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Derek Jeter delivers win in final game at Yankee Stadium (Video)

Derek Jeter played in his final game at Yankee Stadium on Thursday, so naturally he delivered the game-winning hit.

After the Baltimore Orioles tied the game in the top of the ninth inning via a two-run home run by Adam Jones and a solo shot by Steve Pearce, there was never any other possible outcome with Jeter due up third in the bottom half of the inning.

derek-jeter-game-winning-hitJose Pirela led off with a single, and was pinch run for by Antoan Richardson. Brett Gardner laid down a sacrifice bunt, moving Richardson up to second base. In typical Derek Jeter fashion, he took the first pitch he saw from Oriole reliever Evan Meek to right field for a single, bringing home Richardson with the winning run.

Sometimes things just have a way of working out perfectly. There’s no need to ask questions or hunt for explanations. What happened Thursday night at Yankee Stadium was one of those instances.

The Yankees have three games remaining in the season, against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. The chances of Jeter not playing in any of them are probably pretty slim. However, there may not be a more storybook way to end a career short of going out after a championship than this moment, if Derek Jeter wants to take it. We know he won’t.

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Phil Hughes turns down Twins’ $500,000 offer

Phil-Hughes-TwinsAs we near the end of Major League Baseball’s regular season, incentive bonuses in player contracts are coming into play with only a few games remaining.

In the case of Minnesota Twins pitcher Phil Hughes, his 2014 season comes to an end agonizingly short of an additional $500,000.

Hughes was to receive the half million dollar bonus for reaching 210 innings pitched this season. He started Wednesday’s game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, but did not return after an hour-long rain delay, leaving his inning total for the year at 209 2/3, just one out shy of the required amount.

After initially saying Hughes wouldn’t be used in a relief role to reach the threshold, the team apparently changed course.

It’s certainly admirable Phil Hughes is taking the “wasn’t meant to be” approach. On the other hand, you have to think there are more than a few who wouldn’t have turned down the chance to earn an extra $500,000, especially only needing to record one out to do so.

After going 4-14 with a 5.19 ERA in 2013 with the Yankees, the Twins invested $24 million over three years to bring Hughes to Minnesota. That said, I can certainly see his point about owing a lot to the organization.

Rainy forecast costing ticket brokers millions for Derek Jeter’s last home game

Derek-Jeter-YankeesThe New York Yankees are out of playoff contention, but we all know why their game against the Baltimore Orioles on Thursday night is the most expensive regular season ticket in MLB history. Derek Jeter will be playing in his final home game at Yankee Stadium. That is, if Mother Nature allows it.

With a forecast that calls for a 100% chance of precipitation by game time, there is a growing fear that the game could be rained out. Considering the Orioles have wrapped up the AL East and the Yankees are mathematically eliminated from the postseason, there would be no reason to make the game up. Fans don’t want to see that happen. Neither do secondary ticket brokers, who stand to lose as much as $12.5 million if the game is called.

“It would be a disaster for brokers if this game is rained out and never made up,” Connor Gregoire of SeatGeek.com told the NY Daily News. “Brokers will lose all the profits they would have otherwise made on this, the most expensive regular season ticket in MLB history.”

Gregoire estimates that around 30,000 tickets have been resold for Thursday night’s game since Jeter announced back in February that 2014 would be his final season. If the game is rescheduled, anyone who bought a ticket to Thursday’s game would have to attend the makeup or lose their money. If it is cancelled, brokers must refund all sales. And if you bought tickets on Craigslist or through some sort of non-licensed broker, you simply need to do the opposite of a rain dance.

“If folks purchased their tickets privately or on Craigslist, they’re stuck trying to track down their seller with no guarantee of a seller and no official recourse,” Gregoire pointed out.

Even if the game is played, the nasty forecast has still cost sellers. Demand has decreased over the past few days. The average price of a ticket has dropped nearly $100 since Tuesday, and there are still plenty available.

The Yankees will do everything they can to get the field ready. Hopefully the weather cooperates at least through Jeter’s first at-bat.

Mike Napoli shaved his beard, is barely recognizable

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Mike Napoli has finally decided to say goodbye to the symbol of the 2014 World Series champion Boston Red Sox. I have followed Napoli pretty closely throughout his career, and if you showed me the photo above without any context I probably couldn’t even tell you who it was.

[Related: Jonny Gomes got World Series tattoo that includes a huge beard]

With the Red Sox in last place and Jonny Gomes in Oakland, now was probably the right time for Napoli to change his look. Good thing he’s not a wanted fugitive, because there is no way the average person would be able to identify him now if he committed the crime while still bearded.

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Even before Napoli signed with Boston and turned growing a massive beard into a team bonding exercise, he always had some sort of facial hair.

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If Red Sox fans were somehow unaware that it was over at the start of the week, they certainly realize it now.

Photo: Twitter/Red Sox

Yasiel Puig opened beers with his teeth, celebrated in style (Video)

The Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the San Francisco Giants on Wednesday night to clinch the NL West division title. They were more than ready to celebrate after their 9-1 victory, and you won’t be surprised to hear who led the way.

As you can see, Yasiel Puig opened beers with his teeth (they were twist-offs) and showered his teammates with them. The 23-year-old also rode a bicycle through the clubhouse and had a blast playing with the ice bucket.


The Dodgers clinched the pennant in a way that will excite their fans. Clayton Kershaw won his 21st game of the season and Puig homered as part of a four-run sixth inning. That’s the type of momentum the team will need to take into the postseason in order to be successful.

But first, they’ll need to spend some time shaking off this hangover.

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Rain delay costs Phil Hughes his $500,000 bonus

Phil-Hughes-TwinsPhil Hughes had his best year as a pro this year with the Minnesota Twins. The righthander started 32 games and finished 16-10 with a 3.52 ERA. Had it not been for a rain delay on Wednesday, Hughes would be $500,000 richer.

Hughes had a base salary of $8 million this year plus incentives. One of the incentives was a $500,000 bonus if he pitched 210 innings or more. Hughes was at 96 pitches when he finished the eighth inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Wednesday to record his 629th out of the season. That means Hughes pitched 209 2/3 innings. He did not return to the mound after an hour-long rain delay.

“I was very aware of it, but some things aren’t meant to be,” Hughes told reporters after the game, via Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com. “I’m very proud of my season regardless of that.”

Manager Ron Gardenhire said he would have sent Hughes back out for the ninth if not for the rain delay, since his pitch count was relatively low. Despite the fact that the Twins are in last place and really have nothing to play for, Gardenhire said he will not pitch Hughes in relief this weekend just so he can reach 210 innings.

The right thing for the Twins to do in this situation would be to give Hughes the bonus anyway. He ended up pitching eight innings of five-hit, one-run ball and probably could have thrown a complete game if not for the rain. Plus, Hughes’ dominant performance allowed him to set the single-season MLB record for best ever strikeout-to-walk ratio (11.63). Hughes walked just 16 batters all season.

Pay the man.

Yasiel Puig throws out another Giants runner (Video)

yasiel-puig-finger-waveWhen are the San Francisco Giants going to learn not to try taking an extra base on Yasiel Puig?

The Dodgers outfielder threw Gregor Blanco out at third base when the Giants player tried going from first-to-third on a single with one out in the seventh inning of Wednesday’s Giants-Dodgers game. Clayton Kershaw recorded a strikeout two batters later to end the inning, maintaining the Dodgers’ 5-1 lead.

If that video looks familiar, it’s because Puig threw out Brandon Belt at the plate in the top of the 11th inning of Monday’s game:

Oh, and did we mention that Puig also homered in the bottom of the sixth, right before throwing out Blanco?