Wow, the Yankees' Russell Martin must really not want to run the risk of facing Tampa Bay or Los Angeles in the playoffs. If not, why would he give Boston (11-4 against New York this season) great bulletin-board fodder such as this to light a fire under the fading Red Sox, up 21/2 games on the Rays and Angels in the AL wild-card chase?
As he had 298 times before, Yankees closer Mariano Rivera pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning - setting down the Twins' Trevor Plouffe, Michael Cuddyer and Chris Parmelee. In doing so, he picked up the save in New York's 6-4 win over Minnesota on Monday, as he had 602 times since May 17, 1996.
Ask them, and they'll tell you. A Sports Illustrated poll of 215 major-leaguers on the "meanest player" in the game had no surprise at the top: Chicago White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski, who has long cultivated an irritating rep, with 29 percent of the votes. (Hey, his own manager, Ozzie Guillen, says: "If you play against him, you hate him. If you play with him, you hate him a little less.")
ESPN is betting that, yes, fans are ready for some football. More football in more places. The network agreed with the league on an eight-year contract extension that keeps Monday Night Football on ESPN through the 2021 season, boosts the amount of programming shown on the already football-saturated family of networks, and brings it to phones and tablets.
Detroit ace Justin Verlander is leading the America League in in wins (21), ERA (2.34), innings (223) and strikeouts (224). The right has a 42/3-inning lead over CC Sabathia of the New York Yankees and a 20-strikeout gap over Felix Hernandez of the Seattle Mariners.
Don McKee has been covering sports since 1966. He joined The Inquirer as the South Jersey columnist in 1974 and has covered high schools from Atlantic City to Cincinnati; Penn State, Pitt and West Virginia football; and the Phillies, Eagles and Flyers over the years. For the last 13 years he has hosted a Sunday talk show on Sports Radio 610 WIP. He tries to live by the sage words of Lord Northcliffe, the man who created the world's first sports page in the late 19th century, and who coined the famous phrase: "News is something that somebody somewhere wants to hide. Everything else is public relations."