'Ricciardo beat me fair and square' - World champion Sebastian Vettel admits he is being beaten "fair and square" by his new team-mate Daniel Ricciardo this year. Moores named as new England coach - Lancashire coach Peter Moores will lead England for a second time, succeeding Andy Flower who resigned in January. O'Sullivan 'not motivated by record' - Westwood lead cut to one in Malaysia - Lee Westwood's four-shot halfway lead is cut to a single stroke after round three of the Malaysian Open in Kuala Lumpur. Hamilton takes stunning pole in China - Ryan Getzlaf leads Ducks past Stars 3-2 in Game 2 (Yahoo Sports) - Ryan Getzlaf had a goal and an assist while wearing a facemask over his lacerated jaw, Corey Perry scored his first playoff goal in three years, and the Anaheim Ducks beat the Dallas Stars 3-2 Friday night to take a 2-0 lead in their first-round series. Rookie Frederik Andersen made 34 saves in his second postseason start, and Andrew Cogliano scored a short-handed goal in the third period as the Ducks moved halfway to their first series victory since 2009. Anaheim has won just one postseason round since its only Stanley Cup title in 2007. Kari Lehtonen stopped 16 shots, while Alex Chiasson and Ryan Garbutt scored for the wild-card Stars, who took two one-goal losses to open their first playoff series since 2008. Ricciardo fastest in wet practice - Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo sets the pace during an inconclusive wet final practice at the Chinese Grand Prix. Grizzlies PG Nick Calathes suspended for 20 games (Yahoo Sports) - Memphis Grizzlies point guard Nick Calathes has been suspended for 20 games for violating the NBA's anti-drug policy. Loney has 4 RBIs, Rays beat Yankees 11-5 (Yahoo Sports) - ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- James Loney drove in four runs and the Tampa Bay Rays overcame a four-run deficit to beat the New York Yankees 11-5 on Friday night. Pujols hits 497th homer, Angels beat Tigers 11-6 (Yahoo Sports) - Albert Pujols hit his 497th home run and Howie Kendrick added two of his own to lead the Los Angeles Angels to an 11-6 win over the Detroit Tigers on Friday night. The Angels chased Detroit starter Drew Smyly (1-1) after three innings and then added seven runs off reliever Luke Putkonen. Los Angeles finished with 13 hits, 10 for extra bases. Kendrick hit two-run homers in the third and fourth, and Pujols lined a three-run shot to left field in the sixth to give the Angels an 11-1 lead.

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Bo Porter leaves Astros dugout to confront Jed Lowrie over unwritten rules violation [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: April 19, 2014, 1:51 am]
Houston Astros manager Bo Porter has had a frustrating week, which is to be expected when tasked with guiding a young and inexperienced ball club in the midst of a complete rebuild. We saw a bit of that frustration boil over following Thursday night's loss to the Kansas City Royals when Porter could barely discuss a costly Matt Dominguez mental error. On Friday, he may have really it get the best of him on the field during Houston's 11-3 loss to the Oakland A's on Friday night. The seeds of the incident were really planted in the first inning. With Houston already trailing 7-0, Porter and company took exception to Oakland's Jed Lowrie laying down a bunt against their defensive shift during his second plate appearance of the inning. Nothing was said then, but when Lowrie came to bat in the third inning, he was brushed off the plate twice by reliever Paul Clemens. Lowrie ultimately flied out to end the inning. At that point, it appeared he had some words for the Astros as they walked off the field. Jose Altuve, Lowrie's former teammate and double play partner with the Astros, approached him to calm him down. Though it was clear Lowrie didn't appreciate what at the plate, things did seem to calm down a little. That was until Porter ran on the field and started jawing, concluding by motioning and reportedly ordering Lowrie to "go back to shortstop." The situation did not escalate beyond what's seen in the video. Lowrie returned to his position and the game continued without any further shenanigans or any ejections. However, two questions have to be asked and answered. 1. Was Bo Porter out of line in confronting Lowrie on the field? This one is easy. The situation was calming down until Porter arrived and said his piece to Lowrie. If he's getting his players off the field that's one thing. That he made it a point to jaw with Lowrie is another that could have ignited a larger confrontation. It will be interesting to see if the league has anything to say about this becaus

