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.

TIME Baseball

Jeter, Trout Lead American League Over National League 5-3 in All-Star Game

American League shortstop Derek Jeter, of the New York Yankees, singles during the third inning of the MLB All-Star baseball game, July 15, 2014, in Minneapolis.
American League shortstop Derek Jeter, of the New York Yankees, singles during the third inning of the MLB All-Star baseball game, July 15, 2014, in Minneapolis. Jeff Roberson—AP

The MLB All-Star Game ended with a 5-3 American League win over the National League, in which Mike Trout was named the All-Star MVP

(MINNEAPOLIS) — Derek Jeter soaked in the adulation from fans and players during one more night on baseball’s national stage, set the tone for the American League with a pregame speech and then delivered two final All-Star hits.

Mike Trout, perhaps the top candidate to succeed the 40-year-old Yankees captain as the face of the game, seemed ready to assume the role with a tiebreaking triple and later a go-ahead double that earned the 22-year-old MVP honors.

On a summer evening filled with reminders of generational change, the AL kept up nearly two decades of dominance by beating the National League 5-3 Tuesday for its 13th win in 17 years.

“I think let Mike be Mike. I don’t think people have to necessarily appoint someone to a particular position,” Jeter said. “He’s got a bright future ahead of him. I don’t know how much better he can get, but if he consistently does what he’s doing, then he will be here for a long time.”

Miguel Cabrera hit a two-run homer to help give the AL champion home-field advantage for the World Series.

No matter what else happened, from the start it seemed destined to be another special event for Jeter.

He made a diving stop on Andrew McCutchen’s grounder to shortstop leading off the game and received a 63-second standing ovation when he walked to the plate before his opposite-field double to right leading off the bottom half. He was given another rousing cheer before his single to right starting the third and 2 1-2 minutes more applause after AL manager John Farrell sent Alexei Ramirez to shortstop to replace him at the start of the fourth.

As Frank Sinatra’s recording of “New York, New York” boomed over the Target Field speakers and his parents watched from the stands, Jeter repeatedly waved to the crowd, exchanged handshakes and hugs with just about every person in the AL dugout and then came back onto the field for a curtain call.

“It was a special moment and it was unscripted,” Jeter said. “I was unaware of it.”

NL manager Mike Matheny of the Cardinals didn’t want it to stop.

“The guys on our side have the utmost respect for him and would like to have been standing out there for a little while longer,” he said. “I think Derek was the one that was uncomfortable with it.”

While not as flashy as Mariano Rivera’s All-Star farewell at Citi Field last year, when all the other players left the great reliever alone on the field for an eighth-inning solo bow, Jeter tried not to make a fuss and to deflect the attention.

Even during his clubhouse speech.

“He just wanted to thank us,” Trout said. “You know, we should be thanking him.”

A 14-time All-Star who was MVP of the 2000 game in Atlanta, Jeter announced in February this will be his final season. His hits left him with a .481 All-Star average (13 for 27), just behind Charlie Gehringer’s .500 record (10 for 20) for players with 20 or more at-bats.

While the Yankees are .500 at the break and in danger of missing the postseason in consecutive years for the first time in two decades, Jeter and the Angels’ Trout gave a boost to whichever AL team reaches the World Series.

The AL improved to 9-3 since the All-Star game started deciding which league gets Series home-field advantage; 23 of the last 28 titles were won by teams scheduled to host four of a possible seven games.

Detroit’s Max Scherzer, in line to be the most-prized free agent pitcher after the season, pitched a scoreless fifth for the win, and Glen Perkins got the save in his home ballpark.

Target Field, a $545 million, limestone-encased jewel that opened in 2010, produced an All-Star cycle just eight batters in, with hitters showing off flashy neon-bright spikes and fielders wearing All-Star caps with special designs for the first time.

With the late sunset — the sky didn’t darken until the fifth inning, well after 9 o’clock — there was bright sunshine when Jeter was cheered before his first at-bat. He was introduced by a recording of late Yankees public address announcer Bob Sheppard’s deep monotone. St. Louis pitcher Adam Wainwright left his glove on the mound and backed up toward second, clapping along with the crowd of 41,048.

“I tried to tell him to pick it up — let’s go,” Jeter said. “But he took a moment and let the fans give me an ovation which I will always remember.”

When Jeter finally stepped into the batter’s box, he took a ball and lined a 90 mph cutter down the right-field line for a double.

“I was going to give him a couple pipe shots just to — he deserved it,” Wainwright said. “I thought he was going to hit something hard to the right side for a single or an out. I probably should have pitched him a little bit better.”

After those in-game remarks created a stir on the Internet, Wainwright amended himself: “It was mis-said. I hope people realize I’m not intentionally giving up hits out there.”

