- Jeff Passan at Yahoo Sports17 hrs ago
The old man has done this for 10 years now, and he's something of an anomaly. Pitchers are not typically like a fine wine. They are more beer, at their freshest when they're young, skunkier the longer they stick around. A decade of 100-pitch nights ages an arm for the worse.
"I'm old, man," Felix Hernandez insisted, though he knows it's a sobriquet unlikely to stick at this point considering he's all of 28. He arrived with the Seattle Mariners at 19 years old, with triple-digit heat in his right arm and enough of a clue what to do with it that he never left. He grew up in the major leagues: got fat, matured, trimmed down, lost a few miles on the fastball, learned to pitch and put himself here, better than ever, 1a to Clayton Kershaw's 1 on the list of best pitchers in the world, with No. 3 a giant leap behind.Fri, Aug 224:10 PM PDTSeattle at BostonPreview Game
- Jeff Passan at Yahoo Sports2 days ago
Everybody is watching her. It's not just the teenage girls who look at Mo'ne Davis and see an anomaly: the preternaturally confident adolescent, one with the self-assuredness necessary to march out onto a baseball diamond surrounded by boys on all sides, stand in the middle of it and belong. Not just act like she belongs, either, but manage the attention and the stardom thrust upon a 13-year-old from South Philly and the responsibility of maybe, possibly being the one. Best of all is what she has owned from the instance she introduced herself to the country: the moment.
No wonder, then, that in addition to the girls it's old men and soccer moms and little boys and grandmas and dads and office workers and doctors and neighbors and even those utterly and wholly disinterested in baseball who are tuning in to the Little League World Series this year for her. Even though it's because she's a she – because the novelty of a girl who can throw a baseball 70 mph and hurl a shutout against the elite of her age group's elite is a match made in zeitgeist heaven – it's more because of who she is than what she does.
- Jeff Passan at Yahoo Sports4 days ago
The baseball season entered its final quarter last week, and now it's as much about who's healthy as who's talented. And so the dreaded schedule, the bane of many, comes into greater focus as a king-maker or a deal-breaker.
Baseball's two richest teams find themselves at the opposite end of the scheduling spectrum. Presenting, then, a complete breakdown of the stretch schedules for all 19 – 19! – playoff contenders, going from hardest to easiest, and starting with the ...Fri, Aug 224:05 PM PDTChi White Sox at NY YankeesPreview Game
- Jeff Passan at Yahoo Sports7 days ago
Rob Manfred is the 10th commissioner of Major League Baseball, chosen Thursday after six rounds of voting and nearly blocked, thanks to the protests of Jerry Reinsdorf and his cadre of clowns, whose preferred candidate’s bona fides were producing a slew of laugh-track sitcoms in the 1970s and ’80s, running one franchise into the ground and serving as third banana in his current ownership group.
This was a frightening peek into the sausage factory of rich-guy politics, the peel-back of a curtain that ensconces much of baseball’s dysfunction from the public. Toward the end, as Reinsdorf, the Chicago White Sox owner, did his best to torpedo a Manfred candidacy that should have sailed through unopposed, the whole thing played out like a bad Tom Werner pilot. Old guy. Pushing 80. Angry. Confrontational. Wants to fight a war he lost long ago. Turns on his best friend. Reinsdorf was like Archie Bunker, Statler and Waldorf, and every Clint Eastwood character of the last decade, dusted with some rosin. Reinsdorf is so stuck in the past he should be preserved in amber.
- Jeff Passan at Yahoo Sports8 days ago
When the lords of baseball took to a Baltimore boardroom Thursday to vote on a new commissioner, the least-heralded candidate carried into the election a most unbecoming title: King of the Blackouts. Much of Tim Brosnan’s candidacy — one he aborted before the first vote was cast — rested on him turning baseball into a $9 billion-a-year monolith as executive VP of business on the back of fat television contracts that leave fans all over the country unable to watch the very sport he’s in charge of selling to the public.
The fact that baseball owners revere this – that a sport hemorrhaging young fans actively chooses to black out local television games across the country in order to protect the supposed sanctity of the local TV deals that go into the billions – speaks to a certain tone-deafness. Consider the hilarity of the rogue candidate for commissioner, Boston Red Sox chairman Tom Werner, selling himself as the person who will spread the game best. The impetus behind Werner’s candidacy is the Red Sox want to tilt the revenue sharing of their huge TV deal even more in their favor.
