KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine sat back in the visiting clubhouse at Kauffman Stadium earlier this season, his feet propped up on the desk, and spoke glowingly of his first visit to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. 

The former player, longtime manager and lifelong baseball fan had never before stepped through its doors in the historic 18th and Vine District of Kansas City. Never gazed upon the countless artifacts or read the exhaustive research recalling a bygone era.

It opened the eyes of someone steeped in baseball history.

Published in Sports
Wednesday, 20 June 2012 15:06

2012: The year of the no-hitter?

One of the great things about great sports moments is that you never know when you're going to get one. Or more than one.

In 1990 and 1991, major league baseball saw an unprecedented number of no-hitters. Each season saw seven; a number unmatched in the entirety of the game's modern era and surpassed only once in baseball's entire history (In 1884, the age of spitballs and a mound just 50 feet away, there were eight). That two-year period represented a spike of pitching dominance that was unlike anything baseball had ever seen.

2012 has a chance to be another one of those spikes. Maybe the biggest ever. So far this season (and bear in mind there are still roughly 100 games to go), there have been five no-hitters two of them perfect games.

Published in Sports
Wednesday, 16 May 2012 12:27

Four four-baggers

Hamilton becomes 16th with four homers in one game

Since Babe Ruth exploded onto the scene almost a century ago, major league baseball and its fans have been enamored of the home run. 'Chicks dig the long ball,' as the old advertising catchphrase has it. Even the sports performance-enhancing drug issues were born largely from that desire to hit the ball ever farther.

However, even with that hundred-year obsession with power, one of the rarest individual feats in baseball is the four-homer game. Only 15 men had ever reached that pinnacle that is, until this season.

Welcome to the club, Josh Hamilton.

Published in Sports
Thursday, 26 April 2012 07:04

White Sox's Humber throws perfect game

SEATTLE - Phil Humber had Tommy John surgery before his career even started. He bounced around a bit as he tried to make it in the major leagues.

Now, well, Humber is perfect.

Humber threw the first perfect game in the majors in almost two years, leading the Chicago White Sox to a 4-0 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Saturday.

'What just took place was just awesome,' he said.

It was baseball's 21st perfect game and first since Philadelphia's Roy Halladay threw one against the Florida Marlins on May 29, 2010. It was the third in White Sox's history, joining Mark Buehrle against Tampa Bay on July 23, 2009, and Charles Robertson against Detroit on April 30, 1922.

Published in Sports
Pitcher's memoir a story of more than just baseball

David Foster Wallace once wrote a wonderful piece about how disappointing an athlete's autobiography can be. While he used Tracy Austin's 'Beyond Center Court' as an example of the general vapidity of the athlete's biography, the truth is that there are hundreds of hastily ghost-written books out there that, while providing the basic nuts and bolts information about an athlete, never really tell us anything about who they are.

However, when that is not the case when both the athlete and co-author are both literate, expressive and willing to speak truthfully the reader is treated to a very real, very raw peek behind the curtain at an athlete's real personality; warts and all. The reader gets an actual memoir one that just happens to star an athlete.

The reader gets 'Wherever I Wind Up' (Blue Rider Press, $24.95) by R.A. Dickey with Wayne Coffey.

Published in Sports
Wednesday, 04 April 2012 13:17

Baseball is back

Forget about those two Seattle and Oakland games that were played in Japan at 6 a.m. our time and replayed on tape delay three hours later this week. (Side note: Is there anything in the entire world of televised sport that's lamer than tape delay? I would say no.) Baseball season is back, and with it comes a lot of change. Change for the better.

First off it means the winter is over, spring is here and soon after comes summer. I'll talk about the Red Sox a little bit, but the fact that the games are back changes the way you live your life. I don't mean that as an extremely deep thought, because it isn't. For roughly 160 (accounting for the occasional rain out or double header) of the next 200 days, you have entertainment. Whether you watch the game from inning one to inning nine, check in on it for a few pitches to see the score, listen to it on the radio, or just have it on in the background while you do other things, the Sox are back. There is also the annual Fenway trip many like to make. Ask people and they'll say, 'I try to get down once a year.' Then of course you get there and the seats are uncomfortable and you spent 500 bucks on the day, but hey, it's Fenway. Had to make the annual visit.

Published in The Sports Edge
Wednesday, 21 March 2012 10:06

More peerless prognostication: MLB 2012

Thoughts on the upcoming baseball season

It's almost time. Florida and Arizona are abuzz with Major League Baseball teams getting themselves ready, tweaking those rosters and making those difficult final decisions about minor league demotions and even the ends of careers.

The game is once again coming to life, but while one of baseball's hallmarks is its consistency, this particular offseason has seen a lot of change. There have been some major changes of address: Prince Fielder moves from Milwaukee to Detroit; Japanese sensation Yu Darvish will take the mound for the Texas Rangers; and St. Louis icon Albert Pujols made the move to the West Coast in joining the Angels.

However, the biggest development of all is MLB's decision to add another wild card team to the postseason. This means that five teams from each league will make the playoffs, with the two wild card teams kicking off the October festivities with a one-off, win-and-in game. This can only serve to provide even more fans with reason to stay invested in their home teams throughout the long season.

Published in Cover Story
Wednesday, 29 February 2012 12:24

Red Sox owners ready to move on in 2012

FORT MYERS, Fla. - John Henry was walking off the stage after a television interview during his team's first full-squad workout of the spring when the Boston owner was confronted by a lifelong Red Sox fan holding a bright red sign with white letters.

'All we ask is that you make us proud again to be a Boston Red Sox fan,' the sign read.

'We're trying,' Henry told her.

Published in Sports
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