Category: World Series

Baseball Commissioner Sorry He Called World Series Trophy A 'Piece Of Metal'

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred apologized Tuesday for what he called a disrespectful reference to the World Series trophy as a “piece of metal.”

Even before being asked about it, Manfred said he made a mistake with those comments when trying to deliver a rhetorical point in an interview two days earlier.

“I referred to the World Series trophy in a disrespectful way, and I want to apologize for it,” Manfred said. “There’s no excuse for it. … It was a mistake to say what I said.”

MLB players, already upset with Manfred’s handling of the Houston Astros’ sign-stealing scandal and some of his comments in trying to explain it, became further infuriated by his “piece of metal” comment during a lengthy interview with ESPN on Sunday, the same day he spoke in Florida.

Even NBA superstar LeBron James joined the anti-Astros chorus, voicing his anger on social media Tuesday.

While speaking at the Cactus League media day in the Arizona desert, Manfred also pledged Tuesday to protect Oakland right-hander Mike Fiers, the ex-Astros pitcher who became the whistleblower when he went public in November to The Athletic.

“We will take every possible step to protect Mike Fiers wherever he’s playing, whether it’s in Houston or somewhere else,” Manfred said. “Mike did the industry a service.”

The Astros play their first road game of the regular season March 30 at the A’s, who won 97 games each of the past two years to finish second to Houston in the AL West both times.

Cubs lefty Jon Lester, a three-time World Series champion — with the Boston Red Sox in 2007 and 2013, and Chicago in 2016 — had some choice words for the commissioner earlier Tuesday.

“That’s somebody that has never played our game. You play for a reason, you play for that piece of metal. I’m very proud of the three that I have,” Lester said from the Cubs camp in Mesa, Arizona. “If that’s the way he feels, then he needs to take his name off the trophy.”

Lester said the first thing he shows visitors at his house are the displayed trophies he has won.

“I’m proud of them. That’s a lot of years, a lot of hard work. You can’t just bring it down like that,” the five-time All-Star said.

Manfred, after meeting with the general managers and managers of teams who train in Arizona, said he has taken great pleasure in presenting the past five World Series championship trophies since he became the commissioner.

James sent a two-part tweet Tuesday imploring Manfred to listen to the upset players. The three-time NBA champion said he knows that he would be irate and uncontrollable if he found out he had been cheated out of a championship, punctuating his comment with an asterisk-filled expletive, and adding the hashtag #JustMyThoughtsComingFromASportsJunkieRegardlessMyOwnSportIPlay.

“Listen here baseball commissioner listen to your…..players speaking today about how disgusted, mad, hurt, broken, etc etc about this,” James wrote in part, adding, “you need to fix this for the sake of Sports!”

AP Sports Writer Janie McCauley contributed.

More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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The Houston Astros' Terrible Apology Is Straight Out Of 'The Office'

The Houston Astros apologized Thursday for stealing signs during the 2017 World Seriesbut all it did was remind people of a scene from “The Office.”

Although the purpose of the press conference was supposedly to express regret, many observers noted that no one on the team really seemed that sorry.

At one point, team owner Jim Crane even suggested the cheating didn’t really matter.

“Our opinion is that this didn’t impact the game. We had a good team. We won the World Series. And we’ll leave it at that,” he said, according to The Associated Press.

However, he backtracked moments later, saying, “It’s hard to determine how it impacted the game, if it impacted the game.”

ESPN journalist Marly Rivera did pin down Crane with the last question of the press conference by asking him what he was apologizing for if he didn’t think the sign-stealing affected the game.

Crane’s response: “We’re apologizing because we broke the rules.” But he would only admit that sign-stealing “could possibly” have provided an advantage to the team.

As the sports website For The Win noted, many people noticed that the team’s so-called apology seemed like a lot like the terrible one made by “Office” character Dwight Schrute after he started a fire to teach co-workers about safety.

Sorry if you already know this, but a proper apology requires a person to have genuine remorse, say exactly what they are sorry for, and seek ways for improvement.

Nothing said by the Astros reflected any of this. Instead, team members and coaches basically said they planned to move forward.

Also, the Astros incorrectly apologized to fans and not to the other teams that were affected by their actions.

Many sports journalists took the team to task for its lame apologies.

But one person managed to distill the entire press conference into 12 little words.

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Boston Red Sox Manager Alex Cora Fired Amid Cheating Scandal

BOSTON (AP) — Alex Cora has already been identified as a ringleader in an illegal system of sign stealing when he was with the Houston Astros.

The Red Sox didn’t wait to see what punishment Major League Baseball might give him for possibly bringing a similar scheme with him to Boston.

Cora was fired by the team he led to the 2018 World Series title on Tuesday night, one day after baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said he was “an active participant” in the Astros’ cheating when he was a bench coach in Houston.

Manfred mentioned Cora by name 11 times in a nine-page report, saying he “originated and executed” the scheme in which Houston used a center field camera to decode catchers’ signals to pitchers, then banged on a trash can to relay the signs to batters so they would know what type of pitch was coming.

The Astros fired manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow, making that announcement an hour after Manfred suspended them for the 2020 season for their roles in the cheating scheme. Cora met Tuesday with Boston management and they issued a release saying they had “mutually agreed to part ways.”

“Given the findings and the commissioner’s ruling, we collectively decided that it would not be possible for Alex to effectively lead the club going forward,” the team said in a statement attributed to owner John Henry, chairman Tom Werner, CEO Sam Kennedy and Cora.

Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora in the dugout during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Toronto Blue Jays, Thursday, April 11, 2019, at Fenway Park in Boston. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)

The team called a news conference for Wednesday afternoon to address the scandal, which leaves it without a manager less than a month before pitchers and catchers are due to report to spring training.

Bench coach Ron Roenicke, who spent five years managing the Milwaukee Brewers, is the most experienced member of the current coaching staff; former Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek has also been mentioned as a possible replacement.

In suspending Luhnow and Hinch, Manfred said he was withholding Cora’s punishment until completing a separate investigation of accusations the Red Sox stole signs in 2018. That investigation will continue; Cora and the Red Sox could both face additional penalties.

“We agreed today that parting ways was the best thing for the organization,” Cora said in a statement released by the team. “I do not want to be a distraction to the Red Sox as they move forward.”

New Mets manager and former Astros player Carlos Beltrán also was implicated by Manfred in his report Monday — the only player mentioned. Manfred decided that no players would be disciplined for breaking rules prohibiting the use of electronics to steal catchers’ signs in 2017 after levying penalties against Boston and the New York Yankees.

The Mets declined comment on Beltrán’s status.

The Los Angeles Dodgers lost the 2017 World Series to the Astros and again in 2018 to the Red Sox.

“All clubs have been asked by Major League Baseball not to comment on today’s punishment of the Houston Astros as it’s inappropriate to comment on discipline imposed on another club,” Los Angeles said in a statement Monday night. “The Dodgers have also been asked not to comment on any wrongdoing during the 2017 World Series and will have no further comment at this time.”

Houston Astros manager AJ Hinch, left, and Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora shake Hanes before Game 1 of a baseball American

Houston Astros manager AJ Hinch, left, and Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora shake Hanes before Game 1 of a baseball American League Championship Series on Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018, in Boston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

A member of Boston’s 2007 championship club, Cora was hired in November 2017 to take over a Red Sox team that won back-to-back AL East titles in 2016-17 but failed to advance in the postseason under John Farrell.

Cora guided the team to a franchise-record 108 regular-season victories in 2018 and its fourth World Series title in 15 years. The Red Sox beat a pair of 100-win teams in the Yankees and Astros in the AL playoffs, then defeated the Dodgers in a five-game World Series to make Cora the first Puerto Rican manager to win a championship and the fifth manager to guide a team to a title in his first season.

He was rewarded by president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski with a new contract adding an extra guaranteed season in 2021, a deal that included a club option for 2022.

