Red Sox

Nation STATion: All-Staroids

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Nation STATion: All-Staroids

By Bill Chuck
Special to CSNNE.com

According to DaysoftheWeek.com, it is Sports Clich Week, how perfect since the All-Star Game is not just a collection of great players, but also a gathering of the some of best transmitters of sports clichs. Tonights Home Run Derby is to sports clichrs the equivalent of going to a lighter fluid convention for arsonists. Tonight, and then again tomorrow night, well get to hear gems like:

He's got his A-game today!"
He's really throwing some heat.
He's got the batters eating out of his hand.
He wishes he could have that one back.
He's a tough out.
Their backs are against the wall.
He hit that one right on the screws.
He is a total team player.
Good pitching stops good hitting.
"It had the distance, but it was just foul."

Now, Im never one to spoil anyones fun, but if you dont plan on playing drinking games during the telecasts (maybe, a sip for every time Chris Berman uses the word back) you might actually want to talk some baseball. So, Ive put together some All-Staroids (thats a non-clich combined All-Star factoids) for you to toss out for conversation or win a free drink.

Here are 20 All-Staroids:

1. The all-time record in this exhibition game series is National League 40-American League 38, with two ties. We all know that the 2002 7-7 tie at Milwaukees Miller Park created the foolishness of bonding the result of the game to World Series home field advantage, but did you know the first tie was in 1961 played at (wait for it) Fenway Park? The game was stopped after nine innings tied 1-1 because of rain. Do you think if a game ended in a tie now that would mean that World Series would have to be played at a neutral site?

2. The first All-Star Game (ASG) was held July 6, 1933 at Comiskey Park in Chicago. The first ASG in Boston was at Braves Field, July 7, 1936.

3. The first All-Star Game to be played At Fenway was planned for 1945. But, the game was cancelled due to World War II. The game was supposed to be held on July 10. Consequently, the first ASG at Fenway was July 9, 1946. The AL won 12-0.

4. There have been 175 All-Star homers, hit by 133 players. The NL leads the AL in homers, 93-82.

5. Babe Ruth fittingly hit the first All-Star homer in the inaugural game in 1936. Ted Williams aptly hit the first Sox All-Star homer in 1941.

6. The two AL-ers with the most homers are Ted Williams and Fred Lynn, each with four. Lynn hit three representing the Sox, and his last one as an Angel.

7. Lynns last homer, on July 6, 1983, against Atlee Hammaker, is the only grand slam in All-Star history.

8. Ted is one of five: There have been five players who have gone deep twice in an ASG: Arky Vaughan (1941), Ted Williams (1946), Al Rosen (1954), Willie McCovey (1969) and Gary Carter (1981).

9. There have been 10 homers surrendered by eight Red Sox pitchers. Mel Parnell and Bill Monbouquette are the double dippers.

10. There have been 1389 hits in All-Star history. The NL leads, 699-690.

11. The two players with most hits in the All-Star game are both NL-ers: Willie Mays (23) and Stan Musial (20).

12. Im not surprised that Ted Williams has the most hits for the American League with 14, but I was shocked to find that he was tied with Nellie Fox, Hall-of-Famer, but a lifetime .288 hitter. Ted was a lifetime .344 hitter and hit .304 as an All-Star, while Fox hit .368 in the All-Star Game.

13. All 14 of Foxs hits were singles, only Willie Mays (15) hit more. Carl Yastrzemski has the most singles for Sox player, with seven.

14. Tex Hughson was a Red Sox All-Star pitcher in 1942-44. He only appeared in the 1943-44 games and pitched 4.2 innings but he managed to give up 10 hits.

15. Williams leads all All-Stars with 12 RBI.

16. There have been 447 walks in All-Star history and nobody has walked more than Teddy with 11.

17. There have been eight walkoff hits in the All-Star Game, seven by the National League. The one AL walkoff was the first walkoff homer and you guessed it, it was Ted Williams, against Claude Passeau, in the 1941 exhibition. Teddy Ballgames three-run shot with two outs in the bottom of the 9th gave the AL a 7-5 win. By the way, Joe DiMaggio was on first when the homer was hit, and Teds Boston teammate Joes brother Dom, was on deck.

18. There have been three walkoff homers in the Games history and the Red Sox have been involved in all of them. Stan Musial hit the second in 1955 at Milwaukees County Stadium (this is when the Braves were in Milwaukee). Musial led off the bottom of the 12th inning against Boston's Frank Sullivan and hit a huge homer to win the game.

19. The last one was in 1964 at the Mets old home, Shea Stadium when the NL beat the AL 7-4 on Johnny Callison's two-out, three-run homer off Dick Radatz in the bottom of the 9th. The Monster was the Red Sox closer but to show you how different times were then, both in baseball and the All-Star Game, Radatz was in his third inning of relief when the homer was hit.

