TIME Television

Infamous Ex-Pitcher John Rocker to Star in Newest Season of Survivor

Washington Nationals v Atlanta Braves
Former Braves player John Rocker participates in a pre-game ceremony honoring many Braves alumni at Turner Field on August 8, 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia. Kevin Liles — Getty Images

Series kicks off on Sept. 24

The newest season of Survivor will feature none other than former Major League Baseball pitcher John Rocker, according to CBS Sports.

The retired pitcher, who played portions of six seasons in the MLB, will compete in Survivor: San Juan del Sur — Blood vs. Water, which will debut on Sept. 24, CBS says.

Rocker is notoriously remembered for the bigoted comments he made about New Yorkers during a widely publicized interview in Sports Illustrated in 1999.

“I was raised in a professional baseball clubhouse and still carry a lot of that idiocy with me,” said Rocker in a trailer released by CBS.

The former reliever will appear on the show alongside his girlfriend Julie McGee.

TIME Baseball

Mo’ne Davis Helps Draw a Record Little League Viewership

Nearly 5 million viewers in all tuned in

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Little League World Series’ sensation, 13-year-old Mo’ne Davis, may have got pulled during her game on Wednesday night, but the event did garner the largest viewership of a Little League game in ESPN’s history, says the Hollywood Reporter.

Despite the 8-1 loss by Davis’ Philadelphia team Taney Dragons to Las Vegas’ Mountain Ridge, the coverage drew a 3.1 rating, which, according to ESPN, was up 155% from last year’s viewership. In Philadelphia, 14.9% of homes tuned in on Wednesday, while 16.3% watched from their homes in Las Vegas. Nearly 5 million viewers in all tuned in for Wednesday night’s game.

Davis was catapulted to fame this summer as the first female in the history of the Little League World Series to pitch a shutout game. She landed a Sports Illustrated cover and a ton of fans.

However, her unfettered success took a turn when she was pulled in the third inning after allowing Las Vegas three runs on Wednesday. She was then unable to pitch against Chicago during Thursday night’s game (because of restrictions designed to prevent arm strain). And because Philadelphia lost 5-6, the possibility of her taking to the mound during a Saturday night rematch with Las Vegas was quashed.

Davis’ manager Alex Rice nonetheless has big hopes for the 13-year-old’s future. “The world’s her oyster, right?” Rice told the Associated Press after the Chicago loss on Thursday. “Mo’ne will figure out her future, and it’s going to be terrific.”

TIME Baseball

Little League Sensation Mo’ne Davis Pulled After Giving Up 3 Runs

Little League World Series - Nevada v Pennsylvania
Mo'ne Davis of Pennsylvania pitches during the first inning of the United States division game at the Little League World Series tournament on August 20, 2014 in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania. Rob Carr/Getty Images

But don’t count her out just yet

Blame it on the pressure of the Little League series, an overnight media blitz or on the Sports Illustrated cover jinx: Mo’ne Davis, star of this year’s Little League World Series, was pulled from Wednesday’s game after allowing three runs against Las Vegas’ Mountain Ridge, ABC News reports.

In the end, Davis’ Taney Dragons suffered a crushing 8-1 blow. While Las Vegas advances to the championship finals, Pennsylvania’s Taney will have to beat Jackie Robinson West on Thursday in an elimination game that will determine who faces off against Las Vegas.

Davis became the first girl to throw a shut out in the Little League World Series and was the first Little League player ever to be featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated, ABC News said.

Superstitious fans are likely to blame Davis’ setback on the curse of the Sports Illustrated cover. Last week’s honor went to Ohio State’s Braxton Miller — but the university announced on Tuesday he’ll miss out on the upcoming season because of a shoulder injury. Tom Brady’s 2008 injury and 2012 loss to the New York Giants came just weeks after gracing the cover of the magazine.

Davis will be eligible to pitch on Saturday if her team advances to the final.

[ABC News]

TIME Baseball

Why Can’t Girls Play Baseball?

Mo'ne Davis
Philadelphia's Mo'ne Davis drives in a run with a single to right field off Pearland pitcher Clayton Broeder during the first inning of a baseball game at the Little League World Series tournament in South Williamsport, Pa., Sunday, Aug. 17, 2014. Gene J. Puskar—AP

Mo'ne Davis is the star of the Little League World Series. But odds are, she won't even play baseball in high school. Girls should have more opportunities to take part in the national pastime.

Be sure to watch Sports Illustrated cover girl Mo’ne Davis, the 13-year-old pitching sensation from Philadelphia who on Friday became the first girl to throw a shutout at the Little League World Series, while you can. Because if her baseball career follows that of most girls who love the sport, it will be over by high school.

For young girls playing sports like basketball, soccer, and lacrosse, there’s a traditional path to high school success: girls’ teams. In these sports, and others, athletes can even earn a college scholarship. But baseball, America’s pastime, is a strange exception. The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) is not aware of a single school-sponsored girls’ baseball team anywhere in the United States.

Sure, girls can play softball in high school and college. But while softball does have bats and bases and other similarities to baseball — consider it baseball’s close cousin — it’s a still a fundamentally different game.

“We’re fighting a culture that’s decided that softball is an equivalent sport to baseball,” says Justine Sigeal, founder of Baseball For All, a non-profit that provides opportunities for girls and women to play the sport. “If softball and baseball were equivalent, imagine changing [Major League Baseball] to softball. It’s a ridiculous idea.”

Siegal says there are 100,000 girls playing youth baseball. But according the most recent participation survey from the NHFS, only 1,259 girls played high school baseball during the 2012-2013 academic year — and all of them were competing against boys. “We know that 99,000 girls didn’t just lose their passion for playing baseball,” says Siegal. “Girls are not encouraged to play baseball. And if you tell a girl she’s not encouraged to play baseball, what else won’t she be encouraged to do?”

Just 0.27% of high school baseball players are girls, per NHFS data. Some of them do succeed against boys, and if an exceptional talent like Davis — who is slated to pitch on Wednesday night, in the U.S. semifinal — does decide to stick with the sport in high school, she certainly could keep thriving. But she’d be the exception. “So many girls are bullied off of teams,” says Siegal. “Sometimes it’s the players, but mostly it’s coaches and other parents doing the damage. Usually it’s the adults.”

Sarah Hudek, who just finished her junior year pitching for the varsity at George Ranch High School in Richmond, Texas, near Houston, get more stares than anything. “But I’m used to them now,” she says. “It used to bother me more when I was younger.” When she’s warming up at games, she can still see an occasional opponent laughing. “That just puts me in a good mindset,” says Hudek. “Get on the field with me, and see what you think after.”

On August 15, the lefty Hudek, whose best pitch is a change-up, announced a verbal commitment to play baseball at Bossier Parish Community College in Louisiana. “I love watching the kids go back to the dugout after she gets them out, and seeing the ribbing they get,” says Greg Kobza, Hudek’s high school coach. “It gets in their head, and really gives us an advantage.”

Throughout their careers, female baseball players are asked when they are switching to softball. “The question is more obnoxious than it is hostile,” says Dean Dinnebeil, whose daughter, Sara Tobias, is entering Berkeley Carroll High School, in New York City, this fall. She plans to join the baseball team there. Though many girls enjoy softball, others just prefer baseball’s longer bases, bigger fields, and smaller ball. Pitchers in particular often don’t want to switch, since they’ve spent years mastering a skill set. “Throwing underhand is very different from throwing overhand,” says Sara, 14. “When I was younger, a lot of girls were switching to softball, but I liked Little League baseball, and the boys were nice to me. I saw no reason to switch.”

Imagine a basketball player spending her entire life learning how to shoot one way, and being told that if she wanted to play for her high school team, she’d have to learn to shoot underhand because that’s how the girl’s game is played. If she didn’t, she’d have to compete against the bigger, stronger boys, diminishing her odds of success. Sounds absurd. But that’s essentially the choice many baseball players have to make. “I tried pitching softball, and it felt terrible,” says Hudek. “I’m more at home on the mound. It’s my natural place.”

In baseball, girls do have a better chance at succeeding against boys than they would in, say, basketball or soccer, since baseball is much less physical than these other games. Sure, a girl is much less likely than a boy to smack a 450-foot home run or throw 90 miles-per-hour. But if a girl has good location and movement on her pitches, or can make solid contact, or has a good glove, she can still be effective on the baseball field.

