CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jeff Gordon was fined $100,000, docked 25 points and placed on probation for the remainder of the season on Monday.
The penalties came for intentionally wrecking Clint Bowyer late in Sunday's Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway.
The incident left Bowyer with a 28th-place finish, eliminating him from contention for the championship with one race remaining.
Also, Rick Hendrick was docked 25 owner points and Alan Gustafson was placed on probation for the remainder of the year under the rule that stipulates the crew chief is responsible for his driver and team members during a race event.
Bowyer's crew chief, Brian Pattie, was fined $25,000 and placed on probation through Dec. 31.
Members of each team were involved in a scuffle on pit road and in the garage after the wreck.
In an unrelated event to the Gordon-Bowyer incident, points leader Brad Keselowski was fined $25,000 for having a cellphone -- it falls into the category of an onboard computer -- in his car.
"There's no doubt that a unique set of circumstances combined with a championship battle on the line resulted in raw emotions coming into play," NASCAR vice president for competition Robin Pemberton said in a statement. "We consider the penalties appropriate and those involved understand our decision and we expect them to abide by them."
The loss of points dropped Gordon to 11th in the standings. Only the top 10 in points are allowed to attend the champions' banquet on Dec. 30 in Las Vegas.
Had Bowyer posted a top-5 finish -- which he was working on at the time of the incident -- he would be mathematically within range of catching Keselowski on Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Instead, he is fourth in the standings, 52 points out.
Gordon avoided suspension as Kyle Busch received last year for the Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series races at Texas after intentionally wrecking Ron Hornaday Jr. in the Truck Series under caution.
NASCAR did not specify what the differences were between Gordon's retaliation and Busch's.
NASCAR met with Gordon, Bowyer and others in the NASCAR hauler after the race to discuss what happened on the track and the ensuing fights off it.
According to Bowyer and his spotter, Gordon waited on the track to wreck him after the two made contact earlier, cutting down one of Gordon's tires. When Bowyer came back around, Gordon slammed his car into the side of the No. 15 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota, collecting Joey Logano's car in the process.
Bowyer said it was "pretty embarrassing for a four-time champion and what I consider one of the best this sport's ever seen ... to act like that is just completely ridiculous."
Gordon said his response was an accumulation of frustration from incidents throughout the year, beginning when Bowyer wrecked him and teammate Jimmie Johnson at Martinsville.
"Clint has run into me numerous times, wrecked me, and he got into me on the back straightaway and pretty much ruined our day,'' Gordon said after the race. "I've had it, fed up with it, and I got him back."
The incident escalated on pit road, first with members of Bowyer's team physically going after Gordon and his crew members. Bowyer then sprinted to the garage to take on members of Gordon's crew at the No. 24 hauler.
Bowyer didn't rule out retaliating against Gordon in the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
"We'll just have to see," he said.
But Bowyer did apologize on Twitter for using the word "retard" in an interview that drew criticism on Twitter.
"It makes us look like a bunch of retards," Bowyer told reporters after meeting with NASCAR.
On Monday, MWR put out a statement in response to everything that happened.
"The goal of Michael Waltrip Racing is to be a championship-level organization both on and off the track," the statement said. "The on-track incident which occurred during Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway was extremely disappointing and brought raw emotions of a long and hard championship battle to the surface.
"Though we generally cannot control certain actions on the track, the unfortunate reactions off the track Sunday did not live up to the professional standards in which Michael Waltrip Racing expects all of its representatives to live by. We commit to our sponsors, our manufacturer, our fans and NASCAR that we will do so in the future."
Gordon was criticized by some of his fellow competitors after the race. Logano tweeted: "When I was young I thought @JeffGordonWeb was the best driver. Now I've lost a lot of respect for him. #verydumb"
Second-place finisher Denny Hamlin even got into an exchange with Gordon's wife, Ingrid Vandebosch, on Twitter. He wrote: "love ya Ingrid but your man was wrong. He wrecked trying to wreck 15 first."