20. After this crazy weekend against the Orioles, you might be interested in knowing that there have been 32 HBP in All-Star history with 32 different batters getting hit by 32 different pitchers. No Red Sox has ever been hit in the ASG but the Sox Mel Parnell and Don Schwall each hit a batter.

Thats 20 for you but before I go, looking to vent some venom? Next years game will be played at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City. Anybody know of a ballpark celebrating its 100th anniversary next season? The least Selig could do is buy a brick, dont you think?

Just remember, you can never have too much pitching and the game is played on the field, not on paper.

Enjoy Sports Clich week and the All-Star festivities.

MLB will institute rules to pick up pace, with or without players' agreement

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MLB will institute rules to pick up pace, with or without players' agreement

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Major League Baseball will change rules to speed games next year with or without an agreement with the players' association.

Management proposed last offseason to institute a 20-second pitch clock, allow one trip to the mound by a catcher per pitcher each inning and raise the bottom of the strike zone from just beneath the kneecap to its pre-1996 level at the top of the kneecap. The union didn't agree, and clubs have the right to impose those changes unilaterally for 2018.

Players and MLB have held initial bargaining since summer, and MLB chief legal officer Dan Halem said this week he would like an agreement by mid-January.

"My preferred path is a negotiated agreement with the players, but if we can't get an agreement we are going to have rule changes in 2018 one way or the other," baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said Thursday after a quarterly owners' meeting.

Nine-inning games averaged a record 3 hours, 5 minutes during the regular season and 3:29 during the postseason.

Corey Kluber beats Chris Sale for American League Cy Young

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Corey Kluber beats Chris Sale for American League Cy Young

Max Scherzer heard his name and thrust his arms in the air, shouting and smiling big before turning to kiss his wife.

Corey Kluber, on the other hand, gulped once and blinked.

Two aces, two different styles - and now another Cy Young Award for each.

The animated Scherzer of the Washington Nationals coasted to his third Cy Young, winning Wednesday for the second straight year in the National League. He breezed past Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, drawing 27 of the 30 first-place votes in balloting by members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

Kluber's win was even more of a runaway. The Cleveland Indians ace took 28 first-place votes, easily outpacing Chris Sale of the Boston Red Sox for his second AL Cy Young.

Scherzer yelled "yes!" when his award was announced on MLB Network, a reaction in keeping with his expressive reputation. He showed that intensity often this year, whether he was cursing under his breath like a madman during his delivery or demanding - also with expletives - that manager Dusty Baker leave him in the game.

Just a little different than the pitcher they call "Klubot." Kluber was stoic as ever when announced as the AL winner. He swallowed hard but otherwise didn't react, only showing the hint of a smile moments later when answering questions.

Not that he wasn't thrilled.

"Winning a second one maybe, for me personally, kind of validates the first one," Kluber said.

Scherzer's win moves him into rare company. He's the 10th pitcher with at least three Cy Youngs, and among the other nine, only Kershaw and Roger Clemens aren't in the Hall of Fame.

"That's why I'm drinking a lot of champagne tonight," Scherzer said.

Scherzer earned the NL honor last year with Washington and the 2013 American League prize with Detroit.

"This one is special," he said. "When you start talking about winning three times, I can't even comprehend it at this point."

Scherzer was 16-6 with a career-best 2.51 ERA this year. The 33-year-old righty struck out a league-leading 268 for the NL East champion Nationals, and in an era noted for declining pitcher durability, he eclipsed 200 innings for the fifth straight season. He had to overcome a variety of ailments to get there, and Washington's training staff was high on his thank-you list.

"Everybody had a role in keeping me out on the field," he said. "I'm very thankful for all their hard work."

Kershaw has won three NL Cy Youngs and was the last pitcher to win back-to-back. He was 18-4 with a league-best 2.31 ERA and 202 strikeouts. This is his second runner-up finish. Stephen Strasburg of the Nationals finished third.

Kluber missed a month of the season with back pain and still easily won the AL award over Sale and third-place finisher Luis Severino of the New York Yankees. Kluber led the majors with a 2.25 ERA, and his 18 wins tied for the most in baseball. He added to the Cy Young he won with the Indians in 2014 and is the 19th pitcher to win multiple times.

The 31-year-old Kluber was especially dominant down the stretch, closing out the season by going 11-1 to help Cleveland win the AL Central. He and Minnesota's Ervin Santana tied for the major league lead with five complete games - nobody else had more than two. Kluber also led the majors with 8.0 wins above replacement, per baseball-reference.com.

Kluber and Scherzer both had rough outings in the playoffs. Kluber gave up nine runs over two starts in an AL Division Series against the Yankees, and Scherzer blew a save in the decisive Game 5 of an NL Division Series against the Cubs.

Scherzer said he couldn't even watch the League Championship Series, although he did tune in for the World Series.

"That will eat at me this whole offseason," he said.

Voting for the awards was completed before the postseason began.

The final BBWAA honors will come Thursday when the MVP awards are announced in the AL and NL.

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