NEW YORK — It is the worst nightmare of both the pitcher and the hitter, the ball that is hit so hard there is simply no time to duck, no time to react, no chance for the elemental reflex of self-preservation.
It happened in the third inning of Saturday’s Yankees-Indians game, and for several heart-stopping, breath-holding minutes, it was easy to imagine that the worst thing that could happen on a baseball field had just happened, in full view of 46,000 spectators.
Cleveland right-hander David Huff threw a pitch to Alex Rodriguez, and before either of them could possibly have known what was happening, the ball was back in the pitcher’s face, smacking with a THWACK! off Huff’s left temple that must have been audible in the remotest sections of the ballpark.
Huff, a 25-year-old in his second big-league season, fell face down and motionless on the pitcher’s mound. Rodriguez, reacting with a hitter’s instinct, barreled around first base and into second. Nick Swisher, on second base, came around to score. The baseball, ricocheting as sharply as if it had hit concrete, wound up in right field.
And the hearts of 46,000 people leaped into 46,000 throats as a crowd of teammates, trainers and paramedics rushed to the mound and the fallen pitcher.
Rarely has Yankee Stadium been as quiet as it was at that moment and rarely has a ballgame there suddenly seemed so unimportant. As the medical staff worked over Huff, who did not move for what seemed like hours, Rodriguez and Swisher dropped to their knees, their eyes focused on the ground.
Huff was taken to an ambulance waiting by the service gate beyond the left-center field fence and rushed to New York Presbyterian Hospital, where a CT scan revealed no neurological damage. The pitcher was kept briefly for observation and then sent back to Yankee Stadium.
Meanwhile, Rodriguez, who was visibly affected by the incident, left the ballpark immediately after the game and called a Yankees publicist from his car for the location of the hospital, hoping to visit Huff before he was released.
Learning that Huff was on his way back to the ballpark, Rodriguez was given the player’s cellphone number and was trying to reach him Saturday night.
“Your heart stops. You want so badly to take it back,” Rodriguez said in a statement relayed through Jason Zillo, a Yankees publicist. “You’re scared. You think of him, you think of his family. You think of a million other places that the ball could have gone, other than where it did. Why there?
“I mean, we’re playing a game. A game. I know it’s a business, too, but to all of us, playing it should always be a game first, and when something like that happens right in front of your eyes it makes you think long and hard about things much bigger than throwing or hitting a baseball or running around the bases for a few hours a day. I’m so thankful that he’s going to be OK.”
It really is just a freak accident of physics. A move to the left or the right, a little more or less force on the ball, and things would’ve turned out differently. Fortunately, Huff is okay.
Here’s video of the incident, which is still cringe-inducing even when you know that the injury wasn’t bad:
MIAMI (AP) — Philadelphia Phillies ace Roy Halladay threw the 20th perfect game in major league history, delivering the marquee performance of his All-Star career in a 1-0 win over the Florida Marlins on Saturday night.
It was the second perfect game in the majors this month alone, Dallas Braden doing it for Oakland against Tampa Bay on May 9. It’s the first time in the modern era that there were a pair of perfectos in the same season — Colorado’s Ubaldo Jimenez threw a no-hitter, too, in April.
Halladay struck out 11, then got pinch-hitter Ronny Paulino to ground out to end it, and was cheered by a crowd of 25,086 throughout much of the night. While there were a couple of good plays behind him, Halladay didn’t need any great defensive work in this gem.
The 33-year-old righty was a veritable one-man show.
Always stoic on the mound, Halladay (7-3) broke into a big smile as his teammates rushed in to congratulate him.
This is the first perfect game pitched for Philadelphia since Jim Bunning, now a Senator from Kentucky, did it on June 21, 1964. It is also the first time in the modern baseball era that there have been two perfect games pitched in the same season. This did happen once during the 19th Century baseball era; in 1880 when Lee Richmond of the Worcester Ruby Legs pitched a perfect game on June 12th, and John Montgomery Ward did it for the Providence Grays five days later on June 17th.
IRVING, Tex. â€” National Football League owners, lured by playing the sportâ€™s biggest game on the largest stage, combined with the promise that snow would not grind the event to a halt, awarded the 2014 Super Bowl to New York on Tuesday afternoon, making the New Meadowlands Stadium the host of what will be the first cold-weather Super Bowl.
