The problem with the Cardinals this year is that they're way too much like the Cardinals of last year. Except older. With nowhere near the pitching. Or hitting. Or, come to think about it, the defense, either.
Are John Maine (5-2, 2.77 ERA) and Oliver Perez (6-3, 2.54) for real? Do the Mets have enough pitching to win the National League pennant? -- Matt Langdon, Birmingham, Ala.
COOPERSTOWN, NY -- I will tell the story for years to come about how I played the outfield like Willie Mays in the 61st annual Baseball Hall of Fame exhibition game at historic Doubleday Field. I will conveniently forget to mention I did so like the Willie Mays of the 1973 World Series, turning a routine fly ball into a Sir Edmund Hillary-sized adventure.
Jason Giambi placed himself at the center of a controversy last week, claiming that MLB should issue an apology as an industry for players' use of performance-enhancing drugs in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Giambi, who testified under oath during the BALCO investigation that he himself had used steroids, acknowledged his use in his comments to USA Today but claimed that they didn't help his performance.
Yankees slugger Jason Giambi's steroid admission to USA Today has possibly opened him up for questioning by Major League Baseball, additional scrutiny from both baseball and his team and perhaps even a suspension if it can be determined when he took the steroids, baseball officials told SI.com.
We have, this weekend, an interleague sighting. It's going to be a brief one -- we're back to your regularly scheduled intraleague games on Monday -- mostly harmless and, in some rare cases, maybe even a tad entertaining. Definitely worth tuning into a game or two.
After the last few nights in Houston and, really, for the better part of the last week and a half or so, we are left to deal with this nearly undeniable truth about the sometimes frustrating, yet often strangely entertaining Astros:
Not a question, but I have to vent about MLB pushing back the start of the World Series to even-later October. I mean, after the freezing weather in Detroit last year, it is the exact opposite of what makes sense. Playoff baseball is the best, but the game wasn't meant to be played in adverse weather conditions. How can we as fans provide input that is in the best interests of the game? Shorter season (start in mid-late April, end early-mid Oct.), fair scheduling, player transactions based on actual baseball needs rather than financial considerations ... I could go on and on. -- Craig, Seattle
When the Cleveland Indians signed Dominican prospect Angel Franco, he knew he'd been given the opportunity of a lifetime. He just didn't know that that opportunity would have nothing to do with baseball.
Are you ready to admit your preseason hype fest of Daisuke Matsuzaka was a mistake? -- Eric Skelly, Boston
CHICAGO -- It came up in a roundabout way, this curious revelation from Cubs left-hander Rich Hill. He was sitting in the home dugout at Wrigley Field on Sunday, discussing what's typically in his headphones before a start -- either U2, Audioslave or the Red Hot Chili Peppers. The conversation then turned to his guitar-playing hobby, or current lack thereof, seeing that the Gibson Les Paul he bought mostly collects dust in his Chicago apartment. Asked if he plays the instrument lefty or righty, he said righty -- at which point he felt it relevant to note that he was not, originally, a lefty.
With a dramatic seventh-inning announcement, Roger Clemens made himself a returning hero, a difference-maker, and a whole big pile of cash.
If you've ever listened to Roger Clemens, or if you've listened to him lately, you know that winning the World Series always has been his goal. It's why he plays. It's why he's still playing. The man, clearly, has a thing for rings.
I. Geezer ballplayers: Pouring over the statistical league leaders Thursday, I found myself continually asking one question: Man, how old is that dude? After a series of birth date checks, I confirmed a budding suspicion: America's pastime is being shaped by a number of players who are far past their time. Currently many of the games top players boast birth dates in the decade of sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll -- the 1960s.
Things thought about (and looked up) regarding April, while wondering whether the big name in May is going to be Alex Emmanuel Rodriguez, Barry Lamar Bonds or Kirk J. Radomski:
Since last summer, Sports Illustrated reporters Luis Fernando Llosa and L. Jon Wertheim have been investigating an alleged illegal steroid distribution network that has implicated pro athletes.
The subject in Seattle baseball circles is Ichiro, as it so often is these days, and whether the Mariners can keep their terrifically enigmatic star happy and in the green beyond this season. Or even beyond July.
1. 2006 underachievers: Prior to the 2006 campaign, two middle America cities were abuzz with optimism. Both Cleveland and Milwaukee boasted young, exciting teams that were coming off encouraging seasons in '05. Hopes and dreams quickly came crashing down, though, as both teams vastly underachieved and finishing below .500.
No self-respecting manager or front-office team builder would dare use injuries as an excuse for losing. Are you kidding me? Using injuries as an excuse -- justifiably or not -- makes baseball people look weak.
The Most Hated Man in Baseball is now adored.
The most important man in the American League East has made himself known. It took just 18 games, 18 ridiculously messy New York Yankees games in which:
The news last week that Braves manager Bobby Cox received a one-year extension shouldn't surprise anyone. He deserved it, and he should be allowed to decide when he goes out, if ever.
Barry Bonds is back, and if you couldn't tell that by his swing, or those rockets coming off his bat, or that unmistakable strut he's regained in this, his 22nd season in the majors, then tear your eyes off No. 25 for a second and look out into the field. To the teams playing against the Giants. They're scared out of their ever-loving new faux-wool caps.
Over the years -- OK, over the last century or so -- the answer to the question "What's wrong with the Cubs?" has always been pretty easy to come by.
You may have heard a lot of folks worrying about the steep drop in the number of black baseball players as the sport celebrates Jackie Robinson, who broke the color barrier 60 years ago this weekend.
Adam Wainwright is in the rotation for the World Series champion Cardinals for a lot of reasons. Necessity, for one. The defection of a couple of starters, the return of the team's All-Star closer ... you don't need to look far for the reasons Wainwright, who finished 2006 as St. Louis' Series-clinching closer, is starting these days. They're all over the place.
You can't say, this early into the season, that the Mets' fortunes lie entirely with Oliver Perez. You can't say, really any time, that it's all on one guy.
Also in this column: • A win for cable subscribers • Pirates' injury woes • More news and notes
As Major League Baseball eases in to the new season at ballparks across the country this week, a separate drama is playing out in a courthouse in this tropical paradise - one that spotlights a darker side of the national pastime.
Before Cooperstown honors Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripken later this year, the Hall of Fame duo will be suiting up for another team.
The two shortstops, the two hombres who share a position and a homeland, were scooping up ground balls on a back field at the Seattle Mariners' training camp in Peoria, Ariz., one morning last month, taking turns gliding to the ball and firing to first base. The efficient spectacle that is a Major League Baseball batting practice session buzzed around them, balls zipping point to point: pitcher to batter, batter to outfield, fielder to first baseman.
TUCSON, Ariz. -- Spring Training is good for getting a feel for a team. That's about it. As long as you realize that's what you're getting, and that's all you're getting, you should be satisfied.
Embarrassment. Injury. Blunt force trauma. Estate planning. The mind quickly accelerates the possibility and the amplitude of catastrophe when you are standing on the infield grass, as I am, 75 feet in front of Boston Red Sox slugger Manny Ramirez while he bats with a runner on first base. No infielder ever would be so foolish to put himself this close to the potential harm of a Ramirez line drive, not even armed with world-class hand-eye coordination, a fielder's glove and a protective cup -- all of which, as I am most acutely aware, I do not possess at this moment.
Here is a message for George Steinbrenner, Derek Jeter, Brian Cashman and everyone else who has bought in to the Yankees culture that the season is a failure if New York does not win the World Series: The '90s are so over. The baseball world has changed so much from when the Yankees won four titles in five years that the Yankees' world-championship-or-bust mentality has become awkwardly outdated.
You've got to tip your cap to Twins manager Ron Gardenhire. Every spring the Twins look like they'll finish fourth in the AL Central, and every fall they're right in the thick of the pennant race, usually at the top. Sure they have a quartet of players who are among the best at their positions in the AL (Johan Santana, Joe Nathan, Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau), but to get players with virtually no fantasy value to gel as a team as Gardenhire does every season is admirable.
KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- In baseball terminology, Brad Lidge is what is known as a "standup guy." He's accountable. Always willing to talk. Always willing to listen. Always there to take the kudos or the clobbering. That's Brad Lidge.
