New York Yankees' catcher Gary Sanchez let club down after four-game ban

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Sanchez got involved in the scrap.

It was like a scene from the schoolyard.

A petty argument becomes a mass brawl with bodies and fists flying everywhere. I’m sure if you really turn up the volume, you can hear someone shouting ‘BUNDLE.’

What’s unmistakable , however, is everyone who’s seen the quite stunning footage of the New York Yankees and Detroit Tigers acting like kids at the end of a three hour fizzy drink binge knows just how stupid these alleged role models were.

Scraps happen all the time in most sports. Baseball at this time of year can be particularly spiky – the post season is looming into view. The pressure is on. The nation’s favourite pastime on a knife edge is brilliant sporting drama.

And while the Tigers are way out of the mix and having nothing to lose, the Yankees have everything to play for. The race for a wildcard is in their hands though many more stupid afternoon’s like this and it will be slipping through their fingers.

They are on the heels of the Red Sox in the AL East. It’s going to take one hell of a run to top them though it’s possible.

Well, it would have been more feasible if red hot Gary Sanchez was leading the charge instead of sitting out four games for needlessly getting involved in the MLB’s own version of WWE. The benches cleared three times in total in Detroit last Thursday.. That’s a lot of anger.

The catcher had just hit his 10th homer in the last 16 games. While Aaron Judge , who’s enjoyed a similarly brilliant rookie season to the one Sanchez wowed everyone with in 2016, continues to blow hot and cold, the Dominican Republic star has been the Yankees’ go-to man in recent weeks.

Now the only place he’s heading is home to contemplate his stupidity. At least he’s young enough to learn from his mistakes.

The bad blood between these two teams had been festering. During their clash in the Big Apple at the end of July, Detroit’s Mikie Mahtook was smashed in the head with pitches before Michael Fulmer responded with more fireworks. This time, Jacoby Ellsbury’s backside bore the brunt.

DETROIT, MI - AUGUST 24: Austin Romine #27 of the New York Yankees is held back by Victor Martinez #41 of the Detroit Tigers during a bench clearing fight in the sixth inning at Comerica Park on August 24, 2017 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Austin Romine is held back.

So it was boiling up for sure. Yet when Miguel Cabrera and Yanks back-up Austin Romine started exchanging pleasantries before engaging in the violent equivalent of disco dancing , all hell broke loose and then some.

The benches cleared . Players ran in from everywhere. Punches rained down. No-one came out of this smelling of roses but the video footage of Sanchez was particularly damaging and emphasised, if needed , just how hairbrained the 24 year-old was.

His cheap shots to the face of a grounded Cabrera and Nicholas Castellanos belonged in the Octagon, not the baseball field. Only MLB chiefs will know why he copped such a lenient punishment.

Though, as New York coach Joe Giradi , who had already been ejected for slaughtering the officials making it his FOURTH sending off this campaign ,  was at pains to point out afterwards, it shouldn’t have come to this.

Sanchez, bless him, had taken a few rough pitches in the match which eventually saw the stung Tigers eek out a 10-6 win in a three game series where he’d smacked four home-runs.

This is where the officials erred and were , in effect , guilty of sparking the madness which followed. Fulmer escaped scot free for throwing behind the batter instead of being dished out a warning which would have helped diffuse the situation and made the pitcher rethink his strategy. So when Yankees reliever Tommy Kahnle was chucked out for something similarly wayward, Giradi went ballistic.

While the MLB were delivering their verdicts on the players , it’s hoped a dim view of the umpires – where was the home plate ref to stop it before everything started ? – was also taken although don’t hold your breath.

They weren’t mentioned on a naughty list which saw Romine banned for two, Cabrera for seven games, teammate Alex Wilson will miss four while coach Tigers manager Brad Ausmus was suspended for one game.

Eight players in total were ejected. As  balls flew at batters , the dugouts rose as one , ready for war.

The Yankees will be praying it doesn’t stall their push.

“It is hard, because everything is happening very fast,” Sanchez said.

“I was in the dugout and I saw Romine rolling on the [ground] with the other guys.At that moment, just instincts take over, because you want to defend your teammate. That’s your family out there.”

The most functional families, however, need everyone pulling together – not needlessly  lumping people in the face.

NCAA

There’s political correctness gone mad. And then there is political correctness gone totally haywire.

ESPN conformed to the latter this week when dumping a college football commentator … because of his name.

Robert Lee was told he wouldn’t be required for the University of Virginia’s first football game of the season next month because he shares the same name as the Confederate general whose statue sparked scenes of horrific violence three weeks ago.

Charlottesville was the center of attention in the US after protests flooded to the city to show their disgust at a decision to remove a memorial to Robert E Lee.

Lee the sports caller is , ironically, Asian American and obviously has nothing whatsoever to do with the mindless idiots who shamed a nation.

“We collectively made the decision with Robert to switch games as the tragic events in Charlottesville were unfolding, simply because of the coincidence of his name,” ESPN said in a statement.

“In that moment it felt right to all parties. It’s a shame that this is even a topic of conversation and we regret that who calls play-by-play for a football game has become an issue.”

But didn’t ESPN make it an issue in the first place?

MLS

Sporting Kansas will be hoping their new kid on the block will fare better than the boy who last stole the headlines for being the youngest in MLS.

At the age of just 15 years and 89 days, Gianluca Busio is 10 months older than Freddy Adu who was 14 when he signed for DC United in 2004.

Yet while Adu’s career has been a nomadic, globe trotting failure, hopes are high for Busio who was born in North Carolina and tracked by a number of teams in Europe.

He is a versatile forward with an eye for goal and is certainly at the right club. Sporting KC had no hesitation in giving defender Erik Palmer-Brown his debut just nine months after penning a deal as a 16 year-old.

“Since I was a kid, I always dreamed of being a professional soccer player,” Busio said, missing the fact that he’s still a kid.

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New York Yankees push for now while Chicago White Sox play the long game

Jay Asser 20/07/2017
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Reinforcement: Todd Frazier. Picture: Getty Images.

The New York Yankees and Chicago White Sox, two teams heading in opposite directions, pulled off a trade that should help both sides during their respective timelines.

In a move to bolster their postseason push, the Yankees acquired infielder Todd Frazier and right-handed pitchers Tommy Kahnle and David Robertson from Chicago, without having to dip too far into their promising farm system.

In return, Chicago picked up right-hander Tyler Clippard and three prospects – outfielder Blake Rutherford, left-hander Ian Clarkin and outfielder Tito Polo.

While New York pick up an infield bat in Frazier, who can play either third or first base – an area the Yankees have been weak in this season – and strengthen their bullpen, the White Sox add another young talent in Rutherford, who was a first-round pick in 2006 and is ranked as the No30 prospect in baseball by MLB.com.

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The move has the potential to be a win-win for both teams, with the Yankees, who sit third in the American League East, vying for contention, and Chicago building for the future as they toil away at the bottom of the AL this year.

“It should tell [our players], ‘Hey, we’re in this,’” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “We need to continue to play and play hard, and play better than what we’ve done. But it should be a pick-me-up in there that, hey, there’s a lot of people who believe in this club.”

Frazier, 31, should immediately upgrade New York’s offence, regardless of who moves across the diamond between him and incumbent third baseman Chase Headley.

Though Frazier’s batting average has dropped in each of the past three seasons and was at a paltry .207 at the time of the trade, his 16 home runs and 44 runs batted in are a significant improvement on the Yankees’ rotating cast of characters at first base.

The more impactful player in the trade, however, could be Kahnle. The 27-year-old flame-thrower boasts a 2.50 earned run average and 60 strikeouts in just 36.0 innings of work, making him another weapon out of a New York bullpen that already featured set-up man Dellin Betances and closer Aroldis Chapman.

Add in familiar face Robertson and the Yankees now have a dominant four-horse bullpen capable of dramatically shortening games.

For Chicago, they’ll now get a look at the top prospect in the majors, Yoan Moncada, after he was recalled from Triple-A and today and set to make his White Sox debut tonight.

At 22, Moncada will take over at second base and is expected to stick around to gain experience.

“We aren’t bringing him here to sit,” White Sox general manager Rick Han said of Moncada.

With Charlotte in Triple-A this year, Moncada hit .282 with 12 home runs, 36 RBIs, 57 runs scored and 17 stolen bases in 80 games.

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Oakland Raiders are wise to splash $125 million extension on quarterback Derek Carr

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Keys to the Carr: Derek Carr. Picture: Getty Images.

No wonder Derek Carr was smiling.

The man who, for the time being anyway, is now the best paid player in the NFL was asked what celebrations were in order.

Ferrari? Mansion? Private jet?

“I am going to Chick-Fil-A,” said the 28-year-old Oakland Raiders quarterback. “And I will get my wife something nice.

“She still gets coupons. She gets online and tries to find discounts. None of that’s going to change.”

You can buy a fair few burgers off the back of a $125 million, five- year deal.

In the NFL, unlike the NBA, players announce multi-year contracts but know at the end of year two, nothing is cast iron. Break clauses are inserted. Injury fears rule front office heads.