Trout, who finished second to Cabrera in AL MVP voting in each of the last two seasons, became the youngest All-Star MVP, about 3 1-2 months older than Ken Griffey Jr. was in 1992.

Playing in his third All-Star game, Trout followed Jeter in the first by tripling off the right-field wall. Cabrera’s homer — just the fourth in the last six All-Star games — made it 3-0, but the NL tied it on consecutive RBI doubles by Chase Utley and Jonathan Lucroy off Jon Lester in the second and Lucroy’s run-scoring double against Chris Sale in the fourth.

Trout put the AL ahead for good with an RBI double in the fifth — a bouncer over third base against Pat Neshek, the St. Louis reliever who grew up in the Minneapolis suburbs and started his career with the Twins. Jose Altuve followed with a sacrifice fly off Tyler Clippard.

Raised in New Jersey, Trout saw a lot of Jeter and said all week he felt honored to play alongside him.

“Growing up I was setting goals to myself that when I get — if I ever get the chance to get — to the big leagues, that’s how I want to play,” Trout said. “And the way he carries himself on and off the field, how he respects the game — always hustling, it doesn’t matter what the score is. If they are down 10 runs, he is always running the ball out. That’s how I want to play.”

TIME Baseball

Baseball Tips Its Cap to Derek Jeter in Farewell Video

Teammates, rivals, and fans both celebrity and local join in

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New York Yankees veteran Derek Jeter, who has announced that he’ll retire after the current season, earns a lot of respect in a new commercial from Jordan Brand, the Nike subsidiary that has endorsed him since 1999.

As Jeter gets ready to bat, he notices that he’s being saluted by the opposing pitcher, fans in the crowd, famous people in the crowd (including Spike Lee), New York City cops and firefighters, rappers Jay Z and Action Bronson, athletes Carmelo Anthony and Tiger Woods, begrudging players on rival teams, and, eventually, Michael Jordan himself.

This is Nike’s farewell to a player who’s been celebrated for his character both on and off the field for two decades. It will air during Tuesday’s All-Star game, which will be Jeter’s 14th, and last.

TIME Sports

After Today, Wrigley Field Will Never Be the Same

Wrigley Field Chicago Cubs
Chicago's landmarks commission unanimously approved a multimillion-dollar renovation July 10 of Wrigley Field, home of baseball's Chicago Cubs. Jonathan Daniel—Getty Images

Chicago's landmarks commission has approved a $575 million renovation to the Chicago Cubs’ iconic stadium

One of America’s sports cathedrals is officially inching closer to the Jumbotron era.

Chicago’s landmarks commission unanimously approved a plan July 10 for a multimillion-dollar upgrade to Wrigley Field, home of baseball’s Chicago Cubs, clearing the way for seven advertising signs that includes a video screen hovering over its iconic ivy-covered outfield walls. The plan has raised the ire of Wrigleyville’s residents and could trigger a lawsuit from owners of the ballpark’s surrounding rooftop clubs and restaurants who rely on their unobstructed view inside the stadium.

The $575 million upgrade has been in limbo for months after the Cubs failed to reach a deal with rooftop owners who argue that additional signage in the outfield will block their views and hurt their business.

The Commission on Chicago Landmarks, which must approve any changes to Wrigley after the ballpark was deemed a city landmark in 2004, initially signed off on a $500 million renovation last year, which included just two new outfield signs and prompted the threat of a lawsuit from surrounding rooftop owners. But as talks broke down between the team and rooftop owners, Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts unveiled a new proposal that included seven signs, more lights and larger clubhouses, essentially abandoning negotiations and all but inviting legal action from rooftop owners.

The team took the new proposal to the commission after Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel asked the Cubs to reduce the size of the outfield advertising and pledge to continue negotiating with rooftop owners, who have a revenue-sharing agreement with the team that expires at the end of 2023.

The Ricketts family, which owns the Cubs, argues that additional advertising is necessary to fund major renovations to the ballpark that could ultimately raise revenues and help the team get to its first World Series in more than a century.

But the changes have been challenged not only by surrounding rooftop owners, who fear the signs will hurt business, but also by those who view The Friendly Confines — with its hand-turned scoreboard, ivy-covered outfield and neighborhood feel — with nostalgia and bristle at any changes to one of America’s most beloved stadiums, which is celebrating its 100th birthday this year.

While the landmarks commission approved the renovation, the city council still has to OK it – and the rooftop owners still may opt to sue the team after all.

But if the renovations finally move forward, the additional revenue could provide a boost for the city’s beloved Cubbies, who haven’t reached the playoffs since 2008 and haven’t won a World Series since 1908. They’re currently 39-52 and in last place in the National League Central Division.