Dombrowski was fired in September after the Red Sox stumbled toward an 84-78 record and missed the playoffs for the first time since 2015. He was replaced this offseason by former Tampa Bay Rays executive Chaim Bloom, who will lead the search for a new manager.

“This is a sad day for us,” Henry, Werner and Kennedy said in a statement. “Alex is a special person and a beloved member of the Red Sox. We are grateful for his impact on our franchise. We will miss his passion, his energy and his significant contributions to the communities of New England and Puerto Rico.”

The scandal ― but not the severity of the punishment — is reminiscent of the New England Patriots’ sign-stealing scheme in 2007, in which the team videotaped opposing coaches to decipher their signals. The NFL fined the Patriots $250,000 and docked them a first-round draft pick, and also fined coach Bill Belichick $500,000.

Texas Rangers All-Star pitcher Mike Minor eagerly took a jab on Twitter at Cora, who insinuated Minor wasn’t “playing the game the right way” when the left-hander encouraged a teammate to drop a popup against Boston during his final start of 2019 so Minor could pursue his 200th strikeout of the season.

“But but he plays the game the right way…” Minor wrote.

Cora’s departure means 10 of the 30 major league teams will start the 2020 season with a new manager. Boston’s new manager will be its fifth in 10 seasons.

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Don Larsen, Yankees Pitcher Who Threw Only Perfect World Series Game, Dead At 90

NEW YORK (AP) — Don Larsen, the journeyman pitcher who reached the heights of baseball glory when he threw a perfect game in 1956 with the New York Yankees for the only no-hitter in World Series history, died Wednesday night. He was 90.

Larsen’s agent, Andrew Levy, said the former pitcher died of esophageal cancer in hospice care in Hayden, Idaho. Levy said Larsen’s son, Scott, confirmed the death.

New York Yankees’ pitcher Don Larsen in 2018. He died on Wednesday at the age of 90.

Larsen was the unlikeliest of characters to attain what so many Hall of Famers couldn’t pull off in the Fall Classic. He was 81-91 lifetime, never won more than 11 games in a season and finished an unsightly 3-21 with Baltimore in 1954, the year before he was dealt to the Yankees as part of an 18-player trade.

In the 1956 World Series, won in seven games by the Yankees, he was knocked out in the second inning of Game 2 by the Brooklyn Dodgers and didn’t think he would have another opportunity to pitch. But when he reached Yankee Stadium on the morning of Oct. 8, he found a baseball in his shoe, the signal from manager Casey Stengel that he would start Game 5.

“I must admit I was shocked,” Larsen wrote in his autobiography. “I knew I had to do better than the last time, keep the game close and somehow give our team a chance to win. Casey was betting on me, and I was determined not to let him down this time.”

The Dodgers and Yankees split the first four games and Stengel liked the deception of Larsen’s no-windup delivery. The manager’s instincts proved historically correct. The lanky right-hander struck out seven, needed just 97 pitches to tame the Dodgers and only once went to three balls on a batter — against Pee Wee Reese in the first inning.

In winning 2-0, the Yankees themselves only managed five hits against the Dodgers’ Sal Maglie, but scored on Mickey Mantle’s home run and an RBI single by Hank Bauer.

In this 1956 file photo, New York Yankees catcher Yogi Berra leaps into Don Larsen's arms at the end of Game 5 of baseball's

In this 1956 file photo, New York Yankees catcher Yogi Berra leaps into Don Larsen’s arms at the end of Game 5 of baseball’s World Series against the Brooklyn Dodgers at New York’s Yankee Stadium.

Larsen, selected MVP of the 1956 Series, had two close calls. In the second inning, Jackie Robinson hit a hard grounder that was deflected by third baseman Andy Carey to shortstop Gil McDougald, who threw out Robinson. In the fifth, Mantle ran down a long drive to left-center field by Gil Hodges. With two outs in the ninth, pinch-hitter Dale Mitchell took a third strike, completing the perfect game and sending catcher Yogi Berra dashing out from behind the plate to leap into Larsen’s arms.

