, speed and pure hitting ability. Called up in late April and inserted into the starting lineup, the former first-round pick has become the lynchpin of his team's offense and could well prove to be key to that team snapping its playoff drought. Perhaps most impressively, he's doing that at an age when merely holding one's own in the major leagues is a tremendous accomplishment and most other ballplayers his age are either in the low minors or college. He is not Bryce Harper. He is Mike Trout.
Want the inside scoop on steroids, Manny Ramirez and more? Larry talks baseball with ultimate insider, Tommy Lasorda.
Former Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda suffered a mild heart attack Monday while in New York, the Los Angeles team confirmed Tuesday.
The surprises began with the very first pick of the 2012 MLB draft -- when the Astros selected Puerto Rican shortstop Carlos Correa instead of the widely expected choice, Stanford righthanded pitcher Mark Appel -- and didn't stop there. Here's a quick look at the winners and losers from the first round and the compensation round.
The past two times the Houston Astros have selected first overall, the results have been solid, if not spectacular.
This weekend saw the White Sox continue their hot streak, four series played among the tightly bunched teams in the two Eastern divisions, and the ascendant Angels take two of three from the first-place Rangers, but the most compelling series was the one still going on in New York between the Mets and Cardinals. That series announced itself when Johan Santana threw the first no-hitter in Mets history on Friday night, and has become more compelling with each successive dominant Mets pitching performance. Meanwhile, with their loss on Sunday, the defending world champions saw their record fall to an even .500 and slipped a half-game behind the Pirates into third place in the National League Central.
On Sunday, it was reported that the Houston Astros will select Stanford righthander Mark Appel with the first pick in Monday's MLB Draft. How will the rest of the first round break down? Dave Perkin, a former major league scout and SI.com's draft analyst, makes his selections below. For more from Perkin, follow his live analysis of the first-round starting at 7 p.m. Monday night.
The Mets had played 8,019 regular season games and 64 postseason games across 50-plus seasons before June 1, 2012, but it wasn't until Johan Santana held the Cardinals without a hit on Friday night that one of their pitchers had thrown a no-hitter.
How can I explain this? When it comes to no-hitters, the thing about being a Mets fan was that it always felt like everyone got to have a birthday except me. With the exception of the San Diego Padres, every franchise in baseball had at least one no-hitter in its history but the Mets. Every fanbase had experienced that magical feeling that comes out of nowhere, when a regular game turns into a piece of history, when the guy on the mound for their team has talent and fate and maybe a generous umpire on his side and throws nine hitless innings -- except us luckless followers of the Mets. As a fan of the team for more than 40 years, I had resigned myself to a lifetime of watching other teams periodically hit the lottery. For my Mets, a no-no would never be.
New York Mets pitcher Johan Santana tossed the first no-hitter in the franchise's history Friday night in an 8-0 win over the St. Louis Cardinals.
If it seems as if a star player goes on the DL every day, you're wrong. Sometimes it's two, as happened Thursday when Matt Kemp and Troy Tulowitzki added to the casualty list of a season rocked by injuries to big-time players.
Todd Frazier isn't a little guy. The Cincinnati Reds' third baseman stands 6-foot-3. He weighs 220 pounds after breakfast. In five minor league seasons, he hit 74 home runs. This year, he has five homers in 76 at-bats. He can hit the ball a long way. He has never hit one like the one he hit Sunday at Great American Ball Park.
Before the million-and-a-half signing bonus or the relief appearance in which he threw 10 straight pitches of at least 101 miles per hour, Padres pitcher Andrew Cashner endured four straight drafts in which he received undulating annual assessments of his ability and potential.
This story appears in the June 4, 2012 issue of Sports Illustrated. Buy the digital version of the magazine here.
Every sports fan has daydreamed about what it would be like to own their hometown team.
Golf journalist David Dusek discusses Phil Mickelson's entry into golf's Hall of Fame with CNN's Amanda Davies.
BOSTON (AP) -- Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine called out the Tampa Bay Rays' coaching staff a day after the teams were involved in a benches-clearing scrum.
There aren't a lot of accessories in Flyover Country. No beaches, no mountains, few really tall buildings. In Cincinnati, there isn't a lot of history stored in museums. We are not The Hub of the Universe, the way Boston has decided it is.
I know what I was supposed to feel on Tuesday, sitting in the morning sun on Pier 30 in San Francisco as Warriors owners Joe Lacob spoke about the franchise's move to San Francisco: This is all kinds of awesome.
When Matt Kemp and Josh Hamilton put up slow-pitch softball numbers for a month it's exciting, but it's not a total shock. These are immensely talented players in the primes of their careers who have established themselves as MVP-quality talents. But what about when Brian LaHair does it?