MONEY Sports

Why Germany Is So Good At Soccer (and the U.S. Is So Mediocre) in 2 Charts

Germany's national soccer players Roman Weidenfeller, Shkodran Mustafi, Andre Schuerrle , Kevin Grosskreutz and Per Mertesacker celebrate
Kai Pfaffenbach—Reuters

Hint: It's Focus.

As Germany takes the pitch Sunday, fresh off crushing Brazil’s World Cup hopes in a historic 7-1 blowout, it’s worth reflecting how Germany got there. Not the team; the country.

See, this isn’t Germany’s first grab at the sport’s brass ring.The German national team is one of international soccer’s most consistent powerhouses. German teams—including those from the Nazi era, post-war West Germany, and reunified Germany—have qualified for 18 of 20 World Cup tournaments and missed the quarter finals of those only once. The team has also made it to a mind-blowing seven finals — a 35% appearance rate — winning three of them.

On the other side of the Atlantic, the United States has not exactly replicated Deutschland’s success. The U.S. has zero titles and zero finals appearances, and reached the semi-finals only once, at the first World Cup in 1930. This year, we were eliminated by Belgium in the round of 16, and finished 15th overall in the tournament. Not bad by our standards, but not great. And certainly not befitting of a country with the world’s largest economy, 300 million people, and an extremely competitive national team in almost every other team sport.

So why is Germany is so good and the U.S. so mediocre? Following America’s most recent loss, many theories have been offered. We over-coach our players; our college system doesn’t mirror international play; we don’t have a soccer “culture.” There’s likely some truth to all of these answers, but there’s one I find most convincing: competition from other sports. The U.S. has only so much athletic talent, and unlike many other nations, we tend to spread it around. Germany, on the other hand, concentrates the vast majority of its athletic talent on soccer—and they’ve certainly reaped the rewards.

In order to visualize this, I’ve assembled pie charts showing the revenue breakdown of the most popular professional sports leagues. The numbers aren’t perfectly analogous—updated figures on smaller German team sports are hard to come by, sports seasons don’t coincide and sometimes span more than one calendar year, and we’re including only major team sports. But as a rough proxy for each nation’s athletic focus, they are offer a clear picture of the sports the two nations care most about and to which they dedicate the most resources and, as economists and others would argue, talent.

In the two charts below, the green pie slice represents the percentage of major team sports revenue that goes to soccer. As you can see, it’s not even close.

GermanySportsRevNew

 

USSportsRev

Soccer eats up the overwhelming majority of German team sports revenue, while in the US, it barely makes up a sliver. Germany’s three major soccer leagues each take in over €100 million, and their combined revenue is €2.8 billion—the equivalent of over $3.8 billion. There’s really only one major sport in Germany, with a few second-tier leagues running far behind.

In comparison, America’s MLS teams have a combined revenue of about $494 million, as estimated by Forbes in 2013 (the MLS does not release total revenue figures). That’s about 1/7th of the NHL’s revenue, and 1/20th of the NFL’s total income.

So next time you’re wondering why the U.S. isn’t good at soccer, remember: the American people are not exactly focussed on the “beautiful game.” All things considered, it’s surprising we aren’t worse.

Sources: BBL: Deloitte via SportsBusinessDaily; DEL: Deloitte via SportsBusinessDaily; 3. Liga: DFB official figure; Bundesliga: 2014 report; 2. Bundesliga: 2014 report; NFL: Forbes via Statistica; NBA: Forbes via Statistica; NHL: CBS Sports; MLB: Forbes; MLS: Forbes

 

TIME Courts

Sleeping Yankees Fan’s Lawsuit Won’t Get Far, Legal Experts Say

A $10 million lawsuit filed by a man who was broadcast on ESPN while sleeping during a baseball game draws skepticism

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Legal experts are skeptical of the $10 million lawsuit filed by a man after he was broadcast on ESPN while sleeping during a baseball game.

Andrew Rector, who was sitting amongst Yankees fans with his head resting on his shoulder, appeared to have dozed off during the April 13 Boston Red Sox-New York Yankees game. Once Rector appeared on camera, ESPN commentators Dan Shulman and John Kruk quickly began discussing his slumped-over body.

“Maybe that’s his buddy, and he likes him a lot better when [Rector's] asleep,” Kruk said, referring to a man sitting next to Rector. The commentator duo also remarked that Rector was “oblivious,” expressing surprise that he had fallen asleep during the fourth inning.

Rector filed the suit against ESPN, Shulman, Kruk, the New York Yankees and Major League Baseball (MLB), which also picked up the footage, according to Courthouse News Service. Rector claims damages for defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress, citing false statements said about him including that Rector is “a fatty cow” that represents a “symbol of failure.”

In response, ESPN stated that “the comments attributed to ESPN and our announcers were clearly not said in our telecast. The claims presented here are wholly without merit.” MLB declined to comment.

