Phillies

Latest A.I., Pete Rose transgressions spoiling Philly sports fan's escape

Latest A.I., Pete Rose transgressions spoiling Philly sports fan's escape

The Wildwood Boardwalk is a veritable potpourri of indulgence and goofiness. It’s a wonderful, wacky place. You have roller coaster rides and water parks. Haunted houses. Sketchy hucksters trying to lure you to play their fixed games of chance. Feeling hungry? Nothing hits the spot like a slice of boardwalk pizza. And, of course, there is that beloved mode of transportation, the Tramcar.

It also has more T-shirt shops per capita than anywhere in the world (unofficial count). So last week, while on vacation down the shore, I happened upon one such place. There I spotted a throwback Charlie Hustle shirt with the image of baseball’s all-time hit king, sliding headfirst on the front. Being a huge Pete Rose fan as a kid, holding dear that memory of him being the final piece to put the perennially close Phillies clubs of the late 1970s over the top. And being a proponent of his induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame, it was a no-brainer, I bought it. Little did I know, I would get exactly one wear out the garment.

When word surfaced early this week that Rose, during sworn testimony, admitted to engaging in a relationship with a girl either 16 years old or younger in the '70s, my first reaction after wanting to throw up and take a shower was to toss my new shirt.

No more.

No more can I defend the guy. No more can I separate Rose the epitome of what you would want as a player with Rose the train wreck of a human being. I shouldn’t have been surprised, none of us should. He bet on baseball and, perhaps worse, carried on a lie about for the ensuing 20-plus years. Not to mention that pesky jail sentence for tax evasion. But I was willing to forgive while looking forward to his induction into the Phillies' Wall of Fame next week. However, this latest news and Rose’s testimonial justification that she was of the consensual age of 16 when he was a 34-year-old married, father of two, drove me to the point of check out. 

I’m done.

Couple the Rose revelation with Allen Iverson’s latest Houdini act and subsequent one-game BIG3 League suspension by Ice Cube (you can’t make this stuff up), and it hasn’t been a banner couple of weeks for former Philadelphia sports icons.

One of the tenet’s of sports from a fan’s perspective is this: It should provide an escape from the real world. And when said reality creeps into our fantasy bubble, it’s a bummer. To deny die-hard, unconditional supporters a chance to see you play one more time on the Wells Fargo Center floor, even for a token cameo is wrong. Same with Phillies fans, who have been waiting for nearly 40 years to celebrate Rose. Those folks are the ones who get it in the end.

Iverson supporters, while bummed presently, will be more apt to forgive his transgressions. But in the case of Rose, the long-term, permanent damage for many like me has been done. It does make you appreciate players like Brian Dawkins, Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley that much more. But ultimately, we don’t know what is going on with any of these guys. Either way, it’s no fun when reality creeps into our sporting cocoons.

And while we’re at it, watch the Tramcar, please.

MLB Playoffs: Javier Baez snaps out of funk to help Cubs avoid sweep

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MLB Playoffs: Javier Baez snaps out of funk to help Cubs avoid sweep

CHICAGO -- Javier Baez snapped an 0-for-20 skid with two home runs, Wade Davis hung on for a six-out save and the Chicago Cubs avoided a sweep, holding off the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-2 Wednesday night in Game 4 of the NL Championship Series.

Jake Arrieta pitched three-hit ball into the seventh inning to held the defending World Series champion Cubs close their deficit to 3-1. Manager Joe Maddon got ejected for the second time in this series in the eighth, and a packed Wrigley Field crowd watched Davis get Cody Bellinger to ground into a game-ending double play.

Maddon was heavily criticized for not using Davis during a 4-1 loss in Game 2. This time, the Cubs closer threw 48 pitches to finish the job.

Willson Contreras also homered for the Cubs. Bellinger and Justin Turner connected for the Dodgers, who had won a team-record six straight playoff games.

Game 5 is Thursday, with Jose Quintana pitching for Chicago against Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw (see full recap).

Tanaka, Yankees blank Astros to take ALCS lead
NEW YORK -- Masahiro Tanaka pitched seven innings of three-hit ball and the New York Yankees finally solved Houston Astros nemesis Dallas Keuchel, beating the ace lefty 5-0 on Wednesday for a 3-2 lead in the AL Championship Series.

Gary Sanchez hit an RBI single off Keuchel and later homered to help the wild-card Yankees win for the third straight day at home and move within one victory of their first trip to the World Series since 2009.

The teams head back to Houston for Game 6 on Friday night, when Justin Verlander and the reeling Astros will try to regain their footing following an off day and force a decisive Game 7. Luis Severino is scheduled to start for New York.

Just days ago, Houston was up two games to none and appeared to be closing in on its second World Series appearance. But the Astros, like defending AL champion Cleveland before them, have been unable to put away these poised Yankees, who improved to 6-0 at home in this postseason in front of their cheering, chanting fans (see full recap).

MLB Playoffs: Yankees storm back for win over Astros to even ALCS

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MLB Playoffs: Yankees storm back for win over Astros to even ALCS

NEW YORK -- Aaron Judge ignited a rousing rally with a home run, then doubled during a four-run eighth inning to spur the New York Yankees over the Houston Astros 6-4 Tuesday night and level the AL Championship Series 2-2.

The Yankees trailed 4-0 against starter Lance McCullers Jr. until Judge homered leading off the seventh. He tied it with a line drive that nearly left the park in the eighth and scored on Gary Sanchez's go-ahead two-run double off loser Ken Giles.

The Yankees have rallied from a second straight 0-2 series deficit -- they beat Cleveland in the Division Series by winning three in a row to take that best-of-five matchup.

Aroldis Chapman struck out two in a perfect ninth, and New York improved to 5-0 at home in the playoffs.

Masahiro Tanaka pitches for New York against Dallas Keuchel in Game 5 Wednesday and rematch of the opener, won by the Astros 2-1 (see full recap).

Dodgers on brink of World Series after shutout
CHICAGO -- Yu Darvish pitched sparkling ball into the seventh inning, Chris Taylor homered again and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Chicago Cubs 6-1 on Tuesday night to open a commanding 3-0 lead in the NL Championship Series.

Andre Ethier also went deep and Taylor added an RBI triple in the fifth as Los Angeles set a franchise record with its sixth consecutive playoff win. Yasiel Puig had two more hits in another entertaining performance that included an impressive bat flip -- on a long foul ball in the first inning.

Looking for a four-game sweep and their 22nd NL pennant, the Dodgers will send Alex Wood to the mound Wednesday night at Wrigley Field with a chance to reach the World Series for the first time since their last championship in 1988. Jake Arrieta, eligible for free agency after the season, pitches for the Cubs in what could be his final start with the team.

Los Angeles was eliminated by Chicago in the NLCS last year, but this is a different group of Dodgers. The lineup is patient and pesky and the pitching staff is much deeper, especially since Darvish was acquired in a trade with Texas in the final minutes before the July 31 deadline (see full recap).