Baseball

2:12pm

Fri March 9, 2012
The Two-Way

Harry Wendelstedt, Longtime Baseball Umpire, Has Died

This 1998 file photo shows veteran National League umpire Harry Wendelstedt, left, with his son, Hunter Wendelstedt, also an umpire.
Mary Butkus AP

Harry Wendelstedt spent 33 years as a National League umpire, including five stints to the World Series.

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10:01pm

Tue March 6, 2012
Sweetness And Light

What Baseball Really Needs: Mr. Personality

Originally published on Wed March 7, 2012 5:36 am

Boston Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine watches over a baseball spring training workout.
David Goldman AP

Coaches and managers, as a group, have always been pretty straightforward types. We don't think of generals or preachers as humorists — and, after all, that's pretty much what coaches are, a hybrid of the military and the pulpit.

But at least in the past, there were always a fair complement of coaching characters: old cracker-barrel philosophers, feisty wise guys and even a few sardonic intellectuals.

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2:21pm

Fri March 2, 2012
Sports

With Playoff Expansion, Baseball Goes Wilder

Manager Fredi Gonzalez was the face of frustration when his Atlanta Braves collapsed last year and missed the playoffs on the last day of the season. If this season's rules had applied, he might've been smiling: The Braves and the Boston Red Sox would've made the postseason.
Patrick Smith Getty Images

Major League Baseball expanded its playoff format to 10 teams Friday, adding a second wild-card in each league.

The decision establishes a new one-game, wild-card round in each league between the teams with the best records who are not division winners, meaning a third-place team could win the World Series.

This is the only change in baseball's playoff structure since the 1995 season, when wild-card teams were first added.

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6:40am

Wed February 29, 2012
The Two-Way

Man Who Collected Ryan Braun's Sample Says He Didn't Tamper With It

Originally published on Wed February 29, 2012 6:41 am

Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun waits for his turn to take batting practice at baseball spring training in Phoenix. The person who collected Braun's urine samples that tested positive for elevated testosterone levels says he followed the collection program's protocol.
Paul Connors AP

Dino Laurenzi Jr., the man who collected a urine sample from the Milwaukee Brewer's left fielder Ryan Braun, is defending himself for the first time.

Laurenzi was thrust into baseball's drug testing debate, when Braun questioned his integrity during a press conference on Friday.

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3:26pm

Mon February 27, 2012
The Two-Way

Francona Says New No-Booze Policy In Red Sox Clubhouse Is PR Move

Former Boston Red Sox manager Terry Francona.
Elise Amendola AP

Terry Francona, who managed the Boston Red Sox for eight seasons and led the team to two World Series, says the teams' new ban on booze could backfire.

"I think it's a PR move," Francona told ESPN. "I think if a guy wants a beer, he can probably get one. You know, it's kind of the old rule ... If your coach in football says no hard liquor on the plane — I mean, you serve beer and wine — somebody's going to sneak liquor on the plane.

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