The New York-New Jersey bid beat out proposals from Tampa, Fla., and South Florida â€” two traditional hosts â€” in part to reward the Giants and the Jets for building a new billion-dollar stadium together, a tactic the N.F.L. has used when they have placed the game in Detroit, Dallas and Indianapolis.
But the vote also represented an embrace of New Yorkâ€™s abundant entertainment, promotional and financial opportunities. The proposal called for everything from a Super Bowl float in the Macyâ€™s Thanksgiving Day parade to a party at Liberty State Park. Of more interest to a league bent on building revenue and an international audience is that the weeklong extravaganza would play out in the global media and business capital, and in an area where 36 percent of the 20 million people who live in the region were born outside the United States.
Those considerations outweighed concerns by some owners opposed to a cold-weather game that snow could wreak havoc on a weekâ€™s worth of parties and planning and that the outcome of the championship game could be affected by foul weather. In bid materials obtained by The New York Times, the organizers promised everything from hand-warmers to fire pits in the parking lots to keep fans comfortable and snowplows to clear the streets.
â€œElements can be a common factor in how a season unfolds, so why canâ€™t it be a factor in how the ultimate championship is determined,â€ Jerry Jones, the Dallas Cowboysâ€™ owner and a proponent of the New York Super Bowl, said before the vote was taken.
February in the Northeast. What could possibly go wrong ?
The player nicknamed â€˜Course Clownâ€™ won for the first time on the LPGA Tour. From AP-
Sun Young Yoo won the Sybase Match Play Championship for her first LPGA Tour victory, beating Angela Stanford 3 and 1 on Sunday at Hamilton Farm.
Yoo, the 23-year-old South Korean player in her fifth LPGA Tour season, won the 13th and 14th holes with pars and took a 2-up lead with a 15-foot putt for her first birdie of the match on the par-3 16th.
The match ended when Stanford missed her birdie putt and conceded Yooâ€™s birdie.
Yooâ€™s victory was the eighth straight by a foreign player and the 25th in the last 26 events. Michelle Wie in- the Lorena Ochoa Invitational in November â€” is the lone American winner since Cristie Kerr won the Michelob Ultra Open last May.
Yoo, who earned $375,000 from the $1.5 million purse, also beat No. 32 Karen Stupples, No. 5 Kerr, No. 12 Song-Hee Kim and No. 4 Yani Tseng.
Shin won the third-place match, beating Yang 3 and 2.
In the final on a cloudy, muggy afternoon, Yoo won the par-3 third with a par, then halved the next seven holes, with the players both bogeying the par-4 ninth.
Stanford took the lead with birdies on Nos. 11 and 12 â€” her only birdies of the match â€” before handing Yoo the 13th with a bogey.
Ironically the two golfers Yoo beat in the finals and semi-finals- Jiyai Shin and Angela Stanford, took part in a 3-way playoff with her last September. Shin was the winner then.
Shin will maintain her #1 standing in the world. The next official LPGA is in two weeks. It is almost every week mode for the tour now.
Yoo was a deserving winner who had a very difficult path to the tournament title. The Golf Channel stuck to repeating cliches and information anyone can find on Angela Stanford out of the LPGA guide book, rather than tell us something original about the players today. Why is Yoo nicknamed â€˜Course Clownâ€™? What makes her funny?
At last yearâ€™s pro-am in Danville, Chuck Rydell, an employee of the tournament sponsor Longs Drugs, was paired with a young South Korean who spoke little English. He said he spent an enjoyable round teaching her American curse words.
This year, his pro partner was Sun Young Yoo, a 21-year-old who is known among the South Koreans as the course clown. She made Rydell laugh when the windshield in her cart flew off. Without missing a beat, Yoo said, â€Maybe we are going to lose tires next.â€
Not a peep about it from the television announcer instead we heard about how competitive Stanford is and how she doesnâ€™t quit etc. Like quitting non competitive people play the LPGA every day. When you hear someone say the Korean golfers have personality, the real meaning is- â€˜The golf media canâ€™t be bothered looking for players with a personality.â€™
LOS ANGELES – Jose Lima, a right-hand pitcher who was a 20-game winner and an All-Star during a 13-year major league career, died Sunday, the Los Angeles Dodgers said. He was 37.
