And That Happened: Wednesday's Scores and Highlights

Leave a comment

Phillies 12, Cubs 5: Pedro Martinez wasn’t spectacular in his
2009 debut, but he was effective enough and showed that he still
belonged on a Major League mound (5 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 5K). I was most
impressed by his first inning strikeout of Jake Fox where, after
consistently hitting 88 on the gun with his fastball to start off the
game, he ratcheted it up to 92 on strike three. That’s useful. One
wonders if it wouldn’t be more useful in the pen, but that’s something
we’ll figure out over the next couple of weeks. Jeff Samardzija made
his first start and it wasn’t pretty, as he gave up seven runs on eight
hits in 3.1 innings. Oh, and some dumb rich kid showered Shane
Victorino with beer as he caught a fly ball. No word on whether
Victorino picked up a rock and made a nice-sized dent in the fan’s
life-sized Hot Wheels car after the game. So what else do you want to
hear, I’m out of stories.

Braves 6, Nationals 2: It’s a lot of fun for me to watch the Braves win like this. Now if only Philly and Colorado will cooperate by losing a bit.

Rockies 8, Pirates 0: That’s not what I mean when I ask for cooperation. Ubaldo Jimenez makes short work of the Pirates (8IP, 3 H, 0 ER).

Twins 7, Royals 1: Brian Bannister gets shelled (6 IP, 9 H, 7
ER) and Francisco Liriano had his best start in, like, forever (7 IP, 3
H, 1 ER, 8K). Most of the damage against Bannister came in the first,
when the Twins hit four straight singles off of him, followed by a home
run. Bannister tried to explain to the Twins that all but the homer was
the result of an unusual run of BABIP luck, but they insisted on
celebrating anyway. Ignoramuses.

Giants 4, Dodgers 2: Juan Uribe wins it on a walkoff homer in
the 10th, though if it wasn’t for a bad call at first base that led to
a Dodger run, it would have ended in the ninth. There was some pushing
and shoving early in this one, but no Youkilis-Porcello moments. Which
is sad, because the inside pitch that caused the ire was to Pablo
Sandoval, and I would have liked to see his kung-fu in action.

Mets 6, Diamondbacks 4: Jon Rauch got pissed at the ump over
what he felt to be a shrinking strike zone in the eighth and charged in
to argue with him. Manager A.J. Hinch came out to protect his pitcher
and Rauch shoved him aside. “He really didn’t hold me back too much,
and I went and apologized for manhandling him.” You just can’t buy that
kind of respect from your subordinates. It has to be earned.

Red Sox 8, Tigers 2: Despite a fairly big series against the
Rangers this weekend, Youkilis began serving his suspension, and thus
sat this one out. Probably a good idea, though, because (a) the Sox
have approximately 347 guys who play first or third; and (b) who’s to
say the Tigers wouldn’t have thrown at him again? Josh Beckett goes
seven innings giving up two runs and notching his 14th win. I’m getting
this funny feeling that they’re going to give him the Cy Young award
this year despite the fact that there are several starting pitchers
more deserving. It just feels like a “look at the wins!” kind of year.

Rangers 5, Indians 0: Strike that — reverse it. Tommy Hunter
continues to impress (7.2 IP, 6 H. 0 ER 5K) and Josh Hamilton goes 3-4
with a couple of doubles as the Rangers replicate the Indians 5-0 win
from the previous night.



Cardinals 5, Reds 2: Chris Carpenter (7 IP, 8 H, 2 ER, 10K)
shuts down the Reds. A line drive off of Homer Bailey’s foot shuts down
Homer Bailey after throwing only 12 pitches. Pujols hit his 38th homer.
Matt Holliday goes 3 for 4.

Angels 10, Rays 5: Not a lot of pitching to be found here, as
the teams combine for 24 hits. From the Angels side it had to do with
the fact that Trevor Bell was making his major league debut. Rob wasn’t as impressed as the Angels’ announcers.
Bell wasn’t all that impressed with the majesty of the Major Leagues:
“But just talking to the veteran guys, they said the game is no
different up here. Just more people and better speakers.”

Athletics 6, Orioles 3: The A’s finish up their
28-games-in-28-days stretch with a victory, resulting in a 14-14
record. In August 1990 I worked 28 straight days at the radio station
without a day off. All 11pm-6am shifts. I was pretty whipped by the end
of that stretch, and it was all I could do to read the station ID at
the top of the hour without slurring my speech or falling asleep. I
guess what I’m saying is that the A’s can declare victory with that
14-14.