The Grand Slam: Giancarlo Stanton delivers walkoff grand slam for Marlins [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: April 19, 2014, 12:30 am]
The hottest hitter in baseball struck again on Friday night when Miami Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton connected on yet another impressive home run. Only this time the drama wasn't attached to far it would go (a more than respectable 407 feet), because it served as a walkoff grand slam that gave Miami an 8-4 victory over the visiting Seattle Mariners. Stanton's slam came immediately after the umpires reversed a critical call at third base. Reed Johnson was originally ruled out on a force play, but the umpires determined third baseman Kyle Seager never controlled the baseball before transferring, which loaded the bases with nobody out. MLB intends on reviewing transfer plays next week, but that won't be soon enough for Seattle. It hampered their game plan, which up to that point was to pitch around Stanton when possible. ''We tried to stay away from him all night, because he is the one guy in that lineup that can really hurt you,'' Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon said. ''We had no choice there.'' Stanton finished the game 3 for 3 with two walks and five RBI. Through 17 games, he has six home runs and a league-high 26 RBI. With that in mind, Saturday's game plan may call for avoidance at all costs. It's also worth noting that Stanton previously hit a walk-off grand slam on May 13, 2012 against the New York Mets. AARON HARANG FLIRTS WITH NO-NO: Aaron Harang was a late addition to the Atlanta Braves roster, signing a one-year contract on March 24 only after the Braves learned that Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy would each require their second Tommy John surgery. On Friday, he looked like he belonged all along and nearly entered the history books after tossing seven no-hit innings in the Braves 6-0 triump over the New York Mets Harang didn't get a chance to pursue history on his own because it wasn't his most efficient outing. Over seven innings, he walked six batters while striking out five. Two of those walks came as he labored through his final inning. He fina

Martin Maldonado hit the cover off a baseball — literally [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: April 18, 2014, 8:04 pm]
You’ll often hear a baseball player going through a good stretch at the plate described as “hitting the cover off the baseball.” What you never hear is someone described as “hitting the cover off the baseball,” followed by no, seriously, he hit the cover off the baseball. Because it never actually happens in real life. But it did happen on Friday night in Pittsburgh. Milwaukee Brewers backup catcher Martin Maldonado literally knocked the covered right off the baseball on a ground ball to third baseman Pedro Alvarez during their a 5-3 victory over the Pirates. With the cover hanging on for dear life, Alvarez fielded the baseball cleanly and attempted to make a throw across the diamond. Predictably, that failed, as the baseball nearly fell apart at the seams in the air. Here's a look at what was left.  Here is the poor ball that @Machete1224 knocked the cover off of earlier: #MILvsPIT pic.twitter.com/YvpUoFavKo— Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) April 19, 2014 Take it from the guys who cover the game for a living. It was quite the unusual sight. One you've probably only seen in baseball movies like The Natural and The Sandlot.   Martin Maldonado literally hit the cover off the ball! I have never seen that before!— Adam McCalvy (@AdamMcCalvy) April 19, 2014 Martin Maldonado literally hit the cover off the ball. On a groundout to third. It fell apart on a throw to first. @cantpredictball— Jaymes Langrehr (@JaymesL) April 19, 2014 Never saw a player literally knock the cover off the ball like #Brewers C Martin Maldonado did. It was like a Harlem Globetrotters trick.— John Perrotto (@jperrotto) April 19, 2014 Hall of Famer Frank Thomas recently tweeted his belief that something unusual was going on with the baseballs this season after he incorrectly assumed they were flying out of the park at a higher rate in April. While his reasoning may not have been completely factual, perhaps his perception was a spot on. After all, we’re talking about a player who

Pirates solidify first base platoon by acquiring Ike Davis from Mets [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: April 18, 2014, 5:21 pm]
The Pittsburgh Pirates have been looking for a steady solution to fill out their first base platoon dating back to their trade deadline acquisition of Justin Morneau last July. They may have found their man on Friday, acquiring Ike Davis from the New York Mets in exchange for right-handed pitcher Zack Thornton and a player to be named later. CBS Sports' Jon Heyman was the first to report a deal had been agreed to just minutes before New York opened their weekend series with the Atlanta Braves on Friday night. Adam Rubin of ESPN New York confirmed the return a short a time later. Official: Mets receive RHP Zack Thorton and PTBN for Ike Davis— Adam Rubin (@AdamRubinESPN) April 18, 2014 Despite his well document struggles last season that saw his numbers dip to .205/.326/.334 with only nine homers, Davis drew trade interest from several teams during the winter and into spring training. In 2012, he hit .227/.308/.462 with 32 home runs, so his power potential definitely had some carry over appeal, especially for a team that has been utilizing a platoon at first base with Gaby Sanchez playing against left-handed pitchers and Travis Ishikawa getting the nod against right-handers. Sanchez should continue his role as a .300 career hitter against left-handers, but Davis is likely to takeover full-time against righties and should at the very least add some needed power to Pittsburgh's lineup. On the Mets side, the writing was on the wall for Davis after New York committed more playing time to Lucas Duda at first base this season. Along with right-handed hitting Josh Satin, they had built up a surplus that made trading somebody a necessity, and Davis had become the odd man out coming off his disappointing 2013. With Davis gone, Duda and Satin can settle into their own platoon roles without having to look over their shoulder. The return itself is not overwhelming. Thornton, 25, was not ranked among Pittsburgh's top 30 prospects coming into the season, though he has pitched wel