Asked if he was worried about a potential penalty after the race, Gordon said, "They've got to do what they've got to do, and I guess I had to do what I had to do."
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DETROIT -- Navigating the narrow confines of the visitors clubhouse inside the Detroit ballpark can be challenging, particularly when the hallway and rooms are as full as the Tokyo subway at rush hour with champagne-wielding teammates and family, plus microphone-shoving, path-blocking reporters.
And you're built like Pablo Sandoval.
And you're carrying a large, glittering MVP World Series trophy under one arm.
"I'm excited, man, I'm excited!" Sandoval shouted to a wall of cameramen and writers halting his already slow progress. "This is my second championship in three years but I earned this one more."
When the Giants won the World Series in 2010, Sandoval struggled so much that he played only one game that series and went hitless in three at-bats. This time, he hit three home runs in his first three at-bats and finished with a .500 average. "You learn from the things that happen in your career," he said. "You get up and down. You never give up. All the things that happened in my career, thank God it happened early rather than late. I'm just blessed to be here and be part of the 2012 World Series. ...
"I'm going to ask my brother to pinch me so that I can wake up from this dream."
Sandoval certainly was a deserving MVP winner but there were several other Giants who could have won as well. Asked whom he would award the MVP, Sandoval instantly replied, "Barry Zito. Barry did a great job. For him to come back to the roster and start the first game of the World Series and win, it was a big deal."
Like Sandoval, Zito had a poor 2010 season, and the Giants left him off the postseason roster. He spent the World Series that year on the bench, cheering his teammates. This time, the Giants kept him on the roster and started him against Detroit's Justin Verlander. Few gave Zito much chance in a matchup against the reigning Cy Young winner that night but he instead held the Tigers to one run in 5 1/3 innings. By beating the Tigers' ace in the opener, the Giants grabbed a crucial series advantage that loomed far larger than the 1-0 lead.
"This is apples and oranges compared to 2010," Zito said. "You certainly want to be part of a team that wins a World Series, and to contribute in the regular season is great, but to go out there on the big stage and help the team get to [the] next level -- and vice-versa -- it's something that you can't put words to."
Zito's example in the 2010 World Series -- teammates say he never complained and never let his disappointment show -- played a part in the way Tim Lincecum handled his move to the bullpen this October. Approaching the role in a positive way, Lincecum became a weapon out of the bullpen, blowing away batters in the middle innings of two games. The Tigers not only had to get past San Francisco's tremendous starters, but they had to get past the bullpen. And Detroit never did.
Or perhaps the award could have gone to catcher Buster Posey, who missed most of last season after a collision at home plate fractured his leg. He came back with an MVP-caliber season, then made a crucial sweep tag on Prince Fielder in Game 2 to save at least a run and probably more. He also hit a two-run homer in Game 4.
Or perhaps it could have gone to left fielder Gregor Blanco. At this time last year, Blanco didn't have a contract with a major league organization. "I was just waiting for an opportunity," he said. The Giants gave him that opportunity, and Blanco rewarded them when he replaced Melky Cabrera when the outfielder was suspended.
Blanco had an RBI triple that gave the Giants the lead in Game 3 but it was his defense that really shined. While Detroit center fielder Austin Jackson twice refrained from diving and let balls drop just in front of him for run-scoring singles, Blanco made several diving catches and had a fine running grab in the corner in foul ground in Game 3.
Or maybe the MVP could have been manager Bruce Bochy. Until recent years, he's been best known nationwide for having the largest head in baseball of any non-PED user. But with two world championships in three years -- plus a World Series appearance in San Diego -- he's shown that head also holds a fine managerial mind.
"Bochy is an unbelievable person," right fielder Hunter Pence said. "He's great at setting the environment and giving everyone a chance to succeed."
Or perhaps the award could have gone to Game 3 winner Ryan Vogelsong, who started his career with the Giants, only to wind up pitching in Japan before finding his way back to San Francisco. Or perhaps second baseman Marco Scutaro, who singled in the 10th inning Sunday to score the player he replaced this season -- Ryan Theriot -- with the series-winning run.
