CLEVELAND - The most famous athlete in Cleveland is rooting for the New York Yankees. LeBron James always has.
Call him the LeBronx Bomber.
While in New York last week to host "Saturday Night Live," the Cavaliers' star forward caused a stir back home when he said he would root for the Yankees in the AL playoffs against the Indians.
He showed up at Jacobs Field for Game 1 on Thursday night sporting a Yankees cap _ and fans sitting near him chanted for him to take it off.
"I've always been a Yankee fan. I'm a big Derek Jeter fan," James said during an in-game TV interview after Cleveland took the lead. "I'm here to represent the Yankees, but right now it's not looking too good."
A TBS reporter then handed James a "crying" towel that he said Indians ace C.C. Sabathia wanted to pass along. James said the two are good friends.
"It's not like I said, `OK, I'm picking the Yankees now that they're playing the Indians,'" James said earlier this week. "Everybody knows that I've been a Yankees fan my whole life. If the Indians were playing anybody else I would root for the Indians."
Sabathia said he didn't have a problem with James' allegiance.
"That's cool," the pitcher said. "He's sticking with his team. I'd do the same thing if the Raiders were playing the Browns."
Sabathia, who grew up in Vallejo, Calif., is a die-hard Oakland Raiders fan.
Keeping the faith
Not everyone in Chicago was bemoaning the Cubs' loss to Arizona in their NL playoff opener.
Former baseball commissioner Peter Ueberroth said Thursday he's still confident the Cubs can make a series out of it.
"I will tell you, just don't count the Cubs out at all."
No team in baseball is more of an underdog than the Cubs. The team hasn't won a World Series since 1908, and hasn't even been in one since 1945. Playoff appearances are scarce as well, with the Cubs making the postseason this year for the first time since 2003.
The Cubs lost their opener in Arizona 3-1 on Wednesday night. Manager Lou Piniella pulled ace Carlos Zambrano after six innings with the game tied 1-all, only to watch reliever Carlos Marmol give up a homer to Mark Reynolds, the first batter he faced.
Feels like the first time
The Los Angeles Angels have never faced Boston Red Sox starter Daisuke Matsuzaka, and manager Mike Scioscia said videotape and scouting reports can only reveal so much before the rookie pitches Game 2 of their AL playoff series.
"Until you get out on the golf course, you never know how it's going to play," he said.
"There probably will be a slight edge until we see some pitches with a new pitcher," Scioscia added. "We have to make a quick study."
The nation grieved for those hurt, killed and affected by the Boston Marathon bombings. After one of the suspects was caught on Friday — following a day-long lockdown and manhunt — sports returned to Boston over the weekend.
"I don't see any advantage because you face so many guys throughout the year you haven't faced before," Guerrero said. "I'm going to see how he pitches to me, and then I'll make an adjustment."
Back to Brandon?
Arizona manager Bob Melvin might consider starting ace Brandon Webb on three days' rest in Game 4 against the Chicago Cubs.
Rookie Micah Owings, who has pitched well despite being dropped from the rotation in late September, is scheduled to start Sunday at Wrigley Field.
"Anything can change over the course of whatever happens," Melvin said Thursday before Game 2 of the NL division series. "I'm just not prepared to even go there yet. We're on today's game."
Webb threw 89 pitches Wednesday in a 3-1 victory over the Cubs in the opener. But Melvin said he wasn't thinking about Webb's pitch count when he pinch-hit for him in the seventh inning. The Diamondbacks led 2-1 and had runners at second and third with one out.
"Any time you take Brandon Webb out of a game where his pitch count is low and he's ahead, it's a difficult decision to have to make," Melvin said.
Webb has not pitched on short rest this season. He has thrown a career-high 243 1-3 innings, including the playoff opener.
"That's a lot of innings," Melvin said.
Owings has not allowed a run in his last two starts, a span of 15 1-3 innings.
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