And That Happened: Tuesday's scores and highlights

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Padres 3, Reds 2: If the recaps suffer a bit today it’s because I was at a bar saying goodbye to a good friend last night (a friend longtime ShysterBall readers will remember,
actually). Mark and I used to work at the same law firm together, and
once I left at the end of last year he apparently couldn’t go on
anymore either, so he issued his resignation and is now moving down to
Florida to, hell, I dunno, eat seafood and play shuffleboard and stuff.
We had beers last night to celebrate. On the TV over the bar was Mark’s
first love — the Redlegs, as he calls them. The sound was down, but
that didn’t matter, as Mark did his spot-on Jeff Brantley impersonation
all night, going on about Ted DiBiase, UDF ice cream, the Civil War,
and whatever else sounded funny in Brantley’s drawl. Only time he broke
character was to yell at Dusty Baker for leaving Arroyo in to start the
seventh (“quit while you’re ahead, man! He’s gonna explode!”). As soon
as he got done yelling Tony Gwynn hit that triple, and Mark yelled some
more as Dusty made Arroyo issue an intentional walk and then leave the
game. I’m going to miss that guy when he’s gone, and I don’t mean

Rays 6, Yankees 2: The rumor yesterday was that if the Rays
dropped all three to the Yankees, Scott Kazmir could be shipped out.
That’s kind of a dumb rumor inasmuch as the Rays’ management is a lot
smarter than to make decisions based on the outcome of three piddling
games. And besides, season stats notwithstanding, Kazmir is still good,
as he showed last night, giving up a single run in seven innings. In
contrast, CC Sabathia continued his “meh” season with another “meh”
performance (5.2 IP, 9 H, 6 R). More bad news: the Yankees learned that
Chien-Ming Wang will undergo season-ending arthroscopic surgery.
Girardi: “Hopefully this is will be the end of the surgeries for him
and he’ll have the rest of his career be real healthy.” Yeah, because
that’s how it always works.

Nationals 8, Brewers 3: Memo to Milwaukee: a visit from the
Nationals is supposed to be a cure-all, not a nightmare. The Brewers
were bombed for the second straight night, this time from Nyjer Morgan,
Adam Dunn and Cristian Guzman. Dunn’s was a moon-shot, bouncing over
the Toyota Tundra and clear the hell out of Miller Park.

Twins 5, White Sox 3: Mark Buehrle followed up his perfecto with
perfection through five innings, but then ran into a buzz saw, giving
up five runs on five hits in six and a third. With the win, the Twins
— who never, ever seem to go away — pull into a tie for second in the

Mets 4, Rockies 0: Drama shmama, the Mets don’t care what’s
happening in the front office or in the tabloids, they’ve won four in a
row. Mike Pelfrey, who was given up for dead a week ago, pitched
shutout baseball into the seventh and the hitters singled and
sacrificed their way past Jason Marquis, denying him his 13th win of
the year.

Marlins 4, Braves 3: The Braves’ two-headed closer system has
worked pretty well all year, but you’re going to have nights when your
guy — in this case Rafael Soriano — is going to have wonky control
and not get the calls. When that happens, guys wait to tee off on the
get-me-over pitches, and that’s what Ross Gload did to end the game.

Rangers 7, Tigers 3: A two-run triple and a sacrifice from Ian
Kinsler chased Luke French (really? “Luke French?” I think that name
was on my fake I.D. senior year of high school) and led the Rangers to
their eighth win in nine games. Kinsler had to leave with a hamstring
problem after six innings, but by then the damage was done. Both to the
Tigers and his hamstring.

Royals 4, Orioles 3: It’s funny to think that, for about a
decade there, this was a the natural preseason prediction for the ALCS
matchup. This one ended in the 11th when the Royals manufactured a run
on a dribbler single, a stolen base and an RBI single. The dribbler
came from Mark Teahen, who topped the ball down the first-base line,
which Matt Wieters watched and hoped would roll foul. I can only assume
that Lex Luthor had the bottled city of Kandor held hostage at the
time, and Wieters was thus coerced into not using his telekinetic
powers to will the ball foul or something.

Man, weren’t those Wieters jokes a lot funnier back in April?

Athletics 9, Red Sox 8: Things that don’t happen every day: (1)
Jonathan Papelbon blows a save, let alone one of the three-run lead
variety; (2) The A’s score nine runs; (3) The A’s get 21 hits; (4) The
A’s win. Twenty-one hits! From the A’s! In other news, walking trade
chit Clay Buchholz was again largely inefficient, throwing 107 pitches
in less than six innings. One wonders if the Sox couldn’t have left him
in the minors where he still looked alluring to would-be trade partners
rather than expose him so blatantly in the Majors. Not that it’s
important, but I recall thinking the same thing when the Madonna
Penthouse issue came out back in 1985.

