Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

McGwire the latest in line for smooth rehabilitation

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BASEBALL/MCGWIREAmerica knows how to ‘do hype’ and the Stateside public lap up a good scandal but when it comes to cheating by use of performance enhancing drugs, the appetite for mass media coverage seems to vanish.

At the end of 2009, there wasn’t a website or newspaper in the States, whether celebrity gossip, high-brow politics or sports-obsessed that wasn’t delivering real-time updates on the infidelities of a golfer. America couldn’t get enough of the Tiger Woods story which, in the end, consisted of little more significant than a sorry list of rather mundane affairs.

When it comes to drug use, however, the response is far more restrained. Just a day after Mark McGwire, after years of avoiding questions, finally confessed to using steroids, including during 1998 when he broke the single season home-run record, already America was ‘moving on’.

The tone was set by Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig who within hours of McGwire’s ‘confession’ interview was welcoming the news. “I am pleased Mark McGwire has confronted his use of performance enhancing substances as a player … this statement of contrition I believe will make Mark’s re-entry to the game much smoother and easier,” he said.

Yankees back winning — good for baseball?

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sabathiaHomegrown talent and store-bought superstars — the Yankees formula for success for their 27th World Series championship claimed Wednesday with a Game Six victory over the Philadelphia Phillies that returned the team to the winners’ circle for the first time in what seemed to Yankee Nation like an endless nine years of waiting.

A bottomless checking account for free agents is not the only thing making the Yankees great.

A Reuters Sportswrap of heroic proportions

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Sportswrap is back with a bang, as we take in Hideki Matsui’s heroic performance for the New York Yankees, Usain Bolt bottle-feeding a creature that will one day outrun him and Rafa Benitez trying to invoke the spirit of You’ll Never Walk Alone only to come a cropper in the Champions League.

Written by Kevin Fylan, presented by Owen Wyatt from our Canary Wharf studios and with a jaunty hat tip to Half Man Half Biscuit for the Liverpool joke.

Taiwan set to strike baseball ‘mafia’ as fans sulk

Taiwan’s flagship sport is unravelling like an old rotted baseball, a university graduate said, reflecting the public mood of the moment, as she and I waited at a news conference for the cabinet spokesman to emerge with an official response to an illegal betting scandal.

The case, far from over, has put six people in jail and pointed fingers at eight more, including two of the island’s best known pitchers, since it was announced in the final days of October after months of investigation.

from Raw Japan:

MLB pitches to Kikuchi

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Major League Baseball teams are lining up to lure Japanese high school baseball pitcher Yusei Kikuchi across the Pacific to join them in an unprecedented raid on the country's young talent.

Kikuchi, an 18-year-old left-hander from Hanamaki Higashi High School in northern Japan, would be the most coveted young Japanese player to join an MLB team, but he is equally desired by Japan's 12 professional teams.BASEBALL-JAPAN/KIKUCHI

Its baseball star fallen, Taiwan scopes alternatives

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rtr26txvA chain of injuries suffered by New York Yankees star Wang Chien-ming is pushing a pair of more obscure Taiwan-born U.S. Major League Baseball pitchers into the limelight as dejected fans grudgingly seek alternatives.

Fans in baseball-crazy Taiwan, though far from giving up on Wang, say they are looking harder at Ni Fu-te and Kuo Hong-chih. But unlike Wang, a starting pitcher responsible for winning games, the other two are relief pitchers and neither is quite a superhero.

Time to consider warm weather territory for future World Series?

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BASEBALL/Last weekend’s wintry conditions in the Bronx made ear flaps and balaclavas essential gear for some players and contributed to a reel of American League Championship Series fielding bloopers worthy of the old Keystone Kops.

Temperatures dipped into the low 40s and winds whipped a cold rain through Yankee Stadium, only a few degrees short of bringing a flurry of snowflakes.

from Tales from the Trail:

Baseball gets Justice — Sotomayor to throw first pitch

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U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, a longtime avid fan of the New York Yankees baseball team, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch before Saturday's game against the Boston Red Sox.

A child of Puerto Rican parents, she grew up in the Bronx not far from where the Yankees play. Sotomayor, who was appointed by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the Senate last month, is the first Hispanic justice on the high court.

Taiwan revels in baseball revenge

A photo caption by Taiwan’s Central News Agency on Tuesday says it all: ”Taiwan gets revenge.”

The agency elaborates in its story about a baseball game on Monday between Taiwan’s Chinese Taipei team and China.

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