Sweeney: 'I play the game hard, I just did something stupid'


Sweeney: 'I play the game hard, I just did something stupid'

BOSTON The sight of a pair of boxing gloves at Ryan Sweeneys locker in the home clubhouse at Fenway Park at least proves the Red Sox still have a sense of humor.
Despite the underachieving regular season and the fact that Sweeney busted up his left hand punching a Fenway door in a fit of pique two days ago, his teammates wanted to take the pressure off an embarrassing situation for their affable teammate.The Sox outfielder, on the other hand, has literally lost sleep over the entire situation.
I havent slept in two days. I just messed up. Ive been going over in my head how things could have been different. Ive been sick to my stomach and disgusted with what happened. Ive talked to a lot of guys that have thrown their helmets or thrown their bats, said Sweeney, who is hitting .260.303.373 in 63 games this season for the Sox. I guess I just didnt know how to punch the door. I thought I was okay, but the adrenaline got to me.
The Sox outfielder, who had surgery to put a screw into his broken left hand on Tuesday, confirmed suspicions it was Wednesday nights starting pitching Aaron Cook that introduced the boxing gloves into his locker.
Its pretty funny that Cook is pitching today and he had time to put boxing gloves in here, said Sweeney, who still managed a sheepish smile talking about it. I can tell you that I probably wont be punching anything ever again most likely.
Sweeney said hed be giving the gloves away, but perhaps he could use them after beating himself up for the last few days amid a season thats gone from promising to frustrating.
Bobby Valentine certainly had something sympathy for a player thats been criticized with gusto over the last couple of days for letting Irish temper get the best of him.
Hes one of those guys that knows the difference between right and wrong, said Valentine. A lot of guys know, but he really does. He knows he was wrong and hes really disappointed.
Sweeney wouldnt say he was out for the rest of the season, and said he opted for the screw over the pin because the latter would have kept his hand immobilized for at least 6-8 weeks.
It was the heat of the moment, but trust me when I say that I regret it. Ive let my teammates down not being out there on the field for them, said Sweeney. Its tough to swallow. You want to be out there for your teammates every day, but I did something to mess that up.
I play the game hard. I just did something stupid.
One thing Sweeney wanted to make perfectly clear, however, was that he didnt injure his left hand on purpose. Wild speculation had arisen that Sweeney who was being mentioned in trade talks perhaps injured himself so he wouldnt be dealt somewhere like Cincinnati for a team in need of a left-handed bat.
That was far from the truth, and something Sweeney hadnt even thought of in the aftermath of his injury.
The season started off well, but then I had the concussion thing and the foot thing. I was never able to pick it up after that and frustration has set in. It wasnt just one at bat, said Sweeney. I didnt intentionally do it so I wouldnt get traded. That had nothing to do with it. It was bad timing and I picked the wrong day to do it, I guess.
That didnt even cross my mind. When you go through something like that a scenario like that doesnt even go through your head. I didnt even think about that until somebody said something about it.
It sounds like Sweeney will be thinking about a lot of things over the next couple of months while recuperating from the most embarrassing injury of his career.

NLCS: Cubs eliminate Dodgers, reach Series for first time since 1945


NLCS: Cubs eliminate Dodgers, reach Series for first time since 1945

CHICAGO -- Cursed by a Billy Goat, bedeviled by Bartman and crushed by decades of disappointment, the Chicago Cubs are at long last headed back to the World Series.

Kyle Hendricks outpitched Clayton KershawAnthony Rizzo and Willson Contreras homered early and the Cubs won their first pennant since 1945, beating the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-0 Saturday night in Game 6 of the NL Championship Series.

The drought ended when closer Aroldis Chapman got Yasiel Puig to ground into a double play, setting off a wild celebration inside Wrigley Field, outside the ballpark and all over the city.