Brandon Phillips goes to great heights to photobomb Team USA's Molly Schaus [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: April 18, 2014, 3:26 pm]
If you follow Brandon Phillips on Twitter, you know he loves to pose for pictures with fans. The following is proof that he also likes to pose for pictures with opposing fans, even when he's not invited. Check the photobomb, captured before Friday's game in Chicago against the Cubs: Sneaky photobomb by @DatDudeBP #hemustdoboxjumps pic.twitter.com/WKhKjyaIxb— Molly Schaus (@schaus729) April 18, 2014 That's Molly Schaus, the goalie of the Team USA women's hockey team, who was probably hoping for Wrigley Field's famous Friendly Confines in the background of her pic, not a leaping baseball player. Well played, Mr. Phillips. That proved to be the highlight of his day, though. Phillips tweaked his back in his first at-bat Friday, eventually pulling himself out of the game after the top of the third inning. There's no reason to believe one is connected to the other — it's not like Brandon Phillips never jumps.  Jon Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer says Phillips' exit was for "precautionary reasons." That's good news for the Reds. Phillips is a good photobomber, but nobody in Cincinnati wants him practicing that craft on the bench for an extended amount of time. More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports: - - - - - - - Mike Oz is an editor for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @MikeOz

Bo Porter silent for 17 seconds before answering question about Astros blunder [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: April 18, 2014, 1:38 pm]
Your browser does not support iframes. Most mistakes committed on a baseball field, even mental ones, can be forgiven. Houston Astros manager Bo Porter, even now, probably is testing that statement after what slugger Matt Dominguez pulled Thursday night. Porter's slow burn in the video above is epic. He takes 17 seconds to answer a question about Dominguez's baserunning blunder against the Kansas City Royals, as CSN Houston notes. Porter doesn't fly off the handle but he's definitely mad as heck and disappointed in Dominguez's decision-making skills. After hitting a ball into the gap at Minute Maid Park that should have been a single to put runners at the corners, Dominguez got greedy, making a wide turn at first and trying — sort of — for a double. He was out by a lot, as you can see. It appeared he was out for most of the baseline between first and second. Dominguez was so out, he didn't even bother sliding, or even thinking about sliding. The situation — nobody out, trailing by five runs — called for a conservative play. Dominguez certainly did not do the right thing. "Do you believe you're invisible?" Porter says he asked Dominguez. Here's Porter's eventual full reply: "I mean... there's... it's just not smart. Obviously. And — sorry for taking so long to answer the question — but I went and asked Matt Dominguez, I said, 'Do you think you're invisible?' It's... I mean, you're down five-to-nothing and the ball is right in front of you. So, to answer your question, no, I don't like it. There's nothing smart about it. And... next question." Astros County has done a wonderful job of taking Porter's staring silence almost frame by frame, and giving us insight into what he was thinking as he replayed Dominguez's blunder in his head before he answered the question. It's funny, because the previous video highlight at MLB.com featuring Dominguez was a brilliant defensive play. He also hit 21 homers in 2013 and is just 24 years old. He's obviously got some t

Nut allergy bonds Orioles pitcher Brian Matusz and 8-year-old Wyatt Alford [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: April 18, 2014, 12:39 pm]
An 8-year-old boy from Atlanta named Wyatt Alford came to spring training in Sarasota, Fla. and saw left-hander Brian Matusz pitch for the Baltimore Orioles. Alford didn't know until the next morning by reading a newspaper that they have something important in common: They both have severe nut allergies. Matusz still gets teased about it by his teammates, and suspects Alford has gone through similar treatment. But it's nothing to be embarrassed about, Matusz says. Inspired by watching Matusz, 27, succeed in Major League Baseball, the young boy became an instant fan and mailed him some unique items to autograph. As a result, Matusz, too, became a big fan of Alford's. Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reported the details of a neat acquaintance between a boy and a ballplayer: Inside the envelope was a newspaper article detailing Matusz's frightening allergic reaction to a dinner prepared in peanut oil March 9 that sent the 27-year-old left-hander to the emergency room. Also included in the package was a portable shot of epinephrine that allergy sufferers carry in case of a reaction. Although similar in content to the ubiquitous EpiPen, the Auvi-Q inside Matusz's envelope was instead square and flat like a thick credit card — easy for autographing — and included audio instructions for injecting it. Before noticing a letter Alford wrote that came in the package, Matusz was perplexed. Why did this person send him an EpiPen-like device? Because he or she was worried Matusz didn't have the right meds? Or, was it a collector with an eccentric taste in memorabilia looking for a unique autograph? Matusz's first reaction was to laugh. But then he read Alford's note. He enthusiastically wrote back, and Alford's family recorded the boy opening the package for YouTube posterity. One of the more concerning, frustrating and disturbing developments for parents in recent years is the rise of nut allergies. Some of the increase is due to awareness, but a lot is more like, "W

