Is the no-hitter becoming so common that it's losing its luster? Over the past three seasons, no-hitters are about as common as your cable bill: they come almost once a month. The perfect game by Matt Cain Wednesday in San Francisco was the 14th no-hitter in the past 2 1/3 seasons.
The snow began to recede this week, revealing a newspaper from January 27, a Gatorade bottle and our Christmas tree, dragged to the curb just before two feet of snow fell. But the greatest revelation was a patch of grass, still small but undeniably spreading, like the happy opposite of a bald spot.
Northwestern AD Jim Phillips worked for nearly two years to make Saturday's historic game against Illinois at Wrigley Field a reality, and looked to be achieving his wildest dreams. The school's season ticket sales increased by more than 40 percent; the city of Chicago, not usually a college football town, has been abuzz all week; ESPN's GameDay is coming to town. With the stadium's purple marquee as a backdrop, the show will essentially serve as a two-hour commercial for the school.
After surrendering a home run to the Indians' Russell Branyan on Tuesday night, Phillies pitcher Jamie Moyer has tied Robin Roberts' all-time record for most home runs allowed by a pitcher. Roberts, the Phillies great and Hall of Famer who passed away in early May, has sat atop the all-time list since 1957. He pitched nine more years after claiming the record, allowing 217 additional home runs to ultimately set the record at 505. The following is a look at the home runs Moyer has allowed. (Hat tip to Baseball-Reference's Home Run Log for much of the below.)
Mark McGwire made his choice. So did Alex Rodriguez. And Barry Bonds. And Manny Ramirez. And David Ortiz. And Rafael Palmeiro. And Sammy Sosa. And so on and so on. The list of baseball players who have been linked to performance-enhancing substances seems to stretch on like a tape-measure blast into the summer night.
BOSTON -- Three months ago, this Winter Classic matchup between the Boston Bruins and the Philadelphia Flyers was supposed to be a fight for first place in the Eastern Conference. Things, alas, don't always go as planned.
There's a sense that the NHL's Winter Classic outdoor game, which captures the attention of even non-hockey fans, is sure to move from novelty to boring, staid, or one-trick pony that's run its very limited course. It's mostly a media opinion and it's wrong -- so wrong, that to even put forth the argument is a fair indication that the Classic's critics have lost touch with their audience.
It has been a quiet holiday week in baseball. Of course, sometimes nothing happening is almost as significant as something happening. Take the Mets, a rich, lousy team that has made an ostentatious show of being willing to spend a lot to improve. With more than $90 million committed for next year before figuring arbitration awards for several young players, the team lacks a catcher, a first baseman, two outfielders and the semblance of dignity. Every one of their starters is inexperienced, terrible, coming off an injury or some combination of the three. They might be able to get better by signing the owners of Shea Stadium, the Brooklyn recording studio named after their erstwhile, much-mourned ballpark.
The late, great ink-stained orator Mike Royko was the wise-guy voice of Chicago on myriad matters large and small, pitch-perfect in articulating his city's sensibilities and proudly unwavering in his disdain for all things New York.
Don't get spoiled by the last two Mondays. I can't keep up the pace of 7,200- and 9,000-word columns in the preseason. But there's enough -- from Dallas, Denver and Minnesota, and a stunningly bad list of prospective free agents when teams will have real money to spend in 2010 -- to keep us all thinking this morning.
MINNEAPOLIS -- As you walk around what will become, in eight short months, the Minnesota Twins' custom-built home and the major league's newest ballpark, your glance keeps drifting upward and, as if Bedford Falls were one of the Twin Cities, you start to hear Jimmy Stewart pitching woo on a stroll past picket fences:
Pedro Martinez has now been a spot artist for as long as he was a master with the three best pitches and the most precise command in baseball. Most of that time he's been fading or faded, injured more often than not. By his own account, the last time he felt good was 2001.
1. Boston Marathon I was once a good runner. Not Olympic/NCAA good, but better-than-most-road racers good. I ran 32:50 for 10K and 50:59 for 15K and several times tried training for a marathon, but on each occasion got injured. This was 25 years ago. Now I have arthritis in one knee and can't run much, so I ride a bike. I have covered many Boston Marathons, but never ran it. I wish I had. I wish I had just sucked it up, qualified, and run it once relatively slowly, even in the years long after my prime.
These lists are not mere compilations of all-time bests in their respective sports but all-time bests at quickening the pulse and evoking a visceral response from those fortunate enough to have witnessed their artistry.
Thanks to major snowstorms, travel the last couple of days has been a challenge -- especially if you were trying to get to Buffalo. Just ask the Pittsburgh Penguins, who had to bus in for Monday's game against the Sabres. I ended up flying to Toronto and driving in to cover the game for Versus -- this after several flight cancellations, a bump while on standby, and the all- encompassing "computer glitch."
The stands in the old ballpark on the north side of town will be filled all weekend long, and the beer will flow and the insults will follow and somewhere, amid all the cursing and the sweat, three games will be played in Chicago this weekend. More importantly, considering that two first-place teams are playing, the games will be packed with significance that goes far beyond mere bragging rights.
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has this crazy idea: He wants to buy the Chicago Cubs, along with Wrigley Field and a piece of a sports channel, possibly by Opening Day. Baseball's old-boy network isn't jazzed about the notion, but I am. Here's why....
This much, you have to give the Cubs: They know how to do tradition. For the past near-century, they have tried and failed, almost always miserably, in their Quixotic bid to win another World Series title. And now they have slapped the finishing touches on another try and tumble, this time in typically spectacular fashion. Spectacularly bad.
The head of a private equity firm in Chicago has formed a high-profile group of investors - ranging from restaurateurs to chief executives - to bid for the local Cubs baseball team, sources familiar with the sale process said Friday.
What Jenn's looking forward to: While most people get depressed in the dark days of winter, this girl catches the blues in the heat of summer. Granted, it's not enough to make me need a therapist or anything, but I do go through some definite withdrawals from football season. The boys of summer are great, don't get me wrong, but I am looking for a bit of a more contact sport. NFL camps are getting underway very shortly, and this girl couldn't be more excited. Until then, left fields and left turns are enough to keep me from going completely insane.
If you couldn't get enough of the quadraphonic crack of home runs Sunday night, or the out-of-his-head week that Alex Rodriguez had, or that wild wind-blown series in Wrigley Field, you'll get a chance to see it all again next weekend, when the Yanks-Red Sox and Cubs-Cardinals go for Round 2.
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.
SI.com: Show timeupdated: Thu Apr 05 2007 17:42:00
We'd seen Daisuke Matsuzaka dazzle in the World Baseball Classic last March. We'd seen him mow through a bunch of Spring Training rosters. We'd heard all about his legendary high school no-hitter and his jump into a long professional career in Japan, and about his ability to throw and throw and throw. We'd read all about his amazing repertoire of pitches. We knew, because it's been pounded into our heads for more than a year now, that Matsuzaka is, with no argument, the best Japanese pitcher alive.
Are you watching this season of American Idol? Everyone seems to be wondering how Sanjaya is still around. Can you offer any explanation? Also, would you ever go on a reality show like the Real World or Big Brother? It could be a good career move. -- Brandon, Plano, Texas