Also in this column: • Dye vs. C. Lee comparison • Freddy ready to break bank? • "No chance" to void Matthews • More news and notes TUCSON, Ariz. -- After visiting 13 spring camps and hearing 13 different spiels about how that team's time is now, I found myself nodding at Diamondbacks camp. That's nodding, not nodding off. I like what I see here. Arizona is my sleeper team in the National League. And it's not just heat stroke, either ... at least I think it's not.
Major League Baseball has announced an agreement that will give satellite giant DirecTV what looks to be exclusive rights to the sport's Extra Innings package of out-of-market games. The agreement, announced formally at a press conference Thursday afternoon, is reportedly worth $700 million over the next seven years and includes a provision in which DirecTV will become a minority partner and will work with baseball on the MLB Channel, scheduled to launch in 2009.
DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Frank Thomas has been on some bad teams, and quite a few pretty good ones, and a couple of Octobers ago he stood off to the side of a clubhouse in street clothes, hobbled by a bum foot, and watched as the only big-league franchise he ever worked for celebrated an unlikely World Series win -- largely without him. Talk about a Big Hurt.
BRADENTON, Fla. -- Freddy Sanchez, your surprise National League batting champion, has every reason to believe that what he accomplished last year he can pull off again this year. He says as much, too, without a trace of preening, without any manufactured humility and with no practiced nonchalance whatsoever.
Much as we might like baseball's steroids scandal to just shrivel up and blow away -- Run for the hills, everybody! Another steroids story! -- we ought to know by now that it's just not going to happen.
Long-distance relationships may not work for romances. But it's a different story for sports fans.
Also in this column: • Cardinals-Phillies trade match • Floyd second-guesses Mets • More news and notes
The dynamic in the Astros' training camp, in ways subtle and strong, is different this spring. It's early yet, so there's plenty of time for that dynamic to shift, for the personality of this team to morph again -- maybe dozens of times -- before the months-long monstrosity that they call a baseball season is over.
The last time Adam Wainwright was on the mound he was closing out the World Series clinching victory for the St. Louis Cardinals. The next time the right-hander pitches a meaningful game, it likely will be as a starter in the team's rebuilt rotation.
Eight years ago the Cubs established in spring training that a 21-year-old named Kerry Wood was not going to make their big league team. "Congratulations," Angels manager Terry Collins told Chicago manager Jim Riggelman one day that spring.
Besides a knee-buckling curveball that froze MVP candidate Carlos Beltran for the final strike of the National League Championship Series and a mid-90s fastball that overmatched the Tigers in the World Series, Cardinals righthander Adam Wainwright also has plenty of humility. When asked last week about the difference between last spring and this one, he replied, "Last year you could pick maybe two people off the street that knew who I was, and that was probably my mom and my brother."
Baseballs have been abused and neglected since the beginnings of the game. There were dead balls at the turn into the 20th century, of course, then juiced balls decades later. We've had spitballs, scuffed balls, cut balls and sandpapered balls. Balls have been bounced relentlessly off rock-hard turf and bounced often off rock-hard heads. They've been subjected to wind tunnels in Minneapolis, swirling gusts in Candlestick and Jeffrey Maier in New York.
If you sat down and tried to come up with the 10 best players in baseball today, it's a good bet Chipper Jones wouldn't crack your list. Even if you limited that little argument-starting exercise to the 10 best hitters, the Braves third baseman still isn't going to land on a lot of ballots. You could argue that with emergent talents like Miguel Cabrera, David Wright and Ryan Zimmerman -- these are just the guys who play Chipper's position in his division -- Jones may no longer belong among the Top 10 hitters in the National League.
Almost a year into Major League Baseball's investigation into its sordid steroids past, all exit signs seem to be pointing toward the one place that nobody really wants to go: Back to Capitol Hill, under the klieg lights, in front of a bunch of made-for-TV politicians looking for truth, blood and some face time on the evening news.
