Only twenty days after Dallas Braden had pitched a perfect game in Oakand, the Philadelphia Phillies Roy Halladay accomplished the same feat this evening:
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.
In four years, we will have the first-ever Super Bowl in an open-air stadium in the North:
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 ?
Jose Lima, a former pitcher for four different National League teams over his career, died today at the age of 37:
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.
It was a perfect day for horse racing in Baltimore yesterday, and a great day to be Lookin At Lucky:
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.
And yes, First Dude was, at least in part,Â named after Todd Palin. First Dude’s mother ? Run Sarah Run.
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.
Last night, the Minnesota Twins took a gamble, and lost:
NEW YORK – Alex Rodriguez waited on deck, with runners at second and third and the Yankees trailing by a run in the seventh inning. Boy, did Ron Gardenhire have a tough decision to make.
Pitch to Mark Teixeira or intentionally walk him and bring in right-handed sinkerballer Matt Guerrier to replace Brian Duensing? Even though A-Rod was 4 for 6 against Guerrier with three home runs?
Yup, Guerrier came in.
And the ball went out.
Rodriguez hit his 19th career grand slam, moving past Frank Robinson into sole possession of seventh place with his 587th home run and powering the New York Yankees over the Minnesota Twins 8-4 Friday night.
â€œThatâ€™s why I hit fourth,â€ A-Rod said. â€œMy team is expecting me to get big hits in those type of situations.â€
He was so excited as the ball went over the left-field wall that he nearly carried his bat all the way to first base. He then raised a fist in triumph after the drive gave the Yankees a 7-4 lead.
Part of the problem that the Twins faced, of course, is that the Yankee lineup is simply too strong to assume anyone is an easy out. Teixeira has had a hot bat all month, so walking him and bringing in the righthander to get Rodriguez isn’t necessarily a dumb call.
Except in retrospect as you’re watching that ball go over the wall and the bases clear.
The New York Times noted the other day a statistical oddity regarding two of baseball’s most difficult achievements, the perfect game and the no-hitter:
Dallas Bradenâ€™s perfect game for Oakland has generated plenty of press, and only partly because of his feud with Alex Rodriguez. A perfect game is celebrated with bold headlines because it is one of baseballâ€™s rarest achievements. But somehow, without anyone noticing, the perfect game has started to become more common, while no-hitters over all have become harder to come by.
Before 1998, only 6 percent of no-hitters were perfect games, but from 1998 to 2003, 20 percent were, and since then 27 percent have been.
From 1900 through 1980, baseball witnessed only seven perfect games, including two in the dead-ball era and three during the glory days for pitchers in the mid-1960s. But in the 30 seasons beginning with 1981, nine pitchers have achieved perfection. And, oddly, regular no-hitters have decreased in frequency while becoming more erratic in their appearance.
â€œThere is probably a fair amount of chance involvedâ€ in the jump in perfect games, said Rob Neyer, a baseball columnist with ESPN. He says the rise of free-swingers helps because strikeouts mean fewer balls in play and thus fewer possible hits and errors â€” although he noted that fewer balls in play should also mean more no-hitters. Improved fielding has probably helped as well, he said.
In the 20 years before Babe Ruth and the live ball era of 1920, no-hitters were far more common, with pitchers hurling 48 of them. In the two decades that followed â€” the most explosive offensive period before the steroids era â€” there were just 16 no-hitters, one of which was a perfect game. Baseball found an equilibrium in the 1940s and â€™50s and that span yielded 30 no-hitters.
Not surprisingly, the swinging (and missing) â€™60s produced an astonishing 30 no-hitters, along with three perfect games, but even after baseball lowered the pitching mound, pitchers churned out 31 no-hitters in the 1970s. In other words, from 1960-1979, baseball averaged more than three no-hitters per season yet only one perfect game about every seven years. Since then, the pattern has shifted: There have been 48 no-hitters over the past 30 years, meaning it now takes two seasons to produce three no-hitters. In the last decade, there were only 13 â€” none in 2000 and only one (a perfect game) from June 11, 2003, through Sept. 6, 2006.
That decline might make sense considering that the strike zone, the ballparks, the ball and steroids all conspired to boost offense, yet there have been 10 perfect games in that span, meaning they are now coming along every three seasons on average instead of every seven. In fact, perfect games before this year were fairly evenly spaced out, appearing in 1981, 1984, 1988, 1991, 1994, 1998, 1999, 2004 and 2009.
Perhaps it’s just a statistical oddity. Perhaps it’s the fact that, in the modern era, when someone does get on base, even if by a walk in what is otherwise a no-hitter, the odds of getting them out decrease. Perhaps it’s a reflection of the decline in fielding on some teams.
But if it means more perfect games, then I’m all for it.
Once again, LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers fell short in the quest for an NBA Championship:
BOSTON (AP) — The Boston Celtics sent LeBron James and the Cavaliers back to Cleveland to admire all of their regular-season accomplishments.
It’s the Celtics who are still in the chase for an NBA title.
Kevin Garnett scored 22 points and added 12 rebounds, and Rajon Rondo had 21 points and 12 assists to beat Cleveland 94-85 in Game 6 on Thursday night. Boston advanced to the Eastern Conference finals, which begin Sunday in Orlando against the Magic, who are 8-0 in the playoffs after sweeping the Charlotte Bobcats and the Atlanta Hawks in the opening rounds.
Despite his fifth career playoff triple-double, James is headed for another early offseason after winning a second MVP award and leading the Cavs to an NBA-best 61 wins and a home-court advantage they never got to use.
This one is destined to define the future of the franchise — and the rest of the NBA, too.
