TIME Baseball

Marlins Sign Outfielder Giancarlo Stanton in the Largest Contract in U.S. Sports History

Miami Marlins v Milwaukee Brewers
Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins makes some contact at the plate during a game against the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park on September 11, 2014 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Mike McGinnis — Getty Images

The 25-year-old slugger is set to make more than $300 million over 13 years

The Miami Marlins spared absolutely no expense this week to ensure that their star outfielder Giancarlo Stanton stayed with the franchise.

Late on Monday, the baseball club announced through their website that the team and Stanton had agreed on a new, record-setting 13-year contract worth $325 million — making the deal the largest in North American sports history, according to CBS Sports.

“This is a landmark day,” said Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria, according to MLB.com. “I’m happy for the city. I’m happy for him. And I’m thrilled for baseball. We have a player who is committed to us, and we’ve committed to him for the life of his career.”

Miami’s all-out financial offensive to keep one of baseball’s best sluggers on their roster is likely designed to inject new momentum in the franchise’s fan base, after years of disappointment. The Marlins have failed to reach the playoffs since 2003 and recorded the lowest payroll in the league in 2014.

The team is scheduled to hold a formal press conference later this week in Miami to announce the finer details of their new contract with Stanton.

TIME Baseball

Prosecutors Allege A-Rod Paid Cousin for Silence Over PEDs

Almost $1 million spread over several wire payments

Yankees star Alex Rodriguez allegedly paid a cousin almost $1 million to keep him from discussing the athlete’s use of performance enhancing drugs, federal prosecutors said in court documents filed last week, according to a report on Tuesday.

Prosecutors allege in the documents that Yuri Sucart, who was Rodriguez’s personal assistant, had requested $5 million and a house in exchange for his silence, the Associated Press reports. In response, they add, Rodriguez gave Sucart $900,000 and provided him access to a home and car, as well as other benefits.

Officials released the documents after Sucart, who was charged in the summer with conspiring to distribute human growth hormone and testosterone, requested a public defender in the case.


TIME Baseball

San Francisco Braces For Giants’ World Series Parade

World Series Giants Baseball Celebration
San Francisco Giants baseball fans Megan McPhillips, right, and Travis Saracco from Santa Rosa, Calif., wait in the rain for the start of the victory parade for the 2014 World Series Champion San Francisco Giants on Friday, Oct. 31, 2014 in San Francisco. Jeff Chiu—AP

The parade from the Financial District to City Hall is expected to draw record crowds

Undaunted by forecasted chilly weather and steady rain, up to a million baseball fans are expected to crowd into downtown San Francisco Friday for a parade to commemorate the Giants’ third World Series win in five years.

The parade, which started at noon, will stretch for a mile and a half from Market and Steuart streets, then up McAllister Street to the steps of City Hall for a celebration including players, politicians and local celebrities.

The National Weather Service says conditions will be “uncomfortable” with steady rainfall and temperatures in the 50s, but organizers don’t expect fans to be deterred.

The Giants emerged victorious over the Kansas City Royals Wednesday after a tense match up that came down to a final pitch in game seven of the series. The fact that the celebration also falls on Halloween—a day for which orange and black-clad Giants fans will come already dressed appropriately—is expected to draw even more partiers to a wild street celebration.

Bay area transit operators expect Friday to be the busiest day ever on Bay Area trains.

[San Jose Mercury News]

TIME Baseball

Dynasty! San Francisco Giants Win It All

World Series - San Francisco Giants v Kansas City Royals - Game Seven
The San Francisco Giants celebrate after defeating the Kansas City Royals to win the World Series at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City on Oct. 29, 2014 Jamie Squire—Getty Images

Madison Bumgarner finishes off the best pitching performance ever in a World Series, giving the San Francisco Giants their third World Series win in five years

Three World Series titles in five years? Yes, let’s give the San Francisco Giants their due. The Giants somewhat quietly won the 2010 and 2012 Fall Classics, beating the Texas Rangers in five games the first time, then sweeping the Detroit Tigers two years ago. But now that they’ve beaten the Kansas City Royals in a compelling Series that went the distance — the Giants nipped the Royals 3-2 in a nail-biting Game 7 — it’s time we revere the Giants, like we revere the late-90s New York Yankees, or even all those Atlanta Braves teams that won year after year, even though they only won a single World Series. Send Giants manager Bruce Bochy to the Hall of Fame.