Lima, who won 13 games with the Dodgers in 2004, died of an apparent heart attack, according to the Aguilas Cibaenas, a winter ball team that Lima had played for in the Dominican Republic.
â€œLima was an exceptional man. This is a great loss for Dominican baseball and the country,â€ Llenas said.
Referring to his often colorful outings as â€œLima Time,â€ Lima posted his best season in 1999 when he was selected to the All-Star game as a Houston Astro. He went 21-10 in 35 starts with a 3.58 ERA for the NL Central champion Astros.
In 13 major league seasons, the native of the Dominican Republic was 89-102 with a 5.26 ERA. He hadnâ€™t pitched in the major leagues since a four-game stop with the New York Mets in 2006.
â€œHe was a man full of life, without apparent physical problems and with many plans and projects on the agenda,â€ Astacio said.
Lima went 46-42 with the Astros between 1997-2001, and he was a 20-game winner and an All-Star with the Houston team.
Lima’s last Major League appearance was on July 7, 2006 when he pitched the second of two games for the New York Mets before being reassigned to the Minor Leagues.
WASHINGTON – Angel Pagan hit an inside-the-park home run and started a triple play Wednesday night, but that wasn’t enough for the New York Mets in a 5-3 loss to the Washington Nationals.
Pagan became the first player in 55 years to take part in both feats in the same game. Despite his achievements, the Mets lost for the ninth time in 11 games.
Pagan hit the first inside-the-park home run in Nationals Park history in the fourth inning. An inning later, the center fielder’s shoestring catch led to the Mets’ first triple play since 2002.
Phillies shortstop Ted Kazanski was the last player to do both, on Sept. 25, 1955, for Philadelphia against the New York Giants, the Elias Sports Bureau said. That was also the last time a team pulled a triple play and hit an inside-the-parker in the same game, Elias said.
A thrilling sight, not doubt.
Although I’m sure Mets fans would have appreciated it if their team had won the game as well. Instead, they lost to the Nationals 5-3.
Incidentally, this is Pagan’s second inside-the-part home run. His last came in September of last year against the Phillies.
He held the same position in Chicago From 2005 to 2009 the Sun-Sentinel-
Randy Sexton’s stint as Panthers general manager ended Monday.
The Panthers hired former Blackhawks GM Dale Tallon to replace Sexton and will introduce the ninth GM in franchise history Tuesday morning at BankAtlantic Center.
Tallon, 59, was serving as a senior adviser of hockey operations for the Blackhawks.
According to a source, former Wild GM Doug Risebrough, former Bruins GM Mike O’Connell and Rangers assistant director of player personnel Jeff Gorton were the others on the Panthers’ short list who were considered.
It’s uncertain whether Sexton, whose one-year contract is set to expire June 1, will remain with the team in some capacity.
Tallon, who in four seasons as Blackhawks GM maneuvered their rise from third-worst record in the NHL to the Western Conference finals, is optimistic he can rebuild the Panthers. While the Blackhawks had missed the playoffs six of the past seven seasons when Tallon took over in 2005, the Panthers haven’t made the playoffs since 2000 â€” an NHL record-tying nine consecutive seasons.
“I’m elated. It’s a great opportunity,” said Tallon, 59, who plans to fly to Germany on Wednesday to meet with Panthers coach Pete DeBoer, an assistant coach for Canada at the World Championships. “I’ve just got to give him some tools to work with and see if he can do the job.”
Panthers majority owners Cliff Viner and Stu Siegel released a statement Monday noting “we are thrilled and honored to open a new chapter in Florida Panthers franchise history.” They added that Tallon “brings with him a proven track record and an impressive franchise-building resume that we believe is the perfect fit for the future” and thanked Sexton, who was named GM hours before the season opener Oct. 2 in Helsinki, for his service.
Tallon told the Sun Sentinel he was first contacted by Panthers alternate governor Bill Torrey near the end of April. Discussions continued and ultimately “it felt right for both parties,” Tallon said.