Sykeston is a small town fastened to a wheat field in North Dakota. It's about 14 miles west of Carrington, which is nine miles west of Melville, which is 34 miles west of Jamestown, which is 98 miles west of Fargo. Most of the businesses along Main Avenue have long been shuttered -- the Wagner Meat Shop, Kurus Barbershop, Old Doc Eummer's dentist office. The only one that's still thriving is the Wild Mustang saloon, home to the biggest Travis Hafner fan club west of the Mississippi.
World Series hero Jeff Weaver will join his sixth team in as many seasons.
Let's all just take a deep breath now, put down the pitchforks and the torches and get a couple of facts straight about Major League Baseball's move to sell exclusive rights to its Extra Innings package of out-of-market games to DirecTV:
The last place that any baseball fan ever wants to be is between team owners and a dollar bill. It's like stepping between Pete Rose and Ray Fosse, circa 1970. Or between Jose Canseco and his syringe sometime in the '90s. If it takes bowling over fans to get to that buck -- or giving them a nice, quick shot in the butt to get them out of the way -- that's exactly what baseball owners are going to do. It's not even a contest.
Last week's column about fans who keep attending games of terrible teams brought e-mail from readers all over the country who took offense at my suggestion that Cubs fans have had to suffer through the most hopeless seasons.
Barry Bonds, already under investigation for lying under oath about his steroid use, failed a test under Major League Baseball's amphetamine policy last season and then initially blamed it on a teammate, the Daily News has learned.
Last year the Baseball Hall of Fame engraved 88 words onto the plaque summarizing the career of relief pitcher Bruce Sutter. That's about a dozen more words than were used -- combined -- on the plaques of Ty Cobb, Walter Johnson and Babe Ruth, all members of the Hall's inaugural 1936 class.
Trying to catch up with weeks of e-mail, starting with Randy Johnson's departure from the Yankees and working back to Boston's signing of Daisuke Matsuzaka ...
The just concluded World Series may not have been as thrilling as previous Fall Classics. But despite that, baseball fans actually have more reasons to be excited about the sport than they've been in decades.
Major League Baseball and the Players Association are making progress in quiet, almost daily labor negotiations, and the two sides appear poised to reach agreement on a new deal without the typical work stoppages or even strike threats that have characterized past labor agreements.
On a Friday around 11 A.M. at the end of his second week back at work, Dick Ebersol was running a meeting in his 15th-floor office at NBC when he got the phone call he'd been waiting for. National ...
A federal grand jury is considering whether to indict San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds for perjury because of testimony he gave to another grand jury in 2003, CNN has learned.
If the World Baseball Classic could bottle the fan enthusiasm for the Dominican Republic-Venezuela game this past Tuesday, no one would ever be able to question the sport's popularity or international credentials ever again.
Baseball Hall of Famer Kirby Puckett, who helped lead the Minnesota Twins to World Series titles in 1987 and 1991, died Monday after suffering a stroke over the weekend, the team announced. He was 45.
IT WAS AS ROUTINE A GROUND-BALL out as you'll ever see. Boston Red Sox pitcher Keith Foulke fielded the baseball, took a few steps toward first, and then underhanded it to first baseman Doug Mientk...
The most successful, and most valuable, franchise in baseball in the last few years isn't the New York Yankees or their rivals, the Boston Red Sox.
Sports sponsorships can give at least a short-term lift to a sponsor's stock price, according to a published report.
Major League Baseball is reportedly passing up a chance at billions of dollars from an initial public offering of its profitable online service because owners didn't want to open their books and receive the big payday ahead of upcoming labor talks.
Billionaire financier George Soros has joined one of the groups bidding to purchase the Washington Nationals baseball team, the Washington Post reported Thursday.
CBS Chairman Leslie Moonves has an unexpected scapegoat for the network's expected No. 2 finish behind rival network Fox in a key ratings fight: New York Yankees reliever Mariano Rivera.
In 1995, baseball "Iron Man" Cal Ripken Jr. slammed through legend Lou Gehrig's "unbreakable record" of 2,130 consecutive games played.
A record number of fans came out to watch major league baseball last season, and they'll pay for that support with higher ticket prices this season.