Going into the 2014 World Series, many analysts dubbed the San Francisco-Kansas City matchup the “small-ball” series. And although there were some decidedly big-ball scores, like Kansas City putting up 10 runs in Game 6, and San Francisco scoring 11 in a Game 4 win, Game 7 fit the script. The Giants executed small-ball to perfection: they scored two runs on two sacrifice flies in the second inning. In the fourth, with the score tied at 2-2, big Pablo Sandoval advanced to third on a flyout to left field — left field! Pablo Sandoval! — and then scored the deciding run on a Michael Morse single.

And oh, how the Giants pitched. Well, starter Tim Hudson only lasted 1 2/3 innings, but Jeremy Affeldt, normally a late-inning guy, stopped any bleeding. Then came Madison Bumgarner in the fifth. No pitcher in history had a World Series like Bumgarner. He gave up one run in Game 1. He pitched a shutout on Sunday night. And here, on two days rest, Bumgarner had five more shutout innings in him. This, in an era of specialization, when pitchers just aren’t supposed to stretch their arms like Bumgarner did. Nuts, really. Crazy.

Bumgarner got some help in his first inning. Omar Infante hit a single to right, and Royals manager Ned Yost had the next batter, Alcides Escobar, sacrifice bunt on a 2-0 count. Bumgarner looked so shaky, but the charity out seemed to settle him down. Yosted.

And oh, how the Giants fielded. After Escobar’s bunt, Norichika Aoki sliced a line drive down the left field line. It smelled like a double. But Juan Perez was positioned perfectly, and he made a beautiful running catch. And two innings earlier, with a man on first and no outs, Giants second baseman Joe Panik dove to catch a grounder, flipped it to shortstop Brandon Crawford with his glove, and Crawford threw it on to first. The ump said Eric Hosmer was safe, but then after a replay review that should not have lasted as long as it did, Hosmer was ruled out. An unforgettable double play.

But it’s Bumgarner who we’ll always remember from this World Series. After Bumgarner retired 14 straight Royals, Alex Gordon hit a fly ball to center with two out in the bottom of the ninth: it tricked by San Francisco’s Gregor Blanco, who misjudged it. Perez chased it down at the wall, then bobbled it. Was Gordon going to tie up Game 7 on a ninth-inning, two-out inside-the-park home run? No, but he got all the way to third.

But then Bumgarner got Salvador Perez to hit a pop up in foul territory, off third: Sandoval squeezed it and fell to the ground. Giants win. Unforgettable ending. Unforgettable pitcher. Unforgettable team.

Read next: The 7 Greatest Trick Plays in Sports Movie History

TIME Baseball

Bumgarner, Giants Beat Kansas City Royals 3-2 in World Series Game 7

World Series - San Francisco Giants v Kansas City Royals - Game Seven
Buster Posey, left, and Madison Bumgarner of the San Francisco Giants celebrate after defeating the Kansas City Royals to win Game 7 of the World Series at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City on Oct. 29, 2014 Jamie Squire—Getty Images

San Francisco wins its third championship in five seasons

(KANSAS CITY, Mo.) — Madison Bumgarner pitched five innings of near-perfect relief and the San Francisco Giants held off the Kansas City Royals 3-2 Wednesday night in Game 7 of the World Series for their third championship in five seasons.

With both starters chased early, this became a matchup of bullpens. And no one stood taller than the 6-foot-5 Bumgarner, who added to his postseason legacy with a third victory this Series.

After Gregor Blanco misplayed Alex Gordon’s drive for a single and two-base error, Bumgarner got Salvador Perez to pop foul to third baseman Pablo Sandoval for the final out.

The Giants ended a Series streak that had seen home teams win the last nine Game 7s. San Francisco took this pairing of wild-card teams after earning titles in 2012 and 2010.

Pitching on two days’ rest after his shutout in Game 5, Bumgarner entered in the fifth with a 3-2 lead. After giving up a leadoff single to Omar Infante, he shut down the Royals.

TIME Baseball

World Series Game 7 Will be a Bullpen Battle

Kelvin Herrera of the Kansas City Royals throws a pitch in the sixth inning against the Baltimore Orioles during Game Four of the American League Championship Series at Kauffman Stadium on Oct. 15, 2014 in Kansas City, Missouri.
Kelvin Herrera of the Kansas City Royals throws a pitch in the sixth inning against the Baltimore Orioles during Game Four of the American League Championship Series at Kauffman Stadium on Oct. 15, 2014 in Kansas City, Missouri. Ed Zurga—Getty Images

Forget about the starting pitchers: The deciding game of the World Series may rest on the arms of Kansas City's bullpen trio and San Francisco's ace in relief

The Kansas City Royals are one game away from winning the World Series.