"You know what, when Theriot wasn't playing, I told him, sincerely, he could be the hero," center fielder Angel Pagan said. "It's happened so many times before. Here, anyone can be a hero."
Indeed. Just look at shortstop Brandon Crawford. Crawford is from the Bay Area, and his parents have been Giants season-ticket holders for many years. His name is even on a commemorative brick outside the Giants' ballpark that his parents bought a dozen years ago. He sat in the stands at the 2002 World Series when the Giants lost. When they won this World Series, it was partially due to his extraordinary fielding at shortstop.
As people squeezed by him in the narrow doorway of his boyhood team's clubhouse and while celebratory champagne dripped from his hair, a representative of the Hall of Fame asked Crawford whether he could have his cap so it could be displayed at Cooperstown. "Pretty cool," Crawford said.
Quick, get Sandoval's brother to pinch Crawford right after "Panda." Then they both will realize they aren't dreaming. They are simply on top of the world.
DETROIT -- Smart pitching. Clutch hitting. Sharp fielding. Plus an MVP Panda.
All the right elements for a sweet World Series sweep for the San Francisco Giants.
Nearly knocked out in the playoffs time and time again, and finally pressed by the Detroit Tigers in Game 4, Pablo Sandoval and the Giants clinched their second title in three seasons Sunday night.
Marco Scutaro -- who else? -- delivered one more key hit this October, a go-ahead single with two outs in the 10th inning that lifted the Giants to a 4-3 win.
"Detroit probably didn't know what it was in for," Giants general manager Brian Sabean said. "Our guys had a date with destiny."
On a night of biting cold, stiff breezes and some rain, the Giants combined the most important elements of championship baseball. After three straight wins that looked relatively easy, they sealed this victory when Sergio Romo got Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera to look at strike three for the final out.
"Tonight was a battle," Giants star Buster Posey said. "And I think tonight was a fitting way for us to end it because those guys played hard. They didn't stop, and it's an unbelievable feeling."
Posey, the only player who was in the starting lineup when San Francisco beat Texas in the 2010 clincher, and the underdog Giants celebrated in the center of the diamond at Comerica Park.
They built toward this party all month, winning six elimination games this postseason. In the clubhouse, they hoisted the trophy, passed it around and shouted the name of each player who held it.
"World Series champions!" Giants outfielder Hunter Pence hollered.
A total team triumph.
"When pitching is your strength, you want a good defense," manager Bruce Bochy said. "That shows up every day. ... Hitting sometimes, it comes and goes. But as long as you can stay in more games, the better chance you have of winning them, and that's how we play."
Benched during the 2010 Series, Sandoval, nicknamed Kung Fu Panda, went 8 for 16, including a three-homer performance in Game 1.
"You learn," Sandoval said. "You learn from everything that happened in your career. ... We're working hard to enjoy this moment right now."
Cabrera delivered the first big hit for Detroit, interrupting San Francisco's run of dominant pitching with a two-run homer that blew over the right-field wall in the third.
Posey put the Giants ahead 3-2 with a two-run homer in the sixth and Delmon Young hit a tying home run in the bottom half.
It then became a matchup of bullpens, and the Giants prevailed.
Ryan Theriot led off the 10th with a single against Phil Coke, moved up on Brandon Crawford's sacrifice and scored on a shallow single by Scutaro, the MVP of the NL Championship Series. Center fielder Austin Jackson made a throw home, to no avail.
"That's what makes it so much special, the way we did it," Scutaro said. "We're always against the wall and my team, it just came through first series, second series and now we sweep the Tigers."
Romo struck out the side in the bottom of the 10th for his third save of the Series.
The Giants finished the month with seven straight wins and their seventh Series championship. They handed the Tigers their seventh straight World Series loss dating to 2006.
"Obviously, there was no doubt about it. They swept us," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "So there was certainly no bad breaks, no fluke.