PHILADELPHIA -- Bryce Harper and Cole Hamels may instigate a rivalry between the Nationals and the Phillies. But that's only if Hamels re-signs with the Phillies and, even then, only because of their abilities on the field.
Five Cuts from the first weekend of interleague play:
This weekend brings the start of interleague play, marking the 16th season of commissioner Bud Selig's experiment with having teams from the two leagues play each other during the regular season, something which had never happened prior to 1997. This season will also be the final one in which interleague play will follow its long-established format with most teams playing one interleague series in May, followed by five more in mid June. Next season, the Astros will move to the American League West, leaving both leagues with 15 teams, an odd number that will necessitate interleague play throughout the season. With that in mind, here are five thoughts on the past and future of interleague play.
While the NFL sells quarterbacks and NBA sells scorers, the appeal of baseball rests more on teams and regional allegiance. The individual player with national appeal -- the one who sells tickets on the road and who creates a bump in TV ratings outside his market -- has been a rarity in recent years. But the first two months of this season have created personalities that provide baseball with chances for just such appointment-viewing type players.
He's brash, bold and has the skills to back it up. 19-year-old phenom Bryce Harper is less than a month into his baseball career with the Washington Nationals, and he's already making his presence felt in the nation's capital. With high-profile magazine covers and international baseball experience already on his resume, the Nationals are looking to Harper to be one of their building blocks as they try to put Washington baseball on the map.
Sometimes it is easier for the highly skilled, purpose driven athlete to deal with injuries that happen in the blink of an eye. You crash into the wall; you take a bad step; you throw an awkward pitch. You break a bone; you snap a tendon; you tear a ligament. As painful and psychologically challenging as those injuries can be, at least what comes next is often clear cut. You get it fixed. You don't play for a month, or six months, or a year. Then, if all goes well, you do.
SAN FRANCISCO -- "Used to" isn't an encouraging way to describe an athlete who's 27, never had a major injury and was considered state-of-the art just 18 months ago.
On the same night Josh Hamilton smashed two home runs against the Angels he also dove headlong into first base just as many times. The game last Friday represented a good snapshot of why Hamilton is the most compelling player in baseball today: he takes your breath away, whether admiring his talent or fearing he can't hold up.
BALTIMORE -- The year 2012 has welcomed strange days that have nothing to do with any antiquated Mayan forecast and everything to with baseball at the extremes. The season has already seen a perfect game, a no-hitter and a cycle, three rare results that can't compete with what's happening with the Baltimore Orioles.
WASHINGTON -- Jonathan Papelbon may have left behind his native Nation but as he goes around his new city, he can't help but sense that its friendly people, laid-back feel and sidewalk cafes give it a European flavor.
John Smoltz and Dennis Eckersley discuss Angels pitcher Jered Weaver's remarkable no-hitter against the Minnesota Twins.
Baseball's new epidemic selects its victims carefully. It targets inhabitants of the same community, each of whom can be found residing on the pitcher's mound in the ninth inning of close games.
Gone are the franchise first baseman, the legendary manager, the master pitching coach and the shrewd draft architect. The top returning slugger has played just seven games. One co-ace is injured with an uncertain date of return; the other, fresh off a season-long absence, has just two quality starts in six tries.
This is the Code at its deepest and most ingrained levels. It is the confluence of ability and pride and hype and the concept that all men must earn their stripes. It is the old guard welcoming the new -- player and team alike -- with an unmistakable challenge: Welcome to the big time. Let's see if you can hack it.
Five Cuts on a weekend dominated by the two pitching-led franchises who make their homes on either side of the Capitol Beltway:
A Panama native nicknamed "Mo," who endeared himself to New Yorkers with a cut fastball that baffled baseball's finest sluggers, is faced with the prospect of an unceremonious end to his illustrious 18-year career.
Few scenarios in baseball are so unnerving as the lack of reliable late-inning relief, and few places are so inhospitable to that uncertainty as the back pages of the New York tabloids.
Another month, another no-hitter. In the fresh spike marks of Philip Humber, Jered Weaver of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim threw the second no-hitter of the season Wednesday night. It was the 10th no-hitter inside of two calendar years. Since Opening Day 2010, you are more likely to see a no-hitter (11 of them) than a cycle (seven) or a 130-pitch game (nine). And in these past three years no-hitters are occurring more than three times more often than they did in the previous decade.
Angels ace Jered Weaver threw the 274th no-hitter in major league history Wednesday night. It was the second no-hit game of this young season, and the 11th since the start of the 2010 season (12th if you include Armando Galarraga's 28-out perfect game). Here are five thoughts on the accomplishment.
The Los Angeles Dodgers, one of the most successful franchises in Major League Baseball, ushered in a new era of ownership Wednesday while ending a dismal chapter of ownership under Frank McCourt, who baseball's commissioner described as "looting" the club of $190 million to fund an extravagant lifestyle.
