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Dodgers manager Dave Roberts robbed us of a magical moment

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Dodgers manager Dave Roberts pulled Clayton Kershaw just six outs short of a perfect game.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts pulled Clayton Kershaw just six outs short of a perfect game.
Image: Getty Images

Dave Roberts must have had a ski mask on yesterday in Minneapolis.

And it wasn’t because it was cold there.

Roberts, the Los Angeles manager, robbed us. It was brazen. It was bold. He took from Clayton Kershaw’s legacy. And he robbed Baseball America in broad daylight with the Baseball Gods watching, no less.

Kershaw – the three-time Cy Young Award winner and best pitcher of our generation – was painting a masterpiece at Target Field. The veteran lefthander was perfect through seven innings. The Twins were helpless against Kershaw. The first 21 went down with ease, 13 of them strikeout victims. No hits, no walks.

Best of all, Kershaw was economical with just 80 pitches.

The stage was set to see our first perfect game since 2012.

And then, Roberts happened, pulling Kershaw. Just six outs away from immortally, Kershaw never went back out on the bump to pitch the bottom of the eighth.

It was a colossal mistake by Roberts, the wrong thing to do in that situation.

Enter the medical staff fans who have approved it because after all, you don’t want to see Kershaw injured again. We get it. He had an arm injury last season.

That’s the excuse some will hold onto and use to justify an egregious act against the game of baseball.

Sports, in fact.

That’s what fans covet the most. It’s about the moments and memories. It’s about seeing things with their own two eyes. It’s why fans go to games and watch. It’s the reason grown men cry when their teams win a championship.

Without question, Kershaw should have gone back out there to pitch the eighth. And at the first sign of trouble, you pull the plug and take the ball from him.

It was an elementary decision, not one to overthink a situation. The baseball community was outraged. Even Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson chimed in on Twitter. “Clayton Kershaw PERFECT game 80 pitches, take him OUT!!!!! THAT THE! What’s the game coming to?” Mr. October wrote.

“(One) of the era’s best, and you take him out with a perfect game in the 7th, 7-0 Dodgers winning. Take him OUT! THIS IS BASEBALL PLEASE PEOPLE THAT HAVE NEVER PLAYED GET OUT OF ITS WAY.”

Reg-gie is spot on.

You seize the moment. You have him skip his next start if he pitches a complete game. There’s a will. But you can’t just pull the plug for the heck of it.

If managers had the magic formula to prevent pitchers from getting hurt, Jacob deGrom would have made every start for the New York Mets.

Preventing someone from getting hurt just isn’t possible.

If Kershaw got hurt pitching the eighth, he could have gotten hurt pitching in the first inning of his next start. There’s no rhyme or reason to injuries.

Managers have to stop following the script and read the room. Kershaw, 34, was dealing, not pressure pitches. This was a cake walk, a once in a lifetime moment.

And with the sand running out of Kershaw’s Hall-of-Fame career, you can’t afford to take this opportunity away from him. It’s not right, just.

It’s shameful, in fact.

I covered David Wells’ perfect game against the Twins at Yankee Stadium in 1998. It was spectacular, a moment burned in my memory forever. After all, I’ve been covering Major League Baseball for 36 years and that’s the only perfect game I witnessed in person.

It’s not like they happen all the time. There have only been 23 in the history of the game. Sandy Koufax has the only one in Dodgers’ history.

Roberts had no right to deny us a chance to see a great pitcher throw greatness on an afternoon in April.

And please don’t buy into Kershaw’s comments. He’s a great teammate, a soldier. He was helping his manager from drowning in another case of analytics gone wrong.

“I would have loved to have stayed (in the game), but bigger things, man, bigger things,” Kershaw told reporters after his first start of the season. He added that Roberts made “the right decision” to pull him despite the historic situation.

You know the pencil-protecting geeks in the front office had made up their minds how many pitches Kershaw would throw regardless of how things played out.

Because of it, we were all robbed of a possible sports memory to cherish.



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Chelsea FC: Brilliant Badiashile leading way for new signings as Thiago Silva partnership blossoms

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C

helsea have not conceded a goal in the first 270 minutes that Benoit Badiashile has been on the pitch since his £35million move from Monaco.

His promising early form at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea will hope, hint at better times to come through their new signings.

The arrival of French centre-back Badiashile at the start of last month kick-started a record January spending spree of more than £300m.

After Chelsea were sent spiralling into crisis with defeats by Manchester City and Fulham, Badiashile made his debut in a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace.

After the Blues claimed a further two clean sheets in 0-0 draws away at Liverpool and at home to Fulham, he is building an impressive partnership with Thiago Silva.

Impressive start: Benoit Badiashile has formed a promising partnership with Thiago Silva

/ Getty Images

Badiashile was one of five new signings to feature in Friday’s 0-0 draw with Fulham. He started alongside £106.8m Enzo Fernandez, who started well but faded over 90 minutes, £89.5m Mykhailo Mudryk, who struggled over 45 minutes while carrying a cold, and £30m Noni Madueke, who was bright after being brought on at half-time.

“What a waste of money” was the regular chant from the Fulham fans in the away end.

That felt harsh in Badiashile’s case. With his size and speed, he looks like a perfect partner for 38-year-old veteran Silva.