And if girls really want to level the playing field, they can do what Chelsea Baker did — learn to throw a knuckleball. It doesn’t matter if you’re a 6’3,” 225-pound dude or a 5’4″, 125-lb gal like Baker, who is going into her senior year at Durant High School in Plant City, Florida: if you can make that slow ball flutter, you can get people out. Baker went 3-0 during her junior season, with a 0.74 ERA. In June, the Tampa Bay Rays invited her to throw batting practice before a game. She gave a couple of guys fits.

At Durant, Baker changes in the boys’ locker room, but has her own storage room–with her name on the door–to give her the appropriate privacy. “I walk out, and I’m right there with everybody,” says Baker. “Inside, I have a mirror and stuff with hangers. They set it up nice, I like it a lot. I have a lot more room with my stuff than they do.”

Yes, girls can compete with boys on the baseball field. Still, many players would prefer traditional opportunities in high school — on all-girls teams. “It’s kind of frustrating,” says Kelsie Whitmore, a center fielder and pitcher who will be a junior at Temecula (Calif.) Valley High School this year. She plans on playing for the varsity. “There are teams for different genders in every other sport, but not for baseball.”

“It would just be easier,” says Hudek, who changes in the softball locker room at George Ranch. “As much as they try to make you feel like one of the guys, you can’t really be. You miss out on the locker room bonding.”

If there were girls teams, however, these players would surely miss bothering the boys. “Sometimes you get these rude kids, they get to the plate, and you just know that they think I’m nothing, that it’s stupid that I’m out there,” says Baker, the knuckleballer. “And my catcher goes ‘shut up, dude, she’s going to strike out you out.’ And then I do it. That’s got to be the best feeling in the world.”

TIME Sports

This Has Been the Greatest Start in Little League World Series History

Mo'ne Davis delivers in the first inning against Nashville, Tenn. during a baseball game in United States pool play at the Little League World Series tournament in South Williamsport, Pa., Aug. 15, 2014.
Mo'ne Davis delivers in the first inning against Nashville, Tenn. during a baseball game in United States pool play at the Little League World Series tournament in South Williamsport, Pa., Aug. 15, 2014. Gene J. Puskar—AP

Mo'ne Davis threw a complete-game shutout, Trey Hondras divulged that he talks to girls before games for good luck and we learned about a real person named "Cash Money"

You may not have been aware that one of summer’s great institutions, the Little League World Series, is now underway. It kicked off yesterday in Williamsport, Penn. (as always), and has already introduced us to a host of memorable pre-teen characters. First and foremost, there is this young man:

As you can see, his name is Trey Hondras, which is inarguably one of the greatest names to ever be named in human history. Trey Hondras is the sort of man you could imagine leading a cutting-edge biotech firm or winning the World Heavyweight Boxing championship or perhaps even leading an invasion of Mars if such a thing were to ever become necessary.

Equally important, we know that this particular Trey Hondras will undoubtedly live up to his name because his bio states the following: “Talks to girls before game for good luck.” This 12-year-old was going to be on national television for the first time in his life, and chose that as the way to introduce himself to the world. Not just that he talks to a girl before games for good luck, but girls, as in multiple. He is a man without fear and will certainly be leading all of us to intergalactic supremacy sometime in the next half-century.

Just when you were recovering from Thursday’s awesome name hangover, you’re hit with this gem during today’s Pennsylvania-Tennessee game:

Blake Money is a pretty great name, and he’s already pitching in the Little League World Series. Problem is that they also list his brothers’ names in his bio: “Mo’ Money” and “Lo’ Money.” And then there’s the final brother, and you can probably already guess how this story ends:

Not only is his name Cash Money, but this kid clearly knew he was going to be on national TV and came correct. Cash Money indeed. (Though I’d sort of rather prefer that this is just how he dresses every day, and when his parents ask him not to, he just looks at them and says, “C’mon, you had to know it would end like this.”)

Lastly and most crucially, however, there’s Mo’ne Davis, a 13-year-old girl pitching for the Pennsylvania-based Taney Dragons. She threw a complete-game shutout against Blake Money’s Tennessee squad, allowing just two hits and no walks while recording eight strikeouts.

In short, the Little League World Series is the best, even if there’s no way that the rest of the tournament can top the last 24 hours.

