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 MLB

All-Star Game All About Derek Jeter

The Captain stole the spotlight at the Midsummer Classic

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He may not have won MVP (that honor went to heir apparent Mike Trout) but retiring New York Yankees captain Derek Jeter stole the show at the 85th All-Star Game Tuesday.

Cameras followed Jeter’s almost every move at his final Midsummer Classic from when his name was read during lineups to when he took a curtain call to a standing ovation. The Yankee shone on the field too, leading off the game with a double and and scoring as part of a three-run inning.

Most importantly, Jeter did what he always does, quietly helping his team win the game. Well, as quietly as they would let him.

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 MLB

1964 All-Star Game: Putting the ‘Classic’ in Midsummer Classic

Legendary names, drama, and a come-from-behind finish - the '64 MLB All-Star Game had it all.

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Crowds that skipped the ’64 Worlds Fair in order to see the thirty-fifth MLB All-Star Game were treated to one of the best games of all time.

While sports pundits whine about how the All-Star Game has become a joke and broadcasters report lower and lower viewership, match-ups like the ’64 contest remain a shining beacon of what the game could be.

The big names like Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle and Roberto Clemente showed up to play (with Mays even laying out for a hard-hit ball).

In the end it came down to a bottom of the ninth two-out, two-strike home run to decide the game, putting the “classic” in Midsummer Classic.

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 MLB

Giants’ Lincecum Pitches 2nd No-Hitter Vs Padres

San Diego Padres v San Francisco Giants
Tim Lincecum #55 of the San Francisco Giants pitches against the San Diego Padres during the first inning at AT&T Park on June 25, 2014 in San Francisco. Jason O. Watson—Getty Images

(SAN FRANCISCO) — Tim Lincecum pitched his second no-hitter against the San Diego Padres in less than a year, allowing only one runner Wednesday and leading the San Francisco Giants to a 4-0 win.

Lincecum totally shut down the weakest-hitting team in the majors, striking out six and walking one.

“I didn’t feel like my stuff was great,” he said.

No matter, Lincecum retired the final 23 batters after walking Chase Headley in the second inning. Though the Padres hit a few balls hard, San Francisco fielders didn’t need to make any exceptional plays to preserve Lincecum’s gem

The 30-year-old Lincecum (6-5) threw 113 pitches for this win, using a big-breaking curve to set up his fastball. Last July 13 at San Diego, he threw 148 pitches while holding the Padres hitless.

“It was not a stuff day. It was more of a location day,” he said.

The right-hander with two NL Cy Young Awards became just the second pitcher in major league history to twice no-hit the same team. Hall of Famer Addie Joss did it for Cleveland against the Chicago White Sox with a perfect game in 1908 and a no-hitter in 1910.

This was the third no-hitter in the majors this year. Clayton Kershaw did it exactly a week ago and his Los Angeles Dodgers teammate Josh Beckett did it earlier in the season.

Headley walked with one out in the second after falling behind 1-2 in the count. The Padres began the day worst in the majors in batting average, runs and hits.

The Padres, incidentally, are the only franchise in the big leagues that has never pitched a no-hitter.

Lincecum made quick work of the San Diego hitters in the late innings.

He drew a standing ovation when he batted in the eighth, then got another ovation when he took the mound to begin the ninth.

Lincecum struck out pinch-hitter Chris Denorfia to open the ninth. Pinch-hitter Yasmani Grandal followed with a tapper back to Lincecum, who tossed to first for the out.

Will Venable was up next, and Lincecum retired him on an easy grounder to second base. Lincecum took a few steps toward first when the ball was hit, stopped to watch the play and clapped his hand into his glove when it was over.

Catcher Hector Sanchez soon met Lincecum for an embrace, and the rest of the Giants joined in the celebration.

Lincecum threw the 16th no-hitter in Giants’ team history. Just one other pitcher has thrown two — Christy Mathewson for the New York Giants more than 100 years ago.

Lincecum joined Justin Verlander, Mark Buehrle and Homer Bailey as active pitchers with two no-hitters. Nolan Ryan holds the all-time record with seven.

