Aroldis Chapman smokes Marlboro Reds, wakes up at sunset, drives really fast


Eli Saslow of ESPN profiles Cincinnati Reds closer Aroldis Chapman. And oh my God, are we glad he did. Because we get a glimpse of a pretty odd life. One of boredom and restlessness when he’s not playing baseball.

The scene: Champan’s extended family sits around his Florida mansion waiting for him to wake up, and they’re under strict instructions not to disturb him before he does. Finally, he does:

Finally, a few minutes before 4 p.m., the curtains lift and Chapman descends the spiral staircase to the pool deck. He wears sandals, sunglasses and a tank top obscured by heavy gold chains. He lights a Marlboro Red cigarette and flops down onto an all-weather mattress near the pool.

“Why so late like this?” Maria Caridad asks. “Why all this sleeping?”

“There’s nothing else to do,” he says.

It’s a profile that is both illuminating and rather sad. It speaks of a singular isolation of a guy who came to a country where he knew no one and now has everything he could have wanted, materially speaking. But who now seems kind of lost.

Chris Sale will start on Opening Day for Red Sox

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No surprise here: Chris Sale will start on Opening Day for the Red Sox, Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe reports. The Red Sox open the season on March 29 in Tampa Bay against the Rays. Sale will oppose Chris Archer.

Sale, 28, is the fifth different Opening Day starter the Red Sox have had in as many years, preceded by Rick Porcello, David Price, Clay Buchholz, and Jon Lester. Sale started on Opening Day for the White Sox in 2013, ’14, and ’16.

Sale finished second in AL Cy Young Award balloting last year and finished ninth for AL MVP. He went 17-8 with a 2.90 ERA and a 308/43 K/BB ratio in 214 1/3 innings. Sale and Clayton Kershaw (2015) are the only pitchers to strike out 300 or more batters in a season dating back to 2003.