You know that baseball has had a spectacular postseason if you can write that sentence with a straight face. A franchise that for so many years wasn’t worth thinking about, that represented the big-market/small-market chasm that ruptured the game after the 1994 baseball strike, is really that close to a championship. You might not like Bud Selig, who is retiring as baseball’s commissioner early next year. And his baby, revenue redistribution from the richer teams to poorer ones like Kansas City, might not be a tonic for the Royals and their small-market brethren, as he’d like fans to believe. But those extra dollars haven’t hurt Kansas City. And if Selig hands out his last World Series trophy to the Royals, you’ve got to admit, that’s one hell of a way for him to go out.

Since 1979, nine World Series have gone the distance to a seventh game. In that time, no home team has lost a Game 7. So besides any residual good vibes from Tuesday night’s 10-0 Game 6 blowout of the Giants, the Royals have a bit of history on their side. The starting pitchers Wednesday are Jeremy Guthrie for Kansas City, and Tim Hudson for San Francisco. But if fans get lucky, the starters won’t have much of an impact on the game. No, for this game to be a classic, it needs to come down to a bullpen duel between Kansas City’s excellent—and rested—trio of Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Greg Holland, and Madison Bumgarner, San Francisco’s dominant (but not quite as rested) starting pitcher who will be available in the pen tonight. Bumgarner totally shut down the Royals in Game 1 and Game 5. Can he make like Randy Johnson in Game 7 of the 2001 World Series, and provide spot relief duty in the series-clinching game?

It’s only fitting for a small-ball series to come down to late-inning pitching.

Game 7s are all too rare in baseball. This is just the second World Series to go the distance since 2002. The Royals aren’t likely to win again easily. The Giants are going for their third title in five seasons: They have a dynasty at stake. The teams are too evenly-matched. From the beginning, pundits said this series had seven games written all over it, and for once, the pundits were correct.

Kansas City, and its bullpen fireballers, just need to close it out.


S.F. vs. K.C. By the Numbers: How the World Series Teams and Towns Match Up

The World Series championship will be determined by how Wednesday night's Game 7 plays out, but how do San Francisco and Kansas City match up off the ball field?

After the Kansas City Royals stomped the San Francisco Giants in Game 6 of the World Series, the stage is set for an exciting winner-takes-all Game 7. The Royals, who skipped through earlier rounds of the 2014 playoffs without a loss, were named as a slight favorite to win the championship when the World Series began, and the Royals’ run is all the more impressive because the Giants’ payroll is more than 50% higher ($148 million versus the Royals’ $91 million).

For that matter, San Francisco blows away its opponent in terms of global cachet and higher incomes, and the home markets of this year’s World Series contenders couldn’t be more different. San Francisco is a hip, high-powered, and high-priced magnet for tech startups where the average home sells for close to $1 million, compared to a mere $186,000 for the typical house in Kansas City, a low-key, highly livable Midwestern hub famed for top-notch barbecue. Nonetheless, the secondary market price of World Series tickets for Kansas City home games has been roughly 30% higher than games hosted by San Francisco. That somewhat unexpected disparity likely comes as a result of San Francisco owning the edge on most recent World Series title. Giants fans have been spoiled of late with championships in 2010 and 2012, whereas Royals’ fans have been waiting since 1985 for another World Series title.

With the Series wrapping up tonight, click through the gallery above for a look at how the competitors match up, on and off the field.

TIME Baseball

Jose Canseco Rushed to Hospital After Accidentally Shooting Himself in Hand

The former baseball star was reportedly cleaning his handgun when it went off, taking out most of his left middle finger

Former baseball star Jose Canseco was reportedly rushed into surgery late Tuesday after accidentally shooting himself in the finger at his Las Vegas home.

The former Oakland Athletics outfielder, who retired from the sport in 2001, was cleaning his handgun when it went off and was taken to University Medical Center, KLAS-TV Las Vegas first reported.

Canseco’s fiancée Leila Knight told the Los Angeles Times that doctors have already said he will never have full use of his left hand again. Knight said the middle finger of his left hand, which the bullet hit, would either have to be amputated or undergo full reconstruction surgery.

“I heard the gun go off and saw his middle finger hanging by a string,” she said.

Knight also took to the former player’s official Twitter account to update fans and well-wishers, saying he was still in surgery around 8.45 p.m. local time, soon after his daughter Josie used the social media site to let people know he was “safe and recovering.”