Did you see the guy in the Batman underpants who leapt from the bleachers at Camden Yards on Opening Day and spent 63 seconds eluding justice on the outfield grass, his cape flouncing in the breeze, before a pile of policemen -- presumably in defiance of Commissioner Gordon -- finally tackled him in left-centerfield?
WASHINGTON -- Justin Upton was walking by the pool of a resort in the Bahamas, an offseason respite after leading the Diamondbacks to a division title, when he saw someone familiar.
On April 7, 1984, a 19-year-old phenom named Dwight Gooden walked to the mound at the Astrodome in Houston for his big league debut with the New York Mets while a 22-year-old named Darryl Strawberry took his place in rightfield for career game number 126 and Davey Johnson, a manager in his first full season with the team, watched from the dugout. Gooden would win the game, Strawberry would hit a home run and the balance of power in the National League reached a tipping point. Over the next seven seasons no team won more games, no team delighted and annoyed more fans and no team drew more attention than the New York Mets.
If you told me eight years ago I'd end up writing an article extolling the virtues of Los Angeles, I would have laughed.
At least one person is killed and many injured when a tent at a St. Louis sports bar collapses during severe weather.
One person was killed and 16 others hospitalized Saturday afternoon when a sports bar tent collapsed during a storm that swept through the St. Louis area, fire officials said.
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Bryce Harper's first day in the major leagues came with all the hype one would expect for the player dubbed "Baseball's Chosen One" when he was only 16 years old.
On Sunday in Chicago, Cincinnati's Aroldis Chapman threw an unhittable pitch. It wasn't a 100 mph fastball behind the ear flap, or a slider a time zone off the plate. It was a strike. A 99 mile-an-hour pitch on the inside corner and at the knees of Cubs third baseman Ian Stewart. Stewart couldn't have hit it with God's bat.
The Red Sox organization lives on the cutting edge of statistical analysis. It has reams of information available for the field staff and is not shy about making hair-splitting suggestions about how to deploy it. It employs stats guru Bill James. And yet manager Bobby Valentine posted a lineup in the clubhouse Wednesday thinking righthanded Twins starter Liam Hendriks was lefthanded. He checked his cell phone and got it wrong.
Billy Beane knew what he had in Gio Gonzalez: a young, durable, lefthanded strikeout artist. If Beane, the Oakland A's general manager, was going to deal him last winter -- even in the midst of a fire sale in which virtually every player on the A's roster, save second baseman Jemile Weeks, was available -- it would be for a return of the sort that would decimate most trading partners' farm systems.
Just three weeks into the season, a journeyman castoff has pitched a perfect game and a two-time Cy Young winner has an 8.20 ERA. Those might be two of the biggest surprises from the first three weeks of the season but they are far from the only ones. Here are five good, five bad and one very curious unexpected development so far.
When his team plays at home, the Red Sox manager holds press conferences in front of a red brick wall that lends an unintentional air of comedy or tragedy to his every utterance, the brick-wall backdrop being synonymous with stand-up comedy and firing squads and official announcements from the Boston Red Sox, for whom April has alternated between farce and doom.
Brian Dawkins was never a crossover athlete on a national scale. He never went on Letterman or Leno. Never appeared on the cover of a video game or a reality show. We had only a vague idea what was in his crib.
Another perfect game? Ho Humber. This is getting routine.
Philip Humber of the Chicago White Sox has pitched a perfect game in a 4-0 win over the Mariners in Seattle.
Smoltz discusses the unique measurements of Fenway Park and his batting practice experiences of clearing the Green Monster.
Is it OK to not like Fenway Park?
Excerpted from FENWAY PARK: The Centennial by Saul Wisnia. Copyright © 2011 by Les Krantz and published last Septeber by St. Martin's Press. Reprinted with permission by St. Martin's Press.
I wouldn't exist if not for Fenway Park.
Half the time that Padres third baseman Chase Headley steps to the plate, the opposing fielders can take their gloves off, sit down and not have to worry about the baseball being playable.
Miami Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen is suspended despite his apologies for Castro remarks. CNN's John Zarrella reports.
Bobby Valentine was brought to Boston as a knee-jerk reaction to a perfect storm of last year's late-season collapse, wild accusations about allegedly dispassionate players, and a clubhouse culture that allowed such accusations to surface in the first place.
A bankruptcy court Friday approved the $2 billion sale of the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team to a group that includes former basketball star Earvin "Magic" Johnson.
At 1-5 entering their home opener today, the Boston Red Sox are in worse shape than they were last year when they began 0-6. The 0-6 start was an anomaly by a set team that would be the best club in baseball until September arrived. This year's team has far more loose ends and questions: catcher, shortstop, leftfield, rightfield, closer , starting rotation and, if you believe Bobby Valentine needs early success to validate the cultural change he brings post-Terry Francona, manager.
NEW YORK -- A few days after Jayson Werth signed his first professional contract in mid-June 1997, the first-round pick of the Orioles traveled to Baltimore for an introductory press conference at Camden Yards.
NEW YORK -- At the age of 29, and as he is left out of the industry trend of teams locking up franchise players, New York Mets third baseman David Wright has begun already a third act to his career. It is the comeback phase. After a career-worst season in 2011, when it appeared that a canyon of a ballpark was extracting the greatness from his career, Wright went back to his roots. He hit last winter at a high school batting cage with Nick Boothe, the baseball coach at Virginia Wesleyan who had worked with Wright as a teenager.
Excerpted from CALICO JOE by John Grisham. Copyright © 2012 by Belfry Holdings, Inc. To be published this month by Doubleday, an imprint of The Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc.
Thursday brought the first multi-game slate of the 2012 baseball season and Opening Day for 13 teams. It was a day dominated by starting pitching, which was occasionally undermined by shaky relief pitching, and also brought us the longest Opening Day game in major league history, just to remind us that baseball will always show you something you've never seen before.
The 2012 baseball season had its third Opening Day on Thursday with six pitching-dominated games and one, between the Indians and Blue Jays, that rolled on for an Opening Day-record 16 innings before finally concluding. On Friday, the 13 teams that still haven't launched their seasons will at long last get their uniforms dirty amid a nine-game slate.
NEW YORK -- Johan Santana assumed his familiar broad-legged stance on the third-base side of the pitching rubber when pitching out of the windup, and then he mowed down hitters by changing speeds and locating pitches.
SI.com will be live-blogging today's season openers. Check back all day long for updates on Thursday afternoon's games from Cliff Corcoran (Red Sox vs. Tigers, Marlins vs. Reds), Joe Lemire (Mets vs. Braves), Ben Reiter (Phillies vs. Pirates) , Gary Gramling (Nationals vs. Cubs) and Ted Keith (Blue Jays vs. Indians). All times Eastern.
Baseball's newest venue is officially open, and it's impossible to look at Marlins Park in Miami without thinking, That place looks like fun. The fish swimming in the backstop, the Jacques-Cousteau-meets-Timothy-Leary home run sculpture, the South Beach nightclub satellite behind the bullpen, the pop art installations scattered on the courses: Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria isn't kidding when he says the ballpark he helped conceive and build "is meant to make you smile." Loria spent enough on free agents this winter to sound believable when he says he wants fans to focus on the game and the team. But, just in case your mind wanders, he made sure that baseball is not the only entertainment option at Marlins Park.
The 2012 Major League Baseball season officially opened last week in Japan, where the A's and Mariners played a mostly forgettable two-game series, and starts Stateside on Wednesday night when the Marlins face the defending World Series champion Cardinals. Thursday, though, is when the season really begins.
Although the western hemisphere's Opening Day isn't for another week, the 2012 baseball season officially got underway in Japan on Wednesday morning when the A's and Mariners played the first of two games in Tokyo, which means it's high time that I update my 2012 awards predictions from November.
Of Major League Baseball's six divisions, only the NL West has sent each of its clubs to the playoffs at least once since 2006. "There's no clear favorite from year to year," says Giants GM Brian Sabean, "which makes it interesting."
Only two teams in all of baseball had a better record than the National League Central champion Brewers last year -- the powerhouse Phillies and Yankees -- and the second-place Cardinals won the World Series.
Might the NL East be ready to wrest the title of Toughest Division in Baseball away from its AL counterparts? Not quite, but it has become the game's most talented grouping one through five.
Red Sox-Yankees? That's so 2009.
In 2011, the Tigers were the only team in the American League Central to post a winning record, they won the division by 15 games -- the largest margin by any first-place club in baseball -- boasted the league's dual MVP and Cy Young winner in Justin Verlander, and added to their division-leading payroll by making the division's most prominent offseason acquisition in free-agent slugger Prince Fielder. Perhaps that's why, when he was asked this spring if he was in favor of MLB adding a second wild-card team to each league, White Sox general manager Ken Williams said, "Hell yeah I want it."
Last season, as The Great September Collapse was taking place up I-95, the Yankees waltzed away with their second AL East crown in three years. New York is in for a tougher fight in the Best Division in Baseball this year.
We have arrived at an exit ramp, only we cannot be certain to where it leads. Baseball in 2012, with its expanded postseason, franchise-changing TV money and the Technicolor dream of Miami as a baseball town, is headed in a new direction, as it seems to do every 10 years.
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