“They’ve got a lot of good draft picks. They’ve got some good young players,” Tallon said. “It’s a similar situation to what we started with in Chicago, so I’m looking forward to it.”
Much of the appeal of this union, both from the Panthers’ perspective and Tallon’s, is that the team will have nine picks in next month’s draft in Los Angeles, including the No. 3 overall pick and three picks in the second round.
Two of those second-rounders were acquired at the trade deadline when Sexton, who first became interim GM last May after Jacques Martin left to coach the Canadiens, sent Jordan Leopold to the Penguins and fellow defenseman Dennis Seidenberg to the Bruins.
“We have the blueprint. We know how to do it,” Tallon said. “We just have to implement it now.”
Tallon reconstructed the Blackhawks, who finished with 65 points his first season as GM, by drafting All-Stars Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. He also traded for Patrick Sharp and Kris Versteeg, and signed other current Blackhawks Marian Hossa, Brian Campbell, John Madden and Antti Niemi as free agents.
“He did a complete re-haul of a very bad product, and as a result you see the crowds and the excitement the Blackhawks have instilled in Chicago,” said Thrashers GM Rick Dudley, who was Tallon’s assistant in Chicago and Panthers GM from 2002-04. “He knows how to construct a team. He’s a builder. And he’ll do a heck of a job there [in Florida]. The only thing that bothers me is we’re in the same division.”
Despite Tallon’s success in Chicago, he was demoted last July a week after the team mistakenly filed paperwork of qualifying offers to its restricted free agents after the deadline. But many inside the organization and outside believe the move was made because Blackhawks president John F. McDonough wanted to bring in his own guy, Stan Bowman, to be GM. Bowman is the son of Blackhawks senior adviser Scotty Bowman.
I always thought the paperwork snafu was just the cover story for a case of nepotism in Chicago. Tallon did nothing that was deserving of promotion.
Donny Rivette does a good job of summing up Randy Sexton’s short tenure in Florida. The Panthers had a big let down last year, but this Panther fan only puts a small bit of the blame at his feet. Oh Sexton made some dumb moves, like signing Scott Clemmensen and Ville Koistinen, but none of these are the cause for the team finished out of the playoff picture once again. I believe former GMs Mike Keenan and Jacques Martin are to blame.
I soured on the Panthers late last season. For that reason, I still don’t trust the team’s new ownership and I find it hard to believe in Tallon turning around the franchise. All I will say is- 1- Florida is rebuilding and is at least two years from being a playoff team. 2- I wonder how safe Coach Peter DeBoer’s job is now? The team has new owners and management and that makes me think DeBoer could be fired before the 2010-11 season is over. Particularly if Florida is once again out of the playoff picture.
The Korean Golf Queen notched her 25th career victory today. She defeated Suzann Pettersen and Brittany Lincicome on the third hole of sudden death. It was Pakâ€™s first win since 2007.
Todayâ€™s finish wasnâ€™t what anyone expected when play ended yesterday. Oh Lincicome, Pak, and Pettersen began the day tied for the lead but they were expected to play 18 holes. Their rounds began but thunderstorms came through Mobile Alabama area shortly after 10 a.m. local time. Play was suspended and eventually the decision was made to shorten the tournament to 54 holes.
Which meant sudden death would decide the winner. As has been the LPGAâ€™s custom for 3 or 4 years, a playoff is conducted on the 18th hole only. The 18th at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, Magnolia Grove, The Crossings, is a uphill par 4. Due to the heavy rains, which began Saturday night, the hole played long. Pettersen, Pak, and Lincicome are all above average in driving distance, so it could be said had an advantage. Except that Se Ri Pak was a career 5-0 in LPGA playoffs before today.
The first time around 18 saw all three players make par. On the 2nd hole of sudden death after each player hit a good drive, things began to deviate. Pettersen missed the green left, Pak flew the green into the back bunker, and Lincicome put her ball on the green but well right.
Pettersen did not hit a good 3rd shot at all. Pakâ€™s bunker shot went about 6 feet past the hole, Lincicome missed her birdie putt. Pettersen missed her par putt but Pak made a clutch putt. Lincicome got par, so she and Se Ri went back to the 18th for a 3rd time.