The LeBron watch began at 10:53 p.m., when Rondo dribbled out the last 14 seconds and the Celtics began celebrating. James is eligible to opt out of his contract this summer, a move that would make the two-time MVP — and zero-time NBA champion — a free agent and set off a scramble for his services from New York to Miami to Los Angeles and, of course, back in Cleveland.
”We know their team is fueled by one guy, and he has a hell of a supporting cast,” Garnett said. ”We knew that if we could somehow, someway control that supporting cast, then we had a good chance of beating this team.”
It’s long been speculated that this would be James’s last year in Cleveland if the Cavaliers didn’t win a Championship, and that he’d utilized the opt-out provision in his contract to move to a team that had a better chance of going all the way. Clevelanders, on the other hand, have always held out the hope that James’s ties to the community would keep him in town.
With the playoffs over once again for the Cavs, the ball is, quite literally, in LeBron’s court.
The states of New York and New Jersey think that they can convince the National Football League to schedule a Super Bowl for January in an open-air stadium in the north:
There could be the commissionerâ€™s party at the American Museum of Natural History and another party with a view of the Statue of Liberty from Liberty State Park. Maybe a breakfast at Tiffany & Company for team owners and their families. Perhaps even a Super Bowl float in the Macyâ€™s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
The bid to host the 2014 Super Bowl at New Meadowlands Stadium, portions of which were obtained by The New York Times in advance of its Wednesday unveiling, dresses the Super Bowl in a giant â€œI Love New Yorkâ€ T-shirt, spinning even the prospect of bad weather as a chance to go â€œold schoolâ€ and embrace a link to some of the N.F.L.â€™s storied cold-weather games.
Yet for all the spectacular possibilities proposed, the mundane realities of dealing with winter are likely to dominate the conversation about the bid. The plan includes elaborate contingencies for Super Bowl week, everything from providing hand warmers to fans at the game to having hundreds of people standing by with shovels to dig out the stadium. No wonder the proposal calls other public spectacles that have played out in the area, like papal Masses, â€œpracticeâ€ for the Super Bowl.
â€œThe focus was on those things that only this community and this stadium can provide,â€ said one bid official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the plans were not final.
It would certainly be a change for the NFL’s marquee event. The Super Bowl has never been played outdoors in the north, and the coldest recorded game time temperature in Super Bowl history was 39 degrees during Super Bowl VI in New Orleans. New York’s weather in January could be much colder, and snow, ice, sleet, or rain are not at all out of the possibility.
But, the bidding committee is trying to turn the possibility of bad weather into a positive:
â€œPlaying the game in a cold weather outdoor setting will add yet another element of intrigue,â€ it reads. â€œThe game will take on the â€˜old schoolâ€™ feel of the great outdoor contests of the past, yet it will be played in one of the leagueâ€™s most technologically advanced stadiums.â€
The committee is prepared for the worst, though. The teams, which will practice at the Giantsâ€™ and the Jetsâ€™ new facilities in New Jersey, which both have indoor fields, will stay at hotels within a few miles of the sites. The bid is built on having up to 800 people with shovels ready to clear the stadium, although more could be added if needed.
Part of the bid calls for covering some of the openings in the stadium to cut down on the wind and for using heaters to warm the concourses. There will be seat and hand warmers. And perhaps fire pits in the parking lots before the game.
â€œWeâ€™re really trying to embrace the weather and make it more of a communal experience,â€ the bid official said
That does sound a bit like putting lipstick on a pig, but there’s no doubt that a Super Bowl held in something other than a climate-controlled or climate-perfect environment would add a new element to the game, quite literally.
Will the NFL owners be willing to take the risk ? I think they should.
If this report from a Kansas City sports radio station is to believed, the Big Ten Conference is thinking big when it comes to expansion:
The Big Ten Conference has extended initial offers to join the league to four universities including Missouri and Nebraska from the Big 12, according to multiple sources close to the negotiations.
While nothing can be approved until the Big Ten presidents and chancellors meet the first week of June in Chicago, the league has informed the two Big 12 schools, Notre Dame and Rutgers that it would like to have them join. It is not yet clear whether the Big Ten will expand to 14 or 16 teams but sources indicated Missouri and Nebraska are invited in either scenario.Â Notre Dame has repeatedly declined the opportunity to join the Big Ten.Â If Notre Dame remains independent, Rutgers would be the 14th team.Â The Big Ten would then decide whether to stop at 14 or extend offers to two other schools.Â If Notre Dame joins, sources say an offer will be extended to one other school making it a 16-team league.
All four are interesting choices, for different reasons.
Notre Dame, of course, is a prize that the Big Ten has been pursuing for years, but it’s always been the one that got away. Given their lucrative television contract and national fan base, remaining independent has always seemed to be to Notre Dame’s advantage. Times are changing, though, and the Fighting Irish aren’t what they used to be. Putting them at the center of a conference where they would be instantly competitive might just be what’s needed to reinvigorate a program still hurting from the Charlie Weis years.
Rutgers seems like a odd choice at first because of it’s geographic distance from the rest of the Conference, but there are two reasons why it makes sense. Under Greg Schiano, the Rutgers football program (and make no mistake, this expansion is mostly geared toward football) has become credible in a way that it never was before. When I attended there in the late 80s and the Scarlet Knights played a rare game against Michigan State, it was an occasion for laughter in Lansing, Michigan. Not anymore. Second, bringing in Rutgers gives the Big Ten access to two of the biggest media markets in the country, which would be a big deal for both football and basketball.
As for Missouri and Nebraska, it’s interesting that the Big Ten would be so brazen about poaching from the Big 12, but both schools would be excellent additions on the football side to a conference that has come to be dominated in recent years by Ohio State and Penn State. Bringing the Tigers and Cornhuskers into the conference, along with Rutgers and Notre Dame, would instantly make football season much more competitive.
All in all, this seems like a smart move for the Big Ten.