Astros 11, Cubs 6: The ‘Stros lost Roy Oswalt to a back injury,
but beat up Ryan Dempster and the back end of the Cubbies’ bullpen to
win it. In the fifth inning, Fukudome hit a ball to Astros’ pitcher
Jeff Fulchino. The ball bounced inside Fulchino’s jersey and he wasn’t
able to find it in time, allowing Fukudome to reach. Then the gang put
on a show, with Mike Fontenot performing an off-key rendition of “The
Barber of Seville” while Derek Lee and Aramis Ramirez fed red hots to a
mule, which rampaged through Miss Crabtree’s classroom. Or maybe I
daydreamed that.

Angels 7, Indians 6: What? The Angels came from behind to win
another game? That’s unpossible! Of course they almost didn’t hold on
in this one because their closer, Brian Fuentes, can’t seem to get
anyone out these days (0 IP, 2H, 2 R, 2 BB). Before Monday, he hadn’t
given up a run since the end of May. Now it two days he’s given up six
runs and hasn’t retired a batter.

Cardinals 10, Dodgers 0: They scored ten, but only needed one,
because Adam Wainwright was on (8 IP, 8 H, 0 ER). Three losses in a row
for L.A.. The game was delayed an hour and a half at the outset due to
a threat of rain which never materialized. I can’t recall that
happening any time recently. Unless it’s raining you go out and play,
don’t you? It’s a rain delay, not a threat of rain delay, right?

Mariners 4, Blue Jays 3: Ichiro with the game-winning hit in the
ninth. Talk in the game story of him intentionally flailing at a curve
ball right before his hit so as to trick Scott Downs into throwing him
another curveball. Um, OK, but if he had that all planned it meant he
knew what was coming before the first curveball, and why didn’t he just
hit that one? Guess that’s not as good a story. In other news, if
Jarrod Washburn is getting traded, he’s leaving Seattle on a high note
(7 IP, 5 H, 1 ER). Finally, the game story says it’s supposed to be 100
degrees in Seattle today and they have a day game. That’s interesting
in a schadenfreude-tastic kind of way (Midwest summers make one jealous
of those in the Pacific northwest), but why does that matter for the
game? They still got a roof on that ballpark, don’t they?

Phillies 4, Diamondbacks 3: Cole Hamels was dominant, giving up
an early home run and then nothin’ else for the rest of the game (8 IP,
4 H, 0 ER, 9K). “Hamels is getting there,” Philadelphia manager Charlie
Manuel said. “He’s real close.” Close? Jesus, I’d hate to see him once
he actually arrives.

Giants 3, Pirates 2: Barry Zito is like a box of chocolates. A
lucky box of chocolates at any rate, giving up only one run despite
allowing nine hits in less than six innings. The Ryan Garko Era
officially begins in San Francisco with an 0-4. Oh, and the Big Unit has learned that he has a torn rotator cuff.
He’s on the 60 day DL retroactive to July 5th, and there’s a distinct
possibility that he won’t be back at all this year. Which, one doesn’t
have to be a genius to surmise, could mean that we’ve seen the last of
perhaps the greatest lefthander in the history of baseball.

It’s time for Major League Baseball to take a stand on Chief Wahoo

CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 06:  A fan holds a sign during game one of the American League Divison Series between the Boston Red Sox and the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on October 6, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Getty Images

The Cleveland Indians are in the World Series. Come Tuesday they will be on baseball’s biggest stage — an international stage — for the first time in 19 years. In honor of this occasion, I’d like to know a couple of things:

  • Does Major League Baseball believe that Chief Wahoo is a racist caricature?
  • If not, why not?
  • If so, does Major League Baseball think it appropriate for a club to have a racist caricature as its logo?
  • If Wahoo is a racist caricature and if it’s inappropriate for a club to have a racist caricature as a logo what, if anything, does MLB plan to do about Chief Wahoo?

