This has been floating around for a couple of days, but the British tabloid the Daily Star reported on Sunday that the Yankees were considering buying Tottenham Hotspur of the English Premier League. A couple of things about this report:
- It comes in a newspaper which features topless models;
- Despite having the topless models thing going for it — which I view as a positive, by the way — British tabloids are notorious for selling scare stories about foreigners ruining proper British institutions like soccer leagues and city streets and stuff. The only thing the Yankees-Spurs story needs in order to make it a perfect British tabloid cliche is scary south-Asian immigrants and/or young, sideways ballcap-wearing, bat-toting chavs intent on ruining tea time or village greens or whatever it is scared and reactionary British people fear modern society is ruining for them;
- The primary quotes here come from Hank Steinbrenner, who is essentially the Fredo of the Steinbrenner family. Really, he may as well be going on about how you shouldn’t talk to Moe Greene and about how he’s “smaht” and was told that there was something in it for him, because if the Yankees are going to make a $600 million+ investment in anything, you can bet that Hank ain’t in on the discussion;
- The story says that Hank played college soccer. Everyone was young once, but I can’t square the image of Hank Steinbrenner as photographed above with a college soccer player; and
- The Yankees are smart. The history of American sports executives investing in English soccer is littered with dumb people making dumb decisions. I can’t really picture Hal Steinbrenner plunking half the value of the Yankees into that kind of an investment.
But hey, at least we got an excuse to use the Hank smoking picture again, and that’s always fun.
Angels’ right-handed reliever Bud Norris made his 23rd appearance of the season on Friday, and after just three pitches, he was done for the night. He worked a 2-1 count to Marlins’ Dee Gordon in the eighth inning, then promptly exited the field after experiencing some tightness in his right knee. Neither Norris nor manager Mike Scioscia believe the injury is cause for major concern, and the 32-year-old right-hander admitted that it may have had something to do with his lack of stretching before he took the mound. For now, he’s day-to-day with right knee soreness, with the hope that the issue doesn’t escalate over the next few days.
While the Angels are lucky to have avoided serious injury, they’ll need Norris to pitch at 100% if they want to stay competitive within the AL West. They currently sit a full nine games behind the league-leading Astros, and haven’t been helping their cause after taking five losses in their last eight games. Friday’s 8-5 finale marked their third consecutive loss of the week.
When healthy, Norris has been one of the better arms in the Angels’ bullpen. Through 23 2/3 innings, he’s pitched to a 2.66 ERA, 3.4 BB/9 and an outstanding 11.8 SO/9 in 23 outings. The righty hasn’t allowed a single run in four straight appearances, recording three saves and helping the club clinch four wins in that span. This is his second setback of the year after sustaining a partial fingernail tear on his pitching hand during spring training.
Max Scherzer is a force to be reckoned with. The Nationals’ right-hander delivered a season-high 13 strikeouts against the Padres on Friday, locking down his fifth win and his fourth double-digit strikeout performance of the year.
More remarkably, it was also the 53rd double-digit strikeout performance of Scherzer’s career, tying Clayton Kershaw for the most 10+ strikeout appearances by an active major league pitcher. Chris Sale is a distant third, with 43 to his name, though he’s been making considerable strides to catch up so far this spring.
Scherzer took the Padres to task on Friday night, whiffing 13 of 31 batters during his 108-pitch outing. He started strong, catching Allen Cordoba swinging on a 1-2 count to start the game and keeping the game scoreless until Ryan Schimpf unleashed a home run in the fourth inning. That was the first and final run the Padres managed off of Scherzer, who retired 14 consecutive batters following the blast and came one out shy of a complete game in the ninth inning. (Fittingly, Koda Glover polished off the win with a final strikeout, bringing the total to 14 on the night.)
It’ll take more than one stellar start to advance Scherzer and Kershaw on the all-time list, however. Their 53-game record ranks 13th, about 159 games behind second-place Hall of Fame hurler Randy Johnson and a full 162 games shy of the inimitable Nolan Ryan.