“When Yogi Berra jumped on me and grabbed with the bear hug, my mind went completely blank,” Larsen wrote in his autobiography. “I was under friendly attack … I was swept into the dugout.”

Their celebration remains one of baseball’s most joyous images.

“Don’s perfect game is a defining moment for our franchise, encapsulating a storied era of Yankees success and ranking among the greatest single-game performances in Major League Baseball history,” the Yankees said in a statement. “The unmitigated joy reflected in his embrace with Yogi Berra after the game’s final out will forever hold a secure place in Yankees lore. It was the pinnacle of baseball success and a reminder of the incredible, unforgettable things that can take place on a baseball field.”

Born Aug. 7, 1929, in Michigan City, Indiana, Larsen moved with his family to San Diego, where he went to Point Loma High School, the alma mater of another Yankees perfect game pitcher, David Wells. Larsen played basketball and baseball and was signed by the St. Louis Browns for a $500 bonus and $150 a month.

After two minor league seasons, Larsen hurt his arm and then spent two years in the Army. He was promoted to the Browns in 1953 and moved with the team to Baltimore the following year. He struggled through his 3-21 season but two of the wins were against the Yankees, who insisted he be included in the trade that also brought pitching star Bob Turley to New York.

Larsen started 1955 with the Yankees’ farm team in Denver, where he went 9-1 and developed the no-windup delivery. Promoted to the majors midway through the season, he finished 9-2 for New York. Larsen went 11-5 the next season and enjoyed the party atmosphere that came with playing for the Yankees, often running with Mantle, Billy Martin and Whitey Ford in their late-night rounds of the city. On the night before his perfect game, he had been out on the town, believing he was not in Stengel’s plans for the next day.

Larsen pitched in three other World Series. He won Game 2 of the 1957 series against Hank Aaron and the Milwaukee Braves, but lost the decisive Game 7. He shut out the Braves 4-0 on six hits in Game 3 of the 1958 Series, when New York beat Milwaukee in seven games, and was back in the Bronx with the San Francisco Giants for the 1962 Fall Classic.

Pitching against the Yankees on Oct. 8, the sixth anniversary of his perfect game, he won in relief at Yankee Stadium. After the 1959 season, he was traded to Kansas City in a deal that brought Roger Maris to New York. With the A’s, he went 1-10 in 1960, a reminder of his dreadful season with the Orioles. He was sent back to the minors where he became a relief pitcher and then moved on to the Giants, Chicago White Sox, Houston, Baltimore and the Chicago Cubs.

Larsen retired in 1967 with an 81-91 record over 14 major league seasons. He later worked as a liquor salesman and paper company executive. When David Cone tossed a perfect game for the Yankees during the 1999 season, Larsen was in attendance after throwing out the ceremonial first pitch.

No other pitcher has thrown a perfect game in the postseason, but in 2010 the Phillies’ Roy Halladay pitched a no-hitter against the Cincinnati Reds during the National League Division Series.

“They can never break my record,” Larsen would say of his game. “The best they can do is tie it. October 8, 1956, was a mystical trip through fantasyland. Sometimes I still wonder whether it really all happened.”

Late on Wednesday night, Cone tweeted “RIP my friend” with a photo of himself, Wells and Larsen together on the field at Yankee Stadium.

In addition to son Scott, Larsen is survived by his wife of 62 years, Corrine, daughter-in-law Nancy, and grandsons Justin and Cody.

Funeral arrangements were pending.

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Washington Nationals' Sean Doolittle Boycotts Donald Trump White House Celebration

Washington Nationals pitcher Sean Doolittle has announced he will not attend a White House celebration with his World Series-winning teammates on Monday, the latest sports star to shun a visit with President Donald Trump.

In an interview with The Washington Post published late Friday, Doolittle explained how “there’s a lot of things, policies that I disagree with, but at the end of the day, it has more to do with the divisive rhetoric and the enabling of conspiracy theories and widening the divide in this country.”