At the outset, I’ll say what should not come as a surprise to any of you: I believe that Chief Wahoo is a racist caricature. I’ve argued it ad nauseum over the years and really don’t wish to mount that argument once again. Mostly because I think the notion that Chief Wahoo is racist is indisputable. Also, because those who do not wish to see the Indians abandon that logo never actually argue that it isn’t racist. Indeed, I’ve not seen a single convincing argument in favor of Wahoo not being racist on his own merits. Oh sure, there are lots of deflections (A logo isn’t important! Tradition is tradition!; It’s just sports!; What about that other racist logo?! My quarter-Cherokee grandma says she’s fine with it!) but no one has once made even half a case that that red-faced, big-toothed, hook-nosed, feather-wearing abomination is not, in fact, a racially insensitive caricature. I don’t think such an argument could be made, actually.

So that’s not what I’m on about here. Rather, I’m interested in how this racist caricature can be eliminated from the sport I love and what has prevented it from happening to date. That’s a very different question, and it’s one that has little if anything to do with accusations of racism or good guys and bad guys. It has everything to do with institutions and inertia. And I think it’s time to drill down into that some.

Let us stipulate that the Cleveland Indians, as an organization, are not a bunch of racists. I don’t believe that for a second. They, like every other sports team, have a history and, for lots of reasons, the Indians history comes with Chief Wahoo packed in the baggage. While the Indians have made efforts over the years to diminish Wahoo, those efforts have not taken. The most likely reason for that is fear of fan backlash. Fans who, even if they themselves are not racists either, do what all sports fans do and root from a primarily emotional place, where real-world questions like “is what I’m wearing racially offensive?” are not permitted to intrude. It’s not just writers they want to stick to sports. They stick to sports themselves and, with a strong assist from cognitive dissonance, their conception of sports involves a Chief Wahoo cap and arm patch.

So, you’re running the Indians. Even when you win your division you don’t draw well, and thus the LAST thing you want to do is anger or alienate your most passionate fans. Of course you don’t get rid of that logo. Doing so would take some pretty considerable moral and ethical courage. Or, at the very least, moral and ethical courage in quantities that outweigh the short term P.R. and financial motives of a for-profit business, and that’s quite a bit. So let us stipulate two things, actually: (1) The Indians are not a bunch of racists; and (2) Even if they’re not, they’re not, on their own, going to get rid of Chief Wahoo. If they were going to, they would’ve done it by now.

Which is why I turn to Major League Baseball. If the Indians themselves are not going to do the right thing and eliminate Chief Wahoo, Major League Baseball should.

At this point I’ll say something which will probably surprise a lot of you: I’m not crazy. I may stand up on soapboxes and rant and rave about any little thing that crosses my mind, but I am, at heart, a realist. I know how large and sophisticated organizations work and I know that Major League Baseball is a large and sophisticated organization. It cannot snap its fingers and make whatever crazy, soapbox-standing bloggers want to have happen happen, even if wanted to (note: it does not want to). There are rules and norms and politics to even the most pedestrian of issues that cross Rob Manfred’s desk, and Chief Wahoo is not a pedestrian issue. It’s a controversial one that lends itself to passion and bad press and those are the hardest things an organization like MLB has to deal with. Indeed, it would prefer not to.

Part of that complication is that this is a club matter and clubs, under Major League Baseball’s business model, are mostly their own things and they can do what they please with most things. Certainly things like club identity, logos, colors, uniforms and the like. At most MLB gives final approval on new ideas in these areas, but it does not order clubs to change fonts or logos or mascots that have been in place for decades. “Hey, Orioles? You’re now the ‘Knights’ and your colors are purple and gold. Make it so” is not a memo Rob Manfred is going to write.

There is likely not even a mechanism in place for this. League-wide matters are dealt with via MLB’s constitution, to which all clubs agree, and that usually involves league wide ownership votes. This is not one of those things, though. Thirty club owners are not going to hold a vote about what mascot the Indians can slap on their cap. Large and complex organizations do not eagerly do things for which there is not a formal mechanism to accomplish said things. So, in addition to the historical inertia and the abhorrence of controversial issues and p.r. and the like, you have systemic reasons which make it easier for MLB to not act than to act.

But that does not mean it should not act. I believe it should, and I believe that the only way Major League Baseball will not, eventually, act to abolish Chief Wahoo is if it willfully ignores those questions I posed above. If it ignores, in fact, the very words it uttered just this week when the matter of the Indians name and logo was the subject of an Ontario court hearing:

“Major League Baseball appreciates the concerns of those that find the name and logo of the Cleveland Indians to be offensive.  We would welcome a thoughtful and inclusive dialogue to address these concerns outside the context of litigation.”