Pak didnâ€™t hit a good drive. She actually found a fairway bunker. Lincicome found the fairway and again Se Ri looked to be in trouble. Totally unfazed, she hit her approach to about 10 feet. Brittany on the other hand, had her approach shot find the front bunker. She blasted to 25-30 feet past the hole.
You got to give Lincicome credit. She made the long par putt. That put the tournament squarely on Se Ri who now faced almost the same putt she had on the second hole of sudden death, except it was a few feet longer in length and for a birdie now. Pak made it.
A few assorted notes
*- Is Se Ri Pak revving up for next monthâ€™s LPGA Championship? Sheâ€™s won that tournament in 4-year intervals starting in 1998. She won it again in 2002 and 2006 and next comesâ€¦..2010. If you believe in that hocus pocus.
I still think Se Ri will become the first LPGA golfer to win the same tournament six times. That is as long as the Jamiie Farr continues to be played. It’s contract with the LPGA ends this year.
*- Who will be on Golf World’s cover this week- Se Ri or Adam Scott the winner of the Texas Open? When Pak won the Michelob Light in 2004 and garnered the last point needed for HOF induction, GWorld put Joey Sindelar on the cover. Only last month the magazine the winner of the Kraft Nabisco(Yani Tseng) for Houston Open winner Anthony Kim when it came time for their cover. When Ai Miyazato won for the 3rd time this year and Lorena Ochoa retired, Golf World elected to put Hunter Mahan on the cover as part of its Players Championship preview. So I’d bet on Scott or some feature story. Like Ted Schulz’s hopes for the Champions Tour. Golf World’s coverage of the LPGA is pathetic.
Someone might point out that Golf World puts men on their covers for sales purposes. Golf World is not a news stand publication.
*- Pettersen has another â€˜just missedâ€™ chance at a LPGA win. Since winning 5 times in 2007, the Norwegian has only been able to notch one win. In the process Pettersen has had over a half dozen excellent opportunities but hasnâ€™t been able to get it done.
A win today by Pettersen would have knocked Ji Yai off the top of the Rolex Rankings. Maybe I missed the Golf Channel announcers explanation., but I assume it would have been Pettersen at the top then. There is a very slim margin separating the top four women golfers in the world at this moment.
*- For the sixth time in six tournaments this year, an Asian golfer has won on the LPGA Tour. Lincicomeâ€™s finish today is one of three second place finishes American golfers have this year.
*- Golf Channelâ€™s announcers in order to build up Lincicome(who I like by the way) emphasized her brilliant shot to win the Kraft Nabisco last year and that her three LPGA wins, includes a Match Play event, and that her victories all came in prestigious events.
As brilliant as Lincicomeâ€™s shot was, Se Ri Pak hit an even greater one to win the 2006 LPGA Championship. She hit a 3-utility club on the first hole of sudden death to 3 inches. That trumps Lincicomeâ€™s approach to 18 which was inside of five feet for eagle.
Iâ€™m not really surprised that Pakâ€™s shot isnâ€™t remembered. When golf writers talked comeback player of the year in 2006, Pak was universally forgotten. Se Ri hit one of the greatest shots in LPGA history but no one seems to remember, and thatâ€™s sad. Golf Channel’s announcers had no problem remembering the details of Lincicome’s Match Play win, which was played exactly one week after Se Ri won the 2006 LPGA.
How prestigious can a tournament be if it only exists for three years? Thatâ€™s how long the non-majors, the Ginn Open and the HSBC Womenâ€™s World Match Play Championship lasted before going belly up. They were nice wins for Brittany, but should a tournament with so little history be considered a prestigious win?
BALTIMORE â€” He is a kid. Martin Garcia has been in this country for less than seven years and looks at the United States with a sense of wonder, whether from behind the counter of a Northern California delicatessen or now, through his racing goggles atop a thundering racehorse. On Saturday, as he led Lookin at Lucky onto the track for the Preakness Stakes, Garcia let loose a smile that would have been blinding atop a lighthouse.
Garcia drank in the pretty hats and the sports coats that dotted the grandstand at historic Pimlico. He took in the raucous infield, with its bleary-eyed revelers lifting their plastic mugs.
Behind him, Calvin Borel was stone-faced, crouched over Super Saver, the winner of the Kentucky Derby, and looking as if the weight of his Triple Crown aspirations had caved him in.