See how realistic 'MLB 14 The Show' looks on PS4 (Video) [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: April 18, 2014, 11:58 am]
Back in the day, when baseball video games were as plentiful as Andrelton Simmons defensive highlights and all the players looked like colorful blobs who waddled around the field, we dreamed about the future and what our video games might look like. By, say, 2014, we figured we'd have video games that looked so real you could compare the players' beards. The future is here, it seems. PlayStation has unveiled the trailer for the PS4 version of "MLB The Show 14," the next-generation of the game on Sony's powerful new platform. This version hits stores May 6. The PS3 and PlayStation Vita versions of the game launched around opening day, but we've seen "MLB The Show" on those before. What people really wanted to see was how life-like the PS4 version of "The Show" would look. As you can see above, it looks pretty darn stunning. From Jayson Werth's beard to Andrew McCutchen dreads to Yasiel Puig's glare, the details are rich.  We've come a long way, baseball gamers. Enjoy it. More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports: - - - - - - - Mike Oz is an editor for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @MikeOz

Answer Man: Johnny Bench talks Mickey Mantle cards, catcher collisions and the 'Baseball Bunch' (but not Pete Rose) [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: April 18, 2014, 6:57 am]
Growing up in small-town Oklahoma and idolizing Mickey Mantle, Johnny Bench had an idea at a young age that baseball would take him places. When he was nine, he played Little League with 12- and 13-year-olds. He was the state's player of the year as a senior in high school and a second-round draft pick of the Cincinnati Reds in 1965. That's probably the last time anyone underrated the Hall of Famer. A 14-time All-Star, 10-time Gold Glove winner and owner of 389 home runs, Bench became the greatest catcher in major league history. At age 66, Bench still follows the game closely, rooting for the Reds and keeping watch on what's happening with new sliding/tagging rules, along with other progressive changes MLB is making. He's also involved with one of his favorite boyhood activities — opening packs of baseball cards — and doing publicity for Topps and its 2014 Series I cards. He talks about all of that and more in the latest Answer Man session. As a bonus, we've included 10 minutes of audio from Thursday, when Bench talked to Yahoo Sports Radio's Travis Rodgers about Mike Trout and how he compares to The Mick. Johnny Bench: So what’s the word, David? What’s the biggest story in the baseball blog world right this second? Tell me what you know.David Brown: I just saw Yasiel Puig drop an easy fly ball trying a one-handed catch. And then a few minutes later, he made an impossible-looking catch with his back to the infield. It was so Puig.Bench: Isn’t it the truth? He makes you hate him, then he makes you love him. That’s the remarkable thing about about baseball. The game has a way of having you scratch your head one minute and drive you crazy, and then the next, you’re entertained beyond your wildest hopes. That’s why it’s the best game.DB: I like that you’re obviously still watching the game and enjoying it and aren’t too curmudgeonly about it. Some players when they get older, or anybody who might get older, might not even like talking about the