“My wife and I stand for inclusion and acceptance, and we’ve done work with refugees, people that come from, you know, the ‘shithole countries,’” Doolittle noted, a dig at Trump’s description of Haiti and African nations in a 2018 meeting. (Doolittle in 2015 hosted Syrian refugee families for Thanksgiving.)

Doolittle said Trump’s rhetoric had enabled racism and white supremacy and the president had “done a lot of things that maybe don’t respect the office.” He respected his teammates’ decision to attend, however, and said they respected his stance against the president.

“At the end of the day, as much as I wanted to be there with my teammates and share that experience with my teammates, I can’t do it. I just can’t do it,” he added.

White House celebrations for championship-winning sports teams have become highly politicized during the Trump era. Players and coaches from multiple teams (including the Boston Red Sox and New England Patriots) have opted to eschew the tradition. Trump has also canceled several events after getting wind about players not attending.

The Nationals defeated the Houston Astros in Game 7 of the World Series on Thursday to win the team’s first franchise title.

Game 5 was attended by Trump, whom the crowd jeered:

Nationals fans who watched Wednesday’s final game on a scoreboard at Nationals Park also booed a Trump 2020 campaign ad:

And this Nationals fan dropped an F-bomb about Trump while celebrating his team’s historic victory:

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Donald Trump Booed Again At Nationals Park Even Though Game Was In Houston

Washington Nationals fans who gathered at Nationals Park Wednesday to watch a scoreboard TV broadcast of Game 7 had plenty to cheer about. 

But it wasn’t Donald Trump. The president once again attracted boos, just as he had in a live appearance at Game 5 of the World Series in which the crowd booed him and chanted “Lock him up!”

This time, of course, the president wasn’t there, the game wasn’t even there, and Trump still was met with derision when a 2020 campaign ad appeared during the Fox broadcast on the scoreboard TV, viewers noted.

Former NBA player Etan Thomas posted one of the longer snippets.

Kelyn Soong of Washington City Paper was among those who shared news of the negative response.

John Henry of WUSA 9 also posted video.

It sounds like at least one fan resurrected the “Lock him up!” cheer, as evidenced in this vignette.

Alex Sopko, a former White House staffer under President Barack Obama, kept score of the boos.

But the most important score of all was the Nationals’ 6-2 victory over the  Houston Astros for the team’s first World Series championship.

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Nationals Fan Drops Anti-Trump F-Bomb During Live Fox World Series Coverage

A Washington Nationals fan is going viral after letting out some feelings about President Donald Trump on live TV after the team’s World Series victory over the Houston Astros on Wednesday night.

“I think this is huge for D.C.,” the unnamed fan said on Fox 5, the Washington Fox station. “D.C. needed this. We got some asshole in the fuckin’ White House.” 

The reporter, Sue Palka, quickly turned away. 

“Oh, no, no,” she said. “No, no, no.” 

“Let’s gooooooo!” the fan yelled in the background:

The Nationals defeated the Astros in Houston, 6-2, for its first World Series championship in franchise history. 

Trump attended a game in Washington earlier in the series, and fans at the ballpark weren’t much kinder than the one on TV. When the president was shown on a scoreboard video screen, he was roundly booed and chants of “lock him up” broke out. 

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Washington Nationals Pull Off Comeback Win For First World Series Title

The Washington Nationals are World Series champions for the first time in franchise history.

Behind Howie Kendrick’s dramatic go-ahead home run and gutsy pitching performances from Max Scherzer and Patrick Corbin, the Nationals rallied to defeat the Houston Astros 6-2 in the 40th Game 7 in World Series history.

When the celebration goes down, Kendrick will be given a hero’s welcome. After playing that role in Washington’s NLDS Game 5 win against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Kendrick was at it again in Game 7 of the World Series, launching an opposite home run off the foul pole that will now serve as the most iconic image in Nationals history.

The heroic moment was made possible by Scherzer, who three days after missing his Game 5 start with neck spasms, battled with less than this best stuff for five innings. He limited Houston to two runs despite allowing 11 baserunners. Patrick Corbin, who took the loss in Game 4, got redemption as well, pitching three innings of scoreless relief to earn the win.