To truly be a part of that dialogue, Major League Baseball itself is obligated to state its convictions on the matter. If it is having trouble finding its convictions I will, once again, offer a little guide to help them along:

    • Does Major League Baseball believe that Chief Wahoo is a racist caricature? That’s a pretty simple question. A human being as educated as Rob Manfred and as educated as the hordes of Ivy Leaguers who work for him can plainly and quickly answer if it wished to.
    • If not, why not? Like I said, if they can make a convincing argument that Wahoo isn’t racist it’ll be the first time anyone has done so, but like I also said, these guys are smart, and I bet if anyone can they can. I’ll give them a fair hearing.
    • If MLB does think Wahoo is racist, does Major League Baseball think it appropriate for a club to have a racist caricature as its logo? Based on everything I know about Major League Baseball and its commitment to diversity, inclusion and open-mindedness, it cannot answer this question in the affirmative if it believes Wahoo to be racist.
    • Finally, if Wahoo is a racist caricature and if it’s inappropriate for a club to have a racist caricature as a logo what, if anything, does MLB plan to do about Chief Wahoo?

And there we are. There’s nothing formal in place to make the Indians change, but if Rob Manfred gets to that last question, he can certainly lean on the club. He can make a public statement about it and what is right. Or, he can take a different tack and show the Indians how much merch they’d sell if they got a new logo. It doesn’t matter much. The Commissioner is not omnipotent, but in a matter of conscience that affects only one club, some meetings and phone calls and his power of persuasion could make a big difference here. All the difference, really.

But first Major League Baseball and Commissioner Manfred have to themselves be inspired to act. They have to cease dodging the matter by making reference to the controversy and the feelings it engenders and actually take a position in that controversy. The Indians have shown that they will not act unilaterally, so MLB should, at long last, weigh in itself to force their hand.

Commissioner Manfred will, no doubt, be in Cleveland for the World Series. He will, no doubt, hold a press conference or two. Given the Indians return to the international stage, the usual protests about Chief Wahoo will be louder than they typically are and Commissioner Manfred will be asked about the matter. I believe that he, on behalf of the league, should answer the questions I have posed here and that other journalists will no doubt pose to him in person.

I hope he does. I hope that, rather than once again merely acknowledging a longstanding conversation about a baseball team sporting an abjectly racist logo on its cap in the 21st century, he, on behalf of Major League Baseball, enters the conversation. I hope he does what no one else seems willing or able to do: eliminates Chief Wahoo, now and forever.

Doing so would not be the easy course. It would certainly be easier to dodge these questions than to answer them openly and honestly and to then do what one’s answers to them obligate one to do. But it would be the right thing to do. I suspect Major League Baseball already knows this.



Get to know your celebrity Cubs fans

CHICAGO - APRIL 12:  Celebrity Bill Murray clowns around with Chicago media before the opening day game between the Chicago Cubs and the Pittsburgh Pirates on April 12, 2004 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. The Pirates defeated the Cubs 13-2.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Getty Images

With the Cubs two wins away from the World Series, the Associated Press is asking an important question: which celebrities will be happy if Chicago wins it all?

Bill Murray, of course. Everyone knows he’s a Cubs fan. Eddie Vedder. Nick Offerman and Stephen Colbert. George Will’s Cub fandom is known by people who care about George Will. His answer about the genesis of his Cubs fandom is somewhat peculiar, though:

“I grew up in Champaign, midway between Chicago and St. Louis,” he said. “My friends became Cardinals fans and grew up cheerful and liberal and I, for reasons I don’t understand, became a Cubs fan.”

While geography can certainly weigh in on one’s political orientation and on one’s sports fandom, I wasn’t aware that political orientation and sports fandom were linked in any robust way. I guess if you take a big scoop of Braves fans, for example, you’ll find more conservatives because you’re also scooping southerners and if you take a big scoop of, say, Giants fans you’ll find more liberals because you’re also scooping Bay Area people, but I wasn’t aware that the scoops work the way Will says they do in central Illinois. Oh well, the more you know.

There’s no corresponding story about celebrity Dodgers fans because, well, all of the celebrities are assumed to be Dodgers fans until they make a point of claiming other fandom, usually around the time of the World Series. Like Paul Rudd and that guy from “Modern Family” did with the Royals in 2014. Each time a newish team makes the Series we learn who their celebrity fans are, but I don’t think the Dodgers get that privilege, even if they haven’t been in the thing for 28 years.

In other news, Tom Hanks is apparently an Indians fan. Had no idea. I thought it was just Drew Carey, by himself, wearing the old Wahoo. So I guess there are two of them.