GOOD SPORTS!

BASE­BALL’S BREAK­THROUGH STARS SHINE

The Drumheller Mail - - SPORTS - Care to com­ment? Email bru­ce­pen­ton2003@ya­hoo.ca

Ev­ery year, it seems, Ma­jor League Base­ball sees a num­ber of break­through stars, and 2016 didn’t dis­ap­point. And de­spite all the Z-Z-Zs in these new stars’ names, their per­for­mances cer­tainly didn’t put any­one to sleep. Brian Dozier, you with the 42 home runs (all stats as of Sept. 25) for the Min­nesota Twins, take a bow. Aaron Sanchez of the Blue Jays, with a gaudy 13-2 record and a daz­zling earne­drun av­er­age, has earned his ‘ace’ sta­tus. And New York’s new Babe Ruth, the as­ton­ish­ing Gary Sanchez — whose late-sea­son home-run bar­rage made him a Yankee hero al­most overnight — is a ma­jor build­ing block for the Yan­kees’ fu­ture. All three are break­through stars on the cusp of great­ness, un­less they mimic Joe Char­boneau of the Cleve­land In­di­ans or Mark (The Bird) Fidrych of the Tigers, two of the game’s most in­fa­mous one-year won­ders. Char­boneau hit 23 homers and won rookie-of-the-year hon­ours in 1980, but his ca­reer faded quickly. He played only 70 more MLB games. Fidrych was base­ball’s most fa­mous player in 1976, adored for the way he talked to the base­ball and win­ning 19 games while los­ing only nine. But he won only 10 more games in his ca­reer over four sea­sons fol­low­ing arm trou­bles. While there are no guar­an­tees Dozier or the two Sanchezes won’t suf­fer sim­i­lar fates, their per­for­mances in 2016 were fun to watch. Dozier, a fifth-year in­fielder, av­er­aged 19 homers in his first four years be­fore slug­ging 42 this sea­son, more than any other sec­ond base­man in Amer­i­can League his­tory. Dozier had only 14 homers at the all-star break in mid-July, but has since belted 28 more. The Jays’ Sanchez, owner of a com­bined 9-8 record through his first two sea­sons, is now the Jays’ 24-year-old ace. His 2.93 ERA is among the best in the league and Toronto’s brain­trust is treat­ing him like a piece of an­tique glass­ware, lim­it­ing his in­nings so as to pre­serve his health. The ‘other’ Sanchez, the Yanks’ Gary, has been the toast of Broad­way since be­ing called up Aug. 3. He went home­r­less through six games, hit one in Game 7, an­other one in Game 12, two more in Game 14 and the leg­end was born. Though 44 games, the 23-year-old catcher had 19 home runs — a pace that would give him 70 homers over a full 162-game sched­ule. Can they keep it up? Tune in next year to see, and to watch a new crop of break­through stars.

• Brad Dickson of the Omaha World-Her­ald: “At­lanta Braves pitcher Julio Te­heran was thrown out at first base af­ter hit­ting the ball to right field. What, did he call Uber to ask for a ride to first?”

• Head­line at The­Kicker.com: “Pa­tri­ots or­der bulk ship­ment of quar­ter­backs from Costco.”

• Dwight Perry of the Seat­tle Times: “Strange but true. From the ‘Some­times You Just Can’t Make This Stuff Up’ file comes word that Tiger Woods has been named a Ry­der Cup vice cap­tain.”

• ABC’s Jimmy Kim­mel, on “The Peo­ple v. O.J. Simp­son” win­ning nine Em­mys: “Ac­tor, sup­port­ing ac­tor, writ­ing ... even the Ford Bronco won best mid-sized sport-util­ity ve­hi­cle.”

• Nor­man Chad of the Wash­ing­ton Post, on Twit­ter, af­ter third-string QB Ja­coby Bris­sett led the Pa­tri­ots to a 27-0 win over Hous­ton: “At this point, you’ve gotta fig­ure Belichick could win with Meat Loaf at quar­ter­back.”

• Bob Moli­naro of pi­lo­tonlne. com (Hamp­ton, va.): “As David Or­tiz swept past Mickey Man­tle on the ca­reer home run list, it got me think­ing about what a phys­i­cal won­der Man­tle must have been to have hit so many homers while us­ing PDDs – per­for­mance de-en­hanc­ing drugs (i.e., al­co­hol).”

• Brad Dickson again: “LeBron James at­tended the Los An­ge­les Rams-Seat­tle Sea­hawks game. Well, part of it. LeBron showed up, fired the coaches and left.”

• RJ Cur­rie of sports­deke. com: “Paddy Sharky is the men’s win­ner of the World Gravy Wrestling Cham­pi­onships. I imag­ine when fight­ing in gravy you have to take your lumps.”

• Jan­ice Hough of left­coast­sports­babe.com: “Kevin Gar­nett an­nounced his re­tire­ment to­day. ‘The first time is the hard­est,’ said Brett Favre.”

• Com­edy writer Alex Kase­berg: “An ar­rest war­rant has been is­sued for Cleve­land Brown Josh Gor­don in a pa­ter­nity suit. On the bright side, at least a Cleve­land Brown is scor­ing off the field.”

• Kase­berg again: “Louisville de­stroyed Florida State, 6320. The last time Florida State play­ers did that badly was on a spell­ing test.”

• Joe Bryant of Foot­bal­lGuys.com, with a sure sign it’s Septem­ber in Oak­land: “When it’s sec­ond-and-eight from sec­ond base.”

• Dwight Perry again: “From the You Are What You Eat file comes word that sprint king Usain Bolt’s favourite food is ... wings. No won­der he flies.”

Bruce Pen­ton

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