“Right now, I guess I’m just saying it’s really cool,” Lincecum said.

No longer the shaggy-haired ace of the Giants, Lincecum sported a mustache while thrilling 41,500 fans at AT&T Park. He lowered his ERA to 4.42 and put together quite a complete game — he went 2 for 3 with a walk and scored twice.

Lincecum starred for the Giants in 2010, going 16-10 as they won their first World Series crown since moving to San Francisco in 1958. He hasn’t finished with a winning record since then, and was relegated to the bullpen when the Giants won another championship in 2012.

Buster Posey got four hits, including a double, and drove in two runs.

Ian Kennedy (5-9) allowed four runs on nine hits over 6 1/3 innings. He walked one and struck out eight.

The Giants took a 1-0 lead in the second when Brandon Crawford tripled and Sanchez hit a sacrifice fly.

Sandoval doubled home a run in the third and Posey hit a two-run double in the seventh.

NOTES: The Giants put OF Angel Pagan on the disabled list with a lower back strain retroactive to June 15. OF Adam Duvall was recalled from Triple-A Fresno to replace Pagan. … Giants RHP Ryan Vogelsong (5-3, 4.13) is scheduled to start Thursday’s game against the Cincinnati Reds. He beat the Reds in Cincinnati on June 4, striking out a career-high nine. … RHP Tyson Ross (6-7, 3.22) starts for the Padres against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Friday. Ross is 3-6 in San Diego despite a 2.19 ERA. … The Padres are hosting a public memorial for Tony Gwynn on Thursday at 7:19 p.m. at Petco Park. Gwynn wore No. 19.

TIME Baseball

A Major League Pitcher Wore a Protective Cap for the First Time

But his team lost

San Diego Padres relief pitcher Alex Torres became the first Major League Baseball pitcher to wear a protective cap over the weekend.

The league approved the bulky-looking headgear meant to protect against the impact of line drives to the head, and Torres ignored the jeers of his teammates as he made history during a Saturday evening game against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

“It could save our lives, if someone hits a ball to your head,” Torres told MLB.com. “I get it for free so, I’m just gonna use it to see how it feels.”

Torres entered the game in the 8th inning, giving up one run, one hit and two walks while also striking out two before the Padres lost 4-2. He said he didn’t think the new cap impacted his pitching.

The hat, which looks a bit like a stylized T-ball helmet, was designed by IsloBox and approved by the league in January. The hat is designed with padded sides to absorb the impact of a ball to the head. Torres said he decided to wear the hat after seeing Tampa Bay Rays’ pitcher Alex Cobb get hit in head during a game last year. At the time, Torres played for the Rays. On Sunday, Cobb told Fox Sports he thought his former teammate’s decision to wear the hat was admirable.

”He’s wearing the MLB one? That’s cool. That’s cool,” Cobb said. “It was out there for somebody to be the first person to do it.”

TIME Baseball

Dodgers All-Star Pitcher Clayton Kershaw Throws No-Hitter in Win Over Colorado

MLB: Colorado Rockies at Los Angeles Dodgers
Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw (22) reacts after being dunked with Powerade as he gives an interview following his no hitter against the Colorado Rockies at Dodger Stadium. Dodgers won 8-0. USA Today Sports/Reuters

After 107 pitches and 15 strikeouts, the Dodgers recorded their second no-hitter of the season

Clayton Kershaw neared perfection on Wednesday night by pitching the first no-hitter of his career as the Los Angeles Dodgers demolished the Colorado Rockies in an 8-0 home win.

The two-time National League Cy Young Award winner struck out a career-high 15 batters as he delivered his team its second no-hitter of the season. The only runner to land on base followed an error by Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez in the seventh inning.

The Dodgers are currently the only team in the Major Leagues to have recorded any no-hitters this season. Los Angeles’ Josh Beckett pitched the previous no-hitter against the Phillies on May 25.

“I am so amazed,” Kershaw told reporters. “Beckett told me he was going to teach me how to do that, so I have Josh to thank.”

Following the game, the 26-year-old Texan was mobbed by his teammates before being doused with two ice-cold coolers outside the Dodgers dugout.

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