On the Astros side, it was all about missed opportunities.

Houston opened the scoring on Yuli Gurriel’s second-inning home run and then tacked on one more run on Carlos Correa’s RBI double in the fifth. During that time, the Astros also left nine runners on base. That left the door open for Washington to rally, and sure enough, Washington rallied.

Anthony Rendon fired up the Nationals’ offense with a one-out home run in the seventh. After a walk to Juan Soto and a pitching change, Kendrick pulled off his elimination game magic again. Adam Eaton then sealed the win with a two-run single in the ninth inning.

With the victory, Washington survived its fifth straight elimination game during October, while also making this the first World Series where the road teams went 7-0.

WHO MADE THE DIFFERENCE

• Howie Kendrick: Somehow, Kendrick provided a moment bigger than his extra-inning home run in Los Angeles. October is all about unexpected heroes. While Kendrick is an established and respected player, no one could have anticipated him having the two biggest hits in the postseason.

• Patrick Corbin: It was an up and down postseason for the Nationals big free-agent signing. He came through when manager Dave Martinez needed him most, pitching three scoreless innings of relief to bridge the gap to Daniel Hudson.

• Juan Soto: He’s 21 and he’s seemingly impossible to get out in clutch situations. Soto added to impressive postseason resume by reaching base three more times in Game 7. That included a walk ahead of Kendrick’s home run and a two-out run-scoring single in the eighth inning. According to MLB Stats on Twitter, Soto’s 13 postseason RBI are the most by a player before turning 22, passing Miguel Cabrera. As for the World Series:

MUST-SEE MOMENT

Howie Kendrick is all about the big moments in October.

WHAT THEY’LL BE TALKING ABOUT

The Zack Greinke decision: DidAstros’ manager A.J. Hinch make the right call removing Greinke during the seventh inning? Before the Rendon home run, Greinke had looked untouchable. The walk to Soto may have been a sign he was fading, but with the move to Will Harris backfiring on the Kendrick home run, it’s a moment that will be second-guessed. As will the decision to never utilize Gerrit Cole in a do-or-die situation.

Where does this World Series rank all-time?: Does a series going seven games automatically make it a classic? The consensus coming into this Game 7 was that it does not. Though the series built nicely with more drama being added in each of the final three games, the early portion was void of much excitement. The low viewership numbers indicate that casual fans were never really hooked, so despite the strong finish, it’s not a World Series that’s likely to have left a long-lasting impression on a national scale. Not that Nationals fans’ do or should care about that.

WHAT’S NEXT

It’s celebration time in Washington D.C.

The 2019 baseball season is officially over. But don’t fret, baseball fans. Preparations for the 2020 season will begin in earnest. Stick with us at Yahoo Sports MLB all offseason for the latest news and analysis.

More from Yahoo Sports:

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Chris Hayes Demolishes Fox News Guest’s Criticism Of Donald Trump Boos At World Series

“You don’t boo the president,” Luntz told the conservative network’s prime time host Laura Ingraham. “You may disagree with him. You may think that he’s not what you wanted, but you don’t boo him. You show respect to him.”

Hayes, the host of MSNBC’s “All In,” called Luntz “a conservative BS grifter who apparently thinks we live in North Korea.”

“Hold them accountable?” Hayes asked. “Just a small reminder that basically the whole point of America is that you can boo the president. But at least Luntz was willing to acknowledge the booing actually occurred, because the strategy over at the morning show at Trump TV & Friends, was to pretend it never happened.”

“Their coverage of the game started with a piece of video where the booing was magically inaudible and then moved to what they thought was the real viral moment of the game,” he explained, which was when a home run ball hit a man walking down the steps, who was carrying beers in each hand, in the chest. 

Check out the clip above.

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Colbert Trolls Trump With A Savage New Ballpark Anthem After World Series Boos

They revamped the ballpark anthem “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” with a tune the president’s supporters won’t be singing along with:

Trump on Sunday attended Game 5 of the World Series in Washington, watching as the Houston Astros defeated the Nationals to take a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series.

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