Who needed a day off more than the Baltimore Orioles? Perhaps the rest of baseball. MLB’s worst team by record sat Monday after being swept for the second time this season by the Toronto Blue Jays, the team who many thought would finish behind the O’s in the standings for the first time since 2004. Instead two months into the season, the Jays are 14.5 games ahead. It’s not looking too good for the fortune-telling community.
Following the yearly tradition, baseball will honor the memory of Jackie Robinson today as every player league-wide will suit up wearing his famed number 42 on their backs. Today is the 63rd anniversary of Robinson breaking baseball’s color barrier. The number was retired throughout baseball by Commissioner Bud Selig on the 50th anniversary when Robinson when he took the field for the Brooklyn Dodgers. You won’t be able to walk into a stadium today without being reminded of Robinson’s fantastic achievement.
Johnny Damon’s offseason has likely come to an end. MLB.com is reporting that Damon will soon likely be announced as the new left fielder of the Detroit Tigers. They won’t make the announcement until Monday or Tuesday, but by then Damon will be the proud new owner of a Tigers cap and will be paid $8 million over the next year to wear it. Damon will also find himself nicely slotted into the leadoff or second spot in the lineup.
The American League Silver Slugger Award winners were announced recently, and six of the nine selections came out of the East, which further goes to show just how powerful – literally – this division is. The New York Yankees had repeat winners in Mark Teixeira at first-base and Derek Jeter at short. The Boston Red Sox’s Jason Bay was honored with his first, the Tampa Bay Rays’ Evan Longoria at third, and the Toronto Blue Jays each had first-timers with Aaron Hill at second and Adam Lind as the designated hitter. The rest of the league squeaked in Joe Mauer, catcher for the Minnesota Twins with his third, and Ichiro Suzuki from the Seattle Mariners and Torii Hunter from the Los Angeles Angels in outfield, with their third and first, respectively.
The kings are dead. Pedro Martinez has re-discovered his daddy. The New York Yankees are World Champs. With a 7-3 defeat of the Philadelphia Phillies on Wednesday night, the Yankees un-crowned the defending World Series winners and christened New Yankee Stadium in exactly the way – and perhaps the only acceptable way – that Yankee fans had hoped for. They managed to redeem the woes of 2008 with a runaway season this year and a dominating October. And what better way to finish it than by once again playing father to ‘the only man who can incite fear in Yankee fans without taking the mound’?
Half the nation sat and held their breath last night as the other half erupted in cheers. The Philadelphia Phillies staved off elimination in the World Series, taking Game 5 from the New York Yankees with a 8-6 victory behind the first less-than-stellar performance by ace Cliff Lee. Aiding in the win was the long-overdue, yet widely expected blowup from Yankees righty A.J. Burnett, who couldn’t got the pull before managing to record a single out in the third inning. The six runs charged to him really set the tone for the game, as the Yankees rallied strongly, but not strongly enough as the series returns to New Yankee Stadium.
The World Series has officially begun, and in a surprising break from expectations with the New York Yankees, the game was over before midnight. But that was probably because Phillies starter (and finisher) Cliff Lee was used to not playing and wanted to get back to it. The last time Lee had pitched was Oct. 18 in Game 3 of the NLCS. His Phillies clinched the series three days later and then had six days off before last night’s game. There’s no doubt that Lee wanted to get back to his comfortable bed.
The first pitch of the World Series flies Wednesday night, and it will be thrown by the New York Yankees’ own CC Sabathia. Opposite him will be the Philadelphia Phillies’ Cliff Lee. The two will be dueling in the biggest game of their careers. These are two of the best pitchers in baseball, and both are throwing in their first World Series. Perhaps the most interesting part of this matchup is that these guys are former teammates with the Cleveland,Indians and both won Cy Young Awards with the Indians, Lee in 2008 and Sabathia in 2007. Fans in Cleveland must be watching this World Series with two black eyes.
If the start of the baseball season is the unofficial beginning of summer, then the start of the World Series has to be the unofficial beginning of winter. The 2009 edition of the so-called “Fall Classic” begins this Wednesday, and features the New York Yankees against the defending champion Philadelphia Phillies. This will mark the first time that any of the first four games will be played in November, as game four is scheduled for Nov. 1. The only other time a World Series champion was named in November was in 2001, due to the postponement of games from Sept. 11.
Talk about a workhorse. CC Sabathia just may be one of the only pitchers in baseball who can pitch on short rest and make it seem like there’s nothing out of the ordinary. This was proven last year when he was with Milwaukee and pitched each of his final four starts of the year on three days’ rest. The New York Yankees put his arm to the test again for Game Four of this year’s ALCS against the Los Angeles Angels.
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