Seeking their first crown since 1908, manager Joe Maddon's team opens the World Series at Cleveland on Tuesday night. The Indians haven't won it all since 1948 - Cleveland and Cubs have the two longest title waits in the majors.

"This city deserves it so much," Rizzo said. "We got four more big ones to go, but we're going to enjoy this. We're going to the World Series. I can't even believe that."

All-everything Javier Baez and pitcher Jon Lester shared the NLCS MVP. Baez hit .318, drove in five runs and made several sharp plays at second base. Lester, a former World Series champion in Boston, was 1-0 with a 1.38 ERA in two starts against the Dodgers.

Deemed World Series favorites since opening day, the Cubs topped the majors with 103 wins to win the NL Central, then beat the Giants and Dodgers in the playoffs.

The Cubs overcame a 2-1 deficit against the Dodgers and won their 17th pennant. They had not earned a World Series trip since winning a doubleheader opener 4-3 at Pittsburgh on Sept. 29, 1945, to clinch the pennant on the next-to-last day of the season.

The eternal "wait till next year" is over. No more dwelling on a history of failure - the future is now.

"We're too young. We don't care about it," star slugger Kris Bryant said. "We don't look into it. This is a new team, this is a completely different time of our lives. We're enjoying it and our work's just getting started."

Hendricks pitched two-hit ball for 7 1/3 innings. Chapman took over and closed with hitless relief, then threw both arms in the air as he was mobbed by teammates and coaches.

The crowd joined in, chanting and serenading their team.

"Chicago!" shouted popular backup catcher David Ross.

The Cubs shook off back-to-back shutout losses earlier in this series by pounding the Dodgers for 23 runs to win the final three games.

And they were in no way overwhelmed by the moment on Saturday, putting aside previous frustration.

In 1945, the Billy Goat Curse supposedly began when a tavern owner wasn't allowed to bring his goat to Wrigley. In 2003, the Cubs lost the final three games of the NLCS to Florida, punctuated with a Game 6 defeat when fan Steve Bartman deflected a foul ball.

Even as recently as 2012, the Cubs lost 101 times.

This time, no such ill luck.

Bryant had an RBI single and scored in a two-run first. Dexter Fowler added two hits, drove in a run and scored one.

Contreras led off the fourth with a homer. Rizzo continued his resurgence with a solo drive in the fifth.

That was plenty for Hendricks, the major league ERA leader.

Hendricks left to a standing ovation after Josh Reddick singled with one out in the eighth. The only other hit Hendricks allowed was a single by Andrew Toles on the game's first pitch.

Kershaw, dominant in Game 2 shutout, gave up five runs and seven hits before being lifted for a pinch hitter in the sixth. He fell to 4-7 in the postseason.

The Dodgers haven't been to the World Series since winning in 1988.

Pitching on five days' rest, the three-time NL Cy Young Award winner threw 30 pitches in the first. Fowler led off with a double, and Bryant's single had the crowd shaking the 102-year-old ballpark.

They had more to cheer when left fielder Andrew Toles dropped Rizzo's fly, putting runners on second and third, and Ben Zobrist made it 2-0 a sacrifice fly.

The Cubs added a run in the second when Addison Russell doubled to deep left and scored on a two-out single by Fowler.


Maddon benched slumping right fielder Jason Heyward in favor of Albert Almora Jr.

"Kershaw's pitching, so I wanted to get one more right-handed bat in the lineup, and also with Albert I don't feel like we're losing anything on defense," Maddon said. "I know Jason's a Gold Glover, but I think Albert, given an opportunity to play often enough would be considered a Gold Glove-caliber outfielder, too."

Heyward was 2 for 28 in the playoffs - 1 for 16 in the NLCS.


Kerry Wood, wearing a Ron Santo jersey, threw out the first pitch and actor Jim Belushi delivered the "Play Ball!" call before the game. Pearl Jam front man Eddie Vedder and actor John Cusack were also in attendance. And Bulls great Scottie Pippen led the seventh-inning stretch.