Astros 14, Marlins 6: Hunter Pence had two homers — both of
them three-run jobs — and Ricky Nolasco continues to make people
wonder why he was such a hot fantasy property back in March (3.1 IP, 8
H, 10 ER).

Yankees 4, Blue Jays 3: A costly victory for the Yankees as
Jeter, Rodriguez and Posada all got beaten up by hit or pitched balls,
and Mariano Rivera didn’t even hang around for the game due to a
“cranky arm,” whatever the hell that means. They got a bit of a cushion
now, though, so they can give some guys a day off here or there.

Mariners 1, White Sox 0: Ken Griffey Jr. has had a rather poor
(presumably) final year in the majors, but he get a nice near-the-end
highlight here, singling home the game’s only run in the bottom of the
14th. I mentioned Josh Beckett’s Cy Young chances before. Among the
guys with better cases but who likely won’t get near the support are
Felix Hernandez, who threw seven shutout innings with ten strikeouts to
lower his ERA to 2.72. Mark Buehrle had a good game too — his first
since the perfecto — shutting Seattle out over eight.

Padres 6, Brewers 5: The new-look Brewers lose to a Padres team
that has won 5 of 6. After the game, Doug Melvin demoted Prince
Fielder, released Ryan Braun, fired Ken Macha and had three of every
five stadium vendors killed. Dude doesn’t mess around.

Report: The Yankee Stadium charity is a secretive, self-dealing boondoggle

Getty Images
1 Comment

The New York Times has a blistering report on the New Yankee Stadium Community Benefits Fund. The Fund is the charity the Yankees created in 2006 as a means of making up for the negative impact the construction New Yankee Stadium had on the surrounding community, primarily via its taking over 25 acres of parkland.

The idea of the Fund was a good one: to distribute $40 million in cash grants and sports equipment, and 600,000 free baseball tickets to community organizations in the Bronx over four decades. And it has been distributing funds and tickets. As the Times reports, however, the manner in which it has done so raises some red flags. Such as:

  • Charitable donations have, in an amazing coincidence, often gone to other charities which share common board members with the New Yankee Stadium Fund;
  • Funds have gone to many wealthy groups in affluent parts of the Bronx far away from the Stadium while the area around the stadium remains one of the most impoverished in the nation. For example, a private school in a wealthy part of the borough and a rec center in a gated community have gotten a lot money that, one would think anyway, could be and should be devoted to organizations closer to the ballpark that are in greater need; and
  • There has been almost no transparency or oversight of the Fund. Reports which were supposed to have been submitted have not been. And no one, apart from the Times anyway, seems to care. The Yankees certainly don’t seem to. Indeed, as the article notes, the team has worked hard to keep the Fund’s operations out of its hands. They just got their new ballpark and write the checks and hand out the tickets. Everything else is someone else’s problem.

Cronyism in private philanthropy is not uncommon. As is a lack of oversight. Often it’s the best connected people who receive the benefit of such funds, not the people most in need. This is especially true in charities whose creation was not born of a philanthropic impulse as much as it was born of a need to put a good face on some not-so-good business dealings.

If the Times’ report is correct — and the lack of anyone coming forward to dispute it on the record despite the Times’ requests that they do suggests it is — it appears as if the New Yankee Stadium Community Benefits Fund is one of those sorts of charities.

Who is the fastest sprinter in baseball?

Getty Images
5 Comments

We’re not talking the 100 meters here. We’re talking practical baseball sprinting. That’s defined by the StatCast folks at MLB as “feet per second in a player’s fastest one-second window,” while sprinting for the purposes of, you know, winning a baseball game.

StatCast ranked all players who have at least 10 “max effort” runs this year. I won’t give away who is at the top of this list, but given that baseball’s speedsters tend to get a lot of press you will not be at all surprised. As for the bottom of the list, well, the Angels don’t pay Albert Pujols to run even when he’s not suffering from late career chronic foot problems, so they’ll probably let that one go. I will say, however, that I am amused that the third slowest dude in baseball is named “Jett,” however.

Lately people have noticed some odd things about home run distances on StatCast, suggesting that maybe their metrics are wacko. And, of course, their means of gauging this stuff is proprietary and opaque, so we have no way of knowing if their numbers are off the reservation or not. As such, take all of the StatCast stuff you see with a grain of salt.

That said, even if the feet-per-second stuff is wrong here, knowing that Smith is faster than Jones by a factor of X is still interesting.