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It’s E-Rod’s time – Eduardo Rodriguez mocks Carlos Correa’s celebration in Game 3 win

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When Houston Astros All-Star shortstop Carlos Correa hit his seventh-inning home run in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series, some Boston Red Sox players viewed his gesture of pointing to an imaginary wrist-watch — signaling it was “his time” in the postseason — as a display of arrogance in showing up losing pitcher Hansel Robles.

“It did not bother me. Correa is one of the best hitters in baseball; you cannot make mistakes against him. But I did think for a moment … the standing at home plate … pointing to the watch … sometimes some of that stuff is a bit overboard,” said a hesitant Robles, who spoke in Spanish to ESPN.com in Houston on Saturday. But let me tell you something, I have no reason to be mad at Correa. I am the one who made the pitch. In that at bat, he did his job; I did not do mine.”

But some teammates disagreed: During Game 3 at Fenway Park, with Boston enjoying a comfortable 6-run lead at the time, Eduardo Rodriguez retired Correa to close out the top of the 6th inning, the lefty mockingly pointed to an imaginary watch.

Before the Sox’s 9-5 Game 2 win in Houston, Correa said that he did not feel the need to apologize for what may have been interpreted as a violation of etiquette.

“I was not showing up anybody, I was just enjoying the moment,” Correa told ESPN.com.

He added: “It was just celebration with my teammates and it had nothing to do with the other team. I love all those guys over there. I respect all those guys. We didn’t start the game the right way, and I just wanted to spark my team up a little bit. It was a celebration of a big homer in a playoff game.”

The on-field culture in Major League Baseball continues to evolve, and it has exposed many of the tensions beneath the surface of a sport that alienates those who do not follow the unwritten rules of “old school” baseball.

“In the end, we play baseball and this is the entertainment business,” Correa said. “Even though we have a lot of old school heads in the game, this is still the entertainment business, and fans come here to watch a show. We’re here to entertain and win games.”

“I enjoy playing baseball. And as long as my fans appreciate what I do, and love me for the way I play, that’s all I care about,” Correa said. “I care about what my fans and family think of me; that’s what makes me sleep happy at night.”

In terms of whether he embraces the villainous role the Astros, and especially Correa and second baseman Jose Altuve have been tagged with since a sign-stealing scandal marred their 2017 championship run, the 27-year-old shortstop said that it does not faze him.

And neither does the prospect of “getting one on the ribs” as retaliation. As Correa quipped, with a wry smile, “then my on base percentage would go up.”



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Buck O’Neil joins Gil Hodges, Minnie Minoso, others in being elected to baseball’s Hall of Fame

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Buck O’Neil, a champion of Black ballplayers during a monumental, eight-decade career on and off the field, joined Gil Hodges, Minnie Minoso and three others in being elected to the baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday.

Former Minnesota Twins teammates Tony Oliva and Jim Kaat, a longtime television analyst after his playing days, also were chosen along with Bud Fowler by a pair of veterans committees.

Oliva and Kaat are the only living new members. Dick Allen, who died last December, fell one vote shy of election.

Kaat pitched 25 seasons with a host of teams, including the Phillies, Yankees and Cardinals, winning 283 games. He served as an analyst for the Yankees before moving on to the MLB Network.

The 16-member Early Days and Golden Days committees met separately in Orlando, Florida. The election announcement was originally scheduled to coincide with the big league winter meetings, which were nixed because of the MLB lockout.

The six newcomers will be enshrined in Cooperstown, New York, on July 24, 2022, along with any new members elected by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. First-time candidates David Ortiz and Alex Rodriguez join Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Curt Schilling on the ballot, with voting results on Jan. 25.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Daisuke Matsuzaka ends 23-year career, surprised by Ichiro Suzuki in ceremony

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Daisuke Matsuzaka brought his 23-year professional baseball career to a close Saturday in a ceremony that included a surprise appearance by Ichiro Suzuki.

Matsuzaka, who faced only one batter this season for the Saitama Seibu Lions — issuing a walk in an October appearance — told fans at Seibu’s MetLife Dome that he was happy to leave the sport on his terms.

“I’m content that I was able to keep playing baseball until I could no longer throw normally in the end,” Matsuzaka said, according to Kyodo News.

A video from Suzuki was played, ending with the longtime Seattle Mariners outfielder surprising Matsuzaka on the field and giving him a flower bouquet.

“I hadn’t imagined this. It was crazy,” Matsuzaka said, according to Kyodo News. “At first I was able to hold up, and then the tears came and I was done for.

“I was surprised and just overjoyed that, at the end, Ichiro-san came to see me. I’m happy I was able to come so far.”

Suzuki and Matsuzaka faced each other both in Japan and Major League Baseball over their careers. They were also teammates for Japan’s World Baseball Classic titles in 2006 and 2009.

Matsuzaka, 41, was 56-43 with a 4.45 ERA in 132 career MLB starts with the Boston Red Sox and New York Mets from 2007 to 2014. He won a World Series title in his rookie season with the Red Sox in 2017.

He started and ended his career with the Lions, pitching for them from 1999 to 2006 and the past two seasons. He also played for the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks and Chunichi Dragons after returning to Japan in 2015.

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Atlanta Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson and USWNT soccer player Mallory Pugh announce their engagement

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Atlanta Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson earned a ring last month. U.S. women’s national team forward Mallory Pugh got one this month.

The World Series champion and the World Cup winner announced their engagement on Instagram Thursday night. The two have dated since 2017.

The couple met through Swanson’s former teammate Jace Peterson, now with the Milwaukee Brewers, who is married to Pugh’s sister.

Pugh plays with the Chicago Red Stars of the NWSL and has been with the U.S. national team since 2016. She played in the 2016 Summer Olympics and the 2019 World Cup, scoring a goal against Thailand.

Swanson made his major league debut with the Braves in 2016. This season, he hit .248 with 27 home runs and 88 RBIs.

The couple is just the latest power couple with connections to the U.S. team. They join Megan Rapinoe and her partner, WNBA star Sue Bird, and Julie Ertz, who is married to Arizona Cardinals tight end Zach Ertz.



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