- Jeff Passan at Yahoo Sports9 days ago
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Every start is worth another million, maybe more. Jon Lester doesn't think this way, because his parents, and the reality of beating cancer at 22 years old, taught him to savor the moment he's living and not the ones ahead. And yet baseball operates in a universe parallel to the one playing out in the standings column. It is forever stealing glances at crystal balls.
If the Oakland A's maximize their rotation – and they didn't trade for Lester to baby him down the stretch – he's got 10 regular-season starts left, 10 he hopes fare as well as his first 24 this season, 10 in which the goal is to lead the A's to the American League West crown. Ten, perhaps most important, for his arm to stay healthy like it has for all of his 30 years.
- Jeff Passan at Yahoo Sports21 days ago
The craziest trade deadline day ever saw 12 deals, 37 players exchanged, two draft picks flipped, the reigning World Series champions completely overhaul their roster, the Red Sox and Yankees agree on a deal, the Tigers and A’s try to one-up each other, a fake Twitter account actually nailing the biggest trade of the day hours before its real-life version broke the news and the introduction of a mysterious man named Ralph.
Everyone who followed along with the chaos was a winner. As for the teams that did and didn’t do the dealing Thursday, here are the winners, losers and a special category for one particular team.
- Jeff Passan at Yahoo Sports23 days ago
About 10 scouts showed up last fall for the Academy of Art University baseball team's pro day. They munched on powdered donuts and sipped the gratis Sunny D and figured this was like any other small-college showcase: a waste of a morning. The position players finished running the 60-yard dash when up walked one more kid, a pitcher for the tiny San Francisco school, who asked the scouts if he could try.
They looked up and nodded. Brandon Poulson stood 6-foot-7 and weighed 240 pounds with 8 percent body fat. "He's like Ivan Drago," said Elliott Strankman, a Minnesota Twins scout there that day. "You know that scene in Rocky IV – 'Whatever he hits … he destroys.' That's what he reminds me of."
Poulson slipped off his spikes and stood in his socks. He wanted to run without shoes. The scouts cast weird looks to one another. He took off. The scouts clicked their stopwatches. He crossed 60 yards, the standard measurement for baseball players. The scouts didn't believe the numbers on their watches. One said 6.59. Another said 6.61. And another 6.60. That wasn't just fast. It was speed for a middle-of-the-diamond player, not a pitcher.
- Jeff Passan at Yahoo Sports25 days ago
Two years ago, amid the chaos of a season crumbling around them and the eventual fire sale that paved the way for a championship, the Boston Red Sox very quietly let teams know that Jon Lester was available.
He was in the midst of his worst season, coming off the beer-and-chicken mess of 2011, stifled by manager Bobby Valentine, and after initial discussions with the Atlanta Braves didn’t go far, the Red Sox found a more-than-willing trade partner: the Texas Rangers.
The talks went beyond tire kicking, multiple sources with knowledge of the negotiations told Yahoo Sports. Names were exchanged. Permutations went back and forth. And for the second time, the Red Sox were threatening to deal Lester to the Rangers. The first time, of course, was as the third piece of the 2003 trade that almost sent Manny Ramirez to Texas and Alex Rodriguez to Boston.
- Jeff Passan at Yahoo Sports1 mth ago
The idea for this column came five years ago, inspired by a dreadlocked malcontent with an ego problem. Joe Mauer and Ichiro were eyeing .400, Alex Rodriguez and Albert Pujols were the game’s best right-handed hitters and the Los Angeles Angels two weeks to the day earlier signed a high school kid named ...
1. Mike Trout without any idea that the baseball world would revolve around him half a decade later like it did Manny Ramirez back in July 2009. Following another out-of-this-world first half that he cherry-on-topped with an All-Star Game MVP award, Trout now can focus on taking the full-season hardware stolen from him twice and guiding the Los Angeles Angels to his first postseason appearance. Whether they can leap ...
2. Jeff Samardzija and the Oakland A’s in the AL West is one of the sport’s burning questions, particularly considering how good the A’s were in the first half before they acquired their new ace. He fits their team personality-wise and their gloves with a big groundball rate, though if he in any way falters he’ll forever be compared to ...Fri, Aug 227:05 PM PDTLA Angels at OaklandPreview Game