TIME robin williams

Watch Robin Williams Explain Sports

Robin Williams at the Friars Roast for Whoopi Goldberg at the Hilton Hotel in New York City on October 7, 1993.
Robin Williams at the Friars Roast for Whoopi Goldberg at the Hilton Hotel in New York City on October 7, 1993. Walter McBride—Corbis

The late comic went on memorable riffs about golf, baseball, and other games

No one tackled the absurdity of sports quite like Robin Williams. Here’s the comic legend riffing on golf, baseball and other games during his stand-up routines.

(Warning: Lots of NSFW stuff here).

Golf

Oh, so that’s why the shots are called strokes.

The Winter Olympics

Put on a glove, man.

Football

What happens when Tom Landry coaches ballet, and a choreographer coaches football?

Soccer

Williams’ take on flopping and yellow cards, with a detour to Lance Armstrong — pre-PED scandal — and hockey.

Baseball

Baseball had a cocaine problem in the 1980s, and the third-base coach wasn’t helping.

TIME celebrity

Chrissy Teigen Manages to Throw Respectable First Pitch After Tweeting That She Was ‘Pretty Drunk’

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This YouTube video shows supermodel Chrissy Teigen putting 50 Cent and Carly Rae Jepsen to shame by throwing an actually decent first pitch at the Dodgers game on Aug. 6. This feat was particularly impressive because she may have been under the influence at the time, according to her Twitter feed:

Fun fact: you might notice that her jersey says “40 Nugz” on the back. Dodgers reporter Michael Lananna explains why:

Although let’s be honest: if you saw a picture of Teigen with 40 chicken nuggets, you’d immediately submit it to You Did Not Eat That.

TIME Crime

Former Detroit Tiger Charged with Sexual Assault of Michigan Woman

Detroit Tigers pitcher Evan Reed throws against the Houston Astros in the seventh inning of a baseball game in Detroit on May 6, 2014.
Detroit Tigers pitcher Evan Reed throws against the Houston Astros in the seventh inning of a baseball game in Detroit on May 6, 2014. Paul Sancya—AP

Evan Reed is accused of sexually assaulting a 45-year-old woman in late March, while knowing the victim was "physically helpless or mentally incapacitated or mentally incapable to consent"

A former Detroit Tigers pitcher was charged with sexual assault on Wednesday for allegedly attacking a woman he met at a bar in March. Evan Reed, 28, a minor league pitcher for the Toledo Mud Hens, is accused of committing the alleged rape while the victim was “physically helpless or mentally incapacitated or mentally incapable to consent,” according to a release from the Wayne County Prosecutors office.

The victim, a 45-year-old woman from Oakland County, says she “began to feel odd” after finishing a drink at a bar in Royal Oak, Mich. The alleged assault took place in late March.

The Wayne County Prosecutors office has charged Reed with two counts of criminal sexual conduct, which could result in a maximum of 15 years behind bars. Reed is expected in a Detroit court on Thursday.

Reed’s lawyer called the charges “ridiculous” in a statement Wednesday, saying the 28-year-old has been cooperative and the evidence should prove he is not guilty.

“Evan fully cooperated with the police, gave witness statements, and provided other documentation supporting his innocence. Evan will be demanding a speedy trial and is looking forward to his day in court where he will be vindicated of any alleged wrongdoing,” lawyers Ben M. Gonek and David Gorcyca said in a joint statement. “When 12 jurors hear the facts of this case, there is no doubt in our minds they will find Evan not guilty of the charged offenses.”

The Detroit Tigers organization is also reportedly “closely monitoring” the situation. “As an organization, we take matters like this very seriously, and we are closely monitoring the situation,” the Tigers said in a statement. “Evan Reed’s representatives are handling his legal proceeding that must run its course before there is any further comment from the ballclub.”

TIME Baseball

10 Not-to-Miss Moments From the MLB All-Star Game

Derek Jeter went 2-for-2 in his 14th and final All-Star Game performance and the American League defeated the National League 5-3

Fans gathered at Target Field in Minneapolis Tuesday night, to watch the American League face off against the National League in the All-Star Game. Here are 10 of the best moments from–and Derek Jeter’s last appearance at–the annual celebration of baseball’s finest.

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