Carr will make $25m for 2017 ($12.5m signing bonus, his $7.5m roster bonus plus his $5m salary).

The roster bonus is doubled next year and is guaranteed but a $2m increase on his base salary won’t be rubberstamped until after that season’s Super Bowl.

Injury guarantees for 2019 and 2020 don’t come into force until the February of those years. Who knows what state his body will be in by then. The remaining two years of the contract have no guarantees whatsoever.

In such a rough and tumble environment, making long-term plans is fraught with difficulty.

Yet with Oakland switching to Vegas for the 2020 season, this was a move with the future firmly in mind. And as more NFL teams adopt a focused ‘Moneyball’ approach when it comes to drafts and transfers, the overwhelmingly impressive stats from his first three seasons ensured this was a financial gamble well worth taking.

The Raiders see Carr as the face of their soon to be new franchise in the desert. Last season’s performances – with and without him – certainly sealed this particular deal. When his leg broke in Indianapolis last December , the writing was on the wall for the in-form, dangerous-looking Raiders, who were enjoying their best run for well over a decade.

His right fibula snapped when twisted awkwardly on a sack and the Raiders’ best season since 2002 was also broken. The push for the postseason was maintained but ended at the first hurdle.

Carr had terrorised Houston when they met in a regular season clash in Mexico City, though with the 28 year-old stuck on the sidelines, the Raiders were outscored 62-20 through nine quarters.

But when put into context, the sums instantly highlight his worth.

Golden State’s title winning hero Kevin Durant will pocket $27m next season while the last year of Stephen Curry’s current contract costs just $12m.

Tom Brady (left) is one of the best paid in the league – he’s on around $14m a year and has bagged $196m in 17 years –  yet is 39. His days are soon numbered, while Carr is the future. He’s dynamic and determined – Carr pulled his side back from the brink seven times in the fourth quarter, either winning or forcing overtime.

With Matthew Stafford of Detroit and Washington’s Kirk Cousins set to pen new deals soon, Carr’s place at the top of the money tree won’t last long. For the God-fearing father of two, however, it’s all immaterial.

“The exciting thing for me moneywise, honestly, is this money’s going to help a lot of people,” Carr said. “I’m very thankful to have it, that it’s in our hands, because it’s going to help people not only in this country but in a lot of countries around the world.”

The Colts’ Andrew Luck is actually the best earner in the NFL once his eye watering guarantees are taken into account.

Luck has an $87m guaranteed for injury, with over half of that sum guaranteed on signing his 2016 extension. Clever thinking from the financial advisors of a player who’s been thumped with 56 sacks in his last 22 games.

Carr was sacked just 16 times in 2016 – an NFL low – making a total of 71 in 47 games. He’s fresh, injury free and raring to show the investment will be worth every penny.

MLS

The net is continuing to be cast wide by Major League Soccer in the attempt to cement its standing in the global game.

Rivalry week is a great concept with the fixture computer ensuring a host of derbies come at you thick and fast.

Last weekend saw Portland and Seattle clash as well as derbies in Dallas and New York.

And it was the match between the Red Bulls and NYCFC which saw a first-ever viewing party overseas.

Hosted in London and with former City midfielder Frank Lampard sat on the sofa as a special guest, fans packed a bar to take in the latest installment of the Hudson River derby which saw Patrick Vieira’s men bag an impressive 2-0 away win.

Even in England where the Premier League rules, MLS are finding devoted fans who are keen to experience something new. Officials I spoke to last week at MLS HQ in Manhattan were delighted to have interest in the league from other countries and will look to stage similar events in other parts of the world.

This was the first MLS event of this kind staged away from the US and I am told it was a real success.

NBA

Michael Jordan v LeBron James.

The NBA’s best-ever debate gets plenty of people hot under the collar, especially when James’ superhero act isn’t good enough to land a championship. Yet one Jordan fan has taken that extra step to make sure everyone knows where his allegiances lie.

It’s unclear whether Kalen Gilleese knows that he’s stuck with it for life but now he’s the owner of a crying LeBron face inked on his calf. Needless to say, it looks utterly ridiculous and clearly the prospect of people laughing at him down by the pool wasn’t enough to spike his plans.

“I’ve heard from a lot of people,” Gilleese said. “I think LeBron is in the top five, but he’s not Jordan. I just get ticked off by everyone saying he is. LeBron is a legend, but he’s the biggest crybaby legend of all time.”

The Salt Lake City native’s pal is a tattoo artist who’s been hearing about his plan for over two months. “After the Warriors won the championship, I convinced him to do it on me,” he added.

Next stop? Brain examination.

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