"Simple, they did better than we did," he said. "It was freaky. I would have never guessed we would have swept the Yankees and I would have never guessed the Giants would have swept us."
The Giants combined for a 1.42 ERA, outscored the Tigers 16-6 and held them to a .159 batting average.
"I think we never found our confidence at home plate," Cabrera said. "It was not the same game we played. We could not find our game in the World Series."
Bristled slumping Tigers slugger Prince Fielder: "This is not about me. This is about the team."
An NL team won the title for the third straight season, a run that hadn't occurred in 30 years. Some find the streak surprising, considering the AL's recent dominance in interleague play. Yet as every fan knows, the club that pitches best in the postseason usually prevails.
Until the end, the Tigers thought one big hit could shift the momentum. It was an all-too-familiar October lament -- Texas felt the same way when the Giants throttled it in 2010, and the Tigers knew the feeling when St. Louis wiped them out in 2006.
"For one, we didn't allow doubt to ever creep in," Pence said. "You know, the thing that made this team so special is just playing as a team, caring for each other. We had our backs against the wall and we knew it wasn't going to be easy. It's not supposed to be."
Howling winds made it feel much colder than the 44 degrees at gametime. Two wrappers blew across home plate after leadoff man Angel Pagan struck out, and fly balls played tricks in the breeze.
The Giants started with their pregame ritual. They clustered around Pence in the dugout, quickly turning into a bobbing, whooping, pulsing pack, showering themselves with sunflower seeds. A big league good-luck charm, Little League style.
"That was one of our mottos, and we went out there to enjoy every minute of it and it was hard earned. Just an incredible, incredible group of guys that fought for each other," Pence said.
Once again, San Francisco took an early lead. Pence hit a one-hop drive over the center-field fence for a double and Brandon Belt tripled on the next pitch for a 1-0 lead in the second.
The next inning, Cabrera gave the Tigers a reason to think this might be their night.
With two outs and a runner on first, Cabrera lofted an opposite-field fly to right -- off the bat, it looked like a routine out shy of the warning track. But with winds gusting over 25 mph, the ball kept carrying, Pence kept drifting toward the wall and the crowd kept getting louder.
Just like that, it was gone.
Cabrera's homer gave Detroit its first lead of the Series, ended its 20-inning scoreless streak and reaffirmed a pregame observation by Tigers Hall of Famer Al Kaline.
"The wind usually blows to right at this time of year," Kaline said.
In the fourth, Max Scherzer and catcher Gerald Laird teamed on a strike 'em out-throw 'em out double play.
Trailing for the first time since Game 4 of the NLCS, Posey and the Giants put a dent in Detroit's optimism. Scutaro led off the sixth with a single and clapped all the way around the bases when Posey sent a shot that sailed just inside the left-field foul pole for a 3-2 lead.
Detroit wasn't about to go quietly, however. Young, the ALCS MVP against the Yankees, made it 3-all with another opposite-field homer to right, this one a no-doubt drive.
Fielder finished 1 for 14 (.071) against the Giants without an RBI. Minus key hits, the Tigers remained without a title since 1984.
All 24 teams to take a 3-0 lead in the World Series have won it all. In fact, none of those matchups even reached a Game 6. This was the first sweep for an NL team since Cincinnati in 1990.
Working on nine days' rest and trying to extend the Tigers' season, Scherzer kept them close into the seventh. Often recognized for his eyes -- one is light blue, the other is brown -- he's also known as a solid postseason pitcher.
Ditto-plus for Matt Cain, who was working on a nearly perfect year.
The Giants' ace threw a perfect game in June, was the winning pitcher in the All-Star Game in July, beat Cincinnati to clinch the division series and topped St. Louis in Game 7 of the NL Championship Series.
After they left, the relievers decided it.
Octavio Dotel shouted, "Yeah! Let's go!" toward his dugout after striking out Posey to end the eighth. In the bottom half, winning pitcher Jeremy Affeldt got around a leadoff walk when he struck out Cabrera, a flinching Fielder and Young.
