Since Albert Belle’s career ended rather abruptly after the 2000 season, we didn’t get to see him age all that much in the public eye. He turned 34 in his last season and then just disappeared to wherever crazy, occasionally criminal elite power hitters go. I picture a fortress carved in a foreboding mountain, for what it’s worth.
Today he showed up at Cleveland Indians camp where he met up with former 1990s Indians Kenny Lofton, Carlos Baerga, Sandy Alomar Jr. and manager Mike Hargrove and posed for this picture by Jordan Bastian of MLB.com:
Egads. Lofton looks like he could still lead off for a major league team and Alomar looks like he could be a backup catcher. I have no opinion about Baerga. If you made me put either Mike Hargrove or Belle in a lineup today, based on that pic alone, I’d go with Grover.
The Red Sox have clinched the AL East for a third consecutive season, beating the Yankees 11-6 in the Bronx on Thursday night. It’s the third consecutive season in which the Red Sox have won the division, the first time that’s ever been done in club history. In fact, the only other times the Red Sox won the division in back-to-back years were 1903-04 and 1915-16.
AL MVP candidate Mookie Betts went 4-for-5 with a two-run single in the second inning off of Masahiro Tanaka and a three-run homer in the eighth against Aroldis Chapman to put the game out of reach. Jackie Bradley and Brock Holt also hit homers. Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez was on the hook for five runs in 3 2/3 innings, but three of them scored when Heath Hembree inherited a bases-loaded situation, then served up a grand slam to Giancarlo Stanton in the fourth. The rest of the bullpen combined to fire five scoreless innings. Steven Wright had three of them followed by zeroes from Ryan Brasier and Craig Kimbrel.
With the loss, the Yankees’ lead over the Athletics for the first Wild Card slot shrinks to 1.5 games. Meanwhile, the Red Sox will try to clinch home field advantage throughout the playoffs. With a 104-49 record, their closest competitor is the 95-57 Astros. With nine games remaining in the regular season for the Red Sox, they would have to lose every game remaining in the regular season and the Astros would have to win their 10 remaining games in order to fail to claim home field advantage.