If you are -- as I am -- a devotee of sports talk radio, then you have been bombarded this week with criticism of Congress' decision to subpoena a number of current and former baseball players to testify about steroid use. Only discussion of the NCAA basketball championships has vied for prominence with the steroid subpoena story.
A day before a congressional hearing on steroid use in baseball, the two top members of the investigating committee said baseball's new policy appears to be more smoke and mirrors than a legitimate attempt to crack down on steroid use.
NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Looks like the NFL was just the beginning.
The document purported to have "cursed" the Boston Red Sox for 86 years ended up causing some new disappointment Tuesday when an attempt to sell it for charity failed to fetch a high enough bid to complete a sale.
The document that "cursed" the Boston Red Sox for 86 years could end up disappointing some needy people in New England once again.
Taco Bell is giving major league baseball a chance to feed America.
Talk about striking out.
Everybody talks about the October surprise. Well, if you listen to the Democrats, the October surprise happened this week. We call it the political Play of the Week.
My eight-year old, despite attending more regular season baseball games than most adults, has never seen more than a few innings of a World Series game.
There was no eBay the last time there were Red Sox World Series tickets available. But there is now.
Online media pioneer RealNetworks is stumbling. Its high-profile content partner, Major League Baseball's MLB.com, bolted this season to team up with Microsoft's MSN. Its online music business, Rha...
It's the bottom of the ninth and the bases are loaded. The Yankees and Red Sox are tied 4-4 when New York's Alex Rodriguez steps up to the plate -- literally engulfed in flames as a result of his "hot" performance -- and sends a ball out of the stadium and into the scoreboard, smashing it to pieces. The crowd goes wild.
SI.com's Top 10 list of Derek Jeter's clutch moments drew plenty of reaction -- positive and negative. Here are some of your responses:
It's a sport where the major stars often aren't around for the biggest games. Its games are shown weeks, if not months, after they're played. And the viewers exert almost as much energy as the competitors, which is to say, not much at all.
Major League Baseball has tapped Taco Bell as its first national fast-food sponsor since 1987, with a published report saying the sport picked it over a pitch from McDonald's.
Robert Whiting jokes that there should be a statue of Japanese pitcher Hideo Nomo at Tokyo's Narita Airport.
Don't be alarmed when you spot spider webs covering the bases at a baseball game next month. The eye-catching spider web pattern is just the latest marketing move by Columbia Pictures in an attempt to promote "Spider-Man 2."
Federal officials announced Thursday a crackdown on the supplement andro, which gained fame after baseball player Mark McGwire used the product in his record-setting 1998 season.
It's hard to believe in the midst of February's doldrums that baseball spring training starts in less than two weeks. But indeed, my beloved Red Sox will begin preparing for their 2004 World Championship any day now.
RealNetworks CEO Rob Glaser is at one of his favorite places on earth: the ballpark. Perched just above the dugout, Glaser may have the best seats in Seattle's Safeco Field. That's what happens wh...
Donald Watkins grew up in Montgomery, Ala., during the epic years of the city bus boycott. He recalls days at school when protesters faced down police on the street outside. "There were two lessons...
$16.67 Average price of a Major League Baseball ticket in 2000
What do more than 43 million workers have in common with a legendary 79-year-old baseball player? As was the case with Sam "Jet" Jethroe (pictured at right), who broke the Boston Braves' color barr...
Peter O'Malley sounds like a man who's tired of the fight. His family has owned the Los Angeles Dodgers for 47 years--a longer tenure than any other ownership group in Major League Baseball--but ea...
Last month's south-of-the-border series between the New York Mets and the San Diego Padres, marking the first time official Major League Baseball games have been played outside the U.S. and Canada,...
ACCORDING TO Robert Wright, CEO of the National Broadcasting Co., here's how network television works: ''We're buying the most expensive programming available and taking it off the air quickly.''
BASEBALL IS A GAME of statistics, right? So how about these: In 1980, Walter A. Haas Jr., patriarch of the family that owns blue jeans maker Levi Strauss, bought the Oakland Athletics professional ...
SINCE PETER UEBERROTH took over as the new Commissioner of Baseball, a post once considered as carefree as a batboy's, he hasn't been able to enjoy a game. In his first days on the job last October...