TIME Baseball

With World Series Game 6 Out of Hand Quickly, All Eyes Turn to Game 7

World Series - San Francisco Giants v Kansas City Royals - Game Six
Tim Collins of the Kansas City Royals celebrates after defeating the San Francisco Giants at Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City, on Oct. 28, 2014 Ezra Shaw—Getty Images

Game 7 of the 2014 World Series started before Game 6 could find the door

KANSAS CITY — Eric Hosmer was asked how it feels to force Game 7 of the World Series, and what that feels like, and could he describe how it feels and explain his feelings, and nobody seemed to notice the bucket. It was at the Royals’ first baseman’s feet. It is silver. It sits between Hosmer’s locker and Terrance Gore’s. It holds three bottles of champagne and a bottle of Johnnie Walker. People have been sending liquor throughout this postseason. Hosmer has been saving it for the end.

The end is hours away.

Giants-Royals, Game 7 of the 2014 World Series, Wednesday night. If this doesn’t make you tingle, at least a little, then you have no use for baseball and probably shouldn’t be allowed to vote next week.

The anticipation began earlier than usual; in a sense, Game 7 of the 2014 World Series started before Game 6 could find the door. This is what happens when the home team, trailing the series 3-2, puts up seven runs in the second inning, as the Royals did. Everybody starts thinking about tomorrow night. Royals fans celebrated without worry. Giants fans threw out Game 6 like a piece of damaged fruit, knowing they could immediately reach for the next one.

Mostly, the managers knew they wouldn’t have to use their best relievers in Game 6, and that is one of many reasons this Game 7 is shaping up to be an epic. The Royals have a rested Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Greg Holland lurking in the bullpen. The Giants have starter Madison Bumgarner, who could finish one of the best postseasons ever with some relief dominance on two days rest. Bumgarner doesn’t just have the Royals’ number. He has their bank accounts and e-mail passwords, and he changes the code on their garage-door openers because it amuses him.

With every Game 7 strike, each team will get a little closer to a seemingly unsolvable pitching force. When Hosmer was asked about the possibility of facing the new Mr. Octob(umgarn)er, he said, “Hopefully we have a lead before we get to him. That’s all I can say.” You can be sure the Giants are thinking the same thoughts about Herrera, Davis and Holland.

It should come down to those pitchers, throwing noise and fury, and that would be a nice change. What is worth saying about Game 6? Giants starter Jake Peavy had a rough go, which is not surprising because he has quietly been one of the worst postseason performers in all of sports. (Peavy now has a 7.98 playoff ERA, astounding for a guy who won a Cy Young award.) The Royals are resilient, but we knew that, too. They were assumed dead in their Wild-Card game against the A’s until they get up and punched the coroner in the face.

Hosmer said he was hanging on every pitch, regardless of the score, because of the stakes. He even hit one after calling timeout (the Kauffman Stadium crowd was so loud, he didn’t realize the TO was granted), then hit one that counted, giving him the rare at-bat when he was 2-for-1, for a perfect 2.000 batting average.

That was a fitting moment in an unusual series. This has been a sequence of lopsided games between evenly matched teams. The winning margin was at least five runs in five of the six games, yet the Giants have scored 27 runs in this Series and the Royals have scored 25, and those numbers would be probably be dead-even if the Giants had let Hunter Strickland pitch to two more batters. Each team has scored in double-digits once and been shut out once.

Hosmer said he “wouldn’t mind a lopsided one,” but this World Series deserves better than that, and it sure feels like we’re going to get it.

World Series Games 7 are rare treats. Baseball has only had one since 2002: the Cardinals-Rangers tilt in 2011, which had a Cardinals-have-got-this feel the whole way because St. Louis had won Game 6 in preposterous, dramatic fashion, and teams that lose games like that rarely recover. (The Rangers actually took a 2-0 lead to start Game 7, but it evaporated by the end of the first inning.) Game 7 in 2002 had the same feel to it — the Giants blew a 5-0 lead in Game 6 and seemed destined to lose Game 7 in Anaheim, and they did.

But the three World Series Games 7 before that were among the most famous games in baseball history. There was Luis Gonzalez’s broken-bat Series-winning single against Mariano Rivera in 2001. There was Edgar Renteria’s walk-off single for the Marlins against Cleveland in 1997, which Hosmer watched from the stands in Miami. And there was Jack Morris’ 10-inning shutout against John Smoltz and the Braves in 1991.

Home teams usually win, but that’s not guaranteed. Game 6 losers usually lose Game 7, but that probably doesn’t apply here, because it’s not like the Giants lost in excruciating fashion, and with titles in 2010 and 2012, they don’t carry a huge burden for their city.

Nobody knows who the hero will be this time. Nobody knows who will have a bat in his hand with runners on-base and the championship at stake, or who will be on the mound. That’s the beauty of baseball. We just know that Hosmer will either open that alcohol and enjoy it forever, or stand and answer questions next to the saddest little bucket in America.

