Pitchers’ injuries are leading to universal DH
The season-ending torn Achilles suffered by St. Louis ace Adam Wainwright when he was on the base paths has prompted more calls for ending the practice of National League pitchers batting. Max Scherzer, who pitched in the designated-hitting American League before switching this season to the NL’s Washington Nationals, suffered a sprained thumb while batting, causing him to miss a start. Scherzer thinks the sport would be better off without pitchers taking risks to be offensive players that most are not qualified to be. “Who would people rather see,” he asked, “a real hitter hitting home runs or a pitcher swinging a wet newspaper? Both leagues need to be on the same set of rules.” The rookie commissioner, Rob Manfred, seems to be on the side of the Designated Hitter, with polls indicating young people want it. And even traditionalists such as Tony Kornheiser and Mike Wilbon of ESPN’s PTI say they would like to see the DH become universal, in the interest of consistency. There’s not much doubt it’s going to happen, it’s just a question of when.
A Nationals disgrace: preseason favorites are ‘lifeless’
The Washington Nationals, preseason favorites to win the World Series, are battling hopeless Philadelphia for the cellar of the National League East, playing like losers and also acting like them. Reporters are noting lethargy on the field and depression in the clubhouse. Baseball insider Jon Heyman of CBS Sports quoted unnamed scouts saying the Nationals are “lifeless . . . flat . . . like 25 individuals rather than a team. . .” The Nationals have the best starting rotation in baseball, but they’re hitting .218 as a team, and they committed 22 errors in the first 20 games while losing 13.
Orioles play – and don’t play– through riots at Camden Yards
The Boston Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles were well aware that while they were playing at the ballpark at Camden Yards, thousands were rioting outside to protest the care local police gave to Freddie Gray, 25-year-old black man who died of mysterious causes while in their custody. After the game, won 5-4 by the home team, Orioles reliever Darren O’Day told reporters, “It was all over TV, and there are a lot of TVs in the clubhouse, and some of them are always tuned into news. . . . It’s pretty hard to ignore the police choppers circling the field during batting practice.” Store windows were broken, cars damaged, a dozen people arrested, five policemen and a couple of protesters injured while the game was being played. The situation became so tense that in the ninth inning a message on the scoreboard warned fans not leave the stadium until order could be restored. Monday’s Orioles game was postponed because of continued rioting.
Gretzky calls McDavid ‘best I’ve seen in 30 years’
Retired Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky said Connor McDavid, who’s expected to be the No. 1 pick in the next National Hockey League Draft, “is the best player I’ve seen in 30 years.” Gretzky said that McDavid “is very mature for someone who’s 18 years old.” Gretzky is a former No. 1 pick by Edmonton, which he said will be “the perfect place” for McDavid because “people will give him his privacy while they’re enamored by his ability.” McDavid was born in Newmarket, Ont., and began playing hockey at age 3.
Carlisle says Rondo won’t play another game for Mavs
When Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle was asked if he thinks point guard Rajon Rondo will ever play for the team again, he said, “No, I don’t.” The two have not gotten along ever since Rondo was traded from Boston at midseason. Carlisle has a structured system in which players share the ball and everyone is expected to shoot. Rondo, 29, is a freewheeling point guard who likes to improvise and does not like to shoot, primarily because he’s inaccurate. He made only 45% of his free throws with the Mavs, but even more disappointing was his lack of hustle, which may – or may not — have been related to a back injury, which the Mavs cited in announcing after their second playoff game, against Houston, that he would not play again this season.
Cowherd slams ESPN2 for covering video-game tournament
One of ESPN’s star commentators, Colin Cowherd, objected to sister network ESPN2 televising Sunday’s final of the Heroes of the Storm e-tournament, in which UC Berkeley beat Arizona State. “If I am ever forced to cover guys playing video games,” Cowherd said, “I will retire to a rural fishing village and sell bait.”
Olympic star Jenner undergoes transgender surgery
Bruce Jenner, who in 1976 won Olympic gold in the decathlon, spoke with ABC’s Diane Sawyer about his becoming a transgendered woman. He said he considered suicide because he was harassed so often by paparazzi on his way to doctors’ appointments. Jenner, 65, still uses male pronouns to describe himself. Chrystie Scott, who was married to him for ten years, said he told her during the first year of their marriage that he was a woman trapped in a man’s body. “He was such a manly man,” she said. “And he didn’t display any female style in any way.” Jenner is an excellent golfer, but he said he’s having trouble adjusting his game to accommodate women’s breasts.
Derby clocker compares American Pharoah to Air Jordan
Gary Young, who for decades has clocked many of the horses who have run in the Kentucky Derby, saw American Pharoah’s recent work at Churchill Downs and told KYForward: “I’ve been doing this for 35 years, and he might be the best horse I’ve ever seen. He’s simply like Michael Jordan, can stay in the air like he did. He stays in the air longer than any horse, and you get the feeling there’s not just one gear left, but he may have two, three, four gears.”