The Blue Jays bullpen threw away a win in spectacular fashion [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: April 18, 2014, 2:10 am]
It was like something out of a Little League game: The Toronto Blue Jays blew a 5-3 eighth-inning lead against the Minnesota Twins on Thursday after giving up — are you ready for this? — six runs on eight walks, three wild pitches and a single hit. One hit, six runs. That math shouldn't even compute. That's how epic of a bullpen catastrophe this was for Toronto. Three Blue Jays pitchers were part of the abomination, including Sergio Santos, who let three consecutive runs score on wild pitches. This is how the inning went down in the scorebook: walk, walk, sac bunt, walk, wild pitch (first run scores), walk and wild pitch (second run scores), walk, walk and wild pitch (third run scores), walk, single (fourth and fifth runs score), walk, strike out, ground out. Sheesh. You almost have to give the Blue Jays props for that. It's so bad it's spectacular. After the game, Chris Colabello of the Twins, who was walk No. 7 of the inning, joked to reporters:  ''Man, we've been doing it all wrong for a while. We've been trying to hit the ball to score runs. We don't need to do that." This was the second game of a day-night doubleheader, and the Twins had blanked the Blue Jays in the first game 7-0. Even getting shutout had to feel better than fumbling away a win (the final score in the walkathon was 9-5) like the Jays did. ''It was a crappy ending to a crappy day, I'll tell you that,'' Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. The Blue Jays now head to Cleveland for a weekend series and, bad news, the Indians have the third most walks in baseball this season. You can bet they'll be patient after this ugly display. And if you're wondering which team in MLB has drawn the most walks, why it's the Twins, of course.  More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports: - - - - - - - Mike Oz is an editor for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @MikeOz

The Grand Slam: James Shields, Adam Wainwright turn in dominating performances [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: April 18, 2014, 1:03 am]
JAMES SHIELDS STRIKES OUT 12 IN ROYALS WIN: Well, hello there, James Shields. The Kansas City Royals ace had been a bit of a tough-luck loser in 2014, carrying a 0-2 record into Thursday's game despite a 2.37 ERA. It all came together against the Houston Astros, though. The Royals gave Shields five runs by the fifth and he dominated the Houston lineup, striking out 12 batters while giving up only four hits and one run. At one point, Shields struck out seven consecutive batters. ''We were pounding the strike zone and getting strike one and getting ahead of the hitters and that's an aggressive team over there and when you get ahead in the count and make your pitches you're successful,'' he said after the game. The Royals won 5-1, as Eric Hosmer, Salvador Perez, Mike Moustakas and Alcides Escobar all drove in runs. ADAM WAINWRIGHT SHUTS OUT THE NATS: When Adam Wainwright pitches, this kind of game isn't all that surprising anymore. The St. Louis Cardinals ace shut down the Washington Nationals convincingly, pitching a two-hit shutout with eight strikeouts as the Cards won 8-0. It was a good day for pitchers Thursday, and Wainwright led the pack. ''I had pretty much everything working. My sinker was sinking, my four-seamer was four-seaming, my curveball was curving,'' Wainwright said. ''My cutter was back. That was a big pitch for me tonight, something that when I'm throwing that quality, good, hard cutter (and) not a sloppy slurvy slider thing, it keeps those lefties honest.'' He was aided by plenty of runs, four errors by the Nats and, heck, Wainwright even got two hits himself. LESTER'S RED SOX GET THE BEST OF SALE'S WHITE SOX: Chris Sale had the better pitching line, but Jon Lester's team got the win. That was the result of Thursday's Boston Red Sox-Chicago White Sox game, which featured both starters taking no-hitters into the sixth inning.  The Red Sox got on the board first, when Xander Bogaerts hit a solo homer off Sale, setting up Boston for a 3-1 win.

Yankees triple play completed by novice first baseman's great pick [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: April 17, 2014, 11:12 pm]
After missing most of the past two seasons because of catastrophic injuries to the same knee, Scott Sizemore returned to the majors just in time to help the New York Yankees turn a triple play. And at a position where Sizemore has very little experience. Playing first base for the first time in his professional career, a span of 659 games and eight-plus years, Sizemore made a terrific scoop of a relay throw by second baseman Brian Roberts to complete a 5-4-3 triple play against the Tampa Bay Rays. Sizemore's pick punctuated a 10-2 victory Thursday night for the Yankees and left-hander CC Sabathia. The Yankees have turned 24 triple plays in their history, including three since 2010 with Sabathia on the hill. Personally, it had to be thrilling for Sizemore, 29, to be thrown into the fire and come through. His first game of the season came Wednesday, a start at third base, after beginning in the minors after being a non-roster invitee to spring training. The Yankees saw something in Sizemore, who also has played for the Athletics and Tigers: They issued him No. 24 — Robinson Cano's old number. His first big play for the Yankees wasn't worth $240 million, but it was pretty slick. Regardless, just getting back to the bigs, after not playing in 2012 and making two appearances in 2013 because he tore the ACL in his left knee twice, is an accomplishment by itself. Via NJ.com, Sizemore said on Wednesday: “I guess I’m pretty proud of my perseverance,” Sizemore said before the first game of a day-night doubleheader at Yankee Stadium. “It’s not an easy trip to rehab two years in a row.” Sizemore says his knee feels about 95 percent healthy. A second baseman and third baseman by trade, Sizemore started at first because of injuries to Mark Teixeira and others. First base is considered to be an easier position than second or third, but that doesn't make it easy to play. A first baseman's glove looks more like a catcher's mitt than it does the glove for other posit

