Sports Tonight: Phillies set to face the expensive Yu Darvish

Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Yu Darvish points back to catcher Austin Barnes after Colorado Rockies’ Charlie Blackmon flew out to left field during the first inning of a baseball game in Los Angeles, Friday, Sept. 8, 2017.

Darvish was an expensive buy for the production received

I don’t begrudge any athlete making as much money as possible. I figure that if owners can pay players that much then how much are they making.

Still, I have to say the greatest “Money Pit” in sports is Major League Baseball’s continued fascination with the latest pitching sensation from Japan.

Since pitcher Hideo Nomo became the second Japanese-born player to play in Major League Baseball in 1995, every few years some pitcher with a golden arm from Nippon Professional Baseball has come over to try to master MLB.

Thanks to the “posting system,” where MLB teams have to bid for the right to negotiate a contract with a top NPB player, the cost has sometimes been exuberant

Yu Darvish, who is scheduled to start tonight against the Phillies at 7:05 at Citizens Bank Park (TV: CSN; radio: 94 WIP), was signed to a six-year deal worth $60 million in 2012 by the Texas Rangers.

A salary of $10 million a year isn’t outrageous for a pitcher selected to four All-Star teams but add in the $47 million posting fee the Rangers paid the Nippon Ham Fighter and things become more inequitable.

A pitcher valued at $107 million or $17.83 million a season should’ve produced better than a 51-39 career record for the Rangers, who traded him to Los Angeles.

This season Darvish is 9-12 with a 4.08 ERA but he is still considered to one of the top pitchers in the 2017-18 free agent class and that means more money

Camera icon AP
Minnesota Twins third baseman Eduardo Escobar (5) prepares to tag New York Yankees’ Brett Gardner, who is safe sliding into third on Aaron Judge’s fifth-inning flyout in a baseball game in New York, Monday, Sept. 18, 2017. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)


More teams make the stretch run more interesting

After the 1969 season, when Major League Baseball expanded the playoff field, the race down the stretch went from being a Pennant Race to being a race for the AL and NL Division titles.

More fans had reasons to stay interested in games with teams fighting for four playoff spots instead of two.

In 1994, traditionalist where offended after MLB split the leagues into three divisions and added a “Wild Card” to expand the playoff field to eight teams.

The present system which has two Wild Card teams created playoff spots for 10 teams.

Tonight when the Minnesota Twins play at the New York Yankees at 7 on ESPN, they hold the AL Wild Card spots, but six other teams are within 5 ½ games for the final playoff spots.

That gives more fans a reason to watch.


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Ivanka Trump applauds during a 2017 Trafficking in Persons Report ceremony at the State Department, Tuesday, June 27, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)


What I’m reading

Tom Brady has enough social media interest with his being the best quarterback of all time and being married to a supermodel. But now Brady is being talked about as having a previous relationship with Ivanka Trump – the daughter of the POTUS.

Former Eagles coach Andy Reid staked everything in drafting quarterback Donovan McNabb with his first major decision. Eagles coach Doug Pederson has done the same thing with Carson Wentz and staff writer Zach Berman talks about the latest evaluation sheet.

David Bey once had the shot to become the heavyweight champion of the world. Staff writer Barbara Boyer tells of the passing of the Pennsylvania Boxing Hall of Fame member.

The New York Giants are winless coming into Sunday’s game against the Eagles. Some people are already pointing the finger at quarterback Eli Manning – including a dig from head coach Ben McAdoo.

When Dwight Howard entered the NBA out of high school, he once said the NBA logo should be changed to a cross. Lee Jenkins of Sports Illustrated has the story of Howard’s fall from grace on and off the court.

Camera icon Yong Kim
Eagles defensive end Chris Long sacks Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith during the third-quarter on Sunday, September 17, 2017 in Kansas City, Mo. YONG KIM / Staff Photographer


The riff

People always want athletes to put their money where their mouths are as if it is a requirement to voice an opinion.

In August, Eagles defensive end Chris Long added voiced his disgust after a march by white supremacist turned violent and led to the murder of a woman in his hometown of Charlottesville, Va.

In August, Eagles defensive end Chris Long added voiced his disgust after a march by white supremacist turned violent and led to the murder of a woman in his hometown of Charlottesville, Va.

Today, The Chris Long Foundation announced he would donate his first six game checks to an education scholarship program.

A release by Long and his wife, Megan, read, “In August, we watched people fill our hometown streets with hatred and bigotry.

“We want these scholarships to be reflective of what the ‘Cville’ community is really about — supporting one another, social equality and building up those in our community who need it,” he added. “We hope our investment will change the lives of the students who receive the scholarship and in turn, those students can positively impact others.”