Legal experts agree with ESPN’s assessment. “I think he has no chance on this lawsuit,” Vincent Blasi, a professor at Columbia Law School and expert in tort law, told TIME. “If the grievance is defamation, you have to show someone said something factually false about him. It requires a misstatement of an empirical fact.”

The idea of defamation rests on false written or spoken statements about an individual that damages his or her reputation. Classic defamation cases include suits in which the plaintiff was falsely accused in public statements of manipulating clients in business, or having a debilitating infectious disease.

“[Rector was] clearly been set up for ridicule. He’s unfortunate. He’s been made a butt of jokes. But there’s just no defamatory statement about him,” Harvard Law School professor John Goldberg told TIME, noting that defamation suits rest more on reputation damages than emotional distress.

Goldberg added that the suit, which was filed in Bronx County Supreme Court in New York, would face an uphill — if not entirely vertical — battle. Though there are constitutional limits applying to all U.S. states, New York is “notoriously unfriendly to defamation suits,” and it is “very unlikely that the suit will get anywhere,” he said.

Still, defamation suits have the potential to result in significant compensation. A Palestinian shopkeeper, Ayman Abu Aita, filed in 2009 a multimillion lawsuit against comedian Sacha Baron Cohen and the Late Show With David Letterman after the TV program aired a clip from Baron Cohen’s movie Bruno that portrayed him as a terrorist. Aita claimed the movie damaged his business and caused him to receive death threats. The case was subsequently settled in 2012 “to the mutual satisfaction” of everyone, according to Fox News.

TIME

Signed Ticket from Gehrig Retirement Hits Auction

NEW YORK — A ticket stub signed by Lou Gehrig on July 4, 1939 — the day he retired from baseball — is going on the auction block.

Heritage Auctions says more than 60,000 tickets to the game at Yankee Stadium were sold. Only two are known to have survived.

Of the two, only the mezzanine box ticket was signed by Gehrig. It is estimated to bring over $100,000 at the Aug. 1 sale in Cleveland.

The owner is an unidentified collector.

Gehrig retired after being diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, now known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. In his farewell speech that day, he said, “I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the Earth.”

Heritage’s director of sports memorabilia, Chris Ivy, calls it “the most significant baseball ticket in the world.”

 

 

TIME Baseball

Native American Group Mounts $9B Lawsuit Against Cleveland Indians

Minnesota Twins v Cleveland Indians
Protestors voice their opinion about Cleveland Indians mascot Chief Wahoo outside Progressive Field on April 4, 2014 in Cleveland, Ohio. Jason Miller—Getty Images

"We’re basing it on a hundred years of disparity, racism, exploitation and profiteering”

A Native American advocacy group called “People Not Mascots” is seeking $9 billion in damages against Major League Baseball’s Cleveland Indians.

‘We’re basing it on a hundred years of disparity, racism, exploitation and profiteering,” Robert Roche, the group’s leader, told CBS News’ Cleveland affiliate. Roche decided to press the issue after the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office stripped the Washington Redskins of its trademark last Wednesday, deeming the team name a “racial slur.”

The lawsuit will also target the team’s logo and mascot, Chief Wahoo. “It’s been offensive since day one,” said Roche. “We are not mascots. My children are not mascots. We are people.”

The campaign to remove Native American caricatures from team names and logos has built up steam in recent weeks, with 50 Senators petitioning National Football League commissioner Roger Goodell to change the name of the Redskins. The Redskins vowed to appeal the USPTO ruling.

TIME World Cup

It’s Official: Soccer is Bigger than Basketball, Baseball

Fans gather in Grant Park to watch the U.S. play Portugal in a Group G World Cup soccer match on June 22, 2014 in Chicago. Fans were turned away from the free event after a 10,000-person capacity was reached.
Fans gather in Grant Park to watch the U.S. play Portugal in a Group G World Cup soccer match on June 22, 2014 in Chicago. Fans were turned away from the free event after a 10,000-person capacity was reached. Scott Olson—Getty Images

But it doesn't hold a candle to football ratings

World Cup viewership continued to break records on Sunday, drawing millions more viewers than the most recent big match-ups in basketball and baseball.

A total of 24.7 million viewers tuned in as the U.S. squared off against Portugal on Sunday, according to figures released by Nielsen company. The ratings surpassed last week’s World Cup match between the U.S. and Ghana, indicating that interest in the tournament is steadily rising — at least, for as long as the U.S. team is involved.

Sunday’s game also surpassed ratings for the NBA finals, which drew 18 million viewers, and trounced the ratings for the 2013 World Series, which drew 14.9 million viewers. So is America’s favorite past time officially soccer, or, dare we say it, “futbol?”

Not by a long shot. The 2014 Super Bowl drew an average 111.5 million viewers, more than quadruple the audience of the most watched soccer match of all time. Football it is.

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