Mr. Met once had his life threatened by one of Bill Clinton's Secret Service agents [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: April 17, 2014, 3:55 pm]
"Approach the president, and we go for the kill shot." If we told you a Secret Service agent uttered those words, you surely wouldn't be surprised. Protecting the president is their job. But if we told you a Secret Service agent uttered those words to a mascot with a giant baseball head, then the whole thing gets a whole lot more interesting, doesn't it? AJ Mass portrayed Mr. Met from 1994-1997, and during that time, then-President Bill Clinton visited Shea Stadium for the 50th anniversary of Jackie Robinson's first MLB game. In his new book about being Mr. Met, "Yes, It's Hot In Here," Mass relays the story of Clinton's visit to Shea and how it allegedly led to a threat on Mr. Met's life. As you might imagine, a mascot with a huge head posed security concerns for the Secret Service. Mr. Met's giant head wouldn't fit through the metal detectors set up for the day and the metal inside the head set off security wands. Mass was caught up at numerous checkpoints. Eventually, according to a book excerpt at Huffington Post, one Secret Service agent gave Mass the OK to go about this business, but not before this chilling warning: "We have snipers all around the stadium, just in case something were to happen," he says. "Like I said, do whatever it is you normally do. Nobody will bother you. But approach the president, and we go for the kill shot. Are we clear?" He pauses for a moment to let the words sink in, and it feels like he isn't only looking into my eyes, but also into my very soul with his blank, unblinking stare. Then he says the same thing again, only a little bit slower this time, making sure I know his warning is not in any way to be misconstrued as some sort of gag. He's dead serious, and if I don't believe him, then I'll be dead--seriously. "Approach the president, and we go for the kill shot," he repeats. "ARE--WE--CLEAR?" Before that encounter, Mass had hoped to meet the president — "The holy grail for all mascots," he writes in the book, "a pho

Yasiel Puig in a nutshell — he misses the easy catch, makes the extraordinary one [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: April 17, 2014, 2:48 pm]
Here's one possible explanation for what happened in the second inning of Thursday's Los Angeles Dodgers-San Francisco Giants game: Yasiel Puig is an incredibly self-aware performance artist, and he was making a point about his own duality on two fly balls the Giants hit to him in consecutive at-bats. The easy out? He goes for a basket catch and drops it. You could hear baseball coaches everywhere starting their "use two hands" lecture. The ball hit over his head that looks destined for a double? He does his Puig thing and makes a wowing over-the-shoulder catch that ended the inning. But Puig isn't a performance artist, he's a baseball player, a player who has proven time and time again that he's capable of incredible moments and incredibly confounding mistakes. Such is the frustration of No. 66. It's something the Dodgers know well at this point. Before anybody bursts into a Bill Plaschke-esque tsk-tsking of Puig, we feel compelled to point out that the dropped fly ball didn't actually affect the game too much. There was a runner on first base, so when Puig dropped the ball, he picked it up and fired to second for a force out. It helps to have a cannon for an arm. The upshot: Same number of outs, still a runner on first. That doesn't excuse Puig flubbing an easy fly ball. He obviously should have caught that, but at this specific moment, it wasn't the end of the world. More interesting is the fact that Puig made the extraordinary catch on the very next play. How you feel about Yasiel Puig probably depends on which is more important to you: missing the catch that every player should make or making the catch that only a few players will make. More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports: - - - - - - - Mike Oz is an editor for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @MikeOz

Firework thrown by fan injures at least five at San Francisco's AT&T Park [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: April 17, 2014, 12:58 pm]
The rivalry between the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers has prompted lots of fun, but also some unwanted behavior through the years by both groups of fans. Perhaps the most extreme example was the Bryan Stow beating at a Dodger Stadium parking lot. What happened at AT&T Park on Wednesday night wasn't as damaging, yet it's still senseless and reflects badly on the baseball community at large. At least five people were injured after a fan threw a firework from the outfield bleachers onto a walkway near a beer concession stand about 9:30 p.m. local time. The explosion was so loud and produced enough smoke that umpires stopped the game between the Giants and Dodgers for a few moments. The San Francisco Chronicle reported the incident first: Witnesses said a man sitting in the outfield bleachers, wearing a Giants hat and orange jacket, threw a large firecracker that looked like an M-80 into a group of people standing in the pedestrian concourse near the Coors Light concession stand, police said. "A number of people were screaming and running from the area," said Officer Gordon Shyy, a San Francisco police spokesman. At least five people reported minor injuries, including dizziness and temporary loss of hearing, Shyy said. Nobody was seriously hurt, he said. Like the Stow beating, it's a coincidence that we're talking about "Giants fans" and "Dodgers fans." The violence happened to occur at a ballpark, and it was done by a person or persons wearing local team colors. That's all baseball really has to do with it. Still, fans do and should feel violated when it happens at a game — where they should feel safe. Unfortunately, Giants-Dodgers games have a way of bringing out the worst in some people. It's too bad it happens anywhere, but especially so when sports is involved. That's not what they're supposed to be for. More MLB coverage at Yahoo Sports: - - - - - - - David Brown edits Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at rdbrown@