Not Garcia, 25. He was as happy as he was the night last week when the trainer Bob Baffert told him he would replace Garrett Gomez on Lookin at Lucky for this race. Garcia stayed up all night tickled by the possibilities.
Garcia had loved Lookin at Lucky ever since the first time he sat on the coltâ€™s back for a workout last year.
For months, he worked Lookin at Lucky, last yearâ€™s 2-year-old champion, in the mornings only to hand him over to Gomez in the afternoons. Unfortunately for Baffert, Gomez had anything but luck with the colt in one troubled trip after another.
After Gomez and the colt were bounced around in the Derby and staggered in a hard-used sixth place, Baffert decided to make a change for the Preakness. Lookin at Lucky became Garciaâ€™s mount.
When Garcia showed up in the paddock before the race and rattled off one â€œthank youâ€ after another, Baffert wondered if his rider was perhaps unfocused and not ready to race.
â€œI think heâ€™s so young, he doesnâ€™t understand the magnitude of this race,â€ said Baffert, a Hall of Famer.
As Garcia loped Lookin at Lucky down the backstretch, however, Baffertâ€™s doubts began to ease. His young jockey had listened to his instructions.
â€œI told him once you make the turn, you canâ€™t be more than three paths off the rail,â€ Baffert said.
Garcia did as he was told. Now, he had the colt rolling like a riverboat, and Baffert was starting to feel pretty smart.
â€œI could see he had the horse in a nice rhythm,â€ Baffert said
Borel and Super Saver, on the other hand, were working hard and not looking all that comfortable chasing the long shot, First Dude, through a fast half-mile of 46.47 seconds, and a withering six furlongs of 1 minute 11.22 seconds.
On a more serious note, yesterday’s result means that, once again, there will be no Triple Crown winner this year. The last time it happened was in 1978 when Affirmed completed the task only a year after Seattle Slew had done it. This is already the longest gap between Triple Crown winners in history, the previous record being the twenty-five years between Citation and Secretariat.
It’s not surprising, really, winning three of the toughest races in horse racing is a difficult enough task in itself, and it’s become even harder as horse breeding has become a more exact science. There are a lot of good, fast horses out there, and it’s harder for just one of them to dominate the sport the way that others did in the past. There will probably be a Triple Crown winner someday, but its going to have to be one heck of a horse that accomplishes the task.
Bill Jempty Update- Lookin at Lucky’s Trainer Bob Baffert has announced that Lucky won’t race in the Belmont Stakes. Baffert said if Lucky was going for the Triple Crown, he’d enter the horse. Instead he will give a colt a rest. Last year’s Preakness winner, Rachel Alexandra, didn’t race in the Belmont either.
I understand the decision made by Baffert. Lookin at Lucky has little to gain from running in the Belmont(The endurance race of the Triple Crown. It is a mile and a half in length) and there is always the element of risk. Race horses are very fragile animals. Case in point, 2006 Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro. One bad step can lead to them needing to be destroyed. Maybe these races should be more spread out to encourage horses to race in all three. The Harness and Trotting Triple Crowns aren’t raced in just five weeks.
Park Eun-Sun had just recently come out of retirement. From Reuters-
China coach Shang Ruihua is questioning the eligibility of South Korean player Park Eun-Sun for the upcoming women’s Asian Cup and has urged authorities to conduct a gender test, local media reported.
“If Park is participating in the Asian Cup we will definitely appeal to the AFC (Asian Football Confederation) to test her gender,” Shang told Chengdu Business Daily, a paper from the host city of the May 19-30 tournament in southwest China.
Park has been selected for the South Korea training squad after a five-year retirement. The 1.80m (5 ft 11) striker scored 13 goals in 11 international matches she played for South Korea before retiring in 2005 at 19.
However, her power and voice have raised doubts in some players and coaches.
“Her voice is too deep,” said Chinese player Li Jie.
My voice is too deep to be mistaken for a woman’s.
Hat tip- NC47 at ROK Drop who writes- “I donâ€™t know if China should be asking for any type of qualification tests on athletes considering their history of cheating at sports.” Cheating is cheating, and should be reported by whoever observes it.