This article originally appeared on SI.com

TIME Baseball

Royals Rout Giants 10-0 to Force Game 7 in World Series

World Series Giants Royals Baseball
Kansas City Royals' Lorenzo Cain hits an RBI double during the third inning of Game 6 of baseball's World Series against the San Francisco Giants in Kansas City on Oct. 28, 2014 David J. Phillip—AP

23-year-old rookie Yordano Ventura allowed three hits over seven innings for his first World Series win

(KANSAS CITY, MO.) — Lorenzo Cain looped a two-run single and Eric Hosmer chopped a two-run double over shortstop in a seven-run second inning as the Kansas City Royals battered the San Francisco Giants 10-0 Tuesday night to force a decisive Game 7 in the World Series.

Pitching with the initials of late St. Louis outfielder Oscar Taveras on his cap, 23-year-old rookie Yordano Ventura allowed three hits over seven innings for his first Series win.

Jeremy Guthrie starts Wednesday night for Kansas City and Tim Hudson for San Francisco in a rematch of Game 3, won by Kansas City 3-2. The 39-year-old Hudson will become the oldest Game 7 starter in Serieshistory.

Lurking is Madison Bumgarner, ready to pitch in relief after stifling the Royals on a total of one run in winning Games 1 and 5.

Home teams have won the last nine Game 7s in the World Series, and the Giants are 0-4 when the Series is pushed to a decisive game. Most recently, Barry Bonds and San Francisco lost Game 7 to the Angels in 2002.

In a Fall Classic full of one-sided games, the Royals chased Jake Peavy in the second. When Omar Infante doubled in the third, every Kansas City batter already had a hit.

Ventura made the one big pitch he needed to keep it a rout. After walking the bases loaded with one out in the third, he got Buster Posey to ground into a first-pitch double play. The young fireballer gave up two hits through the sixth.

There was a pregame moment of silence for Taveras, killed in a car accident Sunday in the Dominican Republic. Ventura wrote a tribute to his friend and countryman on his hat — RIP O.T #18 — and bent down behind the mound to write something on the dirt before his first pitch.

Shut out by Bumgarner in Game 5 at AT&T Park, and facing a 3-2 deficit, Kansas City hoped for a break to bust loose at Kauffman Stadium. The Royals certainly got one the only other time they hosted a Game 6 in the Series, when umpire Don Denkinger’s missed call in 1985 helped them rally past St. Louis for their lone crown.

This time, everything seemed to go Kansas City’s way. Hosmer & Co. had 14 hits after the sixth, and six different players had doubled.

How much did things tilt in the Royals’ favor? Hosmer came up with two runners on base in the second, and hit what appeared to be a hard RBI single off Yusmeiro Petit.

But time had been called just before Petit released the ball, and the hit didn’t count. Plate umpire Jeff Kellogg patted Hosmer on the chest as if to say, better luck next time.

And Hosmer did have better luck. He reached out, chopped a ball in front of the plate and it hopped over shortstop Brandon Crawford’s head, with Hosmer hustling and diving headfirst for a double that made it 6-0.

Before the game, in fact, the Giants and Royals both talked about how the infield in Kansas City was much harder than the dirt in San Francisco.

Mike Moustakas was able to ground an RBI double between first baseman Brandon Belt and the bag for a 1-0 lead in the second. But the dirt didn’t have any effect moments later when, with runners at second and third, Alcides Escobar hit a bouncer to Belt.

Belt ranged far off the base, looked to see if he had a play at home — the runner held — and then missed his tag on a diving Escobar. The misplay seemed to open the door for the Royals, and they charged through.

Cain walked in the first, hit a two-run single in the second and added an RBI double in the third. The speedy center fielder also made a fine running catch.

Well before the game, dozens of Giants fans dressed in team colors crowded behind the San Francisco dugout as their favorites warmed up. Among the signs they held was one by a young boy: “Hunter Pence Goes to the Dentist Every 6 Months.”

The loudest person of all in black and orange was 2012 Series MVP Pablo Sandoval — he whooped it up as his teammates got loose, a perfectly relaxed Kung Fu Panda.

Billy Butler laughed with former Kansas City great George Brett behind the cage during batting practice. The burly designated hitter had good reason to smile, being back in the lineup with the DH in play at the AL ballpark. Plus, Butler had enjoyed a lot of success in his career against Peavy — he came in 15 for 35 with three home runs vs. the veteran righty.

Also sharing a pregame smile was Royals manager Ned Yost. He slipped into the stands for a moment to pose for a picture with 12 family members, including his wife, three sons and daughter.

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