sammy sosa getty

Sammy Sosa appears to be going full Michael Jackson on us

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This is … unsettling.

 

In case you forgot, Sosa once looked like this:

source:

 

This does sort of make me feel better about something, though.  I’ve told this story before, but I’ll tell it again. It’s about how I once thought people routinely got race-change surgery.

Now, in my defense, I was very, very young, but it went down like this: one day, when I was very young, I was trading baseball cards with a friend and a George Scott card was sitting on top of a Graig Nettles card and I matched the wrong name with the wrong picture. So, in my mind, I assumed that Graig Nettles was black (I really only listened to games on the radio then).

Flash forward to the 1981 World Series. Nettles made a play at third base and the camera pulled in on a closeup. I was shocked to see this white man and I told my dad, who was sitting nearby, of my confusion. He told me that Nettles “used to be black” until he “had the surgery.” I had no idea that he was pulling my chain and continued to believe that people had race-change surgery for a good while after that. Eventually I said something about that in front of my dad and he was flabbergasted, remembered his weird joke and set me straight.

But now Sosa is apparently doing it, so vindication for dumbass eight year-old me.

Mets beat Phillies to clinch wild card tie

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The magic number to clinch a wild card spot is still 1, but the Mets have at least secured a wild card tie after defeating the Phillies 5-1 on Friday night.

Jay Bruce powered the offensive drive, going 3-for-4 with a pair of RBI singles and his 33rd home run of the season, ripped from an Alec Asher fastball in the seventh inning. On the mound, right-hander Robert Gsellman limited the Phillies to seven hits and one run over six frames, striking out seven batters in his eighth appearance of the year. Behind him, a cadre of Mets relievers turned out three scoreless innings to preserve the lead and anchor the Mets in the wild card standings.

The Cardinals aren’t out of the race quite yet, and can still force a tiebreaker with the Mets if they manage to win the remainder of their games this weekend and the Mets lose the rest of theirs. Any other scenario will ensure the Mets’ exclusive rights to a wild card spot next week. While a wild card clinch is unlikely to happen tonight, with St. Louis leading Pittsburgh 7-0 through 7.5 innings and just entering a rain delay, it remains a distinct possibility over these next two days.

Carlos Rodon strikes out 10 consecutive batters

CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 30: Carlos Rodon #55 of the Chicago White Sox pitches against the Minnesota Twins during the first inning on September 30, 2016 at U. S. Cellular Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
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In a season that boasts the likes of Max Scherzer (he of the 20-strikeout masterpiece) and Clayton Kershaw (he of nine separate games with at least 10 strikeouts), there hasn’t been anyone who’s done exactly what Carlos Rodon did this week.

During Friday’s series opener against the Twins, Rodon retired seven consecutive batters via strikeout. His streak — and the beginnings of a perfect game, if you can call it that after just 2 ⅓ frames — ended on a Logan Schafer double that found right field well before Rodon managed to put up two strikes. With seven consecutive strikeouts, Rodon became the first American League pitcher to strike out seven batters to start a game since right-hander Joe Cowley did it for the Sox back in 1986. Had Schafer whiffed on a couple more fastballs, Rodon would have tied Mets’ starter Jacob deGrom for most strikeouts to start a game in major league history.

Not only did Rodon manage to quell the first seven batters in Minnesota’s lineup, but he extended his strikeout streak to 10 consecutive batters dating back through his last start against the Cleveland Indians. Per MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger, the last major league pitcher to do so was reliever Eric Gagne, who accomplished the feat for the 2003 Dodgers during his first and only Cy Young Award-winning season.

Any way you slice it, this is an impressive look: