Sports Tonight: Getaway game, early start for Phillies

Phillies Padres Baseball
The Padres' Yangervis Solarte dives for home, scoring from third, as Phillies catcher Jorge Alfaro gathers the throw Tuesday. The series between the teams concludes today.

The average flight time between San Diego and San Francisco is an hour and 31 minutes. Of course, that is only actual in-air time and doesn’t include travel to and from the airports and the inevitable delays that happen.

In 2016, Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association agreed to adjust scheduled times for “getaway games.” Starting in 2018, games will need to start earlier when the opposing team has a flight of at least 2 ½ hours to the next city in which it is scheduled to play.

That will apply even if the visiting team has a scheduled off day.

Again, that rule doesn’t go into effect until next season and doesn’t yet apply to the Phillies, who finish their series in San Diego today (3:40 pm; TV: CSN, Radio: 94 WIP) and then travel to San Francisco for a four-game series starting tomorrow night.

Perhaps the MLB schedule makers were just getting in some practice for 2018. In San Diego, game time today is 12:40.

By the time folks here get off work, the Phillies-Padres game will likely be in the middle innings. A replay of the game will be on the Comcast Network at 10.

The Yankees’ Aaron Judge hits a solo home run against the Detroit Tigers on July 31. 

The jury’s verdict is that Judge is the top rookie

Considering the New York Yankees have more championships (27) than any other team in the four major North American sports leagues and have a record 24 players in the Baseball Hall of Fame, it stands to reason that they would also have the most Rookies of the Year.

Not so fast, my friend.

The Los Angeles/Brooklyn Dodgers have the most rookies of the year (17), with Jackie Robinson winning the first award in 1947.

The Yankees, who play at the New York Mets tonight at 7 on ESPN, have eight American League Rookies of the Year. Derek Jeter was the last, in 1996.

That number is likely to increase this year as outfielder Aaron Judge continue to assault baseballs in his rookie season. Judge leads the American League with 36 home runs and is fifth with 79 RBI.  His .290 batting average is 26th.

If Judge finishes the season strong, he has a chance to become the first player since Ichiro Suzuki in 2001 to be named ROY and MVP.

Penn State running back Saquon Barkley runs a drill during practice.

What I’m reading

Penn State running back Saquon Barkley enters the 2017 season as a Heisman Trophy candidate, but staff writer Joe Juliano writes that Barkley is not caught up in the hype

The NFL might still be the king of sports in America, but it gets failing grades in creating a good experience for fans attending games. In a study by J.D. Power, NFL teams finish last in the 12 major markets in the U.S. – including the Eagles.

Just when Nelson Agholor looked as if he was near the end of his rope, the Eagles gave him a lifeline by trading receiver Jordan Matthews. Staff writer Les Bowen says it’s time for Agholor to step up to the opportunity.

Staff writer Zach Berman looks at the many connections between the Eagles and Buffalo Bills as they prepare for Thursday’s preseason game at Lincoln Financial Field.

Tyler Kepner of the New York Times examines the impact Derek Jeter could have if the group he leads is successful in buying the Miami Marlins and the challenges he’d face in running the team.

Columnist Marcus Hayes writes that the Eagles should give running back Wendell Smallwood a chance to be their next backfield hero.

In the aftermath of racist violence on and near the campus of the University of Virginia, Jacob Bogage of the Washington Post talks about how it might affect recruiting for the Cavaliers football team.


The riff

Now more than ever, images are everything. ESPN, which built its brand on optics, knows that as much as anyone.

I’m not sure what the producers who put together a segment during the 28-hour fantasy football marathon on ESPN were thinking, but somebody needed to do a serious double take. On Tuesday, that marathon had a segment during which players were sold to the highest bidder. Many complained that it looked a lot like an auction for slaves.

A rally organized by white supremacists last weekend in Charlottesville, Va., erupted into violence that ultimately resulted in the deaths of a woman and two state troopers. There is an intense debate on race relations going on, and the ESPN segment was at best insensitive to and at worst exploitative of a tragedy.

ESPN released a statement in part saying, “Auction drafts are a common part of fantasy football. … Without that context, we understand the optics could be portrayed as offensive, and we apologize.”

A bit of common sense could have prevented a lot of anguish.