Minor league teams will play a game in police and firefighter uniforms [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: April 17, 2014, 12:21 pm]
These days, Minor League Baseball teams come up with all sorts of interesting pop culture-inspired theme jerseys to wear — there's "Star Wars" and "Ghostbusters" and "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" this year alone. The Lehigh Valley IronPigs and Pawtucket Red Sox, however, are playing a game soon in which they wear jerseys inspired by real heroes, not super heroes. The IronPigs, the Triple-A affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies, will wear jerseys created to look like police uniforms while the Red Sox, the Triple-A version of their namesake, will wear firefighter uniforms. It's for the IronPigs' "Heroes Night" on April 26, which will also feature a softball game between the local police and fire departments before the game and a jersey auction afterward that will help a few good causes. Here's more from an IronPigs press release: "We truly hope that this becomes an annual tradition at Coca-Cola Park," exclaimed IronPigs General Manager Kurt Landes. "We owe a great deal of gratitude to local police, fire, EMS and emergency personnel in the Lehigh Valley that keep our community safe." The specialty jerseys will be auctioned off during that night's game with proceeds benefitting Cops 'n' Kids Lehigh Valley, the Boys & Girls Club of Allentown and IronPigs Charities. Good job, IronPigs. It wasn't going to be easy for the team to top its new bacon cap, but this might have done it. BLS H/N: Eye on Baseball More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports: - - - - - - - Mike Oz is an editor for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @MikeOz

Fan runs onto field at Rangers game and shows his thumbs before security comes [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: April 17, 2014, 10:44 am]
A Dude Fan Bro, possibly under the influence of alcohol, ran onto the field at Globe Life Park (where the Texas Rangers play) in the seventh inning Wednesday night. He ran around the outfield, briefly delaying the Rangers' turn at bat against the Seattle Mariners — and making an amusing pose with two thumbs up — before ballpark security corralled him like a steer at the rodeo. The Mariners seemed unhappy that a Dude Fan Bro interrupted the ballgame, as they seemed unwilling to give him advice as to how he should get out of his predicament. They got unhappier later after Leonys Martin won the game for Texas in its final at-bat. Please enjoy a slideshow that captures the spirit on the moment while possibly taking certain liberties imagining what's going on in the minds of the people involved. Click on the photo above to begin. More MLB coverage at Yahoo Sports:   - - - - - - - David Brown edits Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at rdbrown@yahoo-inc.com and follow him on Twitter! Follow @AnswerDave

Spelling-challenged Giants fans tell team to "Baet L.A.," as S.F. beat Dodgers again [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: April 17, 2014, 10:41 am]
Los Angeles — like New York — is a big target in the sports world. Even when the pro sports teams of those cities aren't particularly good (we see you, New York Mets, and you too, Los Angeles Lakers), there's still a certain satisfaction that comes from your team beating them. Thus, the popularity of the "Beat L.A." sign. If you're a San Francisco Giants fan, the "Beat L.A." idea is even more important, because the Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers are bitter rivals, whose every meeting feels important, even if it's the 15th game of the season, in April. So Giants fans show up to the stadium, full of gusto, ready to inspire their team to topple those big-spending boys in blue. And just what did the Giants fans do Wednesday night? They spelled out "B-A-E-T L.A."  Spelling is hard. pic.twitter.com/vesrix4129— Sara (@gidget) April 17, 2014 Sigh. Warren G probably thought it was fine, though. Baseball seems to have an ongoing problem with spell check recently. The Astros misspelled the name of hot-shot prospect George Springer in his big-league debut Wednesday. The Yankees misspelled Jacoby Ellsbury's name during his first home game. One Red Sox fan trying to make Ellsbury jokes couldn't do much better either. In this case, the Giants fans can at least be happy that their sentiment — transposed letters and all — came to pass. The Giants beat the Dodgers 2-1 on Wednesday night, thanks to a seventh-inning go-ahead single by Pablo Sandoval. It S.F.'s fourth win in five games against L.A. this season. The Giants have outscored the Dodgers 22-15 this season, and padded their 10-5 record with the help of Don Mattingly's crew. Even though the Giants finished in third place last year and the Dodgers won the division, the Giants still bested them 11-8 head-to-head. Wednesday's win also pushed the Giants past the Dodgers into first place in the NL West at this very early juncture of the season. The two teams meet again Thursday to finish off their three-game series. Ple