In addition, he showed the ability to play brilliantly out of Fulham’s well-drilled press and he coped in his duels against Aleksandar Mitrovic.

There is still adaption to be done, as Graham Potter barked instructions about his positioning in relation to Silva.

However, using French to communicate with the former Paris Saint-Germain captain, Badiashile has helped steady the ship in the absence of the injured Wesley Fofana, and with Kalidou Koulibaly out of form.

While still only averaging just 1.05 goals per game in the Premier League, Chelsea will draw more than they win unless their new midfielders and forwards step up.

Arriving in the weeks after Badiashile, the likes of Fernandez, Joao Felix, Mudryk and Madueke have not had as much time to adapt to their surroundings.

With Chelsea still in 10th place and increasingly falling behind in the race to qualify for Europe, they must follow Badiashile’s lead and hit the ground running before time runs out.



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Reporter’s notebook: Jesse Marsch’s Leeds side showed encouraging signs at times but lack of points cost him his job | Football News

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Jesse Marsch was approaching his one-year anniversary as Leeds United head coach before the decision was taken on Monday to relieve him of his duties.

The defeat to Nottingham Forest a day earlier had been the final straw for the Leeds board, who were all aligned in the view that a change was necessary after almost three months without a Premier League win.

The recent statistics paint a grim picture for Leeds. Seven Premier League games without a win and just two wins in the last 17 league games. And against Forest, although they dominated in the first half and created the better chances, a worrying pattern had started to develop which had become a huge concern for fans. Leeds were producing performances with lots of positives, but not enough points.

There is little doubt that a large proportion of the fan base had lost patience with Marsch, and they made their frustrations clear at the full-time whistle on Sunday with calls for a change of head coach.

What is very evident is that Leeds have not kicked on this season. At times there have been really promising signs, but the fans and the board at Leeds wanted more. Marsch will feel that with time he could have delivered more, but he was also realistic enough to know that he was walking a tightrope.

I got to know Jesse well during his 12 months at Elland Road and it was abundantly clear he cared passionately about the club. He understood what it meant to be head coach of Leeds United and what the club meant to the city and the fans. And he has to be given great credit for keeping Leeds in the Premier League last season.

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from the Premier League match between Nottingham Forest and Leeds.

Although it hasn’t worked out for Marsch this season, there is a strong argument to suggest that the next Leeds boss will be in a great position to move the club forward.

Patrick Bamford and Luis Sinisterra are now fit, and the January additions should make the starting line-up stronger. The club has also invested heavily in young players and one of those, Willy Gnonto, has emerged as one of the shining lights of the season.

Those factors have created an expectation that Leeds are better than their current league position, and that means a reluctance to accept another season fighting to avoid the drop. It also means that there are reasons to be optimistic about the future.

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Former Leeds United goalkeeper Paul Robinson believes sacking Jesse Marsch was the right decision as he was given enough time at the club.

The process of finding a replacement for Marsch is already underway and Leeds hope to make a swift appointment. A move for Marcelo Bielsa is highly unlikely, but West Brom boss Carlos Corberan, who worked under Bielsa, is a candidate, while Ange Postecoglou at Celtic has also been linked.

It is also worth noting Leeds have a track record of leftfield appointments, so as they work through their list of targets, there is a good chance that a candidate emerges that could surprise everybody.

In the meantime, Michael Skubala, Paco Gallardo and Chris Armas will take training at Thorp Arch, and will be in the dugout for Wednesday’s Premier League fixture against Manchester United at Old Trafford.

Leeds’ next Premier League fixtures

February 8: Manchester United (A) – kick-off 8pm

February 12: Manchester United (H) – kick-off 2pm, live on Sky Sports

February 18: Everton (A) – kick-off 3pm

February 25: Southampton (H) – kick-off 3pm

March 4: Chelsea (A) – kick-off 3pm

March 11: Brighton (H) – kick-off 3pm

March 18: Wolves (A) – kick-off 3pm



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Tom Brady in his underwear is taking over Twitter

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Um .. oh.

Um .. oh.
Screenshot: Twitter: Tom Brady

It’s Super Bowl week, and if you thought Tom Brady was going to let this week go by without being all up in your timeline…well. Just a week after announcing he’s retiring from football (you’ll never convince me he didn’t play an extra year just to stick it to Adam Schefter), Tom Brady has dropped his first thirst trap on Twitter. Or, attempted thirst trap. Actually, IS this a thirst trap?

As will many things Tom Brady, the attempt to be cool and edgy just winds up being sterile, boring, and kinda sad. A beige man in a beige room in beige underwear with a “pleass clap” look on his face.

And because OF COURSE:

Yes, Tom. We all knew the plug as coming. I’m not sure what color “heather crimson” is supposed to be, but I believe this is what we used to call “puce,” which… meh. The fact that there is something called the “Brady Boxer Brief” is enough to make me want to stick my head in the oven, because you know there are guys in New England burning up the internet right now to wear the same undies as their hero. And even more so because no amount of refusing to mask during COVID, vouching for Antonio Brown, stumping for Donald Trump, or getting a PPP loan during a nationwide pandemic is enough to get people to stop buying what this guy is selling. He’s even gotten to Jane Fonda, for crying out loud.

Of course, this entire thing was set up by Brady’s own brand:

So…whatever. It’s Super Bowl week and everyone is talking about Tom Brady, which is exactly how he wants it to be.



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