Coke returned the favor in the top of the ninth, fanning the side. With Jose Valverde having lost his closer role during a shaky month, Coke stayed in for the 10th and faltered.
The Giants became the first champion that hit the fewest home runs in the majors since St. Louis in 1982. Sandoval's three drives in Game 1 started San Francisco's romp, and its dominant pitching took over from there.
The parade to a sweep masked the problems San Francisco overcame to get this far.
Closer Brian Wilson pitched only two innings before an elbow injury ended his year. All-Star game MVP Melky Cabrera was suspended 50 games for a positive testosterone test, and not welcomed back when the ban ended. Two-time Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum struggled and wound up in the bullpen.
Swept in a three-game set at Arizona to start the season, the Giants were floundering under .500 in mid-May. They soon hit their stride and, boosted by trade deadline deals for Scutaro and Pence, passed the Dodgers in the NL West for good in late August and posted 94 wins.
Getting past Cincinnati and St. Louis in the playoffs presented challenges. Down 2-0 in the best-of-five division series, they rallied for three straight victories in Cincinnati. Trailing the defending champion Cardinals 3-1 in the NLCS, they again took three in a row to advance, clinching in a driving rainstorm.
Six elimination games, six wins. Facing the Tigers, San Francisco proved it could play with a lead, too.
The Giants became the first NL team since the Big Red Machine in the mid-1970s to win two titles in a three-year span. Shut out for 56 years -- Juan Marichal, Willie McCovey and Barry Bonds never won it all -- their self-described "misfits" captured that elusive crown in 2010.
The Tigers' flop finished off a season in which Cabrera became baseball's first Triple Crown winner since 1967. Detroit overtook the White Sox in the final week to win the AL Central and wound up 88-74, the AL's seventh-best record.
NEW YORK -- The New York Islanders announced Wednesday that they have agreed to move to Brooklyn's Barclays Center from Long Island and will share the arena with the Nets.
Islanders owner Charles Wang said the team has established a 25-year agreement to play in Barclays Center beginning in 2015-16. Their lease at Nassau Coliseum expires after the 2015 season.
The announcement was made with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Brooklyn borough president Marty Markowitz, Islanders general manager Garth Snow, and Barclays Center and Brooklyn Nets chief executive Brett Yormark in attendance.
"Brooklyn is big time and now we have the big league sports to prove it," Bloomberg said.
The Islanders had been trying to secure a new arena near the site of the Coliseum for some time. Wang, the founder of a computer software company, presented a plan in 2003 for a privately funded multibillion-dollar development of housing, retail and a new arena on the property, but the proposal foundered amid community opposition. Nassau County voters also rejected a $400 million proposal for a new arena, funded by bonds, in August 2001.
The move to Brooklyn isn't without complications. Under current plans, Barclays Center would hold only 14,500 for hockey, and sources familiar with the facility were skeptical regarding the arena's long-term viability as the home of an NHL franchise. At 15,004, Winnipeg's MTS Centre currently has the NHL's smallest capacity.
"It will be tough leaving such a historic building on Long Island, but we need a new rink and Barclays is a state-of-the-art facility that will be a great home for us," Islanders winger Matt Moulson told ESPNNewYork.com via text message. "I hope the fans that have stood by this team through good and bad times continue to support us on our quest for the Stanley Cup."
As recently as April, Bettman said Brooklyn might not be a viable destination for the Islanders because it's hard to reach for the team's fan base in Long Island and Queens. However, the team's announcement of a news conference at the Barclays Center trumpeted the fact that it is located "atop one of the largest transportation hubs in New York City ... accessible by 11 subway lines, the Long Island Rail Road, and 11 bus lines."
The outdated Coliseum -- it was built in 1971 and opening in 1972 -- is no longer suitable for the NHL once the lease expires. The arena holds 16,234, but the Islanders' average attendance last season was 13,191.
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