Spelling-challenged Giants fans tell team to 'Baet L.A.,' as S.F. beats Dodgers again [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: April 17, 2014, 10:41 am]
Los Angeles, like New York, is a big target in the sports world. Even when the pro sports teams of those cities aren't particularly good (we see you, New York Mets, and you too, Los Angeles Lakers), there's still a certain satisfaction that comes from your team beating them. Thus, the popularity of the "Beat L.A." sign. If you're a San Francisco Giants fan, the "Beat L.A." idea is even more important, because the Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers are bitter rivals, whose every meeting feels important, even if it's the 15th game of the season, in April. So, Giants fans show up to the stadium, full of gusto, ready to inspire their team to topple those big-spending boys in blue. And just what did the Giants fans do Wednesday night? They spelled out "B-A-E-T L.A."  Spelling is hard. pic.twitter.com/vesrix4129— Sara (@gidget) April 17, 2014 Sigh. Warren G probably thought it was fine, though. Baseball seems to have an ongoing problem with spell check. The Astros misspelled the name of hot-shot prospect George Springer in his big-league debut Wednesday. The Yankees misspelled Jacoby Ellsbury's name during his first home game. One Red Sox fan trying to make Ellsbury jokes couldn't do much better either. In this case, the Giants fans can at least be happy that their sentiment — transposed letters and all — came to pass. The Giants beat the Dodgers 2-1 on Wednesday night, thanks to a seventh-inning, go-ahead single by Pablo Sandoval. It S.F.'s fourth win in five games against L.A. this season. The Giants have outscored the Dodgers 22-15, and padded their 10-5 record with the help of Don Mattingly's crew. Even though the Giants finished in third place last year and the Dodgers won the division, the Giants still bested them 11-8 head-to-head. Wednesday's win also pushed the Giants past the Dodgers into first place in the NL West at this very early juncture of the season. The two teams meet again Thursday to finish off their three-game series. Please, Giants fans, don't b

The Grand Slam: Infielder Leury García takes loss as Red Sox prevail in 14 innings [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: April 17, 2014, 12:39 am]
Our first position player pitching alert of the season came to us during the Boston Red Sox 6-4, 14-inning victory over the Chicago White Sox at a chilly U.S. Cellular Field on Wednesday night. White Sox manager Robin Ventura called upon infielder Leury Garcia, who ultimately took the loss after serving up a two-run double to Jackie Bradley Jr. Of course, typically position players on the mound are saved for blow outs and the more extreme 18-inning marathons. However, in this case Ventura had little choice aside from using a starting pitcher, which apparently wasn't an option. The biggest problem? Ventura used five different pitchers to record six outs in the eighth and ninth innings, and his aggressive strategy didn‘t work as the Red Sox still managed to rally from a 3-1 deficit to force extras. Sacrifice flies from A.J. Pierzynski and Grady Sizemore did the damage. It was Garcia’s ballgame in the 14th and he actually started out looking confident in recording two quick outs. But it unraveled from there with two walks and Bradley’s double. Not that Garcia should feel bad, because Chicago’s first eight pitchers combined to walk 13 batter in 13 innings. The Red Sox are the 1st major league team with 15+ BB and no more than 6 hits in a game since Boston did it on 5/7/92, also at CWS.— Jon Shestakofsky (@Shesta_Sox) April 17, 2014 Being on the wrong side of history makes Hawk Harrelson cranky. So does staying up past midnight. Thursday might be a good day to leave him alone.  MARINERS CRUMBLE IN NINTH: Felix Hernandez and Yu Darvish were as advertised on Wednesday, but the game between the Seattle Mariners and Texas Rangers ultimately came down to a battle of the bullpens. Advantage: Rangers. Leonys Martin capped a two-out, two-run ninth inning rally with a walkoff single off Mariners closer Fernando Rodney, giving the Rangers a 3-2 victory. Leonys Martin now has three walkoff hits in his career.— Anthony Andro (@aandro) April 17, 2014 Texas’ comeback w





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